Mine to Possess (Quest)
Part 61 of Quest
& Part 12 of Istan’s Solo Quest: Chasing the Cross
(Previously in Quest —
A dream god kidnapped Istan’s consciousness and asked him to track down the Nightmares. Meanwhile, the Nightmares hijacked Istan’s body and started feeding off his companions. Istan agreed to corral the Nightmares but the dream god had trouble returning his consciousness to his body until Daenara, a dream goddess, lent a hand. Then she showed up inside his mind after coopting the likeness of his ex-wife Irene.)
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“What do you want?” Istan demanded of the blue-eyed goddess.
“To help you of course.”
“For a price?”
Her chin came up; her face closed down. Defensive about her price? What the hell did she want?
“Nothing is free.”
Ain’t that the truth. One that had come back to bite him often enough.
“What do you want?”
“To help, I told you that already. But not in here.” Her luminous eyes flicked left and right towards the frozen spires of his mind. His lips twisted in disgust. Every mind had a landscape. Hers was probably a balmy beach like her mother’s realm.
“I can’t help you in here. It’s taking all my power just to manifest for his tete-a-tete. I can only do that because your mind is under their influence and our power derives from the same source.”
Daenara paused her rant and her lips compressed into a white line from strain. She took a couple deep breaths and her appearance flickered between her true form and the memory of Irene, which she had used as an anchor. That too rankled. Bad enough that Irene had popped into his life recently after a two century separation. But to have her memory corrupted by on of the Dreamer’s harlots…
He ought to throw her out of his mind right now and damn the consequences. Time and disbelief had shattered the old pantheons anyway. So disrespecting a goddess of a different court wouldn’t jeopardize any alliances. There hadn’t been a war of the gods in a very long time and none would be forthcoming either.
“Do they know you’re here?” By “they” Istan meant the Nightmares.
She shook her head. “No, I’m god-born and they’re…not. They’re something else.”
“Why do you want to help me?” She was from the Dreamer’s Court and that self-serving lot helped no one. Unless…she had some part in the Nightmares’ escape. He glared at her. “You released them.”
“I was coerced.”
“You’re still responsible for their actions.”
Her eyes, sapphire hard,
glittered with hate at the truth–
they proclaimed her guilt.
Her eyes hardened to sapphires that glittered with hate at the mere suggestion that she, a goddess, should be responsible for anything. Suck it up bitch, we’re all responsible for something–but instead of saying that aloud, he tempered his gut reaction to her arrogance. Better he not offend her yet. A dozen Nightmares against one mind was bad odds and he was god enough to admit that. Still, he couldn’t let such a remark stand unchallenged.
Istan shook her. “You are responsible and the minute I get control of my body back I will make you take responsibility for this mess.”
“They haven’t done any permanent harm. Your friend freed me from coercion and fixed things.” She tried to shrug off his grip but this was his mind and he was the master of it, not her and not some half horse, half divine Nightmare thing–not yet anyway. Right now those interlopers were co-habitating in his mind, not controlling it.
He held tight to her and burrowed through the connection she had forged, drilling into her mind. He saw the Undeem woman, Undreal, fight the Nightmares. She was all whirling shadow and burning desire to save her friends. He watched Undreal catch this pitiful excuse for a goddess with a whip she extruded from her body and forced the goddess to undo what the Nightmares had wrought. Clever girl–but she’d have to be to win her freedom from the Undeem Queen.
He looked for while longer, searching for accounts of his recent acquaintances–Henneth, Chero, Anasril and that baby. They all seemed to be well enough the last time this one had seen them. That had to do for now. He had his own quest.
Before he withdrew the probe, he caught a flash of his more recent companions--the Painted man Zallev and the Hierophant–writhing in agony on the ground. Daenara tried to shunt her mind away from them, a sure sign of guilt.
Anger gripped the reins
whipped him into a frenzy
He charged at her mind.
Her mind lay unprotected; its landscape was not a frozen city like his had been but a moonlit beach. He stalked right in and made himself at home. Paltry defenses rose in a spray of foam but he smashed through them and possessed her mind. Sinking his mental fingers deep into that roiling sea, he yanked her consciousness out of the water that hid it and tossed her, like refuse, on the sand. That left him in the pilot’s seat.
Through her eyes he saw the plains, where her physical body stood, blue-tinted thanks to her blue-on-blue eyes. Blinking didn’t adjust the color scheme. She struggled against his possession but his will clamped down on her like an iron cage, relentless, with neither lock nor door, just a cylinder of iron will roofed by more of it. Seamless and all of a piece, it had no welds to exploit and no way out unless he created one.
His iron will dropped
a cage with no lock or door–
captured a goddess.
She sprawled there, imprisoned, eyes wide, mouth a perfect ‘O’ of horror. “It’s not possible,” she said, her voice a mere whisper in her mind. “It’s forbidden…”
“Yes it is.”
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Istan’s Quest continues in Friend Nightmare on 5/14.
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