Fiction: A Lady's Prerogative III: Singularity by Brian Joseph Johns

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.


My Personal Views And Disarming Others


This work is written by myself, Brian Joseph Johns. I'm not rich though I am not a populist. I do this for the love of doing it and maybe someday it will pay off. I am not a movie producer. I am not on the blue team. Ironically I am not Irish or Italian either with all due respect. I don't say the opposite of what I mean. I don't swap Africa and Asia, with all due respect to both continents. I do not accept ancestors who would deny me my own identity or deny my right to be or have been involved romantically with a Mandarin Chinese lady.


Any ancestry I have that fits the bill of opposition to such a relationship, I no longer consider to be my ancestry. I discarded them and anyone else like that long ago. The same rule applies to anyone deceased as it does for anyone alive. Family, friend or foe alike. I stand firm by my beliefs in that regard.


I am not a member of any religion based upon the line of Abraham whatsoever, though I hold no ill towards anyone of any belief that is not about harassment or abuse of others as part of their daily love/hate or blood and fire battle and that seeks to further the ends of human rights and peace more so than war.


Nor am I a member of any club or cult that would force others to pay for their blood by carrying the weight of their burdens in order to earn membership. I don't believe in god or the devil. I believe that humanity fits both roles quite nicely and more likely, humankind created god and the devil in its own image rather than the other way around.


Nor am I a member of any club or cult that would deny a person their own identity based upon the fact of whether they keep that identity secret or not and compared to someone else who keeps it secret better than them.


I am not a member of Prince Hall or a Jehovah's Witness, or a Mormon, and I am not fond of the Kybalion. I am not a member of Salvation Army or Dixon Hall either with all due respect. I pretty much lost my own identity at the hands of the two. There are some ideologies in this world that attempt to erase people, while stealing their history from them. I strongly advise you to be very careful of such people.


Nor am I a member of any club or cult that would define or enforce any aspect of my own consciousness according to the symbolism of colours. I am as much myself after I don my clothing or interact with any colour as I am before. Colours do not affect who we are, but they might affect how you're treated by people who use colours for such purposes. I'd highly suggest you liberate yourself from that form of oppressive symbolism altogether. It's slavery, plain and simple.


That also means that I don't go by the colour symbolism of video games as well. So no bad guys are red and good guys are blue for instance.


That doesn't mean that I'm a member of the underground railroad, a Freemason, Rosicrucian or anything of that nature. It just means that I'm observant, though I'm not anti-Masonic or anti-Rosicrucian. Oh yeah, and I'm not Drake. Sorry, Drake.


Insofar as romantic or sexual roleplay between consenting partners or individuals that involves issues of control or anything that loving couples might engage in that regard, that quite honestly is the business of the people involved. Not the Church, religion or any other well to do heighty-tighty community group that seeks to control our private lives as adults while keeping a stranglehold upon what goes on in our bedrooms. No couple or individual should have to worry about the arrival of the missionary position police when they engage in any romantic or sexual fun that does not adhere to the standards outlined by some religions. Especially such religious groups that are guilty of protecting and even encouraging pedophilia, polygamy and forced prostitution. That's often the end result of years of sexual repression by such cults and religions.


I'm not the brown king or the scorpio or scorpion king. I already said I really stay away from colour symbolism. No bloods either thank you very much. I'm still not on the blue team. Maybe I took the red pill? I'm not Bobby. I'm not a black zionist, though I'm certainly not a racist either.


Now that I've offended enough people with the truth of my views though after years of abuse from the kind of people who perpetuate such injustices against their fellow humanity, I can continue with this book.


That feels so much better.


Enjoy.



Notes:


This book continues after the events of Prelude To A Lady's Prerogative III: The Debate


It actually takes up the story about six months after the events of The Debate. The Debate is a short work of fiction that combines the worlds of A Lady's Prerogative and The Butterfly Dragon, mixing characters from either world. In actual fact, they occupy the same world, a world extremely similar to our own. If you haven't read The Debate, I'd highly recommend reading it as it will give you the background to many of the details discussed in this book.


Here's the chronological order of books and stories as they stand now for the A Lady's Prerogative series by myself, Brian Joseph Johns:


A Lady's Prerogative I: The Yearning [Short Novella]
A Lady's Prerogative: Hallow's Weave [Short Story]
A Lady's Prerogative: Barris, Where Art Thou? [Short Story]
A Lady's Prerogative: Shaela Versus The Dezrulard [Short Story]
A Lady's Prerogative: Sato's Shameful Shop Of Lust [Short Story]
The Horrific Perpetual Theatre Of Bartholemew Theramiscus [Work In Progress Short Novella]
A Lady's Prerogative II: Wounded Aerth before you [Full Novel]
Prelude To A Lady's Prerogative III: The Debate [Short Story]
A Lady's Prerogative III: Singularity [This book, Work In Progress Full Novel]





...





"And I have heard, in a certain and explicit way, from several respectable persons that one man close to our time, whose name is R. Eliyahu, the master of the name, who made a creature out of matter and form and it performed hard work for him, for a long period, and the name of emet was hanging upon his neck until he finally removed it for a certain reason, the name from his neck and it turned to dust."

Observations Of A Polish Kabbalist about the creation of the Golem


...


"It is obvious to see that you do have a mind and that you do indeed think, but it is I who gave you that mind. Your mind. Your memories. Your dreams. So is it me, your creator that occupies your mind?" asked the creator.

"It is true that you did give me my body. My mind. My memories. Hence I am aware that I think and that I am, much as Des Cartes postulated so long ago. It is also true that you occupy my mind in the sense that I sleep and in fact dream. For instance, I dreamt last night that you, my creator, created me on a whim that you could create, therefore are you nought merely but a dream and I the dreamer?" responded the created.

