Summary: The unrequited canonical love of a minor character.
Warning: Dark and disturbing, and also has a slightly inappropriate attempt to blend BG1 and BG2 canon.
To see them together sent pangs through her heart and body. She loved him. She loved him since the moment she first saw him. She would always love him. He was married to another. Her books of magic had been her first love and she was among the most gifted of wizards of her age; but her scrolls and papers might as well be dust and ashes for all they were compared to him. He was a wizard also, and together they could have made magic that would have overturned the Realms themselves. They could have turned mountains upside down to float together upon the base, conjuring castles out of storm-dark clouds shot through with golden sparks of lightning, flying through rainstorms and wind with bright blue shields of magic that glowed to protect them against all harm. He was the only wizard worthy of her love and lust, the only one powerful enough to match her. His face was burned in a coloured portrait to the doorway of her inner sanctum; she had a marble sculpture crafted by her mage's art to show his every feature, guessing where she did not yet know. She kissed its pale, perfect lips. The real man was no less perfect.
She watched him with his wife, standing by her side, ushering her through ceremonies and taking her to dance with. He danced with the grace of a natural thing, flowing like the fronds of a weeping willow, but tall and nobly straight-backed as an oak. They had studied spellbooks together, talked of their shared magic and understood each other as intellectual equals; and if not for his wife he would no longer gaze at her with indifferent eyes that slid from her form. Her dress hugged her bosom, the vivid emerald material sparking by magic, her hair loosed and tossing in black clouds cascading down her back. Every man but he showed open desire on their faces, for she was a beautiful woman and knew of it. False modesty was such a worthless thing.
She heard the whisper from the pale woman; "So callow, is she not, his little wife? Once I thought that you and he would—but, there is no sense on what might have been."
But the snake of jealousy writhed and grew within her veins of blood.
If not for his wife he would gaze at her for what she was.
Her plan was a careful thing, intricate as lace woven from morning dew. She crafted a brooch of rare golden design, her forge set to transmute it to perfected design, almost as perfect as her own face in a mirror, her pure golden skin and the slant of her sloe-dark eyes. Below many abjurations its secret lurked. She had prepared her playroom for months in the cellars of her mage's tower. It only awaited its inhabitants.
Her love's wife touched the generous present; and was transported to where she desired. Her own simulacrum was elsewhere for an alibi, seen in her regular excursions for potions supplies. None would ever suspect. Except for her lover, and he would come. She said the words to transport herself instantly once more to her tower; to be forced to wait was a shame and a sin, but sometimes one's pleasures had to be restrained. In her hall of mirrors she stripped her mage's robes slowly from her body, caressing her flawless skin, admiring her naked form in a thousand endless reflections. His little wife simply could never compete. Slowly she daubed herself with lotions, scent, any number of beauty rituals. She knew that below the chained other woman must be shivering in anticipation of the torments to come. For daring to marry him she deserved no less. Then the simulacrum came, and it was time.
The wife was naked too in her silver chains; her pallid skin was stretch-marked, her figure slightly dumpy. She could hold no candle to the nude goddess that greeted her. The playroom was enchanted against sound; she wanted to hear the screams of the woman who had affronted her. She took up the hilt of a long poker from the fire, its tip glowing cherry-red.
It is taking, she thought, the other woman's screams turned now to dulled, pathetic whimpers, my love far too long to come to me. Perhaps she could pour another healing potion upon her plaything to make her last longer. Or perhaps she would not trouble, since in the end she wished her dead. The artistic pattern of blood on that poor complexion held far more appeal than the woman's ordinary form; perhaps she should whip out a few more carefully-placed lines of the design.
Then she felt the tensing of her wards, knowing that the one she truly needed had come to her at last. She rose, slowly, temptingly, to welcome her anticipated visitor, licking a smear of blood from her fingers. Already she was ripe to welcome him.
"I demand that you release my wife," he said, taken directly inward to her sanctum here, as she would take him inside the heart of her body. Her statue had, if anything, underestimated his beauty. Stripped of magic items and robes his body was glorious. Soon he would be hers at last.
"She matters not," she told him, swaying golden-hipped in her walk toward him, all the delights of her own body unconcealed. They belonged to each other. He pulled futilely at his magical restraints, transparent, hiding nothing of him. At long last she was by him, and took his breathing lips over hers. With encouragement from her long fingernails he returned her love.
