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Thread: Second Chance at Love -- the actual story

  1. #51
    Heroic Warrior Tyra's Avatar
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    Please write more!

  2. #52
    Our Lady of Perverse Fic eideann's Avatar
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    Originally posted by divia
    Now you're just being down right mean to me!!!!!!!!! No one loves me. I know you did it just to torment me, or to shut me up. One or the other. How cruel.
    Trust me, Divia, Catslyn's never this mean to anybody she doesn't like!
    Fred is a blind stoat.

    There is no future in the past, so forget this tomorrow.

    One-third of the Triumverate of Evil.
    One-half of Obvious Kidnappers, Ink
    Founding member of the 60-inch Club
    Founding Member of the CHICKS OF FANFIC.

  3. #53
    Leaving the water on ... Casta in Mystacore's Avatar
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    oooooh, interesting twist this is taking......more please?
    *****
    "It's a moo point. Kind of like a cow's opinion, it's doesn't matter. It's moo." - Joey Tribbiani.

  4. #54
    catslyn
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    Teela strode through the palace halls with absolutely no idea where she was going. She wasn’t about to chase after Adam, his sister and his – Who does she think she is? It was like I wasn’t even there! And the way she kept pawing him. It was absolutely revolting!

    Veering suddenly, the captain stepped through an archway and found herself in one of the palace’s many walled-in courtyards. This one featured a fountain, beds of flowers on raised terraces and marble benches set off by yet more greenery. Formed of cast bronze, the fountain depicted a young woman in the first bloom of youth. Long, wavy hair cascaded down her back to her rounded hips. A basket filled with large-petaled flowers hung from her left hand while her right hand held a single blossom up to her dainty nose. None of the sculpture’s beauty was hidden from view, because all the water spilled from beneath the woman’s equally dainty, slipper-shod feet. The sculpture, whoever the subject had been, was a vision of demure loveliness.

    Overcome by an inexplicable wave of rancor, Teela lashed out, kicking the stone base of the fountain. Her toes vehemently protested the resultant collision. “Oww!” Teela shrieked. Embarrassed, she clapped a hand to her mouth to stifle a second exclamation. Then, she quickly glanced about for observers. Seeing none, the captain grit her teeth and hobbled over to one of the intricately carved marble benches that faced the fountain.

    Perfect. Just perfect. I can just hear the surgeon now. ‘How did you break your foot, Captain? Was there an altercation with Skeletor?’ And my just as absurd response. ‘Why, no, doctor. I had a fight with a fountain. It attacked me, you know.’ Teela groaned as she removed her boot and carefully examined her foot for signs of damage. They’d strap me to a bed and start psychotherapy if I said something like that. Adam would never let me live that down.

    Biting her lower lip, Teela moved each of her toes in turn. Thankfully, she found no indication that any of the bones were broken. Satisfied that a trip to the palace hospital was not in order, she replaced her boot and leaned back on the bench, once more contemplating the offending sculpture. “I bet you never did a day’s real work in your life,” she said, addressing the frozen beauty. “So, hah!”

    When her foot no longer throbbed with every little movement, Teela decided to complete the workout that the arrival of Adam’s sister and his friend had so thoroughly interrupted. Standing, she began to stretch, working every muscle group in turn until her body was as limber as a cat’s. Time slipped away as she went through several extra sets of push-ups, sit-ups and lunges.

    “There, you see,” she said to the bronze woman, stretching her arms over her head to smooth out the kinks generated by her exertions. “That’s work. If you didn’t just stand around all day, then you might – ” The captain broke off abruptly as a distant bell tolled seven times. Oh, no! I forgot!

    Abandoning her warmdown, Teela dashed for the royal dining hall. Dinner began promptly at seven bells, so she was already going to be late. Her long legs ate up the distance; however, and when she arrived the others were only just beginning to seat themselves. Stopping in a shadowy doorway, Teela was struck by how… formal everyone looked. Queen Marlena was wearing her customary forest green, but the gown was a new one. King Randor and her father were similarly decked out. Even Princess Adora, whom Teela had never seen wear anything other than pants or leggings, had donned a skirt. And as for their guest – Queen Castaspella wore something long, flowing, and extremely feminine in the exact shade of blue of Prince Adam’s eyes. The prince himself was late, but that was hardly surprising. Unlike the captain of the guard, Adam was always late.

