This story is inspired by a brief scene from The Incomplete Enchanter
by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt:
The air was stuffy inside. The first thing Shea saw was a pile of dirty dishes. Dolon was evidently not the neat type of bachelor. Beyond was an object. that made his scalp prickle. It was the life-sized nude statue of a young man, stiff, at one side of the room, emitting a faint bluish glow. It held aloft a torch, which Dolon set alight.
The enchanter noticed Shea’s glance of inquiry. “A former ’prentice of mine,” he remarked. “I found he was a spy from Queen Gloriana’s court, where a few of those high-born grandees practise a kind of magic they call ‘white’. So there he stands, with all his sensations alive and the rest of him dead. Eh, Roger?” He pinched the statue playfully and laughed. “I’m really the best humorist in the Chapter when I’m in the mood.”
All I’ve done is change the “victim’s” sex and add a few embellishments here and there.
“Shalvi,” said the sorceress, “you have been singing to birds again.”
Shalvi and the sorceress Kalidris were standing in the great, marble-pillared hall of the sorceress’ sumptuous mountain palace. The hall contained some of the most priceless works of art Shalvi had ever seen. Magnificent paintings were hung so thickly that the marble walls were almost completely hidden, while the aisles were lined with hundreds of statues depicting every conceivable erotic act.
The silver alone in this hall could buy whole kingdoms, let alone the gold and jewels, and enough marble had been used in its construction to build a small palace in its own right. But the sorceress’ ambitions had never been small. In all the world it was said that there was no other collection that could compare with it...save one. But today it was not the collection that Kalidris wished to discuss with her servant.
“A curious pastime, don’t you think?” said Kalidris. “I was always under the impression that it was their pleasure to sing for our benefit.”
“S-singing to birds, mistress?” stammered Shalvi, averting her eyes. “I...I don’t understand.”
Kalidris sighed and reached out a hand to turn Shalvi’s face toward her.
“Yes you do, Shalvi,” said Kalidris. “You understand perfectly.” Her voice was quiet, but held all the menace of an approaching storm.
The sorceress was rumoured to have lived for centuries, but had the face and figure of a twenty-year old. Shalvi thought her the most beautiful woman in the world...save one.
“I have heard you, Shalvi,” the sorceress went on. “I have seen you. Surely you of all people realise that I have ways of seeing and hearing things even when I am not physically present.”
As she spoke the sorceress gazed deep into Shalvi’s eyes. Shalvi felt as though the sorceress were seeing into her very soul...which indeed she was.
The sorceress sighed. Such a pretty little thing, and yet so naive....
“You cannot lie to me, Shalvi,” Kalidris told her. “No one can. I have seen you singing to the birds that visit your window ledge. But the songs you sang were in no language that I recognise, and I am familiar with all the tongues of this world.”
Shalvi tried to swallow, but her throat was dry.
“It was Chelamis, wasn’t it?” said Kalidris. “She sent the birds to you. It was she who taught you to sing in a language of her own devising, so that when the birds flew back to her she could read their minds and hear the songs. Quite ingenious really.”
Shalvi said nothing, but her eyes momentarily turned in the direction of the great crystal window at the end of the hall.
Beyond that window, on the other side of the almost-impassable valley, stood another huge,glistening palace, upon a vertiginous mountain crag that was twin to the one upon which Kalidris’ palace stood.
The palace of Chelamis was a constant reminder that Kalidris’ ambitions did not go unchallenged; that there was another who stood in her way.
Kalidris turned to face the window, and Shalvi breathed a momentary sigh of relief.
“Chelamis,” muttered the sorceress, her voice barely concealing her contempt for the name. “I could have become ruler of this world long ago had it not been for that woman’s constant meddling. She has blocked my every move. And now this.”
Turning back to Shalvi, she demanded: “What did she promise you, Shalvi? What could she possibly give you that I could not? Wealth? Power? Immortality? Sex?”
Shalvi shrank back from the intensity of Kalidris’ stare.
“Shalvi, I could have given you all of those things and more. You were a good servant, and I was prepared to reward your service beyond your greatest dreams. I could have made you an empress, Shalvi. In all the world you would have been second only to me.”
Kalidris sighed and ran a hand across her forehead. “Shalvi,” she said sadly, “You of all people understand how vast my knowledge is. I know how the stars shine and why crystals form. I understand the nature of time and the structure of matter. I can explore the surface of the moons and the depths of the oceans. I know how to inflict infinite pain or exquisite pleasure, or both at the same time.”
