The next couple of months I expect will deal with a large group roleplay that I attempted to run in Temptations with several different RPers…
The Queen of the Succubi is of course me and I will intro each of the players as they arrive in this RP as that happens…
The first person we meet is a mage whom is played by Thamior.
Temptations XXXI – The Grotto – Part I
By TeraS and Thamior
The weather wasn’t kind to him this night. Rain cascaded down from the heavens, dark clouds indiscernable from the velvet sky above it. Sheltered within a shop doorway, a young man glanced across the street towards the library. His eyes saw the cracked paving stones surrounding the old stonework; a nondescript building. But hisVision saw a complicated pattern of matter, energy and spacial dimensions. No, multiple patterns. If he squinted enough, he could make out the details of one of them, but never all at once. It was too much for his mind to comprehend. But after a few minutes of viewing each pattern, he realised that while more than half a dozen people had gone into the library, none of them had met each other. As he saw each of them in a different pattern, he concluded that some massive occult force had placed each of them in a seperate dimension within the library.
It was easy enough in a library, of course. Words had their own sort of power; it was why magic was so easy to put into books. Putting a large number of occult books within the same building made the reality of the area that little bit less…rigid. With the right words and enough willpower, one could do what he saw in that library. But the identity of whoever was responsible escaped him. Whoever they were, they were adept at hiding their presence. It was all he could do to see the patterns alone, never mind the underlying meta-pattern which bound them all together, allowing them to co-exist.
Taking a deep breath, he stepped out from the doorway and through the rain to the front door of the library. Despite it being after-hours, the door was not locked. Step into my parlour, he thought to himself. He knew he was walking into a trap, but if someone was toying with spacial dimensions with this much expertise then they were either a valuable ally or a dangerous enemy…or an easy target at risk of attack. One of the most important lessons about magic; don’t draw attention to yourself.
So it was with no small amount of apprehension that he closed the door behind him. Now inside the structure, he noticed that the multiple overlapping patterns were invisible to him. From the inside, they didn’t truly exist. It was the sort of metaphysical paradox that made his head hurt.
Trying to focus his Vision on the pattern he currently occupied; he was impressed. As well as overlapping multiple versions of the same spacial dimensions, those dimensions were warped, twisted like an Escher piece. To mortal eyes nothing seemed amiss, but to his Vision the pattern was confusing to say the least. Whoever was responsible didn’t like being spied on.
Taking a breath, he spoke out to the darkness around him. He knew they’d be able to hear him.
“OK,” he said, “You’ve got my attention. Mind telling me what you’re doing here?”
The library was silent for a moment and then a soft woman’s voice drifted out of the darkness around him, “My… Forward aren’t we? That is a refreshing surprise…”
Somewhere in the library he heard the clicking of heels as she continued to speak, “What do I want… So many things really… The passions of one… The needs of another… The wishes of some… The desires of more… All of these interest me….”
She sound of the heels slowly grew louder as she continued to speak, “It is my nature to test them and see if they are worthy of the gifts that I give to them… Some will be… Some will not… That is the price of the gift….”
Far off at the back of the room a shadowy figure appeared from a doorway and regarded him, but did not approach further at that moment.
She asked, “So you are here. Are you prepared as well?”
Again, his Vision failed him. He assumed she wanted to reveal herself on her own terms.
“I couldn’t help but notice the level of complexity here,” he said, speaking as one academic to another, “I count at least…six, maybe seven different pocket dimensions? More, even? And I’m willing to bet you’re manipulating them, too. Operating in half a dozen different spacial realms simultaneously…What you’re doing must be very important to you for you to invest so much effort.”
He could not feel any alien presence reading his pattern, which bothered him. He knew she was, he just couldn’t feel it. This spoke volumes about the level of power she possessed. This entity…they can do all of this…but why?
“Why are you doing this?” he asked, “Are you aware of the risk you’re putting yourself in? I saw what you did easily. There are other people with my knack for the occult, and they won’t be as friendly.”
Not to mention the risk to the local area if these pocket realms collapse…
The laugh that echoed through the library wasn’t cruel. But it was amused.
Then with a hint of laughter in her voice she said, “I have no fear of that happening. My library exists in all times and all spaces. You are just fortunate that I have allowed your reality to encompass you in this moment. But then you have noticed the dimensions around you.”
The woman began to walk closer to him as she continued to speak, “This place is powered in a manner that you have no idea of. That power will never fail as long as it exists. It always will. For no being can exist without it. So the library continues and then worlds spin on and here we are.”
