THE ANGST AND THE ANALYST
From the Journals and Papers of Dr. MorningGlory Gaeston
(Rated PG-13: Adult themes, mild language, mild violence, nudity)
Chapter X – Part 2
Father insisted on going to Hendak’s men-only party. As he said, he was a man, he was invited and he was attending. Riona had come over to have dinner with Waukeen and me, and Father, Hendak, and Anomen had piled back into the carriage with Sir Ryan to go to the Coronet for the evening of male frivolity. I thoughtfully had ‘released’ Sir Ryan from his ‘Father-sitting’ duties for the evening but cautioned them all that we had better not see the face of an angry city guard delivering any, or all, of them at some ungodly hour of the morning for some infraction of the law resulting from ‘bad’ behavior. All I got in return for my admonitions against such indignities were four, slightly sheepish, little boy smiles -- but no reassurances that such an event would not take place. I shook my head as I closed the door and placed their fate in the hands of Helm himself.
“It is such a charming custom,” Waukeen laughed as we sat in the lounge listening to the eyeless cult musicians. “I mean, the men getting together for their own little party. The male camaraderie, and all.”
“Oh, yes, Mother,” I sniffed indignantly, remembering the musicians were blind, not deaf. “A custom no doubt instituted by Sharess.” Waukeen looked perplexed at my apparent cynicism.
“We have only heard second-hand what goes on at these affairs,” Riona quickly explained. “I know of no woman, other than the, er, entertainers, who has ever been invited, much less any who attended.”
There was an edge to my voice as I tried to further explain. “And, I am sure the rumors we have heard are only a small part of what really occurs.”
“Really, Glory, you are not concerned with Hendak’s loyalty and fidelity, are you?” Waukeen was serious.
“No, it just bothers me that some young, firm, agile, flat-stomached, large-breasted woman is going to be rubbing her nude body all over him. It…It disturbs me tremendously.” It was a surprising admission for me as I felt my face turn red.
“But, Glory.. You are the one woman that my Son truly loves and you are going to be the mother of his children. Does knowing this not give you peace of mind?” Waukeen didn’t seem to readily grasp the concept of jealousy.
“It’s not that I doubt his feelings, Mother. It’s just that mortal temptation can be so overwhelming and many have succumbed to far less,” I replied, vainly attempting to rationalize my own feelings of possessiveness.
“And, you, Riona? You have this same feeling about Anomen?”
“I must admit, yes, I feel the same way. Even though Anomen and I will be married shortly, and I know he loves me and would never be unfaithful to me, I still don’t like the idea very much.”
“Well, then, Children,” she said thoughtfully. “Perhaps we should see for ourselves exactly what does occur at these events. Follow me.” Riona and I looked at each other, mutually wondering exactly what Waukeen had in mind. With more than a healthy dose of curiosity, we followed her down the hall from the lounge to the dining room.
Drusay had already cleaned up from the evening meal and had prepared for serving breakfast. We were totally alone in the quiet of the dim light.
“Ah,” said Waukeen. “Just what we need.” She stopped in front of the large, four-by-six meter ornamental mirror overhanging the long buffet on the side of the room. “This will do nicely as our viewing screen.” She waved her hand and our shadowed reflections were instantly replaced with a birds-eye view of the brightly lit interior of the main floor of the Copper Coronet. It was like being there.
“Now, shall we make ourselves comfortable, Children?” she smiled. “It would appear the show is about to begin…” She waved her hand again and three comfortable chairs appeared from nowhere. Unbeknownst to the partygoers, we had our own private viewing gallery. I felt just a twinge of guilt, but not enough to tear my attention from what lay before me. No, there was too much curiosity to even voice a mild protest.
We watched intently as the fifty-or-so men who had been invited to the private party were reveling in their mutually jovial mood. All had been adequately fed as Bernard and a few staff cleared the last of dinner plates from the many tables. From casual observation, it was also obvious that all of them were heavily into their ale thereby confirming my long-held belief that the level of raucous laughter rises in direct proportion to the amount of spirits consumed. It was very loud. No doubt, the whooping and carrying-on being the result of nefarious tall tales being exchanged between rascals and raconteurs alike.
