Aug 26 2016

A Review of Succubus Cheat Sheet by Samantha Nona

Succubus Cheat Sheet by Samantha Nona

Succubus Cheat Sheet by Samantha Nona

One of the story ideas that I have been mulling is the thought of a succubus with pink hair and horns that is… well… a bit of a bimbo overall. I think there’s a really interesting story to tell in that, it could be a lot of fun. An author released a story recently in which the main succubus character is, as a whole, perhaps not a total bimbo, but she is quite unique and more importantly, she isn’t a stereotypical evil succubus. That interested me.

Not all succubi are perfect. Not all succubi know the right spell, the right thing to say. Learning to be the best succubi one can be is a story about who each of them are. Some aren’t evil, they don’t particularly like being so. Sometimes the most powerful of the succubi are the ones that realize there’s more to their lives than being evil. There’s being smart in their own way… Even if that comes with a few missteps along the way.

  • Title: Succubus Cheat Sheet
  • Author: Samantha Nona
  • Length: 36 Pages
  • ASIN: B01KYHLWWI
  • Publishing Date: August 23, 2016
  • This work at Amazon.com

The work tells the story of:

Reina is at the end of her rope as her roommate Karen won’t stop arguing with her boyfriend. She prays for anything that might help the couple make up, but she certainly never would have expected a pink-haired succubus to be the answer.

Discordelia is a succubus in training, and her test is to help Karen and her boyfriend embrace their hidden fetishes and enrich their sex lives. Only the spells are a little too hard for the ditzy succubus to remember, but she managed to write the erotic spells down onto a cheat sheet. Surely everything would turn out like she expected. Right?

Discordelia, better known as Dizzy to all of the succubi around her, has a problem. She’s not quite like the other succubi in a lot of ways, not the least of which is that she’s somewhat of a bimbo overall. Still, pink haired and all, Dizzy needs to pass a test and she knows she won’t be able to without some help. The test is harder than she expected and she’s going to need that help. But a cheat sheet might not be enough to get Dizzy out of the fix she’s in.

The story is summarized to be about Dizzy, but really there’s quite some time at the beginning of the story before Dizzy makes an appearance. The character that draws readers into the story has her own wants and needs, one of them being a rather strong mind control fetish which actually made me smile in how that was played into the overall story. This character pokes into the story at times in a voyeuristic manner which, at least for me, runs hot and cold. She’s on the edges of the story, acts as a catalyst for Dizzy’s appearance, but doesn’t really become part of the story, occasionally she’s a distraction, getting in the way of the storytelling.

Dizzy herself isn’t at all a stereotypical succubus and I enjoyed her personality, her thoughts and her struggles to deal with her flaws and those she encounters around her. Not every succubus is evil, not every succubus needs to be. Dizzy isn’t not by any means, really evil. She’s a bit clumsy, a little unsure and yes, she’s still using training wheels as a succubus, but there’s an adorable aspect to her that I liked in the story.

The thing is, overall, the story is less about Dizzy herself than it is about what Dizzy’s actions do. Dizzy tries to pass her test, we see her thoughts, her worries and at times panicking, but I didn’t feel like there was a lot of character development in her. She hasn’t changed much by the end of the work and I found that disappointing. I wanted to see her have some more belief in herself, to perhaps see something better for her future. But again the story didn’t really hold onto the focus it had on her, drifting to the couple that Dizzy is confronted with for her test.

There’s some moments of heat in that, the aspects of mind control in the work are well told, there’s a bit of a change in the couple, which worked well as it developed their characters and relationships overall. The heat in in the mind control and fantasy being played out between them, and that by itself works as a story on its own. But it doesn’t really push Dizzy’s story other than to tell of her test, how it goes and her grading as it unfolds.

There are quite a number of succubi other than Dizzy herself and in many ways they are somewhat stereotypical in how they act. I accept that Dizzy is looked down on, I understand that she’s not seen as being much of a succubi to those that are “better” than her. But they aren’t not really, and it takes some time before the reasons for that comes out. It’s actually rather sad in what that reason is and how someone that means so much to Dizzy doesn’t think that much of her, especially her hair.

There’s s bit of mind control used on Dizzy at one point and it didn’t quite work for me. The attitude of the succubus that toyed with Dizzy struck me as being counter to what she did for Dizzy. I think there’s a larger story in that, but it doesn’t develop. In the same way, the succubus teacher that administers Dizzy’s test reads odd. There’s a lot unspoken again about her and Dizzy and it’s a story left aside for the sake of what happens in the test for Dizzy and the humans she encounters.

