Golden Bridge Chronicle

Chapter 3: Opening Up

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Music accompaniment

To play during reading Burning the Past – Kingdom of Heaven – Harry Gregson Williams

I arrived at the house. It was a modern-looking house in an old worker’s neighborhood, but it was well integrated to its surrounding. Just a few key features marked the modern look. It was about five in the afternoon so I supposed he was home or I would have to wait awkwardly in front of his house. I knocked and waited. After a few seconds, I didn’t see or hear anything so I knocked again. It felt like a long time to wait and I was about to leave and wait elsewhere, when the door opened. Francis Morin looked a bit annoyed, and I could clearly see he hadn’t slept for some time. He only had pajama pants on. He had grown a trimmed ginger beard since the picture, but was smooth everywhere else I could see. He was relatively lean, without any muscle definition. When I looked into his eyes, they were a complex emerald to teal, but they seemed a bit dull compared to the picture I saw. I was liking what I saw, but I composed myself.

“Hi, how can I help? I was in my office, I didn’t hear you knock.” He said, out of breath.

“Hi, I am Beldro, a painter that was tasked to appraise a painting in your father’s estate. I had a few questions for you. Can I come in? I can come back later if it’s inconvenient.” I asked with empathy.

“Yes, you can come in, you are not bothering me that much since I work from home.” He said leading me to a living room. The interior of the house was a lot more modern then the outside suggested, white walls with abstract store bought art. He asked if I wanted anything to drink, which I accepted. He went to another room for a while and came back with two tea mugs. He was dressed, with different pair of pants and a t-shirt. He seemed more sombre than before, I could sense a weight on his shoulders.

“First of all, I want to give you my condolences. I can’t understand how you feel about it. I would like to jump right in and get out of your hair. I would like to know if by any chance you remember a painting with a tree, about three feet by four feet, in a Renaissance style.” I activated my mage sight, just to be sure I could perceive anything special around him or in his aura.

“Yes I do remember a painting with an oak and a fox on it. It has been in my family for a really long time.” He instantly recalled, with a higher note in his voice. I could see a tiny gleam in his eyes, but I couldn’t tell if it was joy or sadness. At that precise moment, there was something I was catching in my mage vision, but always just right at the edge of my sight.

“Well you will be happy to know that I have it in my possession, and it is quite an intriguing piece of art. I haven’t found the creator of it. Would you have any idea about it, or any stories about it?”

“No I don’t know who made the painting, I know my father got it when my grandfather died. I don’t have any stories about it, well no factual stories.” He said, he was clearly hiding something.

“Well at this point I would be interested even in the unverified stories.”

“I don’t remember it clearly now, but I have the distinct memory of hearing my father talk to the painting. Also, I always felt that there was something off with the fox, like if it wasn’t exactly at the same place in the painting. But I was quite young and it usually happened late at night, when I woke up or stayed awake, for some reason or another.” He seemed to brush off the thought, trying to change subject. “Sorry to be so down, the death of my father has hit quite hard on me. I haven’t seen him much in the later years, since I went to get my degree, but it has hit me hard and I don’t have anyone to talk to.” For a moment I could see his facade crumble when he spoke of his father.

“Sorry for my babbling, you hardly know me.” He brought back his facade. Clearly needing to talk about it. He was human, and just being real. I could clearly see the pain he was hiding.

“That’s no problem at all. Please continue, you seem to need it.” I said.

He did continue after a moment, but he seemed as though he wanted to move on. He tried to change the mood and subject. “Anyway, why do you need to know the stories of the painting, why is it so important to you? It will come to me anyway when the estate is cleared, is there something that happened to the painting?” He asked me with interest.

At that moment I saw his aura flare. For a brief moment, I saw the telltale signs of an Awakened aura, not there yet, but so near. It was a magnificent thing to perceive, however brief. The dullness in his eyes was totally gone. It was now clear why the Order had so much interest in this family’s affairs: they are a Dynasty and he was a Proximi. That’s why he could be present with the painting without the magic power unraveling, he wasn’t affected by the Curse. I now knew what I needed to do, but was he ready for it?

