Disclaimer: See Part 1
Fortunatus Light of Dark
by AJ Marks
Ami smoothed the fabric of her dress nervously. Both sides were left open with a gold hoop keeping the front and back together at the waist. It had a deep V down the front and back and the dress, came to mid-thigh, and a deep blue color.
She learned that she would be eating in the main hall with Tess and some guests. That thought caused her mind to race with all sorts of possibilities, such as her ending up as the entertainment for the evening. She felt unsure if she was ready to take on such a role. True she had gotten used to being nude in front of the Empress, and the twins, but others she felt unsure about.
Helen escorted her down to a large main hall, after being dressed up by the twins. Inside the room the Empress sat at the head of the table, along with several others she had never seen before. One she recognized from the training grounds and another, the head mage. The others in the room were not human.
She frowned, her mind coming up with wild situations, mostly from stories she read. Walking across the room, she spotted a short older man eyeing her closely, reminding her of the typical perverted old man back home. She felt the Empress’ eyes undressing her with every step. Steeling her nerve she continued on towards the Empress, willing herself not to shake.
Ami finally stopped next to Tess, remembering her position, waiting for the Empress’ orders. Ami felt herself pulled down onto the Empress’ lap. It felt a bit strange with fully laden with food in front of her and several strangers watching. Ami had no desire to complain yet, somehow she felt safe right where she was.
“And who is this charming creature?” the short old man said, still eyeing Ami. She frowned slightly at being called a creature before realizing he was not human.
“My latest slave,” Tess replied back to him, a hand funning up and down Ami’s back. “I think I’ve got good tastes.”
Ami felt the Empress’ hand drop from her back to the exposed flesh near her hip. The conversation turned from her to other things, making Ami wonder if she might be tonight’s entertainment. She blinked at the meat presented to her, but took it with no words. It felt strange to Ami, being hand fed by the Empress, when really, should it not be the other way around? Ami told herself to relax and trust in Tess. In the several weeks she had been her slave nothing terrifying had happened and according to the twins Ami could expect a long life, if she obeyed.
She heard of one slave who had actually earned her freedom from the Empress by being obedient.
“How do you get them so obedient?’ the old man asked, as several servants walked in to carry out the now mostly empty trays of food. Ami had eaten more than she thought and felt pleasantly full, despite her position. Tess had continued to stroke her exposed sides all throughout the meal just enough to tease Ami. She felt like a kitten actually, spoiled and petted.
“You have to find the right ones. I feel lucky to have found this one,” Tess said. “She’s a perfect slave for someone who knows how to be a good master.”
Ami thought the phrase sounded a bit odd to her. Her, a perfect slave, it sounded like fiction, but Tess had yet to lie to her.
“She is unusual, I sense an unusual aura around her,” the old man said, causing Ami to frown.
“Really? What type of aura?” Tess said. Ami heard her tone sound casual but her body had tensed up slightly at the question. Ami tried to remain normal despite the fact the hand on her thigh had stopped moving.
“Hmm, how to describe it,” the old man said. “It’s shifting, hidden and, odd, powerful. Very interesting indeed.”
Now Ami frowned at that. She had no magical abilities so how could she be powerful? Such a statement made no sense to her at all.
“Her magical abilities are minimal if any at all,” Tess said.
“Ah, no, it’s not magic I sense, but something else,” the old man said.
“Are you claiming she has some other sort of power?” one of the others said with gold eyes.
“Yes, that’s exactly what I am saying. You would be surprised to understand there are other powers out there than magic,” the old man said.
“Stop with the so-called lessons Gallic,” the golden eyed person said.
“Perlock, your manners!” said one of the two with silver eyes.
Ami felt the tension in the room rise as the two stared at each other for several seconds.
“Then if there is other powers then maybe one of those can defeat Enokrad,” she heard Becca say.
“Hmm, that I cannot say, for if I did say then I would know,” Gallic replied.
Ami felt the hand return to stroking her thigh, not a caress, but in calm gentle strokes that she knew meant Tess was thinking. It felt strange to be able to tell what Tess was thinking by how she touched her, yet Ami had figured it out. Perhaps that was part of her power? She made a mental note to ask Tess later when they were alone.
“How can we know anything if you won’t tell us things,” the one called Perlock said.
“I know only that there is always balance in life. If there comes a time when evil is overwhelming then good will start to come through and the same is true the other way around. All of life is a balance from one point to another even if we do not see it,” Gallic said.
“What about those who are poor all the time or grew up rich?” the silver eyed person said again.
