Nov 20 2014

Succubi Image of the Week 358

For this week’s Succubi Image, the image I found of Morrigan Aensland is one where she looks ever so slightly different. But those differences create something that is really special…

Soul-Sucker by Robaato

Soul-Sucker by Robaato

This art is titled Soul-Sucker and is by an artist on DeviantArt called Robaato. You can find the original page with this work here and this artist’s page on DeviantArt is here.

I love Morrigan’s eyes in this art. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul and here that seems very apt for the depth within them. I also quite like the sort of soft focus that surrounds her and draws your eye towards her lips and eyes. The little knowing smile is a nice touch as well that expresses her personality too.

It’s not quite a portrait, perhaps more of a posed photograph sort of thing in a way…

But it is, more than anything else, a lovely image of Morrigan by a talented artist…

 

Tera

Nov 19 2014

I think I have my Christmas morning surprise figured out…

Devil Horn Santa HatI’ve been thinking about Christmas. Now, of course I usually write about Halloween costumes today, but what I found and am sharing today is for Christmas most of all. And I have to admit I giggled when I first came across this lovely idea…

This is, of course, a Devil Horn Santa Hat and it sells for $9 US at several sites I found it available at.

I just find this entire idea adorable and really just so very cute. It’s also nice that the horns are plushie ones that match the red of the hat as well. The ad for the hat says it fits “most” and I really do hope it does in my case…

I have some plans and ideas for this I believe…

Really, just for the joy and smile this idea gives me it gets five out of five pitchforks…

As for my Christmas morning? Only my Eternal will know what appears under my horns that morning…

But it will be a fun morning I promise…

 

Tera

Nov 18 2014

A Review of Succubus Ascendant by B. R. Kingsolver

Succubus Ascendant by B. R. Kingsolver

Succubus Ascendant by B. R. Kingsolver

I was really quite pleased and thrilled when I discovered that the author B. R. Kingsolver had released the latest work in the Telepathic Clans series a short time ago. I have reviewed the first, second, third and fourth works in the series before on the Tale and I have always enjoyed the stories told, the moments shared and the world created that tells of those known as Succubi and what they are seen to be.

It has been for me a pleasure to read the stories of those called Succubi, how they deal with who they are, how they are seen by others, and what strengths they hold within themselves. The paths have not been easy, never that by far, but in spite of the obstacles placed to hinder them… They manage to work miracles in the name of the Goddess.

This, the latest work in the series, is also told to be the very last part of the story of Brenna and Rebecca, Rhiannon, Irina and the Irish Clans. As the story that brings the series to a close, it has much to manage and much to live up to. It is a story that tells of the darkness that can appear without warning and all that it is capable of. But it also tells of the truth that belief in doing the right thing for the right reasons can make a difference. Sometimes to just one person, and sometimes to souls beyond counting…

The work tells the story of:

Corwin has led Clan O’Neill for one hundred and fifty years. Nearing the end of his long life, he names a twenty-three year old girl as his heir. Not only is Brenna a member of Clan O’Donnell, she’s also a succubus, and many people disagree with his choice. When Corwin dies, his son Hugh launches an open rebellion.

But Brenna is named heir not only to O’Neill, but also to Clan O’Byrne, where Clan Chief Fergus’s oldest son Andrew joins with Hugh and Finnian O’Neill in their rebellion. Faced with war on two fronts, and rebels using terrorist tactics that capture the attention of the human press and authorities, Brenna must fight off assassination attempts while trying to consolidate her rule.

As if all that wasn’t exciting enough, her friend Irina is the target of repeated kidnapping attempts by members of a Russian Clan. Hoping to protect Irina, O’Donnell mounts an operation against the Gorbachev Clan. But the situation in Russia is no more stable than in Ireland, and they discover Irina is at the heart of the Russian Clans’ internal plots.

Confused yet? Be glad you aren’t Brenna and Rebecca, as they—along with Rhiannon, Irina, and the Irish Clans—attempt to sort through the mess in Succubus Ascendant, the action-packed conclusion of The Telepathic Clans Saga.

It is a time of crisis for Brenna. Her world is changing, those around her are as well. Some for the better, some for the worst. A moment arrives and she is thrust into a place that she never expected, never wanted, but will, to the best she can, honour for the right reasons. And woe to those that cannot see that in her.

The series has always been about family, what one will do for their own. What someone might be capable of, either good or bad, and where that leads them in their lives. Much of the story is wrapped in Brenna’s becoming more than the power she is as a Succubus, but more that she is a power in the world she lives in. There are those that fear her, oppose her, and will do anything to hurt, harm, or if they can, end her. The level of that pushback in the story thrusts Brenna and her immediate family and close friends towards situations that turn both good and bad at the same time. With that arrives the answers to several questions about her own family that have been floating at the edges of the series. When these come to pass, when the truth comes out, it is in those moments where Brenna’s strength of will really shines. There are moments in the story where she reveals things about herself and those around her that were hinted at, but never really expressed fully.

To watch Brenna as she deals with politics, something she never cared for, sometimes makes one smile and in other moments you cannot help but feel the pain that she goes through. There are many moments where the threats to Brenna hurt, or worse, those she loves and those moments are quite painful to read. Perhaps the saddest thing about all those that oppose her is that they do not know their own history, see what has come before, and do not learn from it. The question of force and the question of will are two themes that run throughout the story and it is important to see how that comparison reflects against Brenna herself.

Part of that reflection is Rebecca in which comes part of an answer that was never spoken but has remained with this series from the first instant that Rebecca met Brenna. There is a acceptance in her, a settling of herself that comes when their world turns towards a new path, a new purpose, and it is that focusing of Rebecca that grounds Brenna in many ways.

