Eighteen

Eighteen

A Chapter by Eddie Davis
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Gevin, Applemint, Troem and Zaeya spend the night in a haunted Inn.

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18.

And as to being in a fright / Allow me to remark  / That Ghosts have just as good a right / In every way, to fear the light / As Men to fear the dark.

-- Lewis Carroll

 

“Shouldn’t there be lots of cobwebs and moldy curtains - things like that?   This really doesn’t look like a haunted house,”  Applemint said as they entered the building after settling the horses in the stable.

“I’m not aware of any standards that must be followed for such establishments,”  Troem replied as Gevin held a lantern that they had found near the front door.   It was full of oil and he had lit it so they could have light.

“Well, it does seem a bit strange that the place looks like it was used just yesterday after all of this time.   No broken windows, no musty smell, not even dust on the floor.”

“Perhaps the ghosts are just good housekeepers,”  Zaeya joked as they looked around.

“Well, this was your idea, Zaeya, so do you see anything?” Troem asked her.

“Such as what?   Ghosts?   I don’t see the undead, Troem.”

“Yesh have mercy, don’t use that term!”  Applemint whispered, clutching tightly to Gevin’s arm.

“Undead?   Haven’t you ever seen one of them?” Zaeya’s burning red eyes as she turned her head to ask the question gave it a markedly sinister tone.

“We try to avoid them up here in the surface world, Zaeya,”  Gevin answered.

Zaeya shrugged, amused that she was unsettling all of them with her cavalier attitude toward the supernatural.

“What now?”  Troem asked the Drow lady, “I think we need to eat and rest for the night, but I suppose you want to explore, Zaeya?”

“No, not really - it’s an old Inn with the typical furnishings and clearly these furnishings remain in their original state and position by magic keeping them here, so looking around wouldn’t really reveal anything.”

“So you think this house is enchanted?”  Gevin asked as Applemint, still tightly clutching his arm, glanced around fearfully, expecting the walls to start moving in.

“Absolutely!  Can’t you feel it?   Oh, I suppose not; you all are a bit overwhelmed by magic.   So, yes, it is saturated with very powerful magic; don’t worry, it isn’t sentient or baneful toward us, it merely sustains things here, probably as a memorial for the wizard who was slighted by the w***e.”

“Are we in any danger from staying here?”  Troem wondered.

“Who knows?   Only one way to find out.”  Zaeya said with a grin and that unnerved Applemint.  

With a pitiful little groan, she simply broke and ran to the front door, eager to get out of the Ravenrook.   Zaeya laughed at her reaction, but as Gevin ran after the Halfling, her laughter died when Applemint tried to open the door.

“Oh God, no!   It won’t open!”  She squeaked, turning to Gevin as he approached, “Sir, please, open it!  I’ve got to get out of here!   I’ll stay in the stable with the horses, but not in this house!”

“Alright, Apple, calm down, girl.”  Gevin tried the knob and it was stuck fast.   He pushed on it, pulled on it, then tried to bust it down by ramming it, but the door held as if made of stone.

“Oh God, Oh God, Oh God!”  Applemint moaned, shaking like a leaf.    Gevin went to the window near the door, drew out his enchanted sword (which now glowed a brilliant white color as if warning of danger) and brought down the blade of the sword with all of his might against the pane of glass.     It contacted with a resounding *Whack!*   But the glass was undamaged.    He hammered at it, a dozen times, with enough force to have driven the sword into stone, but the glass repelled the blows.  Thankfully, his blade was also undamaged.

“You can stop now, Sir Gevin,” Zaeya said as she watched with amusement, “The whole house is wizard warded - we’ll have to wait until the floor show is done tonight - and probably spend the rest of the night here- until the doors and windows open.    You might as well relax.”

“Relax?!”  Applemint wailed, shaking her fist at the Dark Elf, “This is your fault!   We’re all going to die in here!” 

She was shaking like a leaf in a storm and as pale as a sheet.    Gevin sheathed his sword and went over to her and scooped her up in his arms protectively and she clung to him for dear life.   Zaeya smirked at them but Troem glared at her.

“What?”  She asked, seeing his look.

“You don’t know everything, Zaeya; we could be in danger here.”

She snorted, “Oh please!   We have wards in the Underdark to keep the demons walking the streets from coming into the houses.    Vampires run businesses and ghouls and other unspeakable creatures rummage around the waste dump and streets looking for dead bodies - this place’s enchantment is nothing compared to the fun we experience down there.”

