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Winters Dawning: Charity's Holiday to Remember

2023-01-08 22:44:26

Among the greater cosmos are untold numbers of dimensions, worlds, stars and civilizations; a thousand thousands of beings wander the secret ways and paths that link them – merchants, heroes and villains, explorers and explicators, keepers of secrets and those who uncover the same. All are known regardless of their species and origin by a collective name: The Planes-walkers.

On worlds where these ways and paths converge, communities arise, each as unique as the beings who dwell there; the community of Stars Rift is no exception. It notorious above all others as a place of commerce and of hedonism run rampant; with almost no constraints on what can be done, bought, sold, traded or taken by force of arms.

People of many species, worlds, trades and the like are to be found. Ten times as many deals being forged and ten more time the same of betrayals, plots, and revenge. And yet among this seething pool of violence and pure mayhem waiting the barest spark of flame to ignite, order does exist…for one sole reason…

The Academy of the Arts, its sweeping buildings over three miles on a side and reaching hundreds of floors into the sky, dominates the entire mass of Stars Rift. Famed for its libraries, museums, halls upon unending halls of treasures and art beyond imagination, they produce the finest of diplomats, scholars, teachers and magicians.

In the end, it is these magicians, headed by the greatest of all, Chancellor Storm Dragon, who keep the chaos of Stars Rift in relative order. The rules for those seeking to advance agendas and plans in the community are very simple, exercise extreme care, for when some unknown line is crossed you will face the Academies magicians, and be warned once…after that is summary annihilation.

Today, the inhabitants of Stars Rift care not about the Academy, spell battles or the impending annihilation of this or that group seeking ‘ultimate power.’ For they hear the first rumblings of a storm rolling in from the great Garnet Sea. Great clouds race in from the horizon, clawing in great columns for the sky while building ever deeper in darkened, seething, writhing, and boiling mass that dances with hellishly intense blue-white lightning.

Many wisely fear these great tempests, claiming that there is a guiding sentience to them; as many have seen in their depths of blackness sets of golden eyes that search and seek someone. This has occurred time and again, as if they wait patiently for one who is to call unto them.

At the first deep and echoing calls of thunder sound, the clarion call that the season of storms is beginning, all who still are out on the open streets scurries for any shelter they can find. Teamsters shout and curse at their draft animals, desperate to get their wagons of goods and cargo under cover, all the while the hired guards around them watch for any would-be thieves bent on making a fast snatch of the same goods.

Merchants whose shops are not fronted by the great, arching covered walkways of the market quarter close up, bolting windows and doors, hoping that when the storm ends, the shop will be intact and business can resume with all due speed.

For one lone being in the community, the Cat-girl known as Charity (and by a few thousand other, less choice or proper insulting names), the storm takes second place next to the selection of the right gown for a most special holiday coming up in five more days.

All she wants is enough time to choose her gown. And not have anything else go wrong, as all too often occurs around her… sadly, today is not to be an exception…not by far…for this day will be one of great thrills, and true danger…and chaos incorporated as only a cat-girl like Charity can understand.

Charity, magician and practitioner of the rare mental magic known as psionic’s, scholar and adventurer among the cosmos at large, not to mention being – in her own words – “the cutest cat-girl around,’ ignores the brewing storm outside of Hanna’s Finest of Fashions, just a small little dress shop near the Hearth and Home Inn where she stays as a semi-permanent resident.

She stands before a full length mirror and ponders the sight shown: eyes of emerald-sapphire hues filled with life and untamable wildness. Slight freckles adorn her soft cheeks and accentuate her perky little nose. Her fine feline ears swish back and forth as of their own violation, drawn by the faintest of sounds. Right now they alternate between flaring flat backwards and flickering here and there, as Charity puffs, and puffs, and puffs yet again, in vain to move an annoying locket of her honey-amber hair away from her eyes.

Her lithe form flows and dances about as she struggles with ever growing frustration to put the offending bit of hair back in place. So great is the effort she finally engages in a complete spin that sends her crashing onto the floor in a heap of female feline fury.

She adjusts the skirt of the gown she is wearing, looking at some of the ladies who eye her out of curiosity, or even jealousy…their unspoken question Charity answers to be rid of these useless hens. “Ladies as you can see I am a cat-girl,” she holds her arms wide and curtseys to them, “but no tail common to them, mine got lost long ago in a spell battle.”

Her melodious laugh carries far as the ladies rush off having been thoroughly embarrassed.

She wonders how well they will do with the coming holiday of Winters Dawning, the first day of winter and of the New Year… and so much more…

The traditional first day of the trade season, it is celebrated in a traditional manner: Hedonism extreme with nothing but sex, sex, and even more sex carried out with any willing partners of all genders and species. There are no barriers of class, culture, social standing or family kinship restraining any such couplings; yet there are among the hedonistic pleasure seekers a few who seek to be with one they love and none other…and for this coming holiday Charity is no exception. She seeks to bed one man whose heart she is set on winning.

She snapped back to the here and now and sees herself with an expanding, all encompassing blush flowing over her face, neck and even up over her ears: clear sign of sheer embarrassment. Her friend and owner of this little dress shop, Hanna, clucks away as she adjusts Charity’s gown here and there, always asking how it fits and feels on her lithe feminine feline form; her patience finally runs out after a few more minutes, and asks Hanna to go and get some knee high, white furred boots Charity had seen up on the second floor earlier today.

Standing atop a small step stool, Charity shifts from one pose to another, straining to see how the fine silken gown of deep sea greens and blues, embossed with golden dragons swirling around her hips, torso and breasts, fits. The sleeveless and strapless gown hugs each sensuous curve and feature on her body, while the skirt flows around her legs like water in a stream swirling and dancing playfully around a mid stream stone.

Putting hands to hips, she looks in the mirror and gives an impish grin filled with pure mischief.

