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Thread: Perrigore

  1. #1
    The puddytat you saw Hawkman's Avatar
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    Perrigore

    Perrigore was a wizard. Not one of those hedge-wizards, who spend all their time chatting to birds. He wasn’t a common warlock, peddling charms at the local market, or a conjuror who did tricks, or a sorcerer who held muttered conversations with demons in dimly lit, fume laden rooms whilst under the influence of psychotropic substances.

    No.

    He was a proper wizard. A 98th degree Mage to be precise, which is about as wizardly as you can get. The next rung on the career ladder confers the status of ‘demi-god’, and there aren’t too many of those around these days. He could terraform just by the force of his mind and if he’d wanted to, he could have smashed a whole world in the blink of an eye, so it’s probably just as well that he never wanted to. In fact there were any number of things he could have done if he’d wanted to, but he never did.

    All Perrigore actually wanted was to work in a bookshop.

    The reasons were many and varied. Let’s face it, it wasn’t as though he needed the money. If he wanted money all he needed to do was manipulate some elemental particles by the might of his mind and he’d be rolling in the stuff. But doing something like that would probably have wrecked the economy. Perrigore was far too sensible to have carelessly endangered the stability of the world markets for personal gain. Oh no, he was quite happy to leave that activity to Prime Ministers, and Chancellors of the Exchequer. Anyway, he didn’t need to, he was already fabulously wealthy.

    So why did he just want to work in a bookshop?

    Perhaps a naturally self-effacing personality had some bearing on his preference for anonymity, or then again, it might well have been something to do with the fact that the wielding of near infinite power tends to draw attention to the wielder. After all, He wasn’t the only 98th degree Mage in the universe and people who achieve that kind of status in their chosen professions tend to be of a fairly competitive nature. One also has to consider that beneath each 98th degree Mage there are several 97th degree Mages looking to move up. Perrigore had trodden on his share of toes to get where he was and the prospect of being held to account by the bereaved relatives of his colleagues was not an attractive one. But he was a 98th degree Mage, so, although he wasn’t completely invulnerable, he was probably more than capable of dealing with that kind of threat.

    There was another possibility though. All magic distorts the universe, for magic equals power, power equals energy and energy equals mass. The bigger the magic, the greater the mass, and excessive mass punches holes in the fabric of reality.

    What? You don’t believe me? Where do you think black holes come from? Black holes are the graves of wizards who tried too hard.

    So maybe we can see why Perrigore would not want to draw attention to himself by wielding the ultimate potentialities of creation. But why hide in a bookshop? He didn’t even want to own a bookshop, just to work in one.

    Well, Perrigore had a sense of irony. He liked hugging the knowledge of his superiority tightly to himself as he sold Terry Pratchett’s novels to punters. He would smile quietly to himself, standing behind the counter in Waterstones, as he serviced the escapist dreams of fantasy fans whilst wearing the unprepossessing aspect of a spotty, vacant-looking youth. He was a thousand years old but didn’t look a day over nineteen and three eighths. But that wasn’t the only reason.

    Perrigore loved books.

    He loved the way a new book creaked as you open it. He loved the smell of the ink and he loved the feel of the crisp, new pages, crackling with promise before giving up their secrets to the eye. Yes. Books were, in themselves, intrinsically magical. The constant supply of new books in a bookshop kept him feeling, well, young I suppose. He fed off their magic. It’s why he didn’t work in a library. The books in a library were old, tired, and abused. The last vestiges of their magic were barely holding them together. But in a bookshop he could feast on the magic of new books for eight hours a day.

    Anyone who paid close attention to Perrigore, as he left for home after work, would have been reminded of the film, ‘The Usual Suspects’, provided that they’d seen it of course. Just as Verbal Kint metamorphosed into Kayser Sose, Perry the shop assistant would become Perrigore, 98th degree Mage of the order of RastroKhan.

    As he walked down the street, his gangling, teenage awkwardness would be transformed into the contained, confident stride of a leader in his prime. The vacuous lolling of his lips would harden into an amused, knowing smile and the vacant, bewildered eyes would become piercing and perceptive. Even the spots would disappear. He would be met on the corner by a plush, black limousine, driven by someone who looked suspiciously like Pete Postlethwaite, and then he would climb in and be driven away to his castle, deep in the English countryside.

