The Dark Book
- This is the follow up, sort of, to Poledra’s Daughter (the main character is obviously based on Polgara from the Eddings’ series). The commissioner asked that I think big so I wrote this as a sort of first chapter to a larger story. There are many loose ends and some of the characterizations, like Polgara’s immediate attraction to Urdos, is left unexplained. One of the aspects I really focused on, and enjoyed, was trying to keep Polgara’s character “believable” (as far as possible). That demanded adding complexity to her characterization and motivation. I don’t know if and when the commissioner will ask for more so, anyone is welcome to commission the next chapter. For spoilers (explanations), just ask.
1. Lothvit’s Dagger
The historian’s stark figure hustled through the long hall, keeping to the shadows. He was hooded and tightly held bundled papers under his cloak.
He stopped, hailed by a voice he recognized, the first librarian of Telf. The librarian wore the latest Melcenian fashion, single, thin braid twisted over his right ear. “Are you well?”
“Yes, Master,” Gthen answered.
“You seem preoccupied.”
“There has been some disorder needing attending.”
“The ordering of the library, Master Svind, is impeccable. I meant only the discovery of information that has required further research.”
“May I be of assistance?”
“Master, the matter is trivial but necessarily distracting, hardly requiring the skills of a Master Librarian.”
Svind momentarily eyed the understudy. “You will not hesitate to inform me if my services are required.”
Gthen bowed. “I will not, Master Svind.”
“Then be on your way. Do, please, walk freely in the hallway. There are no regulations, that I am aware of, that require you to skulk in the shadows; and the hallway is seldom host to more than a few of us at a time.”
“Yes Master Svind.”
Gthen straightened and went his way, the Master librarian watching. There was a turn, and then another, before Gthen, unseen, opened the door to Mistress Pellora’s study.
“Where have you been?”
“I was momentarily detained.”
“The Master Librarian Svind.”
“He— Mistress, the discovery of Polgara’s writing has impacted our work.”
“Be less conspicuous, Gthen. He is one we could trust but we mustn’t be pressed by the necessity. Did you bring the papers?”
“Briefly, what did you discover?”
“The information is incomplete, Mistress, but I judge that Durnik knew of Polgara’s indiscretion and may not have been guiltless in the undertaking. The twins, Mistress, were bred of the same mother, but not the same father.”
“Yes, Mistress. Perhaps these are a forgedploy to discredit onetwin or the other? Polgara’s twins have not always been peaceable siblings. If one were not the heir of Durnik?”
“That is unlike Durnik.”
“You remain unconvinced, Mistress?”
Mistress Pellora exhaled, part exclamation, turning as though she could see the light of the high window behind her desk. “They— We look on history seeing only the stage and rarely, by some provenance, the hand behind the curtain. The historian’s work is to see behind the curtain. When the half-drunk Belgarath sat in the dark hall of the Rivan King, speaking to the Orb, what did Garion and Ce’Nedra say to each other when they consummated their marriage? What promises? What desires? What we – I – know of Durnik—” Pellora broke off her thought. “The proclivities of men and women are of a kind written in the secrecy of skin, thighs and ecstasy. I mustn’t be too hasty. You must continue to read what you have discovered.”
Gthen nodded and sat across from her.
He licked his lips and lifted the first sheet by the top corner. The paper sounded in the dry room. “The writing begins, as before Mistress, with much that has been lost or deliberately destroyed: —rain outside already tr— trickles? – trails? – trills? Then the next legible words: —rk his head on my belly. My skin is still warm with the abrasion of his skin — breasts and womb still rough and moistened with his ecstasy. He does not speak of t’Groth. I wish that he would. If he is ashamed — I do not want him to be ashamed. What I did (and what he did not prevent) — We are what we are. Our marriage is what it is, and how we express our love for each other is for us alone.
In truth, I did not want t’Groth unless it was by Durnik’s witnessing.
Durnik. My love. My lover! You, I love and will always love. An affair, you understand, is not what I wanted. An affair is a deception. Did I? You must have known. I wanted you to know, Durnik. See me. I am yours, even when I’m claimed by another, I am yours! Look at me! I do it for you!
