I'll Be Your Mirror by Cally 777
I do not own Fable2 which is the intellectual property of Lionhead. The story following will exploit many of the quirks of the game, especially cooperative play. Please remember that, like the game, its intended to be fun, so try to forgive any lack of consistency in the way this is done. And its supposed to be sexy rather than sexual, hence I've rated it T rather than M (but I'm open to criticism on that score). Enjoy the ride, and treasure any deeper meanings you may find within. As usual, I hope the story will be understandable to general readers as well as fans.
The lyrics below are taken from the Velvet Underground album, Andy Warhol, featuring Nico (all rights acknowledged). The theme of the story was chosen first and expressed in the song (and its title), not the other way round, so it's not really a song fic.
I'll be your mirror,
Reflect what you are, in case you don't know.
I'll be the wind, the rain and the sunset,
The light on your door to show that you're home.
When you think the night has seen your mind,
That inside you're twisted and unkind,
Let me stand to show that you are blind,
Please put down your hands
'Cause I see you.
I find it hard to believe you don't know
The beauty you are.
But if you don't, let me be your eyes,
A hand to your darkness, so you won't be afraid.
When you think the night has seen your mind,
That inside you're twisted and unkind,
Let me stand to show that you are blind,
Please put down your hands
Cause I see you.
I'll be your mirror
Ch 1 Prologue: One Becomes Two
The man listened to the drops of water falling from the stalactites high up in the Well Spring. He could hear, but he could not see. He could not see because he was tied up and gagged, so tightly cocooned that he was unable to move his hands, feet or even his head by more than an inch.
He knew though, that he was not alone.
The Well Spring had once been inhabited by bandits. The signs of their presence remained like traces of a foul odour: a rotting bandana, a rusting sword, a metal cooking pot, an empty smashed chest. But they were either dead or long gone, and the sweat running from the man's forehead, the muffled harshness of his breathing, the insistent beating of his heart, was not because of them.
His respiration and pulse increased as he heard the crunch of boots on rock nearby, caught a glimpse of a dark reflection in the clear waters of the central pool, distorted by concentric ripples from the falling water drops. By twisting his neck, and rolling his eyes sideways and upwards as far as they would go, he was able to turn them towards the path above the cavern wall he was bound against. Someone was walking there, but he could see only below the person's waist.
The boots were of leather and laced to thigh length, dyed midnight black. Above them were the bare tops of supple, muscular legs. The flesh of them was firm and healthy, yet they were crisscrossed with a network of fine blue lines, resembling veins except that they glowed faintly in the dim light.
The legs disappeared into a pair of tight shorts, of similar material and colour to the boots. And above them, coming into view, a waist compressed into an hourglass figure by a tightly laced corset, also of black leather.
The legs stopped abruptly. Then, without further ado, they took a leap off the pathway, landing with a crack of spiked heels on rock that echoed throughout the cavern. The man wrenched his head to follow, but there was no need, for the woman was lowering herself down to his eye level. More and more of her upper body came into his view, so that he could see the corset filled out to barely accommodate the plentiful curves of her breasts. In spite of fear and tension, his eyes couldn't avoid being drawn in their direction. The soft flesh forming a deep valley before him was traced with the same vein-like pattern of luminescent blue.
He finally tore his gaze away and upwards past the elegant sweep of her neck to reluctantly meet his captor's eyes. Sloe-brown and made even darker with kohl, they seemed to him sensual yet cruel. She reached forward and abruptly ripped the gag from his mouth. Breathing hard, he kept his lips tightly compressed, staring at her wild-eyed.
The woman let out a long breath, less of a sigh and more of an almost animal expression of desire. His attention was drawn to her wide fleshy mouth; glistening, red lips drawn back slightly over pearl white teeth in a sardonic smile.
Whore! Treacherous, cunning whore!
"Well, have you had time enough to reconsider?" She spoke lightly, almost playfully. "Though I expect after years in a dark, stuffy cell, the hours must have simply flown by."
He remained obstinately mute.
"That's too bad, as unfortunately my patience is wearing thin. You will tell me what you know, by ways pleasant or not so pleasant. It's really up to you, how you succumb. But I would have thought that you'd prefer to have some of the hot and naughty fantasies going round in your head come true. Rather than the nightmares."
She leaned towards him, projecting her prominent bosom even closer, as though taunting him with it.