    On arriving home he would be greeted on the front steps by the family hunchback and ceremoniously ushered through the imposing portal. Once inside the marble hall he would be relieved of his tracksuit jacket and the baseball cap residing sideways on his head before heading to his private bathroom to be cleansed of the day’s soil. Here he would wallow contentedly for an hour or so in the solid gold, sunken bath, while Achilles, his rubber duck, swam through the foamy bubbles and made a full report on the household’s activities during the day.

    On completing his evening ablutions he would proceed to the robing room where he would be dressed in the regalia appropriate to his rank and calling. Naturally, the splendid clothes would have been freshly brushed, pressed and laid out for him by one of his slaves. It was then time to deal with any little problems in discipline which might have cropped up while he was at work and which had been faithfully reported to him by Achilles.

    Offenders (who were almost invariably Goblins) would be summoned into his presence where their misdemeanours would be detailed. Then, depending on the severity of their crime, they would receive an appropriate punishment which might be anything from summary obliteration to spending a couple of decades in the dungeon. The dungeon option was rarely exercised though, Perrigore preferred to turn mildly errant servants into pieces of furniture.

    Furniture didn’t need feeding.

    It should be remembered that Perrigore was fabulously wealthy. People may become wealthy by many means, the ones who stay wealthy though, do so because they are extremely good at not spending money.

    The majority of the house servants were Elves, although there were some human slaves. Perrigore had learned long ago that Goblins made very poor house servants. You certainly didn’t want them anywhere near food, which ruled out the kitchen and waiting at table. Their personal habits were, to put it mildly, unpleasant, which also made them undesirable as body servants. They hawked, they spat and they blew their pointy noses indiscriminately in anything, whether it was a dish of sweetmeats, the curtains hanging in the dining hall or the clothes you were wearing. All soon lost their appeal when dripping with green, foul-smelling, Goblin mucus. Trying to train them to behave in a slightly less repulsive manner was futile. Even the threat of summary disintegration failed to curb their incontinent repulsiveness. It was in their natures to be as they were. Consequently, Perrigore only employed them as dunnykin divers and compost processors - a purpose they were admirably suited for.

    If they were required inside the house they had to be encased in hermetically sealed glass cages and as they only ever came into the house to be brought before Perrigore for punishment, they tended to gibber hysterically and bounce off the walls of their temporary prisons. They didn’t do so for long though. They didn’t make good furniture as they came out all spiky and misshapen, with pointy bits which would snag your clothes and rip them. You didn’t want them down in the dungeons as the noise of their constant screaming was just too disturbing and the smell would permeate the entire castle. As a result they were invariably disintegrated. Fortunately for the sewers, which required constant maintenance, and the compost heaps, which were extensive, the Goblins bred like flies, which meant there was never any danger of a shortage of the little blighters.

    Today though, there was only one offender to be dealt with. Grzlecthz, a Goblin dunnykin diver (3rd class) had been caught trying to get into the kitchen to steal food. This was clearly in violation of Perrigore’s house rules. It wasn’t as if the Goblins were starved, they were provided with ample supplies of cockroaches to eat. The kitchen of a castle this old was bound to have a few but Perrigore had an arrangement with Burt from the village, who was an exterminator with Rent-o-Kill. It was an arrangement which easily compensated for the occasional shortfall.

    Whilst the casual reader may find this shocking it should be noted that Goblins love cockroaches. They love crunching them with their pointy teeth and the little explosions of flavour as they burst in the mouth. As compact little protein packets they are also very nourishing and give a Goblin all the vitamins and things that a growing Goblin needs. The dietary requirements of Goblins are covered in some detail in the Keeper’s Handbook, a must for all those who employ supernatural entities to perform those tiresomely essential little jobs around the house.

    But Goblins are all, quintessentially, greedy little sods and Grzlecthz was greedier than most. Caught red-clawed, half-way through a window into the pantry, he had no defence. Gibbering, screaming and vainly scrabbling at the walls of his glass prison, He was carried by a pair of Elves, into the presence of his master.

    Perrigore, imposing in his ceremonial robes, wearing the terrifying aspect of judge, jury and executioner, loomed over the hapless creature and unrolled the scroll which detailed its crimes.

    “Grzlecthz, Goblin dunnikin diver (3rd Class),” began Perrigore, “You have been apprehended, in flagrante delicto, attempting to enter the forbidden area of the pantry. You are obviously guilty, so before execution of the mandatory sentence of disintegration, do you have anything you wish to say in mitigation of your crime?”