This then brings me to the title of this work. The cheat sheet is at the core of the story, it leads Dizzy on her adventure and takes all of those around her upon it as well. It’s an interesting idea, one that I think worked well. However, the ending of the work left me a little cold. The comment made by the character which begins the story at the end made me wince a bit. It might work, it might make the character’s dreams come true. Should the author continue this work into a series about this, I really hope it won’t be as easy as the character thinks it will.

Overall I loved Dizzy as a succubus, I thought the mind control aspects were very hot and were told well. I was a bit disappointed in the slightly stereotypical aspects of the minor succubi characters, a bit sad that not more was told about Dizzy’s past, her family, and those around her. But this wasn’t the point of the work, it was really to use some succubus mind control on some unsuspecting humans and see what happens. The story is very good on that aspect, but I think it could have been more.

Four out of five pitchforks.

I really would like to know more about Dizzy, her mother, and her world. I like the idea of a pink haired succubus who isn’t stereotypically evil. I like the idea of her being a little bimboish in nature and stumbling along the way. Where I have a little problem is how the author tries to mix in what can only be described as an “interested observer” for the sake of the ending. I don’t think that needed to happen, I don’t believe that the ending really leads into what that character hopes for.

If there is a follow on to this story, I’d dearly like to see Dizzy become what all those around her think she cannot. I’d like her to be, in many ways, like the Succubi of the Realm. I think she is on the path, she just needs to be herself.

Perhaps that’s the story to be told?

 

Tera

Aug 26 2016

A Review of Seductive Wasteland by Luke Huntley

Seductive Wasteland by Luke Huntley

Seductive Wasteland by Luke Huntley

A story that does’t really contain a narrative of some sort, is lacking something. Erotica alone isn’t enough. A sequence of battles with no meaning isn’t enough. Having two characters entwined, dependant on each other, and not explaining how this happened is missing out on a lot of story. Just saying they love each other doesn’t explain why there are where they are.

Perhaps amongst all of the sex and battles, there needs to be a moment where something more comes than the surviving. There comes the living.

The work tells the story of:

A succubus warrior and her human lover work together to stay alive in the wastelands of a barbaric world. Will they find pleasure in each others arms in such a hellish land, or will the demonic creatures that roam the earth keep them apart.

The world around them is dark and evil. While they have each other, they also have the attention of those that want what they have. Defending themselves comes at a cost, but the rewards are well worth the trials they both must face.

This work is missing something, and that comes to an actual story. There’s really no explanation as to why Rydia, the succubus of the work, and Nimbus, her lover, are in the land they are in, why it is they are attacked so often, and how it became to pass they are now lovers. There’s a lot of detail about the why of things that simply isn’t told here and that means there are so many questions from the beginning that I found it difficult to follow the story as it went.

The work is a series of battles for each character with a few moments of passion for them before that is shattered and they must battle once more. There’s really no exposition about the characters, no reasons as to why those around them attach so often. More, there’s nothing told as to why, exactly, they are travelling through the lands in the first place, what their destination is or anything else.

Rydia, the succubus of the work, isn’t a stereotypical succubus, she loves, she cares and more interestingly, she gives life to her lover. She is also a warrior, quite a good one really, but why she is one never is told. More so, while some of her personality is understood from the story, really there’s no little dialogue, internal or otherwise, that her thoughts, like Nimbus, are just not explored.

Besides the lack of a story per se, the author mixes the words ‘succubus’ and ‘succubae’ throughout the work when speaking of Rydia. It needs to be one or the other, not a mixing up of the two, sometimes within the same paragraph. The battles are well described, the erotica is not really so much hot as it tries to be romantic, to tell of the lovers being in love, which sort of works, but needed to be more.

Beyond an editing, the work needs more plot, more story, more telling of why. As it reads now there is a distinct feeling that these are scraps of scenes taken from an unfinished work, connected together loosely and published. I wish the larger story was here. Sadly, it isn’t.

One and a half out of five pitchforks.

It is less a story than a loosely interconnected series of erotic scenes again moments of battle. There’s no plot to be found, the work feels like there should be, but it never appears. The author really should tell the rest of the story, the story that is suggested but doesn’t come to life as things are.