Kicking off her sandals, she stands straight up on her toes, reaching both arms high into the air and straining the gowns fabric to the near breaking point. She slowly turns in a half circle to face the storefront window and all of the passing foot traffic.

Bending slightly backwards, the gown crushes against her breasts, revealing all of their enshrouded wonderment to some carpenters passing along. Charity smiles at each of them in turn, and kicks one leg high into the air and back down again, causing the skirt to dance and flutter about as a mysterious butterfly from a far off jungle. Four more times she does this in quick order, shifting her arms and body to counter balance the movement with an ease belying the iron discipline and strength possessed by her body.

Charity gives one carpenter a lust filled, coyish wink while his eyes remain locked upon her covered breast; and in a moment of pure mischief, teases the edge of the fabric up and down, not quite showing anything save for a dance of light and shadow always at play. Then shakes her head as the carpenter slams into a porch support post that knocks him silly, and he falls backwards into a horse trough.

Her disbelief grows when a rushing wagon throws a wheel in its drovers haste to beat the storm to shelter. The four horses pulling it tear free of their harnesses, racing off with wild laughter on the wind as the drover dives clear of the collapsing wagon: the cargo of which is a load of manure that shall never reach its final destination this day.

Instead it lands in full upon the hapless carpenter as he sits up in the horse trough, thus winding up hurt, wet, embarrassed and smelling oh so ripe to the world around him. So strong is the melodious odor of his, that all of the green plant life for thirty feet suddenly grows in a plethora of surging life, sprouting leaves, flowers and new fruit and seed for all who wish to have at them.

Returning to her silent dance of seduction, Charity’s body flows in one amazing move after another: graceful leaps and turns, short spins followed by sweeping kicks and twirls. She knows there is one other watching her at the time – Amanda, the granddaughter and apprentice of Hanna.

Charity also knows the truth of what is behind that gleam in Amanda’s eyes; a longing and hope that the girl has not yet found the courage to acknowledge she seeks. She gives Amanda a quick wink that sends the girl into a rush of flustered shaking and blushing consternation.

Placing one hand on her hip, Charity raises the other high overhead with fingers spread unto the heavens. Her head leans back as she arches her abdomen forward until she achieves a modest crescent shape; then rising up on her toes, she closes her eyes and daintily bends her left leg at the knee. She takes the left foot into her left hand, and slowly, silently circles about upon her tiptoes once, twice and a third time before leaping high into the air.

Her descent is a perfection of motion and feline grace, landing so lightly on the step stool not even a mote of dust is to be observed. For many minutes Charity moves but slowly, calmly, with her eyes closing and ears flat on her head. Then she abruptly launches again into a complex pattern of swirls, circles, short and long kicks of her legs and motions with her arms to balance her motion.

Yet no matter how she moves or the patrons of the store watching the dancing cat-girl seek to find her most intimate of areas under that flowing skirt, they do not succeed. She is in complete control over her body and that of the gown, never allowing the sheer fabric to show off more than she desires to have shown.

Poor young Amanda cannot keep her focus, torn between the dance of Charity, and that of the crowd gathering outside the shops display windows. So many people wanting a glimpse of a master of the dance at play, they do hope for more to show of Charity – say a wardrobe malfunction that leaves the cat-girl in her birthday suit to the world.

Amanda has an epiphany and quickly goes to the front door. She allows a limited number of people in for a base fee and the unconditional promise they keep quiet at all costs. Many a man comes in, accompanied by their lady companions or spouses.

As formidable as Charity is with magical spells, she is more so with the rare magic of the mind. As her dance draws her into a semi-mystical state she draws upon the well of psychic energy deep in her being. This energy she uses to manipulate the very atoms of air and dust that swirl about her, causing them to flow in new paths and to shimmer and glow.

Her keen hearing gathers in the soft gasps of amazement, slack-jawed astonishment and wondering as, about her honey-amber hair flow a shimmering, gleaming river of lights. A million millions of diamonds with a thousand thousands of precious gemstones interweaving one another, playing upon one another in a silent symphony that cannot be matched by anything else.

Pulling her arms in tight to her chest, she accelerates her spinning, guiding by thought alone the motes of light to shift and spin with her. Colors flare and shift, dance and intertwine, one with another in an unending curtain of iridescent fires. She even keeps her focus when, contrary to the pledges given to Amanda, the gentlemen in the crowd begin to issue lust filled calls and demands for all clothing on Charity to come off.

Amanda watches Charity with the uttermost captivation, until one of the lady companions of a gentleman who is howling, slavering, whooping and drooling, asks if she may rent a ‘special item.’ Listening carefully to the desired order, a price is reached and sealed with a handshake and twin wicked grins of sadistic glee. Amanda rushes into the back rooms to retrieve the sought item.

Quickly returning with said item, she hands it over to the scorned lady, who hands over the agreed to sum of coins. She watches with some satisfaction as the fate of the clueless, offending gentleman companion unfolds before her eyes.

At long last Charity comes to a stop with a flare of the melodramatic – arms cast high overhead and one leg back behind the other with a smile on her face. That smile turned into a coy grin as her hair flopped over her face and ears, and the gown surrendered to gravity in one mighty rush; drawing many loud claps and delighted whistles at the sight of her bared breasts, honed abdomen and the silken undergarments being worn.

“Figures,” she says with a shrug of her shoulders.

Her gaze extends to one corner of the gathered mass of howling men. She sees the scorned lady’s steady approach onto her clueless gentleman companion. Charity softly chuckled, the melodious giggles sending the men into another round of lust burning and lust crazed frenzy, as they call for the show to continue, and offer to ‘lend a hand or other body parts as required for her performances…’

Charity scolds the men: “Now gentlemen, you have ladies and wives and mates that should be having your undivided attention right now. You have shamed yourselves with these antics and need to make it up to them in whatever way they so desire.”