“I never said life was fair at any one point in time, only in time it all balances out. An individual might be unlucky and another be lucky but it all balances out in the end. The situation might be dark but it does not mean that the overall picture of time is dark, only that point,” Gallic said.
“You talk nonsense old man,” Perlock said.
“Are you saying that this Enokrad is going to arrive to balance out a time of light?” Becca asked.
“Possible, but more than likely, it is a chance to see if the next era will be light or dark, suffering or happiness,” Gallic said.
Ami felt uncomfortable with the course of the conversation. It went against her knowledge of how things worked. Science should tell you, what you can see and things such as eras, were periods that historians studied to group together like periods in time.
She watched as some more servants walked into the room carrying trays with what looked like desserts. She watched them walk with purpose before one caught her attention. The guy was about mid-height and with shoulder length brown hair and brown eyes. She felt for certain she had seen this guy before, but could not think of where.
“I spoke to one of your servants, he said these Zero-Mages are pure evil, is that true?” Gallic said.
“Mostly, they are manipulative in the extreme and many do not care about life,” Becca said.
“Bad upbringing?” the silver-eyed person said.
“I wish that was the case, but they appear out of thin air, dressed in orange and usually chained,” Becca said. Ami watched as the one called Perlock went into shock.
“We’ve had a few like that, they show up as if they had an invisibility spell on them,” he said.
“Yes, though why they do that we don’t’ know,” Tess said.
“We thought they were part of some sort of joke by your, a way to divert our attention from your spies,” the silver-eyed one said again.
Ami knew that each one that appeared was a criminal who had done cruel things where she came from. She thought she saw the servant with brown hair pause slightly, before continuing on and leaving the room in a rather hurry. She frowned at that action, wondering if somehow she had met the person. Her contact with other servants had been limited.
“What did you do with them?” Tess asked.
“Locked them away when they refused to tell us what their plan was,” the reply came back.
“We have about a dozen of these, are you saying they are all Zero-Mages?” Perlock said.
“Yes, all of them, I suggest not to let them go,” Tess said.
“All of them also had some sort of parchment in their pockets, with a language we cannot decipher,” the silver eyed one said again. Ami knew exactly what that paper said, their crime. She could read it, before wondering what happened to her own paper. Perhaps it had been shredded when Tess had used magic to remove her clothes that first time meeting. Either way, she never wanted to see it again.
“Zero-Mages, humans appear out of nowhere, very interesting,” Gallic said. “The only ones who might actually know anything about them would be the Psyoks.”
Ami frowned, not the first time someone mentioned them. She tried to look them up, but found nothing in the books.
“They never come out unless they want to,” the silver eyed person said.
“Haven’t heard of anyone seeing one of them in decades,” Gallic said.
“Then we can’t expect to hear anything from them. They might not even care about all of this. And how would we even know if they did contact someone?” Tess said to the group.
“They have their ways, unusual in the extreme, cloaked and mysterious, barely giving any useful information” Gallic said, as if he had an encounter with them.
Ami froze slightly upon hearing the description. It reminded her of the two times she had seen a grey cloaked figure, who spoke strangely to her. She thought about it for a few seconds, trying to recall what he had said to her. Something about the coming of something dark and that the greatest hope for survival had arrived. Ami did not dwell on it too much as the hand had slipped onto her inner thigh, as the conversation switched to some sort of place that she did not understand. She focused on the pleasant sensations coming from that hand, wondering what might happen the rest of the night.
Tess walked into her quarters, Ami trailing behind her. During dinner she had felt Ami tense up several times, and now that they were alone, she had a few questions for the slave. Tess led Ami over to the sofa, sitting down, pulling Ami with her so she sat on her lap, taking a moment to get comfortable.
“There, disappointed in dinner?” Tess asked, getting a confused look back. “Did you expect to be the entertainment, perhaps on the table in front of them all?”
She watched Ami swallow before replying. “I don’t know, perhaps,” came the truthful answer.
“Well, things can change rather quickly, little one,” Tess said. “But how about you explain why you tensed up at the mention of Zero-Mages?”
She felt the slight shift in the muscles at the question.
“I am a Zero-Mage, but I have no power like that person, Gallic, said I do,” Ami finally replied.
“Don’t sell yourself short,” Tess said. She knew emotions could be extremely powerful in combat.
“I can’t do any magic,” Ami replied.
“I know, but what about those other times?” Tess asked.
“Um, well I could read those notes,” Ami finally replied. “And I wondered what happened to mine.”
