Cerice created and belongs to Eduartboudewijn
Heavy rain roared on the skylights far above the large Paris workshop of the magician, the Transcendent Henri Louis Bazin. The flat was a large open space, filled with work benches, tools, sewing machines, a small chemist lab, and a huge assortment of costumes and props. Normally the workshop was filled with noise and clamor as Bazin had a large staff, with stage hands, artisans, and many beautiful young women to serve as stage assistants. During these work hours huge lamps lit the workshop with balmy warmth, while machinery and music forced anyone to compete to be heard over the din. However now it was almost nine and the workshop was quiet save for the roaring rain and the soft playing of music far in the back of the room.
Against the far wall, hidden behind shelves was a small partitioned space with two desks. The desks were flanked with books shelves filled with rare tomes, and unique items from around the world. The two desks were back to back so the occupants would be able to talk and discuss the acts face to face. The first desk was littered with newspapers, schematics and notes, which sat by a stack of Benson and Hedges cartons from a recent performance in Ireland. That desk belonged to Bazin himself, and the other was for his assistant. That desk was neatly organized with a stack of books on the Celts, ranging from language, culture, art and society. A small iPod sat on the desk playing the Beatles softly into a headset which had been dropped to the desk, and a nearby cup of coffee was long since cooled to the point of being room temperature.
The owner of the desk now sat on a nearby couch, quietly taking notes from a big leather bound book which looked rather old. Her name was Cerice, and she was the young associate and student of Bazin. Born in the Netherlands, she had been a smart student in school and had made her family proud. She was tall, with long brown hair pulled up into a high pony tail and warm brown eyes. She had a strong appearance, in spite of her habit of reading and studying constantly and was an extremely intelligent young woman. Preferring peace and quiet she was often soft spoken and reserved, but by no means shy. She was in fact quite brave, having performed on stage all over the world in front of huge audiences with adept skill and confidence. In fact she was so good at what she did; she had even been allowed to open for Bazin on several occasions and elicited cheers and applause from her audiences.
Her two passions in life, aside from reading and music as any young woman might enjoy, were the study of Celtology and stage Magic. She had started magic young and practiced hard, hoping to one day have a show of her own. It had been a freak chance that she had been performing at a local fair when Bazin happened to oversee her performance. He had offered her a position as a stage girl on the spot and she jumped at the chance. However she was an excellent observer and after only three nights on stage she had impressed Bazin so much that when she asked to learn from him, he agreed. That had only been a few years ago and since then she had been around the world with Bazin from Sao Paulo, Moscow, Athens, New York, Bombay and most recently Ireland. However most of their shows were in Paris now, where Bazin had landed a steady position performing at a high end hotel near the river Marne.
Cerice was on the rise and her life looked to be promising and successful. However a chance discovery would transform her life into something altogether strange and wonderful. Danger with also follow this discovery.... You see Cerice had suspected from her own studies that magic, or at least real magic did exist and as she traveled the world with Bazin she learned two things. One was that Bazin believed that magic was real too. However his unyielding French demeanor would not let him say something openly that others might find absurd, but his behavior and superstition more than confirmed this belief. Second was that there were strange and odd things that no one could explain everywhere and she had been determined to prove that magic was real. This would lead her to the aforementioned fateful discovery.
Five months ago while looking through an antique book store in Athens she had stumbled upon a book, bound in a medieval style that caught her eye. Upon opening it, she found the binding may had been medieval, but the pages were written or copied from many different languages. On the pages were spells from over two dozen cultures, ranging from ancient Greece, to Kievan Russ, and even some writings from 16th century Korea. However that was not the greatest shock. As soon as she touched one of the pages it began to emit a soft white light, which stretched and flowed across the page until glowing letters appeared in an ancient language she had never seen before. The letters where on all but the last few pages and appeared to have been under the other writing as if much older. Whoever had created the current book and written the writing in ink, must have written them over an older text with the glowing letters and may not have even known they were there!
