24: Chains of Jealousy
// Ready for Reading
Two days had passed since Andrea and Charmeime had left the camp. Nether had returned.
Antonio Flanigan, the Holy Warrior of Bhuul and one of Lincoln’s Purifiers, approached Oliver. “Master Martin, can you tell me the fate of Charmeine or Ka’Azalin? You are her master, you would know.”
He looked down from the wagon’s driver’s seat. “Ka’Azalin is still alive, but for Charmeine, I can not say. They are still fighting it out, or the fight is over, and Charmeine is dead.”
Antonio nodded. He walked back to his wagon; Charmeine was the best chance to strike at the weakened Demon Lord at the moment. He reached down into his pocket; he held the small, winged piece of jewelry that the Demon Goddess had dropped to the ground. He had goaded Charmeine into pursuing the Demon Goddess as Charmeine had a divine weapon that could hurt and possibly kill the demon. It looks like he had failed, and the Demon Lord claimed his soul. He will honor the loss of the brave Toluene warrior in the Ritual of the Lost Heros.
Oliver felt a little bad, he really did not hate Charmeine, but he had started to have some emotional responses that he had kept locked away for months. More than likely, Andrea had to kill him; he expected to have to comfort her when she came back to him.
It was late morning. The wagons were loaded and ready to move. Most of the morning had been wasted just talking about the events, meeting an actual goddess, the evilest one, and living to tell the tale. The brave half-celestial who apparently had met his end attempting to slay KaAzalin.
Varriss was taking a break; he had drawn a cup of water from the drinking barrel. Clara was reading the horses, putting them into a position to pull the wagon. Varriss counted himself lucky; he did have Clara, he loved her, and she loved him as well. He teased her constantly, though.
A shadow crossed over the camp; some looked up and witnessed the half-celestial diving down into the camp.
Charmeine landed with grace and precision; his skin was paler than his usual tan, muscular body. On his head, he wore a crown of blue flowers. He landed next to Master Oliver’s wagon.
Cheers went up from Antonio’s group. “I knew it. You did kill that demon goddess! Praise Bhuul! Praise, Toluene!”
Charmeine turned to the group and waved his hands and shook his head.
The cheering crowd went silent as the second shadow crossed the caravan.
Andrea dive ended as she spread her wings out fully to slow her descent; she landed quickly right at the base of Oliver’s wagon. “Hello, Master,” she said in her usual cheery voice. Her hair was covered in small blue flowers neatly tied into place.
Oliver looked up; he could see the wound on her left side; the skin was bright pink. Oliver noted she had a glow about her that he had not seen before.
Many of the priests were more worried about their lives bowed in respect.
Andrea sighed, “Rise. It’s fine. You are my guild members. At this moment, we are family.”
The guild members who bowed rose and stared, not knowing what to do.
Andrea realized this as well; these people were afraid. “Continue about your day. Do what your Guild Masters ask of you.” she looked around while lowering her hands.
Oliver turned as the camp gathered itself and continued on the preparations to move back to Cormanworth. “So, what happened? I see he is still alive?”
Andrea smiled, “Yes, we had a heart to heart talk. My feathery fool would not back down, so I made a pact with him. He is now my first husband.”
Oliver’s eyes went wide; this was not expected.
Varriss immediately spit out what he was drinking.
“That’s not how getting husbands to work!” Clara immediately commented.
“He came to kill me, we made a pact, he lost, and now he is mine. I told him I wanted him to be my first husband. We consummated our wedding in an old house for days.”
Oliver was trying to grasp what she said. No, that can’t be. She had to be lying.
“Love, grab your gear from your wagon. You will be with me in the Dark Arts Division.” She quickly snatched a kiss from his lips, “You are going to need to rest.”
The rest of the camp was silent and stunned. The goddess had claimed the champion Charmeine as her own. Most had seen this as she had conquered the god's Toluene mighty champion! Ka’Azalin was indeed a powerful goddess.
Andrea was cooning over her new pet. Oliver knows what was for certain what was happening, that demon is going to torment this half-celestial. It will be his job to make sure that she does not go overboard. If he were contemplating any relationship with Andrea, he would have some off-tastes that, for sure, he will have to take those into account as well. He felt a bit of unexpected pain in his own heart, something he felt was wrong. For a brief moment, Oliver wanted to strangle Charmeine with his bare hands himself. He sucked a breath in and exhaled, letting his calmer mind reflect and process this emotion.
Master Raven came over to Master Martin; Master Raven asked, “Good, he is still alive. I was apprehensive that the goddess would devour his soul.”
Oliver responded, “Well, I thought she would have, but she has other plans.”
Master Raven with a bit of puzzling voice asked, “Did I hear her correct? Did she say, husband? I thought that she was your dream girl. The dark goddess put her in front of you first, and you are turning down this gift?”
Oliver responded, “She is not a gift; she is her own person. We both have a choice.”
Master Raven turned once again, watching Charmeine load his gear into the back of the Dark Arts Division's wagon. “Are you sure?”
Andrea quickly turned to Master Raven, “I am sorry to inconvenience you. Could you check on my husband? I might have been a little too rough with him. I am a bit worried.”
Master Raven bowed; she made sure that she said her words correctly. “Yes, goddess, Let me go examine Charmeine.” Master Raven trotted off to her unexpected paitent.
Oliver was now a bit perplexed; she made good on her claim of the half celestial. He felt a discomforting sensation about this arrangement.