“Well then, we’ll be looking to you to handle any ghosts that appear.”

“No problem, Troem,”  She turned to Gevin and Applemint, “You both can relax, I’d guess the apparitions won’t appear until around midnight and it is just after sunset now so we have several hours.   Don’t worry; I have magic that can protect us.”

“I hope you choose to do that, Zaeya,”  Gevin answered, “Since we are here due to your request.”

“I’ll take care of all of you; tell your little girlfriend there to relax.   Eat something and get some rest.   There will not be any spooks for a few hours.”

“You expect us to eat and relax with that coming up?”  Applemint asked her.

“We don’t even know if there will be an appearance by the ghosts tonight.”

“Then why were the doors and windows locked?”

“Well, that is a good question, so this could be the night of the weekly haunting.”

“Oh God!”  Applemint groaned, burying her face against Gevin’s chest.

“Troem, do you know where the wizard’s unfaithful w***e’s room was located?”  Zaeya asked the Elf.

“I have no idea, Zaeya.”

“I’d like to see what the wizard did to her and I’ll bet the show in that room would be the best!”

“Are you insane?”  Applemint exclaimed, “What difference does it make?”

“I’m just curious; don’t worry, you all can stay wherever you want when the ghosts appear.   I’ll be safely watching from that room, if I can use magic to find out where it was.”

“We should all stay together, Zaeya,” Troem suggested.

“So all of you come with me.”

“Into the room where the wizard was most focused on getting revenge?”

“Yes, because that will be the center of the enchantment and any wards I set up will be much more effective if I cast them near the core as they will neutralize the power of the original spell before much power is manifested in the apparitions.   It will weaken them greatly, rendering them no more than just ghostly images reenacting the scene, but without any power.”

“You’re making that up!”  Applemint challenged, “You just want us all in there with you.”

Zaeya shrugged, “I’m going in there with or without all of you.  Remember, the spell’s focus was on those in the Inn when the spell was originally cast.    We weren’t part of that enchantment, therefore we aren’t affected, most likely.”

“Most likely!”  Applemint parroted.

“Even if we are, I can protect us easily.   He may have been a wizard, but the wards I have can fend off all sorts of supernatural beasts.”

“Even ghosts?”

“Easily!   Come on, kid; you’re more than a little curious what happened aren’t you?”  Zaeya asked the scared Halfling, “We’ll all be there and I’m certain that Sir Gevin won’t let anything happen to you.   Unless you think he’s incapable of protecting you against a ghost.”

“I’m capable, Zaeya,”  Gevin replied with a stern gaze, “And I’m not spooked by magic or spirits.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“The problem is that you are enjoying manipulating us due to our fear of the unknown.”

“Well who wouldn’t be!” She laughed, “You all are scared to death!”

“If you’re such a powerful sorceress - or whatever- why didn’t you get yourself out of the world of Lord Savel?”  Applemint asked the Dark Elf as she stood there smiling so smugly.

The smile faded from her face, “That magic was very powerful; this enchantment is not nearly as powerful as Savel’s world.”

“So we should all just trust you?”  Applemint asked what Gevin and Troem were silently wondering.

Zaeya’s eyebrows arched and she shrugged, “Well, do whatever you want.    Huddle together in the tavern area or one of the rooms or spend the night in separate rooms.   I’m going to find the heart of the enchantment and watch it manifest, fully protected from danger.   You all are invited to join me…or you can spend the night without my protection.    Either way, I’m going to find out and see the show at the heart of the wizard’s focused magic.   Now if you’ll pardon me, I’ve got to see if I can determine where the core of this enchantment is located.”  Zaeya immediately pulled from her belt pouch, what looked like a piece of coal and held it in the palm of her hand, closed her eyes and began chanting a spell.

“What do we do, lord?”  Applemint still cradled in Gevin’s arms, whispered into his ear as Zaeya cast her incantation.

“Well, she could be right and she does have magic - I imagine she’d know more about what was going on than we do.”  He turned to Troem, who was standing close by, “What do you think, Troem?”

“She knows that we don’t know anything about magic and she loves showing how powerful she is, but I can tell she doesn’t seem too anxious about this at all.   We can’t get out of the Inn and it is best to stay together.”

“And as far as you know, no-one who came into the Inn after the spell was cast was ever harmed by the apparitions?”  Gevin asked.

