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The Incubus and the Angel : Magic University
Kyle Wadsworth thinks he isn't ready to love again, after what happened in his second year of college. Now halfway through his junior year, he's obsessed with studying an ancient prophecy and is still haunted by past events, even in his dreams.
But he soon learns that he's not the only one suffering from haunted dreams. One of his good friends, an enchantment student named Lindy Carmichael, is having uncontrollably erotic dreams and also difficulty using her magic. Lindy, a sexually naive young woman who, like Kyle, did not grow up in the magical world, fears that she is losing her power. Kyle can't do anything about the incubus haunting her nights, but power is one thing he can provide through erotic magic. Lindy and Kyle start "dating," first for the sake of schoolwork, but quickly become more serious about each other.
As their romance blossoms, though, Kyle discovers that perhaps he can do something about the incubus after all. Is Kyle the hero prophesied in the ancient texts? Whether he is or not, there is one person whose help he must enlist. The one person who wants the least to do with him. The person Kyle sees in his dreams.
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June 24, 2010
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Excerpt from The Incubus and the Angel by Cecilia Tan
Kyle climbed the steps to the observatory, the pockets of his coat laden with his
journal and the latest results of Glendon's alchemical experiments. Glendon had
discovered he enjoyed alchemy, and the results were very pleasant for his roommate and
friends. With Randall now graduated and gone, Glendon had became Kyle's source for
the occasional recreational elixir. Yes, nerdy, withdrawn Glendon finally had something
to raise his status in the house.
Kyle own status was not doing so well. It had soared for a while, especially around
the broom race, which he not only won hands down despite never having raced before,
his charging of the amulets this year had been so effective, the brooms ran for hours
before they waned. But Caitlyn was gone now, too, having completed her credits halfway
through the year, and Kyle found he didn't have the stomach to cultivate new allies
among his housemates.
He would no doubt drop even lower after tonight. The entire house was at the
Valentine's Masque except for him. He turned the crank that opened the observatory
dome. From here, in the tower with the telescope, he was too far away to hear the music,
yet he found his ears straining to hear it.
He shook his head and maneuvered the telescope into place. It was a crystal-clear
winter night. Through the windows he could see the Center for Astrophysics and the
telescope the mundane students used off to his right. Its twin sat here in the tower only
the magical students could see, nearly two hundred years old. He drew the curtains shut.
Astronomy wasn't magic, but the astrologists had insisted on their own telescope in
the early 1800s, and although Veritas students could take regular astronomy classes and
use the same telescope as the mundane students if they wished, this telescope was
available just for them.
Wait. That definitely was music, from somewhere nearby. Kyle opened the curtains
again and looked more closely. Apparently the Center for Astrophysics was hosting some
kind of Valentine's Day star-gazing party in their tower. How romantic.
Kyle nearly tore the curtain as he thrust it shut this time. He sat in the chair by the
telescope, took out his journal and scribbled down a few thoughts.
Just remembered. Dreamed about Little Girl Frost again last night. He (she?) shows
up at the strangest times, in the middle of dreams about completely different things. Once
she does, the dream's over, though. Sometimes she disappears the moment after our eyes
meet, and then I wake up. Other times I end up chasing her, from dream to dream to
dream, like flipping TV channels, but I never catch her. It always ends with her
disappearing like a puff of smoke.
He didn't bother to write down that he sometimes woke up in a cold sweat,
sometimes painfully hard, or sometimes crying. Once in a while all three, like last night.
Glendon slept with earplugs, so he'd probably never even noticed.
Kyle hadn't seen Frost since that day over a year ago when they'd broken free of the
dimensional pocket in Sassamon. Frost was still enrolled, but he'd moved out of the
house and no one could or would tell Kyle where to find him. Kyle had thought surely
Frost would appear for Master Brandish's tea, but he had not.
He had given up hope he might appear at the Masque. I don't even know what I want
to say to him, Kyle thought. He just had a burning desire to speak to him. It would wane
sometimes, but then Little Girl Frost would appear in his dreams and the longing would
be sharpened all over again.
The sound of someone on the stairs made him raise his head. His heart suddenly
caught in his throat. Is this a dream? Little Girl Frost was standing there, staring at him in
She ran. Kyle wondered for half a moment if he had drunk one of Glendon's
concoctions and not remembered it. Whether it was a hallucination or not, he ran after
her. Down the curving stairs, she was already out of sight, but he could hear the clatter of
her shoes. D?j? vu struck him, reminders of a different tower, a different descent.
The door to the outside banged open and he followed, chasing the figure across the
driveway, past the tennis courts, and then he lost sight of her around the building with the
squash courts... He hurried around the corner.