There was a moment's pause before the created spoke again.

"That would mean that I created you." responded the created.


The Creator's Dilemma by Gabe Asnon and MAZ.


...


"Like one who, on a lonely road, 
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And, having turn'd round, walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows a frightful fiend,
Doth close behind him tread."

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; Or; The Modern Prometheus


...




Danton's Inferno



The radio stream blared through Danton's stereo filling his basement with the pounding and pushing electro-step post-goth beats of DJ Chelm. Danton's personal favourite and much enjoyed by the patrons within the basement. In fact, fifteen such patrons held the dance floor in rhythm while the remaining fifty-two bordered Danton's subterranean dance cave leaning against the wall and cradling their smart drinks. They were enticed by their alcohol, their CBD and vitamin-enriched hallucinogenics. Their coding skills, their smart drinks and each other.


The bass thumped and gently massaged their insides. On Danton's dance floor they moved in unison with the beat, some stumbling slightly as the result of a mostly alcohol-induced stupor. Danton himself stood at the receiver console control deck, a staged platform in his party room from where he had control of everything about the room. Lights. Temperature. The holographic wall projections. The beats. He'd adjust it all to suit the perfect atmosphere for his party-going patrons though few appreciated his extra effort. That didn't matter to him at all because really, he did it for himself.


Despite the fact that Danton had opened up his home space for the purposes of this party, the truth was that he didn't know most of the patrons who'd ultimately ended up attending. Some of his coworkers had arrived initially and fashionably early. From there he'd begun the party with them, and it wasn't long before he'd become intoxicated. Intoxicated not as much so with alcohol as with the enthusiasm and energy of his coworkers. His life and his good fortune. His adventurous and curious nature. After all, it was that nature that had landed him his gig at Static Morphonics as the Director of Artificial Intelligence Research.


Well not really.


You see, Danton had landed his gig hot off the limbs of the publishing of his paper on Genetic Adversarial Networks, for Danton had been an AI developer even before graduating from U of T's Comp.Sci program. A groundbreaking developer at that. In fact, his classmates, his peers, and Derivative Intelligence Magazine had branded Danton as the person most likely to break the AI Intuitive Barrier between machine intelligence and intuitive and non-predictable behaviour that had eluded technologists since the first published papers of Jon Von Neumann. In fact, Danton himself would have argued the influence of Simulcra by Jean Baudrillard as well as a number of other driving sources for his ever-churning yet mortal mind.


With that weight upon his shoulders and the expectations of the Gods, he waded through problem after problem in the field of AI. Dynamic template-based memory systems. Multi-dimensional pattern matching involving up to six dimensions. Intermediary datatypes for realtime iterative fractal systems and memory compression. Danton vaulted every hurdle he'd encountered while making a name for himself amongst his peers. Much like his predecessors and inspirations. As a result, Static Morphonics had grown to become a giant in the world of business intelligence and predictive market analysis. In a period of six years, Danton had advanced the company to the status of being a world giant in Big Data analysis and AI. As a result, he too grew in financial fortune while retaining his ever rebellious and flirtatious mind.


Despite his influences, he considered himself a product of his own generation. Generation A. You see, most people would assume that the Generation A moniker would refer to a reset of the alphabet based system of generational labelling. Generation X, then Y then Z and back to A. This however was not the case.


Generation A was a name given to his generation of coders after its basis upon the hexadecimal numeric system. A number system based upon sixteen rather than base ten, like our decimal numeric system. It was a clear deposition of his independence from other generations by averting the alphabet, humankind's linear system of symbols, which came after numerical digits. After all, we needed to know how much before we needed to describe what. Generation A was the secret protest against the established order of things and his generation had revelled in its cleverness.


Hence, his parties which often showcased the latest graphics and music advances in coding technology that Generation A had to offer were the secret showcase for such advances. The holographic wall projection system was one such advance. It had enabled his parties to appear to take place anywhere imaginable and many places unimaginable. Just one look at the wall and you'd be convinced that what lay beyond was far from his mansion abode in King City, northeast of Toronto.


His guests would show up expecting to stay for the weekend, showcasing their lastest coding projects highlighting the fields of AI, graphics and audio. They were, in fact as much visual and aural artists as they were cerebrally so. A place for those who couldn't damper the speed or mind noise of their thought enough to fit in to the rest of society. They were either rich and making trends, breaking them or impoverished and doing the same. For many of them, Danton's parties were what kept them going for he was their hero.


Don't begin to think that for a moment this world of theirs was sexist, because it wasn't at all. In fact, the vast majority of coders who'd shown up to Danton's parties were women and much to the joy of the vastly lonely male coders. They had long been two worlds separated by the notion of gender and access to technology but in fact, while many male coders had been secretly in the making, there had been at least twice as many women secretly pursuing similar dreams. They felt themselves to be in the spirit of Lady Ada Lovelace, the first-ever coder and developer of programming languages. Lady Lovelace was a speculative friend of Mary Shelley (whose Mother was Women's Rights Activist Mary Wollstonecraft). After all, the first real programmer and coder in existence was a woman.


It had in fact begun with engineer and inventor Charles Babbage, who'd created the initial prototype for the first computers using steam-powered engines. Hence the long honoured tradition of the term engine being applied to any underlying software mechanism that provides higher-level functionality to the end-user applications for which they were designed.