    Eying them all, Teela suddenly recalled her father’s admonition to dress for dinner. When Man-At-Arms made a request of that nature, he expected it to be followed. How could I forget?! she wailed, internally. Father’s going to be furious! Turning before any of them caught sight of her, Teela dashed away.

  5. #55
    Mistress of the Whip! Divia's Avatar
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    those damn statues are vicious.

    The question is, will Teela make a fool outta herself when she is all decked out in her finest. hmmm.

    I'd write "post more" but then I would be pushy.
    Obey the whip!

    Smile like you mean it.

  6. #56
    Heroic Warrior Tyra's Avatar
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    Heeheehee... Teela's gonna be in trouble! LOL
    Great story so far... Please continue it!

  7. #57
    the King of Crossovers Classic Cowboy's Avatar
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    oh boy, Teela is probably going to make a complete fool of herself. I want more now!

  8. #58
    Heroic Warrior Masamune's Avatar
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    I want more now!
    What he said.

    Also is there going to be a good Ol' fashioned cat-fight?
    meaw...sreeeech...slash.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandman View Post
    I hate you. So much.

    In regards to my speculation on who Teela's real father is.

  9. #59
    catslyn
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    She reached her suite in record time and began stripping off bits of her uniform before the door had even swung all the way shut behind her. Ripping open the wardrobe, she rummaged madly for an appropriate costume. Too short! Too stained! What was I thinking when I bought this? Too tight! Too – aha! Grinning, she pulled a gown of shimmering gray morassa silk from the very back corner of the wardrobe. It had fallen from its hook at some unknown point in the past, but it was, miraculously unwrinkled. Or maybe it’s not so miraculous. Father bought this for me, after all, and he knows what I’m like.

    I should be back to the dining hall in no time at all.
    Finding the opening for her neck, Teela positioned the dress and raised it above her head. Before she could put it on, however, a horrifyingly familiar odor assailed her nostrils. OH ANCIENTS! Dropping the gown unceremoniously to the floor, she darted into her bathing chamber and stepped into the sonic fresher. If only I had time for a real bath… but this will have to do. Gritting her teeth against the unpleasant vibrations that she knew were coming, Teela hit the controls and activated the unit.

    Less than a minute later, she stepped out of the fresher squeaky clean and feeling as those her brain had been rattled about in her skull. Her loosened hair hung about her shoulders as she sprinted back into the bedroom, grabbed up the fallen dress and pulled in rapidly on. She tried finger combing her hair, realized it was a hopeless waste of time, and attacked it with her brush, losing more precious seconds. When she was done, it crackled around her face, glinting in the light from her open window. Satisfied, she started for the door, only to turn back as she realized she’d forgotten one key item.

    Kneeling beside the wardrobe, Teela dug underneath it for the shoes she knew had to be there. Several old pairs of boots were piled beside her by the time she located a pair of slippers that were appropriate for her current garb. Hopping slightly, she pulled them on. Before leaving, she paused before her full-length mirror to be certain she hadn’t overlooked anything else.

    The gown was floor-length, but the toes of the slippers peeked out at her. With its cap sleeves, square neckline and tight, high bodice, the dress showed off both her tan and the muscles in her arms to full advantage while remaining quite feminine. Father is a genius.

    Though she fought to keep herself to a sedate walk, Teela found it very difficult not to run the entire way back to the dining hall. When she arrived at last, the second course was well underway. Most of the diners were laughing, but her father’s face wore a decidedly cranky expression. Plastering a large serene smile onto her own face, Teela stepped into the room.

    “Good evening everyone. Please forgive me for being late. I’m afraid I was unavoidably detained.” She exchanged a quick smile with her astonished father, cast a covert glance in the Queen of Mystacore’s direction and continued her progress toward the table as the ladies mumbled appropriate greetings.

    As she walked around to her chair, Teela couldn’t help but notice the stunned looks that the royal family was giving her. Finally, King Randor cleared his throat and said, “That’s quite all right, Captain. I’m sure you had good cause.” Her father remained disconcertingly silent as he continued to stare at her.

