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 wolfs 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
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,
Roses 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 Roses.
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, Jasons 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, Jasons horse. This is a splendid
copper-red stallion, the gift from another Firemaster, who is attended to by
Jasons salamanders, but otherwise has been left in isolation since Jasons
"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 DuMonds week in the city we follow him and discover that he has
already betrayed Jasons 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 DuMonds 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 DuMonds 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 Jasons
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 Jasons horse with Jasons 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 Jasons
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 rivals 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 isnt 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 DuMonds 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 Earthmasters 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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