“Do you want to find it?” Tess asked having a feeling that wasn’t what was bothering her.
“Um, no,” Ami replied. Tess felt the small body tense slightly before relaxing. “I’d rather forget that part of my life.”
“I don’t know, it brought you to me,” Tess said, giving Ami a squeeze. Tess never had a slave quite like Ami. In a way Ami did not even seem like a slave to her, more like a submissive companion. Perhaps because of that submissiveness that Tess treated her differently. Deciding not to pursue that thought she turned her attention back to Ami. “So, what bothered you?”
“Well, this talk that I had some strange power, I don’t’ have any such thing, I’m more of a Zero-Mage than anything else,” Ami finally stated.
“Zero-Mages are the term we use to describe those evil people who come through, and you haven’t been very evil, or are you hiding something from me?” Tess said, realizing how much the comment bothered Ami. She waited for the girl’s answer to the question, already knowing the answer.
“No,” Ami replied. Tess watched her face knowing that the girl was telling her the truth. “But I have no powers even if that old guy said I did.”
“Ah, Gallic, a Segic,” Tess said seeing confusion on Ami’s face. “Segics are beings of high magical powers, though I’m surprised he didn’t try and jump you. He has a reputation of being a pervert.”
“Is that why I was there?” Ami asked.
Tess hesitated for a second before answering with the truth. “Yes, I thought it might help loosen his tongue a bit. Segics are notorious for with-holding information about things. I wanted to see if there was something else I could learn about this Enokrad.”
“Enokrad?” Ami asked.
“An ancient creature who sucks magical power out of people, or so I’ve heard,” Tess said. The more she thought about that the more she realized Gregory had to be behind it all.
“The other three didn’t seem to happy to have me there,” Ami said. Tess realized Ami listened and watched quite well to pick up on such things.
“Yeah, they don’t like public displays of affection like that,” Tess said, with a smile. “I knew that, they knew it and put up with it for the same reason I had you there, to gain information. Were you disappointed I didn’t take you right there at the table?”
“N-No,” Ami replied rather quickly. Tess looked into the green eyes for a few more seconds waiting. She saw a conflict going on in the girl’s eyes. “Well,” she looked down before continuing, “Not really, maybe a little.”
“You were expecting it maybe?” Tess asked wondering what type of answer she might receive.
“I had prepared for it,” Ami finally replied.
“Hmm, well, can’t say such things never happen, but you will be told beforehand. And usually you will be wearing special clothes, or nothing at all,’ Tess said to her. She had done a few such orgies in her travels, but really the thought did not cross her mind. “Or special races, like the Vexxans, they love sex, consider it highly insulting if sex doesn’t occur during normal business. The primary reason Soulviers and Vexxans don’t get along. Don’t worry about it, we’ll keep you safe.”
“Okay, but I wasn’t scared for my safety,” Ami said. “I trust you.”
“Then there will be no problem, I take care of my people, ask the twins,” Tess said.
“I have, they said you rescued them from someone bad. They worship you, you know that right?” Ami said.
“Like a big sister,” Tess said knowing that for the truth. She had rescued them from an abusive uncle after their parents were killed during the conquest campaign.
“They mentioned their parents, but won’t say why you rescued them,” Ami said.
“Like you, they have their secrets, if they wish to tell you that is their wish, but I will not tell it, as I will not tell others of your secrets,” Tess said. She had understood that trust between those closest to her became critical. Early on she had trusted no one. She realized that she could keep some secrets with a few people. Ami had quickly proved to be one of those people, along with the twins, Becca and Carrie.
“So how do you keep so many secrets?” Ami asked. “Sounds tough.”
“I’ve learned that trust can be the difference between life and death. When I conquered the land I had to trust my men to carry out my orders. Most of my army I would trust with my life, the nobles, I would trust them to stab me in the back,” Tess said to her.
“They sound pleasant, not,” Ami said causing Tess to frown. She had not heard that type of language and assumed it was a phrase from where she came from.
“Well, they are not evil, or untrustworthy, but they will do anything for credits,” Tess said. “They would sell their family for a profit if they could get away with it.”
She watched Ami think about that for a few seconds before finally deciding to change the subject. She ran a hand under the fabric finding a small breast. She felt Ami stiffen at first then relax closing her eyes as Tess continued teasing the breast.
“Done talking for tonight, I can think of better things to do,” Tess whispered in her ear.
“Um, gods, yes,” Ami replied in a whisper, as Tess’ fingers found a taunt nipple.
Tess smiled at the knowledge of what she had planned for tonight.
End Part 5
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