    Grzlecthz screamed, whined and muttered obscenities before spitting a gobbet of phlegm, which would have landed squarely in the middle of Perrigore’s face had the wall of his glass cage not intercepted its trajectory.

    Perrigore sighed resignedly and casually waved his fingers in the general direction of the accused, whose screaming and gibbering increased in intensity before terminating abruptly in a dull, wet, splat.

    The glass cage, now opaque with the remains of disintegrated goblin, was taken away to be cleaned.

    It should be noted that Grzlecthz had been a married Goblin. His wife, Protghlia, fully aware of (but indifferent to) her husband’s fate, at the time of his trial and execution was enthusiastically engaged in an act of sexual congress with two of Grzlecthz’s brothers and her own father. In case the reader should be ill advisedly suffering from any pangs of sympathy for the fate of any Goblin, it is hoped that this information might provide proof, if any were needed, of the fundamentally unpleasant nature of the Goblin race. Quite frankly, disintegration is too lenient for them.

    It had been a long day and Perrigore now looked forward to his frugal evening banquet of roast boar, washed down with a couple of bottles of his favourite claret, before retiring to his observatory, where, after a little gentle scrying, he would observe the movement of the stars and cast his horoscope. It had been cloudy for the last couple of days so he had been unable to indulge his habit of divination. This was a pity, because it meant that he had absolutely no idea that he was going to receive a visitor that evening that would change the course of his life.

    To be continued….
    Oh no, not again...

  2. #2
    dafydd dafydd manton's Avatar
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    Hawk, I just can't wait for the next bit. I haven't laughed so much in ages. Your use of vocabulary is unsurpassed, and, as a writer of comedy, I am humungously jealous, but shan't say so in case I finish up in my own glass container.

    I bow to your etc etc etc etc (Words fail me)
    Dafydd Manton, A Legend In His Own Lunchtime!! www.dafydd-manton.co.uk

    My Work Has Been Spread Over Many Fields!

  3. #3
    Registered User Steven Hunley's Avatar
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    response to story

    An extensive vocabulary can never hurt the narrative or descriptions, the verbal pallet here is so diverse. It's infused with a sense of fun too. You can't image how many tales of wizards I've read that were uninspired! This one, on the other hand, (and what an other hand!) was a treat. Thanks for the brain candy.

  4. #4
    The puddytat you saw Hawkman's Avatar
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    Dafydd and Steven, thank you both. I did enjoy myself writing it, so I'm glad you both had fun on the receiving end. As soon as the next instalment is ready I'll post it for your delectation

    Best, H
    Oh no, not again...

  5. #5
    dafydd dafydd manton's Avatar
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    I'm drooling as I wait, Hawk!!
    Dafydd Manton, A Legend In His Own Lunchtime!! www.dafydd-manton.co.uk

    My Work Has Been Spread Over Many Fields!

  6. #6
    The puddytat you saw Hawkman's Avatar
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    Perrigore, Part 2.

    It was while he was drinking his third glass of crusted port that Perrigore became aware that he was not alone. As he nibbled on a cracker with its burden of un-pasteurised Stilton, all his instincts were telling him that there was an alien presence in the great hall, a malign entity that wished him ill. The hair on the back of his neck was positively bristling and his thumbs pricked, warning him that something wicked had invaded his personal space. For it to have done so meant that it had penetrated the stacked spells and enchantments that guarded his home, a feet of almost unimaginable skill and power, for they were coded to his personal DNA and psychic profile. He knew of no one living who was capable of such a feat.

    By now the unholy emanations were becoming strong enough to be detected by the Elvin footmen whose pointy ears were quivering with alarm and the more highly trained ones began muttering protective charms to ward off dark forces. This was really quite futile as they hadn’t protected them from Perrigore, but it was a force of habit and gave them the illusion of security. The unholy atmosphere thickened perceptibly by the minute and became so powerful that even the human slaves began to feel it. They began to scream with fear.

    Perrigore wasn’t going to put up with that kind of din, it did absolutely nothing for the digestion. Combined with the muttering of the Elves it was really getting on his nerves. He twitched a finger and the noise instantly ceased. Coincidentally, the collection of decorative statuary distributed throughout the hall was increased by the same number as that of the servants that had been waiting on him. Perrigore sighed resignedly. Good servants were so hard to come by. He would be able to fix the Elves, of course, but the humans would never be the same again. It was kinder to leave them as they were. They didn’t seem to mind, not even when their arms got broken off, and on more than one occasion, a wealthy guest had admired their quality and bought a few, so Perrigore wouldn’t be out of pocket in the long run. It was the short-term inconvenience of having to find and train replacements that irked him.
    He took another bite from his cracker and chewed thoughtfully, and for a few moments there was only the sound of ruminant crunching in the hall.