Strange music suddenly wafted through the air halting their story telling and commanded the undivided interest of the rowdy group. The view swung to the side where a group of elfin musicians engaged a soporific and heady melody on instruments I didn’t even recognize. As if on cue, Bernard opened the side door and a bevy of beautiful, exotic young females moved fluidly into the main room amid the enthusiastic whistles and catcalls offered up by the men. The entertainment had arrived in the mixture of humans, elfs, and half-elfs, with two ebony-skinned drow impersonators. Rather, I assumed them to be impersonators. I had never met a drow, so I couldn’t be sure, but after reading Anomen’s journal depicting the group’s travel to and from the drow city in the Underdark, I could only imagine why ‘impersonators’ had been included in the line up. The sensual prowess of the drow females was legendary.
Regardless, they were all devastatingly exquisite in their scanty, wispy costumes -- with all of their feminine charms nearly fully exposed through the filmy see-through fabric. Accompanied by the exotic music of the elfin ensemble, they glided into their opening dance with the precision of a highly trained military troop. The risqué choreography was designed to capture the men’s full attention, and, indeed, it did, as the spellbound crowd sat totally enthralled with the more-than-suggestive movements expertly executed by the women. Nothing could be heard except the music as all eyes were fixed upon the undulating dancers.
Soon the opening dance was concluded and the spell momentarily broken as the men shouted and whistled in overwhelming approval. Only a few moments passed before the musicians began again and hush commanded the room. ‘This might not be so bad,’ I thought. ‘I, perhaps, can live with this.’
The second dance was far more suggestive than the first as pieces of the wispy garments fell away with each sinuous movement the dancers made. The young women then caressed themselves and each other to the undulating erotic strains of the music. Midway through the number, the dancers broke formation and serpentined their way in and around the crowded tables of men, dedicating individual attentions to their entranced audience. ‘No,’ I thought, as I watched the men turning into mounds of drooling jelly, ‘maybe I can’t live with this.’
One tall,dark-haired half-elf immediately locked her gaze on Anomen and began rhythmically moving toward him in time with the music. Flanking each side, Father and Sir Ryan gleefully egged him on as the young woman suggestively flirted and slowly wound her way within inches of him as he sat upon his chair. He was, needless to say, totally rapt by her solicitude. Back and forth she swayed to the hypnotic music as she ran her fingers along his face and beard then through his hair. With finite agility, she straddled his lap facing him then grasped the back of his head and slowly pulled his face down and into her bare, amply full cleavage. Hearty shouts of encouragement arose from the fellow tablemates. I glanced at Riona and was immediately glad she was no longer afflicted with her father’s ‘taint’. In strictly a mortal form, her ire was reputed to be formidable, and right now she didn’t look any too happy.
“Let me show you our ‘zoom-in’ feature,” Waukeen said and magically centered the scene in closer range. Anomen’s face couldn’t be seen at all. It was buried between the vixen’s bare breasts.
“Oh,” huffed Riona, totally incensed. “I cannot believe what I am seeing! I.. I wish she had horns, and a beard, and.. and.. hair on her chest! I bet he wouldn’t have his nose buried in her breasts then!” To say she was furious at the sight before us was an understatement. Especially since it appeared that Anomen was providing no resistance to the blatant ‘assault’ upon him.
“Ah,” said Waukeen. “Excellent idea!” And with a wave of her hand the young woman was immediately adorned with a full beard, visible chest hair matted across her breasts, and a set of beautiful horns worthy of any prize Hereford bull. Anomen immediately withdrew and looked up at her in horror. Father and Sir Ryan were equally shocked, as was the rest of the table. The young woman quickly resumed her standing position as Anomen instinctively lifted her up and set her on her feet.
Waukeen, Riona, and I, in turn, burst into laughter. In the blink of an eye, Waukeen quickly waved her hand and changed the young woman back to her original buxom form. The witnesses blinked, looked at each other saying nothing, then rubbed their eyes, not sure whether they were the victims of a mass illusion or putrid ale. We laughed even more as Anomen shook his head and turned away when she again approached him.
