Tara Geonette stepped into her basement lab. She headed for her alchemy table. Keeping her back to Bedore, she set down her tools and the soul gems.
“You’ve had the baby,” Bedore said. He’d noticed she wasn’t pregnant any more.
Tara turned around and smiled at him. “I have. Congratulations on becoming a father again.”
“It is,” Tara said. “A red haired, green eyed girl.” She let him see her genuine satisfaction. “I’ve named her Tara. We’ll call her ‘the younger’, to differentiate, I think.”
Tara studied Bedore’s eyes. They remained haunted, the same as Maline’s still were, after all this time. She’d done to Bedore what he’d done to Maline, and Lysona, but many times more. She’d even continued raping the man after she’d known she was pregnant, only stopping when there was no way to hide her growing belly.
She couldn’t remember when his eyes had taken on the dead look. Instead, she remembered the pleasure his pain gave her.
What a revelation his rape of Lysona had been. Feeling her mental anguish at his violation had awakened in Tara a new path to growing her own powers.
There was something to magic and pain, at least for her. All these years of torturing people before soul trapping them had paid off. Physical torture left a mark on the soul; the mark she needed.
Mental torment, though. What a mark that left on them. She could feel the difference in the souls she’d captured since. Better still, her own magic had grown as she fed off others’ suffering.
She had new ideas, too. Understood new ways she could use that pain to adjust spells, create new ones, and improve her plan to become immortal.
Yes, these past nine months had been the greatest revelation. Now, she was ready for the next step.
“I am glad, my queen,” Bedore said. He sounded exhausted, yet Tara caught a spark of hope in his voice.
Tara slowly walked over to him, careful to block his view of the tools and gems she’d set down. She wasn’t ready for him to see them.
Today, she wore black mage robes, with the order’s symbol, in red, on them. This was not a day for armor. Besides, black always suited when a necromancer was about to work.
“She’s beautiful,” Tara said. “We always made beautiful children together. She is special. I thank you.”
Bedore was still bound to the table, naked. After she’d stopped raping him, she’d allowed him some freedom. Mordard was finished clearing the cavern and digging out the alcove. He now spent his time watching over Bedore. This allowed for Tara to occasionally release Bedore from his bindings so he could exercise around the cavern and lab.
Tara had needed to cast multiple, strong calming spells on him, to keep him placid and pliable, when he was released. Mordard was ready to attack if he broke through the charms. Fortunately, he’d not been a problem.
Bedore had lost weight, but was still in good shape and looked strong. Perfect for his upcoming transformation.
Standing by his head, Tara ran her fingers through his hair. How she missed the feel of him. Touching Lysona was not the same. At least Lysona was an excellent source of pain. She far exceeded Bedore in that way.
Bedore didn’t fight Tara’s touch. She traced her fingers gently along his face. So chiseled, so perfect. She committed it to memory.
“I know you’re happy I don’t need you to produce any more children,” she said. She smiled as he twitched, his eyes flashed to a pained look. Memories of the past months. Tara felt a small jolt. She needed more.
She’d had an idea for a spell. She’d not tried it on Lysona yet. Bedore would be the better candidate, in case something went wrong.
“What else can I do to serve you?” he asked.
Always calculating, Tara thought. He wanted out of his bonds, of course.
“First,” Tara said, keeping her voice soft, “I need to test a new spell on you. You’ve inspired me.”
Bedore looked scared, but only for a moment. He composed himself into a neutral look. Not as defeated as he played at. No matter. The game was almost over.
Tara moved her fingers that were gently caressing him to his forehead, pressing them firmly to his skin. She took her left hand and produced the spell. The red glow of it moved to her right hand, down her fingers into Bedore.
His scream was immediate. He jolted and tried to twist away from her, but she kept her fingers pressed into him.
His memories hit her. In her mind, she saw herself, on top of him. Different clothes, different lighting, as if every time she’d assaulted him were passing through his mind, one after the other.
The rush of pleasure hit her hard. This had to be what joy was. She felt elated, turned on, and filled with a satisfaction she couldn’t express. This had to be happiness, that feeling she’d watched others claim since she was little.
She broke contact with him, and his memories faded from her. She stepped back, still relishing the rush his pain brought her. She’d need to adjust the spell, she didn’t want to have to touch her victims, but oh, how glorious this feeling was! Burning people alive had never come close to this.