Taking Shalvi’s face in her hands once more, she said: “Yet for all my knowledge, the human heart still holds mysteries for me.”
Shalvi’s own heart was pounding. She could feel herself sweating, and her throat was parched. Shalvi felt certain that the sorceress’ reference to inflicting pain had been a concealed threat. Transfixed by terror she could do nothing but stare at Kalidris, wishing that she could pass out.
“Why did you do it, Shalvi?” whispered Kalidris. “Why did you betray me? How did my enemy persuade you to sing my secrets to her birds?”
Shalvi’s voice was a dry croak. “Mistress, I...I cannot tell you.”
Kalidris considered this. “ ‘Cannot’ or ‘will not’ I wonder? But no, of course she would have put a spell on you to prevent you from speaking. Well, anything she can do, I can undo. While I’m at it I guess I’d better slow your heart down a little. No use you dying of a stroke before I can get the truth out of you.”
For a few moments the sorceress chanted quietly as if to herself. Sure enough, Shalvi felt her heartbeat slowing and her anxiety washing away. Even her mouth was no longer dry. She knew that she ought still to be afraid, but was no longer able to summon up her own terror. She could only wait in terrible calm while the sorceress prepared to question her.
“There,” said Kalidris triumphantly. “I have removed Chelamis’ spells. I always told her there was no spell of hers that I could not undo, but she never would believe it.“
Kalidris’ eyes bored into Shalvi’s.
“Now tell me, Shalvi. What did Chelamis say to you? How did she persuade you to spy on me?”
The sorceress’ voice seemed to emanate from the end of the universe. Shalvi could do nothing to prevent herself from answering.
“She said you were evil,” said Shalvi dreamily. “She said your ambition and lust for power would someday destroy the world, and that you had to be stopped for the sake of humanity. She made me feel proud to be helping her in such a noble cause.”
Kalidris snorted. “How typical of her to twist the truth like that. Surely any fool can see that she is the evil one. I do not seek power for its own sake as she does. I only wish to rule the world in order to bring an end to war and greed and human folly.”
Gazing at the rival palace once more, Kalidris said, “I could almost forget that we were once inseparable... that she was my sister... my friend... my confidante... my lover....”
Kalidris turned back to Shalvi.
“And now, to think that she has come to this. To plant a spy in my own household. I can scarcely imagine a more treacherous act. Although I am forced to admit that using birds as couriers was quite an ingenious idea.”
Once more Shalvi heard the sorceress speaking as if from infinity.
“So tell me, Shalvi,” she said, “what exactly did you tell the birds, that they might tell Chelamis in turn? Which of my secrets did you betray?”
“I told her the secret words that open the doors and magic portals within the palace,” said Shalvi.
Even as the words left her mouth, Shalvi knew she had condemned herself to death. But she could not stop talking; she did not even have the will to try.
“I told her the location of the secret artifacts, the magical cups and swords and gems and grimoires and rings and robes of power. And above all, mistress, I told her where you sleep and how to break the spells that guard you while you slumber.”
Shalvi was relieved when the compulsion to speak finally ended, even though her words had quite thoroughly condemned her.
“So,” said Kalidris, “you told her everything, did you not? Everything of importance, at any rate. Everything she felt she would need in order to defeat me.”
“Y...yes, mistress.” Shalvi lowered her head, as if readying herself for the axe.
But the blow did not come just then. Instead, Shalvi was surprised to hear Kalidris chuckling quietly.
“You told her what you thought was the truth,” said Kalidris. “And so she will not suspect that her information is false. Oh, some of what I told you was true, Shalvi, but some was not. I was testing you, you see, and you failed.”
Kalidris stared across the valley at Chelamis’ palace.
“Let her gloat,” she said. “Let her revel in her triumph for a little while. It won’t be long before she realises she has failed, and then I will be the one to gloat.”
The sorceress turned back to Shalvi once more.
“But as for you, Shalvi....”
Shalvi could not meet her eyes.
“You betrayed me, Shalvi. I cannot believe you were taken in by my sister’s lies. And how could you have been so naive as to think I wouldn’t discover your betrayal?”
Kalidris shook her head sadly.
“Oh, Shalvi, if only you had not betrayed me. You could have anything you wanted. Anything. You could have been a goddess. You could have ruled beside me with Chelamis grovelling at your feet, if only you had not been so foolish as to believe her. As it is, I have no alternative but to punish you. I have to make an example of you so that others will not be tempted to follow you.”