“Ah come on already,” the young gentleman who has so insulted his companion says with derision, “I can do as I please, my father is one of the most powerful of merchants in town; my word is law, and nothing else matters, I dare anyone to say otherwise…”

A moment later, he got his wish.



Amanda, now joined by her grandmother Hanna, watch with grim humor as the now assaulted man gives off a series of mewing, moaning, groaning and pitiful sounding clucks. The sheer pain surging into his brain from the crushing of his chestnuts with an iron poker becomes overwhelming, and gracelessly he falls face first onto the floor.

Two of the men turn from Charity’s scolding, looking at the man on the floor with clear annoyance at having the show so rudely interrupted. The duo ask their lady companions about the man and receive a unified thumbs down from all the women, even Amanda, Hanna and Charity.

With knowing looks, one man near the front door silently holds it open. The two gentlemen take up their broken companion up in their arms, and summarily toss him into the streets. The wounded, gelded man gracelessly flies across the short distance to slam bodily into the carpenter, whom once again, falls into the wondrously smelly mixture of manure and water.

Pushed away by the carpenter who is now very angry, the gelded man staggers into the street where he is instantly assailed by cascading rains and chilled winds which tear off away all of his clothing until only his birthday suit remains...

He makes it to the far side of the street, only to be summarily hit with a trio of lightning bolts from above. Staggering, a rampaging herd of manic goats stampede over his body, leaving an endless series of cloven hoof prints upon his back. Finally he reaches the storefront across from Hanna’s shop, and collapses against the wall gasping for breathe…until a pack of 100 mongrel mutts come along and, in turn, christen him in the usual manner of such mutts.

The men watching all of this from Hanna’s shop turn from Charity and unto the scorned lady. They nod and give her a salute of three ‘hear hears,’ and a round of applause, before giving their undivided attention to their female companions. Couple by couple, they bow to Charity, Hanna and Amanda, thank them for the most divine show and then depart on their business of the day.

Amanda hears the combined chuckle and melodious giggles of her grandmother and Charity from the blushing consternation of the young girl. All of her years of being taught proper decorum, mannerism, diplomacy and all the ‘stuff a proper young lady who will inherit a wonderful shop must know,’ never prepared her for such a display of social interaction…

Hanna casually tosses a robe to Charity, who catches it with a graceful leap upward and has it wrapped it about her body before landing. No matter how many times she sees it in person, Hanna just cannot accept someone as wild and chaos followed as Charity can command such grace and ability.

“Thanks,” Charity said to Hanna, “I’ll take the robe as well as my purchases.”

“Charity you’re good for business whenever you do these little shows. In the next week or two my business will double or triple and I will need to hire another seamstress or two just to keep up….” Hanna stopped talking as she followed Charity’s longing gaze to the ultimate prize of her store: a rare gown made of gossamer silk – said to be the stuff of dreams and butterflies breathe mixed with the first sound of a blossoming flower in spring.

“Gossamer silk,” Charity says as she watches the ever changing weave of colors, patterns and flowing pictures that emerge and fade on the surfaces. At one point, the magic woven into the fabric displays twin sets of great dragons at play, hopping from cloud to cloud so far above the earth.

“Dear girl if you…” Hanna began until Charity’s upheld hand stops her in mid sentence.

“Hanna I’m not even going to ask about the gown. I know there is no way I could afford it even as a Master at the Academy of Arts,” she said, her voice filled with resignation. “It’s not my lot in life to know such wealth or levels of luxury.”

Amanda came over with a tray bearing tea, crackers, cheese and a host of other toppings to snack upon. She loves to hear the endless tales of Charity’s adventures, seeking magic and lost lore, artifacts of immense power and of dangerous monsters from exotic places ‘over the hill next to the rainbow.’ She pesters Charity to no end with question after question, especially about the swirling lights that came near the end of her dance!

“I have to learn how you did that Charity! Please can you teach it to me? Please?” Amanda begged of Charity.

Charity explained to Amanda that some magic can be taught (such as that of magical spells), and some comes more or less naturally (the magic of the mind); the latter mind magic she avoids going into detail about, as few in the region of Stars Rift suspect she has such abilities.

A none-too-subtle warble from nearby reminds them that a second being is present, one who is in all aspects the equal of Charity in magical spells and the magic of the mind…Patches, the small dragon companion of Charity for most of her four centuries of joyfully chaotic life. All three women look to the forgotten tray of snacks and see Patches, whom is slightly longer than a human forearm, finishing off the last of the tea. He turns and waves a casual ‘goodbye’ before fading from view.

Both Amanda and Hanna laugh long and hard at the sight of Charity leaping about, clearing cloths racks and bouncing off display cases in a desperate frenzy to catch her old friend. The two know of Charity’s fondness for cheese, and watch as she stops time and again, to see if her keen hearing can pick out his faint footsteps or wing beats. Threat after dire threat she makes at him, more in jest than of any seriousness, only to redouble in determination and fury when Patches dumps a picture of water not once, but three times over her head.

Admitting defeat, Charity storms back to her chair and sits down upon it hard, propping both of her feet on another and fuming in silent rage. All that she wants is to find a gown for the coming holiday, and then to enjoy Winters Dawning.

“Charity my dear girl,” Hanna says, “you act as angry as the magic supposedly bound in that orb on the shelf. Don’t panic it’s already been checked out long ago by another magician and has been declared ‘harmless as long as you don’t put it in a flame.’ He told me it must be some kind of fireworks powder, though the spirit he summoned to confirm this called the stuff ‘Essence of a demon.’ Go figure?”

“I have never seen you acting this way,” Hanna says to Charity, “a formal gown, frilly lacing and stockings made just so – little hearts and kisses on then as well? Oh and that one garter you wish to have – this is not like you at all.”