 

Tera

Aug 25 2016

Succubi Image of the Week 449

For this week’s image of a Succubus, I found something that feels very much like a portrait in a way. It is a focused work, drawing out the personality of the character, and in doing so there’s something about this art that brings all of that so strongly that, for me, it’s quite unashamedly so…

Succubus by Liehl

Succubus by Liehl

This work is called Succubus and is by an artist on DeviantArt called Liehl. You can find the original page with this art here and this artist’s page can be found here.

The work does feel very much like a portrait in how the character is posed, the expression she has, the jewelry and clothing too. There’s a certain formality here, as if she is some sort of Succubi Nobility somehow and I rather like that idea.

A wonderful expression, I think her horns and hair work together perfectly. The other thing that is interesting comes to how the work is generally in shares of grey, black and white, with but only the brooch she wears to be the single colour to be seen. In being so, that becomes the focal point of the art and that’s a neat decision by this artist to create.

Wonderful eyes, so very expressive too and they have the most interesting sheen and depth to them. Her smile is also just amazing in how it seems to be held in the moment of saying something, but not quite expressing the words themselves…

One of my favourite works of the year…

 

Tera

Aug 24 2016

Kind of a bland Devil Costume really…

Red Sequin Devil CostumeI wonder if there are moments when costume designers just toss things together and call it a day. Or, in this case, They really don’t use any imagination, slap a “devil” note on the concept and move on.

This is called the Red Sequin Devil Costume and it comes with the dress, what seems to be sort of, in a way, horns and that’s all. Shoes are not included and it sells for $45 US.

This is… bland. Really there’s no other way I can describe this. There’s nothing really seductive or sexy about it, it barely qualifies as any sort of devil costume as well.

I think the collar is far too over the top and makes this look like a cross between an ‘almost’ vampire and a ‘sort-of’ devil. It looks rather trashy, if not really cheap, and that just makes me like this even less.

There is really nothing positive in this costume, nothing to make it better, and as a whole there are a lot of other costumes I have found that are much better than this is.

I’ll give this one pitchfork out of five.

A mistake, in a lot of ways, and more so in just how ugly and cheap this looks…

 

Tera

Aug 23 2016

A Review of Drawn to Flame: A Dark Seduction by Bryan Stephens

Drawn to Flame: A Dark Seduction by Bryan Stephens

Drawn to Flame: A Dark Seduction by Bryan Stephens

A somewhat unexpected work for review today on the Tale. From the book summary I expected something far less than what appeared in the pages of this work. Perhaps that is the thing about writing a summary, if is very difficult to tell something about a story without revealing everything about it.

History matters to those that have lived long enough to know it, watch it pass by, and then have to remember all that has been before and will be again. Not even the fairest face can completely hide the deepest darkness after all. In the moment of perceived passions, memories intrude to remind of what one has done.

  • Title: Drawn to Flame: A Dark Seduction
  • Author: Bryan Stephens
  • Length: 11 Pages
  • ASIN: B01BULD6Z8
  • Publishing Date: February 15, 2016
  • This work at Amazon.com

The work tells the story of:

A business trip…an overnight stay…a stunning redhead in a bar, waiting for someone to buy her a drink and get to know her. What could possibly go wrong?

Petyr is about to find out, though, that when you thrown caution to the wind, sometimes there is hell to pay.

The night is young, but the woman in the bar that Petyr meets isn’t what she appears to be. Severin is temptation, a promise of something unforgettable. But what lurks beneath the temptation is a heart of darkness that has seen all that humanity has been, even if she isn’t human herself.

The story is told from the perspective of Severin, the main character, and in being so there is a lot of thought about her past, what happens around her and what she thinks of it all. At times she is very unemotional, almost to a point and really only in the climax of the work does she show something of a real emotion before that passes and she is as cold as stone once more.

The work isn’t clear on whether Severin is a succubus or not, but the reveal of her powers, and what she does to her prey, seems to say she is one. That said, she has an air about her of existing for far too long, being bored for the most part, and only continuing because her hunger pushes her onwards.

As the work unfolds, Severin remembers some of her conquest from her past and in doing so there’s an interesting passage through history which makes sense for where she would appears and why. This is the part of the work that held my interest because it told of Severin herself, at least as much as might be learned of her. Things are skimmed over, much of the time, and for her personally there’s really nothing told and I think there should have been.

There is very little erotica in this work, and when it does appear it is interlaced with Severin’s thoughts and considerations along the way. The erotica is lukewarm at best, but then it isn’t the core of this work, so being so really doesn’t detract from things very much.