“Not that I ever heard.”

Gevin turned back to Applemint, “We don’t have much choice, Apple.”

The girl sighed and nodded, “Yeah, I know, lord.”

“Alright then, we’ll trust Zaeya this time.”

“Yesh help us all,” Applemint added.

 

***

 

By the time they had reached the decision to trust the Drow lady, Zaeya had finished her spell.   She glanced at the lump of coal in her hand and it glowed a very faint red.

“Is that hot?”  Troem asked, noticing the glow.

“No, it’s part of the magic.   It will grow bright red when I reach the center of the enchantment of the place.   I’m going to go and find it; the rest of you get something to eat and rest.   I assume you’ll all join me in the room that is the heart of the enchantment when I find it?”

“Yes, we’ll trust you, Zaeya, though it isn’t easy for us to do so.”  Troem responded.

Zaeya smiled, a rather fetching grin despite her glowing red eyes, “I’m glad; you’ll see what the wizard wanted everyone to see - what happens to those who oppose his magic.   He won’t harm us as we’re witnesses to his power and if we were killed, we couldn’t tell anyone.”

“Well, I guess that makes sense,” Troem said with a shrug.

“This piece of coal will begin glowing blue when the apparitions begin appearing.   Until then it only shows the background magic keeping this place up and it is a dormant magic, not an offensive magic, so don’t worry.   I’m going to go find the room where the wizard’s unfaithful prostitute was - it shouldn’t take too long.”  With no further word, and keeping the piece of coal in the palm of her hand so she could monitor the glow, she moved toward the stairs headed to the second floor where the bedrooms were located.

“Should we go with her?” Applemint asked, though it was apparent that she didn’t want to do that very thing.

“She’ll be alright,”  Gevin replied, gently putting the girl down on her feet.   She looked up at him and smiled weakly.

“Thank you, lord; once again I betrayed my immaturity.”

“You were only displaying what all of us were feeling, Apple,”  Gevin replied and Troem nodded in agreement.

“Shall we go look at the tavern area?   Maybe the magic has preserved the food here as well,”  Troem suggested and Applemint and Gevin readily agreed.

 

To their delight, the food pantry was filled with seemingly fresh food that they were further surprised to learn they could cook and eat.   It tasted perfectly fine and Gevin even opened up a cask of (now rare) Elven honey mead.    He gave Troem a flagon of it, but hesitated when he came to the young Halfling girl.

“I’m old enough, sir!” She protested.

“Your father wouldn’t approve.”

“Father doesn’t have to know, lord!   My brothers and I used to drink a little of the left over ale when they’d set mostly empty kegs outside of the kitchens at the palace.”

“That’s different than this Elven ale.   Alcohol is not for youngsters.”

Applemint put her hands on her hips and thrust her bosom out, “I’m not a child.”

Blushing, Gevin nodded, for she certainly didn’t look like one right then.

“Honey mead has very little alcohol in it, Gevin,” Troem told him, “Elves used to let children drink it on special occasions; it shouldn’t hurt her and besides, I think we all need something after all that we’ve been through.”

“I can’t dispute that!”  Gevin replied and he poured a flagon - halfway full- for Applemint, and then sat down to join them in eating the chicken and potatoes that he had cooked for them.

 

Before they were done, Zaeya rejoined them, proudly proclaiming that she had found the room in the inn that was the heart of the enchantment.   As she sat down and ate, she briefly explained how she would cast a ward around them later when they entered the room.

“It will be a protective circle that will keep anything unnatural - magical or supernatural- from entering.  We should be able to watch and hear the apparitions without the possibility of any harm coming to us.”

“But why must you see them?”  Applemint asked her, “What purpose will it serve?  You can’t communicate with them, can you?”

“No, but it is something unusual that warrants being seen.   Don’t you like to see strange and fantastic things?”

“Not supernatural things!”

“They are the most fascinating.   We should situate ourselves in the room after we eat so we have plenty of time to get ready.”

“Zaeya, do you believe the doors and windows will open up tomorrow morning?”  Gevin asked her.

“Absolutely - that’s how magic like this works.   Since we’re stuck in here for the night, we might as well see what all the fuss is about, don’t you think?”

The other three were less enthusiastic, but did not complain and just finished their meal in silence.