Really no one comes through these moments unscathed, there are everlasting scars that some have carried with them all of their lives reopened and for others they are deeply cut, the wounds to be with them for the rest of their lives. The overriding question that comes with that is: What do they do and why? It is that choice that reveals the true nature of many, and it is that choice that tells of more than who they are, but more of what they are inside.

While Brenna is quite active in this story, much of the events are told from the point of view of those around her, and it was a nice surprise to see that the main character of Broken Dolls, Rhiannon, takes a very central role in this story as well. There are some fascinating moments with her that tell much of what wasn’t said in the previous work and I think as a whole it made her a much more interesting character. She faces moments where she is pushed, prodded, and placed into situations and events that take her to the edge at times but there’s something more. There is also the moments where the truth of who she is, what she desires, comes out clearly. The revelation of her innermost secret and the consequences of that bring about a climax to the work that is shattering.

While there are many events and changes for all, the one character that goes through the most is Irina by far. When her past is told, what it means, and then, where that takes Irina and Rhiannon is a complex web of lies, truths, strengths and weaknesses. It has been clear from her first appearance that Irina had an inner strength, a power within herself that held her together, gave her purpose and the will to continue. When that is unleashed, her true power, that of her own will to survive, to overcome, to prove her own worth to herself, is a gripping story on its own.

There are consequences in the end that mean losses for many, grief for still more. But there is also a strong hope for the future that Brenna offers going forwards that shines a light into the corners where they all tread. The final pages of the work tell a story that, while the work has come to a conclusion, there is a future that stands in front of Brenna and those around her. That future will not be easy or simple, but it does bring about something to reflect upon. That is the path that Brenna has taken from where she started in this series to where she is now and what the future holds.

It is a moment, a good one, when the question of Brenna being a Succubus comes into question, what that means to her family and the society she lives in. There is quite a lot of dismissal of her, of her sister Succubi as well. Revealing what they have done, are capable of, and more importantly, those that support them is when the tide begins to turn for the Succubi. There is more to battle again, more opposition that cannot see past the beauty that they see. They miss the power, the passion, and the will. It is that will that can shape the world.

Lovingly written, the moments are passionate at times, but when the tears come, there is no holding them back. The pain is real, strong, and it isn’t forgotten in the next moment. It is with each character and it never leaves them. But then, neither does the light they hold within them as well. The work ties up many of the plots, questions, and more in the series that have been there from the beginning, but there is something more as well.

The work ends on a point which leaves a very interesting open question about Brenna’s future, that of her family and that of the Clans themselves. Even if that question is never returned to, it does offer a view of the future, of Brenna herself, that I thought made a lot of sense and brought the series full circle. It is a satisfying read that is worthwhile, tells an intelligent story, and offers lovely closure to a series that I have enjoyed from the beginning and cherish dearly.

I’m giving this work five of five pitchforks.

A well told story that ties up much of the series in many ways, but also allows for change, growth, and most of all, the passions within the characters to be fully seen for all they have within them. There is loss, strife and fear. But there is also hope, strength and a trust that never wavers.

I am, I must admit, saddened that this is the end of the story of the Clans… I do have a hope that it is perhaps not forever, maybe not for always. There is always hope that the threads offered at the end of the series can be picked up in the future and those stories told. The future is something untold, unseen, but in time it does come to pass. Some stories never really end when they are the ones that you remember the most…

…this is one that I do… often.

 

Tera

Nov 17 2014

Storm Clouds 212 by TeraS

A bit more of Chapter 38 with Nina and Tom …

For those that would like to read Storm Clouds from the beginning, you can click this link, and it will take you to the page where all of the previous chapters can be found.

_____________________

Storm Clouds 212
Chapter 36
By TeraS

 

Time passed ever so slowly in the room. Someone who concentrated might be able to follow the dust motes as they floated here and there among the bookcases, tables, and chairs. Someone not so inclined to watch them might be held by the image of a woman straddling a man on one of the chairs, her fingers laced into his hair and their lips crushed together in a deep kiss.

One might also notice that neither of them was moving. But there was one other in the room who was. She was stalking back and forth, her long, red, heart-tipped tail swaying pensively as she walked, her eyes scanning intently from the carpet below her to the two intertwined and then back again as she paced.

Out of what some might mistake for frustration or impatience, she would tuck a wayward lock of hair back behind one of her ears from time to time. In fact, it was neither of those emotions, but rather, her pondering over what she knew and understood …

… and when Tera, the Queen of the Succubi, put a puzzle together and the pieces fit? That spelt issues for someone.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a familiar presence entering the apartment building, so her pacing came to a stop and a warm smile played upon her lips. She had been wondering when he was going to appear, and it seemed that this moment was the one that mattered.

His timing, as always, was impeccable. But then, he was especially attuned to her.

Counting to twelve, Tera walked over to the apartment door and then waited another three beats before opening the door and looking out into the hallway. The elevator dinged, the doors opened and she waved to the one standing there, his hands quite full. “Coming! Just a moment, my heart!”

The man in the elevator, who Thomas would recognize as the pastor from the funeral he attended not so long ago, nodded his head in lieu of a wave: “All fine, Dear One. I’ll manage.”

Quickly making her way down the hall, Tera replied: “Manners will not allow that, you know. At least allow me to be of some use?”

He chuckled: “We’ve talked about this before, Dear One. You sell yourself short. You are more than useful and, one of these days, you’ll see that.”

She scrunched up her nose as she took a small bag from under his arm: “Family trait, you know.”

He nodded once, blushing a little: “Yes … quite so.”

Moving to walk beside him, she slipped her arm with his and they moved towards John’s apartment. As they walked, they slipped into the banter they always shared.