She stepped through a space illuminated by a skylight above, the moonlight flooding through it. He saw her then. Long raven black hair in a halo around her. A slim shapely body dressed in a flame red dress. And the other things. Her long tail swishing behind her. The moonlight glinting off her horns.
She continued, “Those of the light know that I am not to be trifled with. Those of the dark know that I am not to be played with. Those of the grey know that I am the question and answer to what they seek. Those that come to try to reshape me are dooming themselves in the end.”
And still she came closer.
Finally she stood in front of him. She nodded slightly and said, “I am Tera. Queen of the Succubi. This is my realm and my will is supreme. What is it that you seek?”
He considered himself skeptical by nature. Even while aware of the supernatural, he was often inclined to look for fakery before accepting what he saw. There was no need to do that here. There was no denying that this was Tera, Queen of the Succubi. The Lady in Red.
He also considered himself stubborn; he would normally stand his ground and fight for what he believed in. But even he knew when to draw the line. Tera was not the sort of entity you could cross and live to talk about it.
So, he counted off his remaining options; leave or stay. Well, he certainly couldn’t leave. It just wasn’t his style. And she had let him enter. The only way you got in was if she wanted you in.
“A more important question would be, ‘why did you let me come here?’,” he said, giving her a curious look, “You don’t just waltz into the personal realm of the Lady in Red without her permission. A lot of mages have gone missing trying to do that.”
Tera chuckled softly, “They aren’t lost… I know exactly where they are even if they aren’t sure themselves… And thank you for the recognition. Sometimes I have to drop a mage into hell for a few hours before they believe…”
She tilted her head and said, “Why allow you in? Because you interest me my dear… I see promise within you and that allows you to see me as I am at this moment…”
Her tail twisted around for a moment and then she said, “By the same token… If you didn’t want entry for some reason within you… You wouldn’t have entered this place…”
“My scrying ball split in half when it passed over this library,” he said dryly, “That doesn’t normally happen unless there’s some serious occult potential in the area. I came here to figure out what was going on and see if…” he paused. The words that readied themselves to be spoken were not the best.
“…if the situation was dangerous. I thought the place posed a potential risk. However, since this is your place, there’s not a whole lot I can do.”
But he didn’t turn to leave. He didn’t leave because he was faced with what could be interpreted as a golden opportunity. Tera was known for being very…generous…at times. Pleasure came easily to her, and if so inclined she would share it. Also, there was the opportunity to learn. The sheer number of tomes in the building…not to mention the stuff Tera herself knew…even the tiniest fraction of that knowledge would be invaluable.
But he knew there was always a catch. If you played Tera’s game (so the legends went), she was the only winner. She gave you what you wanted, but the cost was high. If you sought pleasure, she made you her slave. If you sought knowledge or power, it would ultimately destroy you…Or she’d enslave you as some sort of test. The second rule of magic; there are no short-cuts to power.
Tera wasn’t evil. She was…tricky. She never actually harmed anyone. Sure, she turned people into her slaves, but they’d spent the rest of their lives in rapturous bliss as a result. But still, to involve oneself with Tera is to invite disaster, and he was not prepared to take any risks with her.
“…Sorry to have disturbed you…your Majesty,” he said, believing ‘ma’am’ wasn’t quite appropriate, “I wasn’t aware this was your realm.”
Tera chuckled at his use of the word, “Majesty. How quaint. I’m not that enthralled with my position that I will curse someone for not using the correct manner of address.” She considered and then said, “You may call me Tera if you wish mage.”
Her tail moved from side to side behind her for a moment and then she said, “I will make you an offer my dear. Consider it carefully…” She waved a hand vaguely around the library and said, “There are creatures here that you have never met or might never meet without begin here. Are you willing to learn by doing as well as reading or will you just bury yourself in a book like some and believe that you know it all?”
She brushed a slim hand through her hair, “The choice is yours…”
There was one thing about her; she seemed to make your options very clear. And by the way she worded her challenge the right choice seemed obvious. Not that he would have chosen otherwise anyway. She was speaking his language.
“I’ve always said that field experience tops book smarts any day,” he said, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth, “Whatcha got in mind?”
A spark of dread fizzled in the back of his mind, warning him that this was a very bad idea. But he payed it no heed. It was moments like this, where he faced the unknown, the potentially hazardous, that he felt more alive. It was that thrill, that adrenaline rush when he was inches from death that made his day. He didn’t expect Tera to subject him to any form of violence, but a tiny part of him hoped she would. As much as he hated to admit it, he lived for moments like this.
Such an interesting question…
Whatcha got in mind?