    Then he heard the voice.

    “Perrigore….” It said and somehow managed to combine sepulchral resonance with a malevolent whine. It wasn’t much to go on but it sounded vaguely familiar. “Perrigore,” it said again, then continued, “Look at me when I’m talking to you, boy.”

    The tone and phrasing keyed into his memory and identified the voice.

    “Mother?” queried Perrigore, scanning the interior of the hall for the voice’s source, “Is that you?”

    “Of course it’s me who did you expect it to be, the Queen of Sheeba?” replied the voice, testily. “You obviously haven’t been keeping up with your scrying.”

    “It’s been cloudy,” said Perrigore.

    “And stop sniffing the air like a lost puppy. I’m over here, idiot,” said his mother.

    Perrigore became aware of an increase in the density of the air above a spare dining chair to his left. As he watched, it sparkled slightly and coalesced into the semi-transparent form of a rather attractive woman of indeterminate age.

    “You’re looking well,” he ventured, guardedly. “Being dead seems to agree with you. I don’t remember you as looking quite so attractive.”

    “No, you wouldn’t,” said his mother, “You’re too young. But you’re still as tactful as ever, I see. No wonder I haven’t got a grandchild. If all you can manage is backhanded compliments like that, you’ll never get a nice girl.”

    “The work keeps me too busy for the distractions of women.” Said Perrigore sententiously.

    “The work? What work? Slaving in a bookshop, you call that work?” said his mother with a sneer.

    “You’ve been spying on me, I see. Haven’t you got anything better to do? Anyway, working in the bookshop keeps me feeling fresh,” said Perrigore, defensively.

    “Well it hasn’t done much for your observational skills.”

    “What are you talking about?” he asked.

    “The girl, boy, the girl. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed.”

    “Which girl, mother? I do know more than one.”

    “Yes, you know three. Or is it four? I was forgetting the part-time student.” said his mother with habitual scorn. “I was talking about the clever one. She’s pretty too.”

    “Who, Amanda? I grant you she is pretty, well very pretty actually and yes, she is clever I suppose. But everyone calls her Mandy.” Perrigore had managed to express this last statement with the same degree of distaste he might have used when referring to dog mess on the pavement.

    “So, what’s in a name?” asked his mother, dismissively.

    “Everything!” exclaimed Perrigore, “Names are words and words have power. Our names define us.”

    “Damned right they do.” His mother interrupted.

    “I mean, really,” continued Perrigore, ignoring her, “Can you imagine me forming an alliance with a mortal called, ‘Mandy’? How would she be referred to? Mortal Mandy the Mage’s wife? It just doesn’t bear thinking about.”

    “Oh you’re such a snob, Perrigore. Really, when I was born my parents called me Violet.”

    “Well, Violet isn’t as bad as Mandy.”

    “True, but it still wasn’t an appropriate name for a wizard’s wife. When I married your father I made damn sure everyone called me Lillith.” said Lillith.

    “How is father these days?”

    “I’m afraid I really couldn’t say. We don’t really move in the same circles any more. I rather miss him to tell you the truth.”

    “Well I guess you shouldn’t have killed him then,” said Perrigore with a hint of reproach. Tell me, did you really eat his body?”

    “Of course I did, dear. Waste not, want not.”

    “But that’s just wrong! I mean, how could you? He was your husband!”

    "Don’t be so self-righteous, Perrigore. You enjoyed him just as much as I did.”

    “What?!”

    “You ate his brain in a nice white wine sauce with marjoram and a little light seasoning of spices.”

    “But you told me it was calf’s brain!”

    “Well I could hardly tell you the truth, dear, you were always so close. You’d never have eaten it.”

    “You’re damned right I wouldn’t. I’d probably have killed you myself.”

    “Well there you are then,” said Lillith.

    “But why?” asked Perrigore, “Why feed me my father’s brain?”

    “So you could absorb his power, of course,” replied Lillith. “You were always very gifted, but the extra boost accelerated your progress through the lower orders of wizardry. Dangerous place to hang about for too long, the lower orders. There’s so much competition. I only had your best interests at heart.”