Here, Mistress, it would appear that Polgara has crossed out her own writing. She struggles with contradiction and is troubled. She knows that Durnik did not object to what she did, and now she is both ashamed and wishes to please him, herself desiring the pleasure – the humiliation? – the cuckolding of him? – and to take such pleasure in it. Durnik’s lovemaking, she writes, has become more passionate and more possessive— If she feared losing his interest, then this has aroused his possessiveness.”
“Yes, Gthen,” Pellora answered, “to think that a woman of her accomplishments could still, in such a way as we all struggle, contend with who she was.”
“Do you wonder for whom she might have written this?”
“Yes I do, and that troubles me.” Then she added impatiently: “Continue reading.”
“She complains, Mistress,” Gthen could not suppress a wry smile, “that she has lived for thousands of years, has devised the rise and fall of fiefdoms, kingdoms and empires, and that her quests have obtained the impossible, but that the intricacies of one human being’s love for another – a single relationship and marriage – leaves her as perplexed and confounded as a ten year old girl.” As Gthen reads, Pellora nods and smiles knowingly, muttering long yes’es. “Then her writing becomes stronger and more confident, Mistress:
‘—28 and attendant beasts and slaves. The Tolnedrian ambassador, Dnebrin wishes to discuss the marriage of the Duke’s daughter, the young sorceress Isil, to the Nadrak Tavos. Old enmities must surely be at play. He brings with him some talisman, it is rumored, by which he means to prevent the marriage of Isil and Tavos. The Ambassador represents a rival Tolnedrian. I have my suspicions as to what Dnebrin brings with him. He guards it closely. A Nadrak magician is rumored to be in his employ, and that is highly suspect for a Tonedrian Ambassador.
This is an ill wind.
Durnik, myself, Tanik, Lord Elfin’s daughter, a skilled thief, and y’Sil, a hunter skilled in tracking and evasion, will greet them some ways before their arrival. We have chosen the Keep of Lake i‘Nass, seldom visited by myself or Durnik, and where— thresh—gre—’
And then, Mistress, the manuscripts are once again unreadable, but enough remains by which to ascertain Polgora’s intent. She appears to describe the journey, the formation of a plan (which is lost) and the manner in which each disguised themselves. I assume their plan was to infiltrate the ambassador’s train and discover what object or device he carried with him. She is careful not to divulge her suspicions. Much is lost, Mistress. When the writing is once again legible, it appears that Polgara’s identity is discovered, that she must have tried to enter the Keep of Lake d’Nass, and encountered a Tonedrian soldier.
‘swr— six keys — where there are underneath — he bleeds. But he already dies. He is sick, and it would be a kindness for me to k— He fights like no one I have ever contended with in all my thousand years – not Garion could match him. He has drawn my own blood, but time grows short. I will the metal of his sword to heat, and his armor. This is a simple sorcery. Soon enough he will have to throw aside his sword and shed— blr— my own arm — He will not relent — [ ] patience g— thin.
He leans with his back against the entry door, breathless and gazing at me.
He is a middle-aged man, gray hair cut close to the skull, scarred and gray-eyed. “Urdos,” he says, “my name is Urdos. You should know the name of the man you will kill. Urdos. I am not another nameless Tonedrian soldier, Polgara. Your disguise ill suits you. Be nice. Tell the historians my name.”He laughed, a rueful laugh, at my own expression.
“Step aside,” I said, remembering my purpose.
He grimaced and threw off his breastplate, shoulders, and leg armor. All of it. He threw aside the sword, but he did not stop. He threw off his dress also, until he stood naked.
“Now, Polgara, my mind? My armor is off. I have no sword. Will you torment my mind with the same sorcery?”
“You’re no ordinary soldier.”
“Urdos, step aside! Go! They will think you have been killed. You are dying, anyway. I can arra—“
The middle-aged man laughed. “Why do you wait? You have the advantage. You always have the advantage, Polgara. I have nothing. Only my bare hands. I am a Tolnedrian soldier – just another – no children. My wife is dead – A soldier’s death is always expected. Let me rejoin my wife tonight.”
“Who am I to you, Polgara? You live a thousand years. None have ever bested you. You will live another thousand, five thousand years, long after even my bones have turned to dust? You are immortal. What is that like, Polgara? I don’t envy you. Fear. Death is in my mouth – has always been in my mouth. My life may be brief, but I burn, Polgara. I burn.”
This was no ordinary Tolnedrian soldier. This was no haphazard meeting. He knew my name as if he had been waiting for me. He lunged at me.