“No the painting isn’t damaged or anything, we just found something odd with it and I have confirmed that there was something hidden with the painting. Would you like to see it?” Trying to pique his interest.

He seemed to think for a minute. The weight on his shoulders coming back, the dullness in his eyes returning. Then, he suddenly stood. “Hell, why not. I don’t have anything urgent to do and it will help change my mindset. Let’s go.” He went to the lobby to dress to go out, and I followed behind him. We took his car to my apartment. He seemed to be deep in thought during the drive. It gave me the time to start to plan out my strategy. Was he ready to directly meet Master Fox? Hopefully. Was he ready to witness the Supernal power? Maybe a bit too soon. Why did I want so much to help him? He sure seemed interesting, not bad looking. He was in a bad place, grieving, but he seemed to be able to keep it together somewhat. He seemed to need some friends, opening to a stranger so easily. I also needed some friends, anything to keep the loneliness at bay.

We arrived at my apartment. I brought him to Master Fox’s canvas.

As soon as he saw the painting, he became excited. “This is the one! It is my father’s painting. So what was hidden?” He started to walk around the easel, to the back of the painting, his eyes scanning it in search of a mystery.

“I will let Master Fox explain it himself.” I said while looking at the fox waking up and standing at attention. Master Fox was looking at the back of the painting when he spoke.

“Welcome Francis William Morin. I am happy to meet you again. At least this time we can talk.” Master Fox said.

“Wait, who talked?” Francis questioned coming back to the front. When he realized the fox had changed position and was looking directly at him he jumped back, surprised.

“It seems you are not ready yet to start our work together, but the death of your father demands that we move forward regardless. My name is Master Fox and I have been the tutor and guardian of the Melbourne’s legacy for 16 generations. In time I will explain what you are meant to do but right now your need for answers is a bit more urgent. Beldro, could you fetch me more of your blueberries?” Master Fox answered, infinitely patient. I went to collect some blueberries and put them on the border. Master Fox ate them slowly, waiting for Francis to answer. I brought a chair for him to sit on, while I stayed back and stood.

“What are you? Am I dreaming? Am I hallucinating?” Francis fired rapidly, unable to stem the flood of questions.

“I am a spirit, anchored to this painting a long time ago to help your legacy’s founder to attain greatness. He knew it would be more than a lifetime endeavour, and with me ensured that it would one day be completed. You are the direct descendant of that founder. You haven’t Awakened yet, but you have been groomed from birth for that purpose. Your cousins and other relatives don’t have that power, there will always be one lone descendant with the power. I have survived with your family through war and strife, but our mission endures. This is real and it is our destiny. I can help you Awaken your soul to the Supernal powers, but are you ready to meet it? You left your father once to be your own man, to have control of your own fate, but are you ready to now take his mantle where he left it? He was unable to prepare you for this task completely, you having left too early. Are you ready to build the Golden Bridge?” Master Fox asked. He munched on some more blueberries, waiting for an answer.

To say it was a shock to Francis was an understatement. He was totally frozen in place. I now knew what Master Fox was, and a better idea why it was that important. Master Fox now radiated power and control more freely than before.

“So you are saying that all my life was devoid of any choice? It was all preordained centuries ago. Do I really have a choice if it is my destiny? What will happen if I say no? What does it imply? What are the risks?” Francis voice rose and he was clearly starting to become anxious, overwhelmed with the information. He began to stand up, but has soon he did there was a bark from Master Fox and he fell flat on the ground, unconscious.

“Could you take care of him? He was overwhelmed by the news, and it will take some time for him to come to terms with it.” Master Fox asked gently, a tinge of concern in his voice, absolutely unfazed by the raw act of power he showed.

I took him to my bed and brought the covers over him. I smelled his scent and it smelled light, with a touch of flowers, mainly clovers. I quite enjoyed it, and I found that it was arousing me, but I didn’t want to think of him like that and create some sort of expectation. In any case, I would never take advantage of him like that. I straightened and went back to Master Fox.