    Taking her seat, Teela scanned the faces at the table and observed one noticeable absence. Where is he? This is so typical of him! A servant placed a bowl of creamy soup before her, but she ignored. “Isn’t Adam coming?” she asked, annoyance ringing in every syllable.

    Prince Adam will not be joining us,” Duncan said, startling her with his emphasis on the title. “He is feeling unwell and has been confined to his bed by the royal surgeon.”

    Teela felt her eyebrows rising. “He has? But, I thought – ” She broke off as her father gave her a distinctly repressive look. Dropping her eyes to her bowl, Teela began to stir her soup listlessly. He’s actually sick? But…Adam’s never sick.

    “Don’t worry, dear,” Marlena said, apparently picking up on her distress. “I’m sure Adam will be ready to resume his lessons in a few days.”

    “Yes, you highness,” Teela said meekly, raising her eyes and smiling gratefully at the queen. How can he be sick?

    “Now,” said the king, “Please continue with your tale, your majesty. It sounds like you had quite an interesting adventure.”

    “Yes,” the wizardess said as she regarded the King of Eternia with a twinkle in her eyes. “But, your highness, won’t you, won’t both of you,” her gaze shifted to take in the queen as well as the king, “please call me Castaspella? Adora has spoken of you both so often that I feel as though I’ve known you for years.” She paused for a moment to favor Man-At-Arms with a dazzling smile which he – traitor! – returned. “After all, Duncan already calls me Castaspella.”

    “Why, I would be delighted,” Randor replied, sounding quite touched by the request. “And you must call me Randor.”

    When the Etherian turned her twinkle on Marlena, the Eternian queen said, “I should be just as happy to forego the titles we all encumber ourselves with. Please call me Marlena.”

    “Oh, good,” Adora chimed in. “Now I can stop worrying about being proper. Military titles are all well and good, but I tend to lose track of the noble designations after a while. I must know too many royals.”

    Castaspella gave a tinkling little laugh. “You do keep an odd assortment of company, Adora. Why, in addition to kings and queens you’re quite good friends with beggars, burglars and a… ”

    The wizardess continued to speak, but Teela stopped listening. Is it my imagination, or am I the only one who hasn’t been asked to skip the titles? Scowling, she scooped up a spoonful of soup and shoved it in her mouth. It was delicious, as always.

    Keeping just enough of her awareness on the conversation to know if someone spoke to her, Teela directed the rest of her energies toward her food. Midway through the meal, Man-At-Arms excused himself, saying that he would go check on the prince. Randor nodded and then returned his attention to their visitor.

    “Yes, I remember meeting Bow last year, when he attended the twins’ birthday celebration,” Randor commented, though Teela wasn’t certain what the remark was in answer to. Then, drolly, he added, “The poor fellow does seem to be rather outnumbered on Etheria. It must be quite dreadful for him to be surrounded by beautiful women day in and day out.”

    “Yes,” Castaspella agreed in mock sympathy. “I believe he finds Adam’s visits to be a great relief. Why, when Adam comes calling, the ladies of Etheria quite forget Bow’s existence in their eagerness to catch the prince’s eye.”

    Teela’s eyes widened. Oh, really? So that’s why Adam spends so much time on Etheria these days. And to think, I actually thought it was sweet that he wanted to spend so much time with his sister. That rat.

    Adora chuckled and the queen grinned, but Randor suddenly looked stern. “Don’t tell me that son of mine has behaved inappropriately on Etheria. I’ll not have it. I simply won’t have him acting the playboy with – ”

    Marlena and Adora were both stunned into silence by the king’s unexpected outburst, but Castaspella jumped in before he could say anything further. “Oh, no, your highness!” she exclaimed. “Adam is the very soul of chivalry and courtesy. He treats every woman he meets with the same flawless graciousness whether she’s a tavern wench or a queen.” The wizardess blushed. It was disgustingly becoming on her. “That’s why every – I mean, why so many ladies on Etheria have quite lost their hearts to him.”

    “Oh,” Randor said, his own skin glowing red with embarrassment. “I see.

    Teela gaped at both of them and noticed Marlena and Adora exchanging an odd look. How brazen can you get! Just what is she up to? The way she’s sucking up to Randor, she must want something. Maybe she’s after a treaty, help fighting the Horde or something. Well, whatever it is, I hope she chokes on it. Flawless graciousness my foot.

