Beauty times 3 (Part 3)

JOdel at aol.com JOdel at aol.com
Fri Nov 19 12:52:36 EST 1999


Beauty x 3 (Part Three) Warning! SPOILERS

According to Lackey, the story goes as follows; 

Beauty is an only child. Her name is not Beauty, it is Rosalind, Rose for 
short. Her father was not a merchant, but a professor at the University of 
Chicago. Rose is a graduate student working towards her Ph.D. Her father lost 
his fortune some time ago and Rose had been making shift with their 
straightened circumstances for years. As the story opens, her father is has 
just died, his income ended with him and she is destitute. It is autumn, 1905.

The Beast is a magician. For this particular story, Lackey has adopted the 
interpretation of magick working in accordance with the four elements. In 
most people these elements are blended so that none predominates, but that 
when there is an imbalance, the individual possess a magickal nature and can 
learn mastery of his or her own predominating element. The Beast is a 
Fire-master. Out of hubris he has been attempting a magic which is not of his 
own element, and which has gone perilously wrong. He has trapped himself in a 
botched spell which has left him physically half man and half wolf. With paws 
he is unable to write, and his wolf’s eyes can no longer make out the 
cramped, handwritten text of his grimoires and other books of the arcane arts 
which he must study in order to try to find a method of reversing the spell. 
He has retired to his mansion on a private spur line south of San Francisco 
(in public life he is an obscenely wealthy railroad baron) dismissed his 
human servants and is currently served only by salamanders and his 
secretary/apprentice, a handsome but vicious young man who has proved to be 
too lazy and undisciplined to learn what is needed in order to further his 
magickal education. 

The Beast has had his salamanders searching for young women whose education 
would enable them to read his books to him and help him in his research. (He 
prefers a woman assistant since he believes that a woman would be less likely 
to prove a danger to him.) Of the handful which the salamaders located, 
Rose’s qualifications come closest to his needs. He sends a letter, by 
salamander, to her mentor asking him forassistance in finding a tutor for a 
pair of bogus children. The qualifications requested are of course Rose’s. 
The deal is sweetened by a promises of a very good salary, and occasional 
holidays into the city for cultural events. A railroad ticket is included. 
Rose, of course, cannot afford to refuse and sets off for San Francisco. 

As soon as possible after her arrival at the mansion, Rose is informed of the 
deceit. There are no children, her employer has been injured in an accident 
and is no longer able to do his own research, that is to be her job. Since he 
is also disfigured, she will read him his materials through a speaking tube. 
They will not meet face to face -- oh, and she may find some of the things he 
asks her to read rather peculiar. Her salary and the other perks mentioned in 
his offer remain the same, and, in addition he will have the catalogues from 
the booksellers in the city conveyed to her so she may order whatever she may 
require for her own research. Rose who has few options, considers the changed 
agenda and agrees. 

Whereupon we all get to wallow in luxury while Rose becomes familiar with the 
manor, the library, the grounds and the work required of her. (Lackey is 
particularly good at wallowing in luxury, and will do so quite shamelessly 
given any good reason.)

During this period, Jason’s secretary/apprentice, one Paul DuMond, tries to 
insinuate to Rose that she is not safe here and should "trust" him to help 
her. She finds him repellent. Rose also makes the acquaintance of the other 
major living creature on the estate, Jason’s horse. This is a splendid 
copper-red stallion, the gift from another Firemaster, who is attended to by 
Jason’s salamanders, but otherwise has been left in isolation since Jason’s 
"accident". Since the horse will not tolerate DuMond near him, he has been 
left at liberty in a field without companions. He seems to like Rose, but 
since she does not ride she is of no help in exercising him and can only 
provide a bit of company. Meanwhile, the head salamander informs Jason that 
while Rose has some fire in her, her nature is mostly air. Or, in other 
words, that Rose also has a magickal nature and could be trained as a Master 
of Air. He suddenly has hopes that he might be able to train her to the 
degree that she can be an active help to him in the work of his restoration 
since he can no longer trust DuMond.( Who he sends off to the city on 
business for a week.) 

