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Discovery

Mara woke in the dreaming room fatigued from her appearance in Anya’s kingdom.  Anya was much easier to deal with because she saw the world as black and white.  Unlike her parents, she discounted the magical world, so while Mara found it much easier to manipulate her, it was exhausting projecting herself through dreams so she appeared corporeal.

She rose weakly from the pallet, motioning to the attending servant to bring her sustenance.  While the room remained dark out of necessity, she had made significant changes to its cleanliness and functionality since taking over for Jalon.  As she peered into corners, making sure the staff was doing their job, the servant returned with a plate of mutton, cheese, and bread and a goblet of wine.  She moved to the small table and chair and fortified herself with the meal.

“Madame,” the servant spoke softly, “Jalon asks for you.”

Mara didn’t answer.  She knew Jalon asked for her.  Blindsided and still thinking he had the upper hand, he would like to plead his case yet again.  Many had marveled the day she locked him up and took over the stronghold.  He, who was so powerful, so angry, so feared, now imprisoned.  No one had expected the mouse of a girl with the golden eyes to defeat him.  Their disbelief was her advantage, her projected innocence her weapon.   The day she moved the burning candle from her skin, the day she figured out she had power, the day she finally felt it coursing through her veins like an ancient song, was the day she knew she was more powerful than Jalon.

Ellisandria had helped her that fateful day, it was true.  She had helped her focus her emotions and her energy.  But, Ellisandria was only an apparition, a dream figure.  Moving the candle was all Mara.  Ellisandria could not manipulate objects.  Her magic was limited.  It did not take young Mara long to figure out how to make the missing staircase appear once she discovered her abilities.  She remembered the day clearly, Ellisandria coaching her, reminding her to focus her energy and concentrate on the task at hand.  Ellisandria had helped her far more than the Mage who had originally brought her to Jalon.  Unfortunately her reach into Mara’s realm was quickly thwarted when Jalon became aware of her presence.  To say that things did not end well for Ellisandria would be a gross understatement.  She was an old woman.  It did not take long to finally break her and watch her fade away out of existence forever.

Determined to develop her newly recognized gift, Mara made the decision to accept tutelage from Jalon and the Mage.  Jalon was a powerful being and there was much to be gleaned.  The Mage was nearly useless, but he seemed to be able to placate Jalon at times and had fine knowledge of earthly potions and their ingredients.  It was not entirely useless knowledge.  As she progressed in her learning, she was given freedom to roam the castle as she pleased.  It was during one of these roams that she discovered the dreaming room.

“My Lord,” she began at dinner that evening, “I stumbled upon a room I have never seen nor heard of before.  If it pleases you, could you tell me what it is for?”

Fortunately, Jalon was in a good mood that evening.  “Which room, girl?” he answered her as he speared a hunk of beef and put it in his mouth.

“Well, ‘twas in the East wing, near the crumbling tower.  It was not overly large, but almost circular.  It was odd, because even though my torch was bright, the room stayed mostly in darkness,” she told him.

“Ah,” he said, putting down his eating utensil.  “The dreaming room.  You musn’t go in there, child.  You are not ready for that yet.”

“But…”

“I said nay,” Jalon interrupted her with force and rose from the table.  He waved his hand and servants came scurrying.  “This meal is done,” he scowled.  “Make haste.   Clear it away.”

Whether intended or not, his maintenance of secrecy and mystery had quite the opposite effect on Mara.  She stayed away for a fortnight before venturing back to the East wing.

Mentally shaking the cobwebs and reminiscence away, Mara began her ritual cleanse and changed into her day clothes.  She supposed she would have to go see Jalon again.  She wasn’t quite sure why she was keeping him alive, but she felt that there was a reason.  He still had something she needed from him.  She could sense it, even though she was unsure of what it was.

She found him pacing the small space where she held him captive.  Mere bars would never hold Jalon and therefore did not enclose his cell.  Magic was what kept him there.  A powerful spell, one she had cast herself.  A spell meant to remind Jalon that she was stronger than she appeared, stronger than he had ever given her credit for.

“Ah, my dear.  So nice of you to grace me with your lovely presence,” he greeted her.

“Jalon,” she nodded.

“I’m still not sure why this is the solution you favor,” he treated her with a look of disdain.  “We could have ruled kingdoms together.”

“We could have,” she replied, “but you’re method of rule does not suit mine.  Fear garners limited loyalty, Jalon.  More flies with honey than vinegar, you know,” she waved her hand in dismissal of the notion of their doing anything together.

“When will this farce end then?” he asked.

“It is sufficient for now,” she told him.  “What did you want?  Shall we rehash the same complaints, or do you have something new to share with me?”