I, faster and stronger than him, was suddenly neither. We fought. He took one of my two daggers. I should have killed him. It should have been easy. I should not have found myself with the blade of my own dagger at my throat, my other dagger at his.
“Polgara,” he said, suddenly gentle, “why do you wait? Why? Why do you cry?”
I let go of my knife. The steel clattered on the stone beneath us, he on top, I beneath him. I forcefully drew his lips to mine by the back of his neck and head. I kissed him. I, Polgara, a fierce kiss, a deep kiss with his blade at my throat.
“I can help you,” he said.
“My blade is at your throat,” he answered, studying me. “Why? You should have killed me.”
He stared at me, eyes as close as our lips. You understand, reader, that he had not touched on something that was sudden or new to me; but that was like a wound I had carried too long – and that he had opened — this naked man, frightened and unafraid, desperate to live and longing for death, so beautiful, so mortal, tender and terrible — a man — nothing more than a man –vulnerable, naked, and frail– and at that moment I wanted to be a woman — and nothing more than a woman — beyond confusion or reason. (And you understand, dear reader, that what it means to be a woman is as changeable and different as every woman is to every other — and that my meaning is mine alone.) Never letting his blade from my throat, he tore at my clothing. My heart raced. He tore at my long skirt until I, myself, was naked and vulnerable.
“Open your legs, woman,” he commanded, suppressing the voice of his desire. We mustn’t be heard. “Damn you, open your god-damned legs!”
His first thrust speared me as deeply as I had ever felt a man. I arched. There was no pain. I was already slippery with desire. My eyes rolled. I immediately lifted my knees up and fully to my sides. I could not speak or breathe, my mouth as wide as the cock that pierced me.
“Cross your wrists above you!”
I did. He held them firmly. His thrusts were hard and sharp. No, not that I couldn’t have freed them easily, but it was not his fingers or the strength of arms that kept my wrists crossed above me. He took me, the way countless thousands of soldiers have taken girls and women in time of war — the conquered woman, legitimate booty – useful as wives, concubines, slave labor, battle-camp trophy. There were two knives, one at my throat, and the one truly pierced my body. Soon, each upswing of his hips drove my voice from the dark center of my belly. Any pride or restraint was driven out of me thrust by thrust – grunting in time with each reminder of his length. The hard bone of his pelvis against my own drew forth my acquiescence — my concession. I gripped his cock (I must write these words, reader, in these passages, you understand, if I mean to hide nothing) with the involuntary grasping of breath and abdomen. All the while, he held his blade to my throat. Was it this? The spasms, the involuntarily grappling of my own muscles — I could not stop them. At that moment, in that small chamber, I was like one spitted. In that small room and chamber, I acknowledged, as a woman will, my new master (if only in that small room, you understand); and he warmed and filled my womb. His claim to me.
He kissed me furiously before he withdrew, glistening with us both. “Turn over.” I did. He bound my wrists behind me and at the curl of my spine, this time with the remnants of my own clothing. “Stand up.” His words were curt and gruff. He yanked me upright by my hair, first to my knees, when he curled his fingers into my anus, encouraging me to grunt and pant until I widened my knees submissively. “Polgara, I will betray you.”
His fingers moved in my bowels, pressing and kneading. “You will hang from the limb of a tree like a common whore – by the neck.”
I came again. I could speak no words or utter any sound. He slowly withdrew his fingers, then yanked my head back, bending me. “Lick them clean.” I did, then he kissed me, passionately, furiously, tasting what I tasted, but he was exhausted. Then gradually he stood, forcing me, by the hair, to stand with him.
When he turned me, my breath abandoned me. Before that instant, I had almost sundered the bonds at my wrists. I saw myself reducing him to pleas of mercy, but I saw the mark of my daggers crossing his chest and abdomen. My own blood and his mixed. He was beautiful. His cock was still tumescent and the nest of hair round it and his balls was as close-shaven as his head. This was proud man. The strong muscles of his belly rose and fell with his strained breathing. He leaned back against the chamber’s back wall as if a horrible pain wracked him – and not one that I had inflicted.