Shalvi fell to her knees weeping.
“Spare my life, mistress, I beg you,” she sobbed. “You’re right. I was weak. I was foolish. I was taken in by her lies. How could I help it? She was so persuasive. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, until I saw you, mistress, and she used her beauty to seduce me. When she made love to me it was... it was like... I can’t describe it. She promised me that once you were defeated she would take me as her consort forever. So she taught me her secret language and the spells to summon her birds, and then I went to your footman and begged admission. And that’s the truth, mistress, I swear it.”
“I know,” said Kalidris. “What you tell me of my sister rings true. There will be a reckoning between us two some day, but not yet. Perhaps not for a thousand years. But that does not excuse your actions, Shalvi. Still you must answer for them.”
“Spare me, mistress, that is all I ask,” Shalvi wept. “I will do anything for you, mistress. Anything at all.”
For a moment Kalidris did not speak. Shalvi found the wait agonising.
Finally the sorceress knelt before Shalvi and whispered:
Shalvi swallowed. “Y-yes, mistress. Anything at all. Only name it.”
Kaldris took Shalvi by the hand and raised her to her feet.
”Well, now,” said the sorceress, brushing the hair back from Shalvi’s tear-streaked face, “I suppose it would be a pity to kill you.”
Kalidris brushed her hands gently across Shalvi’s face, and at once the tear-stains vanished.
“Ye-s,” muttered Kalidris. “It really would be a shame to destroy such a pretty face.”
Kalidris ran her hands over Shalvi’s dress and her own and they immediately vanished, leaving them both naked amidst the naked statues.
“Oh, yes,” whispered Kalidris in Shalvi’s ear. “It would have been quite heartbreaking to have destroyed such a beautiful body.”
For several minutes no words were spoken while Kalidris and Shalvi gently explored each others’ bodies with their hands.
Then Kalidris effortlessly picked Shalvi up by the waist and swung her over to a marble square in the centre of the aisle. It looked no different from the others, but the moment Shalvi’s bare feet touched it the square block began to rise from out the floor until it was a marble dais about half a cubit in height. At the same time Shalvi’s body began to tingle all over. It was not an unpleasant sensation, but there was something that did not feel right about it.
Kalidris meanwhile had begun gently stroking Shalvi’s bottom and nibbling her breasts.
Through her growing arousal, Shalvi was beginning to feel apprehensive.
”M...mistress?” she said, forcing the words out between moans of pleasure. “Mistress... I... can’t... seem... to... move... my... legs...!”
Kalidris’ only response was to kneel down, caress those motionless limbs with her hands, and begin caressing Shalvi’s labia with her mouth and tongue.
Shalvi’s legs were frozen. Her arms slowly moved of their own accord until they took on a welcoming posture, and then they too froze.
“M... mist... resss...” cried Shalvi, “I... c... c... caaa... n’ttttt....”
And then she could no longer make a sound.
A moment later she couldn’t turn her head. She couldn’t even moan in her ecstasy. A benign smile was frozen upon her lips.
Kalidris stood up and examined her.
“Excellent,” she said. “The perfect pose and expression.”
And with that she began rhythmically stroking Shalvi’s vagina with one hand while caressing one of her hardening nipples with the other.
Shalvi pleaded with her eyes. Kalidris saw the plea, but merely shook her head.
“I told you I had no alternative but to punish you, Shalvi. You begged me to spare your life, so I have spared it. But I cannot take the chance that you might betray me again, and so from now on you shall never move again.”
Shalvi was thinking, No! Dear gods, no! Anything but that!
But her face remained an impassive mask as Kalidris’ fingers brought her closer and closer to orgasm.
“I shall come and keep you company from time to time, when I’m not busy,” Kalidris promised. “In the meantime you’ll have all the time in the world to look across at Chelamis’ palace and recall how she tricked you into coming here. But don’t be too sad. From now on you shall be the pride of my collection. You shall stand among my statues... as the most beautiful statue of them all.”
And at that instant Shalvi was brought to the most beautiful, intense and prolonged orgasm of her life, and all her fears and regrets were washed away.
A thousand years later
The feathers gently caressed the statue’s neck and shoulders before languidly working their way down across her breasts, stomach and abdomen and finally slipping into her vagina.
“There. You like that, don’t you?” grinned Thula.
“Thula!” came the sorceress’ voice. “Are you still dusting? Don’t forget we have an important guest coming.”
“No, mistress,” Thula sighed.
