33: The Burning Blanket
Oliver sat in a strange place; the trappings of the room were luxurious with a large fireplace. He was sitting in a large leather-bound chair that had a mechanical footrest attached. The fireplace mantel was covered with several different personal trinkets scattered across the top. Oliver gazed on a sizeable colored picture mounted above the mantle, the image of himself, Andrea, and a small black horned child, no more than five or so years old. The child had had black hair, blue eyes. He looked familiar; who was the child.
A small giggle came from his left side as the child in the picture suddenly appeared at one side of him. He faded into the shadow for a moment and appeared on Oliver’s right side. A shadow walk, the ability to step between places for a moment. “Nicholas, no betweening in the house.” Oliver had this ability as well, part of his bloodline. The child said, tugged on Oliver’s dark robes, “Daddy tell me a story about you and mommy.”
Oliver awoke that his dream was not of Andrea or Mr. Morgan, killing him for the first time in weeks. This dream was wholly different and frightening in another way. Children! Though he did want kids, he was unsure that his own life at this point, he would live long enough.
He reached over where Andrea would typically be still asleep, and she was not there by his side. She had been leaving early and attending to her husband. Oliver had expected the worst with Charmeine; he was not behaving as a thrall; he acted as a man would; though Oliver is sure Charmeine does not love her, he should be afraid of her what she can do to him.
Oliver dressed, grabbed his skull capped staff, and headed out of his room. First, tapping on Andrea’s room to see if they were still there. No answer, he then proceeded downstairs to the kitchen. No breakfast left for him today. This had become usual in the last week; Andrea had stopped cooking for him; he missed the smell of her cooking.
Finally made his way into the storefront. He was surprised to see Varriss without Clara; both usually were locked at the hip. Varriss turned the page of one of Oliver’s occult books he had for sale. Varriss had found the one with the most bizarre and erotic illustrations, something, if Clara were here, would have punched him for. Putting the book down on the counter, “About time you woke up. Were too today, boss?”
“The Merchant Guild. We are heading to Floastone to drop off the artifact. Besides, I think it is time for us to leave Cormanworth for a while. No, with Andrea coming out, our lives are going to get even more hectic. I am going to contract our group for caravan duty.”
Varris noted, “You look like you had a night’s sleep. No rings under your eyes today.”
“Yes, I actually got some sleep. We should be off.”
Oliver moved to the front door and let Varris out, then locked it behind him.
The merchant district of Cormanworth resided along the southeastern side of the city. This district was part of the well to do area; the merchants and minor nobles who were well off could afford proper security to protect their assets and livelihoods. The buildings were maintained correctly compared to the lower class districts where Oliver lived.
When dealing with the transportation of goods, one needed to make use of the Merchant Guild. However, many companies handled transportation services; independents would need to go through this organization for some necessary labor. The large wooden building was lavish inside with innovations of the time. Automatic spell sliding doors open and closed when people entered.
Sitting behind his desk, Alonzo Vermont is a medium height man; he proudly wore the brown business suit crafted by a local tailor named Maddies & Sons. Alonzo had stacks of paper that he needed to fill out as his day went; he also had the responsibility to take care of the freelancers who came in for a specific job request.
The metal cap made a metallic ping as Oliver tapped his staff on the floor.“Hello Alonzo”
Alonzo looked up from his piles of paperwork, now seeing Master Martin and his bodyguard standing next to him. “Good morning Master Martin.” Alonzo had already heard the stories and looked to see if the new goddess was with him. Not for sure if he should be fearful for his life, he continued with his usual business-like demeanor. “What can I do for you this fine morning?”
“Looking to book passage on a caravan heading to Floastone, something not involving Strongbox Trading Company.”
Oliver nodded, “Yes.”
“Oliver Martin, Varriss Urdine, Clara Valentine, Ka’Azalin.”
Alonzo stopped writing for a moment, “Repeat the last name, please.”
“Ka’Azalin,” Oliver repeated.
Alonzo looking up, “The Goddess? She wants to escort a caravan?”