Hanna homes in for the kill when Charity’s blush and consternation come in full measure. “Oh ho, so that’s it. Good old shirt and britches not good enough now? Sounds like someone has caught your fancy after all, or more like you have caught his…hmm…could it be Chancellor Storm Dragon, the head of the Academy of the Arts? People say you and him have been spending time together lately…”

“Well,” Charity began, “he has promised to send me some letters to the shop today. It’s the easiest way to find me…I go through so many clothing with the chaos I get swept up in…so Sassa, one of the students I know there is on messenger duty and should be by at any time…”

She paused for a moment as senses keen to the subtlest workings of magic call out to her. Something is calling from within the tempest raging outside. Though who is calling, and to whom, she has no idea as the feeling is just that, a strong instinctive warning.

Charity takes the moment she has to work out a plan to keep Hanna and Amanda off guard and out of her love life. She smiles fondly at all that has been building between her and the Chancellor Storm Dragon over the last few weeks.

It is true that Chancellor Storm Dragon has begun corresponding with her; occasionally he comes to the inn she stays at to share a meal…every time he arrives its in a different guise – once a genii, or a great bird that flew in via the door before transforming into his normal self, dressed as a wealthy prince of a far off kingdom. The time he tried to fly in on a magical rug caused no end of pandemonium when the Inn’s door was destroyed upon discovery that it was too narrow to permit the entry of his flying rug.

He brings her a gift with each meeting – a book of lore or history, of minor magical spells once (fit for a journeyman magician and thus not difficult at all for her), even a half dozen magical wands made by him that pulsated with sleeping power deep in their carved wooden forms. More important, as they talked about small things in each others life, she discovered him not to be a tyrant or the stern ‘instantly blast you to dust’ man of his most fearsome reputation.

He has even arranged for a few very discrete, well mannered, well connected merchants and dealers in magical curios to meet with Charity. In this manner, she has begun to craft magical goodies, simple trinkets really, along with some true items of power – such as wands and magical spells, which have dramatically increased the funds for research and necessities such as shelter and food.

The laughter of Hanna and Amanda indicated that she has been daydreaming again. Charity began with a tale of dreams, hopes and desires mixed and woven about rumors of her and the Chancellor. Thus the truth of her growing desires is deflected and protected for a time from others. The one thing she cannot run from is the fear she will never win his love in the end, that fate will doom her efforts to failure one more time in her long, lonely life.

“Charity my dear girl, a question, or if you will, a business offer,” asked Hanna, her mannerism suddenly becoming very serious.

Charity nodded for Hanna to continue, wondering what forces of chaos and carnage are due to be unleashed. ‘Chaos and carnage’ are all too often the net outcome of any business offers she gets swept up in during her centuries of life.

Drawing her legs up under herself, Charity patiently waited for Hanna to gather her thoughts. From the way her friends looked at Amanda, it did not take Charity long to understand what the ‘business offer’ would be about: the first mating of Amanda with another person. In Stars Rift, this is not an unusual custom, where a guardian or parent arranges such matters ‘as deemed necessary.’ It is also one Charity has participated in more than once, usually to ensure the rent gets paid.

“Amanda has recently reached her eighteenth birthday, and is yet unmated.” As Hanna indicated the young lady she received a look of fiery indignation in response. “Now she happens to be ‘curious’ about women; so I am wondering, as Winters Dawning is nearly at hand and to participate she must be mated, if you would help out.”

Amanda blushed from head to toe as she looked down to the ground, scraping her toes on the floor while her eyes fell upon Charity to see her response. “Uh Miss Charity I…uh, I…uh…oh heck…”

“Yes Hanna, I’ll help Amanda,” Charity answered with a smile.

“Good, and so that we have a deal, name your price Charity, if it’s in my power to give you have it…” her heart skipped a beat when she followed Charity’s gaze over to the gown and vest of gossamer silk. The soft fabric shimmering in the light playing across it captivated all three women for a short time.

“Fair enough, deal for deal.” Hanna clasped Charity’s hand and explained that Amanda’s room is in the back of the building. This drew a stream melodious giggles from Charity as the girl understood that the ‘big event’ is about to happen. Even Hanna had to smile at the blazing blush burning across Amanda’s cheeks.

“Don’t worry Amanda. Charity will take care of everything just enjoy it.” With that Hanna led the two back to Amanda’s room and the waiting bed for the consummation of her coming of age ceremony.

From high above in the shops rafters, Patches warbled softly, telling Hanna by telepathic means: Do not worry, I will not allow anything to happen to the shop while other matters are being dealt with. Any would be thief who comes in will regret it for the short remainder of their miserable and misbegotten lives.

Hanna looks up at Patches on his lofty perch in the rafters, then to Charity who looks back over her shoulder with a grin and a nod about Patches promise. Hanna is convinced that Charity ‘heard’ the telepathic message given to her by Patches.

Sassa grunted under the weight of her latest deliveries, all she wants right now is to be rid of the last parcel and letter contained in her carry bag and relax. She chides herself for such undisciplined thoughts, counting that she is a messenger, runner, student to Headmistress Pele and minor magician as the best of fortune to occur in the eighteen years she has lived.

“Next time,” she whispers to herself, “never, ever, volunteer for more deliveries than anyone else near the holiday of Winters Dawning. I wish I could dump this bag into a dump or some blazing fire of elemental fury…”

Her carrying bag, little more than a harness bag on the outside, is a true creation of magic. It is capable of holding in its depths many, many times what a normal bag could. Though now it is stuffed with over a thousand letters, gifts, greetings and the like for the guests of the Academy’s Masters and Journeymen.

At least, as she approaches her next destination – Hanna’s shop, the great tempest has stopped for a time.

Four blocks to go, then she will be relieved of one more burden: a bundle of letters handed to her by the head of the Academy himself: Chancellor Storm Dragon.