“And if you’re playing with Shalvi again, just remember that you could be joining her on a pedestal of your own if your work fails to satisfy me.”
But Thula was kind and considerate, so she did not leave at once but continued to caress Shalvi’s genitalia with the duster until the statue-girl’s pupils dilated and her face took on the tell-tale flush of orgasm.
A single tear fell from the corner of Shalvi’s eye. Thula reached up and kissed her, licking away the tear, and then wiped her face and genitalia with a fresh cloth.
“I often wonder what it’s like to be you,” whispered Thula. “I really hope you’re not sad all the time.”
“Thula! Confound it, girl, where are you?”
Thula sighed. “Gotta run,” she said, giving Shalvi another peck on the cheek.
Presently Kalidris entered the great hall with Thula in attendance. They were accompanied by another woman whose face bore a strong resemblance to Kalidris. Thula had never seen the other woman until this day, but as they stepped in front of Shalvi, Thula saw the frozen girl’s eyes widen involuntarily. It was obvious that she recognised the newcomer, but as Kalidris’ servant it was up to Thula to perform the introductions.
“Lady Chelamis,” she said, stepping forward and curtseying, “I am sure that you recognise your former servant Shalvi, erstwhile servant of Lady Kalidris, and for many years since by the Lady Kalidris’ grace the most priceless of all her statues. Shalvi, the Lady Chelamis, here by special invitation of the Lady Kalidris.”
Thula curtseyed again and stepped back.
Chelamis stepped forward and smiled at the paralysed girl.
“Hello, Shalvi,” she said, reaching forward to place a hand on her naked breast. “I was wondering if I’d ever see you again. It’s so nice to know you have a position here.”
Turning to Kalidris, she said, “In case you were wondering, I turned your spy into a bathtub. The faucets are her nipples, and the drain hole... well, I’m sure you get the idea.”
“It’s interesting that neither of us executed the other’s spy, isn’t it?” said Kalidris. “Instead we preserved them and allowed them to contemplate their helplessness forever. It seems we really are more alike than we thought.”
“Shall we drink to that?” said Chelamis. “I’ve taken the liberty of bringing along a very fine 163-year-old wine from the dwarf vineyards of Dimension 306 Alpha.”
“Yes,” agreed Kalidris, “we must see how it compares to my stock of Demonbrew 3500. The grapes are fertilised in dragon dung, which gives them a quite unique flavour.”
Shalvi was quite forgotten. The two sorceresses went off chatting about wine with Thula in tow.
Later that evening Thula returned alone to the great hall, spoke the words that caused the central aisle’s magical lights to shine, and approached Shalvi.
“Mistress gave me the evening off,” Thula told Shalvi. “They’re getting drunk and fucking each other blind.”
She gave a sigh and hugged Shalvi tight.
“You’ll have gathered they’re friends now,” said Thula. “Their little war that lasted for thousands of years is all over, and they can rule the world together in peace. Until next time they fall out, I suppose, whether that’s tomorrow or in a thousand years’ time.”
Thula was silent for a few moments, lost in thought. Then she cried: “Oh, Shalvi, it’s so unfair. The only reason Kalidris turned you into a statue was to punish you for serving Chelamis. Now they’re at peace and there’s no longer any reason for your punishment, yet they’re just going to leave you as a statue anyway. And that other girl Chelamis talked about, that became a bath. The sorceresses have betrayed you both. I can’t imagine what you must be feeling right now.”
For a while Thula wept on Shalvi’s shoulder. Then she dried her tears and hugged the statue-girl again.
“Shalvi, I know I’ve teased you in the past - you know, about being a statue and everything. I’m sorry about that. I really didn’t mean to be cruel. And all the times I’ve done sexual things to you... well, I hope you understand that they weren’t just for my pleasure, although I did enjoy them. What I mean is, I hope they gave you pleasure as well, and... and I hope you don’t mind if I keep on doing them, because now that I know what my mistress is really like it will never be the same with her again.”
Thula momentarily stepped back from Shalvi’s permanently outstretched arms and said, “I’d really like to start now, Shalvi. As long as the sorceresses are occupied, I’d like to make love to you. I promise I will do my best to give you pleasure as well as myself.”
It might have been her imagination, or a distorted echo from the sorceress’s chamber far below, or some magical residue that the palace had absorbed from thousands of years of sorcery. Whatever it was, Thula was certain that she heard a voice speaking clearly into her mind:
“Yes, Thula. Yes. I forgive you. I love you. Yes. Yes. Yes.”