Being set in what seems to be Germany, there are some references made in German, which gave some flavour that I liked. There wasn’t any real editing problems save for how at times the story read very dryly, even in the erotica. But the chance to tell more of Severin’s past, to expand on her flashes of commentary of that past was not used and that left me wanting, Severin is an interesting succubus and learning more about her, considering how this work was written, would have been nice to see.

Three and a half out of five pitchforks.

As interesting as the story is, the opportunity to tell something of Severin’s past, at least more than in passing, is lost and as such there is a gap in the work. So many questions left unanswered, so much to be told and never was. In this work story matters, and it wasn’t fully realized.

 

Tera

Aug 23 2016

A Review of Sweet Succubus by Delilah Devlin

Sweet Succubus by Delilah Devlin

Sweet Succubus by Delilah Devlin

From time to time older works are returned to the ownership of their creators. At that point they are given new life, to be reissued and brought out of the depths to reappear once more. Sometimes these works are rewritten a bit, the story added to or otherwise. Sometimes the work remains as it was, to be what it was meant to be in the first place.

A review today of Sweet Succubus by Delilah Devlin. This work was previously self-published by this author as She’s All That in the anthology work Moonstruck and was also released as My Sweet Succubus in 2012. This has been a work which has been languishing on my review list for some time now, being that it had vanished for a time. But as it has reappeared, it is time to have a look at what this author has created.

  • Title: Sweet Succubus
  • Author: Delilah Devlin
  • Published By: Amazon Digital Services
  • Length: 50 Pages
  • Format: eBook
  • ASIN: B01JM8Q1W6
  • Publishing Date: August 23, 2016
  • This work at Amazon.com

The work tells the story of:

Melanie Bradshaw is driven to desperation by her torrid dreams. When she finally acts on her desires, things go horribly wrong, and she witnesses the murder of an overly amorous lounge lizard–whose body disintegrates before her eyes.

Detective Moses Brown isn’t thrilled to get another “full-moon case”…until he meets the delectable Melanie, who took a walk on the wild side straight into vampire territory. Moses doesn’t know why vamps are interested in her, but until he can discover the reason, he’s going to stick to her like glue, doing his best to ignore their instant attraction.

But pretty little Melanie has designs on his body. Her hunger for sex is voracious, even downright insatiable. As the mystery surrounding her begins to unravel, keeping her safe–hell, keeping himself safe from her–presents some interesting complications…

Melanie saw something she cannot understand and reports this to the police. Encountering a detective who seems to actually take her seriously, she finds herself craving him in every way imaginable. But Melanie has a secret, it’s a dangerous one if she cannot control it or understand it, both for herself and for Moses who knows more than he’s letting on.

The work mainly focuses on the relationship that builds over the course of the story between Melanie and Moses. There’s sexual tension from the beginning which takes very little time from their first touch to the two characters being intimate with each other. Melanie seems, as a whole, like a cute girl but she hides beneath the surface another self who craves sex, devours it. But that is, of course, because she is a succubus.

It’s this part of the story that interested me, it’s also part of the story that doesn’t quite go into enough detail for my liking. There are two Melanies in this work. The human one we learn a lot about. Her wants, her thoughts, how she aches and needs. How frightened she is from what she’s seen. As the story unfolds and the truth comes out, not just about her, but the world around her, the confusion from within Melanie is very clear. But then comes the other Melanie. The one that is more of a wild animal. The one that “needs” and growls of that need repeatedly.

The transformation between Melanie’s two selves is a little difficult to follow sometimes, really not coming to clarify all of her aspects. The succubus Melanie is quite different, having wings and so forth, but also blue skin which is a rather rare thing for succubi to have in stories. As well, the mental transformation alongside the physical one allows for the succubus Melanie to be a character in her own right.

But that’s the problem. She can’t express herself well enough. She growls of need most of the time, uses her powers to sexually charge Moses and drive him, and her, into wild sex to try and sate her needs. It’s not over the top, there’s a good deal of sense to that, but, again, there’s something missing. The expression of what Melanie succubus wants is left to Melanie human to explain as best she can and that’s not a simple thing for her.

There’s the beginning of a merging of the two sides of Melanie, this starts almost from the moment that Moses appears. Melanie the human goes from shy to coy to ‘fuck my brains out’ and back again so often that it gets a little confusing. When the world is revealed, that there are vampires and so on, and that Melanie is stuck in the middle of things, that’s where something again is missing.

There are a number of characters and situations of the past that are referenced, but not delved into. As such there’s a gaps in comprehension and understanding about what’s going on. Telling of others being in conflict, even if only fleetingly to explain why things are happening, still leaves a lot to be desired.