The clerk had insisted she was seeing things and Cerice realized that somehow, only she could see the letters. The clerk had been religious or superstitious and was in fact eager to get rid of the strange book, so Cerice was able to buy it for very little. As she had studied the book more intently the letters had made no sense and Cerice had hoped that the letters were some form of lost Celtic writing she had managed to rediscover. However, as she read on the letters seemed to be coming together and making sense, as if they were somehow changing for her to understand, or perhaps her mind was grasping them from nowhere. With the letters making sense, the book was unlocked to her and it was revealed to be a magical tome, written thousands of years ago. It contained many different types of magic, but centered mostly on enchanting and transforming magic. Cerice was thrilled to discover she was right about magic all along, and studied it from then on.
Armed with an actual magic tome, she had begun practicing and found that she was more adept at real magic than she could have imagined. It seemed natural to her and in less than a day she had been able to lift an object with only a few words, moving it across a room without even touching it. In three weeks she made a doll stand up and dance. After a month she made a mosquito into a butterfly. Two months passed and she managed to turn a frog into a puppy, though she swiftly turned it back fearing harming the animal. So after several months she was getting better and better, although she did make a few mistakes. She had at one point made herself a tenth of her normal size, falling down into her clothes, and having to climb out while holding her giant sized panties up to cover her body. Though it had been embarrassing, she had almost enjoyed the experience. She had been able to reverse the spell with a counter-spell that the author had been sure to put up front as if it was the most important spell in the book.
That counter spell as it would turn out was one of the most important spells…
She found while holding the book and having the words in front of her, she was far more skilled than when she was not. If she left the book behind she could still use some of the magic, but she made more mistakes when she did, so she kept the tome close. Now when she practiced she did so at the workshop, so that if anyone came in and saw something odd she could claim it was part of the act to keep it secret. Plus no one would suspect magic in a magic workshop! So now she sat on the couch, her knees up against her chest and her nose in the tome, trying to figure out more spells and who had written them.
“Ah, I find you here in that book again! Don’t you have a boyfriend waiting for you at home?” Bazin’s voice was loud, and it made her jump. He was walking into the workshop, wearing an expensive tuxedo and a long red scarf. His Parisian accent was strong and he always seemed a bit grumpy. He was a tall man, with shiny black hair and a clean shaven face. For a man in his late forties he was very attractive and Cerice genuinely enjoyed his company. “I know the Beatles were good, but they cannot take you out to dinner.”
“Oh! You scared me Mr. Bazin.” She said softly, catching her breath. He looked annoyed.
“Cerice… how many times must I tell you?” He walked around his desk and snagged a carton of the cigarettes. “I am “Mr. Bazin” to the airhead stage girls who can’t count to ten! To you, my talented side-kick, I am Henri. Alright?”
She smiled at this. “Yes sir… I mean Henri.” He had been professional and a bit prickly towards her at first, but had warmed up to her as she had proven her talent. “I'm just studying. It’s a really good book.” She smiled, excited by what she was reading, but Bazin just gave her a sigh.
“My dear. You are only young once. Try to enjoy it before you start to get old like me.” He said as he shook a few cigarettes from a pack, and put two into his mouth at once.
She grinned at him. “You know… it’s a stereotype that all French people like cigarettes.” He glanced at her from the side, as he fished his lighter from his pocket. “Plus they're bad for you.” She added, wagging a finger.
“Here are two things for you my dear. First I never trusted a man who didn’t smoke or have a drink from time to time.” He lit both cigarettes at once, puffed on them, before looking back to her. “The second thing is that everything that is enjoyable or fun comes at a price.”
She shook her head and smiled. “Not reading. I love a good book and this one is… really special.” She wanted to tell him about the book, considering she knew he secretly believed in real magic. However she was not sure it was safe and a part of her wanted to keep the book for herself. She was not a selfish girl, but ever since she had picked up the book she had a deep desire to keep it secret.
Bazin shook his head. “Man did not walk on the moon by reading a book for hours my dear.”
She rolled her eyes. “Hey… why are you back here so early? I thought you had a lady waiting for you?”
He grunted. “Two actually. The problem was they didn’t like each other so…” He tossed his scarf onto the desk and ran his hand through his hair, still wet from the rain. “I am going home. Don’t leave the lights on and lock up when you go!” He walked out the door with a wave of his hand.
“Good night.” She said, as he left. She looked back to her tome and continued reading. The hours passed as she read the book and soon it was nearing midnight. Thunder began to rumble overhead and Cerice pulled her phone in close so she could use the light if the power went out. She caught the time and gasped at the late hour.