“I’m sorry for being late.”

“Not late. You are exactly on time, as always.”

“How are you managing, Dear One?”

“Oh … managing, my heart.” Of course, she didn’t want to worry him.

“I see.” Of course, he saw right through that.

The next words that passed between them were ones that each knew didn’t need to be said, for they had known each other, it seemed, forever. Tera’s heart would always be so, as would she for him as his Dear One. That was just how things were, and nothing in the universes could change that fact. After they entered John’s apartment, he handed her one of the styrofoam cups he held. As he closed the door he asked: “And where is your Eternal, Dear One?”

Tera smiled as she traced a fingertip around the rim of the styrofoam cup: “Oh, he’s off and about looking after something.” She looked at him and nodded once: “But he is with me and I am with him.”

The look he gave her was somewhere between understanding and trepidation: “Of course. That was not my concern.”

Her finger stopped moving as she tilted her head to the left: “But you are concerned.”

He nodded, taking the lid off his tea: “I am worried about you, Dear One. You are troubled, have been for some time. I can see it in your eyes … your Eternal and I might be the only ones that possibly could have seen it, of course, but it is there.”

Tera was silent for a time, then admitted: “I think the Dark has been messing with things it should not. So I am … hoping … to fix that damage.”

“I see. And the two over there?”

“They are the thing that needs to be made right once more.”

He took a sip of his tea: “Playing matchmaker, Dear One?”

She took the lid off her own tea: “Oh those two are matched, my heart. I’m just trying to set things right once more.”

“Dear One, are you sure you are doing the right thing, or are you possibly … inadvertently … just maybe … doing the Dark’s own work for it?”

Tera paused, her tea almost to her lips: “Memories have been changed, my heart. The reason for that I do not know. Yet the Dark has altered the memories of some of the succubi. It has also changed the memories of innocents. It is trying to set something up to Its benefit. Jane is one of them. John, the dear man she is with at the moment, is the other.”

“Are you sure?”

Tera’s tail moved slowly behind her: “I know Eternals when I see them, my heart. In that I am sure. What happens after that is in their hands.”

“Which means we wait.”

“You need not have to, my heart. I’ll wait.”

He winked: “And have you talking to yourself? I shudder to think what your dear Tail will have to say about that.”

Tera smiled a warm, knowing smile: “You are, of course, quite right, my heart.”

He walked over to the couch and settled in: “What would you like to talk about while we wait?”

Tera took a spot on the other end of the couch, curling her legs underneath her as she did: “I have a theory … more of a thought, perhaps.”

He looked at his tea: “Why do I have the feeling, Dear One, that we’ll need more tea?”

She laughed: “Because that is how it always works when we chat, my heart. And, next time, I will bring the pie to share.”

He tipped his cup towards her: “So. Tell me what’s bothering you.”

She tilted her head to the right: “There is quite a lot that is bothering me. To be truthful, there has been for some time. I think that the time which the Dark has spent in trying to get into the Realm has made it desperate for some kind of success.”

He furrowed his brow: “It is a persistent entity; that much is obvious. And yes, your … resistance … has been a thorn in Its side.” The innocent look she gave in reply just made him chuckle as he sipped his tea, waiting for her to continue.

She considered the cup she held, then continued: “To be honest, it’s been a bother to me as well, in more ways than one, but we won’t dwell on that part of the story, as we’ll come back to that a bit later to try and tie the threads together.”

“Which means we start with … ?”

“We start with the question of what, exactly, is It intending to do with the tail that is missing.”

“You assume she is being held?”

“I know she is being held. I am just not sure exactly where she is at this moment. I know that she is nearby … somewhere … but otherwise I am not sure where. I sense she is trapped or bound in some way. That means It must have a plan for her. Whether by influencing her, forcing something upon her, or other means, It has but one goal, and having a Tail would give It something It never had before.”

He nodded: “A key.”

“Yes. There are only a few entries into the Realm for those not …” She paused here, considering her next words, worrying that “like us” would sound more than a bit conceited, but he finished the thought for her.

“… like you, Dear One. I know better—we know better—and you need to keep that in mind.”

She nodded in reply: “Of course. Like us, my heart. There are some with that key. Some others, like you, are offered a pass to the Realm, at the right time for the right reason. But all of us, even myself, have to pass by the gates, all of them, before stepping foot in the Realm.”

He smiled: “And, of course, that final gate, the one that none shall pass without permission, is the last bastion.”

She sighed, wistfully: “Yes. But we won’t dwell on that point, my heart. Let’s try and keep focus on our missing tail for the moment.”

He gave a sidelong look at the pair on the chair as he wondered: “Can I assume that they are both part of the story?”

“Quite so. She is the sister of the one whose tail is held, obviously. He is, I am sure, her Eternal. When we had the funeral, it struck me that she was there, but he was not. The question then was … “Why?” Speaking with her afterwards, it was clear that the Dark did something to her, and, I think, vice versa.”

“So, you have two souls no longer connected.”

“Yes, but that’s just where it begins. She, our dear Jane, is impulsive, quick to anger, and more importantly, would do anything to have revenge for her sister’s passing. What would she do if she believed that her only family, the only one she loved, was gone?”

He shook his head: “Oh, I have a good idea. There was something wrong about her; I had chalked it up to grief and did not push her. I should have.”

She set her cup down on a small side table, some worry in her eyes as she looked at him: “No guilt, my heart—not for either of us. There was enough grief to go around for everyone. We both missed it, but we are both now aware.”

He allowed those words but replied: “Then I expect you not to have guilt, either. It is not becoming of you. Queen or not, it is not becoming of you or your soul, and I will not allow it.”