He had given very explicit instructions on where to deliver them and another, verbal message, to her friend and his growing ‘love interest’ Charity the cat-girl. She had to repeat the verbal message over and over until she could repeat the very inflections and tones of Chancellor Storm Dragon down to the minutest of details. Her teacher, Headmistress Pele, nodded with knowing approval at her renditions, indicating one more mysterious test has been passed by Sassa.

What happened next surprised her…

Chancellor Storm Dragon commenced to cast a series of enchantments over her, clearly indicating just how dangerous the job has become for Sassa. And such magic, wards that would absorb fire, acid, lightning, cold and crushing forces of magical spells; one that made her skin as hard as stone, and another that allows the good Chancellor to trace Sassa’s every movement whenever he wishes.

“Sassa,” He cautioned her, “these spells are formidable indeed, yet not impervious; at all costs avoid any spell battles if you can. Use the best weapon you have, your mind, and keep out of trouble.” Sassa felt more than a bit of consternation when, following a large sigh from the Chancellor, he said to no one in particular, “trouble and chaos flow around Charity like water around a rock in mid stream.”

Looking upon Hanna’s dress shop, Sassa finally understood why Charity brings Hanna so much business. It’s not for the newest of fashions or the like; its to replace all the clothing she loses in one mess after another in a life of hectic insanity not of her own devising.

An abrupt caterwaul of booms, blasts, thundering retorts, keening wails and flashes from bolts of white hut lightning dance down the street. As new of a student as Sassa may be, only in her third-year, she is intimately familiar with the sounds of a massive spell-battle being waged ahead of her.

Her keening scream of surprise grows many folds louder as a swarm of green beams of magical energy arc about her. She turns to watch as they pass through a gathered band of paired-up men and women, all of Sassa’s age or slightly older. They are being escorted and taught by an old gentleman who is explaining the needs and ways of proper etiquette and diplomacy around the community at large.

Sassa’s heart skips a beat as another green beam of magical mayhem bypasses her, and strikes the old man dead in the chest.

Instantly the beam reduces his entire attire of clothing to smoking ash, but left him unfazed. The young men laughed at the sight of the older man as he continued to talk and explain the ‘way things are done’ with aplomb of one who is never ‘undignified in matters of etiquette.’

Sassa just shakes her head as many of the young men use their female companions as living shields from the next barrage of green magical beams. Instantly five women, each hit by one beam of magic, are bereft of all their clothing; all five ladies join the older gentleman berating the young men as cowards, idiots, charlatans, and other words that made buckets of water nearby curdle and bubble away in frothing clouds of steam…

Hanna pulled a chair along Amanda’s bed, determined to see the entire event of her coming of age mating carried out. She remembers with some fondness the first time she ever had been touched just so by a woman, the loving caresses and gentle, tender pressing of lips to soft and yielding flesh…

Hanna shuddered and giggled while her cheeks flushed red…and drawing a tittering giggle from Charity who had begun to undo the sash about her robe. With a wink and a coy grin at Amanda, Charity resumed slipping off her robe, allowing the dance of lights and shadows to play across her body in seductive patterns that shifted and played in the flickering light of an oil lantern.

Next to go are her underpants, flung away with a flare and a grin that promises Amanda delights unknown of in her life. And eyes alive with lust filled fires and passions waiting to be explored and unleashed in turn as each woman explores the others limits of wonderment filled bliss…and stared in wonderment at the naked form of her granddaughter.

Sassa dares a quick glance down the street to where the magical forces originate. She beholds two towering grizzly bears roaring, shoving and pounding with paws and heads and bodies; while casting forth magical spell after spell without concern for anyone about them. Blast after shocking, roaring blast of supernatural forces clash and counter clash, until finally one of the bear’s scores home on its opponent…

Roaring in pain and embarrassment, the tagged bear flees with all due haste down the street to the applause of the gathered crowds. Sassa blushes as she realized that she, a messenger from the Academy, who is supposed to be unflappable, has been clapping and cheering with the rest of the crowd!

“Well, it is a one of a kind event,” she said to no one in particular, though all would agree. Many will remark in days to come about the sight of a defeated, “Bare bottomed bear,’ racing away from the region. Less obvious is the gathering tempest high overhead, still and black as clouds build and surge with writhing power, glowing eyes wait and watch, patiently calling to she who is to awaken and unleash their might.

Charity complimented Amanda on having such fine breasts and soft, freckled, neatly tanned skin. Silken brown hair enfolded about Amanda’s face as her aquamarine eyes shifted between Charity and the floor; she had both of her hands on the small of her back, fingers twitching nervously in anticipation of the soon to be passions she will experience.

Amanda keenly observes Charity’s bare body, drinking in her full feminine feline form. Muscles honed to near perfection, the graceful curves of her body and muscled abdomen. Then she did a double take, focusing upon the most distinctive of markings - uncommon even of cat-folks - Charity has on her body.

Honeysuckle-colored tiger-stripes run along her stomach and hip. While a consistent black ink brushed style of “W” sweeps up and about both of Charity’s breasts.

Amanda’s curiosity finally gets the better of her. She reached her hands out to feel those marks, hesitating as Charity gives off a series of soft giggles. With a large gulp, Amanda continued to trace each stripe, following it over the smooth skin of her soon to be mate; muscles twitch and flinch as Charity struggles to stifle another series of giggles that threaten to burst forth.

Slowly, as if moving of their own volition, her fingers work their way up towards Charity’s bosom. Both of the ink-brush-like marks that encompass the freckled mounds of ultimate delight and motherly affection keep Amanda fixated upon them. She has not seen or heard of another sentient being with such markings.