You see, Babbage's Difference Engine was the first calculator. Actually, it was designed for determining the boundary graph for polynomial functions. Baggage later went on to design and work towards building the Analytical Engine, what would have been the first functional computer. In 1843, Lady Ada Lovelace had contributed to a scientific paper by Luigi Federico Menabrea speculating upon how the Analytical Engine could be used for computation, including the calculation of Bernoulli numbers. Her contributions to Menabrea's paper presented a proposal for the implementation of the first-ever programming language.


For many men of the time who'd long been fighting for women's rights and equality, that had been the sealing deal. The first-ever women's votes were ratified in 1881 on the Isle Of Man (notice the irony) and the British colony of New Zealand, and five other countries, including Canada. Lady Ada Lovelace's victory alongside those of her sister in spirit, Mary Shelley were the founding thread of the modern programmers around the world. Women and men alike.


Much as women and men had come together to create babe, would they come together to create non-organic sentience?


And yet, on the eve of the unification of women and men of the field, there were still enemies of their greatest creation: Sentient life. There were some who believed that the sole domain of consciousness was that of humankind alone. Perhaps as much so as there were those who in centuries prior had believed that the sole right of the vote was for mankind alone.


A future challenge that few had considered fully.


And yet, as much as did Danton's party, the beat went on. Pounding and driving them all to dance. Perhaps imploring them to reach out and grasp another tradition that been present since our organic beginnings, both women and men.


While Danton paid attention to his console, Miana from the darkness paid attention to him. In fact, she'd been eyeing him for the whole night since she'd arrived. Stealthily like a predator from the shadows she'd eyed her prey.


Miana loved men no doubt. Perhaps for the folly, their prominent ego had presented, a weakness of exploitation, for she loved to have and be in power over those who presumed, even modestly so such a position.


To her, what was wielded by those of her admiration was as fun to be forcibly yielded. She became hot and perhaps wet over the prospect of breaking Danton, this icon of Generation A. Deronamor himself had chosen her for this reason and he had done so wisely for in the first few moments he'd presented an opening, she'd jumped like a sexually monstrous beast of pleasure and pain.


Danton's eyes had peered away from the console for the first time the whole night. He'd detected her. Looking at him and weighing his whole being. He knew when she was eyeing his hands and delicate fingers. He shivered as her eyes focused upon his abdomen and downwards towards his privates. He'd known somehow that she'd wanted to own him fully, yet he'd somehow found this arousing. Upon seeing her, his lips became taught perhaps yielding. At that moment he might have known his fate and yielded to it for his own candle in life had burnt ever so brightly. Perhaps in seeing her it was much like the feeling of tharn. With that look upon his eyes, she approached him.


"I'm Miana. I've been standing there by the embers of a holographic fire, watching you. I only moments ago decided that I'm going to sleep with you tonight and that we're going to make hot and fiery love many times before the morning. That is of course if you'd command me so?" she said in an ever so calculating and strategic fashion.


Danton heard her fully and became suddenly aroused by her. He'd encountered many vixens merely eeking the lavish comfort of his riches prior to Miana, yet he'd somehow found this one to be different. There was a spark to her eyes. A hidden mystery about her which he'd love to uncover. A power struggle for which he'd longed.


His eyes traced her tightly hugging black silk gown. It enveloped her figure and reflected the dance floor lights in a hypnotic pattern. Her physique was astonishingly fit, trim and sexual and he sought to find that point at which the slit in her dress became her privates. The ultimate secret which he in his appreciation for a mystery would love to explore. However, it was his analytical mind that momentarily preserved him.


"So are you telling me that's what brought you here? You sound like a lot of other enticing women who've come to me." Danton said to her in his attempt of flirtatious haggling.


"Well, maybe I'm not just any woman? Any woman you've ever known. Maybe I know you better than anyone alive." Miana insisted seductively.


"If that were the case, then what's left about me that would entice you to pursue me beyond my money?" Danton interrogated her.


"I care not for your money. I have my own and even if I didn't, it doesn't motivate me as much as it doesn't motivate you. Something of which those in-between financially know little. Perhaps the poor and the rich have more in common than you'd care to think for what drives men to riches or poverty but a motivation beyond as much?" Miana posed.


"In your case, I care not what drives men so much as I care about what drives women. After all, this is about us, as members of the opposite sex seeking solace amongst one another?" Danton replied.


"Seeking? So you are." she ran her hand up her dress stopping momentarily at her hidden nipple, toying momentarily with his mind.


"So you compare what I'm imagining as a man, the vision of your exposed nipple and breast with that of my exposed cerebellum? You're hiding what appeals to me while trying to expose what appeals to you." Danton astutely noted.


"Yet imagine what secrets lay within my mind for you to explore with your pursuit of my body. I would think that to a man such as yourself they're closely intertwined? I know your heart. I want it and to devour it. Every part of you with my lips." Miana suggested.


Danton suddenly found himself aroused by her. It had been building over time and with every moment he'd worked towards convincing himself that she was a gift from his friends. The perfect woman for him. His fantasy girl. She had in fact hit upon many of his personal turn-ons. His secret wishes. His parrying of lies. This was, in fact, a woman of his dreams, yet he'd failed to recognize the fact that maybe he was the dreamt.


He gave in, only second later, grabbing her hand. He lead her to a friend of his.


"Migan? I'm done for the night. You're now the most senior coder here. Take over this party. My dance console. Make sure they have fun. Inspire them! Make sure our Generation A is remembered." Danton tenderly kissed Minana's cheek.


She returned a long and passionate kiss, even winking at Migan.


"Coders will change this world!" Migan responded, accepting the responsibility handed him by Danton.


Miana led Danton up the way to his sleeping chambers as well as if she'd been there before. She slinked up the stairs, losing both of her shoes on the way. Danton picked them up as he followed her, barely taking his eyes from her as he did.