She laced her fingers together, placing them in her lap: “The guilt I think I have dealt with. It was slowly turning into anger … or it was until Jane came back and I saw she had a problem. That problem made it clear that there was a … discrepancy that needed to be repaired.”

He considered his tea: “Now that your anger is gone, Dear One, you need to keep it away … the Dark is counting on using it against you.”

She looked towards Jane and John: “Something happened in the two weeks that she was out of touch. When she came back, she claimed to have been overseas for some time, but that made little sense, as they were inseparable. There was something missing in Jane. Again, it seemed like the loss of her sister was the answer, but it goes further than that. He was missing. They were missing.”

“So, that’s when you put Tom and Camilla onto things?”

She nodded and picked up her tea again, taking a sip: “There was something that happened in the world here, driven by forces bound to rules that apply here. Something else happened outside of this world, where other rules apply. Having the two of them dealing with this will give me a new perspective on what It wants.”

He chuckled: “There’s something more, Dear One.”

She smiled over the rim of her cup: “Perhaps … perhaps not. We shall see.”

He raised his cup in reply: “Yes. We shall. But the story isn’t over yet. You are holding back a few things. I can tell.”

She paused, just before taking a sip: “Two things: All four of them are connected to what happened. Two of them are what It has focused upon.”

He frowned: “So they are all at risk. But which two are the ones It has focused on?”

Tera’s tail pointed at Jane: “She is one, obviously. I believe that Thomas is the other. They both have suffered great losses. They can both be influenced by It making an appeal to their darker emotions.”

“What happens when one … or the other … or both … is freed?”

“That, my heart, is what I am intending to find out with Jane.”

“And Tom?”

She sighed: “I am trusting that his belief in doing good is strong. Camilla will help in that. So will Nina … assuming that Thomas will let them in to help.”

He considered her words, then asked: “But what about our missing tail? How does she fit into this?”

Tera looked into her cup as if reading tea leaves, though there were none: “What would one do if one could bring a lost love back? What would one give up? What would happen when the truth was revealed?”

“That, I think, would depend on the truth, would it not?”

She looked up: “Yes. Yes it would.” Then she looked back down at her cup once more.

He sighed: “Dear One, it does you no good to keep things bottled up inside you, nor can you get them past me without me noticing.”

“There are two problems with sharing the truth in this case, my heart. One is that the truth will not set anyone free. The harm in the truth being known would only play into It’s hands. The truth I speak of is meant for one soul only and it is one that I do not have the right to share.”

“If not you, then who?”

Tera looked at him: “The one that cannot speak.”

She stood and began to walk around the room, still holding the cup in her hands: “The second reason for not sharing is that I may—and yes, I know this sounds impossible—I may be completely wrong about what I believe the truth to be.”

He leaned back in his chair, a small twinkle in his eye: “You, Dear One? Wrong? If so, I do believe I will have to check on whether the laws of the universe have been changed recently.”

Tera laughed softly: “I’ve been wrong many times, my heart. The thing is that I hide those mistakes well enough that they are not seen for the mistakes they are.”

“You are avoiding the point, Dear One. It isn’t that you are wrong nearly as often as you believe … except when you think you are hiding these things from your Eternal or me. It is that you are far too hard on yourself when those around you are hurt. You make it your focus to deal with that, to take it upon yourself. Sometimes, you do have to allow others to stumble.”

A sigh, quite a long one: “Cannot do that, my heart. Call it … a very deep fault. Perhaps it is the one that the Dark has figured on to be how it wins the war.”

He placed his cup on the table and then walked over to her. Resting a hand on Tera’s shoulder he explained: “It is not a fault to care. We have talked about this many times before. It is a fault to take on too many things, to not share with others who can help with the burdens. And I would bet my socks that this is exactly what the Dark will use to defeat you.”

Tera patted his hand lightly: “As you know, that sharing is something not easily done.”

He smiled: “True … for both of us. Now, there are plans to be made, and in this case, Dear One, your heart is going to help.”

She began to shake her head, to refuse. She couldn’t possibly allow him to do so.

“Ah! I am sorry, but no, Dear One. There is no getting out of this. You need more help than what you have now, and if you don’t let me help you, then I will go on my own. So please, tell me what you have in mind next.”

“You really will not like it, my heart; not at all.”

“I’ll be the judge of that, Dear One.”

Ten minutes later found Tera sitting on the couch, rolling her cup between her hands and looking at him as he paced back and forth as she had been before he arrived. She had explained her plans, what she intended to do and what the cost would be.

He finally stopped pacing and looked at her: “I do not like this at all, Dear One.”

“I did warn you.”

“So you did. It is a dangerous plan. It can go wrong at any of a dozen turns. Worse, if it does go wrong, then the Realm is lost. However …”

“However?”

He furrowed his brow: “However, misquoting Einstein, ‘I, at any rate, am convinced that you do not throw dice.’”

She was puzzled; the twist in her tail, which he knew well, spoke to her thoughts as much as any words would: “Meaning what, exactly?”

“Meaning that, though your plans appear to be risky, somehow you have a fairly good idea that it will turn out well.”

She traced a finger against her lips, as if sealing them, a thin smile there as she did so.

“But what is missing from this equation is that you are not going in alone. I won’t have it. You would risk yourself to save the Realm. Someone needs to be there who will risk the universe to save you.”

She looked him in the eye: “I worry that I may have to do something of which you do not approve, something that would disappoint you.”

He didn’t waver: “You could never disappoint me, Dear One. Never. And I will stand beside you no matter what … including no matter if you tell me not to.”

She opened her mouth to speak … but then closed it, smiling.

He smiled back and nodded once: “Did you ever meet Einstein in your travels, Dear One?”