Both of Charity’s nipples stand swollen from the building heat deep in her body, a heat Amanda feels when she places her palm on the middle peak of the “W” pattern. She feels the pulsating of Charity’s heart, the heat that flows and ebbs moment by moment, and the quickening of Charities breathe.

“Amanda, give me your hands,” Charity softly says as she extends her own hands outward.

When Amanda complies, she gasps when Charity places them upon her own breasts, telling Amanda to gently stroke them as if they are her own. The flaming blush surging all over Amanda’s cheeks and body radiates out to encompass Charity, charging her skin and senses with an electrifying tingle; the heady scent of a coming storm fills the air as well, vibrant with the potential of life raw, wild, free and untamed unless one wills it to be so.

“Cat-girls are not all that different from human women Amanda,” Charity tenderly explains, “It’s just that our passions are more honestly displayed and engaged in; so come over to me and we can begin. Don’t worry, not a thing will go wrong.”

The “Bare bottomed bear” battle now over and the victor ordained, Sassa watches one quick witted lass raced across the lane, her bared bottom bouncing in rhythm with her breasts, over to a small gathering of women with cowled robes. Sassa tries to read their lips, and concludes some kind of sale is going on. She smiles when the final terms are made…

In swift order the cowardly young men are trussed up by the strange women to their small wagon filled with an small iron forge heated with glowing coals. The ladies and the older gentleman, all the remaining young men have fled for their lives, watch as the hooded women. Sassa recognizes them from their tattoos on forearms, as members of the famed ‘Sorority for Scorned Sisters Seeking Settlement.”

She shook her head in bemusement at the fate due to these five young men. All five continue their whimpering as each is positioned with his bare fannie high in the air. One of the Sisters calls out to the gathered crowds to see the ‘show of shows concerning why men should fear a woman scorned…”

Five of the Sisters pluck glowing branding irons from among the heated coals, metal furnace red for the coming purpose and reminder to men.

“Which shall it be ladies,” the eldest of the Sisters asks of the women around the older gentleman. “The smiley face or ‘I burned a lady and got tushie torched in turn?”

Swiftly they choose the ‘tushie torch’, and applied with the care of a professional pain giver – a profession once called ‘torturers.’ The ladies decide as one to accompany the older gentleman back to his house and enjoy a few days of absolute hedonism.

Sassa continues on to the dress shop now that the show is over. The Sisters are on their way home with the five now pitifully mewling men who are bound for a life of bliss filled sexual slavery.

The tempest overhead builds ever more in power, becoming a cauldron of pulsating power many sense with unease and trepidation.

An ill omen indeed, with the promise of mayhem beyond compare.

Charity watches with keen interest every flustering flush, every giggling gasp of air, and every heated hesitation done by Amanda as fingers continue to explore the human lasses body. Her sensitive nose picks up the delicate and heady swirling of odors given off by the girl; from the moist and heated exhalations to the sweet remnants of the lilac and jasmine soap she used in her last bath. Even the finest of chocolate éclairs that she loves to have, a secret kept from Hanna, linger about Amanda…

All of it is a serenade for Charity’s mind, while her sensitive hearing picks up the racing of Amanda’s heart, the shifting of one foot to another as a girl soon to be a woman is anxious, hesitant and longing for more wrapped in one. The faint finger strokes and caresses that Amanda does on Charity’s back register as a mouse’s footsteps to an owl in a far off tree.

“Amanda,” Charity looked the girl dead on in the eyes, “I wish to do something else for you, there is an rare magic of the mind that I command. I can use it to bond us together on a mental and emotional level; you will be able to feel and know, in a way, what I feel and experience and I the same with you. It will take away most of the nervousness you are experiencing right now and allow you to know more easily how I prefer to be touched and pleased…it’s up to you.”

“ABSOLUTELY Charity, lets do that.” Amanda cried out in wild delight.

Hanna’s gasped loud and clear as Amanda accepts Charity’s offer. She just shakes her head at the gift Charity is willing to share with the girl, to be intimate on such a level, of mind and body, sharing and partaking in the ultimate levels of sensual bliss beyond measure!

Placing one hand to Amanda’s forehead, Charity gently focuses her will and merges her thoughts and mind with the flowing, churning, wild patterns and surges of Amanda. She chuckles at the feelings of heated lust and trepidation, of desire and denial, of fear and fortune at play within the young girl.

“Amanda, do you hear me?” Charity asked through the telepathic link.

Amanda’s reply of ‘yes’ roared loud and clear into Charity’s skull with such force she cringed, scrunching eyes shut while teeth clenched; her feline ears flares backward instantly.

“Okay,” Charity stated, “first lesson with talking this way. Don’t think of what you are going to say, as you do when normally speaking. Just let your mind flow naturally, emotions and logic speak their own language this way. Most of what you will feel is different than when I do this for a man.”

“Now then,” Charity continued, “time will flow differently for us on the mental level; you will feel the physical pleasures of your body and the emotional surges as patterns and concepts only pure thought can convey; call it a form of soul touching soul. Let me guide you…”

Amanda’s eyes flared wide open as the horizons of her mind suddenly opened unto new vistas. For the first time she feels and senses the world from Charity’s view: scents of a thousand kinds swirl and mix in a mixture that is life being lived, sounds of all kinds – many beyond the ken of human hearing – flow and shift as Charity’s ears flick one way and another instinctively to classify each one. She feels the beating of her heart, the fiery flowing of her blood as passions build higher and higher in the anticipation of sexual bliss to come.

From top to bottom of Charity’s physical being, she senses the truth of the iron discipline and strength within her; complete and whole, and yet one who is wild and unbound, yielding to control as she determines, a spirit that will not be tamed save by her own choice.

She knows instinctively Charity perceives Amanda’s world in all the five senses, plus that of her thoughts in a flare of lights and colors, blazing passions and cold, crisp logic all merging into a heady cornucopia of wonder and universes waiting to be explored, each changing and altering and becoming second by second that passes.

