Cyrus the Great, King of Kings, is dead. Like the Sorcerers Rustem and Anahita, he has been humiliated and killed by the powerful sorcerer Gaumata. The perverse sorcerer is not satisfied with his victory. He has his black heart set on the throne of the King of Kings. It doesn’t matter who he has to kill to get his wish. Mihr and Spenta, son and daughter of the sorcerers Rustem and Anahita, begin to exhibit signs of unusual power. They become the threat Gaumata must now fear.
Spenta makes moves to protect her brother, but she also finds the love she has longed for in the adoring and passionate Emperor Cambyses, a tortured soul who worships her. Spenta faces danger, passion, and epic historical battles with competence, bravery, and cunning. The Sorcerer Gaumata’s machinations yield fear, insanity, and horror for Cambyses.
Delving into other people’s most private fears may come at a price. Will his forays into the minds of his victims leave Gaumata unscarred?
That was what I had to suffer. I remember the bitter cold nights I passed without a blanket and with an empty stomach. Now I can eat delicacies of any kind, but as a child, I starved. Sometimes the men who pleasured themselves on my mother would come and beat me, as if their sexual scratching stirred within them hate and violence. Yes, I do think that was why.
Let me stray not, however. I was going to tell you how my powers came to be. One day my mother was cleaning the house of a rich man. I waited in a corner, trying to make myself small and invisible. But it wasn’t so. An obese male child, whose face was as flat as a pan from eating so much food, came and sat close to me. I saw that even his head had become fatty and folds formed under his chin and at the base of his head. His tiny, mean eyes were set into the fatty cheeks and brow in such a way that he looked like a hog fattened for the slaughter. In fact, in his stubby fingered hand he held a large hunk of pig meat, which he gripped by its bone handle. It dripped fat and emitted a wonderful fragrance.
Me, I hadn’t eaten for a day, and I watched as his peg-like teeth tore into the crispy, golden skin. The meat smelled wonderfully of garlic and pork! I had never tasted such a thing, but the fragrance made me think it was delicious beyond my dreams! Although the sight of the mean-spirited boy was repulsive, I closed my eyes not to block him out, but to try and savor the meat he held. I took a deep breath, inhaling the fragrance until I could indeed taste the rich meat with my own mouth.
I opened my eyes suddenly as the taste filled my senses. I could see myself—my body, slumped before me. I realized that I was in the body of the corpulent boy! I felt that I’d been stuffed into an overflowing bag. His body was so sickening. I paused but for a moment and then I tore into the meat with that boy’s repulsive small mouth. I was enjoying the food through another’s body! I ate and ate until the entire thing was gone, then like a dog, I began to gnaw on the bone until a great piece of cartilage tore off and I attempted to swallow it.
That thing lodged in his throat and I began to struggle for breath. I stood and tried to scream, but vomit rose and clogged my breathing even more. I, in that boy’s body, fell to the ground in terrible spasms and then suddenly it was over. I dreamily opened my eyes and before me I saw a horrid sight. The boy lay curled at my feet. His eyes popped out of a face purple in color, and his mouth was set in a mask of death. Pee had puddled at his groin and he smelled of excrement. I screamed a thin howl of terror.
My mother was on me in an instant and she dragged me away from the corpse. I stood there shivering while she set to screaming for the women of the house.
“I found him like this, alone! What has happened?” my mother wailed as if stricken with grief.
The women gathered and began to shriek and wail in mourning. An old woman who appeared almost blind began to grope at the body. “I expected this would happen one day!” she said in a singsong voice. “Daughter-in-law, you have spoiled him so badly that it has happened as I predicted! He has eaten himself to death! You are fat and useless yourself. Now without a son you may as well be dead. I will council my son to find a better wife!”
At this the mother wailed and tore her bodice as she scooped dusty earth up and poured it over her head and body. I stayed quiet, hoping they wouldn’t notice me. One woman finally opened the corpse’s mouth and pulled the hunk of cartilage from its throat. “It is as she said. Greed has killed this brat!”
My mother didn’t ask to be paid for her work that day and we went hungry. As we made our way home she grunted and looked away as she spoke. “You! You killed that fat good-for-nothing rich child with the same sort of sorcery that your father used. You had better beware or we will both end up burnt at the stake for using unlawful magic!”
Life was never the same for me after that. My mother never beat me again as she was wont. From that experience I learned that I could enter a person’s body and feel the sensations of that body. I would sometimes even control the body in these early days, but only for a few moments, and only if the person was weak in the mind. I remember the first time I discovered this. A bully in my village loved to box my ears whenever I passed by him. He was usually accompanied by a gang of other ruffians, eager to please him, their leader. This time he was alone. When he saw me I cowered down on my haunches at the base of a tree and tried to cover my head with my skinny arms in preparation for his blows.
He lifted me by an arm, for he was quite a large fellow, and was about to deliver a punch when I felt the power. I willed myself to slip into his body and stood there over my slumped and still form. I considered what to do. I could feel a pain in the boy’s right toe. It had to be an infected toenail, I thought. It gave me an idea. I gritted my teeth, or his teeth to be accurate, and began to beat that body. I used his own fists to strike his mouth and nose, although the pain was unbearable and I had to scream. Finally I slammed the boy’s head into a tree and willed myself back from that pain-seared body to my own sound body. I stood on shaky limbs, but my body felt no pain. I looked at the heap in front of me. Teeth lay scattered about and the face of that boy was ruined. I skipped away, pleased with what I had done. After this the village ruffians kept their distance from me.
It was not always a pleasant experience to possess another’s body. I found out the hard way. I assumed that I could control a body if I tried hard enough, but there were exceptions. Women! Indeed these are perverse creatures that I cannot understand. Perhaps it was my foolishness in trying my trick on my own mother. You see, my friend, even if you hate your mother, there is a tie to her that resists all attempts of a man. It was such with my mother. Oh, I hated her, but she proved wily. No, perhaps I give her too much credit. The truth is this—a man cannot control a creature of lesser intelligence. I know this to be true because I once tried to enter the body of a cat and was forced to taste a rat. Tail first that beast consumed it, taking its time to savor the stringy guts.