“He already knew about me and his father’s legacy, but when his father told him 5 years ago he wasn’t ready for it and had block out those memories since then. The kit left hastily, telling him he wanted to be the master of his own fate. It deeply grieved his father. He only had the kit left after his father and wife died some years before. I had long discussions with him about when to tell the kit about the family’s destiny. I knew he wasn’t ready, but he didn’t listen to me. After the kit left, he went deeper into the project, and gave more than he should and it wore him out. Please watch over him. I will allow you to witness the project for it. There hasn’t been many people outside of the family to have been in the know. I can see you do care for him. Please protect him, even if that means protecting him from himself.” Master Fox told me, going back to sleep without waiting for an answer.

I went to my bathroom to clean up before going to sleep. As I came out undressed to go to my bed I remembered that Francis was there. I put on a pair of yoga pants to sleep in, cast some additional protection spells for the night and went into my bed. I wouldn’t have done it if I could have avoided it, but I didn’t even have a couch to sleep on. The bed was warm from the sleeping man next to me. It was the first time anyone slept with me in the same bed since my childhood sleepovers. Sleep didn’t come easily since I had to fight back the urge to cuddle him. My longing for any body contact was straining on me, but I eventually fell asleep.

My dreams brought me back to the Renaissance studio of the last dream. The scene seemed the same, but I notice some of the sketches had been moved around and were now more defined. The same young nude man was posing. I observed his short curly blond hair, his closed eyes, his smooth features, reminiscent of classical statues. I was quite excited by the sight. He still felt familiar, but I couldn’t pinpoint it. I turned my attention to the painter. He was lightly dressed in a simple tunic, with the neck well exposed and down to the knee. He had loose, long, straight dark brown hair. He was purposefully sketching the model. I observed his actions for some time, but at some point, he set down his tools and walked to the model. They were roughly the same age, around 20. He came to the blond man and pose his hands on the model’s delicately rounded jaw, lightly turning it to face him. He leaned forward to kiss him, like a feather. He only backed up an inch, looking directly in the model’s eyes, keeping his fingers on his chin. The model slowly and sensuously opened his eyes, blinking as if he was coming out of a dream. He said something in a language that felt familiar, but I couldn’t understand. It sounded muffled to me. He then leaned forward and passionately kissed back. The blond moved out of his position without breaking the kiss. They slowly moved around the studio to a long bench by a window. The painter had his hands on the back of the model’s neck, fully engrossed in the kiss. The model put his hands under the painter’s tunic, moving around his body, exploring and caressing all of it. In doing so, he slowly lifted the tunic until he could remove it, breaking the kiss for only the briefest moment, barely a breath. It was clear at this point that they were fully excited by their love making. So was I. I felt a bit of a voyeur, not knowing if I had to stay or leave them to it, but the instinct took over. I tried to drop my pants, but I realize I was wearing nothing already.

The couple slowly dropped to the bench, pressing their bodies into each other’s. The painter’s skin was tan all over, while the model, was nearly pure white. They battled for some time for who would be on top, with the passion growing between them. At the end, the blond ended up on top. They were now grinding into each other, rising their already passionate love. I was totally mesmerized by the scene, full of love and attention to each other. I was soon fondling myself, in rhythm with them. They started to moan a bit louder, their movement becoming more and more erratic, the sexual tension rising in them. The painter blindly searched with his right hand for something on a small table next to the bench, he knocked over nearly half of the items until he took hold of one of his painting brushes. He had stop kissing. The model scratching his smooth torso with his nails. The painter started to chant in High Speech, which I recognised. The model began to chant with him. The caster started painting arcane symbols in the air with the brush and they took physical form, floating up and turning around them. The model traced different symbols on the chest of the man under him.

They continued, rising in intensity with each of their trust into one another. I was feverishly stroking myself to the scene. My mage sight fully aware of their nimbus, combining and dancing into each other, permeating the room. At the peak of their lovemaking, they cried in orgasm the last chant, together completing their spell and falling into the bliss of their love. I was also overwhelmed and felt the release. Their nimbus merged into one, for the briefest of moment, the resonance of their love uniting them. The blond model opened his eyes, out of the bliss they were enjoying together. His piercing gaze fell to meet mine and I woke up, having come in my pajama pants. I looked around and I caught an emerald stare next to me, full of questions.