“Yes. I was fortunate to hear him play the violin once. His connection with music was … breathtaking. Even if he didn’t see his talents for all that they were.”

He chuckled as he took the other end of the couch once more: “Your words remind me of a certain red tail that I know who has the same problem. She needs to see that in herself every now and again.”

She tilted her head to the right: “I have no idea what you mean, my heart.”

He shook his head: “Yes, Dear One. Of course you do.”

 

Storm Clouds
Chapter 37
By TeraS

 

Billy wasn’t sure if Donna actually had to go and visit every single person in the building. Actually he wasn’t sure if they actually did visit them all or not, but there were a lot of people that she had introduced him to, and he knew there was no possible way he was going to remember all of their names. Funny thing was, the only name that he wanted to remember was Donna’s. He wasn’t sure why it mattered so much, but he was bound and determined not to forget.

He always hated going around with his father and meeting with people that mattered to their business, or to his father. They always treated him as if he was being tolerated, and they were always formal and cold, seeming like they only did so in order to not offend his father.

Donna’s co-workers weren’t like that. He wasn’t sure if they were always that interested in other people, or if they were now only because he was with Donna, or because he was helping deliver the coffee and donuts. Whatever the reason, there wasn’t one person that he met who didn’t greet him warmly. The hugs from the women were embarrassing, but Billy managed to get through that without making a fool of himself. Even the men weren’t trying to break his hand during the many handshakes, which is what normally happened to Billy. They treated him as an equal—which, again, was something that didn’t usually happen for him.

Billy, being overwhelmed as he was by what was happening, didn’t notice the look that Donna gave each person that he was introduced to. The look was, if one was paying attention, almost pleading for approval.

By the time the tour ended, he figured that he certainly must have met everyone in the building. As they passed by an office on the upper floor, he noticed Donna frown, just a little, and that bothered him. “What’s up?”

“Oh. I was hoping you might meet my …” The pause was very noticeable, even for Billy, and he was about to ask about that when Donna continued: “… boss. Her name’s Tera.”

Billy was still bothered about the pause: “Don’t like her?”

Donna shook her head, her short platinum blond hair moving in an odd wave, which Billy found very interesting: “Oh gosh no! I love her bunches!”

Her answer brought Billy up short. She didn’t seem like the kind of lady that would use the words “gosh” and “bunches.” For some reason, he felt she was putting on a show or something. “Really?”

Donna stopped and turned to look at Billy. She placed her right hand on his chest and explained: “She’s wonderful, Billy. She’s done so much for me. I owe her a lot, and I’ll never be able to repay her.”

He looked at her hand, then into her eyes: “Lots of people tell me that, but they do it ‘cause they fear the people they work for.”

Donna scrunched up her nose, which Billy thought made her look awfully cute: “Not me. I love Tera like a sister. We’re all …” Again she paused, which was odd, but then she continued: “… a family. I know that sounds weird, but that’s the only way I can explain it.”

Billy had come to the conclusion that there was something odd about the place where Donna worked. There was something odd, but what it was, in the end, didn’t seem to matter as much as meeting Donna did, so Billy nodded: “’kay. I can see that. This place is kinda’ weird, but if that’s how you think about things, then … ‘kay.”

Donna smiled, and Billy thought that it was a good thing to see her smiling.

After going down a flight of stairs that took them past the Receptionist—and Billy still found himself not wanting to make her mad—Donna led him down a hallway that he was sure they hadn’t been through before. He actually wasn’t even sure if the hallway had been there when they had entered the place and first met the Receptionist. This place was built weirdly, and he had been turned around so many times that he wasn’t sure what direction he was facing. Not that it mattered that much: he was fine with walking with Donna and talking to her, anyway. But he had expected to arrive in what Donna had called the “Lounge,’ and, as they walked, he worried about making a mess there. This building was amazingly well kept and clean, and he just knew that he would drop something somehow and make a mess somewhere. Luckily, he thought, that hadn’t happened so far. So it was a surprise when she opened a door and he found that that the Lounge wasn’t their destination.

Instead, the opened door revealed what looked like a neatly kept lunch room, large enough for a dozen or more diners, with a big picture window to one side that looked out over what seemed to be the backyard of the place. Though Billy wasn’t exactly sure how it was that so many trees would be there.

“After you, Billy.”

He shook his head: “Sorry. Manners say that it’s ladies first.”

Donna smiled: “How about together? You’ve been following me around, me leading the way. I’d much rather have you walking with me. You don’t have to hold hands if you don’t want to.”

Billy blushed, but managed: “That’s kind of forward, isn’t it?”

Donna smiled: “A little bit … maybe.”

With a flick of her shoe she held the door open for them: “Now you don’t have to hold the door, and we can go and find a place to sit and share my coffee and bagel.”

Billy held up the bag that he had been carting around with him: “Bagel? Not a donut?”

A short walk across the room and they were both sitting at a table over by the window, Donna facing Billy: “Bagels are a good thing to have when you want to think about something.”

“I don’t get it. Sorry.”

She opened the bag and took the bagel out, placing it on top, then opening the coffee and sitting it beside the bagel: “You have to work at eating a bagel. It’s a bit of a struggle to tear it into pieces to nibble on. It’s a bit of work to chew on. Because it takes a while, you get a change to think about things.”

The look on Billy’s face made it clear that stuff like what Donna was talking about was a little over his head: “Like what?”

She picked up the bagel and tore it into four pieces. Taking one of those, she broke it in half and then gave Billy one of them: “Oh, all sorts of stuff.”

He looked at the bagel in his hand: “Like?”

Donna held her piece a bit away from her lips as she answered: “Like if you might like me as much as I like you. Like what you like to do for fun. Like if you might ask me out to dinner.” As the last word left her lips, she popped the bagel in her mouth and started to chew on it.