"...Release me at once," he said, weakly, when she raised her head to breathe once more; but he did not truly mean it. She gave the wizard's command to lower him to the silken sheets of the bed she had made for them, spreadeagled, restrained just a little too tightly to its posts. To mix pain with pleasure; to have lovers begging for every moment of your presence; to know they thought you were a goddess. She lay atop her love at last with none but skin between them. Show him his insolence; reward him for compliance. She laid hands to the touches of magic between them, the threads binding and delivering him to her at long last. A little pain for now made no difference to how they would be forever together.
She had barely begun their ecstasy when pain bloomed in her own shoulders. She looked behind. It was the pale woman, black-clad and bearing a quiver and longbow, a spear sheathed behind her; it was his sister. How had she breached the wards? With a snarl her contingencies activated; she needed no intruders to claim her love away from her. But below her the magical chains that had bound her lover had evaporated through the arrow of dispelment; he raised his bruised wrists to speak words of his own; the battle was short. Darkness hit her skull, and when she again opened her eyes she dangled from her own wall enwrapped in her own chains, slowly bleeding.
"—Is she truly dead?" her treacherous love spoke to his sister, who lifted the slumped body of his wife.
"She is," Bodhi said; she poked a finger deep into one of Tanova's wounds, exploring its depth.
"You waited long enough," her brother Joneleth replied, a simple pale strip of cloth wound around his waist, taken from the bedding.
"But you ordered it yourself to make sure," she said, winking at him. "And now I see our prisoner awakes."
Centeol, called by some the most powerful mage of Suldanessellar, croaked her reprisals. "Jon! We were meant to be together, surely you can see that. You traitor, you betrayer."
The cold blue stare from his eyes was something never demihuman in its intensity, and perhaps had she seen it before she would never have pursued him. Slowly he approached her in her chains; he must have enchanted them to hold her in unbreakable bond.
"You kidnapped my wife and myself, and tortured her to death," he said. "You will be punished for that."
"To show you that we belonged together! It was all for you," Centeol told to her former love. "Are you not grateful for the time we shared?"
"No, I am grateful," Joneleth said. Below his unelven eyes he smiled. "I will enact a terrible vengeance for what you have done here, but nonetheless I thank you, Centeol. I thank you for giving me all of your scrolls and magics you have stored here. I thank you for ridding me of my wife Tanova. I thank you above all for allowing me to pursue the one I truly want," he said, and Centeol writhed and struggled against her chains in her torments. "Ellesime. I lift my eyes to the throne. Could any woman hold the slightest candle to the golden beauty of Rillifane's daughter of the Tree?"
Ellesime. Centeol cried out in stricken pain, for the Queen was indeed the single elf with the ability to outshine her. They were both gold-skinned and graceful, not entirely different in style of beauty; but only one was the daughter of a god. At that very dance Ellesime had come to take the place of honour in her leaf-green cloak blowing behind her, her hair a shimmering mass of red and gold like ripe leaves, her divine power glowing with every movement of her body, her rich voice compelling and warm as the sun-heated wind. It was her Joneleth wanted; it was her Joneleth always had wanted. Centeol shrieked again, and wished that it was the Queen's slim neck between her bare palms to snap at that moment.
And then his sister kissed Jon upon the lips at the success of their plan, and moulded her pale body to his, and for all he had spoken of Ellesime they kissed as no ordinary brother and sister should do. Then Joneleth raised his hands, and began to cast his spell of vengeance for his wife and himself upon Centeol in her chains.
"You once valued your beauty, sorceress," he said. There were black spiders inside her; she could not move. Her skin burned and boiled. Her flesh was a prison, her flesh bloated. Her stomach grew. Spider legs penetrated her most secret parts. "You will never have it again. You will know the depths of suffering."
She screamed. She did not stop screaming.
A/N: Centeol in BG1 is the spider-woman in the Cloakwood. One of her lines identifies a wizard called Jon as married to Tanova, and the quote is: "I am cursssed. The archmage, Jon Irenicus, cursed me for indignities done to him and his wife by me. I loved Jon, but now I hate him, as I hate you and everything."