Francis woke up, utterly confused. “Where am I? What am I doing in your bed? What just happened?” He carefully stood out of the bed, trying to get his bearings.

I slowly opened the covers to stand, aware of my stained pants. When Francis saw it, he instantly knew the answer to his last question. He turned his back to me, fully blushing. I also started to blush myself. I wasn’t shy about my body, but climaxing with someone was new. I quickly took some clothes from my drawer.

“You can help yourself to the fridge while I take a shower. I will explain everything afterward.” I said over my shoulder while I went to the bathroom. While under the jet of water, I was able to think back on what just happened. The dream of Renaissance was so real, I could remember clearly what happened, the smells, the sight, the emotions. It felt more than a dream, like a vision, but of the past. I would have to talk to someone about that mystery. And I could clearly remember the spell used. I didn’t know what it was or what it could do, but I could ask around to find out.

Thinking back about Francis, the embarrassment made me laugh. I gave him quite a first impression. I would have to explain it to him. I didn’t know how I felt about him. I do want his approval of me, to stay his friend. While reliving the dream and the scene with Francis, I was aroused again. The warmth of the sprinkling water on my head and my back helping to release tension that had accumulated. I closed my eyes and slowly started to caress my torso, my shoulders, reveling in the thought of being hugged back by someone. I slowly swayed in rhythm on my feet to an unknown, silent song. My hands slowly made their way down to my hips then my bubble butt. My left hand moved to the front, fondling my erect manhood, while the other one, moved to my hole, tantalizing it. I kept my eyes closed and I was totally oblivious to any outside stimuli, fully engrossed in my inner mind. I silently moaned, as my right index poked through the entrance, slowly making its way to my prostate. My left hand was lightly stroking my member. At the moment I stroked my internal bundle of nerves, it shot through my entire body a wave of excitement. It was as if I could feel the electricity move along my spine to my brain, lighting it with fireworks each time I caressed. I hastened the stroking of my penis, wanting release from the buildup of pleasure energy. I didn’t realized at that moment that I was no longer silent in my moaning. I went up to the edge of orgasm, and unable to restrain myself, I climaxed, ejecting away all the accumulation of energy. It was as powerful as I remembered cumming in my dream. The visage of the model and Francis merging, I became unsure of which is which. I collapsed on my shower floor, fully spent, but absolutely serene.

I finally came down from the high, stood and cleaned the mess I had made. I exited, dressed in a t-shirt and a pair of jeans, not too stained in paint, and smartly tied my hair in a tight topknot. I liked to experiment with my hair style as often as I could. As I exited the bathroom, I could see an embarrassed look on Francis face. He excused himself and went into the bathroom. I didn’t understood why he was acting like that, I wasn’t wearing the stained clothes anymore. I made a breakfast for myself, calm and zen, looking out through the windows. The morning was a moody autumn rain. The light barely shone through the clouds. A complete change from the warm rays from two days ago. It dampened my mood a bit. I was spooked when Francis suddenly sat at the counter next to me.

“Good morning Francis. First of all, I think I need to apologize for the waking up fiasco. I had a quite enjoyable dream and, well, I savored it. I think you can understand that. I do apologize that you were in the same bed as me but you passed out and I don’t have any other bed or couch for me to crash on.” I smiled sincerely to him. It then transformed in a mischievous one. “You should be happy I remembered to dress to go to sleep, what you saw me in this morning is a lot more then what I usually have on.” I laughed at my own joke. I could see some of the tension in Francis leave him, but he was still embarrassed and shy about the situation.