    Vexed, the captain stabbed at a chicken breast and promptly lost her grip on her fork. It bounced off the side of the plate, tapped her water glass loudly and then clattered to the floor. Teela groaned internally as she felt herself flush crimson. At least it didn’t land in my lap.

  10. #60
    Fusion Blaster
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    I can just see teh steam trying to vent outta the poor girls ears.




    HEHEHEHEHEHEHE

  11. #61
    the King of Crossovers Classic Cowboy's Avatar
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    get the feeling Teela don't like her ....

  12. #62
    Fusion Blaster
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    Originally posted by Classic Cowboy
    get the feeling Teela don't like her ....

    Cowboy = Smart






    Yes i am aware that I am an @$$

  13. #63
    Mistress of the Whip! Divia's Avatar
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    Poor Teela. First she loses a fight with a statue and now a chicken breast. She just can't win.

    I'm looking forward to Adam getting out of bed and interacting with the two girls.
    Obey the whip!

    Smile like you mean it.

  14. #64
    Heroic Warrior Tyra's Avatar
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    Poor Teela! Please continue!


  15. #65
    Heroic Warrior Masamune's Avatar
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    Originally posted by divia
    Poor Teela. First she loses a fight with a statue and now a chicken breast. She just can't win.

    I'm looking forward to Adam getting out of bed and interacting with the two girls.
    Perhaps she just doesn't know how to defend herself against inanimate objects.

    Also when I was reading that last statement a little too quickly and didn't notice the 'out' part of the sentence.
    I doubled back in my reading and went ...Oh no.
    It's just my dirty mind
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandman View Post
    I hate you. So much.

    In regards to my speculation on who Teela's real father is.

  16. #66
    catslyn
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    She bent down to retrieve the fork and nearly collided with one of the servers. The young man beat her to the utensil and then whispered, “I’ll get you another one, Captain.”

    Chagrined, Teela smiled and thanked him. Then, looking back at the others, she noticed three things. Her father had returned. Orko was with him. And the attention of her fellow diners was universally focused on Queen Castaspella as she regaled them with a story of the Etherian rebellion. Even Adora, who from the sound of it was the heroine of the piece, appeared to be entranced by the wizardess’ oration.

    No one even noticed, Teela realized. No one saw me drop anything. She scowled at her plate, uncertain whether to be pleased or infuriated by the lack of response to her gaffe. Would they take note if I fell out of my chair? Adora laughed at some witty comment of Castaspella’s, stifled it, laughed all the louder and was rapidly joined by her parents, Duncan and Orko. Teela scowled at them all impartially, then stood and excused herself from the table.

    “I’ll just go check on Prince Adam now,” she said. Her father waved a hand vaguely in her direction, and Queen Marlena nodded a fleeting thank you. No one else responded. Turning smartly on her heel, the captain of the Eternian guard marched away, desperately wishing that slippers made a more impressively militaristic sound impacting on marble floors.

    Since she doubted it would actually relieve any of her spleen, she refrained from kicking fountains, tables and other innocent inanimate objects as she strode through the palace halls. But the dubious looks that she threw like daggers at those guards on the evening watch made her feel somewhat better. If their consciences weren’t guilty, they wouldn’t have any reason to look so alarmed. Hmph.

    Upon reaching Adam’s room, Teela knocked lightly so as not to wake him if he was, in fact, sleeping. When there was no answer, she quietly opened the door and slipped inside. The interior lights were all off, but twilight shadows from the open windows shifted across every surface. The atmosphere of the chamber was so still, so hushed that she found herself breathing shallowly as she approached the bed and gazed down at her sleeping friend.

    He lay on his back, an arm thrown across his chest, his head tiled to the side, breathing quietly through his slightly parted lips. It was true that Adam napped frequently. Sometimes, she reflected wryly, it felt as if he napped constantly. But those drowsy hours were usually spent under a tree by the river or lying on patch of grass in one of the palace gardens. Teela could not recall the last time that Adam had retired for the night before the sun was even down. Not to his own bed. Not like this.

