by Lord Malinov
She showed me the book. She taught me to cast the spell. I behaved recklessly, that is on me. But Silver put the power in my hands and she trusted me with it, with her life. I chose, perhaps unwisely. Certainly unwisely.
Silver, my beloved, died months ago, on a shabby night, in a shabby way, the victim of an influenza that caught us unprepared. Believing we had decades to share together, we had taken no steps to identify our next incarnations. So, Silver let me know, it was up to me to decide.
As luck would have it, I fell in with one of the local nobles. He had come to the club with an estate management problem, moving sheep and harvesting fields, and I pointed out an obvious solution that had never occurred to the dunderhead, so that I seemed to be wise beyond my years. He invited me to stay with him, to help him out, provide some amusement to his family and friends. Newly widowed, my somber demeanor made me seem quite serious and I undertook to enjoy the Baron’s hospitality.
The Baron was, on one level, a wild man, a carouser, a fun loving adventure seeking man about town. On another level, he was a careful and meticulous spendthrift; not regarding little things, the niceties of life he indulged with reckless abandon. But in business, he was shrewd, astute and proud of his acumen. When I pointed him in the direction of a new efficiency in the conduct of his estates, I had won his heart.
Of course, the Baron had three daughters, each more beautiful than the rest. The eldest took after her father in practicality. The middle daughter was an intellectual and an artist. The youngest daughter was kind and sweet, nothing more.
I know Silver’s taste. She would have preferred one of the elder daughters, to give her a foundation in this life that she could work into strength. I did not choose as she would have chosen. I indulged my weakness for the demure.
I performed the rituals, spoke the words. Silver became one with the young woman I had selected.
For several weeks after, no one would have noticed any difference in her. Every now and again, I thought I could detect a hint of Silver in the gleam of her eyes but it was probably wishful thinking and a trick of the light. Eventually, I began to notice real hints of Silver, changes in vocabulary, in stance and motions, in mannerisms and attitudes. People began to speak of the changes, how much she had grown, how she was really becoming her own woman.
But she wasn’t. She was becoming Silver.
It was about six months before Silver began to dominate the host personality and sought me out. The reunion was glad, excited and tearful. It had been nearly a year since Silver died. We had so much to talk about.
There is something uniquely strange in making love to a woman and finding your wife within her. She looks and feels like someone I’ve only recently met, only just now seen intimate, close and naked, a stranger in every physical way. But so much of anyone is in the subtle details of voice and breath and touch and energy and tickles. You might think tickles would be physical but they aren’t. Purely mental, part of our personality. I tickled Silver. She giggled and came.
But Papa Baron wasn’t ready to marry off his youngest daughter. I had to find mates for her shrewish sisters. But that’s another story.