By Liz Wray


“She is dead, my Lord.”

Orlouge ignored Ciato’s statement as he regarded the crumpled body beneath his carriage wheel with something that may have been interest. Crimson blood pooled beneath the woman’s limp frame, staining the pavement and, unforgivably, coating the carriage wheel.

“Where are your wits, boy?” Orlouge demanded through clenched teeth.

“My Lord?” inquired Ciato, visibly cringing as if anticipating a blow or a kick in the gut.

“The wheel, Ciato, and my horses’ hooves.” The Charm Lord continued with ominous calm. “Both of which are being befouled at this very moment.”

“Oh! Forgive me, my Lord.” The disgraced Mystic hastily backed up the carriage. The young woman’s bones audibly cracked and the air exploded from her lungs with a resounding “Oough”.

One of the horses gently nudged her with his nose, whickering softly. The girl had taken the shortcut through the seldom-used back roads, so no one had seen her die. No one but the Mystics who had inadvertently killed her as they searched frantically for Rei, the escaped Arch-Princess. Rei was Orlouge’s first Princess, and the Charm Lord had paid less and less attention to her. As a result, his Charm had worn off.

Eventually Rei did not even resent the other Princesses and Arch-Princesses; she wanted only to escape Orlouge. And she did…at the cost of her own life. Since Mystics could be born again through reincarnation, Orlouge had not given up. Now, as he gazed down at the woman he would one day know as Asellus, he realized that he may have found something better.

“Load her in the luggage compartment.” He ordered Ciato. “No, first wrap her in your traveling cloak. I do not want my carriage stained red with the filthy blood of a human.”

Ciato did not like where this was going. He wrapped her up like a spider does with a fly, grimacing in disgust. What could Orlouge possibly want with this grubby human hoyden? Why not just leave her to rot beside the road? When he turned to place her into the luggage compartment, however, his face was completely devoid of feeling. “Another day, another Princess” his face said. If Orlouge had guessed Ciato’s mind, he kept it to himself.

“Back to Facinaturu.”



Orlouge broke the connection and sighed lustily. His blood now flowed in the woman’s veins as did her own. She breathed, her face was warm, she had a pulse. Orlouge had not taken this girl’s blood, he had given her a part of his own. An interesting experience if not a pleasant one. He recovered almost immediately, and upon doing so he drew the blankets up to her chin. “Rest easy, my daughter, for when you wake I shall have need of you.”

A gasp was heard; a choking sound of pure rage. Orlouge stiffened, and cocked his ear. “Ciato. Come here, spawn of a dog. Come here!” As quick as thinking he whirled about and grasped the eavesdropper by the throat. He accomplished this with his mind, not his hand. The Charm Lord never resorted to the human mode of asserting his dominance, considering it to be beneath his station.

Ciato shot through the doorway, held aloft by unseen hands. The Mystic halted in midair, his toes dangling a mere inch above the floor. He gagged and retched, clawing futilely at his gullet. His adam’s apple jumped like frogs on a hot sidewalk.

“On your knees, child. Explain yourself.”

Abruptly the hands released Ciato, who tumbled to the floor and began to hack. Green foam bubbled from his mouth as he struggled to take in air. When he was able, he whimpered, “My Lord, there is no excuse. Do not punish me, I beg of you, mercy!” He clawed at his Lord’s cloak, and wept shamelessly. Orlouge stood rigid, saying nothing. When Ciato realized that he was expected to speak, he cowered low on the floor. “My Lord, forgive me O beautiful one. I only wanted to see her… see if she was alive!”

“And hoping that she was not. Do not presume to deceive me, for I can see through you even as I can see through the clearest window. Very well, you wanted to see her, there she is.” The invisible hands of magic seized Ciato by his white-blond hair, and shoved him close so that his face was near enough to smell her breath. It was warm, and smelled faintly of peach cobbler; it bathed Ciato’s twisted face in its visceral scent. He squeezed his eyes shut and clenched his teeth, sickened by his sudden desire to kiss her. To touch her. To…” He couldn’t bear it; his hatred for her and his desire for her body were equal, and the desire made him ill. To desire a human! No, not a human, but a…”

“Looook aat heeer!” Orlouge whispered in Ciato’s ear. “Look at her! Open your eyes, and look at her!” Ciato steeled himself and obeyed. She was about twenty or so, with dark brown hair, fair skin, soft coral lips…

Right at her hairline was a thin line of green. Her skin was paler than it should have been. Tiny blue veins were visible beneath the translucent skin of her eyelids. A Half-Mystic. Orlouge had turned her into a Half-Mystic. Such a creature had never before existed. She was a freak. Even humans were not as…as-

Words eluded Ciato as he forced himself to look upon the beautiful face of the nonetheless hideous Half-Mystic. She was hideous to him, and he cursed the organ which stirred to alertness between his legs.