Billy was brought up short and stuffed his piece into his month to occupy himself while he thought. She was really classy, and that meant that she’d want to go out somewhere expensive. That wouldn’t be a problem: Dad had always paid Billy well for the work he did, and he had saved a lot over the years. But he didn’t have a suit, didn’t run around in those sort of places. After finally swallowing the bagel he explained: “Do like you. But you’re so classy. I don’t know what you like to do for fun, and the place I like to go for dinner is the burger joint on 11th and Main—not exactly the sort of place you’d want to be in.”

Donna stood up, and Billy didn’t have any other choice but to look at her standing there in a classy blue dress. When she didn’t say anything, he closed his eyes and really tried to remember what she looked like, knowing that he’d never see her again—that little sweep in her hair, the twinkle in her eyes, that chunk of bagel that she was chewing on that pushed out her cheek and gave her a dimple. Darn him for being honest. He opened his eyes and watched her chew. She had that bagel in her mouth. Then it hit him that she wasn’t mad, she just had her mouth full.

Donna picked up the coffee and took a sip, swallowed, then said: “Billy, I don’t always dress like this. This is what I wear to work. It’s like your overalls or uniform or whatever you wear where you work. I look classy because that’s how it is appropriate to look here.”

She put the coffee down and walked around the table, taking a seat right beside Billy: “I’m just as happy to wear an old T-shirt and jeans and running shoes.”

Billy gave her a look: “Can’t imagine that.”

She laughed: “I clean up good. Like you do, okay?”

Billy shrugged: “Okay.”

She folded her hands onto her lap and looked at them: “You know, a lot of the people here think that I’m shy.”

He looked at the tabletop: “Dunno about shy. Think yer cute though.”

“Could say the same about you, too.”

“Not cute. Cute isn’t a guy thing.”

Donna pursed her lips and blew out a long breath: “Billy, if a gal says you’re cute, don’t argue.”

He looked at her: “How am I supposed to talk? Usually no one sees me or stuff. Haveta’ be honest, Donna. Don’t talk to a lot of cute girls that I … like.”

“Because you’re shy?”

“Maybe.”

She smiled, which made Billy happy: “Maybe, between the two of us … maybe … we can work on that.”

“Wadda ya’ have in mind?”

The next part Billy didn’t expect: “I like walking, looking at the ships as they come into the harbour. I like movies—old ones, not the new stuff, the more B-grade the better. And what I like most of all is watching those sorts of movies with a greasy burger and fries from Ben’s at the corner of 11th and Main. But only when Jack is cooking; Adam burns the buns and I can’t stand that.”

Billy was shocked to put it mildly: “You eat there?”

“Yup. Never do dinner, but I do lunch, and, sometimes, midnight snacks.”

Billy mulled that over as he took another piece of the bagel, tore it in two and handed Donna half: “Always thought that Jack was kind of an ass. Never went in when he was there. And you are going to be mad at me.”

Donna looked confused: “Why?”

He had a lopsided grin as he started to chew on the bagel: “I like the burned buns.”

Donna slapped his shoulder lightly: “Oh! You! How could you possibly!”

Billy just continued to chew on the bagel and chuckle to himself as Donna ranted over that, liking her more and more by the moment and feeling a lot better about himself as he did so.

 

 

 

Storm Clouds
Chapter 38
By TeraS

 

It was after about an hour of walking through the Realm that Tom noticed something. It wasn’t all of the beings walking around with horns and tails; he had gotten used to that surprisingly fast. It wasn’t the looks that he had seen from some of them; he understood the why of the looks of lust or curiosity or even temptation came in his direction. Nina was in the middle of turning a corner when Tom said, “I have a question.”

“Oh? If it’s about life, the universe and everything, I think there’s a book that has that answer in the Library. I think it’s one of Tera’s favourites, actually.”

“Nothing that grand … just something odd I’ve noticed.”

Nina stopped walking and looked at him, her tail swaying behind her, the sunlight glinting off her silver dress: “You’d better be specific. There’s a lot of ‘odd’ in our world.”

Tom nodded: “Yeah, noticed that. What’s odder is that it all seems to fit, in a way.”

“So? What’s bugging you?”

“Where’s your police department? I haven’t seen any references to one.”

Nina pointed off to her left and when Tom looked he noticed what seemed to be a castle of some kind standing a fair distance away: “See that? Want to guess what it is?”

Tom rubbed his chin: “Normally, I would reckon that was Tera’s place.”

“But?”

“But Camilla said that Tera doesn’t go for that.”

“Correct. Tera only rarely can be found there. That’s for show, for those that expect to see a Queen in her castle.”

“So it’s a symbol of … of what, exactly?”

“It symbolizes one very clear point: that the words of Tera and her Eternal govern us. But it also symbolizes, in her refusal to be there, that she does not believe that she needs to lord her authority over us.”

“So, she’s Queen in name only and nothing more?”

Nina frowned deeply: “Oh no. She’s our Queen, but she will only allow one being to call her that. She gave that one the right to do so for reasons that are between the two of them. To everyone else, she’s Tera, and, honestly, that’s more powerful.”

Tom looked at the castle, far past the nearby rolling hills, the occasional bit of mist or cloud shimmering nearby: “In what way? It seems more casual, more open.”

Nina walked up to Tom and said, with a slight shake of her head: “Tom … I’m really disappointed in you.”

When she didn’t say anything else, just looking at him, Tom sighed and shook his head: “I get the point. It’s worse to disappoint someone you know than it is a faceless title you never see.”