“Ooh… it is late…” She stood and laid the book open in front of her. “I better practice now, or I’m going to be here all night.”
Moving fast she leaned out the window to make sure Bazin had gone home and he was not smoking in his car as he often did. Seeing he was gone, she closed the blinds to the large windows and locked the door. She dimmed a few of the lights and moved some of the chairs away from a large table in the center of the workshop, so as not to damage any of the furniture. She placed a small plain potted fichus plant down on the table and stepped back. Raising her hands she began to focus and speak words softly to herself. After a moment of this, a spark of light appeared at her fingers. Then another and another until a cascade of shimmering sparks began to flow around her fingers casting a flowing motion of light across the walls.
She aimed her hands at the book, and released the spell, sending a wash of light over the fichus. The plant shook, and trembled as if cold, before it began to twist and wrap around itself. Soon the tall leaves were combining into a single stem, with sharp thorns and a small bud at the top. As the flashing lights faded and the room grew dark again, the bud opened to reveal a pink rose with rust colored tips. Cerice stared in awe for a moment, before she laughed and jumped into the air, thrilled by her success.
“I did it on the first try!” She gasped. She had been building up to trying this spell for a week now, and it had worked perfectly. It was one thing to cast a spell to make something turn into something else. That was easy. However making something turn into something specific was more difficult. Making fichus into a random rose was easy, but choosing the color and then putting details on it required incredible focus. With this success, Cerice knew she was getting better and felt a rush of excitement
With a boom of thunder, one of the windows blew open from the storm suddenly. Rain and wind exploded in and fluttered the window blinds and her books pages loudly. Cerice ran over and pulled the window closed, latching it tight before moving to latch the others just in case. With a sigh she ran back to check her book, and make sure that it was not wet. To her relief it was untouched, but she had lost her page. As she flipped back through the pages, her finger caught on the edge of one and she realized that two of the pages were stuck together. Frowning, she tried to pry them apart, only to realize they were sealed stuck.
She was not surprised, as the book was so old; she was impressed it did not have more damage than it did. She tried to pull them apart, but quickly realized that the pages were so stuck, that to pull them apart would damage the book. She thought in silence for a long moment, considering a way to get the pages clear of each other. The material on the pages could be important, and she would hate to miss out on some valuable spell.
“That’s it!” She announced out loud. “I’ll use a spell to open it!” She flipped back and found just the spell. Earlier she had found a spell that seemed useful and had stuck a sticky note on the page so as to come back to it later. The author had made many notes to guide the reader, or perhaps to remember details for his or her self.
The spell had the notes written on it “Just in case things are bound, this works to release them…”
Cerice grinned, reading through the words and starting to recite them. For a moment she focused on the words, working hard to maintain her control over them. A red light began to build in her eyes and she flipped back to the stuck pages. A she focused on them the light began to glow brighter and two beams of energy flew down and struck the pages. A burst of lightning seemed to come from the pages, and blast across the room, striking a nearby rack of costumes and blowing it over. Cerice yelped and dropped to the ground, just as the lightning blew through where she was standing. Now a surge of thin electrical jolts were flashing up from the book to the ceiling and raining sparks down onto the table.
Cerice was just about to get up and grab the book, when a second larger burst of electricity shot up from the book, and struck the ceiling with a sound like a boulder falling onto a metal roof. The electricity died down and the room grew silent again. She rose and peeked over the edge of the table towards the book, cautious in case the book exploded with lightning again. The book was lying open to the two pages she had not seen before, so clearly the spell had worked. She rose and leaned in to look at the strange sight before her, while a new dark feeling of menace seemed to have settled into the room.
These two pages had no writing written in ink, like she had seen on the other pages, so they had been stuck since the book was lost to its original owner. There were glowing letters, but they were twisted and had a reddish glow that was unique. The letters formed a circle around a strange image of a horned woman floating in the air with chains on her. However as Cerice stared, she could see the image of the horned woman fading until it was gone. A pit began to form in her stomach as she suddenly felt she had made a mistake in separating the pages.
