((well, considering that most of your previous posts were at about 3 am...yeah, u need sleep :) ))
Alex sat up, leaving his body behind in his chair. Huh. Must've fallen asleep during the orchestra, he thought absently before wondering why he was still in the castle. Oh yeah, Grace is here. She must've settled down for the night, if she's not already asleep.
Changelings didn't dream with their own minds, but with the minds of others, u.sually whoever was closest. They couldn't control whose mind they latched on to, but they could choose whether to enter their dreams or to just roam around the person's body like a ghost. His servants were too feeble-minded for proper dreams, so he had never latched onto them, but humans were fair game. Alex usually had dreams in the minds of people in the nearby town, and he normally spent his time walking up and down the streets in his dream body. A few times he had actually entered the dreams of people he became tethered to, but dreams don't u.sually make sense to outsiders, so he tended to stay out of it.
The orchestra was still playing, so Alex, u.sing his spirit-like dream body, went down to their room and commanded the maestro telepathically to stop. All of the elves stopped playing, and they were asleep in a matter of seconds.
Now left alone, Alex wondered what he should do. Unlike the town, there was nothing for him to explore in his own castle. He couldn't move anything with his dream body, so reading more than a page of an open book would be impossible. Even if he could reawaken the orchestra players, they might wake up his real body, and he really needed his sleep.
Was..was entering Grace's dreams really his only option? It would be many hours before dawn, and as tired as he was, he might sleep through the next day. He could almost feel himself being pulled toward Grace out of boredom, but fought against it. That's...that's too intrusive, even for m.e, he thought. He didn't want to admit it to himself, but he was almost afriad to go in her dreams; what if she noticed him? What if she gained conscious control of her dream and used it to torment him? No, there was only one option.
WAKE UP, Alex mind-yelled to Grace, hoping she wasn't deep asleep yet.
((if you're confused about the dream thing..Alex basically is like a ghost right now. All he can do it move around and talk to people telepathically, but it's weak. He can enter people's dreams if they're asleep))
((WOO that's long..sry, the dream thing explanation got long..))
((Lol, yeah. XD You wouldn't believe the number of all-nighters I've pulled lately. I've been trying to catch up on lots of things at once.
That's okay, I love detail. ^^))
Grace had barely dozed off when there was a shout in her head, amplified by sleep until it was nearly deafening. She jumped into a sitting position with a shout and looked around the room, heart pounding.
It took her a couple seconds before she figured out what had happened. "Da.mmit, Alex!" She yelled, not really knowing whether or not he could hear her. "It isn't bad enough that you've kidnapped me, now you won't let me sleep, either?"
((yeah, teen life and stuff. no worries, dahling!))
Alex wanted to give her a full explanation, but a), she wouldn't listen to his explanation, and b), she was too angry for him to communicate right then. In his dream body, he could't use telepathy at will like he usually could while awake. He just watched uselessly as Grace fumed, probably not guessing that the object of her anger was right in front of her.
When she had calmed down a bit, Alex simply told her, DON'T SLEEP. Part of him knew she probably would, but at least if he gave her the warning, she couldn't blame him...as much...if he entered her dreams. Telepathy had taken a lot of his concentration, though, and that was hard to get when your real body was sleeping. If she started to doze off again, he probably wouldn't be able to do anything about it.
((Also, the weather has been iffy lately. The power went out for a little bit and could again.))
"D.ammit," Grace said again, and buried her head under the pile of blankets, though she knew that wouldn't really block out Alex. "Get out of my head." She suspected she wouldn't be able to sleep for a while anymore anyway, but it drove her crazy that he would tell her not to.
Grace didn't seem to be dozing off, at least not at the moment. Alex was relieved, but only for a moment. Maybe it would've just been easier to enter her dreams right away. Maybe he was just putting off the inevitable, and he'd just be sitting around bored while he waited.
