Wizards of Winds and Waves, chapter 39
Caution: There’s some material in this chapter that had to remain in order for the plot to make sense, but it may offend some tastes. Normally, I can redact “adult content” with the result of weakening but not destroying the storyline; I couldn’t do so here. While the content is relatively mild, if you’re squeamish about such matters, you might wish to skip this chapter.
Wizards of Winds and Waves
Betsy came into the restroom. “Hurry,” she said. “Dad’s in a warehouse by the river, he doesn’t know exactly where, but with you along we should be able to recognize the place.” She led me out of the Metro station to where Alois sat behind the wheel of his Renault, and we got in, me in the front passenger seat and Betsy in the back.
Stephane applied the cattle prod to Pierre’s other foot. “Who are your contacts?” he asked. Pierre remained silent. “Time to get more creative,” Stephane said, putting away the cattle prod. “Let’s work on your mind, shall we?” He placed a hand on Pierre’s forehead, and suddenly Pierre felt crushing, heavy pain, as if his head were being squeezed in a giant vise. His vision went dark, and an intense ringing rose in his ears. After what seemed to be hours of agony, but which I was sure only lasted a few minutes, the pain subsided. As Pierre’s vision and hearing cleared, Stephane said, “Now, that’s only a little bit of what I can do. You’d do best to answer me.”
Pierre remained silent. Alois, Betsy, and I arrived in the warehouse district, and we began to drive around, looking for the warehouse that Pierre had seen the back of. I reached out with a finding spell to see if I could get a clue what direction to look, but I couldn’t detect Pierre; the Others’ torture gym was doubtless well shielded. “I got word out to Runyon and the other sailing wizards,” Alois said as he drove. “They’re gathering to pool strengths for whatever you need to do.”
“Thanks,” I said, unsure how I might make use of the group’s strengths, but sure they would be needed.
Stephane applied more pain to Pierre’s brain, even more intensively than the first time. It came as a relief when Pierre passed out – both a relief and an additional worry, because with Pierre unconscious, I was no longer in touch with him, so I couldn’t know what was happening to him.
At last, we found what appeared to be the right warehouse; at least, it all looked like what I could remember of what Pierre had seen, and there was a car parked nearby that looked like Mildred’s. “Once I get inside this door, I should be able to do something,” I said. “Let’s start by breaking the protections on this door.” I reached out my hand toward the door, not quite touching it, and felt its magic field. It was strong, but it was also a fairly ordinary seal; with extra strength from other wizards, it would be very easy to crack. “You two, hide in the shadows beside that trash bin,” I said. “I’m going to try to take Stephane by surprise; once I have him neutralized, the other two with him are not magic, so they shouldn’t be as much of a problem. I’ll give Betsy a signal when it’s time.”
Pierre was gradually beginning to regain consciousness; his vision and hearing were still out, but the pain in his body was coming back, as well as the smell and taste of his own blood in his nose and mouth. “Don’t worry, honey, I’m coming,” I said. He twitched a bit of a smile in response.
I sent magic feelers to the core of the spell on the door and then gave it a quick blast of magic to shatter it, instantly bursting into the door. Stephane, startled, turned toward me, a hand raised to hurl a spell at me, but I was ready with my own hand up and turned that spell back at him. He doubled over, holding his head in agony; he had been using that pain spell on Pierre, so that was what was convenient to try to use against me. I moved toward him, casting an immobilizing spell.
That backfired. Stephane was ready and reflected my spell back upon me, freezing me. Quickly, he pulled some nylon straps from the drawer in the massage table and bound my wrists and ankles. “Ah, so your daughter has come to rescue you,” Stephane said, and I realized that I was still in disguise as Betsy, in the clothes I had worn to the meeting. “Let us see if we can use her to get you to talk.” He strapped me to a vertical panel of the weight machine and began to unbutton my blouse. Pierre’s vision was coming back, but it was still blurry. Through the ringing in his ears he was only catching part of what Stephane said.
From the moment I had burst into the room, Peter and Mildred had stood frozen, unable to make sense of what was happening. I knew that Mildred knew about the magic, but I didn’t think Peter did, so much of the action that he had just seen would mean nothing. Stephane now turned to him. “Peter, my boy, now there’s a favor I want to ask of you, and I think you’ll like it,” he said. “I know that you have been wanting this girl since you first saw her, and now she can be yours.” He took Peter’s hand and pulled him toward me, slipping the hand inside my bra to rest on my breast, where it sat, inert, clammy, trembling a little. “Just take her, right here, right now.” He drew Peter’s other hand around to rest against the small of my back and pressed Peter against me.
What a devious trick Stephane thought he was pulling. If he could get Peter to rape Betsy, that would destroy her power and his mind, getting rid of a powerful adversary and a dangerous witness. He didn’t know that he was dealing with a woman whose powers had been secured.
Peter stood frozen, as if he were the one under the immobility spell. The look on his face was of confusion and a bit of fear; his skin was pale, and his eyes were wide. “Go ahead,” Stephane said, starting to unfasten my jeans. “You want her. I know you do.”
Pierre was now alert enough to know what was going on, and he was clearly as upset at the idea of his wife being attacked as his daughter. “No!” he yelled; the echoes of that sound revived the ache in his head from Stephane’s torture. “Don’t touch her!”
Peter bolted, dashing out the door. I sent an alert to Betsy, but it was probably too late; Peter had turned in the direction away from where she and Alois were hiding.