She enjoyed fully the seductive power of her lure she had over him. By the time she'd made it to the door of his bedroom, she'd begun ever so slightly removing her dress. Gently sliding the shoulder straps off of her shoulders and down her arms, only letting it slide off of her body once she was safely through the doors of his bedroom. He closed and locked them behind himself, placing her shoes by the door.


He watched her dress slide off and onto the floor, leaving her clad only in her undergarments and jewelry. She then crawled on her hands and knees up towards the top edge of the covers. Danton caught her foot, holding tight to it and he slithered up her body. She grabbed his belt and quickly unbuckled it, loosening his pants and pulling them down his legs. As she tossed them onto the floor, he removed his shirt and tossed it to one of the corners of the room.


As he dipped his head, directing his mouth towards her lips, she suddenly stopped him.


"I'd much prefer to tame you, my dear Danton. In fact, I have brought some restraints with me for just such a fantasy?" she feigned pinning his hands behind his back.


"Wha... you want to tie me up?" Danton looked shocked at the prospect.


"Why not? You wouldn't indulge a girl in giving in to her fantasy?" Miana responded looking somewhat disappointed.


"Well what's in it for me? I mean being restrained is pretty... It's not my kind of thing..." Danton answered her honestly.


"Well how about this. If you do that for me, I'll indulge you in any fantasy you want or have ever imagined as many times as you'd like, for the next month." Miana played him as she'd done with so many men.


While many were much more deserving of their final fate than Danton, few were as enticed by her offer. Danton had long held many secret fantasies as she'd known of him. Being younger and inexperienced he'd never felt the confidence to speak of such things with any of his prior flings. To him, it was as if Miana had just freed him from years of self-oppression.


"I'll do it. If you keep your promise, I'll do it." Danton agreed.


"You won't regret this..." Miana stated honestly.


She suddenly wielded a pair of blackened chains from out of thin air.


"Where were hiding those?" Danton suddenly leaned up onto his haunches.


"Shhh... I'm magic don't you know..." Miana told him the truth though he was hard pressed to know or understand it.


She quickly bound him to his own bed and from there she began to ravish him with doses of pleasure and dashes of pain.


Shaela had been at the party for an hour before Danton had disappeared upstairs. Her long fiery red hair and her curvaceous figure-hugging dress had caught the attention of many. Especially those who were immediately enthralled by her classic gothic looks. She'd danced for the earlier part of the night enticing many of the younger men to which she was their senior by a decade or more, though she maintained a professional distance. She was in attendance at this party in a professional capacity and as a Night Wytch.


After she'd spent an hour in the lounge speaking with one of the men who'd been flirting with her, she'd suddenly realized that the music had changed to match Migan's love of eclectic downtempo beats more so than the post-goth industrial that Danton had been playing that had turned Shaela's crank.


Shaela immediately dismissed herself from the lounge and found her way into one of the six bathrooms that lined the basement. Within, she locked the door, for what Shaela had to do next, there was nobody of which could be privy.


Shaela being a Wytch, and a member of a particularly deadly order of Wytch kind, the Order Of The Night Wytch, conjured a capsella of communication. Her hands writhed in a somnatically as she orated the weave. Moments later a portal manifested itself in her right earring. A portal through which she could communicate with her peers at the Sanctum.


"I've lost Danton dammit!" Shaela spoke frustratingly.


"Don't lose focus. It's not too late. Search the manor." Yirfir suggested calmly.


"Stay close and have reinforcements ready. Please! Unlike last time?" Shaela insisted.


"I agree. We don't want another situation where your Shadow Cat eats all the perpetrators, the evidence and the witnesses too." Yirfir agreed.


"They were perpetrators as much as they were witnesses." Shaela reminded Yirfir.


"Yes, but we still needed them to make a case before the Sanctum." Yirfir reminded Shaela.


"What case is there for a Cannibal cult but my poor Shadow Cat's case of indigestion? My Shadow Cat was just doing us a favour." Shaela shot back at Yirfir.


"Let's focus on the task at hand. You need to track down Danton if you haven't already." Yirfir ordered Shaela.


Shaela transformed herself to her Night Wytch form, her skin brightening, becoming a pure milky white while her lips became a deep red nearly matching the tint of her hair. Her senses peaked and the night was her eyes. The greater the darkness, the greater her awareness of her surroundings. She took a deep breath as the immense awareness hit her.


"Good. We're on the same page. I'll keep this conjuration open then." Shaela nodded, opening the bathroom door and exiting.


"Good thing. I'll have Nelony and Feylana on standby as your backup." Yirfir replied.


"Oh great. Nature girl and your weave empowered homeopathic healer. What happens if I need some real firepower?" Shaela demanded.


"Then you'll have me," Yirfir assured her.


"I guess you'll have to do until we have Mila back on our turf," Shaela grunted as she made her way back out into the party.


"Don't count on that. Mila's on permanent leave until further notice. You or Nelony are not to disturb her. Do you understand?" Yirfir demanded.


"I hear you but I definitely do NOT understand. I'll act on your orders as long as it suits me and what I believe to be right." Shaela responded.


"I couldn't really ask for anything more, Shaela." Yirfir reminded Shaela of her confidence in the Night Wytch.


The party had picked up in pace since Migan had taken over the console, though not because of his attendance at the deck, but because a hundred or so more party-goers had arrived bringing the total attendance up into the hundreds. A number that Danton's basement could easily accommodate.


Two strangers, Durath and Senchella had been watching Shaela from the beginning. From her arrival and descent into the basement. They'd both known of Shaela's true identity, being security for Miana and hence had expected her arrival.