Grace's dragon picture caught his eye. Huh. Who would've thought she was an artist... Her artistry surprised him. After she had seemed to abrasive to him, he was a bit startled at discovering a softer side of her. If she does leave the castle, I'm keeping this painting, he thought suddenly, later wondering why he had thought something like that. It was true, since he wouldn't be able to destroy the painting, but Grace's apparent power over him still bothered him. Maybe it would destroy itself...
Grace stayed in the little room for about an hour and a half before deciding that sleep was futile. She got up and walked out, feeling uncertain but looking confident. She was a little worried she'd run into Alex again and have to talk to him, which she didn't want to do.
She wandered the halls methodically, exploring each room.
It took Alex a second to realize which hallway he was in. He hadn't been here lately, since it was on the side of the castle opposite his spell room, where he had been working lately. But Grace had wandered into his private quarters.
He considered asking her to go away, but that would just make her more certain to look. It would probably be best to wait and hope she fell asleep before she saw anything important.
((here is the order of rooms in this hallway:
1st room: Balcony/reading room. Balcony overlooks expansious forest and fields behind castle, but a slight shimmer in the air beyond the balcony shows that it is enclosed by Alex's magic barrier. The room is empty except for some books written in an elfen language, an old-timey armchair, and a nightstand with a candle that appears unscathed.
2nd Room: Pretty standard bathroom, although everything appears to be unsused. The water that comes out of the faucets is slightly purple and tangy.
3rd Room: Master Bedroom. A bed double the size of a normal queen-size, surrounded by a moat that acts as a pool, bookshelves reaching up to the high ceiling, which has a cystal chandelier. The back wall is completely glass, offering a view similar to that of the balcony (1st room). The nightstand drawers are filled with strange trinkets :3
4th Room: Treasure Room. Contains nothing but chests and a paper on the wall written in an elfen language, assumably a directory of which chest holds what. The chests are all numbered. Most contain treasure, some contain books, a few have dead bodies (some human), and a few have memories (like a pensieve in Harry Potter, you fall inside and see the person's memory)
5th Room: Heart Room: Guarded by stone lions that become animated if a magical creature enters. Actually a very small, windowless room, barely big enough to contain the two stone lions and one orb on a pedestal in the center. The orb is the color of Alex's eyes.
lol sorry that's really long. Just want to be sure you have the freedom to wreak havoc on poor Alex however you choose ;) ))
Grace passed by the first room fairly quickly, though not before she made a mental note of the chair. Maybe she'd steal it for 'her' room later.
The bathroom just reminded her of how she hadn't eaten in hours, and didn't need to go. It also freaked her out a little. If Alex could get into her mind, could he spy on her while she was using the toilet? She tried the faucets and decided she didn't want to use this bathroom if she could help it anyway.
The bedroom confused her. Why would anyone need a moat in their bedroom? Did she even want to know? She poked around in the drawers, wondering about the odd trinkets inside. They had to have stories, and, while she hated reading, she loved a good story.
Alex was mildy surprised that Grace hadn't tried to escape via the balcony. Either she was already convinced he was a powerful magical worker (doubtful) or she was just tired. He would've blushed if possible when she entered the bathroom, but thankfully she left that room quickly as well.
Alex hoped the bedroom would detain her a bit, the next two rooms were more personal and dangerous. He, personally, thought the moat added a nice touch, obviously he didn't 'need' it for anything.
The drawers contained a journal with the skematics of the castle and a few simple spells for everyday tasks (for instance, a self-dusting spell for drawers and cupboards), a purple glitter pen, an elf skull, some marbles that levitated a centimeter off the bottom of the drawer, a small jar of multicolored grapes, a Barbie doll, and an opened, half-full package of rubber bands. The drawer is dust-free, though the top of the drawer has dust, which suggests that Alex uses this drawer and its contents often.
Alex noticed that his caslte scematics had ended up in the drawer. If Grace had that and his spellbook...maybe he should keep an eye on that stuff from now on. Once he got his body back...
Grace had, in fact, had briefly considered trying to go out the balcony, but she usually avoided doing big things without any planning first. When she escaped, she wanted to be prepared.