 

***

 

Two hours later they were all in position in the room.   It had been a large furnished room, probably one of the more expensive rooms available for a night’s stay and it was dominated by a large bed and several pieces of furniture, which the four visitors had appropriated and pulled against the far wall to sit on as Zaeya crafted a protective circle around them.   She used chalk and chanted a spell as she enclosed them in the protective circle.    Dusting her hands off when she finished, she chanted a few arcane words and the chalk glowed a brilliant green then faded back to normal color.

“There!”  She said, proud of her accomplishment, “We are sealed in and safe - no-one try to leave the circle until after the ghosts appear or the enchantment will be dispelled and we’ll have to watch it with no protection.”

“How long until they come?”  Applemint asked, sitting nervously between Troem and Gevin.

“Anytime now - it is close to midnight.”

 

Several long minutes passed, Zaeya watching excitedly for anything to occur, while the other three sat within the protective circle, much more apprehensive than eager.

Then, slowly, a slightly glowing blue mist began creeping in from under the closed door.   Applemint saw it first and gave out a tiny shriek, clutching to Gevin’s arm tightly as she pointed it out.

“Here we go!”  Zaeya exclaimed, jumping to her feet to see better.

The mist filled the room, but, to their relief, avoided the area of the protective circle.   Then it seemed to climb the walls, outlining everything in a blue glow.   In the middle of the room, the mist covered the bed, but then began swirling around above the bed until it took the shapes of two people.

It was a man and a woman, engaged in a very passionate session of love making, the woman straddling the man.   They moved and gyrated with complete realism, lost in wild, almost desperate arousal.    Distant, hollow but very distinct sounds accompanied the performance.   The woman arched her back, her pretty face engulfed in overwhelming pleasure, her long hair twirling around as she cried out loudly in bliss.    The man beneath her, a bearded, burly man, had a completely focused look on his hard face as if his whole being was zeroed in on the woman’s gratification.   They bounded wildly on the bed, the woman clearly quite skilled in the sexual arts, for she flexed and moved with the confidence of someone who regularly engaged in such activities.

“Dear God, we shouldn’t be here seeing this,”  Gevin said, feeling almost perverse watching them, yet compelled to by the strange ghostly manifestation.   He glanced at Applemint, horrified that he’d allowed Zaeya to expose her to such a thing.  If he’d thought about the tale that Troem had told them, perhaps he should have known what they’d be doing.

Applemint was transfixed at the scene, her eyes wide, her face flushed and her mouth hanging open in amazement at what she was witnessing.

“Apple, you shouldn’t be watching this,” he said to her, thinking of what her father would think of him allowing the girl to see such a carnal scene.

She slowly shook her head, not taking her eyes off of the ghosts, “It’s okay…I…I want to see…what happens.”

Alarmed, Gevin glanced at Troem, who looked almost as embarrassed as Gevin felt.    The Elf just gave him a helpless glance and a slight shrug.

“Well, I see why the wizard was so jealous!”  Zaeya commented, her Dark Elven eyes glowing a brighter red as she watched and she seemed to be enjoying the show by the expression on her face.

“Dear Yesh, preserve us all,” Gevin groaned, unable to turn away from the apparitions.

It seemed that the couple would be engaged forever and Gevin was certain that at least half of an hour had passed, when suddenly the woman stopped her gyrations, her eyes wide in horror, glancing down at the floor as if something terrible had entered the ghostly room, though none of the spectators saw anything.   She tried to slide off the man, who was up on his elbows in alarm, also glancing down at the floor toward the door.

But just as the woman’s feet slid off the bed onto the floor, her body went perfectly rigid while something that looked like lightning wrapped around her body.   They could hear her distantly screaming in agony as the blue lightning completely covered her.   The man on the bed leaped to his feet, but was immediately covered with electricity and he sank to his knees as the energy engulfed him.

For perhaps a minute their bodies were completely cloaked in crackling electricity and those watching the ghostly scene could hear their agonized screams.   The blue glow grew brighter and brighter and all of them tightly shut their eyes; Zaeya screaming in agony as her dark Elven eyes were hyper-sensitive to bright light.

Then, in an instant it was all gone; the ghostly screams from throughout the house, the blinding blue light and the ghosts along with the strange mist that had formed the apparitions.    There was deep silence in the room, except for Zaeya gasping and groaning in pain.   The other three had to let the afterglow from the bright light dissipate before they could move.   Troem led Zaeya over to the bed and helped her sit down.  

She had her eyes tightly shut and was protectively covering them.   They were surprised to hear her crying and she was trembling like a scared child.

