|In an instant she was back in her own mind. She began to move in the direction that would lead her out of here which her senses were telling her she must do. After a glimpse of the city below the corridor was monotonous indeed. Nothing but the odd nearly-spent torch along the walls. Nothing even the mind of a rat(and she hated their ravenous, narrow thoughts) to feel. Her powers of precognition had previously been strong but she had studied to 'tune them down' and now could access there full potential only through a ritual of meditation and movement that took a few hours at least. She had had her own reasons for this. But even with that a a ring of precog always seemed to surround her like an early warning system in the shape of an immaterial orb. She could tell now she was approaching someone with whom she would have at leats a meaningful interaction. Friend or foe she was not sure yet.
She ran further through a maze of twisting corridors. For every one she ran through six or seven more alternatives presented themselves. Only someone with a detailed map or her abilities could navigate them. An ordinary soul could possibly wander for days here retracing a circular paths without moving a few score feet from their original path until the time they died. She had the sense that a long time ago people had died here. Coming to another branch of seven she took the one in the middle and there he was. He'd been waiting for her. He had that look in his eyes. She had no idea who he was.
A wise, gentle looking man with long flowing locks and a tight goatee. His hair was a deep red with streaks of grey. His eyes were grey-green. The deeper lines on his face(for there were a few) spoke of a profound, thoughtful soul with a gentle humour. That face now looked worn and worried. His robes seemed almost like a thing alive. Colours swirled and whirled slowly on it in time with his movements. Now orange and auburn, now red and crimson so natural and smooth the flow that it was almost imperceptible. His long, wide sleeved coat went to his ankles. It was a dark colour either blue or green or both, one could not tell. He spoke and the language was utterly alien to her ears. But she had other ways of understanding and did so immediately. Again the sensation that time was of the essence. She only wished she knew why.
Hi, Im Ann!
So you've come, oh thank the Gods he said. I thought I had failed. When I cast the spell and you did not appear I thought that the bonds cast about me were more devilishly clever than I knew. But where were you my dear? Why you've just come running around the corner. You should have appeared right in front of me.
I appeared down the corridors Ann replied. She could speak now and make him understand. About a half a kilometre in that direction, she pointed. She knew she was sweating now from all that running. Whoever this man was she could tell that he ws the key to getting her out of here, and hed better be she thought, since its him that brought me here.
So, somehow the arch-Mage can twist a spell of mine to throw it off track at least, even if he cannot stop it fully working. I had no idea. Or perhaps it is the walls of this prison underground that did it. For the place is steeped in evil of before-years. Whichever, woman I am amazed that you managed to find me, even with a power such as yours one could be lost in those tunnels for a lifetime. Nevertheless you are here and now you can help me to escape from here.
|Ann Witham ran quickly down the dark corridor. The only vestiges of light here came from the dying embers of coals in torches on the dank walls. Dressed lightly in a thin cotton suit she felt the cold. Where was this place?...she didn't know. But she had enough psychic ability to cast her mind around the rooms abutting this corridor to know that she was not alone. How had she gotten here?...this she was unsure of also. Only seconds ago she had been walking through the front door of her own house for a night on the town. With one step she had gone from walking on plush carpet to this hard cobblestone floor. Running now, out of fear and the hope that it would lead her somewhere. To a way home.
Ignorant, simple minds she sensed around her. Though enough like hers for her to reach into them now and see that they were thinking of?stopping, holding back, keeping fenced in. Thinking also of alcohol that they could have soon when they were finished here. Guards. That's what they were. So were they meant to keep her out or keep her in? Perhaps they were not so simple but thinking simple thoughts?.'march back, march forth, keep an eye out'. There minds were dulled with waiting for an occurrence which was unlikely if ever to happen.
Stop running, stop running you stupid woman'. Really after all this time as a psychic and she still let her animal instincts rule her reactions. How silly and wasteful to run when she had a mind that could travels miles in the blink of an eye. She stood still and took long, slow breaths. She noticed the stale smell on the air only briefly and her minds eye travelled further and further a field. She raced up through layers of wall and rooms out on to the streets above (so she was underground). This was no glitzy beachside city she was in now. A series of hills framed the buildings around her. Behind them was a layer of mountains which appeared to be densely forested. All was dark and poorly seen however. It was obviously night here as it had been when she'd left (which was only a few minutes ago). If it was by chance the same time then it would be just after eight o clock here as well.
She scanned about her for a suitable mind to enter. Otherwise her time here would be limited as without a host she would be forced to return to her own body soon or be vulnerable there. Thinking differently now she saw not the people and the physical reality in which they walked but the kind of minds they had. Ah, yes, this one was a dreamer. They were the best kind, being both more receptive to being entered and suffered no side effects from it. Whoosh she was in. She looked around now through new eyes. It was like nothing she had ever seen before
|Pleasingly wide but winding cobble stone streets moved off in every direction. The footpaths on either side were almost wonderously colourful. They would have looked almost psychedelic in daytime but with a rich, deep tone. Strong crimsons, emerald and purple tones. The exact patterns were difficult to make out now in the night for it seemed they were designed to show lines of the brightest colours. Of course! To mark path from road and protect the pedestrians. Along them ran the walls of the areas buildings, most of them graceful curves but some rectangular buildings also. She gleaned from her hosts mind that it was indeed a city it was in. Large dark blocks of a stone type unknown to her formed the walls. It was a very dark brownish black stone indeed but the walls were happily lightened by inlays of a similar type to the footpaths which also gleamed in the night. She wondered at the character of a people who favoured such deep, startling colours for their buildings. Along the walls were also torches of the types she had seen in the corridor though beside her was a doorway. From the sounds and the smeels she could tell she was standing outside a bar. Well she'd wanted a night out hadn't she. Also lights seemed to burn from behind the stained glass windows set periodically along the walls of warm yellows and honeys and gold and royal blue. So there was no electric lighting in this city then. Why was that? She wished she could explore further but a strong sense of urgency (probably formulated by one of her many psychic abilities) was warning her that she must leave that corridor she had arrived in and that she urgently needed to be elsewhere (so it wasn't just some animal instinct that had made her run like that). She could that no time could be wasted.