“Polgara—” he said, as with a regret, sadness and yearning that strangely grieved me; I yearned to salve, embrace, and comfort him. I was confounded by this soul – who bewildered my every instinct. We both were wounded. He, so beautiful and dying and me, wondering if she had ever lived?” His every look and gesture seemed to say: me too. How strangers can so suddenly move each other must remain one of life’s mysteries. Because my own raiments were torn, he put his shirt over me and wore only his trunks.
“That she would submit to this!” said Pellora, barely able to restrain the shock.
“Yes, Mistress? This is all you have to say, Gthen? We cannot allow this to be read.”
“Mistress, she expresses loneliness.”
“Do you suppose, Gthen, that if I were lonely, I would wish to be raped as if I were the spoils of war. Unbelievable.”
“Mistress, you are not a demi-God. There is no doubt but our lives, yours or mine, could end as easily today as tomorrow.”
“As far as you may consider the matter,” said the Third Daen Historian of Gight snorted, “I am a goddess.”
Gthen briefly smiled. “Yes, Mistress.”
“Yes, Mistress. There appears to be a paragraph, difficult to read, written in the margins, as if in after thought. It begins: ―en the slaves of Murgo ―irls and women, ―d bef― th―r captors? I think she meant: [Have I not seen g]irls and women? Then she continues: Have I not witnessed the rise and fall of empires – the demise of men and the slaying of their sons? I have flown over the plains of Rengel and pursued my prey in the forests of Zamad, I am Polgara; but I have ―er been, myself, the captive, n―d, tied at wr― bound by the neck, the telltale―f ownership streaming from the slip betwe— [ —] thig-s―.
Here, Mistress, much has been lost or was left unwritten.
“Can you summarize?”
“I cannot, Mistress, with any certainty. It think she considered the details, at least in this biography, of secondary importance. Most of what survives is her erotic experience. It seems that this is what she wished to capture. My guess, Mistress, is that she intended to enrich the narrative after she had expressed what she deemed important ― her inner experience.”
“That what do you know?”
“Urdos brought her into the Keep. There is no mention of her companions, Durnik, Tanik, or Lord Elfin’s daughter y’Sil. There is a brief passage in which she and Urdos are met by the Nadrak magician Kessa.”
“That she-devil! She must have been very young at the time! Read on!”
“Who is she?” A young woman, wiry and with a cruel aspect, sharp blue eyes like a hawk and a narrow nose, peered down at me. She was haughty, wearing the unmistakable raiments of an owned Nadrak woman, an expensively jeweled collar, and daggers, but also the bearing of a magician – haughty and cunning. I wondered if I myself, in some ways, appeared like this to others in my youth. But a Nadrak female, and magician, no less, accompanying a Tolnedrian ambassador? There was danger here.
“She’s mine,” answered Urdos.
“I won her, Kessa.”
Kessa smiled, seeing his wounds, “At no small cost; and I see you have already taken your reward. Is she not a little young for you?”
“Youthful, Madame, but experienced beyond her years.”
“A well-fed slave.” The Nadrak woman spoke directly to me. I lowered my eyes. This was not shame or fear, but I knew that she might suspect me (though I judged her to be young and unskilled). I hid my eyes.
“I could slit your throat. Right here. Right now.”
I felt Urdos’ hand on my shoulder. I was on my knees. “That can wait until we leave the Keep, Kessa, then I will be done with her and you can have your way with her.”
“She reeks of arrogance. I smell it.” There was a dangerous and wicked insanity I sensed in this young woman’s voice. “Be alert, Ambassador,” she added.
Urdos lifted me by my hair. We walked again, he leading me. We were in the lower halls of the Keep. There were mainly other soldiers, and when they saw Urdos, they saluted and two fell in behind him. He opened the furthest door of a long vaulted hallway and we entered a sparse chamber with a simple desk, bed, and chairs. Small ornamental boxes, something long and wrapped in cloth, papers, a quill, and a leather ledger were on the table. The two guards who had joined us closed the door and took positions outside. This was the room of a lifelong soldier, not an ambassador.
Mistress, the writing ends here and begins on the opposite page, as if, once again, she meant to return to the manuscript and complete the details. In the margins she has written, perhaps at outline:
Describe K[ ] | Lake i’Nass.
Lake in old caldera. [ ]tegic Unimportance.
Never defeated. Rarely attacked. |
Largest stones in known battlements. Trading Town. Saffkeep beneath Keep of i’Nass. Trade Route. Slave trade renewed – loss of marags.