    “Thanks”, said Perrigore, flatly. “And with this shining example of the prospects of wedded bliss, you want me to enter into a state of matrimony, with a civilian called Mandy, to be the progenitor of your grandchild, whom it will be my destiny to succour through the medium of cannibalism.”

    “Well, not necessarily all of the above, but yes, you get the general idea. And I want to come to the wedding.”

    “Aren’t you getting a little ahead of yourself, mother? Why would you want me to hook up with Mandy anyway? I’ve seen absolutely no indication of interest on her part. After all, To her I’m just a spotty youth, remember?

    “Well, for one thing, I’m not entirely convinced she’s a civilian.”

    “Oh boy, this just gets better and better!”

    “Don’t be like that dear. The challenge will do you good. It’ll give your life renewed purpose. And you are a 98th Degree Mage, after all. What possible harm could befall you? Lillith smiled sweetly and somehow managed to convey an impression quite different from sweetness with it.

    Perrigore was thinking about his father and how he’d been a 98th Degree Mage too.

    “And what if I don’t happen to want to get married and breed little wizards?” asked Perrigore.

    “I’ll make your life a living hell,” replied Lillith with a laugh. “Come now, is it so much to ask for a mother to want to attend her son’s wedding and bounce her grandchildren on her knee?”

    “You’re dead mother. You’ve been dead for five hundred years. You don’t have knees substantial enough to bounce clouds on, let alone grandchildren.”

    “Yes, well I expect you to do something about that. You never kept your promise to bring me back,” replied Lillith, with more than a hint of reproach.

    “Well I did tell you not to take on Morgana and her sisters on your own. In order to bring you back I’d have needed a body to work with, and they didn’t leave enough to fill a thimble, as I recall.”

    “I admit, I may have been a little rash on that occasion,” conceded Lillith.

    “Anyway,” Continued Perrigore, “Couldn’t you have just put yourself down for reincarnation sometime in the intervening five centuries?”

    “Reincarnation? Definitely not. One just has absolutely no control over where one ends up. I might have ended up as a cockroach, or even worse, a man!”

    “Well I can see how being a cockroach wouldn’t appeal, but what’s wrong with being a man? I’d have thought it would have been right up your street. No glass ceilings for men, remember?”

    “No dear, but I couldn’t be a grandmother as a man, now could I? Besides, I was always rather proud of my body. I’d like it back.”

    “Well what do you expect me to do about it, mother? If I couldn’t bring you back five hundred years ago, what makes you think I can now?”

    “Well, five hundred years ago you were only a 61st Degree Mage. You’re at the top of the tree now, aren’t you?” And with that, Lillith faded from view. The last thing to disappear was that unnerving smile of hers.

    Perrigore held his breath until he was sure she was really gone then sighed and with his elbows on the table, clasped his head in his hands and groaned.

    Suddenly, he had a whole load of new problems to deal with. Naughty Goblins were the least of his worries.


    To be continued…
    Oh no, not again...

  7. #7
    Chapeau!

    The mother is a scream!

    What a fun read (both parts), looking forward to more.
    I'd rather have questions that I can't answer than answers that I can't question.

  8. #8
    dafydd dafydd manton's Avatar
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    Damn! I'm going to have to bate my breath yet more! I just love this. Calf's brain, indeed! Yeurgh!
    Dafydd Manton, A Legend In His Own Lunchtime!! www.dafydd-manton.co.uk

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  9. #9
    The puddytat you saw Hawkman's Avatar
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    Perrigore Part 3.

    It was at times like these that a boy really needed the guiding hand of his father. However, when that father had been dead for nearly six hundred years, the guidance of such a hand was not an easy thing to come by. But when the father, although long dead, had been a top rank mage, and the boy who needed guidance was a thousand years old and shared the same professional status, it was far from impossible.

    Perrigore stood at the workbench of his father’s old laboratory in the West dungeon, and after banishing the dust and cobwebs of half a millennium with a casual wave of the hand, set about delineating the required circle of power on the floor with the tip of his staff. It left a glowing trace in its wake. After finishing off the design with some essential sigils, he opened a locket which he always wore around his neck and extracted a precious strand of his father’s hair from the lock which resided within. After wrapping it in a fold of velum, Perrigore inscribed his father’s name upon it, then threw it into the centre of the circle where it flashed into flame. He then stood back and waited for the dialling chant.