She knew what to do. Though it was a talent she rarely used perlatamayem (from the French 'per le autre le-meme'?literally 'through the other the self') was one she had a marvellous control of. It meant that through the one she was now hosted in she could scan far and wide for her own body where the most of her psyche rested. It imparted a knowledge to her of where her body was located in relation to this one and not only that it plotted in her mind a course from one point to the other. The series of images formed in her mind and each time she could seize on one point in that view and blow it up to size and then repeat with that view. So she could visualise the castle where she was held. ( A castle, my God, was she in Europe?). The pick one segment of that. Focus in, pick a window and focus in again. Focus on that and look into the room inside. Then down three levels and into the corridor?and there she was!
|You should find a link to another story just about.....here.|
|ANOTHER ANN WITHAM TALE.....|
|p.s....this drawing is from a site called elf-town but i've included it until I can get a piece of my own up as the colours are very much as in the city that Ann finds herself in.
Though not any way as ...Elvish looking.
|Come then, Ann said tenderly and held out her hand to him. She could trust him, she sensed that, lets get out of here. I can help us find a pathway out.
But Ann as I told you I am in bonds. That is why I brought you here. I need your help to free myself. While he spoke Ann could feel the sense of desperation building rapidly in her. Fear also. Something was coming for them. It meant them nothing but pain and hurt . And it was powerful too. Its presence neared every second, and with it was felt like tens of tiny psychic voices.
What bonds? I don't see any chain or rope holding you to that wall. There3 are no prison bars around you , c'mon, lets go.
Open your eyes he said. Moreover open your mind. It is not a psychical bond that ties me here. Ann scanned with her purest psychic beam?nothing. She couldn't see what he was talking about. Look further he said, look wider. She did so moving across a range of psychic vibrations and noises, across precognition and transference. Across telekineses, hypnosis, psychovideo and possession. All the while sensing the powerful, malnevolent force that swept downwards through castle chambers and dungeon walls towards them. With it were those tiny psychic voices. How many she couldn't count. Though she sensed them they didnt sense her yet. But soon.
Then she saw it. Abruptly it appeared as she flashed from one telepathic frequency to another. Blurry and out of focus a flash of it came from his forehead . It was her intuition (both natural and psychic) which told her. Why she should have guessed.
|Now that she knew what she was looking for she could glimpse the whole of it in a second. Tendrils of light streamed from his forehead and oozed downwards over his body. It seemed that the poor man was chained to the floor. A cunning move indeed, whoever had thought of it. For they had turned the magicians power on himself, the magickal tendrils forming a cage of light.
You are held fast it would seem.
Yes Ann. I am sorry. I had but one chance, for just one brief moment a gap appeared in the cage and I reached for you. I sensed a powerful benevolent entity and brought you here to free me, and now I have doomed not only myself but also you. For I am the most powerful sorcerer in these lands. It would take a year and a day for any to unravel my magick and free me. Even now I can here the footfalls of the dark one and his trudging minions and I have not the chance to send you back from whence you came.
She could hear them now as well but what was worse for her was their loathsome minds. Tens of them with but one intent, to kill the man before her. A slow and torturous death. An exhibiton. Amongst them she sensed one of particular power. Damn them, she wasn't done yet.
Let's just see how I do friend. Don't sing a funeral song until someone's dead, eh?
She took aim at the magickal bonds but they were too slippery for her. No sooner had she latched onto one frequency to sever than they moved into another. She felt like a strongman trying to grasp water. Given time she knew she come overpower them, but she had so little experience with magick that she couldn't find which aspect of the bonds to attack. A heavy metallic scraping sound came from just 20 feet away. Nasty, gabbering voices babbled and murmured in murderous glee. Tongues smacking their lips in anticipation. They were lifting the bolts on the door and would enter and catch her any second. Amazingly she could tell that they were all telepaths too. Ann was confident she could melt the mind of any single telepath into a puddle of grey ooze, but could she take on seventy, or eighty? When one could put a bullet or spear through her head while she fought off the other sixty nine. Perhaps, but she had a better idea.
She looked past the bonds and deep into the sorcerers mind. He resisted her, she could feel it. He recoiled instinctively at anyone plunging this deeply into his well of secrets, attempting vigorously to lock the intruder out. "Well, well, you've talents of your own Wizard" she chuckled to herself "but then you've never met anyone like me". His defences crumbled, no match at all for the fury of her intent. She had no interest in his spells and potions and incantations. She was aiming straight for the control centre. Once there, she flicked the switch.
The bonds fell away, the light ceased and he drew himself to his feet. Ann could smell them now to her left. She could feel them in her mind, and under her skin making it crawl "never mind how, sorcerer, get us out of here". He raised his arms commandingly summoning an orange blue glow which seemed to emanate from the centre of him. As it spread to envelope her she stole one look. What were they? Monkeys? Dwarves? It was too short a glimpse, but they howled their rage and disbelief as their target disappeared. And at the centre of them was that baleful, dark presence.