“Mother, where is Hendak?” I asked anxiously. “I don’t see him anywhere.”
“Well, Daughter, my guess is that since he is the guest of honor, he is…” She was scanning the picture to and fro, in and out, trying to pinpoint his location. “Right here.”
He was apparently sitting on a chair, but all I could see was a pair of boots – his boots. The balance of his physical person was covered over with five young women and I couldn’t see anything else of him.
I was suddenly transformed into the green-eyed monster that I had counseled so many of my patients to fight against becoming. “Hendak, how could you dally so with such… such… beautiful young women!” I yelled at the mirror, not consciously realizing how truly silly and irrational I sounded. “Mother! Do something!”
“Very well,” she snickered as she waved her hand. Each one of the young women grew a squiggly pink tail, a snout and a cute pair of piggy ears. They all backed off from Hendak and began snorting. He sat on the chair, shirt unbuttoned and pulled free of his trousers that also held his now loosened belt. The look on his face was sheer shock and disbelief at what he was seeing. Within the moment he blinked, the young women returned to their natural voluptuous beauty. The young dancers looked at each other and then at him. They pow-wowed for a moment amongst themselves before cautiously continuing more sedate attentions to him. ‘At least their zeal is gone,’ I thought.
The music continued on for several minutes as the women made their rounds insuring each man a moment of unshared and undivided attention. As I watched their ministrations, I was sure beyond a shadow of a doubt they must all be priestesses and clerics of Sharess. In my mind, they had to be. The band soon stopped, however, and the young women politely extricated themselves from whatever activity in which they were engaged and moved to the side of the room. Once the women were in place, the musicians struck up a different song. Even more spellbinding than the others that went before.
From the side door Bernard appeared with a tall multi-tiered cake on a flat handcart. I had at least heard of this custom, and figured it to be the main attraction. I had been told that the star dancer was always relegated to the inside of a hollow cake. It was her job to ceremoniously ‘pop out’ the top of the cake and ‘entertain’ the guest of honor at the appropriate time. I just didn’t know if I could watch this, whether Hendak was interested or not, it didn’t matter. I covered my eyes as Mother Waukeen read my thoughts.
“Not to worry, dear Daughter,” she chuckled. “Watch this.”
The music changed and became even more sensuous and heady as the cake was wheeled out in front of the table where all four men now sat. More cat calls and whistles rose up from the expectant crowd. They all knew what was coming, or rather they thought they did.
The top popped off and suddenly the most beautiful nude maiden appeared. Well, beautiful for an orc maiden. She lumbered out the side of the cake crashing into a nearby table sending the eight men hurrying to safety.
“What is this!” we heard Anomen yell, his words slightly slurred. “I paid good coin for Katrine, the best joy dancer in all of Amn to be in that cake. What in nine hells happened to her??!! Where is she?? This isn’t her!!! This is some.. some.. impostor, and by the Gods, a butt-ugly one at that!!” From the look on Anomen’s face, I thought he might begin retching at any moment.
“I think,” Father said loudly looking about and perking his senses, “I think there is strong magic here. I can sense it. I can feel it.” As badly as his speech was slurred, I was surprised he could sense anything outside the mug of ale in his hand. He looked about the room as the guests grumbled amongst themselves and the orc stumbled about in bewilderment.
“Oh, dear, Children. We’ve been found out,” said Waukeen and immediately waved her hand. The young orc maiden returned to the exotic Katrine as she was when she climbed into the cake. “Tabor has found us out. Time for us to leave the men to their festive encounters in privacy. But one last thing before we go….” She waved her hand again yet there were no visible signs of whatever she had done. She quickly waved her hand again and the mirror darkened and returned to being just the mirror over the buffet.
“There,” she smiled. “All done. And do not worry. None of our loved ones will be able to get into too much trouble. I’ve taken away all sense of desire in their, er, more sensitive parts for the next several hours. But I must warn you both, when it returns, it will return with a very bountiful wellspring, to be sure, so be prepared.”
We all giggled. Pay back in the morning would be such a bitch.