“Call me Urdos, Polgara,” the Ambassador answered, “Why be formal?”
“You can’t free yourself?”
“Soldiers aren’t ambassadors.”
“Polgara, why do you stay there with your hands tied? Impress me.”
“I thought the Tolnedra didn’t approve of magic.” I struggled with the tie at my wrist. Urdos’s top, only buttoned at my breasts, slipped from my shoulder – revealing a nipple. I gasped and struggled with the rag binding my wrist.
“What’s the matter?”
My eyes grew wider as he approached me, my breathing shallower.
“Can’t get it off? What happened to that vaunted sorcery? Why don’t you make it go up in a poof of smoke?” His left hand went behind my neck, he yanked my head back. I grunted as he hooked the rough fingers of his other hand inside me. His thumb found my clit. He bit and sucked at my throat. His lips descended and he sucked my breast into his mouth. My eyes rolled, pleasure though not an orgasm. “Do you need help?” he asked. His fingers exited my opening and roughly pressed my abdomen against his – his hand against the small of my back. This his fingers undid the ties and let the rag of my old clothing fall between my ankles.
Then, only too late realizing, he roughly let go of me, half pushing me away.
I smirked wickedly.
“They’re off,” I said. I lifted my hands, palms up, fingers splayed. “Ta-da. No smoke. No demons. And almost no sorcery. I don’t work like that.” He stepped toward him, slipping my right hand over his belly button, under the seam of his trunks, softly pumping once, then twice. He hardened. Then I lowered my and squeezed his balls. The muscles of his jaws tightened and he barely suppressed a cry of pain. “That’s for calling me a whore – for threatening to hang me like a whore.”
“Suck it,” he hissed through clenched teeth. “Quick! Suck my cock!”
I let go of him. And the truth, reader, is that in that instant I did. I fell to my knees and sucked him into my mouth, reopening the wounds of his abdomen with my fingernails until he cried aloud, as if each spurt reopened a new wound. I swallowed his bursts of agony, then sat back on my haunches, stunned.
His eyes half closed and exhaled – a long shuddering breath.
“I meant to kill you. I didn’t know it was you― outside ― I guessed you would come. Of course you would come. A Tolnedrian Ambassador with a Nadrak magician? How could you resist? But the scent of danger ― there’s more than one scent, Polgara.” Urdos grimaced and pressed his palm to the right, at the base of his rib cage.
He exhaled again, a drop of semen fell from the tip of his cock. “The talisman? You’ve come looking for the talisman? Even you must realize that Isil doesn’t want to marry Duke Gorn. Why do you care? The matter hardly concerns you ― and does not concern me at all ― but very much concerns Kessa.”
“I can help you,” I said, still on my knees, his semen dripping from my lips.
Urdos clenched his jaws, subtly smiled, then turned. I could not see what he was unwrapping on the small, simple desk, when he turned, my reader, I was prepared for treachery – or thought I was. I have lived thousands of years. If life did not continue to surprise me, then so many years would be unbearable. This was no knife. This was something far more dangerous to me – Lothvit’s dagger– the golden, bejeweled, cock that Lothvit used to force de’Thrin’s submission. It was beautiful, large, with a broad spaded tip of flawless gold.
And in that one instant, even after a lifetime of millennia, Polgara was unprepared ― and I think, now when I consider the day, willfully so. I desired what this man so dangerously offered me.
I quickly turned and stumbled as I tried to stand – his foot crossed my ankles – he grappled my wrists, my hair, my waist. He tore his own top, first over my shoulders, then over my hips. I rose, fell, rose again, falling onto the bed – between me and the chamber’s door. I screamed at him: “No!”
He shouted. He burled my hair in his fist and drove my face down and into the mattress, muffling my screams. I reached behind me. I kicked at him. You, reader, will want to know why, after all the histories you have read, all the legends and stories, though I pressed my knees tightly together, yet I raised my hips, arched my back, lifted my pelvis off the bed and screamed like a teenaged girl into the mattress. Yes, I could have stopped him.
You have been told so little about me. There’s no the place in legends for sexual desire, for the simple, hidden lusts of men and women. We are not just our deeds. We are who we desire, who we make union with, who we trust with our hearts, bodies and ecstasies. For thousands of years I had served destiny – selfishly, arrogantly, and coldly at times. I returned the orb. Now there were still battles to be won and lost, but no world to be lost. Now I wanted to explore what I never could.
