Azura's Other Quest Continued.

Azura had warned him that he would probably be up against a formidable spell-caster. The Seducers had their own spell reflection, not at the level Clark used, but significant enough that they didn't need much other magical resistence. So if she was under a Command spell, it was a powerful one. She would possibly be hostile to him, at least until he could kill the imp. Clark's outfit would reflect her spells, and Azura didn't want her hurt.

He'd have to scout the cave using invisibility, and hope that they couldn't use detect life against him. But eventually he'd have to cast the spell that Azura had given him, and then he'd be seen.

That spell should switch the Captain's enthrallment to Clark, and let him lead her out of the cave. The Imps were likely to be too much for him to handle, so this trip was just the rescue, not the retribution.

When Clark reached the cave, he cast invisibility, and crept quietly inside. The first chamber appeared empty, but he ducked behind a pillar to cast invisibility again. There was just a chance that the imps were invisible, too. He thought for a moment, and put his life detection ring on, cursing himself for not doing that to start with.

The next chamber was equally empty, but around the corner he could see a glow. There was a locked gate between him and the glow, so he tried another direction. Soon he came to another short tunnel leading down, and he followed it, casting again as a precaution. Two glows came into view this time, and he slowed his approach in case anyone else was detecting life.

Around the next corner he was able to see what the two shapes were. One was the Seducer Captain, and the other was the largest Imp he'd ever seen. He was flapping around apparently searching for something. It was clear that he couldn't see Clark, but maybe he could smell something strange in his cave.

Clark hugged the wall of the cave, trying to get closer to the Captain. When the Imp turned his back, Clark quickly read the scroll Azura had given him. That dispelled his invisibility, of course, but it was important that the Captain could see Clark when the spell took effect. As Azura had predicted, the Captain's adoring gaze turned to him, as control passed from the Imp to Clark.

Naturally, the sudden removal of his spell alerted the Imp, and he turned and hurled a fireball at Clark, then howled as it reflected back to him. Clark backed away from the Seducer, as the Imp's spell had covered quite a wide area. Even though the Imp had taken the damage, she'd still get hurt if she was too close to the next one.

She followed, unthinking in her enthralled state, but fortunately, the Imp had learned not to throw spells. He attacked with his claws instead, forcing Clark to raise his shield in defence. That shield reflected damage, but not as completely as his outfit reflected magic. The Imp screeched again, but continued his attack. Clark's shortsword hacked at the Imp, not doing a lot of damage, but enough to get a loud reaction, and a more frenzied attack.

Clark could have used some assistance from the Seducer, but she was completely under the influence of the spell. Azura hadn't been able to explain it very precisely. It was the Seducer's special hunting spell, that made the target follow, and removed all aggression, and apparently self-preservation, too.

It appeared that the Imp's rage made him forget Clark's reflection of his first spell, as he backed off and cast a huge shock spell. The Imp dropped from the air, dead, but Clark was horrified to see the Seducer twitch as the lightning bounced to her. Then he breathed with relief, as a purple glow replaced the arcs of lightning, and the dead Imp's body jerked again. Seducers reflect, too.

She didn't look hurt, but Clark cast a minor healing spell on her. She reflected that, also. And yet she hadn't reflected the spell from Azura's scroll. Deadric Princesses clearly understood magic better than mortals did.

Back at Azura's hall, the Seducer Captain was quickly dispelled of all the magical compulsions. She looked Clark over as if seeing him for the first time. Her expression changed from disgust, to shock, and slowly to more ... thoughtful .

"I am deeply ashamed at having to be rescued by a mortal. I cannot believe my own stupidity in assuming the Imp would have no defense against me, especially the same defence as my own. And you did so alone, which I find quite surprising. There must be more to you than I imagined."

Azura wanted a full account of what had happened. "As well as you can remember. I understand that you won't recall much of the events after your spell went wrong."

"I assume you've guessed why I went to the cave in the first place. When I got there, it was swarming with drone imps, just as I'd suspected. I used my Allure on them, and they became docile, and didn't give me any problems. Until I got further into the cave, that is."

"I noticed one of the Imps was a little larger; in the way that interested me, too. So I left the others, and walked towards him. He cast a buff spell of some variety on himself, something the others hadn't done before trying to fry me, freeze me, or shock me. I took that as a sign that he was a bit more clever than they were, too."

"As you've probably worked out by now, he was casting a reflection spell, and my Allure completely backfired on me, leaving me in his control, instead of the other way round. I could see a huge grin cross his ugly face as his evil little mind saw the possibilities. My recollections are a bit vague from that point on."

"I remember him driving the other males out of the cave. It seemed that he wanted to keep me for himself. But then he took me to a gate at the opening of a tunnel, one leading further into the cave, and had me lock it. Thinking about it now, it doesn't make any sense, unless there was another entrance to the caves that way."

"Or he wanted to lock something in," Azura pointed out. "Maybe that was the Queen's lair."

"That could be," the Captain agreed. "I didn't see anything but males, but she'd have to be somewhere near them."

"Do you still have the key?" Clark asked, but immediately felt foolish. Where was a naked woman going to carry a key? The Seducer reached into her hair, which was tied at the top of her head, and produced one.

"Good, so now Clark can go and let her out!" Azura exclaimed.

Clark wasn't too pleased at that idea. What if she was angry at being locked in? He assumed that Azura didn't want her harmed, or he wouldn't have been asked to release her. If she started casting spells at him, she'd hurt herself. And what if she was grateful? That could be worse!

Azura giggled as she read what Clark was thinking. "If that happens, I'll let you summon help. Drelka here won't make the same mistakes twice." Finally, Clark had a name for the Seducer.

"What? You're giving him the power to summon me? I don't deserve that kind of punishment! It was bad enough being a temporary thrall to an Imp, but if you give him that kind of power, who knows what he'll use it for."

Azura had a fair idea of the possibilities, and she didn't think Drelka would take too long getting to like them. And she needed to spend some time with a mortal to get a better perspective on existence. Lesser Daedra had no fear for their own safety, because they'd return to their familiar bodies through any inconvenient deaths. Perhaps with someone else to fear for, she'd learn some caution.

There wasn't any real chance that Clark would abuse the new power she'd given him. Clark wasn't one to hurry his pleasure, and a summoning spell isn't long enough for that. He'd only call on her in an emergency, and he preferred to avoid those. He already knew how to summon Aureal and Mazken in the Shivering Isles, and he'd done that thoughtfully. Drelka had nothing to worry about.

Azura advised Clark that the other males were likely to have returned to the cave, now that the big one was dead. His original tactics of using invisibility would be appropriate again, and once the Queen was freed, she could deal with the drones. "If she does take a fancy to you, that's when you might need Drelka's help," she concluded. "I know you like two at a time, when you get the chance."