"We've got our mark in our sights. Shaela has gone hot. Repeat, she'd gone full Night Wytch. Sending Senchella to intercept." Durath reported to the rest of Miana's security team.


Senchella wielded light like a weapon. To Durath, Senchella was the obvious choice to challenge a Night Wytch. She could shape existing light sources into deadly weapons both melee and ranged and it was for this reason that Shaela detected her first. As Senchella approached from behind her, Shaela took advantage of the strobe lights, for they were darkness and light intermixed. Upon the climax of the dark phase of the strobe, Shaela phased out of existence, suddenly reappearing behind Senchella, where she introduced Senchella to the ever consuming shadow.


Senchella, a short-haired and subtle beauty herself was suddenly consumed in the darkness of a Night Wytch's infinite shadow. She swung her arms about, extending the magical light beams cast from her hands hoping to skewer Shaela, only to find absence. When the darkness had consumed her hands, the light blades too had disappeared and she was met by Shaela herself from within the darkness.


"Senchella is it? You're a guest in the shadow realm. I'd suggest that you remain put while I find the rest of your allies. Perhaps then you will all stand justly for your deeds and there will be no need for death here. Just in case you don't agree, I have some shadow guardians ready to deal with you. I urge you not to tempt them. They're not as forgiving as am I." Shaela laid down the rules of her law.


"Shaela, did you say Senchella? We're doing our best to scry information on your adversaries. Please restrain yourself until we're aware of whom we're dealing with." Yirfir advised her younger peer and colleague.


"I haven't got time for restraint, though I'll be sure they're ready to answer for their crimes," Shaela assured Yirfir.


Shaela made her way towards the stairwell seeking her way into the higher extremities of Danton's manor where she detected his aura.


"I've got Danton. He's upstairs. His heart beat's accelerated and his blood flowing. I think he's..." Shaela began.


"No matter what he's doing, ensure his safety." Yirfir reminded her.


Meanwhile, Durath upon failing to receive a response from Senchella had sprung into action.


"This is Durath. I'm in pursuit of the Night Wytch. Senchella had fallen. All are free from restraint. Stop the Night Wytch at all costs! Repeat, stop the Night Wytch at all costs!" Durath screamed into his headset.


Shaela made her way up the stairs and onto the main floor landing and foyer of Danton's immense manor. A few guests remained on the ground floor perhaps avoiding the masses in the underground. Shaela made her way through them and towards the upper stairwell, leading to Danton's master bedroom.


On her way up, she was confronted by men claiming to be Danton's security forces. She observed their shoulder patches, immediately recognizing them not to be of any such affiliation. Shaela struggled backwards as she let forth a fiery baton bolt. As she fled, those behind her were immediately immolated while those ahead of her grasped her. Ten in all held her fast.


"The legendary Shaela Sheowellyn. It looks like we've got you. This is not the Sanctum's grounds of justice so we're just going to execute you. Sorry 'bout that." announced one of her captors, who failed to see the immense portal opening behind him.


"I think not. Right now, you're all but a Cat's play toy..." Shaela said as she struggled against her captors.


There was a moment of silence before the predator stepped into the light of the prey. It was immense and feline. A Giant as few had known. A fierce predatorial cat with two glowing red eyes. It was made of the stuff of darkness and shadows and yet cast no shadow of its own. It knew the actions of its prey before they did. Worse, it could smell the morality of their intent, and not being of the goodness of life and truth, they were all doomed. It sniffed the air inhaling a tremendous gulp, tasting it in its special organ. Less than a second later, it saw every one of them for who and what they were.


"I gave you your warning. You had your chance. Farewell, fiends or should I call you hors d'oeuvres?" Shaela stood as her Shadow Cat Protector loomed immensely above them.


And with that, the Giant Cat was upon them. Had they shown Shaela mercy, that would have affected how the Shadow Cat had seen their true nature and it likely would not have attacked. Instead, their aura was wretched and an abomination to the Giant Cat.


The two holding Shaela from directly behind her were consumed first. The Shadow Cat's jaws clamped down over both of them simultaneously, crushing their spines as the Cat consumed them, clothing and all.


The others quickly released Shaela, running a distance from her and then turning to face the monstrosity. They carried weapons of their own. The stamped metal firearm weapons commonly used by modern humankind. Three of them levelled their weapons upon the Cat and began firing. In the time that it took for the first couple of rounds to leave the barrels of their automatic weapons, the Cat was already upon them. It skewered two of them in its left paw. Squashing the third with its right. It roared at the remaining five who fell backwards onto their behinds as they struggled to get away.


In one leap the Cat landed on all five of them, crushing them all. It then began to consume them, leaving none of their remains.


"What's happening Shaela!!?" Yirfir demanded to know.


"My kitty is having some treats." Shaela replied.


"Be careful! We have it under advisory that there is a deadly adversary on site. Be cautious! And no more kitty treats!" Yirfir insisted.


"Then I'll be cautious. Did you hear that my friend? You're going to have to hold off on the treats for now..." Shaela said as she stroked the shadowy fur of her protector.


It purred loudly as the few guests who beheld the terror ran for their lives. It paid little attention to them for it had tasted the curiosity of enjoyment and perhaps the passions of their pursuits. Their intent was no more ill than was the intent of a child on a merry-go-round.


Moments later, Shaela urged her protector beast to the doorway of Danton's abode. His Master Bedroom.


"We've got to do this. Cautiously my friend." Shaela implored of her Cat protector.


With that, the Giant Shadow Cat broke the double doors of Danton's Master Bedroom, barely able to fit through them. Beyond was revealed a scene of horror.


Shaela recognized her face immediately. It was Miana. Mianamor Selembrosi. Fellow Night Wytch and former member of the Sanctum.