I wouldn’t make it easy. He held me face down by the hair. I tightly closed my knees and pressed my pelvis into the mattress. I reached behind me with one hand and batted at him with the other. He lifted my pelvis, one arm and the dagger underneath, making me arch my spine, making the entry into my belly, my abdomen, my body, vulnerably exposed and lifted above my locked knees. He removed his arm and I lowered my pelvis again. This time he struck my buttocks powerfully and I lifted my hips instinctively, almost submissively. He trapped the backs of my knees against he mattress with his own knee and this time I could not uncoil the defenseless lift of my spine. I screamed into the mattress again before, slowly, almost vindictively, I felt the broad, gold head of Lothvit’s dagger press against me, there, in the divot between my thighs. I shook my head violently. He already parting the lips between them.
I panted, my eyes rolled and I moaned into the mattress. Lothvit’s dagger slowly began to fill me from behind. He held it firmly in his fist, pushing it unyieldingly, forcing me to my toes ― and my knees wider.
“Stop fighting.” Urdos spoke gently. “There’s nothing you can do to stop it.”
Now the broad head descended if only by its own weight deeper and deeper. I felt its helmet, like a giant knot, descending. All the voices, all the myriad awarenesses of a Sorceress ― I felt them retreating, unraveling, withdrawing like the tendrils of a shrinking vine. I grunted as the head entered the deepest part of my abdomen ― the broad gold head like an anchor that pressed expectantly, achingly, at my womb until the pressure was strangely, desperately, impossibly like an orgasm that would not come. My fingers dug into the mattress. I widened my knees and lifted my buttocks still further.
I was mortal.
“Yes, you want it.”
For the first time since I had been born the world was silent. Urdos had let go of me. My head was lifted. I looked at nothing. My back was now as tightly arched as it had ever been, knees parted widely, the base of Lothvit’s dagger extending upward and behind me from the depths of my belly. I raised my hips and rutted.
Urdos stood and walked to a small chest.
He took off his trunks and lifted fresh clothes, placing them on one of the chairs. My finger tips dug ever more tightly into the mattress as my hips rutted behind me. We looked at each other. He was naked. His cock, even after so much and age, was rigid. He pulled on clean trunks and a new shirt.
“We have guests,” he said.
“Don’t leave me.”
“Your companions, I expect.” We’ll be serving them dinner while you claw the mattress. He stood at the bedside, fully dressed. I could feel my own fluids leaking over my clit, down the fur at the base of my belly, by belly button and dripping from my ribs and nipples.
“Please,” I said.
“Please,” I whispered, “your slave, needs to come, Master.”
And then Urdos looked at me as perplexed as I must have looked. He was unprepared. I had stunned him as surely as any talisman. He took my head roughly between his hands and kissed me violently. The orgasm welled in my belly but did not arrive. He licked his lips, then returned to his desk where he took out leather straps. He cinched my wrists above me and made me stand. Lothvit’s dagger did not fall out. Nothing can remove it but the hand of him who sluiced the woman. The world was different. I felt something like age ― the normal minutes of a lifetime. He took me to a window overlooking the courtyard.
He told me that if I made a sound I would be seen.
He whipped me with a third strap. I suffered as the sorceress de’Thrin must have suffered. The terrible truth of Lothvit’s Dagger is that the suffering is not suffering at all, but worse, for every strike and lash of the skin promises an orgasm if only one more follows. I stretched my feet as wide as I could. I arched for him. I showed him what pierced me. My spine beaded with sweat. I yearned for his cock though I was filled – and that too is the tortuous magic of Lothvit’s dagger, for even though it filled me, the man who lodges it in the woman may enter her as though she were knew to penetration and yet as though he were as necessary and familiar as a husband’s. Then he left me. My wrists were crossed above me and held by an old iron hook that remained from the time the keep was builot. I looked down at the court as Durnik and the others joined Urdos and the madwoman Kessa.
I was naked.
My breasts, nipples hard and full, rose and fell under the cascades of my hair. My back remained coiled, my feet apart, and Lothvit’s dagger protruded from my thighs behind me. I dripped on the floor and my womb seemed at any moment ready to submit to the golden helmet pressing against it.