She ignored most of the stuff in the drawer, but pocketed the journal, glad that her jacket had such nice big pockets. She pocked at the floating marbles, conflicted. She hated magic, but, honestly, these were pretty cool. Noting the dust and its meaning, she finally decided to take them, too, just because it might annoy Alex.
In the fourth room she opened three chests at random. The first two had treasure, most of which she wasn't interested in, but she grabbed a thin dagger with jewels in the handle. She didn't trust Alex as far as she could throw him, which, considering her size, wasn't far. If he tried anything, she wanted to have something.
The third chest had a dead woman in it. She slammed it shut and exited the room quickly, trying not to panic. Did he collect victims? Maybe that was someone else he'd kidnapped, murdered, and stuck in a box in a treasury.
She shivered and pushed open the next door, hoping for a temporary distraction. The lions were kind of creepy, but she hardly looked at them before turning her attention to the orb. Pulling the bejeweled knife from her pocket, she poked it hesitantly.
Alex winced as Grace took the journal. Must. Hide. Valuables. he thought to himself. He wished he could kick himself, but that was hard without a body.
Darn, it looks like she's checking all the rooms. Alex followed Grace into the treasury. He didn't even remember where he got all that treasure...maybe it came with the castle? Maybe the elves hoarded it when he wasn't looking? He did remember that woman, though.
She was his human 'mother', if he could call her that. After his 'father' died in a car accident, she was the one who raised him. That was probably for the best, because when she discovered she wasn't human, she could keep the secret without needing to tell a second person. She was fine with the whole 'changeling' thing, since, she figured, she hadn't noticed the difference for years. She raised him like her own child, and Alex despised her for it.
When he was still living with her, Alex found an old spellbook. He didn't really remember where he got that either, it just sort of showed up. The first spell in the book, the simple initiation spell for changelings, was learning to funnel your emotions into magic.
And all his hatred of humans went right into his mother, killing her as she was making their dinner.
Alex had suppressed the memories of what happened after that. The magical chest he put his 'mother' in both kept her from decaying, in case he ever found a counter spell, and kept the memories of her away. Grace opening the chest brought them back for a second, but thankfully she had shut it quickly. If she had kept the chest open when she left the room...Alex shuddered at the thought.
He was too preoccupied to notice Grace entering the Heart Room. He had never been in it before, since it was kind of like a self-destruct button for his caslte, but he wasn't sure how it worked. It was the only way he could keep the castle's magic functioning without constantly reciting icnantations, but the magic behind it was dark, weird magic.
When Grace poked the orb, Alex felt like someone had pricked his heart. He wasn't expecting pain, and the surprise prevented him from hiding his agony from Grace. Alex knew she wouldn't feel any of his pain, but he didn't know what to expect now that she knew it hurt him..
((ps, the orb is sort of 'tethered' to the pedestal. You can pick it up and move it around, but it has to stay within five feet of the pedestal. And yeah, it's breakable ;)
And sorry for the monster post...again...))
Grace jumped in surprise at the strange sensation. For several minutes, she just stood and stared at the orb, trying to figure out what exactly it was. She walked around the pedestal, examining it closely. Gently, she put her hand under the orb and lifted it slowly to test its weight.
Alex felt Grace hold the orb. It wasn't painful, but still uncomfortable, like a weight on his chest. He could tell the orb had more power than he realized, it seemed directly linked to himself. Fear began to make his heart beat faster, a sensation he was very unused to. He was helpless in this situation, the magic he had spent his life mastering couldn't help him.
But...Grace wouldn't intentionally kill me. She refused to even hurt me, when I outright offered it.
These thoughts seemed like an echo to him, for some reason. He heard his own thoughts clearly, then slightly less clearly a fraction of a second later. Maybe..the orb? But there was something familiar about the way the echo felt to him...
It was the same way Grace's thoughts felt to him. Just as Grace's thoughts had been open to him, now his thoughts were open to her. Realizing this, he immediately began thinking about something else, an exercise he, as a changeling, had to have mastered. Still, Grace could tell what he was thinking before. The choice would be hers to make.