The erotica has some lovely heat, the main characters are delicious together. Melanie’s succubus powers fascinate me in how they are described and act on others, especially Moses. The characters are strong, there’s a plot and a purpose to the story. But when the ending comes, then the questions remain, especially what happens to Moses and Melanie from that point onwards.

The singular flaw here is that. What’s happening, why it is, and what comes next. Melanie is a mystery. Saying she’s a succubus is the beginning of telling that, but it isn’t the ending. Changing who she is as her two sides being to merge is a story, but so is the internal struggle of want and need. Much is told well, but there’s gaps and that bothers me.

Three and a half out of five pitchforks.

It’s a little jarring to enter this story as there’s quite a lot of “past” which isn’t explained. As such, many of the characters do things, or are involved in events, that we simply have no reference to. That said, Melanie as a succubus interests me and I really wanted that to develop more than it did. The heat is fine, the characters have depth, but there’s just something missing in not telling the story about Melanie’s succubus self and why things are as they are.

 

Tera

Aug 22 2016

Gathering By TeraS

A bit of a reflective piece as a whole this week. Time passes; that is the way of the universe. In that comes moments that define, in many ways, who we are. They also, sometimes, allow us to gather strength from our memories, and to share them with those closest to us when we are …

 

Gathering
By TeraS

 

Time had passed in the Realm. It paused for no soul, no life, no existence—it was simply time, and, as such, it did not have an emotional attachment to the past, present, or future. Time, it could be said, had no emotion, no reasoning, no understanding of itself beyond that it was time.

However, this could not be said for those beings that existed within time itself. Their existence was defined by time, marked by it, and, in that, certain events occurred.

It had been two and a half months since the day came. Two and a half months, during which the Realm had mourned with their King and expressed their sadness to their Queen. Many had come to the Palace, their home. Others approached when the Eternals were out and about in the Realm. Some visited Tera in the Library, using the excuse of returning a book—or borrowing one—to spend a little time and ask how she was, how her Eternal was managing. The answer, as one would expect from the Queen, was a smile and a warm embrace, then she would turn the discussion onto her visitor.

For you see, Tera didn’t worry about herself. She worried about everyone else—especially her Eternal.

Some sought out Keith, but that was a bit more of a challenge. While finding Tera was never a problem, locating her Eternal required more effort. He claimed that he didn’t look for the spotlight, didn’t feel the need to be overshadowing his Eternal, that he was happy being there for her, whenever needed, always wanted. This was for certain and he never doubted that for an instant.

But it was also true that he was glad to avoid the attention. So he continued as always, a steady hand upon the Realm, guiding when needed, helping always. He might be in a coffee shop, or visiting a construction site. Occasionally he might be found working with his tools on some sort of device, or using something called a camera. But he wasn’t easy to find. Yet, wherever he was found, it was much the same as it was with his Eternal. The questions would come, he would answer kindly, and then he would ask how the other was, what the visitor might need.

Time could never change that. But time did change something else, something that left an obvious gap in both of their lives.

Into this odd situation came Cassiopeia, Tera’s dearest friend and Keith’s constant tease. Or at least she had been in the time before. Now, she wasn’t so sure.

She had appeared on the day things changed, to offer comfort. She had cried with them both, held each and wept with them. She felt their loss, their grief. She wished, more than anything she’d ever wanted before, to make things right somehow for them. Since then, Cassie had never been far away, lending a hand, or a tail, when needed … or not, for that matter. She wasn’t used to being “responsible” in times like this; she’d rather have her fun, for that was what she was best at. It amazed her how much her dearly-loved friends had to deal with: the vast amount of paper, discussions, interactions and issues that came towards them. She was more amazed—not surprised, mind you, merely amazed—at the calmness the Rulers of the Realm held throughout. She never saw either raise a voice, say a bad word. It wasn’t a surprise; they had always been that way, after all.

A short time after the day, the Eternals had returned to the human realm to undertake something they called a “memorial.” Cassie understood the concept, though in the Realm it was quite a different thing than in the mortal world. They had been clear that this was needed and it would be fine.

The flamboyant silver tail decided she wanted to understand this gathering and be a part of it. She was shocked to find how muted the colours were, how sad the event was. She fully had intended upon appearing in her finest silver dress, the one that really showed off her tail—and by that she was referring to her shapely curves, of course … but she’d never tell her tail that. Instead, black was the colour, which didn’t make a lot of sense. Keep in mind that colours have specific meanings to succubi, and this gathering didn’t have a lick of dominance to it, at least that Cassie could tell.