    His eyes do look shadowed, she thought, leaning down and peering closely at his face. But that could just be the darkness of the room. Hmmm… She leaned still nearer, carefully studying his somnolent features. She supposed that, in repose, Prince Adam had the classical beauty of a young god. He was almost, if the truth be told, as handsome as He-Man. Teela snorted softly. Maybe that’s why he sleeps in public so often. That way all the courtiers can see how gorgeous he is. Not that he’s ever had to work hard to catch any of them.

    Still, Teela far preferred the way he looked when he was at home in his own head. To see those blue eyes sparkling with life, the smile flashing as he thought up yet another scathing retort for whatever jest she’d hurled at him most recently – that was how she would always see him. Vibrant. That’s a good word for Adam. He’s got vibrant down pat.

    But no one could be vivacious day in and day out, not even a carefree prince. Especially not an ailing prince. Father never did say what was wrong with him, Teela recalled as she pulled up and straightened a quilt that had fallen down past Adam’s waist. It can’t be anything too serious or he’d be in the hospital instead of sleeping untended in his own rooms. Still, I think I’ll just stop by in the morning and check on him.

    As she tucked the blanket into place around his shoulders, the prince stirred, muttering something unintelligible in his sleep. Abruptly, it occurred to Teela how wretchedly embarrassing it would be for the captain of the guard to be found in Prince Adam’s bedchamber, apparently ogling the sleeping heir to the throne. The fact that they’d been friend since before either of them could walk wouldn’t matter one jot to the more determined gossips.

    “Shush…” she whispered. “Go back to sleep. Everything’s fine.” Struck by inspiration, she leaned forward to kiss him on the forehead, an action she’d seen the queen perform countless times. He shifted slightly and she missed, catching him on the corner of his lips instead. Oh, my…

  17. #67
    Mistress of the Whip! Divia's Avatar
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    Teela's got bad aim. Willl she wake him with that kiss? hmmm. Please, please, please, please write more today. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Obey the whip!

    Smile like you mean it.

  18. #68
    Heroic Warrior Masamune's Avatar
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    Teela: "Hey... Uh how did MY tongue get there?" :o

    Hmm.. maybe Teela was just wanting to bring him some tongue sandwich leftover from the dinner.

    Something tells me it ain't that easy for laze-about Prince.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandman View Post
    I hate you. So much.

    In regards to my speculation on who Teela's real father is.

  19. #69
    catslyn
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    Adam made a soft sort of humming sound and turned his head, placing his mouth squarely under hers. Their lips brushed as he breathed. It could hardly be called a kiss, but Teela felt tingles run from the back of her skull to the base of her spine. Ancients! How could her body be frozen in place and feel so warm all the same time? Her eyes closed of their own accord. Then, to her surprise, he spoke.

    “Mmm…. ” he mumbled. “No.”

    “Adam?” she asked, pulling back hurriedly. What have I done? How could I?

    The prince’s eyes were still closed and his head rolled to the side, turning away from her. “Go away, Frosta,” he muttered. “Sleepy.”

    Teela jumped back so quickly that she barked one of her calves on the edge of a bookcase. Frosta? She blinked, raised and hand and scrubbed at her lips. Frosta! That – that – that louse! Spinning about, she marched to the door, yanked it open and stomped away. How could he kiss Frosta? She reached up and angrily brushed water from her eyes. Stupid allergies.

    ***

    Prince Adam was munching on toast, enjoying a late breakfast in bed when someone rapped softly on his door. Carefully brushing crumbs from his fingers and quickly wiping his mouth with a napkin, he called, “Come in.” About time Adora showed up to see her big –

    Adam’s thoughts broke off with an internal squeak when he saw that his visitor was not, in fact, his sister. Blushing, he pulled at the deep V-neck of his pajamas, futilely trying to cover more of his chest. “Queen Castaspella, umm, come in, your highness.”

    With a slight smile on her lips and a basket slung over one arm, the wizardess strolled regally into the room. She slowed abruptly, clearly taking in his state of partial undress. For a moment, neither of them spoke. Then, her eyes twinkling, she raised an eyebrow and said, “Good morning, Prince Adam. Is now a… bad time?” There was a distinct, though not quite offensive, tinge of humor to her words.

  20. #70
    Mistress of the Whip! Divia's Avatar
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    BOOOOO HISSSSS!

    I hate Casta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    She needs to die! NOW

    And you need to write longer sectons young lady!!!!!!
    Obey the whip!

