Barefoot Poetry

SS Matthews


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Thief Saga – Jewel of Night part 1&2

Jewel of Night

Part 1

A spell is best cast upon those who believe,
that power through practice of magic achieves
superior craft when one’s talent is rare
to call from the shadows what things you might dare.

A firm non-believer may discount results,
never-the-less beware the occult.
Dabbling in darkness may offer a thrill,
but lurking within are things that can kill.

From velvet chambers she conjures a Name,
invading my night with her summoning game.
Called from my card play to heed her demand.
Does she think me novice and hers to command?

For here’s a magician awake in the night,
able to shine an experienced light
on some would-be sorceress testing her fate
by compelling a demon to dance for a date.

A trio of knaves I fold with a frown
placing a threesome of winners face down.
Gambling for coin requires no heart.
I make no excuses, just rise and depart.

The curse that I carry does grant me a boon.
To spells of control I am nearly immune.
When muttered at midnight amidst full array,
even a specter might fail to delay.

Some find me more than a shadowy spell.
Some even think me an agent of Hell.
Her witch-work is potent and tough to defend,
drawing me into a this contact with men.

The stench on the street is nearly to much.
Streets should be vacant of riff-raff and such.
As torches of pitch throw their intricate weaves
of shadows down alleys, the playground of thieves.

I spot the two bullies, clubs poised to transfer
cherished possessions from my hands to hers.
Did they think me easy, a target of sport?
My dagger by moonlight will swiftly retort.

Dull eyes from darkness leer red in the night.
Mistress of magic how deadly your plight?
Fool of a bully, come fill then your grave.
Torch-light I wrap and reflect from my blade.

This phantom is more than some ox at the block,
this fine cloaked pedestrian’s head you would knock.
A blur is my answer, your mate must now grieve.
Red eyes roll upward and blood stains my sleeve.

What vanity drove you to wear this grave face?
Your thug-mate retreats at full speed from this place.
Fleeing this figment of death’s steel caress
may save him some breath and sudden arrest.

I’ve no time for chasing a wet-legged fool.
The witch that awaits me by her gazing pool
will see by the shadows a-swirl that I come
and wonder if mayhap her deed is undone.

Part 2

Arcane reminders to visit by day
circle her threshold and would keep at bay
most any practitioner of ill intent.
By spoiling their purpose my message is sent.

Withering sigils, well-crafted in blue,
might stymie the best, but I weave and pass through.
Having shadows for allies provides me an edge
to slash through illusion when out on the ledge.

As final announcement alerting the lass,
the old oaken door cries aloud as I pass.
Faintly a glow from her corridor’s end,
warns me away from invading her den.

A pentagram smoldering crimson conforms
to a waxwork geometry set round her floor.
Surrounded by candles reflecting her gaze,
she stands in her witch-light miasma ablaze.

Feeling secure when ringed by designs,
an elegant mistress of dark paradigm.
The envy of monarchs is won by her stare.
The envy of ravens is won by her hair.

Black is her raiment, black as her frown.
a web-work of lace to suffice as a gown,
Youthful and supple, I study her form;
voluptuous assets with skin pale but warm.

My interest reveals her control near its ebb.
She lifts from a table a bowl brimming red.
“Hold witch!” My dagger tip tickles my palm,
“You got lucky once, be still and keep calm.”

Her mouth sags to open, her robe reveals all.
A practiced beguilement, a trick to forestall.
I should not indulge the shape of her thigh.
“You’ve brought us together, I want to know why!”

I send forth a thought. She winces in pain.
Feeling my power she utters a name.
“No one can help you, but he whom you face.
Last time I’m asking, the truth, every trace.”

“You have many secrets of vigor and youth,
while other men stumble about most uncouth.
Fables surround you and legend’s your name.
I crave to learn these, to be just the same.”

“So is it my talents you say that you need?
Lying is painful, might cause you to bleed.
Your story, I will with spells, rip from your mind.
You’ve kept me this long, yes, I have the time.”

“Onto the table witch! Off with that robe!
Look not so shocked when acting so bold.”
A light from my hands quells her every protest.
She did as I bid and I did the rest.

Her story she utters in mutters and moans.
My real adversary stands right of the throne.
I left her to dreaming amidst her designs.
Magic has uses, yeah, magic like mine.

Barefoot Poetry
SS Matthews


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Gate of Demons (conclusion)

Kuie-men-kaun
Part 5

“Why do you want Huang Kun sent through the Gate of Demons?” The query was an obvious response, but feeling unbalanced by the extraordinary encounter, Rowan needed a moment to collect himself. Stepping closer, the scent of her body came to surrounded him like a promise of Elysium.

“He took something from me, something precious. I will pay you” she repeated “with gold and other favors.”