But there was black everywhere, the sadness was plain to see, and so, against her nature, Cassie … compromised. She had worn black … well, except for that silver metallic band she’d used to put her hair into a ponytail. She couldn’t quite let everything go after all, but seeing Tera looking human, being human … that told her everything she needed to know.

She had found a place where she could watch her friends, hear what was being said, and lose herself among the numbers of souls who came to offer their sympathy. She didn’t interfere, didn’t get in the way of what happened. She just watched and learned about something she’d never encountered before.

Some gatherings weren’t fun. They weren’t passionate, they weren’t joyful. There was a moment when—quite sadly, she thought—there couldn’t be much laughter. Being part of this gathering … hurt. That feeling remained with her for the next two months. She didn’t express it to anyone, thinking that this was something she could deal with herself. She had avoided the Queen and King, not wanting to add a concern to their lives. She even went so far as to not even try to divert Keith’s attention, not once. This, of course, was noticed. Cassie not trying something on Keith to get his attention, or, more specifically, get him into one of the many compromising positions Cassie had dreamed up, was a clear indication that something was very seriously wrong.

Then, one Saturday morning, Cassie woke to find a note on her nightstand: “Please meet me at noon, over at the fence by Tera’s house in the human realm.”

The silver-tail was puzzled, but she thought she knew who might be behind this. Sure enough, as she stepped through the portal just before lunchtime, she saw the human whom Tera called her heart, standing there in a simple suit with an odd sort of a collar around his neck. Cassie knew all about collars, but this one was odd—white, and made of starched cloth. What kind of ownership could this represent?

“Hello, Cassie,” the graying, bespectacled man said. I am just on my way to a … gathering … not quite like the “memorial” you came to before. And I feel like I need a … date.” There was a twinkle in his eye as he offered his arm.

Cassie demurred for a moment: “I don’t think I feel much like dating, and I’m not sure you would survive me.”

“Well, you might be amazed at what I can survive. But, I promise, this isn’t that kind of a date.” He nodded across the yard towards their friends’ house, where there was quite a group in the yard. This wasn’t like that first one she had been to. There was laughter, a small group of souls chatting, with the hosts near the center. Cassie noticed that Tera was wearing red, as was Keith, and they were both smiling. Looking into the distance, she saw every colour imaginable among the souls who were gathered together.

Cassie was confused, but her escort smiled, and, after bampfing herself into the silver dress she had decided against some weeks ago, she took his arm. He led her across the yard, reassuring her as they went: “I just think the three of you need a bit of a push to what comes next.” They slipped quietly behind their mutual friends, and he gave Keith a warm tap on the shoulder, then leaned in and kissed Tera’s cheek, and finally, having kissed Cassie in the same way, slipped his “date” between the two Eternals, and then quietly slipped away, answering an uncle’s beckoning challenge to argue about something called “baseball.”

In what seemed to her like a whirlwind, Cassie was introduced, brought into the gathering with all its joy. Being part of this gathering was … fun. She smiled at the stories told about the soul that was … not really missing, now that she thought about it. Her spirit was there, seen in every soul around her. The warmth, the care, the love shared was so open and joyfully so.

This wasn’t sad like the first gathering. It was something closer, something more meaningful. It was in the midst of this that Cassie realized what it was. Something that she had known for so long was held within her own soul …

Family.

That connection she had with Keith and Tera, but it wasn’t just them. With each hello, each hug and smile, Cassie felt that same connection with everyone there, a telling echo in each voice, each story, each moment. It was something that had been merely flickering within the Realm for a time, but now brought back to flame, to burn brightly in those that held that flame, carried with promise and purpose …

For always.

Upon returning to the Realm, things started to get better.

Tera’s tail was a bit perkier, her bemused smile coming back in all of its mind-melting seductiveness. Keith was more active, more part of the Realm than he had been in some time. He smiled again, and that chuckle Tera loved started to be heard once more.

And Cassie? The silver-tailed seductress was back. Her first escapade featured Keith finding himself trapped with her in his photographic darkroom. Afterwards, Keith had a new definition for ‘exposure’ that didn’t have anything to do with taking a picture.

Gathering together was, at its heart, the thing that mattered the most, no matter the when, why or how. The memories shared and made in those moments made every encounter a gathering, and every gathering worthwhile.

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