Stephane turned toward Mildred. “We shall have to deal with young Peter later,” he said. “But we did manage to get a bit of a rise out of our guest of honor, didn’t we? Daddy seems very fond of his little girl …”
My paralysis was wearing off, and my concentration was returning. The nylon straps that bound me had protective magic, but I was quickly able to unravel the spell and begin unraveling the straps themselves, on their undersides where Stephane wouldn’t be able to see. I wished I could also do the same for Pierre, but the clamps around his wrists and ankles were fully visible, so I couldn’t take that risk.
Stephane approached me and began to run his hands up and down my body, standing at an angle so Pierre could see everything he did. He reached behind me and unhooked my bra, then began fondling my breasts. Pierre’s breath was rapid, and the pain in his head wouldn’t go away. “No, please, no,” he moaned. Stephane laced the fingers of one hand through the hair on the back of my head, seemingly to caress it, and then he suddenly pulled my face to his in a kiss so fierce my lips were bruised; I felt the lower lip split. “No!” Pierre shouted again.
Stephane slid his hand down the front of my jeans, his fingers probing, seeking and then finding the spot that triggered a physical reaction, against my will, a pulse of arousal in my lower body. “Ah, so the little girl is really a woman, ripe for the picking. It’s a pity I can’t be the one to do that …” His fingers continued to move, stroking me and then gently sliding into the opening, triggering more waves of arousal.
“No,” Pierre said. “No. Stop!” Stephane would have no idea how much he was really tormenting him, with Pierre able to feel all the sensations of my body.
Stephane’s long, slender fingers were now inside, probing deep into me, triggering another spasm, and his eyebrows raised in surprise. “Well, well, this is my lucky day,” he said. “Someone’s already been here before, so I don’t need to worry about repercussions now, do I?” He slid my jeans down, and he pressed his groin against mine, so I could feel the swelling hardness as he began to unfasten his pants.
“Nooooo!” Pierre screamed.
My bonds were free; in a sudden, swift motion, I stepped forward from the torture machine, spun Stephane around, and pulled the nylon strap that had bound my wrists across the front of his throat, pulling it tight until he lost consciousness, then dropping him on the floor. I turned toward Mildred, but before I could even take a step, she had dashed out of the door. I knew Betsy had already outrun her once that night; she ought to be able to catch her this time. Then I went over to Pierre and unbound him from the table, helping him to sit up against me, touching his injured face and shoulder. I couldn’t concentrate on the complex rearranging that actual healing involved, but I could provide some pain relief. Not that I needed to; he passed out in my arms.
Alois drove Pierre and me to our flat in his Renault; Betsy had captured and tied up Mildred, and she took Mildred and Stephane – who was alive, but barely – in Mildred’s car to the Paris wizards’ meeting place. With Alois’ help, I carried Pierre up the stairs and put him in the bed; Elaine was already waiting there with Louis, a wizard who in his non-magical capacity was a doctor.
Together, Louis and I worked on Pierre’s injuries. Louis pulled the dislocated shoulder back into its socket, and I began the process of encouraging the torn muscles and tendons to knit themselves together again; I was too spent to do more, and even at my full strength, I wouldn’t have been able to complete the full healing, just speed it up more. Pierre’s nose was also broken and a couple of teeth loose; I wanted to save some energy for those as well.
Pierre regained consciousness while I was working on the shoulder. “Sarah,” he said.
“Shhh,” I said. “I’m here, and I’m all right, and you’re all right, or you will be soon. Let me work on healing this shoulder now, and then I’ll do your face.”
Pierre smiled. “I love your touch any time,” he said. “But this … this is so much more.”
“I’ve never seen actually magic healing before,” Louis said. “I didn’t believe it was possible.”
“Oh, it’s possible,” Pierre said. “With Sarah, anything’s possible.”
The next thing I knew, I woke up in the bed beside Pierre; his injured arm was in a sling, and his good arm around me. Late-afternoon sun was streaming in the windows. Betsy poked her head in the bedroom door. “How are you two doing?” she asked.
“I’ve been better,” Pierre said. “But I’ve also been worse.”
“Actually,” I said, “we’re starving.”
“I can believe that,” Betsy said. “You’ve been out for a day and a half.” She left for the kitchen.
I looked at Pierre. His large nose now had a slight bend in it, and he had two black eyes; his lower lip was split, and there was dried blood on his face from that and from where his nose had bled when it was broken.
“Man, I do look a sight,” Pierre said.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “You’ll always be good-looking to me.” I stroked his nose with my finger, healing as I went, and kissed him to heal the split lip.
Pierre chuckled. “When I was little, my mother used to always say, ‘Let me kiss it to make it better,’” he said. “You can actually do that.” He pulled me toward him.
“I just wish I could make it all better,” I said.
“Oh, what you can do is more than enough.”
Betsy came back into the room, followed by Elaine, with her baby in a cloth sling across her body. Both carried trays of food. “Breakfast in bed for both of you,” Betsy said, “provided we can pry you two apart to make room for these trays.”
On each tray was a large bowl of French onion soup, prepared the traditional way, with a slab of crusty bread on top, and on top of that, melted Swiss cheese. Pierre and I quickly devoured the savory, salty soup, but we were still ravenous. Betsy and Elaine came in as we were finishing, carrying more food. “Louis told us you would need a lot of sleep, and then a lot of food,” Betsy said, as she and Elaine replaced the soup bowls with large salads.
“So we’re getting a five-course dinner in bed?” Pierre asked.
“Just what the doctor ordered,” Betsy replied, laughing.
We proceeded through the remaining courses of the meal far more rapidly than a five-course dinner had probably ever been eaten before; by the time we finished the dessert, Pierre and I were feeling much better.
“Well, I suppose we need to get back to the business at hand,” Pierre said. “What’s being done with Mildred and Stephane?”
“There’s a meeting tonight to decide just that,” Betsy said. “As soon as you two are up and about, we can go.”