The Spirits of the Night
By Jeff Baker
After two weeks sleeping in fields and eating handouts from taverns, Prince Almazotz was beginning to realize that while the title sounded good, there were a lot of princes around and the title was no good without an army or money and he had neither at the moment. But for that evening anyway, he was the guest at a castle, or what was left of one. The main house may have been more comfortable but he wasn’t going to complain about a hot meal, or a room at the top of a tower with a comfortable bed, windows with shutters and a fine view and even a fireplace, if he needed one.
Prince Almazotz rolled over, under the warm blankets and was still half-asleep when he noticed the pale figure half in, half out of the room’s shadows. He sat up in bed and reached for his knife. The figure was male, dark haired and very pale. At first, he thought the figure’s arms were covered in tattoos, but they moved and Almazotz realized they were wings.
“I am one of the Spirits of the Air,” he said in a breathy voice. “A Spirit of the Night Air. I was flying past your open window and I saw you slumbering so peacefully, looking like a young god.”
Prince Almazotz wiped some drool off his chin and hoped his hair wasn’t too much of a mess.
“What exactly do you want?” Prince Almazotz asked warily.
“To embrace you, to feel you, to evoke all the passions of this world, but I am not of this world.” The spirit spread its wings and flew over Prince Almazotz, landing on top of him. The spirit burst into a cloud which looked like someone’s breath on a frosty morning.
The spirit re-formed beside the bed.
“You see, I have no substance,” he said.
Prince Almazotz pulled the blanket around him; he felt chilly.
The spirit shrugged. “I am made of the night air, you see?”
Prince Almazotz kept his hand on his dagger.
“Allow me to caress you as a wind, as if we were both mortals. It is the thing most spirits truly desire and you, oh handsome one, are one that any spirit would desire.”
Prince Almazotz shrugged and said “True.” He tossed the thick blanket to one side and lay down on his back on the bed, putting the dagger to one side. He was, he smiled at the thought, wearing nothing but his braccae. The spirit rose towards the ceiling and burst into the cloud of greyish mist which quickly swirled around the young Prince. He shivered with delight.
There was another swirl of wind and Prince Almazotz’ braccae was quickly unwrapped and whisked off of him into the air, accompanied by laughter from the spirit.
“Hey!” Prince Almazotz yelled. “Come back with those!” He jumped out of bed, tripping and landing face first on the crumpled up blankets on the stone floor. He heard the spirit’s laughter as a blast of wind pushed the door open followed by his braccae, just out of the Prince’s reach. He dashed down the short flight of stairs down to the courtyard and was immediately surrounded by gusts of wind and laughter. The ground floor tower door was slammed shut behind him as his braccae soared into the sky.
He was locked out of the tower.
He was naked.
He heard the laughter from the sky, becoming more distant as his braccae, lit by the wan moons, faded into the starlight. Prince Almazotz sighed, turned and walked towards the main building, a few yards away from the guest tower, looking for a bush to hide behind after he knocked on the door to ask his hosts for a spare tower key.
NOTE: A braccae is a pair of underwear circa the Middle Ages.