    Faintly at first, so that Perrigore was barely aware of the moment it began, a deep, continuous, musical chord in A minor, sounding as though it was sung by a choir of a thousand basso profundos, built up until its note flooded the entire room.

    “Aaaaaaaaah……” it said.

    Perrigore took his staff in both hands and holding it upright before him, struck the ground with its tip. There was the sound of a very satisfyingly portentous thunderclap, and as its last rumble faded away, Perrigore spoke the words of summoning which reverberated from the cold stone of the walls.

    “I, Perrigore, son of Actigore, call upon the powers to connect me with the spirit of my father!”

    There was a barely perceptible pause and the dialling chant rose an octave and became a repeating rhythm.

    “Aaaah, Aaaah,” a pause, “Aaaah, Aaaah,” then it stopped.

    There was a querulous pause, followed by a blindingly blue-white flash of light within the circle of power, then the image of his father stood before him, confined to, and sustained by, its energy. He didn’t look too happy to be there.

    “Who is it, and what do you want?” he said irritably, “It had better not be some bloody necromancer touting for trade, or some sodding priest offering me salvation. Effing cold callers,” he muttered under his breath. Then he looked to see where he was.

    Actigore’s ghostly eyes flashed in recognition as he took in the familiar surroundings of his old workshop. Then he took a look at Perrigore, noted the regalia and conceded a smile.

    “Perrigore, my boy, what a nice surprise! I see you made the grade then, I always knew you were a winner.”

    “Hello, Dad, how’ve you been?” A stupid question really, but Perrigore was feeling a bit guilty for not having kept in more regular touch. He’d always lit a black candle on the anniversary of his father’s murder and sacrificed a white goat on his birthday, but it just wasn’t as personal as a nice chat.

    “I’ve been dead, son. How do you think I’ve been?” said his father, not unkindly, but with just a hint of reproach.

    “Sorry, Dad.” he said, “It’s good to see you again.”

    “Yes, you too, son.”

    Perrigore would have loved to have spent some time just chatting but he didn’t know how long the connection would hold; the lines were notoriously unreliable in the spirit world.

    “Look Dad, I’m sorry to bother you with this, but I’ve got a bit of a problem.”

    “Really? You’re a 98th Degree Mage, what sort of problem can you have that you’d need to consult your father about it? Is it some rival Mage working against you? Or have you been trying to do something you shouldn’t? He smiled conspiratorially and one of his eyes flared blue for a moment in the spiritual equivalent of a wink.

    “It’s Mother,” said Perrigore.

    “Ye Gods,” said Actigore, “She’s not here is she?” and a hunted look came into his eyes as he looked over his shoulder in alarm.

    “No Dad, she’s dead. Didn’t you know?”

    “Good thing too,” replied Actigore in relief, “No I hadn’t heard, but then there’s no reason why I should have. If I know Lilly, she’d would have gone down to one of the deeper circles. How’d it happen then?

    “Er, she got it into her head that she could take on Morgana and the sisterhood, single handed,” said Perrigore.

    “Now why on earth would she try a thing like that?”

    Perrigore said nothing and found himself on the receiving end of a very penetrating stare indeed. Inside he was squirming but the stare betrayed a level of respect from his father that he’d never dreamed of experiencing.

    “You clever little bugger,” said Actigore. “So what’s the problem?”

    “She’s found a way back.”

    “Aaah… Now that is a problem. How long has she been dead?”

    “Five hundred years.”

    “Five hundred years in the nether regions of Hell. Mmmm. There’s no knowing what kind of deals she might have made down there, or what little tricks she’s picked up. Lilly was always a formidable witch, you know, but mostly her thing was control.”

    “Why did she kill you, father?”

    “Well, it wasn’t personal, at least I don’t think so. With Lilly, it was always more business than pleasure. She couldn’t control me, you see, I was too powerful and she was jealous of my relationship and influence with you. It really put her nose out of joint. She wanted to be the power behind the power, which with me out of the way, meant being the power behind you, if you know what I mean.”

    “Yes, I do,” replied Perrigore, and he related Lillith’s ultimatum.

    “Yes, I see,” said Actigore, glumly, “It makes perfect sense for Lilly.”

    “But what exactly can she do to me if I don’t comply?” asked Perrigore, “I mean, she said she’d make my life a living hell, but what does that mean exactly?”