She smiled and twined one of her braids around her right hand: “That’s part of it. Remember Camilla told you that, if Brent had been lying, Tera would have known? That’s another part of it. But the most telling thing is that, when she’s standing there, looking at you, and says, ‘I’m disappointed.’ Believe me, those words are something no one wants to hear from her … not after all that she’s done for everyone.”

“Okay, I get the picture. Pissing off Mom would …”

Nina shook her head: “Tera’s not … Mom.”

“Come again?”

She looked into the sky, seeming to be looking for something … but for what, exactly, Tom wasn’t sure: “It’s … complicated … in a lot of ways.”

“Okay. So if you don’t think of her as your mother, then … who is?”

“That’s yet another story.”

“Your world has a lot of them, you know.”

“We also have an fantastic library, vibrant art, passionate culture, and our midnight get-togethers by the Lake are amazing.”

Tom shook his head: “You know the most amazing thing?”

“Hmm?”

“The most amazing thing is that you speak of all of this as completely normal, and it feels normal. Well, except for some of your kind who aren’t exactly my type.”

Nina’s look was not hard to read, not with the question that came: “What is your type?”

There was a slightly far off look in Tom’s eyes: “No; doesn’t matter.”

Nina frowned at the emotions that were starting to boil inside of Tom: “Tera has said that there is someone, somewhere, for everyone. The trick is bringing them together.”

Tom nodded his head in the direction Nina had been walking: “Yeah. Sure. Let’s go.”

Tom’s attitude surprised Nina, but she didn’t press further on that, nor come back at him with a snip of her own. That part of Tom’s story she’d find out, or Camilla would, eventually. For the moment, she turned and continued to walk, knowing without looking that Tom was there beside her.

They crossed an intersection, and Tom was treated to the sight of a carriage being pulled by two pony-girls, with their Mistress—a Succubi that Nina recognized as Rachel, a rather strict personality that some submissives were attracted to—riding inside.

“Getting back to your question about our police: we are all, in a way, our own police here. We help each other if needed, protect one another, and otherwise keep each other from going down a path that leads to nothing for us.”

“A collective, then?”

Nina nodded, still looking at Rachel as she went on her way: “For example, the succubi in the carriage? Her name’s Rachel. She’s a very strict domme; she controls the lives of her submissives in every way and means.”

“And?”

“And the thing is, she knows the lines she cannot cross. She knows what her pets desire and gives them that, pushes the boundaries from time to time with them. But if one of us felt something wasn’t right, we could find out what was going on. And, honestly, it’s better that one of us did. Otherwise …”

“Otherwise Tera might be disappointed.”

“Yeah. It’s about the most powerful reason not to do harm you can think of. How can you disappoint someone who would do anything for you, who has offered you something precious, and who trusts you with the power to do almost anything?”

“Have you?”

“You know the answer to that.”

“Sort of. You’ve left a lot of questions around your answers. You keep dancing around the point, trying to avoid it. Why?”

Nina sighed and pinched her nose: “Because the thing about being a survivor is that you remember all that didn’t make it. You also remember the second chance you were given.”

“What’s that?”

“The first time I met Tera, it was when she had come into her power as the Queen. So many of us that had done wrong were called, one by one, to see her. I expected to be banished at the least; my end was almost certain for all of the souls that I had taken.”

“You’re still here.”

Nina smirked: “Yes. Don’t let anyone tell you what they think Tera will do. They’ll always be wrong. I was … so, so wrong.”

“So, what did she do?”

Nina crossed the street as she called out: “She hugged me. I broke down in tears, I told her everything that I had done. Then she just said, ‘Do better this time.’”

Tom paused in crossing the street when Nina had said. ‘Do better this time.’ The words where haunting and struck very close to home. Before Nina could turn around and see the look he had, Tom ran across the street and caught up to her.

Tera was going to have a lot of explaining to do … someday. For right now, the question of where the hell Nina was going mattered more.

“Got another question.”

“And?”

“Why are we walking? Faster to just jump over there or whatever you call it.”

“It’s called bampfing by some—Tera, in particular, calls it that. As for the “why”? We are going to meet someone important and just appearing in front of them without warning would not be … good.”

“Sounds ominous.”

“Wouldn’t call them ominous, exactly.”

Tom strode a little faster than Nina was and touched her hand: “Nina. Slow down. Talk. Who is it, why are you so worked up over it?”

She looked down at Tom’s fingers, then into his eyes: “Remember when Camilla said that she knew some names, some beings that she thought might be a threat?”

“Yeah. She also said that she wouldn’t go near them without … hellhounds or something.”

She pointed towards a low building made of blood red bricks that stood a short distance away: “We are going to go talk to one of them, it will be me as Camilla won’t be enough to make this work, she’s never actually commanded … them.”

“What? Hellhounds?”

Nina shook her head: “Oh no, that wouldn’t be enough. They would be laughed at. No, we are going to borrow something from Tera that isn’t seen often and, when it is, that is on very rare occasions.”

Tom huffed dangerously: “Nina …”

She came to a stop suddenly, looking down a short piece of sidewalk that ended at a gold and black door inlaid into a red brick wall. There were no windows to be seen, no other way in save that door and nothing more.

Nina looked at Tom: “You have that card Tera gave you?”

Patting his chest, Tom nodded: “Yeah, keeping company with my badge.”

Nina approached the door and knocked twice. After a moment, a panel slid open and a low voice pronounced: “Nina … and a human. Why would you bring a human here? You know it is dangerous for them. You may enter, Nina. He cannot.”

Tom dug out his badge, flipped it open and showed the silver card from Tera to … whatever it was. There was a long silence, then the door opened to shadows and sounds that Tom couldn’t quite place … though, somehow, he felt as if he had heard the sounds before … in his nightmares.