Desperately he shouted, "Keep away from me, harlot! The secrets of the multiverse are not for the ears of the unenlightened and unworthy!"
She withdrew just a fraction. "Harlot! Ooh that hurts! I certainly wouldn't put out for mere money. But for the hidden secrets of the universe … maybe." She reached out a slender hand to touch his cheek, making him flinch. "Calling me a harlot makes me think you don't really want me to keep away. You may be a monk, but you're also a man. And I know how men think."
Hoarsely he muttered, "I'm a hermit, not a monk. And I have resisted the foul temptations of demons like you."
"Oh, apologies. A hermit." She put a lustful breathiness into the aspirant sound. "I'm thinking that the demons didn't offer you the right kind of temptations, hermit. Mine are less of the foul and more of the delightful, irresistible kind."
With a wink, she pressed the flat of her palm to her cherry red lips with an audible smooching sound, then blew the kiss towards him, her mouth forming an erotic 'o' as she expelled the air. It struck him with the impact of a physical touch. Blood rushed to his face and other parts of his body as he felt an unstoppable surge of desire.
Avo protect me!
The woman removed her esoteric looking black skullcap, shaking free carmine-coloured tresses. As though confident of her charms, she moved sinuously ever closer.
"You see? Very soon you won't care a stuff about your stupid religious laws." Practically purring, she continued, "And there's certainly something quite delicious about helping you break them after all those years of … mmm … restraint. Now …" Her hand crept under the bottom of his robe "I think we've got a result here."
Ohhh … accursed witch!
"Ooh, yes, we most definitely have! First though I want you to tell me everything you know about the Orbs. And then, and only then, you'll receive your deserved reward."
Golden rays of sunshine were streaming through the stained glass windows of The Steel Moon as the Hero of Bowerstone awoke from a light sleep. She had purposely left the curtains undrawn to help rouse her at an early hour. The world once again called her to fulfil her destiny.
From his place by the hearth, her dog, Rex, gave the tiniest of whines, instantly silenced as she gestured firmly in his direction. Carefully she pulled back the sheets, trying to extract herself from the bed without waking the man sleeping at her side. First one leg … and then … damn! The rhythm of his breathing abruptly altered, and his eyes shot open.
"Awake already? C'mere … "
Trying to wriggle free of his groping hands, she protested, "I've got a lot to do today, and Valerie needs her breakfast!"
"Nonsense! She won't even be awake yet. We've got plenty of time for a little roll in the hay before she does."
"But I've got a …"
"No more headaches! Time to do your wifely duty, you little tease!"
She struggled for a moment, then with a heavy sigh submitted. Lets hope he doesn't last long as usual.
"Nothing like a touch of morning glory to get things going!"
Good, the sooner he starts the sooner he'll be …
"Alex, wait a moment! I need to get my ointment."
"You don't need that rubbish, what you need is a good seeing to courtesy of your husband!"
"What I don't need right now is another child. I've too many important tasks ahead of me."
"Ah, go on then! I was gonna wear a bloody condom anyway."
The ointment, extracted from herbal simples and recommended by Therese herself, had both lubricant and contraceptive properties. With the precautions in place, she waited passively, only responding to raise her arms while he lifted her flimsy, white nightgown over her head. As always, even in front of him, she felt self-conscious about the Will lines criss-crossing her body, the thick, bright pulsing threads interlacing even her swelling breasts. But he was interested only in reaching out to touch the velvet softness of her flesh.
"You're so beautiful, Clarice."
Even he can pull off a line like that. He kissed her gently, pressing her down onto the firm mattress. She shut her eyes, hoping to gain some pleasure from what had become for her a meaningless act. If she could send her mind back into the past, remember what it felt like when …
The gypsy caravan was different from all the others in the camp. It was closest in design to Jed's, the general trader. The brightly painted wooden exterior was matched in part by some of the better and more imaginatively designed wagons gathered together in the leafy glade. And the interior was as dark and mysterious as that of even the poorest of the woodland dwellers. But this particular vehicle had an enticement entirely of its own. It came from the World Beyond.