There! Black hair down to her shoulders, her coat undone, just standing there
catching her breath. Kyle spun her around with a hand on her shoulder. "Frost!"
The girl gave a startled gasp, then looked at him. "Kyle Wadsworth?" It wasn't Frost
at all, and she wasn't out of breath. "I remember you from Esoteric Arts class last year.
Viola Gladwell. She'd never said much in class. "Oh, right. Hi, Viola. You didn't
see... um, do you remember Frost? You didn't see him come running past here, did you?
Or, well, anyone?"
She shook her head. "Afraid not. Are you okay?" She looked at him curiously.
"I, uh, yeah. Just... Yeah, fine." He closed his eyes a moment and opened them again.
Nope. Still Viola standing there. Even a hallucination of Frost would have been welcome,
But Viola frowned slightly. "If you're seeing things, you ought to go have your
visions checked," she said. "Or at least talk to a soothsayer you trust."
"I think I just need to talk to Frost," he said without thinking.
Her scrutiny only intensified. "I thought you two didn't really like each other."
"We... it's a long story. Frost's in the vision, though." He wasn't sure why he was
telling her so much about this. Maybe because he had to tell someone. He'd only told
Alex the barest minimum so far.
"Oh, here comes my shuttle." She put a hand on his arm for a moment, then started to
hurry toward the curb. She called back, "He's in my Living Enchantment seminar,
though. I could give him a message for you?"
Kyle just shook his head. "That's all right. Good night, Viola."
She waved as she stepped up into the van.
Kyle stared after it until it turned a corner and went out of sight, wondering why
Viola hadn't gone to the Masque. Well, she was in Nummus House; it wasn't an absolute
social requirement for her like it would have been if she'd been in Gladius House. Maybe
though, he thought, it wasn't such a bad thing he hadn't gone.
He still had his journal in one hand. He felt in his pocket for the vials Glendon had
given him. Three. Hadn't there been four? Had he actually drunk one and forgotten? Or
did he lose one in all the running?
There was no way to know now, other than to ask Glendon later. Glendon, who had
actually gone to the Masque. Who knew, maybe Glendon was even getting some tonight?
Kyle didn't want to go back up into the observatory now, but he didn't want to go back to
Gladius House either.
Talk to a soothsayer you trust, Viola had said. Kyle wondered if maybe Jeanie Kwan
was around tonight, or if when she got back from the Masque, she might be up to talking.
Or maybe Marjory would take him in tonight, or maybe Alex would want to try some of
But first he had to close the observatory roof again. He went back up the stairs and
cranked it shut with the brass wheel, cutting off the sound of laughter from the star party
next door. Kyle hurried down Garden Street, back toward Harvard Yard and Camella
* * * *
Kyle could hear voices, Jeanie and her roommate Lindy, shouting as he approached
the lounge at Camella 3 West. He slowed and considered knocking on Marjory's door,
then remembered she was in Salem for the long weekend, after all. Jeanie and Lindy were
in the lounge itself and he didn't want to interrupt them, but at the same time if they'd
wanted it to be a truly private affair, they would have gone into their room. All the
doubles opened right into the suite lounge so their door was right there.
"You have to tell somebody!" Jeanie was saying.
"It was just a stupid dream!" Lindy shot back. "It's not like I'm hurt or something!"
"But..." Jeanie looked up. "Kyle. Talk some sense into Lindy."
"Er..." Kyle slipped his coat off and stuck his hands into the front pockets of his
jeans. "What's going on?"
"Nothing," Lindy said with a huff. She jerked the scrunchie out of her hair and
scratched her head, mussing up her light brown waves. "I just had a weird dream is all."
"A dream that you were raped!" Jeanie interjected.
Jeanie was sitting in the armchair, Lindy on the couch. Kyle sat next to Lindy. "A
"No, nothing like that, and... and 'raped' is kind of a strong word for it," Lindy said,
her cheeks red. "Just... gah. I shouldn't have said anything."
Jeanie folded her arms. "It upset you. Of course you should say something.
Especially if it's screwing up your schoolwork."
Lindy flopped back against the couch. "Whatever. I don't think it's because of the
dream. More likely the dream is because I'm so stressed out over my junior project."
Kyle nodded knowingly. He was in the thick of his own and the end of the semester
Jeanie relented a little, but she didn't let the subject drop completely. "Kyle, is there
anything about rape dreams in Esoteric Arts?"
Kyle shrugged. "I'm not sure. I was only in it for the one semester. I don't remember
anything about that in particular, but that might be a more advanced topic. Marjory would
"I actually came here to ask you something about dreams, though," he said. If I don't
do it now, I'm going to chicken out.