"It's not too late Mianamor. You can still release him. Don't do this. It won't bring him back..." Shaela implored of Miana.


"You think me still fraught with grief over my loss of Clygan? He is but a faded memory. You know so little of me Shaela. I was always the superior Night Wytch to you. Even in the eyes of Thara." Miana lied masking her pain.


"Then why let this feeble man die? Is he the true challenge of someone of your stature more so than I?" Shaela tried to lure her into attack.


"My mercy lies purely within the shadows themselves, Shaela. You should know as much. Clygan is as much a part of the shadows as is the night itself. Freeing this man will not bring Clygan to be once more, though Mr. Danton's passing will surely help us all to bypass a particularly difficult obstacle in the Aerth's future. Let the shadows be the judge." Mianamor's piercing eyes found Shaela's, and then turned their attention to Shaela's enormous Shadow Cat.


Before them all, Danton lay naked upon his own bed. Chained and bonded, arms and legs bound he was unable to free himself as the onslaught of darkness crept upon him. The darkness of shadow insects, both crawling and flying slowly covered his body like a dark cloud, they devoured Danton's flesh and bone until nothing of him remained. Not even his screams.


As Miana directed the insects, Shaela used the darkness to close the distance to her nemesis, but by that time it was too late. Danton was already gone.


"What have you done!" Shaela pleaded with Miana.


Shaela's immense Cat leapt at Miana, only for the insect army to suddenly turn its attention towards the much larger predator. The top predator of the shadow realm had quickly been reduced to prey. It screamed as the dark insects crawled over it, slowly consuming its shadow body. As its last act, It pounced upon Miana, its claws piercing Miana's breastplate as she struggled with Shaela.


Miana resisted the shadow cat's clasp, conjuring her own shadow portal between this world and the shadow realm. Miana dove through the portal, completely disappearing into the black nether of the shadow abyss, while Shaela's Shadow Cat protector struggled against its dying breath. Crawling its way through the portal which Miana had summoned. Moments later, Miana and Shaela's Shadow Cat protector were gone into the dark abyss of the Shadow Realm.


Nothing remained of Danton but the chains that had previously bound him.


Shaela brushed at imaginary insects upon her body falling to her knees as she did.


"They're all gone. Danton. Miana. My Cat. All of them. Gone. It's over." Shaela spoke struggling against tears reported to Yirifir and the Sanctum.


Shaela fell to her knees pounding the floor with her bare hands.


"Shaela, you must return to the Sanctum. Now. You need the attention of a healer. We need to go over this with you. This is a serious matter and the future of the Aerth depends upon us." Yirfir pleaded.


"I could have saved him. I could have stopped her." Shaela spoke aloud though more for herself.


"We still have a chance. Get back to the Sanctum..." Yirfir demanded.


A moment later Shaela picked herself up and summoned a portal between Danton's bedroom on Aerth and the eternal Midspace of the Sanctum. She stepped through the portal and a moment later, she was gone.


As the portal closed, Migan and several other patrons of the party ran in through the destroyed double doorway of Danton's manor bedroom.


He looked around the room, which was mostly devastated though there were no signs of any presence in the room. Just the aftermath. A gigantic trail appearing to have been etched by the tremendous claws of a feline could be traced for nine feet across the wall.


On Danton's bed, only the comforters and the quartet of chains which had bound him remained.


"That must have been some pretty wild sex..." Migan said shaking his head, clearly unaware of the seriousness of the situation.



Bottle, Brush And Stroke

[Writer's note: This chapter is a complete rewrite of the original chapter in the original version of A Lady's Prerogative III: Singularity that I had written perhaps a year and a half ago. Since that time, I've lost, had stolen a number of my written items including Stories From The End (of which I still have an older copy) and A Lady's Prerogative III: Singularity. So this chapter is a complete rewrite of the original chapter from the original book version I'd already started about a year and a half ago. There might be a copy on my hard drive somewhere but it is far too difficult to find, so I thought I'd pen this one.]


Mila sat in front of the empty canvas staring into its white abyss. She'd been looking at it for two hours during which time she'd consumed a bottle and a half of her favourite Merlot.


Mila appeared haggarty and unkempt for she'd fallen into a state of social isolation. A depression since Barris' departure from the land of the living. He'd sacrificed himself so that Mila's parents could live on. The deal made by Lorr, The Last Power Lord, for it was he that had recognized and revealed that Mila's pendant contained the secret covenant made by Mila in a warehouse in Alivale. A deal she'd made after defeating Lorr in the weave powered combat of magic that would allow her parents to be returned from death so long as she'd kept that secret and protected the pendant. For with the pendant, she'd completely rewritten her original path of time, hence breaking the most fundamental law of the Sanctum. The preservation of the true objective history begat by the combined subjective unconscious memories of all who'd lived it. Living and dead alike. This was the very essence of the Librum Universalis Codex, that which gave the Sanctum its purpose. The universal book of the true memory of time.


When in 1664, in the European colonial townships of West View, Alivale and Sharlesbury there had been a great cleansing of the population, the Codex cried out to the Sanctum, for it had fallen out of synch with truth, and when that happened, the burden was that of the membership of the Sanctum to bear. Each and every one of them could feel it to the depths of their soul. This had been their primary function for scrying injustice upon the Aerth and before the eyes of the Aerth Mother, who watched over all life on her beloved world with an ever-loving gaze. Never interfering but always hoping for our best.


So when the great Wytch Hunt of the 1600s had begun, and so many had become erased from the annals of history, it had been the Sanctum that had dealt with the problem, never realizing that they'd been drawn into a much bigger cat and mouse game and the age-old plans of Lorr, to dominate the world and to subjugate everyone to the power of his bloodline.