    Smile like you mean it.

  21. #71
    Heroic Warrior Tyra's Avatar
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    Oh, GOODY!!! Another part added to da story!

  22. #72
    Fusion Blaster
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    If only he were awake.

  23. #73
    the King of Crossovers Classic Cowboy's Avatar
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    and Teela's hit list keeps growing longer and longer.

    first Casta, now Frosta, she's not going to stop until every woman on etheria is targeted?

    MORE NOW

  24. #74
    catslyn
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    Prince Adam was munching on toast, enjoying a late breakfast in bed when someone rapped softly on his door. Carefully brushing crumbs from his fingers and quickly wiping his mouth with a napkin, he called, “Come in.” About time Adora showed up to see her big –

    Adam’s thoughts broke off with an internal squeek when he saw that his visitor was not, in fact, his sister. Blushing, he pulled at the deep V-neck of his pajamas, futilely trying to cover more of his chest. “Queen Castaspella, umm, come in, your highness.”

    With a slight smile on her lips and a basket slung over one arm, the wizardess strolled regally into the room. She slowed abruptly, clearing taking in his state of partial undress. For a moment, neither of them spoke. Then, her eyes twinkling, she raised an eyebrow and said, “Good morning, Prince Adam. Is now a… bad time?” There was a distinct, though not quite offensive, tinge of humor to her words.

    Flushing to the very roots of his hair, Adam resisted the urge to fold his arms protectively over his chest. “It’s never a bad time to see you, my lady. Please, have a seat.” He indicated an armchair beside the bed. I spend half my time trotting around in less clothing than this as He-Man. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about for goodness sake. Nothing at all. Smiling, he cleared his throat and began nervously straightening the dishes on his lap tray. “Ummm, forgive me for not rising, your majesty, but I have been confined to bed until I finish my meal.”

    “No apologies, Adam,” she said as she took the designated chair. Unlike him, Castaspella was dressed for the day. She wore a blue and silver tunic with leggings and boots. The color combination perfectly complimented her eyes, and she looked quite… lovely.

    Then she made a little “tsk” sound and frowned theatrically at him. “I thought we were on a first name basis. Was I mistaken?”

    “No, of course not,” the prince hastily reassured her. “I just… well, I don’t usually…”

    Castaspella dimpled at him. “Adam,” she lilted, “are you saying you’re unaccustomed to receive ladies in you boudoir?” Her eyes danced as his blush deepened.

    The prince scowled briefly at her, then his eyes fell to his lap and the remains of his meal. He began fidgeting once more with his silverware. “Yes,” he said simply. “Yes, I am. It’s not something I usually do.”

    The Etherian queen laughed, set the basket on the floor beside her, leaned closer and placed a hand on his leg through the bedding. “You’re so adorable when you’re discomfited.”

    “Casta!” Adam gasped, barely managing to hold back a full on shriek. Adorable! Fabulous. I sound like a puppy. Her fingers lingered, making lazy circles on the blanket and the prince felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. Uh… Adam cleared his throat. “So, what’s in the basket?” he asked, shifting backward slightly, sitting up straighter, and – incidentally – pulling his leg out from under the wizardess’ caress.

    Castaspella sighed softly and placed the basket on the edge of the bed. Then, deftly creating an empty space on his breakfast tray, she set out a cup and saucer, a spoon, an unmarked tin the size of a pack of playing cards, a small bottle of what looked to be cream, a thermos – roughly double the size of the cream bottle, a fresh linen napkin, and a stick of cinnamon.

    “What’s all this?”

    “My grandmother’s cure for whatever ails you, the sovereign remedy.”

    “Oh?”

    “Good for stiff backs, sore muscles, flagging constitutions, eye strain, headaches and any number of other problems.”

    The prince raised an eyebrow and regarded her dubiously. Oh, really…

    “Don’t be so skeptical, Adam,” Castaspella said, waggling a finger at him. “I’ll have you know that my grandmother taught me nearly everything I know about potion making.”

    The prince’s eyes widened. “Is this a potion?” he asked as she opened the tin, tilted it over the cup and tapped it until a small quantity of some dark, flaky substance fell out. He peered curiously at it.

    “Don’t be silly, Adam. This isn’t a potion. This is an herbal infusion. There’s no magic in it… except a dash of love and caring.”