"Oh yeah?" Jeanie raised an eyebrow. "Why me?"
Kyle looked at his hands. "Someone told me I should ask a soothsayer I trust. I've
been having these recurring dreams. Or well, the dreams are all different, but this person
keeps showing up in them."
Jeanie leaned forward. "Person? Like an archetype person, or someone you know?"
"Um, I think it's supposed to represent someone I know. He, well, she, first appeared
in a prophetic dream, and now she keeps showing up again..." He slumped. There was no
way to tell only a little piece of the story, was there? He was going to have to tell the
whole thing for it to make any sense. Well, he'd hold off as long as he could in case some
explanation might come. "I had this dream with a girl in it, but I'm sure the girl is Frost."
Jeanie nodded. "Okay, that's not that weird. You might have feminized him in your
head because of his relationship with Michael, or maybe archetypally he's representing
one of the feminine archetypes, even though he's male. Are you... I mean, is this because
you're worried you're gay or something?"
Kyle couldn't help but laugh a little at that. "After what I went through last year, I
don't think the words 'straight' and 'gay' really apply to me any longer. I still like
women. mostly. I'm okay with guys, but I'm not looking to hook up with one. The term is
sexual 'preference' right? I prefer women. But I did..." What to say about this? "I did have
sex with Frost last year."
"You did?" Lindy blurted out. "I thought you hated each other."
Kyle shrugged again and slumped down against the couch. "I may as well tell you
what really happened during winter break last year."
Lindy bent one leg so that she was facing Kyle on the couch now. Her hair brushed
her shoulders. "About time," she said. "Marjory would never tell us what had happened to
you that she was nursemaiding you like she did. We all just thought something had gone
horribly wrong with your Esoterics test and that was why you quit."
Kyle realized that was as good an explanation as any. "That's pretty close to what
happened," he said, "but what happened was it was actually Ciara's test, and when
everything went wrong, I ended up trapped in a kind of dimensional pocket with Frost."
"Dimensional pocket? You mean a dimensional channel?" Jeanie asked.
"I guess so. We were supposed to be transported to the watchtower, but we got stuck.
I... We had to resort to Esoteric Arts to free ourselves."
"Huh, but does that count as sex?" Lindy asked.
It felt like it counted at the time, Kyle thought. Then he saw how they were looking at
him and wondered if he had said it out loud. Lindy put a hand on his shoulder.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean..."
"It's okay," Kyle said quickly. "It's a valid question. There's plenty of ritual sex that
isn't... where the emotional stuff doesn't get entangled. You have lightning rods like me
and enchanters hooking up all the time just to power conjurations for practical purposes.
There are the ones who fall in love and stay together for life, too, but no one goes into the
ritual thinking that's the point."
"But you're in love with Frost now," Jeanie said.
"No! But I do really, really want to talk to him about it," Kyle insisted. "So maybe
that's why I have the dreams?"
Jeanie was giving him a skeptical look. "These dreams, though, you say they don't
seem prophetic. Are they lucid dreams? Was the prophetic one?"
"Um, the prophetic one just felt like a regular dream at the time. I didn't think of it as
prophetic until I realized what it meant. Like, it took place in the watchtower, where I had
never been, and then once I was there, I recognized it. The dream... I woke up almost
crying from it, though. And the ones I'm having now... yeah, I wake up with my heart
pounding, stuff like that."
"But are they lucid? Like can you direct what you do in the dream?"
Kyle thought about it. "What happens is, the girl I dreamed about appears in the
middle of whatever dream I have going on. Then I try to chase her, and then I wake up.
Yeah, the chasing is definitely me doing it, somehow."
"But you never catch her," Lindy said, cocking her head.
"No." Kyle let out a slow sigh.
"Does she run to the left or the right?" Jeanie asked.
Kyle thought for a moment. "Left." The direction the stairs had spiraled down.
"That means unfinished business in most kinds of dream symbology," Jeanie said.
"Yeah, what else is new?" Kyle stretched. "I guess I just have to find him and talk to
They were all silent for a few moments. Then Lindy said, "Um, is that really
common? The bit about enchanters hooking up with... guys like you. Just to get spells
Kyle found he couldn't look at her, because she was blushing so prettily he thought
he might stare. She had just a few freckles that stood out when she blushed. "Well, not
that common, since lightning rods aren't that common, but, yeah, it's spoken of as a
The two women now exchanged glances. "Maybe that is what your dream was
about," Jeanie said to Lindy.
"Oh, God." Lindy hid her face for a second. "You mean, can I bring myself to have
sex for the sake of a grade? Or will I feel utterly violated afterward?"