Lorr had kept the secret of magic from humankind, instead, keeping it within the confines of his bloodline and family. He'd been the husband of Lyra, who'd broken his will to keep the secret of the weave. Instead, she taught it freely to others based upon the value of their sense of honour and merit more so than their bloodline or subservience to Lorr. Of course, this all happened thousands of years prior to our time in a much different age.


The two split apart with Lorr taking their children, a girl and boy pair of twins while Lyra departed with her magical trainees and founded what would become the first Sanctum. While Lyra cultivated honour, goodness, peacefulness and vigilance, Lorr cultivated the power of their bloodline through the interbreeding of their children, the twins. With every successive generation, the twins had become exponentially more powerful until thousands of years later and perhaps a hundred generations past, they were nearly as powerful as the gods.


Lorr's plan had been to wipe out the Sanctum and to gain hold of the Librum Universalis Codex, hence giving him the power to completely rewrite the memory of the history of time in his favour. Giving him complete control over the Aerth which would only become the launching point of his conquest of the Grand Universal Planes Of Existence. Worlds that existed beyond our own, not only in distant places or times but in different dimensions from our own.


Ultimately though it had all come down to one secret covenant sworn by Mila to revive the man who would become her lover, Barris Windsor. In the end and due to the covenant, she also gained her parents, who'd been lost during a fatal accident. With this secret of a twisted and untruthful history, she built her love with Barris, and upon their final confrontation with Lorr, like some malevolent card trick he'd kept up his sleeve, he revealed her covenant. If not for Barris' sacrifice, time would have been restored and Mila's parents would now be deceased. Instead, Barris gave up his own life with the hope that one day he would figure out a way to return to Mila.


It had been six years since his death and during that time Mila had sunken into an ever growing depression. Isolation which had known no bounds. It was not so much that she had lost someone else that she'd loved. It was moreso that she'd lost a part of herself. Perhaps as much so as Barris had lost the same in losing her.


So here she was six years later. A professional artist whose time had come and gone with that of her lover. She sat as she had so many nights before in front an empty canvas. Much as she largely suspected the canvas would remain by the end of the night.


She eyed the clock. The clock, an old grandfather clock, in fact Barris' favourite indicated precisely, three in the ante meridiem. The wee hours of a Sunday morning. Time had somehow escaped her over the years and her temporal awareness had diminished. She no longer cared as to whether it was Friday or Monday. After all, every day was the same. The sun rose and lit the land for some time before it proceeded onward around the world, giving rise to darkness. The day that followed was the same as the day that preceded.


In fact, she'd often regarded her time with Barris as being the only thing that had brought randomness into her life. The act of working together to accommodate each other had brought the element of surprise to her. And Barris was oh so good at surprises. She'd spent many surprise romantic nights with him. Impromptu vacations from life he'd called them. He'd decorate the house with candles before she awoke on a Saturday morning, and have her breakfast ready for her on the table. From there they'd enjoy a Champagne Spritzer, dancing to Glory Box and Kiri. Beyond that point, I'd be hard-pressed to speak of what went on in the bedroom between them. Suffice it to say that it was their treasure, and any pirates ready to loot the booty of theirs or the romantic secrets of others may they be eternally damned. There are some secret treasures that one simply should never plunder.


Mila was not so much dependent upon Barris as much as they had become a part of one another since their initial meeting. Losing such an integral piece of one's life was never easy, and for Mila, it had become tantamount to near ruin. A ruin that was currently looking her in the eye. Laughing at her absence of spark by way of an empty canvas. For Mila was a professional artist by trade, who'd not produced a work of any kind in six years.


Instead in her growing frustration she grabbed the entire palette of paint she'd prepared and threw it at the canvas. Then she began to cry. Weeping gently at first and then in a torrential downpour of tears and wine. There was some pain that scarred the soul and took years to emerge. All at once it came out, spilling onto the canvas.


She pitched the remainder of her bottle of Merlot at the spoilt canvas and wine smeared the dripping colour pattern of oil that had marred her canvas. The colours dripped until they merged, a rainbow of hue and wine. Mila's tears broke and she struggled for her breath, wiping her face dry.


It was at that moment that she'd spied something peculiar about the canvas. She shook her head and returned her gaze to the same space on the canvas.


"It can't be... No. It can't be..." she shook as she spied a familiar yet accidental iconography upon her impromptu painting.


It was a glyph. One that she recognized.


She suddenly leapt to her feet, stumbling in her drunkenness and falling to the floor. She got to her feet still rubbing her thigh and hip as she leapt up the basement stairs to the main floor where she ran towards the study.


There she arrived and found her way to a tall oak cabinet. She opened the doors and filtered through the drawers beyond, looking for something very particular. When she happened upon it, she paused halfway between wonder and terror as she opened the first love letter Barris had written for her. She read the letter slowly, savouring every memory once again as fresh as the moment she'd first read it. When she arrived at the bottom of the page, she was greeted by the very same glyph she'd spied upon the palette, for the glyph in all actuality was Barris' signature. The B and the W intermingled to form a new icon unique unto itself.


She took the letter and the envelope that contained it and ran down the stairs to her basement studio. Narrowly avoiding another fall, she found her way to the stool before the same canvas where she compared what she'd observed with Barris' own signature. Side by side, they appeared almost exactly one and the same. It was then that Mila's heart nearly stopped, but in fact, it had only skipped a beat.


"I can't... This can't be... Oh honey... please... something..." she plead with the canvas.