She felt heady, almost drunk.
Yes, some adjustments, perhaps she could learn to control what memories came forth. Pace herself.
Tears ran down Bedore’s face. He’d stopped screaming, but his face revealed his suffering. He almost seemed to be reliving what she’d done to him, running through the same emotions and pain.
Now was the time, while he was still at the peak of anguish.
Tara walked over to the alchemy table, giving him a clear view of what was on it. She picked up the black soul gem, the smaller, common soul gem, and the rest, her dagger, embalming tools, and linen wraps.
“My queen, don’t. Please.” His eyes were wide. Tara smiled.
“I never got to teach you all the ways to create a zombie, did I?” She said to him. “A pity you didn’t enjoy conjuration. It’s very useful.” She winked at him.
“Tara, please, let me serve you…”
“I made a promise, Bedore,” Tara said. “To all my members. All of you will live forever. I won’t break my promise. That includes to you.”
“There’s another way,” he said. The pleading in his voice was of a pitiful level, like a child thinking its world was ending because it had to eat a vegetable it didn’t like.
“Wrapping a body properly in linen helps preserve the skin and give longevity. Protects from injury,” Tara said. She set out the tools, the curved knives, and thin iron scalpels that would help her remove his organs before embalming.
“The better shape the person is in helps, of course,” she continued. She tapped his chest and smiled. He flinched. “What abilities the person had stay with them, but only if you give them their soul back, instead of using any human soul. That’s the most common method, throwing any soul into a fresh body. Lazy,” she said.
“No, if you want a true servant, one who will last, and, pardon my word choice, live forever, you need to give them their soul back as soon as possible.”
“Don’t do this, please.” His voice was raw.
Tara held up the ebony dagger. She’d owned it for years, having bought it from a blacksmith in Wayrest when she was a teenager. The deep black of the blade almost shimmered in the reflected light of the lit braziers.
“The soul needs to be marked, of course, which, as I taught you, is the reason for torture beforehand,” Tara continued. She smiled at him. The rush from the memory spell still flowed through her. Today was a good day.
She positioned the dagger, using her fingers to find a spot on his chest where the blade could slip easily between his ribs and slide into his heart.
Bedore tried to shift away, but the bonds held him. Turning his head away from her had always been a luxury she gave him. She’d made sure he was strapped too tightly to move the rest of himself from her touch.
Pressing its point against his skin, ready, she looked at him. Watching someone die, watching the light of their soul leave their eyes, was its own pleasure. The dagger was enchanted with a soul trap spell, one of the few spells one could bond to a weapon. She cast another spell on it, a soul splitting one.
“The real secret to a powerful zombie, though, Bedore,” she said, “is splitting the soul. Keeping a piece of the person separate, forever in possession of the caster, guaranteeing loyalty. Yet also keeping most of the original soul intact, so the zombie keeps its memories of who he, or she, was. So they might spend their days remembering the pain of death, and the pain of the life they led. All while being subservient to another. Ideally, their torturer.”
Bedore stared at her with utter hatred. He’d moved past the stage of begging, as they all did. He was at acceptance. Where he could be his most authentic with Tara. When it didn’t matter what he said or did.
“Are you ready to be transformed, Bedore?” She gave her voice its most sultry tone. She felt her chest rise and fall in excitement. She didn’t think she could be more turned on than in this moment.
“Fuck you, bitch,” he said.
Tara shook her head at him. “What a boring answer.”
She slowly drove the dagger into him, feeling a fresh rush as he screamed in pain, and blood poured out. She twisted the knife in his heart and watched him gasp, his skin drain of color, then his eyes, staring at her with loathing, fade and shift, to a deep sadness. Perhaps even grief or regret passed through them, before all life left.
Bedore’s soul drifted up from his body, a blue swirl of energy that sparkled and mixed with the light of the room. Tara guided most of it into the black soul gem, a rare geode that could hold a human’s soul. She guided the rest of it into the common soul gem. Both gems came aglow, throbbing slowing and emitting a soft light, almost purple through the prism of the geodes.
She placed the gems into metal holders she had sitting on the stone table. She got to work preparing Bedore’s body to receive his soul again. The rest of the process for today went quickly as she thought about what she wanted to do to Lysona tonight.
They’d have to have a special night together, she thought.
Finish this perfect day of pleasure and pain on a high note.