|Hope and Madness|
I stare into the darkness. This is the closest I get to closing my eyes. I haven't even blinked in years.
I am a necklace. I am one of the Sorceress' pieces of jewelry. My nude silver body is frozen in a most undignified pose. But I don't mind, not anymore. Any modesty I had has been worn away by the endless years I have spent with the Sorceress.
I am sitting in a drawer filled with other pieces of jewelry who, like me, were once human. If I listen closely, I can hear quiet murmurs from the others around me. Some have found peace with their form, but many have slipped into madness. All I hear from them are screams and incoherent ranting. I fear that I will someday share their fate.
When I sit in the dark like this I can feel the dogs of madness nipping at the edges of my sanity. Already I've sacrificed most of my past to them. All I can remember of life before the Sorceress are fuzzy images and names without faces. I do remember my name. I fought long and hard to retain that small part of my identity. I am Julie.
I don't remember how long I've been like this. At least several years, probably more. Years I've spent in and out of this drawer, in and out of the darkness and the light. I am one of the Sorceress' favorites. I have never had to spend more than a week in the darkness of the drawer. I am fortunate for that. Seeing the world beyond the darkness helps me keep my sanity.
Suddenly the darkness is split apart by light, and the visage of the Sorceress looms large overhead. I feel myself being lifted up as the Sorceress puts me on. Today she had fancied to adorn herself with my small silver form.
I don't hate her. I know there is more to her than even she herself realizes. Sometimes, when she falls asleep while wearing me, I listen and I can hear a voice deep inside her calling out. Deeper even than the voice of the one in the body she is currently inhabiting. A voice screaming out from the layers of madness that ensnare it. This is the real Sorceress, this tiny agonized voice. She is as much a prisoner as I am, and I pity her.
Bat comes flying in. Something about Hydra catching someone new. Although I cannot see it, I am sure the Sorceress is smiling. It has been some time since anyone new has stumbled across the garden.
Soon the Sorceress is standing before her newest victim. He is a large man, well muscled. Hydra has her body wrapped around him, holding him prisoner. From his clothes and the ax laying uselessly on the ground I think he must be a lumberjack. Most likely he strayed too far from camp.
I understand now from the variety of people that have wandered into the Sorceress garden that it is a place that exists beyond normal space and time. He yells questions and shout profanities at the Sorceress. She laughs and waves her hand, weaving magic.
His large muscular forms shrinks to that of a petite woman. The Sorceress ignores his cries of surprise and instructs Hydra to take the new woman to her bedchambers.
Now I lie atop the Sorceress' heap of clothing. I sit patiently and wait while she breaks in her new plaything. If there is one thing I have learned while here, it is patience.
Some time later I am once again lifted up and placed around the Sorceress' neck. She dresses and then turns to her newest pet sleeping among the tussled sheets of her bed. The newly formed woman on the bed already has a tail and horns. The Sorceress waves her hand and her new pet's hands and feet merge. No need for her pet to go wandering around unsupervised if she happened to wake.
The Sorceress leaves her chambers and enters the library. This room is forbidden to all her more animate pets. The spellbooks in this room have too much power for her to trust any of her pets with seeing. But the Sorceress is arrogant and shortsighted.
She brings the poor girl who is now her crystal light to full illumination and then opens one of the books. The Sorceress is a master of magic. But the arcane secrets of magic are as deep as the ocean and as vast as the heavens. Even she does not know everything, but she craves power, and she cannot rest so long as anything remains beyond her power. So she comes here to study and learn.
But I learn too.
From my perch I see what she sees and can read what she reads. The arcane secrets of magic are no longer so secret to me. Already I know enough to destroy the Sorceress, but I still lack the power to escape or return my body to flesh and bone.
So I wait, and watch, and learn.
I am patient. I can wait as long as it takes. So long as her hubris remains and she continues bringing me here my understanding grows, and it is only a matter of time.
But time is not on my side. I am patient, but madness eats at my soul. It is only a matter of time before it consumes me. Then I fear that while I may still succeed and one day destroy the Sorceress, instead of freeing myself and others trapped here, I will instead become her successor.