“Second, let’s talk about why you passed out. No, what you heard and saw yesterday wasn’t a dream. That fox in the painting is really a magical spirit that belongs to, I should say works with, your family. What it is? I don’t know, but it seems important. Master Fox made you collapse, to prevent you from panicking more, fleeing, and becoming a danger to yourself. You were a bit traumatized by the event. You were not ready for what you learned, but none are when they witness the Arcane Truth. I wasn’t ready when it happened and I was lucky another Mage was nearby to take me in.” A dark thought came to me, and a twinge passed in my expression for a short moment, then my composed face came back. “I am here to help you with all of it. What questions do you have?”

I could see that Francis was calmer now and the knowledge of him being special was slowly sinking in. His gaze was purposefully avoiding looking at the painting, but he took in the surroundings. It was as if it was the first time he observed it.

“You do live in a beautiful apartment. Quite lucky to have found it. Not spacious enough for my taste, I would need other rooms, more separation, a bit too bright for me to work in, but I do feel jealous. I like where I live, but it is more a functional place to live and work in than a sentimental home.” I could feel he was opening up to me, wanting to talk about something important to him. “My connection is still with my father’s house, I have fond memories of it. I always liked the old smell, the earthy smell of the small walled-off garden, the feel of the wooden floors, the warmth of the stove in the winter, and the breeze in the summer. It always smelled like home. I haven’t been in it for the last 5 years. I don’t remember exactly why, it is still hard to remember that day, but I do remember that I felt totally afraid, ashamed, and enraged. I left in a hurry, and found an apartment elsewhere in the city without telling him. I avoided that part of the city, not taking the risk to accidently bump into him. I fully dove into my studies and at some point, I forgot about it. My degree, my computers were now my life. Until his death. Then he came crashing back into my life again. I am still grieving over it, mostly regretting not having made peace with him. I don’t know how to express it, to get through the grief. I feel this weight on my shoulders and this rage inside me, and I cannot shake it off.” Silent tears started to stream down his cheeks.

I reached to give him a consoling hug, waiting for him to stop sobbing. He wetted my shoulder, letting go his emotion. I could feel at a point that he remembered where he was and on whose shoulder he was crying. When he straightened back from it, I gave him the warmest and most sincere smile I could give him. He was about to excuse himself, but I didn’t allowed him to start. Don’t be sorry. You need that and I am more then happy to help you through it. I don’t know if it is the solution, but I have a few methods you could try to calm your inner self and reignite the flame in you. Do you paint, or draw, or have any artistic talent?” I truly wanted to help him. He was hurt and needed to re-center himself, so he could move forward to his new life.

“No I don’t, at least, not the kind you do. I never had an artistic touch, or at least, never explored it.” He said.

“Then would you be interested to follow me in my morning rituals. I do Tai-Chi then sometimes I meditate. It won’t be easy at first, but in time, I could teach you. It helps me be focused and calm, so I can create more easily.” I stood and offered him to join me next to one of the bay windows. He followed. I started some stretches, but I felt constrained by the clothing I was wearing. I tried to ignore it but I was too uncomfortable. Francis wasn’t any better it this regard. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I turned to him. “Sorry, but usually, I do my exercise, well, ‘au naturel’ and my pants that I would use are the ones I slept in.” I smirked at that and an understanding look came to him. “And you also seems restrain by the pants you are wearing. I will be changing to only my underwear to continue. I invite you to follow me if you want, but if it’s bothers you, we can stop and do something else.”

He pondered on the proposal for a minute then let go. “Fuck it, I really want to try it, and if that’s what it needs then.” He unbuckled his belt and dropped his pants. I did the same and soon we were both in just our underwear. He wore plain grey briefs, while I was wearing bright lime trunks with splotches of white paint I hadn’t been able to get out. I tried not to check him out too much and concentrate on the task at hand, but for what I saw, he wasn’t disappointing.

For the next few hours, I taught him the basics of Tai-Chi and passive meditation. I think it helped him calm his mind, or at least concentrate on something else then the past’s grief and the future’s dread. He caught on more easily after the undressing and he even made a point of saying so.