Waukeen, Riona, and I had all agreed before retiring that even if we were tortured, we would never confess to knowing anything of what happened that evening at the Coronet. Our little intrusion and Waukeen’s meddling in the men’s fun would forever be our secret. There was a very small part of me that actually regretted eavesdropping on their party. I didn’t honestly know if I was any wiser now that I knew what occurred at these occasions, or if my jealousy and curiosity had simply gotten the better of me. I concluded that the little twinge of guilt I felt was because of the latter.
One more day until the wedding, I thought as I lay in bed awaiting my husband-to-be to return from his ‘men’s soirée’. Riona and Anomen had graciously accepted Father’s invitation to stay at the house until after the union ritual and, it looked like Sir Ryan was also going to take up temporary residence, as well. I soon heard the door to our bedchamber open and a weaving, unsteady Hendak tried to quietly traverse the distance to our bed.
“My love?” I said.
“Yesssss, it is I,” he said, his speech unclear, even through his normal accent. “Your love hasss survived.. er, I mean hasss arrived.” He lightly stumbled and fell onto the bed, his feet and legs partially hanging over the edge. He wasn’t moving.
“Your shirt, Hendak?”
“What shirt?” His smile reflected in the shadows of the room. He was missing his shirt, one boot, at least one sock, and his belt. “I’m not sssure where I left it, my love,” he mumbled but still didn’t move. I got up and pulled off the other boot, removed his trousers and desperately tried to ignore the lip rouge that repeatedly marked his body as I remembered what Waukeen had said. I rolled him up and over to his side of the bed and covered him. Morning would be here soon enough and I could only imagine that even demigods suffered the morning after too much drink the night before. That and the other problem he was going to have, thanks to her.
The next day was busy. After a round of minor healings from Anomen, the men were feeling much better. Father volunteered to go to the Church and see that all was readied there as we were slated to rehearse the ritual late in the afternoon and the actual ceremony would take place the next day at mid-afternoon sharp. The reception would follow at the great house. The hall and the garden were being readied even now with tables and chairs and other decorations.
It was soon late afternoon and we gathered to go to rehearsal. Seer Marybeth would meet us at the Church and it would be her duty to inform the Church’s Clergy that Waukeen would be attending and why. She would also caution them on the necessity of the secrecy of Waukeen’s attendance until such time She would reveal herself during the ceremony. Seer Marybeth Fatewatch was so good at that type of thing.
Hamblen Davenport, High Priest of The Church of Waukeen, Athkatla, personally greeted us. He was a tall man, very stately with a commanding voice. He would be performing the Union, if he could quit fawning over Waukeen long enough to remember the rite itself and why he was there.
We walked through the ritual, Seer Marybeth keeping a watchful eye from the wings as the acolytes showed us where to stand and when. It wasn’t a lengthy or complicated ordeal and we all enjoyed going through the motions. Tomorrow it would be for real and the tenor in the excitement was already building. As I watched Hendak going through the motions, I couldn’t help but think, ‘tomorrow at this time, we will be joined’. I wanted to cry from the burgeoning joy, but didn’t dare for fear I would not be able to stop.
We were finally finished and everyone knew their respective parts – what to say and when, where to stand. We retired back to the house where the last of the arrangements were being put into place for the reception. Drusay had arranged a lovely dinner for us all and we feasted on braised pheasant and sansou soufflé. Everyone was giddy with excitement and the wine and the laughter both flowed freely.
Gernsey had made special cloudberry truffles with a splash of port for desert. I had second portions of the wickedly delicious little morsels, as I was even more ravenous than usual. “Are you sure your dress will fit tomorrow?” Hendak teased me. “Wouldn’t want you popping out of it at the most inopportune of moments.”
“Um-hum,” I replied with my mouth full of the gooey treat. “And if my dress should meet with such an unfortunate fate, then, so be it.”
The next day dawned brighter and clearer than I had ever seen before. The new bells at the Church of Waukeen were heard ringing throughout the city precisely at mid-morn signaling a major event of the day as well as calling the faithful. It was our event.