It had stood for most of the day now in the topmost part of the camp, a fine location overlooking the mirror clear waters of Bower Lake far below. Gypsy children had danced around it, and played games of tag, trying to take a peek inside before being scolded by their elders. Adolescents had come to cast shy glances at its owner, and tribal matrons to gossip and tut at her clothes and hair. The older and wealthier gypsies had hung about making wise-sounding comments regarding the merchandise, and some had even ventured to pick up and examine individual items, exclaiming at the quality and marvelling at the fineness of the designs. But most had departed muttering that such costly things were not for the likes of them, and eventually the isolated corner of the camp was left to the butterflies, birds and squirrels.
With twilight approaching and the low sun colouring the lake water like blood, a slender, shadowy figure stole up the dimming path towards the caravan. She was still a girl, although almost a woman, her breasts near full beneath her loose white blouse and orange jerkin. She wore a flounced, multi-layered skirt in the gypsy fashion, but her hair, instead of being confined by a patterned kerchief, hung loose in a ponytail. Whipping in the blustery wind whirling the red and gold autumn leaves, it hinted, along with a flash of dark eyes and a proud tilt of chin, that she possessed a strong sense of individuality, and even of rebelliousness.
Outside the caravan, she hesitated. The hinged side, which dropped to display the goods for sale, had been closed. But the doorway at the front end remained open, and on the steps below, the occupant was sitting, puffing calmly on a water pipe.
She turned dreamy eyes to inspect her visitor. Differing from the commonality of her race, they were a light sea green, deep set in her dark complexion like topaz gems in brown clay. The curve of her nose and bow-shaped lips gave her a touch of nobility worthy of a Gypsy Queen, even if her clothes and kerchief were altogether unremarkable. To the girl she seemed old enough to be the mother she could no longer remember, though as the world of Albion measured time, she was little more than thirty.
Removing the hookah pipe from her mouth, she said, "Well now, I'm sure I haven't seen you before." Her voice had mellowed to become a universal agglomeration of tones, with only a trace of its original accent.
The girl gave a shy blush. "You haven't. I wasn't here earlier."
"Busy chasing the young men, eh?" the woman suggested merrily.
"No!" She coloured more deeply. "I … just wanted to come on my own."
"Ah, a loner!" She looked amused. "You and I might have something in common. Anyway, you've come at the right time, young …?"
"Sparrow, they call me."
"They call you that. Well, I won't ask your real name for now. Mine's Luba. Why don't you come inside, young Sparrow."
As she mounted the steps, the gypsy trader reached out a somewhat calloused hand to pull her up. Her grip felt a little rough and the two skin tones showed a contrast, one significantly darker than the other.
Luba appeared to have noticed the difference, for she paused. "That's much fairer skin you've got. I'll warrant you're no gypsy child."
Sparrow looked down. "I grew up in Bowerstone Old Town. My older sister, Rose, looked after me." She raised her eyes again defiantly. "After she died, a sage called Therese brought me here."
The older woman continued to hold her in a hard grasp. "They say true gypsies have the Second Sight. With mine I see pain, want, and the need for revenge. What happened to your sister?"
Sparrow's jaw stiffened. "She just … died."
Luba's green-eyed gaze remained intent. But she said, "Come inside."
The caravan smelt of incense and perfume, with a hint of strong oils. Cooking and washing facilities were at the far end, with miscellaneous utensils, pots and tools hanging from the sides. Towards the middle, the merchandise was displayed in a similar fashion. Rack after rack of guns met Sparrow's eyes, all in perfect, gleaming condition.
The trader nodded towards them. "This what you came to see?"
Sparrow advanced cautiously in the confined space. "Yes."
"You don't look like someone who can afford my particular wares. But I guess there's no harm in looking." She reached out. "Feast your eyes on this! A steel flintlock. Comes with a slot for augments like Chik the Stonecutter makes. I guarantee there's no finer pistol to be found between Oakfield and the Bandit Coast."
Luba cocked the weapon with a swift and easy motion, and offered it to Sparrow, who examined it curiously. The gun had a smooth barrel, and was plated with silver around the trigger and grip, finely inscribed with flowing patterns. In the side was a round indent about the size of a small gem. She raised her arm at full extension and pulled the trigger. There was an audible click.
The trader gave a chuckle. "Not loaded, of course. Just as well: an inexperienced shooter like you could break her wrist or shoulder with the recoil." She shut one eye in calculation. "At a conservative estimate, its worth more than three times the value of the caravan you sleep in. Still interested?"