We had lunch, a light salad, staying as we were clothing-wise. We had quite a good exercise, him sweating more than I think he was used to. He realised he smelled and took a shower. When he finished, he asked for me through the door. “I don’t have anything else to wear and I don’t want to put back on my old underwear, could I borrow something?” I laughed at his predicament and went to my drawer, taking out a clean pair of trunks for him, these forest green. I gave them to him through the cracked-open door, averting my eyes, not wanting to offend him.

When he came out, I marveled at how the change of underwear really affected his look, and complemented his ginger hair. I could see he was a bit shy about it, but there was a spark in his emerald eyes, similar to the one in the old picture.

“I would like to say that I really like the underwear. Never worn this kind but I really enjoy it, I might convert.” He walked to the space we had used to exercise, a bit more comfortable with the situation and of himself.

I took a short shower to clean off the sweat and then joined him.

We started to talk about him. He talked about what his job was. He worked as a programmer for hire. Mainly during the crunch time leading up to deadlines in different industries. It was mostly grunt work, but it was good money and it allowed him to stay home. I could see the passion he had for programming, finding creative solutions to problems, balancing efficiency, time, and cost. There was clearly an art to it. He also often went outdoors, to recharge himself and leave technology behind, if just for a time.

At a break in the topic, he fell silent, sighed, and seemed to be building up the courage to ask the next question.

“So what am I? Master Fox said yesterday that I haven’t Awakened yet. What does it mean?” He asked seemingly concerned about my possible answer.

“Being Awakened means being a Mage, with an awakened soul to the Arcane knowledge. You haven’t Awoken yet, else you would know, but you are not a Sleeper. It’s probably due to your family legacy, you are a Proximi, a Sleepwalker of a particularly powerful ancestry. You don’t provoke Dissonance in presence of Magic, but aren’t able to wield it.” I explained.

“So I am like a Squib in Harry Potter.” A disappointed look came onto his face.

“No it’s more like you are Neo in the Matrix before he met Trinity. You know there is a Lie and you can see through it, but you haven’t heard the call yet.” A reassuring smile on my face.

“So you are a Mage? How does it work? Can you cast a spell?” He asked excited.

“Yes I can show it to you. First of all, I will release my Nimbus, my magical aura.” And I did, transforming the light around me, and creating a temple-like calm, full of inspiration and purpose, with a faint smell of incense and paint. I stood and took my favourite painting brush with the petrified wood handle. I stood in front of him and started to do some tai-chi poses, using my brush to trace in the air the rune I needed. I concentrated on the barely visible spidering connections of Ley Lines, studying the interconnectivity of things. I was silent for the duration of the casting, my eyes open to the scene, concentrating on Francis. And at the last rune, I moved forward to touch him with the tip of the brush in the middle of his forehead. With the spell cast, now he could see the Ley Lines as well.

“WOW!! What are those?” He stood, marveled at the lines that coursed through my apartment.

“They are Ley Lines, lines of arcane energy, flowing magic all around us. They also convey Resonance, the emotional baggage. The stronger the line, more Mana travels through it, but also the more two thing are affected. It is used in feng shui, they course through Stonehenge, and places of strong emotions, like Auschwitz. I gave you the capacity to see them. It is not a spell that lasts forever, but I think you should go back home and explore what it looks like on your way. It is already late and I don’t want to impose on you another night here. Please be careful on the road. We can continue another time.” He nodded, not really putting any attention to what I was saying. He took his clothes and dressed slowly. I offered to shake his hand. He took it, but then added a brotherly hug to it.

“Thank you for the help. It is a marvelous thing and I do want to know more. I am still frightened by it, but it is no more a crushing fear. I will try to meditate and see where it leads.” He left.

I waited a few minutes, then, being sure he left, I undressed completely and I was inspired to paint. I did so until the wee hours not really observing what I was drawing. When I finished, I looked back at what I did and it shock me. It was an erotic portrait of the dream I had the previous night, but with me and Francis in place of the model and the painter.

Author’s Note

You can comment at Beldro Mercier. Be kind please!

Thank you to Jason Bellaraux and Vlad Strelok, authors of the Shamans In Love series, as my editor and as a good feedback source.

Thank you to Mark Christensen for his editing, review and comments.

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