“Naught new,” he said, peering at her through slitted eyes.  “You’ve been in the dreaming room,” he accused.

“Aye.  Not that it’s any of your concern,” she answered.

“Off to Ellisandria, er, Anya’s kingdom then?  Must not have been battle, or you would be more fatigued,” he conjectured.

“Nay, no battle.  Enough.  I no longer answer to you, Jalon.”

“Yet, here I am and here you are,” he smiled.

“Aye,” she said, turning on her heel.  “You in there, and me out here,” she pointed out.  Too tired to continue the usual banter between them, she walked away without a glance backward.  Someday she would have what she needed from him and be done.  She hoped someday came soon.

This is my entry for therealljidol Season 9, Week 14.  The prompt was Confession from the Chair.  It is a continuation from last week's entry. Thanks for reading.

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
i_17bingo
Jul. 10th, 2014 03:14 pm (UTC)
"I say nay!" is one of my favorite things that people in sword-and-sorcery fantasy say. It's got a goofy gravitas to it I can never resist.

I am both satisfied and terrified by Mara's ascent from meek to ruthless despot.
tatdatcm
Jul. 13th, 2014 06:47 pm (UTC)
I love incorporating the language variances in this. I can "hear" those colloquialisms so clearly sometimes.

I'm glad Mara's progression works. :)
eska818
Jul. 11th, 2014 06:30 am (UTC)
I love Mara, she's definitely a keeper-character!
tatdatcm
Jul. 13th, 2014 06:48 pm (UTC)
I love her too. :)
roina_arwen
Jul. 12th, 2014 05:23 pm (UTC)
I really enjoy these stories about Mara and Jalon - I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.
tatdatcm
Jul. 13th, 2014 06:49 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're enjoying them. :)
n3m3sis43
Jul. 13th, 2014 01:28 am (UTC)
Sucks for you, Jalon! :P

I have to admit, I'm curious what she will use him for. I hope it's something unpleasant and maybe a little twisted. Something tells me that despite her statement about honey versus vinegar, Mara's got a little bit of a mean streak in her somewhere.
tatdatcm
Jul. 13th, 2014 06:53 pm (UTC)
Hee! I don't think anyone is thinking "poor Jalon" except me and I'm not completely sure what Mara has in store for him either.

She's ruthless, but manifests it in a different manner than Jalon. I think the honey vs. vinegar statement was more of a reference to how they treat their minions and servants more than their opposition.
jem0000000
Jul. 14th, 2014 08:50 am (UTC)
I'm glad she won, in the end.
tatdatcm
Jul. 19th, 2014 07:27 pm (UTC)
Mara always wins. :)
eternal_ot
Jul. 15th, 2014 12:21 pm (UTC)
Aha! So Jalon is trapped..Cool..I am with Mara on this..:)..let's see where it goes from here...Enjoyed this!
tatdatcm
Jul. 19th, 2014 07:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, he is. She needs him for something, we're just not sure what yet. Otherwise, she would have killed him.

Thank you. :)
kajel
Jul. 15th, 2014 09:24 pm (UTC)
I really enjoy this world.
tatdatcm
Jul. 19th, 2014 07:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad you enjoy it. :)
uncawes
Jul. 16th, 2014 03:14 am (UTC)
Love these characters, and what you're doing with them.
Please keep writing this story.
Nice throwback to the missing stair, too
tatdatcm
Jul. 19th, 2014 07:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you. The "middle" keeps filling itself in with the different prompts, so as long as they keep coming and I can fit it in, I'll keep writing it.

Glad you noticed the reference to the missing stair. :)
halfshellvenus
Jul. 17th, 2014 04:59 am (UTC)
I love the idea of a dreaming room, and that it may be something like a focal point for astral projection or something similar.

Mara has become a little bit scary herself, but she has directed her ire at the right person.
tatdatcm
Jul. 19th, 2014 07:32 pm (UTC)
The dreaming room is what started this whole thing actually. It's where Jalon could safely fight his battles. He suffered fatigue, and some physical injury, but nothing like what could happen on a real battle field. It's kind of a fantasy virtual reality.

Mara was always intended to be scary. The story is ultimately about her progression from innocent girl to world ruling sorceress.
kandigurl
Jul. 17th, 2014 07:53 pm (UTC)
This is an intriguing world!
tatdatcm
Jul. 19th, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
karmasoup
Jul. 17th, 2014 11:19 pm (UTC)
It's fun to play around with astral projections and dreams... I've even dreamed about such things, so it's interesting to see them coming to life in these characters.
tatdatcm
Jul. 19th, 2014 07:34 pm (UTC)
As I said above, the dreaming room is really what started this story. The concept is one I hope to continue to visit as the story comes together.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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