    His eyebrows climbed higher of their own accord. Love? Whose? How? What love?

    She dimpled at him again and flushed lightly. “My grandmother’s love, I mean.” She cleared her throat self-consciously, unhooked the top of the thermos and half-filled the cup with hot water. It immediately turned a startling shade of dark red.

    “Tea?” he asked, understanding dawning at last.

    “Not technically speaking,” Castaspella replied, sounding a bit like Man-At-Arms in lecture mode. “As there is no actual tea in the mix, it is simply an herbal infusion.” She rattled off a list of ingredients, many of which he’d never heard of before. “I grow and harvest the herbs myself.”

    Adam grinned and picked the tin up, his fingers brushing briefly against hers. “Do you also mix the infusion, my lady?”

    “Yes,” she murmured, turning an absolutely charming shade of pink. “I complete every step of the process myself.”

    “Ah, I see,” the prince said, his smile widening as he studied his visitor. “Is that how the love gets in?”

    Castaspella flushed darkly and her hand trembled slightly as she stirred the tea. The cup rattled. “I, well, I – ”

    “I’m sorry,” Adam said, hurriedly dropping the tin to the bed and rescuing both the cup and saucer from her shaky grasp. “It was unkind of me to question you. I’m sure the tea is wonderful.” That said, he gave it one last stir and took a hasty gulp.

    The world imploded.

    “Adam, no!” Castaspella cried, reaching for the cup as he gasped for breath. Retrieving the tea, she returned it to the tray and began to pat him on the back as he coughed and sputtered. “Oh, you darling fool! You mustn’t drink it straight!”

    “By the,” wheeze, “grace of,” wheeze, “Eternia!” Couldn’t I just die now? It would be kinder. Oh, my head! The prince’s eyes were watering, and she grabbed the clean napkin and began to dab at them.

    “Oh, Adam…” she trailed off into a tinkle of laughter, and he found himself restraining the urge of strangle her. But the longer she laughed, the funnier it seemed. Soon his gasps were interspersed with chuckles, and in the end they clung together, giggling madly.

    “That is the most horrendous concoction I have ever tasted,” Adam declared between laughs. “What are you trying to do to me?”

    “Cream, silly! You drink it with cream or milk. Lots of cream or milk.”

    “Well the way it is now, you could use it to strip rust!” he groused, still wheezing periodically. “Either that, or sell it as whiskey substitute.”

    “I have,” Castaspella said, snickering. “It took the rust right off one of my favorite kettles.”

    That announcement brought on fresh gales of laughter, and it was some time before either of them had recovered sufficiently for the wizardess to prepare him a proper cup of the sovereign remedy, topping it off with a broken off bit of the cinnamon stick.

    Eyes wide, Adam sipped warily. To his surprise, the tea tasted quite good, neither too sweet nor too tart. There was still a hint of the fire that had left him breathless minutes before, but now it sent tendrils of warmth coursing through his body. Oh, wow. He relaxed back against his pillows, cupping the drink between his hands.

    “Mmm… This is great!” he admitted, earning a dazzling smile from Castaspella. “Does it have a name?”

    “We just call it Grandmum’s Tea,” she said, her gaze locked with his. “I use the infusion in my baking as well. It’s really quite good for,” her eyes dropped, suddenly, “any number of things. I’m glad you like it.”

    Adam drained the last of the tea, set the cup down on his tray and reached for her hand. Her fingers were incredibly small between his. Her gray eyes rose, unreadable, to meet his gaze. So much power in such a small, lovely package. I better watch my step or I’ll wind up as an Etherian frog. “I love it,” he said. “It was kind of you to – ”

    Someone knocked sharply and Adam drew back, not wanting to risk embarrassing Castaspella. She immediately picked up the fallen tin and began making him a fresh cup of tea, bending a suspicious amount of focus to the simple task.

    “Come in,” he called. The door swung open and Teela stood there, framed by the doorway, holding a potted plant in her arms.

  25. #75
    Mistress of the Whip! Divia's Avatar
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    Apr 2001
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    I think you know how I feel about Casta.

    Nicely written, if I could move past the fact that harlot is moving in on Teela's territory.
    Obey the whip!

    Smile like you mean it.

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