Sparrow caressed the weapon, feeling its weight and shape. Reluctantly she handed it back. "One day I'll buy one."
"Really? And what would someone like you want with such a toy?" This time the laughter was louder, with a hint of scorn.
"Therese says that I may need to learn …" Sparrow stopped herself.
"Aha! Now we get to it." Luba pulled down a bunk from a wall compartment. "Sit here." Sparrow hesitantly took the place next to her. "Are you scared of me, young Sparrow?"
"Of course not!"
"No … I bet you're the brave one. Listening to that old witch and her crazy notions, you'll be ready for all kinds of escapades, I'm thinking."
Defensively: "She's not an old witch, she's a wise woman!"
"The two aren't so far apart you know. It's said she teaches long forgotten heroic skills to those willing to pay heed. Even the forbidden arts of sorcery. I'd advise you to stay clear of all that nonsense. Many of the so-called heroes from the past were either villains or self-important idiots."
"But true heroes would never behave dishonourably!"
"Humph! They're still part of an age long gone … or they ought to be. You're better off spending your time finding yourself a spouse. Or a lover, if you prefer."
Sparrow blushed anew. "I don't need … anyone like that."
Luba raised her eyebrows. "Then you're an exceptional young woman. Anyway, who said anything about needing? Making love is one of life's pleasures." She gave Sparrow a smile and a wink. "Just like eating a peach." Suiting action to words, she took a fruit from a nearby basket and bit into it. "Here."
A little reluctantly, Sparrow took a bite from the other half. The sweet juices still filling her mouth, she said, with some difficulty. "The men here have been nice to me but … I know them all too well. There's no one that makes me feel … special."
"Hankering for someone a little bit different, eh? Some smart boy from the city? Or maybe a passing traveller?" Luba leaned closer to nudge Sparrow, increasing her embarrassment. "Well, you'll need some advanced love-making skills to impress those sorts, I'm telling you."
"L … like what?"
"Oh … there are all sorts of things you can learn. Quite a few books written on that subject over the years. You might be lucky enough to come across one. Easier though if you get someone to teach you."
"Teach me how?"
Luba took the peach carefully from Sparrow's unresisting hand, biting into it again before casually throwing it away. "I suppose, for instance, that you've never been kissed properly? No? I thought as much. So, you need someone to practice with." She leaned in closer again. "We can try it now, if you like."
"B,but … you're a …"
"Don't matter much about that; technique's exactly the same."
Those eyes like sparkling gemstones fascinated her. She knew they were demanding something.
"A … all right … maybe just once."
"Sit nearer to me then." The first touch of thigh against thigh, shoulder against shoulder. "Now turn your head sideways, and part your lips a little like so."
"See, that was nice wasn't it?"
Nice! She was unable to conceive a reply that would get anywhere near the sensation!
A smile, so seductively knowing, so confident. "Are you ready to try again?"
This time, the sense of passion, of frantic desire was stronger.
"Wh … what are you doing?"
"Just loosening your clothing. You're getting a little heated, aren't you?"
"I … feel so …"
"It's perfectly natural. You feel like you want to be touched, don't you? And I know exactly where to touch you."
*One Becomes Two: I've done a little backwards editing to make this more musically apt, as well as describing more accurately what's happening in the chapter/story. You can think of it as the reverse of the Spice Girls' ditty, though there's a Janis Joplin song of exactly this name.
The Well Spring: not to be confused with the Well Spring Cave. The latter is haunted by Hollow Men not Bandits.
Avo: the hermit seems to be a devotee of one of the 'old gods', now generally replaced by the Cults of Light and Shadow (thanks to CASSANDRA BLACK I realised that Avo is more appropriate for a basically good aligned hermit to worship).
Ointment: fans won't of course find the use of condoms in Albion surprising, but I've also added the equivalent of spermicidal gel, often recommended as an additional contraceptive precaution.
Therese: for reasons of whimsy I've preferred the French spelling.
Well its exciting to be writing (at last!) a new story in a whole new genre! I love to get reviews, and I don't mind if they're critical. For me they can be really inspiring and often give me ideas, so don't hold back!
SPECIAL MESSAGE (Revised): everything's fixed and the story continues! I have a new computer, and I've recovered the 'lost chapter' from the old one which you can now read following this one! Sorry about the delay between updates due to that aforementioned trouble. They should come considerably quicker now.