Andrea's head whipped around back to Oliver, "Master, I have to go talk with Antonio; he apparently had aided in pushing my precious Charmeine into fighting me. I have to go thank him personally."
Oliver showed concern, he had not gotten along with the Church of Bhuul, but he did not want Antonio harmed. "You are not going to kill him, are you? We have a deal, you don't kill the guild members."
Andrea smiled twistedly, "No, he played his part. I will tell you more at a later time on how just twisted this game we are in keeps getting. I really don't like his faith, we are at odds, but our deal still stands, Master." Turning, she headed out over to where Antonio was finishing loading the wagon he was traveling on. He noticed that others started to lower their heads. He turned around and found the Demon Lord starring at him. Her eyes were narrow and focused, like she could see right through him to his very soul. He stood proud and did not bow, or show respect to this god of evil.
To Antonio the camp got quiet, even the birds stopped singing. The tension in the air could be felt, all wondered how this was going to play out. Antonio had let his negitive feelings and thoughts about her out after Charmeine and Ka'Azalin had left a few days ago.
Other gods might have smited him where he stood for his disrespect. Katalina might have, but she did not instruct her on how to handle this type of situation other than being yourself. "Antonio, I know you pushed Charmeine into a fight with me. I want to let you know if you had left enough alone. We would not be wed. Thank you."
Antonio's heartbeat rapidly; he thought he was going to die. All his training told him that the Demon Lord Ka'Azalin was the most dangerous twisted of the old gods.
The goddess reached her hand out, "You have something that does not belong to you."
Antonio instinctive produced the small piece of winged jewelry and handed it to the goddess.
Andrea warned him coldly, "One last warning, at this moment, you are protected because of Master Martin's deal with me. Betray me, go against me again, and that deal is off. Then you will understand what suffering in the flesh truly is." She turned on her heel and walked calmly away. Andrea had never threatened anyone like this before. She ignored the serpent in her mind as it whispered a song of sweet torment in her mind on what she could do to Antonio.
Antonio swallowed; he had seen the goddess fighting. He did not take this threat seriously. Ka'Azalin was not the goddess but the weak servant. Bhuul would have killed him on the spot for the disrespect he was showing to Ka'Azalin. Chul the weak; that is one of the church's teaching.
Charmeine climbed into the back of the wagon with his pack. He was exhausted; he had been becoming weaker and weaker by the day. Andrea had told him she took a little of his life for herself to keep from going mad. Charmeine laid down in the back of the wagon and closed his eyes for a moment.
Varriss looked down at him. “Welcome to the Dark Arts Division; you are the first Half Celestial to join our group. You are her husband.”
Clara moved over to Varriss and held her hand out with a given gesture. Varriss frowned as he pulled a single gold from his pocket and placed the golden trinket into her hand.
Varriss placed his hand in hers, “I really thought Master Martin was going to fall to her charms first. I had to be with Clara. She won. I said that Master Martin would fall to her charms before somebody else did. I was wrong.”
Andrea climbed out and down. Her wings expanded out of her back, changing her glance from Charmeine and to Oliver, “I will continue the patrol Master, keep my husband comfortable; he will need his strength.” She winked playfully at Charmeine and bolted back skyward.
Charmeine looked over at Master Martian, “She is not who I thought she was. You are right. She is so much more, amazing.” he trailed off.
Master Martin, who sat in the driver’s seat of the wagon, respond, “That creature is your wife. You going to have to learn to live with that; you made a poor choice.”
Charmeine just smiled, “Master Martin, I don’t think this was a poor choice. We both learned that somebody wanted us together, who that is we don’t know yet. I will tell you this: my wife is a great lover. Have you actually listened to what she had to say? You have been to focused on what she was, not to see who she is. Ka’Azalin is a brilliant woman. Not a demon, defiantly a goddess.” He flexed his wide chest muscles and leaned back.
Oliver wanted to thrash this man. He calmed himself and continued, “The succubus has extreme mood swings; she will be happy one moment, then angry the next. Now do you understand, I warned you to stay away. You have to stay one step ahead of these creatures. I learned the hard way too. I will try and keep you alive until she grows bored of you. I recommend doing as she says and submit to her will, and you may get to keep your soul.”
Charmeine while putting his head down on the softer part of his provided blankets. “Oh, I plan on submitting when she asked. Besides, I remember her words, submit, and there is pleasure, don’t submit, and there is pain.”
Oliver was trying to help him by telling him what to expect. ” Your lucky; she has a soul; if she were a true demon, you would be dead. I am in the same boat as you, with a bit of difference, she likes me. You are something she wants to play with. With that said, she does not hate you, and for you, that is a good thing. ”
Charmeine started to understand; Master Martin was jealous. He also understood, Ka’Azalin will not be faithful as a truly devoted wife would be. She told him already, and she is a succubus with all the desires that go with it. For the moment, this new goddess was his and he hers. “Well, I think I am her feathery fool then. What kind of fool will you be to her?” Charmeine closed his eyes; fatigue was catching up to him.
Oliver kept silent; his head hurt with this new information. Maybe Andrea did actually have feelings for this man and not just some object to satisfy her desires. Maybe he had been wrong about her and him.
The wagons moved slowly back toward Cormanworth. Oliver started feeling something else, was he jealous of Andreas’ attention to Charmeine. He did not have these feelings when she was visiting Mr. Morgan; that man had no heart. Charmeine is a different story.