This week’s Temptation scene continues in the Grotto and the challenge appears within it for all to see…
Temptations XXXVI – The Grotto – Part VI
By TeraS and Thamior, Cyprusmage, and Darkwalker’s Shadow
Tera smiled and then asked John, “So you do and so you are… But are you willing to push outside of that space around you? You wish to learn… That means to take a risk and touch things that you might not enjoy….”
There was a greenish glow in the water for a moment and then Tera rose slowly up from the waters. As she did it became clear that she was no longer nude, but wore a bikini that would make dental floss jealous with it’s thin material. It was a latex black creation that pressed against her curves and revealed without leaving her nude. But it was a close thing.
The water ran from her form and then she stood on top of the waters, a pair of black stiletto heels between her and the waters below.
She looked at Tristan and explained, “True. You need information about a threat to defend against it. And so I do. I offer you both an opportunity if you are willing to take the challenge… But be warned. The threat is real and the harm is permanent. If you do not wish to assist me I will hold no ill will to either of you… You may refuse and then you will be banished from the library eternally. Or you may accept and I will grant you a favor in return.”
She smiled and added, “The decision is yours…”
He didn’t like this. She made such a big show out of everything, and asked for their help like it was some sort of holy quest. The fancy scenery, the flashy entrance (not to mention her attire) were all some sort of distraction, meant to keep them from catching on.
“Something’s been bugging me,” said John, hands buried in the pockets of his overcoat, “A nagging thought I’ve been having ever since I found out you were the one running this show; why does one of the most powerful cosmic entities on Earth need the help of a mage and a hunter? No matter what we can do, you can go one better. So what do you really want…?”
This was certainly curious. While Tristan was momentarily distracted by Tera’s rise from the water, he was certainly paying enough information to pick up on John’s point…and his reaction in general. The mage seemed to be losing patience quickly with this situation, which was odd considering his preaching earlier. Tristan had been sure he would be the one to lose patience first. But this idea of an adventure enticed him…and the fact that this demigoddess was sending them on it made the task even more so. But things were definately amiss. Indeed, what could pose a threat to this woman that they would be able to tackle? More importantly, why should they be banished if they refused her mission? Unless…they were the threat to her. It certainly didn’t make sense from what he had previously been told, but in the light of what she had said…
Tristan remained silent throughout, allowing Tera the chance to answer John’s question.
Tera walked across the waters and then stood beside John and Tristan while the Dragon slowly moved closer to them all. She explained, “There are somethings that I cannot do… Somethings that I cannot be a part of…. There is a threat that would mean the end to many beings in many planes…. But I cannot break that threat without knowing exactly what it is…. I do not know that…. Not yet…”
She turned to watch the Dragon slip smoothly through the waters and then continued, “On occasion force is not the answer nor is seduction… Sometimes that one thing about humans comes into play…. You are the unknown factor in the equations… If you move one way then all is saved… Another… All is lost…. So you are the tipping point to this then…”
The Dragon floated in the waters and rumbled slightly as Tera paused. She turned to him with a smile and said, “Yes Darkness?”
As the Dragon rose from the water, the object in his hand a cigar, which he re-lit before continuing…
“Gentlemen, we may be powerful multiversal entities… but we are not human and there are certain things we cannot do in the human world… “-pausing a moment to let his words sink in, he continued.
“Certainly, we could send some mindless construct to try to ascertain the information, but we would probably never get it… Any opposition involved would surely be able to render our construct inert.” -taking a draw off his cigar, then blowing a plume of cherry scented smoke into the air.
“We need thinking, intelligent, creative people who are of this time and of this culture to do this for us… ” -leaning over the edge of the pool, looking at each in turn- “This is strictly a business proposition, Gentlemen… The services of your unique talents and abilities for a suitable reward, to be named either now or later…”
The dragon…no, Darkness, made a good case, although he still found it hard to believe that they couldn’t handle this themselves. If this was a game, playing along wasn’t likely to be harmful in the long term. Tera was…tricky, but he knew that she was non-violent. As for Darkness, he could be violent, but only when Tera was threatened.
On the other hand, if this wasn’t a game, then doing as they asked could be his only option. As much as he would have liked to call their bluff, he had to play it safe.
“OK, I’m in,” said John, eyes moving slowly between the two entities, “Tell me everything I need to know, and I’ll get right on it.”
Tristan wasn’t so quick to bite. As seemed to be the trend, he listened first. Then he let John reply. And then he too, in turn, would speak his mind. The idea of adventure still excited him, but he didn’t buy the fact that Tera seriously needed the two humans to carry out her will. This…threat, could very well be fabricated by her in order to keep the two adventurers busy. Regardless of who was behind the threat though, refusing to lend his aid would mean that Tristan would be expelled from the library. No adventure, and, more importantly, he would be leaving his new found friend out to dry. Not a very nice thing to do, that was for sure.
“I’d like to hear what the task is before I commit myself,” Tristan said honestly to the erotic woman and the dragon-turned man that was beside her.
Tera nodded slightly and said in a calm voice, “There is a threat to all of the realities. A force that wishes to destroy all that the library contains and provides…. The nexus of all dreams and fantasies passes through here… And if that is lost then the possibilities that once were will never be again…”
She raised a hand to the waterfall above them and said, “Realms are being destroyed without care by the threat… We have saved what we can, but the source of the threat eludes us…. Except for one thing and one thing only….”
Above them in the mists of the waterfall a stone statue stood of a woman in mid-stride as if running to the edge of the ledge she was perched on. Tera sighed and said, “She had the answer and almost made it back to us. She came up the steps of the library and turned to stone at the moment of revelation….”
Tera looked at them both, “It is your choice to help or not… The threat is real…. I cannot force you into this for it is not my way…. You much do this of your own choice and will… If you refuse to join in this I will remove you both from the library and place you both back in your reality. The reason why I must do so is simple…. It will be the only way to protect you from the threat if it should come here…”
John had agreed to help, but he still found it difficult to believe that Tera, in all her power, couldn’t sort this out herself. Perhaps her power wasn’t as great as he originally believed? The steps of the library…what if her power could not extend outside her own realm? That would explain a lot…
“Let me have a look at her,” he said, glancing up towards the statue, “I might be able to bring her back…might. If I can’t restore her, I can at least find her spirit, given enough time.”
“I will help you,” Tristan said solemnly. “But what of the others in this library? Would it not be safer to remove them from harms way?” he asked. It was partially a way of him judging Tera’s motives. Well, it was almost entirely to judge Tera. But he did not press the subject.
“Where do you suppose we should begin our search?”
Where, when, how and why are all questions that need to be answered…
Maybe next time they might be…