Dreamed 1981/5/18 by Chris Wayan
I meet a young priestess, slender, small and very bright--a major sorceress already, in her teens! I like her instantly and we become friends. The more I learn of her the more I'm attracted. I'm starting to flirt with her and working up the nerve to ask her out.
But I never get a chance. She's kidnapped by an older wizard of great power. He meeks her with a spell. She's not his only catch--he's hypnotized a whole retinue of has-been wizards.
How to rescue her? With all that glassy-eyed help, his house is invulnerable.
So I sign up with his agency, and interview. He puts his standard spell on me. I hold back from using my powers to defend myself and let him do it. I feel numb, alienated, pushed to obey him, but it's the only way to be near her, have a chance of helping. I can resist the spell enough for small actions, with effort.
They brew a drugged cup to give her, hoping to break her wards. I think of complications, raise objections. The henchmen fall for it and go to fetch one last ingredient... We're alone a moment! She rouses herself from the Mage's compliant trance, drops the poison cup, and flees.
The Mage's stronghold is my old high school, built in a sunken quadrangle cut into a hill. She breaks out of the quad, climbs up the rocky wall and stands atop the rampart like an archetype of freedom...
Just as the Mage comes home.
He zaps her again in rage! And with no mere spell of obedience. She twists and crackles with lightning. Her clothes fry, her body crouches, naked, no, furred! On long slender zigzag legs. A deer. He's turned her to a deer.
With a broad angry wave he twists his henchmen into a pack of hunting beasts. "Since you won't be mine, be theirs. Be tracked, killed and eaten, my deer."
But he was in a hurry, and angry, and sloppy--he only thought "Be animals." So the beasts his followers became reflect their own characters and wishes. Rabbits, spiders, elephants, storks. Chaos! Schisms develop, and complex relationships of symbiosis, hierarchy, predation--love, hate and fear. They forget they're supposed to be a pack hunting the Deer Sorceress. She's just another strange creature among them...
Not escaped yet--but not eaten either. The Mage outsmarted himself.
And overexerted himself, I suspect. A cyclone of shapeshifts, all at once! Is he really up to a duel after that?
Especially if I join her. He's stronger than either of us, but we may escape him yet. We may even find friends and allies among these monsters now. They once were wizards too. In animal form, will they recall their true desires?
As hope shocked through me, flushing out the dregs of his spell, I woke...
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