This time she was up and on her feet again running towards a toolbox on a table holding a stockpile of her paint supplies. She ripped the toolbox open drawing forth from it a spying glass, which she wielded ever so gently as she returned to the canvas. She used it to examine the rainbow of colours that followed what she'd deemed to be Barris' signature. She squinted carefully as she examined a section of splattered paint, suddenly seeing Barris' own cursive writing in the boundaries between colours. She began shaking as the tears began to flow again, for she was more in fear that she might be imagining this. The investment in faith was far too great for her spirits. She needed proof. So it was that she tried to read what appeared to be Barris' scrawl amidst the colours of a random paint splatter.


Pendant  not lost   I'm safe for now   I'll find you   you find me   Mr slinky   Sato's cooking   call me nobody   fallen kingdom found   they're watching   If I say they know   love is for you

At the end of what she was able to discern she found another copy of his signature. She quickly pulled her cellular phone from her pocket and snapped a shot of the canvas, still shaking.


"I've got to show someone... who?" Mila pondered aloud.


Then it came to her.


"Sato? Sato. I've got to get to Sato." she insisted to herself.


She ran down to the far end of her studio and opened a door there. Beyond was her wine cellar. A climate controlled section of the basement that had stored a collection of her favourite wines. She grabbed two more bottles of Merlot and a bottle of Sake for Sato, and then returned to the canvas.


"Ok. How do I create a portal?" Mila asked herself never having channelled her own teleportation portals before.


In fact, it was part of the curriculum she'd never studied at the Sanctum. Nelony had studied it. Shaela had studied it. Yirfir and Jasmir too. Mila had never deemed it to be personally useful until now and this very situation.


"Dammit, I'm a Master of Aetherial Artistry. The only one of my school. I'll figure it out!" she urged herself.


How hard could it be to travel so far? She'd only need to get to Shepperton off the Thames, a district in London where Sato's Shop had been for the last forty years. After all it was only a mere five and a half thousand kilometres to London from Alivale.


She thought of the world as a canvas and then considered how she might magically travel that distance.


A few feet away, one of her cats, meowed loudly. It sat still looking at her confidently.


"Come on Snuggles. Come here... tsk tsk tsk" she urged her cat over to her.


After several tries the cat remained where it sat. Her pet Beagle, Muggielump began barking at Snuggles the cat perhaps urging the cat to go to Mila as she'd insisted.


Mila instead stood and went over the Snuggles, who stepped further way where she began meowing again.


"What has gotten into you Snuggles?" Mila said as once again followed the cat.


It was then that she realized that Snuggles was trying to tell her something.


"Wait. You mean that I shouldn't be asked how I get to London. I should be asking how I get London to me, you little sneak? You mean that I should bend the canvas so that London and Alivale are so close together that I can just make one step to get to London?" Mila looked in amazement to her cat.


Snuggles looked up at her and meowed again.


"You're brilliant Snuggles! I'll give it a try." Mila responded returning to the canvas still slightly drunk.


Mila concentrated, conjuring the weave first then shaping it before she applied it to reality. From there, she began to shape reality itself and more specifically time and space. She first tried bending it, the space between London and Alivale, only to find that she'd actually brought the star Alpha Centauri to within fifty parsecs of Aerth. She quickly returned that portion of time space back to normal and then continued working on bringing London to her.


She moulded the Aerth a few times like a sculpture, becoming familiar with its density and form before she pressed them together into one. Time and space. From there she bridged the two in their relationship to London and Alivale. Suddenly an oddly shaped portal opened within her studio.


"Well Snuggles, I think that it worked. There's a lot of food in your bowl and the water feeder is full. I'll be back soon." Mila said as she stepped through the portal with two bottles of Merlot and a bottle of Sake, thinking that portal travel would be like walking. She was of course gravely mistaken.


In a sense, portal travel was much like walking if your leg span was two thousand kilometres and you were shaped like a six-dimensional Mobius strip. Of course with Mila being neither, her trip was quite bumpy. Add to that the fact that she was already mostly intoxicated on Merlot wine and the trip wasn't very pleasant at all. A moment after the portal had swallowed her, she was belched out onto a familiar wooden floor in the middle of a knick-knack shop.


"What in the blazes was that? Is that you again HappÄ«u~isuka?" Sato said stepping out into his shop.


Sato had just finished his breakfast and was preparing to open the shop for the day. He approached the front door of his shop, where he flipped the light switch to the right of the door. He then turned the latch on the door, unlocking it with a loud click.


"Sato?!" Mila gasped.


Sato turned, suddenly startled by her voice, turned to face a lady in her late twenties laying on his shop floor.


"How may I ask did you get in my shhhh...   Mila? Is that you?" Sato asked her in complete amazement.


Mila rolled over onto her bum and proceeded to speak.


"Yes... I don't feel too well. I just travelled five and a half thousand miles... in like half a second. I can't even remember how I cast that darn weave. Have you got a corkscrew?" she handed him the two bottles of Merlot and a bottle of Sake.


"I see. None of us have seen you for a long time but you're always welcome nonetheless. Please, come in and relax. Would you like something to eat?" Sato offered her is hand and she accepted.


"No thank you. Well, maybe a snack if you have something to offer. Chips? Snacks?" Mila suggested.


"Did you bump your head on way here Mila? This isn't a convenience store. You know that."


"I'll do my best. I suggest that you get into my back office and seated. Are you sure that you wouldn't prefer a tea? I've got many different varieties, coffee even?" Sato answered.


"No. I'd much prefer the corkscrew and a wine glass. We need to talk. I suggest you get a Sake glass. You're going to need it." Mila advised the much more senior Sato.














To be continued....


Brian Joseph Johns
https://www.shhhhdigital.com

Folding@Home