    “Well, she wouldn’t kill you, that would be self defeating, but you can’t lock her out. That’s the trouble with blood relatives, you’ve compatible DNA and as she’s your mother she knows your psychic profile inside out. She can plague your dreams, bollux up your spells and haunt the living daylights out of you.”

    “Not an attractive prospect,” said Perrigore, thoughtfully. “But what happens if she gets her body back?”

    “Well, then her options are more limited, but you could still be plagued by evil sendings if she feels you are not doing what she wants. But she wouldn’t be able to attack you directly while she was confined to her body. You could defend yourself against the sendings fairly effectively. But if she chooses to leave her body, then you’re buggered.”

    “So what are my options?”

    “Well,” said Actigore, “You can give in and wait to be murdered by your new wife, at Lilly’s prompting, as soon as you produce a child, or you can attempt to cross the abyss and become a demi-god, providing, of course, you don’t mind the risk of being buried in your very own black hole. I don’t think anyone has managed it for two thousand years.”

    Perrigore looked thoughtful for a moment and a smile slowly spread across his face.

    “What if I did both?” he asked through his smile.

    “Are you really that good?” asked his father.

    “Oh yes,” said Perrigore, his eyes shining with power.

    “Then you’d be a very clever little bugger indeed,” replied Actigore, thoughtfully.

    The glow of the circle was beginning to fade and Actigore’s image was breaking up. Before the connection was broken, Perrigore asked one last question of his father.

    “How did mother manage to kill you, Dad?”

    The image was fading fast and the reply was barely more than a thought on the wind.

    “Oh, she screwed me half to death and cut my throat while I slept.” And then he was gone.

    “Bye, Dad,” said Perrigore, softly to the empty air, then he turned on his heel and made his way to the library. He had a lot of reading to do before he went to work in the morning.

    To be continued…
    Last edited by Hawkman; 08-03-2010 at 12:06 PM.
    Oh no, not again...

  10. #10
    dafydd dafydd manton's Avatar
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    I just loved that line about cold-callers.....fantastic!! That and "I've been dead, son, how d'you think I've been?" Keep it going!
    Dafydd Manton, A Legend In His Own Lunchtime!! www.dafydd-manton.co.uk

    My Work Has Been Spread Over Many Fields!

  11. #11
    The puddytat you saw Hawkman's Avatar
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    Perrigore Part 4.

    The next day, when Perrigore reported for work at Waterstone’s, he did so having taken a little less care over his appearance than usual. Gone was the liberal sprinkling of zits that traditionally punctuated his face like the various toppings on the better class of pizza. No longer did his eyes appear vacant. Today he allowed them to glitter with an approximation of cunning. His lower jaw did not hang from his skull to facilitate youth’s habit of oral breathing, and even his wardrobe appeared to reflect burgeoning intelligence. All the apparent gawkiness of the misfit teenager had been tempered with an authority of new found confidence. As he strode into the staff common room he gave Mandy a cheery wave and then ostentatiously appeared to dismiss her from his universe.

    However, although careful not to employ even the slightest hint of occult power, Perrigore maintained a careful watch on Mandy by artfully contriving to employ any and all reflective surfaces which provided an angle on her. His ears were tuned to every inflection of her voice, and his mind passively detected the carelessly radiated thoughts emanating from her unguarded mind, the first of which indicated that she thought he must have got laid last night. Perrigore allowed himself an ironic smile at this, but manfully managed not to laugh out loud. If only she’d known what he’d really been doing.

    He detected the smugly self-congratulatory aura which confirmed her interpretation of his half-smile, and the ambiguous resentment which floated, unacknowledged, in the background static of thoughts processing her list of jobs for the day. She was deciding what she was going to have for lunch, wondering if she needed to touch up her lippy, and choosing the DVD she’d watch that evening, because, as usual, she didn’t have a date. There was just a sniff of black candle before internal shutters slammed down, cutting off the flow of images.

    So, Lilly was right about her not being a civilian. Perrigore prudently stacked his mental shields against the potential of uninvited intrusion, but experimentally, and without giving even the slightest hint that he was taking any notice of her at all, allowed a fantasy of his slowly caressing and undressing Mandy to bob to the surface. The result was that Mandy gave him a very thoughtful look which lingered just long enough to confirm his suspicion that she’d picked it up. A wry smile played upon her lips and there was a quizzical twitch of a raised eyebrow which would have put Fiona Bruce to shame.