During DuMond’s week in the city we follow him and discover that he has 
already betrayed Jason’s condition to a rival who has possession of the spell 
that Jason is looking for and does not mean to let him have it. He offers to 
tutor DuMond in other ways to power since Jason is clearly not intending to 
further DuMond’s education any farther. 

Rose has found the things she is asked to read VERY peculiar, but can 
understand how someone who cannot be helped by modern science might well try 
to find answers in the occult. Since Jason  now knows that she could also 
become a practitioner, he has the salamander add an elementary apprentice 
text into the stack of his own researches and waits for her to read it during 
the week of DuMond’s absence. This she does and is shocked to realize that it 
makes a certain weird kind of sense. 

She immediately gets on the horn (sorry, tube) to Jason asking for 
explanations and he tells her what he is, how his mansion is run and proves 
it to her. He explains to her that she could also learn if she wishes. She 
thinks it over and accepts the offer. The chief obstacle now passed, they get 
into the search for the missing spell with a will and burn the midnight oil 
for several weeks until Jason sends her off to the city on one of the 
promised holidays, complete with excursions to theater and bookshops. 

Rose returns from her holiday to a crisis. Jason has decided to test a 
possible modification of the original spell while the sun or moon or whatever 
is favorable and has sent DuMond off to dinner away from the estate. The 
effort (unsuccessful) leaves him in desperate case and the salamanders (who 
cannot touch living flesh without burning it) call on her to help. So she 
finally meets her employer face to face and gets a considerable shock. 

Meanwhile, DuMond meets the rival sorcerer over dinner and the rival 
recommends that he find some reason to be relocated to Oakland in order to 
further his education. 

Rose, although considerably shaken soon recovers and is able to contemplate 
meeting her employer again. DuMond manufactures a crisis in one of Jason’s 
Oakland companies and gets himself sent off there to deal with it for the 
next few months. Jason begins to contemplate that if he makes a go of it he 
might be able to send him off to manage some holding inn another part of the 
world and so be rid of him. With DuMond out of the way Rose and Jason begin 
her training, and continue his search, and deepen their own acquaintance. 
Over the next few weeks Rose realizes that she has fallen in love with him. 
He realizes that he has fallen in love with her. Neither, of course says 
anything to the other. 

As a side project, Rose manages to familiarize Jason’s horse with Jason’s new 
scent to the point that he will tolerate his master despite the 
transformation. Both Jason and the horse are touchingly grateful.

The rival and DuMond, meanwhile, have been exploring the paths to power ala 
Alister Crowley via sex, drugs and bloodletting (not, of course, their own). 
The rival wants to get his hands on Rose in case she knows some of Jason’s 
secrets and can be used. He insinuates a number of suggestions to this effect 
to DuMond, who, drugged to the gills, decides to take the rival’s yacht and 
land on the beach below the manor and abduct her. He manages to catch her 
unaware but she puts up a fight and he isn’t having things all his own way. A 
watchful salamander yells for Jason who is out on his horse. Jason rides to 
the rescue, the wolf takes over and he tears out DuMond’s throat. 

Rose is thoroughly shocked. Jason is appalled and sends her away to the city 
for her own safety. While they are trying to get their thoughts in order and 
figure out what to do now, the rival approaches Rose at the opera and offers 
her his "help". This is on April 17. In the morning all hell breaks loose. 
The manor has been spelled against the worst of the earthquake (by a local 
Earthmaster, (Jason reciprocated by spelling the Earthmaster’s shop against 
fire.) but Jason is frantic with worry about Rose alone in the city. He 
spends a large part of his magic to take himself there to find her. He does 
find her -- struggling with his rival. There is a confrontation, the 
salamanders are called in, Rose calls up her sylphs and tells them to help 
Jason and the city goes up in smoke. The bad guy gets roasted, taking the 
needed spell with him. The good guys are spent and make their way back to the 
mansion by donkey cart with the exhausted local masters of Earth and Air. 
Jason and Rose are married. Jason remains half beast. Finis.
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