True as it might be that a pouch of coins would make his transition into the outer world easier, it wasn’t Rowan’s primary concern. One way or another he’d find his way. Mei-Yue’s innuendo however, he took as an invitation to seduction and certainly worthy of a tease. Openly appreciative of her physical attraction, in a voice rather huskier than intended he replied, “How much gold?”

Thinking her readily aware of the effect she would normally have on men, he would’ve preferred to appear neutral until knowing more. After all, Kuie-men-kaun, was a name he recognized. The Gate of Demons was part of eastern mythology and equivalent to crossing the River Styx. Being the fabled entrance to the underworld, this pretty witch was asking him to kill!

“Enough to fulfill your desires.” Pausing again, she smiled, allowing the allusion to secret pleasures to simmer in his thoughts. “It is the twenty second day of the ninth month. My hut lies beyond the second bamboo grove, in the meadow by the forest. Come to me by night-fall and I will serve you a meal befitting a warrior’s apatite.”

As she spoke, her eyes deepened in color and more than a hint of mystery wandered there. Raising her hand and pointing southeast, in the morning light multiple silver rings adorning her fingers sparkled with gemstones and the bracelets dangling from her wrist tinkled against one another like chimes.

As she turned to leave, Rowan began to fully appreciate the intensity of her presence. She possessed a compelling but subtle sensuality, much of which went unrealized until it was removed. What remained was a soft buzzing in his ears. Some of which he was partly able to clear by shaking his head.

The effect overall was not unlike that of a pleasant daydream and thinking it possible he’d just been hypnotized, Rowan watched the witch who called herself Mei-Yue depart. Swaying slightly as she walked, she appeared to exaggerate the movement of her hips as if tossing them in secret satisfaction.

Whatever her actual intent might be, like it or not, Rowan had the strongest premonition that the quiet life he’d become accustomed too was at an end. Resist as he might, already he knew that he would follow.

SS Matthews


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Witch of the Grove (excerpt) Moon of Rowan Wolfe

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Supernatural Lust: MLM Prompt

In the midst of a ritual, performing the whirling steps of an intricate dance, Mei Yue wove a glimmering trail as she moved. Clothed in a sprinkling of sparkling powders, moon glow and starlight; with arms out-flung she spun her way through the grass of the glade. Halting to arch her back and draw her hands together, she would press them forcefully into the air as her body swayed to the secret beat of celestial music. Singing sweet notes to the night, in impassioned vibrato of sensual need, her voice wove enchantments engaging the sky.

Resuming her previous rhythmical prance, she would pause to perform anew at each of the four points of power. South to West to North and to East, she divided the world into quarters; each time interrupting her spinning progression to repeat her posture and song.

Onward she twirled, her image seeming briefly to blur. Thinking the vision imagined Rowan struggled to keep her in focus. Wiping vestiges of sleep from his eyes changed nothing, for the dizzying effects of her shape-shifting spell grew only more pronounced.

Windless since dusk, no breeze contested the stillness of the night, but her hair now unbound, floated freely in the air, surrounding her silhouette in a web of moonlit strands. No longer did she masquerade as a petulant girl or peasant witch, she was a goddess beguiling the moon. Utterly evocative in her evanescent display, she was a creature that had never known taming. Wilder than winds that blow cross the Steppes, she was the core of the regenerative cycle.

Primal of essence in her pagan invocation, she was a temptress of feverish dreams. Fluidly, her movements would mesmerize as her voice commanded the attention of Luna’s glaring eye. Then, with unexpected brusqueness, her outline would crystallize in clarity.

Overall, her dance conformed to circular dimensions and upon returning to a point on its southernmost arc, she cried out in an exhilarated crescendo. Bound by her glamour, Rowan could only watch in fascination as she rose bodily up from the ground. As if held aloft by a host of invisible hands, with arms outstretched she floated upright from across the field.

For a moment he thought she might sail straight into his arms, but midway across her conjured ring, she sank and settled to her knees. Bathed in a beam of intense lunar light, all around her the circle grew radiant. Flinging moonward her arms in adoration, Mei-Yue seemed poised to fly towards its call as her image appeared to lengthen and stretch toward the sky. Caught in a dream from which he was loath to awaken, Rowan gazed as if bound by a spell.

Unsure of how long he’d been standing there, hypnotically held by the unfathomable performance, Rowan realized the moon hung much lower in the west. Within the magic circle, the moonlight grew dim and the witch who was Mei-Yue shrank back into the body of a wistful girl. Apparently unsuccessful in her endeavor, a whimper of dismay escaped as she rose slowly to her feet, but showing no further sign of disappointment, turning towards Rowan, she smiled. Extending her arms, palms upwards, she curled her wrists inward until her fingertips touched against her breasts. This was a summons not meant for resisting. Feeling the strange and weightless sensation that he too was floating, Rowan was drawn once more into her embrace.

Moon of Rowan Wolfe