Riona, Charona and my chambermaid helped me dress while we were still at the great house. The conversations ran from Riona growing up at Candlekeep to the first time I met Hendak. Charona shared some of her memories of home when she was a little girl before the slavers took her, and her parents killed. The range of emotions swung from tears of sadness to hysterical laughter.
Waukeen came and kept us company for a while as well. She would go to the Church early and be cloistered in a small room to the side of the altar until the time when she would step forward and give her son in the ritual. She had decided it would be less disruptive overall, as it was our day, and though her appearance was going to bring a decidedly marked reaction, she wanted to minimize it as much as possible.
The men were gathered in Father’s private parlor most of the day sipping on brandy and brandishing stories that were half-truths. They had long since dressed in their own finery and worried about nothing more than a few drops of the brown liquor on their white tunics that Father quickly dispelled for them. They left for the Church before we did and took Drusay and Guernsey with them at Father’s suggestion.
Our carriage arrived and Riona, Charona, and I climbed in. The beautiful silk folds in my dress as well as Riona and Charona’s dresses made it difficult for all of us to fit, but we finally nestled in nicely.
With a little divine guidance, Jershua had created a true work of art. Charona was fearful of my dress becoming soiled. “No, watch, Charona. Waukeen enchanted it this morning.” I took her shoe and rubbed the bottom of it on my skirt. The blackened mark immediately disappeared. “I may not be invulnerable, but my dress is,” I explained and we all laughed yet again, the giddy emotions seeming to bind us all in the spell of the day.
When we arrived we were directed through a side entrance into a room off the vestibule at the back of the Church. It was comfortable with appropriate seating, and we could primp a little more here, if need be. I thanked Charona and sent her to find her seat among the 300 or so of Amn’s elite who had arrived and patiently awaited the beginning of the ritual.
“How much longer?” I asked. I was getting nervous and impatient.
“About a half-hour,” replied Riona. She looked beautiful in her platinum-colored dress. The star ruby set at the bosom generously surrounded with sprays of platinum pearls bespoke the dress’s opulence and Waukeen’s generosity. Her beautiful dark red hair was loosely braided on the sides with platinum pearls intertwined and pulled back into a long rolled curl that was showcased by the near backless design.
She rearranged my veil for the one-thousandth time as I fidgeted with the white roses and Father’s gardenias I carried in my bouquet.
“Oh, Glory, Anomen finally asked me to marry him,” she said rather sheepishly. “I should have said something sooner, but I just wanted it to be me and you when I told you, and I really didn’t have the opportunity before now.”
“Oh, Riona, that is wonderful!” I said trying to feign surprise through my own mounting jitters. “When did this happen?”
“The other night after their little party,” she went on to explain. “He could hardly speak to where I could understand what he was saying..” There was a tone of reticence in her voice.
“I said yes.” She then smiled. “He said he realized I was the only woman for him. You don’t think Waukeen’s little spell just before we ‘left’ had anything to do with that, do you? That with no desire for those women, he may have thought--”
“No, Riona,” I quickly interrupted her. “I don’t believe that at all. I am sure he was being truthful in his feelings. You ARE the only woman for him and you know it.”
“It is time, ladies,” Seer Marybeth was at the door to the vestibule. We walked into the vestibule as she opened the outer door leading to the aisle into the Church proper. Riona stood in front of me listening for the harpists to begin. I could see Father standing across the vestibule, waiting until he would meet me at the head of the aisle to escort me to the altar.
“Riona, did you set a date?” I whispered. The harps began their chorus.
“Two months, more or less. Not an exact date yet.” She smiled as she began her walk down the aisle between the long rows of newly restored pews filled with humans, elves, half-elves, halfings, gnomes, and others of Amn and Faerun. All eyes turned to watch her advance in time with the music.
I walked out and met my Father. He looked so handsome in his white tunic and white pants, his silver and black hair brushed neatly back. He wore the royal blue sash of a ranking wizard of the Cowled Wizards with his own personal, distinguishing runes and markings. A tear formed in his dark eyes as we approached each other and he lovingly leaned over and kissed my cheek. He quickly dabbed at his eye with a gloved finger then took my hand to lead me down the aisle where Hendak stood watching and waiting.