Amanda also feels the gathering tingle of electrifying bliss, as one does before a storm of epic proportions due to unleash all in a instant of mayhem and chaos. Strangely it calls to her, pleading and begging to commune with her and her with it…yet unable to do so yet, as she has not ‘awakened.’

Amanda shakes that thought of ‘awakened’ out of her mind, and tries to focus on being with Charity. Her emotions gradually become more focused under the steady mental hands of Charity, who guides her in keeping a steady focus on the here and now.

“Amanda, which do you want to do first: me doing your womanhood or you tasting me?” Charity asks and feels a surge of power flowing in and out of Amanda, something she has only experienced a few times in the past but cannot place it just now. She just assumes it’s the last bits of nervousness before her first mating of woman with woman: perfectly understandable.

Then something bursts through with strength so wild and raw, blazing hot passions of a hundred stars being birthed at once in the universe that is searing to her soul and mind. Power and potential beyond anything she has seen before echoes into Charity’s mind through the mental bond with Amanda; she hears a calling from up above, a hundred voices of a thousand thunders and a million soft winds imploring for the girl to ‘awaken.’

Charity is so caught up in these blazing sensations that she is startled when the first awkward, gentle and tender flicker of Amanda’s tongue flows over the outer depths of her womanhood. She feels Amanda reveling in the new sensations of womanly flesh, the delightful textures and scents and tastes; each one surges from the girl as a glistening river of dancing lights and swirling clouds, growing more and more as she finds each tender spot to pleasure under Charity’s guidance.

A flicker here, a touch there, swirling and touching, kissing and tasting spot by spot by Amanda’s ministrations causes Charity’s eyes to all but cross over and her lips to pucker so bad as the fiercest of passions wrack her body in torrential cascades of delight. Holding her hands on Amanda’s shoulders for stability, and even as the girl shifts slightly to compensate while on her knees, the raging inferno of ecstatic bliss ravages each and every fiber of Charity’s body from head to toe and back again.

The two women share a universe that shifts from moment to moment; a limitless display of diamonds ablaze with a million universes dancing with life and love, a million millions suns igniting and calling to the heavens in lust bearing form and thought. The raw power of the storm sweeps in, flowing and ebbing as vast clouds that tower to the heavens and bear terrible wrath; and the gentle rain that sweeps the spring meadows high in the mountains are shared between them.

Her breath quickens to near red hot as her body blazes like a thousand forges within a iron foundry; muscles tense and flex, her back flexing forward as Charity feels Amanda’s hands secure holds along her lower back, the fingertips stroking spots just so here and there and especially THERE in such a way the flaming tempest then doubles, triples and quadruples into her mind.

Charity feels the delight and awe and wonder of Amanda as Charity’s pleasures of the flesh flow into the girls mind. Echoes of white hot bliss and crying delight reach from soul to soul, joining with the hundred voices of a thousand thunders from close by – voices that cry for the one to ‘awaken’ and ‘call to us so we may answer.’

She bites hard on her lips as a final, all encompassing burst of ultimate pleasure surges from the deepest wells of her being: one that redoubles a thousand times over, like the birth of a million millions of suns born in a cosmic orgy of incandescent birth pronounced to the universe at large…

Only for Charity the birth is a massive, long, loud and all encompassing wild shriek of delight that cannot be denied or contained. Having hit her release, its all Charity can do to keep standing as she gathers a grinning Amanda in her arms for giving her the wildest climax in some time.

She hears the peal of a hundred voices of a thousand thunders declare ‘awaken’ to another nearby, and to Charity ‘you are not her who must call when awakened.’ She understands then and there just what sleeping power is in Amanda, and wonders what chaos is about to come when the girl does ‘awaken’ and ‘calls to the tempest’?

Sassa ignored the bellowing, booming, blazing storm now gathering in might and ferocity over the community, determined to finish the day’s duties. Lightning flashes one upon another as the awesome booming nearly flattens her out. Steadying her body, skirt flowing in the wind, she enacts a simple spell to ward off the impending rain and wind as she reaches for the door handle of Hanna’s dress shop.

“Hopefully Charity….ahem…Miss Charity…,” Sassa corrected herself, uncomfortable about having to call her new and most unusual friend “Miss.” She and Charity have hit it off fairly well so far, despite the concentrated efforts of the ‘other’ students – i.e. “MALE” students – to harass Charity for being a cat-girl. One of them went so far as to ask if she wanted some milk and catnip and going ‘nice kitty cat’ while patting her on the head in a mocking tone…

Even the memory of the sheer fury radiating from Charity’s sapphire-emerald eyes causes Sassa to shake and shutter. All twenty of the offending men then were summarily teleported by Charity to the highest region of the polar ice pack. Over the next hour, they were rescued by a kind Master and his Journeymen by teleporting them home one by one…the sight of their ice coated tushie’s and manhood’s drawing tittering laughs from so many ladies.

Headmistress Pele found the ‘revenge’ to be quite justifiable in light of what had been done to Charity. So in due process, Charity has gained the support of many Academy female students, and the fear and forced respect of the male students…

Though the latter may also be due to the decree of Chancellor Storm Dragon declaring that ‘Anyone who dares to harm or harass Charity after this deals with me!” One Master of the Academy, Fox Glove by name, dared to disagree with the good Chancellor for a few moments…

Only to be summarily turned into a wild eyed weasel (or was it a ferret? She can never tell them apart,) which ran off screaming in utter terror from the experience. Needless to say there were no more dissenters to his standing order.

“Hopefully ‘Miss Charity’ will like the surprise in store…” she declares practicing the proper courtly inflection and connotation of the title as directed by Headmistress Pele. Passing across the now open threshold, she does not know a date with destiny is about to occur.