“She has interests in Floastone. She is heading that way. Why would she want to walk? Can she not teleport over there?”
Oliver had to think for a moment, “Maybe she likes to walk around. I can’t tell you, to be honest. Would you want to peek inside a demon goddess’s head?”
Alonzo tried to find some rule against gods; there was none. Gods often just did what they wanted, and this one wants to be a caravan guard; who is he to say no to a god. “Well then, I don’t think we could afford such divine protection.”
“Just regular rates are fine.”
Alonzo kept his sigh professional and internal. “Okay, then the trip is for three weeks. A week and a half to Dysteny, a week and a half to Floastone. Sign here for the standard contract for your group.” He handed Oliver a pen to write with. You will be responsible for your party and take orders from Sir Gentry. The caravan leaves at the end of the week. Have yourself all packed up and ready to go by then.”
“Thank you, and we will be ready.”
“Good. Take care, Master Martin. Good to do business with you again.”
Oliver nodded, “Take care. Varriss, let’s head back.”
Varriss stood there quietly and followed Oliver outside back into the streets of Cormanworth.
Oliver and Varriss returned to the Hidden Occult, “Thank you, Varriss, for coming with me. Heather is no longer a threat, but I think Mr. Morgan is.”
“Oliver, you sure know how to make the most powerful enemies in town.”
“Yes, but I got some of the best friends who have stuck with me and helped me out.”
“And you pay well.” Varriss gave a bit of a grin.
“Tell Clara we will be leaving in a week for Floastone. If she needs anything else to purchase, just let me know, and I will forward you the coin.”
“Will do. Goodday Oliver.” Varriss headed out and back to his own personal agenda.
Oliver looked throughout the Hidden Occult. Andrea was nowhere near to be found. He had to find her; just a sense of urgency came across him.
Heading down to the workshop in the basement of the store. Gathering his materials for his scrying spell. A large wooden bowl, other materials. Filling the bowl with water from the storage barrels, he worked his incantation.
With a glow of white light, looking down into the bowl. Oliver commanded the magic, “Where are you, KaAzalin?” The bowl’s contents swirled and then brightened up with a flickering light.
An image appeared; Oliver could see a large oak tree; he determined they were in the forests outside of Cormanworth. He then saw both of them. Andrea was lying in Charmeine’s lap while he leaned on the tree shirtless. A blanket that once covered his bed now shields them from the grass and dirt. He will have to burn the blanket when they return. The thought of them enjoying each other on a blanket that he uses boiled his blood. Oliver watched as Andrea’s hand-fed Charmeine strawberries out of a basket. The scrying would not allow him to hear noises or words, but he could see the smile on her face and the admiration in her eyes.
Not too long ago, she looked at him like that. He always felt he was in danger of becoming her plaything. She looked seductively at him only to gain a meal. It made him feel alive, and he was tempted to give in to her seduction.
Andrea never experienced the horror demons go through in their lives. He remembers sitting in the chair while Andrea learned to control her feeding. Her pain was wild and changed from a scared girl to a hungry beast. She made him want to run in terror, but the uncontrolled rage she felt was nothing compared to the world Heather thrust into his mind nightly. Despite the warnings in his head, Oliver missed Andrea’s constant advances and her precious pouts. Now they are being directed toward the fool, Charmeine. She should be looking at him that way.
Oliver watched like he could not take his eyes off the couple.
Charmeine took hold of Andrea, laying her on the blanket and kissing her gently, then slowly started working her clothes off. Oliver watched Andrea’s eyes shifted as if she looked directly at him through the invisible viewing eye. She had a wide pleasurable grin on her red lips. Her attention then returned to Charmeine; she began working his belt off.
He cursed under his breath and canceled the spell, then began working on a Devil Trap. He will show her the consequences of taking his blanket from his bed. She will stay in the trap until she got rid of Charmeine and returned his blanket.
Oliver stopped what he was doing and sighed. What’s the use? He should be happy he is no longer Andrea’s target of affection. He is safer that way. Besides, what was he going to do? Summon her back from where she was to tell her that she needs not to take his blanket from his bed.
This is ridiculous!