“She will rule Facinaturu when I am gone.” Orlouge continued conversationally, stroking her jawline with his thumb. “In the meantime, she will do until I find my Princess. Look well, for she belongs to me just as you do. Just as every Mystic does. And I never let go of what is mine. This female,” he pointed to the comatose woman on the bed, “is mine. You may do what you like to her, but always remember that she is mine…and she is more important than even you are, my General.”

The hands once more released Ciato. They had been holding him above the woman, so that when they let go he would fall on top of her. While Orlouge was there he dared not move, but when he left them alone-and this came as rather a surprise to Ciato-he practically flew off of her. The Mystic stood above her, clenching and unclenching his hands. His desire for her had completely vanished as if it had never been. All that remained was a certain shortness of breath. Then, after patting his hair back into place, he spun on his heel and left.



The Mystics of Facinaturu (as well as the handfull of resident humans, all of which were servants) were gathered in the Great Hall to hear the Charm Lord’s announcement. To the humans it was a great honor to be invited into the Castle, as Chateau Aiguille was simply not for humans. To the Mystics, even the lower-class ones, this was an even greater honor. While servants were usually admitted right away (and sent away once their tasks were completed) the Castle was for Orlouge and his Harem alone. This did not include Ciato, his General; Ildon, his Messenger; Zozma, his “jack of all trades”; or Rastaban, his highest ranking Knight. They lived in the Castle, so to them it was necessary evil.

Ciato heard very little of the announcement, as his thoughts were elsewhere. Selfish and bitter as he was, he had long wanted to take Orlouge’s place as Charm Lord. Things would be different with Ciato on the throne. Oh yes they would. No more Ildon to deal with…Rastaban and Zozma-forget them! Ciato would be the most powerful Mystic warrior that ever existed, and would crush Orlouge and make Facinaturu his own. He would marry and create a dynasty…

And now that ragamuffin up in the bed was taking that away from him. Him! Ciato! Of all people, it had to be that creature who would spoil his greatest opportunity. No! He could not let that happen.

A great commotion caused Ciato to once more attend to the matter at hand. Apparently Zozma had said something that had offended Orlouge.

“Out! Out! Out of my sight!” Orlouge was screaming. Screaming?! Whatever Zozma had said must have been a real zinger. Zingers were one thing that Zozma was famous for; he never knew when to shut his mouth. “Out of the Great Hall! Out of Chateau Aiguille! Out of Facinaturu! I will not be questioned, especially not in such a manner! GET OUT!!”

Zozma stood rooted to the floor in amazement. Then, without another word, he teleported to wherever Mystics go when they are banished. Ciato could not suppress a smile, even though he knew that Zozma would probably turn up again one day.

Orlouge immediately declared the meeting over, and ordered everyone out-everyone but Ciato and Ildon.

The two Mystics stood before their Lord, Ildon as grim and stoic as usual, and Ciato tall and arrogant.

“Ildon, you will watch over the woman every day until she awakens. Ciato, you will make sure that Zozma never sets foot in Facinaturu again. Do the both of you understand?”

“Yes, my Lord.” They said in unison.

“You are dismissed” Orlouge’s voice floated in the air around the empty throne. He had teleported to his suite before he had even dismissed them. As Ildon turned to leave, Ciato grabbed the back of his tunic and turned him around.

“What did Zozma say that so upset our Lord?” he demanded.

“Weren’t you listening?” Ildon hissed, “Zozma asked Orlouge why he should choose a successor since Mystics live forever. He called it a joke, so he was thrown out. Now are you satisfied?”

Ciato let go of Ildon’s shirt and waved him away. Indeed, it was a joke. No one could take Orlouge’s place until he died, and Mystics could not die of natural causes. This woman could not cause his death. As a Half-Mystic she would be indebted to Orlouge, and as a half-human she would be too weak to stand up against him. She would be a freakish slave without a purpose. And yet she was in the way. She could take his place. And Ciato could not allow her to interfere with what he had in mind. She would have to die. And he would let her wake up first, so that she would learn that she was unwelcome. She would learn to fear Ciato.


Liz Wray's Fanfiction