Nina stepped through the open door, offering her hand as she did so: “Stay with me; don’t drift off. Some of the things in here don’t react well to humans.”

Tom slid his badge back where it belonged: “Makes two of us.”

The door closed behind them without a sound.

Nov 16 2014

A Review of The Love Of A Succubus by Lady Sakimura

The Love Of A Succubus by Lady Sakimura

The Love Of A Succubus by Lady Sakimura

The second of two works by an author, they being their initial steps into writing in English… and about Succubi.

In the first review last week I mentioned that work felt like it had been put through a translator and little editing seemed to have been done. Regretfully this second work has the same issues as the first, save for one important point which made it better than the first if only slightly…

  • Title: The Love Of A Succubus
  • Author: Lady Sakimura
  • Length: 15 Pages
  • ASIN: B00IX7WUXM
  • Publishing Date: March 10, 2014
  • This work at Amazon.com

The work tells of:

The follow-up story to Sucker For A Succubus. In order to satisfy Morgan, his new succubus partner, Eric becomes a half-demon. Things don’t quite work out as planned, however, when he finds that she is only interested in his fresh, nourishing blood. Will she ever know the true meaning of love? Enjoy this short story by award-winning Japanese doujinshi author, Lady Sakimura. This is her second story in English.

Eric decides that he wants more of his relationship with Morgan and after telling her so, she turns him into a demon as well. And things go downhill from there rapidly.

Like the first work, I found this work very hard to read because the text reads as if it was directly translated from Japanese to English with no editing which would make the sentences read better or to make the story better. The words are clunky, the thoughts are scattered and the storyline reads like a comic book that has been turned into a story with the dialog being taken directly from it.

As for plot, this work has one, and it actually is a good idea, but the way the story is told, what happens to Eric and Morgan is just handled wrong. I want to feel emotionally attached to what happens at the end of the story, but to get to that point there is a lot of moments where I just could not find a way to really care about what was happening.

There is, again, a lot of blood, some horror scenes that are typically anime in scope and the appearance of another character, literally out of the blue, serves really no purpose other than to push the story towards a conclusion that I didn’t enjoy.

One and a half out of five pitchforks.

Difficult to read, odd situations and story, at least several more editing passes would have helped overall. Proofreaders might have been a good idea to help both of these works be more than they are.

 

Tera

Nov 15 2014

A little bit different Succubus art in progress YouTube…

One of the things that I like to find in art of Succubi is that there is a touch personality in the characters created… Not just that they look like every other Succubus, that they have a look, a style an image that is much more… I found one and it really is quite different and unique…

And if the video does not show on the Tale, try this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgVSQz5HXmE

The finished art is quite striking I think…

succubusartbluemonika

Love her hair, a neat little smile of mischief that looks quite right on her too. Overall a lovely piece of Succubus art that I really adore…

Tera

Nov 14 2014

A Review of Beautiful Dead Girl by Robert Palmer

Beautiful Dead Girl by Robert Palmer

Beautiful Dead Girl by Robert Palmer

Mystery stories are interesting things. It is the journey that matters in them more than the moments themselves. It is the flaws of the characters and their world that come to mean more than what just the words themselves say.

The process of finding the answers, both for the characters and the reader is what either makes or breaks these kind of stories… and sometimes it’s a question of the questions that remain that makes one pause at the end and… wonder.

It is the story of:

A dark and dreary supernatural romance that bridges the gap between life and death, Beautiful Dead Girl was originally published online at Midnighttimes.com (now defunct.) The short story opens the door into the troubled life of crime scene photographer Jimmy Trundle as he discovers the love of his life . . . face up and naked in an alley.

Jimmy Trundle leads a troubled, harsh life, trying to survive in the big city. He attends a crime scene and finds himself haunted by the victim he sees there… and then she begins to haunt him in return.

The story that is told about Jimmy shows that the world he lives in is a harsh one, that his life has seen moments that have beaten him down over time. The pains he suffered and still does are there to be seen very clearly and in them comes questions about events in his past that really aren’t told of, but are important to his character.

Things turn towards a darker corner when he is called to photograph a crime scene for the police. But soon after he finds that the woman he photographed haunts his thoughts. And then she comes to see him… several times. The line between this woman, Eva, and Jimmy’s reality become blurred and mixed as the story progresses towards it’s inevitable conclusion.

Is Eva, the woman that haunts Jimmy, a Succubus? For the most part she very well seems to be. Her actions, what she does to Jimmy and the conclusion of the work all seem to point out that she is one. She never appears to be one with horns or tail, but her raw sexuality and how Jimmy reacts to her seem to, again, say that she is. There isn’t really any one point in the work where it is clearly said that she is a Succubus, but in my mind I can see her being one.

To the story itself the author created a very vivid world that I found enjoyable to read. Jimmy has his flaws, but also his better side and the work gave time to both sides which made him a better character. The people that he came into contact with had their own faults, flaws and quirks which added a lot of atmosphere.

The characters are very good, the settings and scenes are well written and told. The only real problem with this work is that it needs one more editing pass to correct a number of tense errors that tripped me up in my reading. Not all of the answers are given, there are many questions at the end untold. But the work does film noir really well I thought and as a whole I enjoyed the story for what it was. A mystery and a question. It does need to be, I think. about ten pages longer if for no other reason than to clean up some of the questions left behind… But then, in film noir themes, not all of your questions are answered are they?

Three and a half out of five pitchforks.

The work needs one more editing pass to correct a lot of tense errors. But getting past that there is a very good film noir type of story here that tells a very good story. It could be much longer, we could learn more about Eva, which would be my preference. But as a whole it tells a gripping story in itself.

 

Tera

149/5161st...2040...148149150...160180...Lst