“Here Mistress,” said Gthen, “Polgara pauses again. She writes an outline pertaining to two days. In brief, Urdos returns to his chamber and leaves her standing before the window, while he lies down to sleep. In the middle of the night, she recounts, he wakes her from a half-slumber, whipping her. There is this fragment:
He held — [ ] —sping my ear, almost spitting.
— [ ]twenty-eight? You could have been any age. Your legendary father – ‘old wolf’? – is a dignified age – bearded and wizened. I suppose, if you’re a man, no one takes you seriously if you’re twenty-eight. No, authority [ ]ures aren’t in their twenties. But if I were a sorcerer, I would pick twenty-eight – that’s a good age to fuck. Let the old fools sequester them— [ ] a thousand years in their tower. But twenty-eight? I could fuck when I was twenty-eight – make sure a girl’s cunt was well filled four or five times over before I let her go.
“What makes you think—”
“What? That an old wolf, bristling with the will and the word, couldn’t manage his own cock like a twenty year old? Really, Polgara. When is the last time a sprightly girl, ready for her first tupping, went looking for a grey-bearded old sorcerer? You yearn for life. Tell me you yearn for life, that you were never ready to be the old crone. If I had been the author of your life, I too would have written you as the young woman — the beautiful woman — for I would have been just as in love with you.”
After this, he takes her from behind. She writes in the margin more:
He threatened me. In the throes of his passion, her swore he would take me into Saffkeep. That if he did not kill me he would sell me into slavery.
He would let the dregs and lees of the tavern fuck me at the end of a leash.
And perhaps I would learn to pity them and their short lives. He spoke so that I even began to imagine it. I saw their hideous faces, their scars and deformities, and I pitied them. I opened my womb to them, I gave myself to them, head down, on knees, hands braced against the floor and a wall, and they were renewed and healed within me.
The vision consumes her until the force of her orgasm steals her consciousness. Only then, it seems, does he release her and brings her to his bed. I find more outlines in the margins which, I confess, I have not yet been able to decipher:
describe tanik, isil | [ ] discovery
assassi[ ] august 6 — word from Murgos ambassador [ ]ing remedy
Danik | search reveals Lord Frairs invest[ ]ure
august 7 | supplies | third gath[ ]
After this, Polgara briefly outlines accompanying Urdos on horseback. The journey is tortuous for, as she describes it, the movement of the horse provides never-ending stimulation to the dagger embedded within her. We have this fragment:
[ ]s begged him. Urdos took me by my forearm to one of the many overlooks for which Lake i’Nass is famous. He left me standing by myself close to the edge of the overlook whilst he stepped some ways back.
“What do you see?”
“Just –” I said, “Just the world.”
“The clouds motion as though they were my heartbeat, Urdos. I see life and death, and my own. I see the world simply as it is.”
“I will hang you here.”
I turned. He stood beneath a tree closest to the overlook, a half dead limb above him and the rest of the tree swept like the wild hair of a woman before the wind. He tossed a rope over the limb and tied longer part to the bridal of the horse. I felt the pang of real fear, mortality, even terror. I took a step backward, closer to the edge of the overlook. I wouldn’t let him hang me like a dog.
“That’s what I told myself for years, Polgara.”
“What are you doing?”
“All of this,” he continued, “so carefully planned. You, the master persuader. I knew. You would manipulate me to reveal whatever secret I concealed. I chose the one secret that I wanted you to find –”
“What are you doing?” I asked again, more forcefully, still backing away.
“I will hang you here. Mortal. Not only mortal, but dead. A warning — the wind swing you. Behold, the mighty Polgara, silent but for the creak of the rope. Are you frightened? Look at you. Life is precious, isn’t it.” Urdos shook his head and clenched his jaws. He fashioned the rope into a hang man’s noose. Then he spoke in anger. “I fell in love, Polgara. That was not what I was expecting.” His movements were suddenly swift and decisive. He pulled the noose over his own neck and slashed at the horse.
“No!” I screamed. I ran to him, screaming— [ ]
“What happens, Gthen?”
“As I said, Mistress, it is only a fragment, but Polgara must have somehow prevented his death.”
“What next, Gthen? What next?”
“I’m sorry Mistress, but the evening prevents my reading further. We must be prudent. Do you still harbor the belief that the manuscripts are fraudulent?”