A deep hiss of a breath sounded overhead, and Cerice almost ducked under the table. Looking up she saw a figure floating above her in the air. It was a gray skinned woman, beautiful at that with a full hourglass figure. She had long toned legs and arms, and she had two twisting black horns that rose from her head. Her face was beautiful and angular, but she had sharp teeth and black eyes with yellow pupils. She was naked save for a small wrapping around her lower body and a necklace of strange warped skulls and fibers that barely covered her breasts. She had toes with hooked claws and her fingernails were long and curved.
She hissed, and stretched with a yawn. “Oh… to be free again!” She said in a deep menacing voice. Suddenly her demeanor changed and she growled with a sound like a lion. “Circe… curse you, you weak little peon! Did you think you could keep a daemon imprisoned forever?!” She cried suddenly. “I will make you into a piglet and eat you whole for my supper!”
Cerice swallowed hard. The daemon had said Circe, which sounded similar enough to her name and she certainly did not want to become a baby pig for a daemon’s supper. She quietly reached across the table and snatched the book. She flipped through several pages, trying to see if she could find a spell for sealing the creature, a sense of urgency rising within her.
“There has to be something in here…” She whispered softly, before covering her mouth.
“WHO'S THERE!?” The woman growled, before she threw the table over with a kick of one clawed foot. Cerice covered her head, and grit her teeth as the table crashed into the sofa and its legs clattered loose. Cerice turned and looked over her shoulder to see the beastly woman looking down at her with teeth bared and a crooked smile.
“There you are Circe!” She said pointing a hooked talon towards her. “Hiding under a table? How cowardly! What would Odysseus say if he saw you now?” She shot to the ground on all fours and stalked towards Cerice like a Lion, licking her lips with a long forked tongue.
Cerice was brave, but this was something entirely new to her and she backed away until she was up against the windows. “I-I'm Cerice not Circe! I'm not who you think I am!” She said, a feeling of revulsion and fear growing as she saw the woman’s grotesque features up close
“Oh please! This is the worst disguise ever!” The woman arched her back and lifted her head to sniff at Cerice. “You smell like her… but then…” The woman eyed Cerice suspiciously and continued to sniff her. “Something is different about you… and why would you choose such an obvious disguise and not change your smell I wonder?” The woman hissed and stood to her full height of nearly two and a half meters. She put her hands on her hips as if thinking, and then looked around the room. “What year is this?”
Cerice swallowed “Its 2015…”
“2015? That makes no sense to me. What year would this be in Mycenae?” The Daemon snorted.
“Mycenae? What… I mean why Mycenae?” Cerice asked, curiosity rising inside of her.
“WHY Mycenae? Mycenae is the capitol of Aegean my dear. Now answer the question!” She said with a hiss.
Cerice thought back. Her studies on the Celts meant she often compared Celtic cultures with other ancient civilizations and she recalled that Mycenae was the civilization that dominated Greece before the classical period. A date came to mind.
“Mycenae started in 1600 B.C. and was replaced by the Greeks around 1100 so that would be… at least three thousand years ago.” She said, counting on her fingers to make sure she was right.
The Daemon furrowed her brow at this and growled. “That little… trout sniffing… pig loving witch! She kept me imprisoned for three millennia!” The woman clenched her fists and her talons dug into the linoleum of the workshop floor. Her head twisted back to Cerice, who jumped a bit and held the book before her body like a shield. The Daemon frowned and looked to the book. “Alright then “Cerice”… If you are not her, then how do you have her book?”
Cerice had been careful to keep that a secret, but now she felt that honesty would probably work in her favor. “I bought it in Athens.”
“And you can read it?” The daemon rose and took a few steps closer.
“Yes. I can see the glowing letters I mean. I cannot read all the other writing though.” She said, keeping the book in front of herself like a barrier.
“Hmm, you can read them, but the only person who could read them was her… so if you are not…” The horrendous woman mumbled to herself. "That means that you must be..." The Daemon scrutinized her for a long time, before she began to laugh a deep throaty laugh that made Cerice’s insides tremble. “You poor little thing! That means you don’t know do you?”
Cerice swallowed hard at the sinister laugh. “Know… what?”
The daemon just laughed louder. “Oh it really doesn’t matter that you are clueless. Killing you will be perfect revenge on that witch!”
“Kill me?!” Cerice felt like vomiting as she heard the words, and started to walk backwards towards the door.
To Be Continued...