Tag Archives: Prose

Always Return Part III

It ended, and we lay together like youngsters following their first time, entwined on the icy floor. My breath misted in the chill air. Am’aleh had no need to breathe, but she exhaled all the same, giving life to my cloud of steam. It swirled into the shape of a ship with ghostly sails, carving an eldritch wake through the air above us.

“I am glad you returned to me this night. There is a task I would set before you.” She spoke as a cloud meanders through the sky, slow and delicate yet insistent.

“I am yours to command.” Waning waves of bliss still washed through my body.

“A group of treasure hunters discovered an ancient artifact in the catacombs of Scara Brae. It is on a ship bound for Gisela. I would have you intercept this ship, and steal the artifact.”

“What manner of artifact attracts the attention of the great Am’aleh?”

The goddess hesitated, and then floated up in a halo of sparkling steam and sat in her intricate throne. I stood, finding myself suddenly clothed again, and sat in my simple chair facing her.

“It is a relic as old as time itself. A collar and manacles, called the Thaynebinder.”

Thaynebinder. That lone word hung in the air like an unholy curse. I did not need to ask after the abilities of such an artifact.

“If this relic falls into the wrong hands on Corone, it could be devastating… for me, or for one of my brethren. It is too powerful an item to tarry in the hands of mortals. You must steal the Thaynebinder, and cast it into the sea.”

“What is the name of the ship that bears this precious cargo?”

“The Deadman’s Trove.”

I drew a sharp breath. I had bought passage on the Trove in the past. The pirate ship kept finding ways into my life. The corsairs who crewed her boasted of their discretion, and their determination to finish every job they received. Whoever hired them to transport the relic had chosen wisely. Doubtlessly they would deliver the artifact on time… unless someone stopped them at sea.

“Your whim commands me. I will do as you have asked, on one condition. When the Thaynebinder sleeps on the bottom of the ocean, we will speak of the ways in which one rises to godliness.”

“We will speak of it.” Her form of still water shifted with the slightest nod. “Go now… I will send a friendly current to carry you on your way.”

Her body bubbled and boiled and then burst into a thousand tiny droplets. The floating fortress of ice vanished along with it, and I dropped into the ocean with barely a splash. The current clutched me, sending me out to sea. I swam with it, kicking powerfully and pulling stroke after stroke toward my unseen destination.


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Always Return Part II

Bliss entered my body through the crown of my skull and the base of my loins. Pure pleasure overwhelmed me as I lay back in the buoyant sea. Power flooded into me, my connection with the Tap repaired. I raised my hands and expelled a torrent of molten ice. It rose around me deliberately, forming into a small house, or maybe a boat; a floating fishing hut with a hole carved in the bottom. The sea buoyed me upward and I rolled onto the floor of the icecraft dwelling, examining my own handiwork. The floor stretched perhaps four yards by four, the hole occupying half of the space. The walls rose in intricate blue layers, the ceiling curving toward a single spire. I fashioned myself a simple chair of ice and sat comfortably.

Am’aleh rose in my wake, a whorl of liquid ice and solid water, a reverse cascade of brilliant colors. She took on the shape of a woman, her skin soft shades of blue, her hair so light it shone almost silver, her face masklike perfection. Her mane floated in a breeze that was not there, and she sat in a crystalline throne as it took shape beneath her.

Her radiance demanded no groveling… just a worship of a different kind. The hole in the floor between us closed and we stood, meeting in the middle of the floating hut.

“Is this the castle you offer your goddess?” Her voice, like water whispering around the docks at dawn, echoed in my ears.

“Why would you sap my powers?” I demanded.

“I did no such thing,” came the flowing reply.

“Then why did I lose my ability to manipulate water? Why did my connection with the Tap turn from a torrid flood to a stymied trickle?”

“Perhaps this limitation has always been in place,” the words danced past her azure lips, “you never used to leave me alone for so long.”

I frowned, the Y-shaped scars on my cheeks wrinkling. She was right. Before I met McKinley, I had never gone a week without swimming in the ocean. Certainly not since Am’aleh first gave me her blessings. The ritual had felt natural and healthy… I had no idea it might be necessary.

“When will I have a chance at true power of my own?” I asked, “when will my magic stop being borrowed from your grace?”

“When will the sea stop lapping at the shore? You already wield a great many powers of your own. Combined with the magic I lend you, you approach godhood. What more could you ask for?”

“I will always want more. Until I stand on even footing with the Thaynes, I remain ravenous.”

“Then feast,” she said, wrapping arms of still water around me, “and drink.” She tilted her effervescent face upward and leaned in. Her liquid lips kissed mine until I lost all track of time and space. She lifted away doubt and worry like burdens from my shoulders. I could be the breath of vapor ascending the heavens. I could be the typhoon that sweeps the lands clean for new growth to flourish. I could be the mighty waterfall, with my own pool of fish swimming far below.

My clothing dissolved beneath her will and we made love on the icy floor, a goddess and a demigod locked in liquid embrace. We rose like the tide and fell like rain, joining like the currents and bursting like geysers. It lasted for days and weeks, or perhaps it lasted for minutes, or seconds. It mattered little. For a time we existed as one great being of pure passion and power.


Read the full story here!

Like my writing? You can buy my book The Pixie’s Paramour as a paperback or an ebook!