“Is it your eyes?”  Troem asked her as they gathered around her.

“It hurts!” She whispered, “I’m such an idiot!  I forgot about what you said about the blinding light!”

“Are you blinded?” Gevin asked her.

“Temporarily - several hours probably.   Right now they just hurt terribly.”

“What can we do to help you?”  Applemint asked her gently, putting her dislike of the Drow behind her due to her helpless state.

“I don’t think there is anything any of you can do - it just takes time to wear off, but I’ll be really sensitive to light tomorrow morning.   More than usual.”

“We’ll take care of you,” Troem reassured her, squeezing her hand.   She nodded meekly and surprised them by saying “Thank you.”

“Was it worth it, Zaeya?” Gevin asked as Troem passed over the protective circle and led her from the room, which all of them now desperately wanted to vacate.

“I don’t know - I learned that the wizard was extremely powerful- he completely annihilated an Inn full of people with one spell, but left the building and even preserved it so that years later everyone would see what he did.    That is amazing.”

“It’s nothing to loose your eyesight over!”  Applemint commented.

“Well, we all got to see quite a performance from that prostitute and her man.  You probably learned something too, kid.”

Applemint frowned, “And to think I was feeling sorry for you.”

“Sorry if I offended your sensitivities.   In the Underdark, sex is no big deal, but I have to admit, sex like that was rather spectacular!”

“Zaeya, can we please change the subject?”  Gevin answered, “Such as where should we stay the rest of the night.   I suspect the doors will open now that the…um… show is over, but it would be more comfortable here…if everyone wants to stay here after what we all witnessed.”

“The Innkeeper’s suite has two bedrooms in it - I found it while using the enchanted coal to find the center of the incantation.   The beds are large and comfortable looking and I think there won’t be any more ghosts for the rest of the night - that manifestation took a lot of energy and I doubt it could repeat more than once a day.”

“Or once a week,” Troem corrected, “Remember, that awful scene is only performed weekly.”

“Well, it should certainly be safe, then,” Zaeya assured them.  

Gevin turned to the Halfling, “Apple, I’ll let you make the decision, since you were the most reluctant to come in here.   Shall we stay the rest of the night here or go sleep in the stable?”

“The Innkeeper’s rooms are okay,” She replied, surprising him, “But I have one condition.”

“What is it?”

“There are two bedrooms in this suite?”

Gevin turned to Zaeya, “Two, Zaeya?”

“Yes, both with large beds, even bigger than the one in the w***e’s room.”

“Okay then,”  Applemint said to Gevin, “We’ll stay there, but I want to stay in the same room as you.”

“Um…I don’t-“

“Lord, I am trying to think of all of you here.   I’m about at wits end and I am not going to be put into a room with Zaeya if she can’t see some ghost or something if it comes floating through the wall.”

“Well we can’t all stay in the same room.”

“Let Troem take the room with Zaeya; she’s blind so she probably won’t try to molest him, besides, he’d know best how to take care of her.   I just want to throw a blanket over my head and lay very still until morning comes, but I won’t feel safe unless you are close by, sir.   If all the doors lock again, you might not be able to get to me if I was bunking with Zaeya.”

“I don’t think anything is going to happen, Apple.”

“Well, that is my condition, or else I’ll go sleep with the horses.”

Gevin glanced at Troem and Zaeya.    Troem looked a bit uneasy at the prospect of spending the rest of the night with a woman he was attracted to, and Zaeya, in spite of her pain, had a slight smirk on her face, but didn’t say anything.

“Alright,” Gevin said with a sigh, “I imagine that we’re all too rattled to worry about moral etiquette right now.”

“Don’t worry, kid,”  Zaeya said to Applemint, “Gevin probably wears that armor to bed.”

“I’m not worried; Sir Gevin is a perfect gentleman.”

“How boring is that!” Zaeya snorted, causing Applemint and Gevin both to blush in embarrassment. 




© 2020 Eddie Davis


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Added on November 27, 2020
Last Updated on November 27, 2020
Tags: Synomenia, Nihility_Gate, fantasy, elf, sword_and_sorcery, magic, knights, Halflings, Drow


Author

Eddie Davis
Eddie Davis

Springfield, MO



About
I'm a fantasy and science-fiction writer that enjoys sharing my tales with everyone. Three trilogies are offered here, all taking place in the same fantasy world of Synomenia. Other books and stor.. more..

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