    At least she didn’t wink. Well, there wouldn’t have been much point really, as he had his back to her, but it certainly seemed that she was giving the idea some serious thought and didn’t find it particularly repellent. It appeared that in this battle of the sexes between occult practitioners, in the opening round, the honours were his. However, there remained the problem of what he was going to do about it.

    It was like fishing.

    Understanding the principles of casting a baited line upon the waters was one thing, but the mechanics of getting a bite and playing a fish when the fish was probably a shark, required a degree of expertise and experience in an area in which Perrigore was distinctly lacking. He had never fished for sharks. On those rare occasions when he’d required one, he’d simply conjured one up, and, as it was a creature of his own imagining, it had naturally been entirely biddable and obedient to his will. A shark with its own agenda was, well, a different kettle of fish.

    Perrigore considered it an apt analogy. His mother had been right; he had very little experience with women, at least real ones. Mage he might be, but Don Juan he wasn’t. He had appetites, but he’d never had the time, or the inclination, to form relationships. They were far too time consuming and messy for his taste. In a profession demanding diligent study and exercise to build up enough magical muscle to avoid inhumation in a personal black hole, and constant vigilance against assassination by competitive colleagues, the distraction of mastering seductive technique was unwarranted. Consequently, when he’d had an itch which needed scratching, a convenient succubus was all that was required, and they didn’t have to be courted with flowers or chocolates. He’d never had to learn to cope with mood-swings and the myriad other seemingly irrational pitfalls of intersexual relationships.

    Throughout the morning, as he served a steady stream of customers purchasing personal escape from the tribulations of their daily lives, he pondered his problem until he realised that he didn’t really have one. He might be a thousand years old, but to Mandy he was an adolescent; a young, unprepossessing chap on the make, with little experience in the ways of the world and the mysteries of the female mind. It may have been nine hundred and eighty-one years since he’d actually been a teenager, but when it came down to displaying the appropriate behaviour of one in pursuit of a girlfriend, any ineptness evinced by him would be seen as entirely natural. Success or failure would depend completely on Mandy’s agenda. It is always the woman who is in control of a courtship, regardless of the man’s opinion on the matter.

    If Mandy wanted him, all he really had to worry about, was why. There was a very good chance that as an occult practitioner, she was cognisant that he was too, and the fact that his mother had seemingly singled her out for his attention, sounded louder warning claxons than a diving U-boat. Playing it straight would buy him time. He didn’t need much, just enough.

    Perrigore was signing off his till to go to lunch when Mandy approached him in a manner calculated to convey a desire for companionship. Her eyes sparkled and her lips smiled, and when she finally came to a stop by his side, she leaned into his personal space in a way which invited intimacy, with her shoulder just brushing against his. He was just about to press the ok button on the logoff screen when she reached over and pressed it for him with a well-manicured finger. A waft of warm, intoxicating perfume enveloped him, and despite his better judgement, the beast of his libido was stimulated to open an eye. It looked at her through his and licked its lips.

    “Want to keep me company for lunch, Perry? It’s a lovely day outside and we could stroll in the park or grab a bite at the café and sit outside in the sun.”

    “Sounds nice,” he said, and tried not to enjoy looking at her too much. She had such lovely, black curly hair and deep, brown, come-to-bed eyes, and her lips were his favourite shade of red and glistened invitingly, as if they wanted to be kissed.

    She was using some dazzle on him. The trouble with dazzle was that even when you knew you were being dazzled, you were inclined to enjoy it so much that you didn’t do anything about it. Perrigore decided that enough was enough and imagined her as being three hundred and two and left out in the sun too long. Then he put on some fashionable shades, the kind a teenager on the make would wear to appear cool, though his were dazzle filters. They helped a bit, but not much. The girl was genuinely pretty. Either that or she was a lot more powerful than he’d bargained for.

    “C’mon then, tiger,” she said with a grin, and headed for the door.

    ‘At least she didn’t call me chum,’ thought Perrigore as he followed in her fragrant wake. He was all too aware that ‘chum’ was shark bait.

    (to be continued…)
    Oh no, not again...

  12. #12
    Inexplicably Undiscovered
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    was a long one, roughly a year and three-quarters! But I guess one who has been in a dungeon for 500 years will have an unconventional method of calculating time.

    Actually, I remember this. I'm glad you did as well. I'm looking forward to reading more of the adventures of this delightfully snarky wizard.

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