Hanna’s grin widened as she observes Charity whisper something into Amanda’s ears. Whatever has been said has an immediate effect on the girl, as Amanda giggled and gave a grin filled nod of her head as hands swept up both of Charity’s into their grasp. In turn, the girl placed Charity’s hands on her large breasts, bashfully gazing in the cat-girls eyes when she feels the first gentle caresses and teasing strokes on nipples engorged and longing to be pleasured.

Three great shudders wrack Amanda’s body when Charity’s lips and tongue gently probe and pleasure each one in turn, back and forth for many minutes as the girls body all but blazes with sensuality induced heat akin to the howling flames of a stars surface: arching and blasting, collapsing and reborn time after time after time.

Hanna sees Charity coy look as she gazes into Amanda’s aquamarine eyes, and nods at the feathered bed; when both are upon it, Charity quietly directs her to “lie down and enjoy the fun.” Amanda looks at alarmingly at her grandmother who nods in support, wondering at the feelings and passions being shared by the two women on the bed.

Amanda giggled in her nervousness as the moment has finally arrived for her first mating. She feels via their linked minds the raw flaming lust within Charity, primal and hotter than any human woman is capable of on her own. Those cat-girl eyes glow in a universe filled with life burning stars carrying back to horizons beyond any comprehension.

She feel’s her body heat surge from unknown wellsprings: a sudden tingling, pulsating, electrifying thrill that echoed out across the region as if calling, beckoning, beseeching another to come and see what is about to happen. Her mind forges into two different states of consciousness, one of her mortal body that is linked with Charity, and another that sails on spiritual winds unto the tempest above that blaze with life and elemental forces pawing about with relentless frenzy begging to be released.

Closing her eyes, hands over her face, Amanda giggles and squeals as Charity parts her legs, lifts her bottom up a bit with both of her hands and ever so gently puffs hot air upon each innermost thigh, drawing ever closer to the center of pleasure all women are endowed with. In their shared link Charity’s soul and passions blaze beyond white hot, encompassing the portion of Amanda’s consciousness still linked to her physical body; the two souls dance and swirl, entwining and becoming one as for the first time in her life, the flesh of Amanda’s womanhood parts for another.

In a single beating of a heart, Amanda’s universe implodes and is reborn a hundred times over; blazing cold and freezing heat, pressures grand and soft as a feather pound and pleasure her consciousness mind and quicken her already flared soul to dimensions beyond belief. These wave of life being lived surges up the pathway unto her other consciousness deep among the brewing cauldron of the tempest far overhead.

One hundred sets of golden eyes appear about her, bowing in respect and acknowledging her as ‘she who has awakened to call the storm.’ Instinctively Amanda understands that she has the power to call and direct them at anything she wills, any target or building, for they are sentient beings of living energy akin to the lightning but more than that.

“Living lightning” she asks of them, “is that what you are?”

“Mistress we are in a way the living force of the tempest,” declared one hundred voices of a thousand thunders, “that which is the gentlest rain and softest of breeze; and the fiercest force of devastation. We are all and more, but wait for your call and guidance. You have now awakened, and we are yours to do with as commanded.”

As the pleasures of her body mount, as flesh has yielded to the ministrations of Charity’s fingers and tongue and lips, Amanda feels the shattering climax approach as a crushing force that cannot be contained. Her divided consciousnesses merge once again; flesh and the tempest revealed in one communion that also abruptly cuts the shared link between her and Charity…

The ultimate howling, keening winds in the darkened mass of thunder clouds enfold and encompass Amanda in their primal magic that is a dance in of its own right. She learns how to cast the call of summoning, how to guide them by her own will, and that she can fly along with them in spirit and mind to direct and command and to see and observe.

Amanda’s delight at having magic of her own at long last surges as her body begins to dance and throb in the throws of her shattering climax; between beatings of her mortal heart, she feels the raw wind and keen shocking power of the lightning that sets her eyes ablaze with power beyond the ken of most beings.

Her roar of first bliss is all encompassing and loud, carrying across the community of Stars Rift.

Quick as thought Amanda communes with the living lightning; scores of past wrongs to her, Grandmother Hanna and so many more that need to be redressed. “So it is to be Mistress, but first return in full to your body that has awakened; danger is at hand and you must survive.”

From his watchful perch high in the shop’s rafters Patches shifts his coloration to match that of his background, having sensed the magician who paused to cast a spell just outside the shop before entering. He also senses the gathering storm, called by magic to do battle with the enemies of the spells caster…

His preternaturally keen hearing picks up the expression of ‘enjoyable surprise’ for Charity and thus comes to one conclusion: some unknown enemy has once again sent an assassin after his friend Charity. Keen eyes watch the door handle turn, soon accompanied by the soft squeal of hinges desperately needing to be oiled. Shifting his position among the rafters to just over the intruder, Patches summons forth the weave of magic for a spell of deadly force, the purest of elemental fires found in the heart of a forge or a sun…

Slowly the fiery force builds; shadows and light flickering across the shining scales of the little dragon. An orb of pure hellish pressure and tempest of heat, pulsating, primordial and demanding to be released upon a foe to rend and burn and consume in the ultimate incineration of mortal flesh…

Seasoned in countless scores of spell combat, Patches knows the first strike has to count, for he senses each of the magical wards protecting the human lady below; wards of power that will not be easily pierced. His eyes glow with hellish forces akin to the gathered death in his claws, watching as the magician lifts a set of papers out of her belt pouch – a prepared spell to be cast for maximum effect and carnage inflicted…

She mouths the first words to enable her to open the scroll…

Patches strikes, unleashing the hellish filled orb…

Amanda sits up as the bed, and the entire room is engulfed in a shaking, bone rattling wave of heat and deafening sound. The raw smell of cindered cloths and wood, and the reeking stench of brimstone merge into a choking cloud that billows into the bedroom.

“Danger is at h