The harpists continued to play, and as I neared, I saw how devastatingly handsome my future husband looked in his brilliant white suit with gold and platinum piping. He smiled at me and literally took my breath away. Anomen stood directly to his right bearing the box with the amulet as well as the simple gold band Hendak had gotten for my ritual ring. He looked nervous compared to Hendak. Directly to his right stood Sir Ryan, ready to assist Father, should the need arise. Waukeen had chosen not to select a Standing Woman and consequently the space directly to the left of Riona was conspicuously empty. Hamblen Davenport, High Priest, and four other Priests, two on each side, stood in front of the little group awaiting my arrival. As we had rehearsed, Father and I stopped short of the altar.
“We are here today to perform the High Rites of the Blessed Union for the Union Ritual of MorningGlory, daughter of Tabor and Calisen Gaeston, and Hendak, son of Haan and our Goddess Waukeen.” The Priest’s voice resounded forcefully throughout the Church and an intense but low whispering immediately erupted at the pronouncement of the name ‘Waukeen.’ The Priest paused only a moment to allow his proclamation to sink in.
“Who gives MorningGlory to this Blessed Union?” asked Hamblen Davenport.
Father led me the remaining three meters and put my hand in Hendak’s hand. He genuinely smiled at him as he did, and then turned to face the Priest.
“I, Tabor Gaeston, her Father, do,” he replied in a loud clear voice. Sir Ryan slotted over one spot as he stepped over to the right of Anomen and took his place.
“Who gives Hendak to this Blessed Union?” asked Hamblen Davenport.
The Goddess Waukeen emerged from the small room off the side of the altar and walked to the center. She wore no veil and her beautiful face and true identity was open for all to see.
“I, the Goddess Waukeen, his Mother, do,” she replied in a strong melodious voice then picked up Hendak’s other hand and placed it in mine. And then she took her place beside Riona.
Immediate gasps and shrieks rose up from the crowd. I could hear the rustle of murmurings and whispers running rampant behind me. ‘Waukeen.’ ‘It’s really Waukeen.’ ‘It’s our Goddess.’ ‘It’s a miracle.’ ‘Waukeen has really returned.’ ‘Hendak is really Waukeen’s son.’ Hamblen Davenport wisely waited for a few moments that the crowd could compose itself. The Priest then very audibly cleared his throat and continued with the ritual, and we all dutifully executed our parts just as we had rehearsed. All was flowing seamlessly.
We were just getting to the part where we were to exchange our pledges when I heard a loud booming voice from the back of the Church.
“Boo! Come back here!” came the wail. Everyone turned to stare in disbelief at the one responsible for interrupting the solemn ceremony of the High Rites.
We turned to look and from descriptions I had read in Anomen’s journal, I knew it could only be a man named Minsc, his blue circular tattoo visibly prominent even at this distance. He was standing in the second from the last pew, and I could only guess he was referring to “Boo,” his furry rodent pet hamster.
Anomen visibly groaned and immediately covered his face. I heard him say, “Oh, dear Gods, Boo is loose.”
By the Gods! As if the shock of seeing Waukeen in person wasn’t enough, Boo was loose among 300 plus people who probably didn’t know what a hamster was! The thought gripped me almost instantaneously with an impending feeling of doom.
“Aahhhh!” A blood-curdling scream ripped through the stillness of the church. I looked to see the prim and proper Lady Cutthope crumpling into a well-dressed mound of human flesh as she fainted dead and away between the fifth and sixth row of pews. I could only assume she didn’t know what a hamster was, and had just been rudely introduced to one for the first time. I audibly groaned as the worst-case scenario swept across my mind. A vision of rioting, rampant churchgoers with various heaps of fallen faithful scattered about the main chamber suddenly clouded my thoughts.
Hendak squeezed my hand and winked at me, his eyes filled with a twinkle. “Well, my love, I can see our wedding will live in everyone’s memory for a very long time to come.”
Yes, just what I wanted to be remembered for, I thought -- our guests being terrorized by a tiny rodent running amok.
TO BE CONTINUED…….
The Angst and The Analyst X (Part II)
No replies to this topic
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users