Jul 14 2013

A Review of Bound by The Daughters of Lilith by J. Anthony Towner

Bound by The Daughters of Lilith by J. Anthony Towner

Bound by The Daughters of Lilith by J. Anthony Towner

I decided to take a chance on a book that clearly, and I mean, clearly, had some BDSM themes in it. I took that chance because there was the promise of some Succubi in the story… I have to say that it wasn’t anything close to what I hoped for however…

  • Title: Bound by The Daughters of Lilith
  • Author: J. Anthony Towner
  • Publishing Date: August 1, 2012
  • Length: 15 Pages
  • ASIN: B008RSCN0C
  • This work at Amazon.com

The story tells of:

Ever wondered what it would be like to have sex with a succubus? Josh didn’t know what he was getting into. His bachelor party was canned by his fiance and Josh was a little lost. His buddies come along and set him up the party of his life, not physically but spiritually. Join Josh at his side to experience the most erotic BDSM experience of his life.

Josh is getting married, his fiancé doesn’t like the idea of a stag party because she wants him to remain true to her, so his friend tells him he knows someone that can summon a Succubus for him and he can have a good time in his dreams and she’ll never know.

As a story idea, that actually isn’t a bad one, the problem here is the telling of the story in more ways than one. The story tries to be a hot flash, but it really doesn’t get to be one. There are a lot of spelling errors, a lot of moments where the speech seems very rote, the grammar is very ugly sometimes as well.

Then we come to the erotic moments themselves and… well they aren’t. I didn’t feel any heat in the story, I didn’t see any of the Succubi being Succubi. No horns or tails or anything that really made them Succubi except for them appearing in dreams. I didn’t care for any of them either, they were written as stereotypical sex puppets for the most part with a dash of cruelty so that some BDSM could appear.

But BDSM isn’t simply pain or humiliation or similar things, but in this story that seems to be the focus of the story. So for me personally, it just didn’t do anything for me and I don’t believe that it would for those that like BDSM stories.

I also have problems with the ending of the story that feels wrong. I won’t spoil it, but, really, it just makes the entire story to that point meaningless and that’s a shame. It could have been much better and more interesting if there was some character development, some story telling, but most of all, some care taken to fix all of the errors in this work before it was published.

One pitchfork out of five.

Needs a huge amount of editing and spell checking. Not that hot for me personally either for all of the errors in it. So, honestly, nothing to see here if you are looking for Succubi…

 

Tera

Jul 13 2013

A Lilith Aensland Cosplayers YouTube

One thing I have noticed on YouTube is that someone puts a YouTube of Cosplayers up and in a short period of time they are removed for various reasons… That bothers me because some of the best works of Morrigan Aensland or Lilith Aensland disappear and that’s a real shame…

So, here’s another one I found and I hope it still is up when it appears on the Tale…

And if you cannot watch the video on the Tale:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9M8TCQGEX5U

It’s difficult to choose just one Cosplayer as my favourite, so I won’t, but do watch the video and see which is your fav…

Regardless of which that may be, I send my compliments to all of the cosplayers for the love that they have placed into each of their creations…

 

Tera

Jul 12 2013

A Review of the Fantasies Series by Dark Ones

There is a series on Amazon called the Succubus Fantasies and as well the Incubus Fantasies. It is a very short three book read and this week I will review the three works here in a single post on the Tale.

There is one overriding thought that I have with regards to the works in this series and that is they are far too short for one, and the authors need to try and give their writing a bit more editing for in doing so they would really bring out what is an interesting series idea…

Luna: Succubus Fantasies by Dark Ones

Luna: Succubus Fantasies by Dark Ones

  • Title: Luna: Succubus Fantasies
  • Author: Dark Ones
  • Publishing Date: January 7, 2012
  • Length: 2,500 Words
  • This work at Amazon.com

This work is about:

Luna is a succubus who must fulfill the monthly mission her heat cycle demands. While on the hunt, Luna meets a handsome stranger who succumbs to her sexy succubi ways. As they mate, Luna is not surprised to see they are spied upon by an eager young couple. Will a handsome police officer spoil the group’s fun with his discovery of them or will Luna be able to fulfill her mission to the patient Incubus that awaits her?

I think that the saddest part of this story to me was the summary at the beginning which told of what Succubi are and do, and what Incubi are and do in this series. The part that I sighed over was that the numbers of both Succubi and Incubi are diminishing over time and that, for the most part, children of the Succubi die before they are born.

Just a really sad way to start a story I thought.

Luna is very much the seductress Succubus, but we see no horns or tail when she is described. But otherwise, she is every bit a Succubus with the powers to match. She uses them to entrap several men and one woman in a tryst in the woods, commands them with her powers to perform all sorts of sex with her and at her direction, and then collects from the men what she desires.

The story overall is a hot flash with the barest hint of a storyline to it. However the story is pushed aside for the sex which sometimes has odd things happen in the middle of things. There are a few dislocated and disjointed moments as well, especially at the conclusion of the story which didn’t make a lot of sense.

As well, there were several points in the sex scenes where the action was… off. It didn’t ring true to me and that was mainly because I don’t think it is possible to have a conversation, or even speak a word, when Luna was having her way with the men or the woman in this story.

I would have liked to see this be a longer story, I would have liked to know more about Luna and her world, and I hoped that the next work in the series would manage that.

Three out of five pitchforks.

Wasn’t that interested in the end, wanted more story and less sex but didn’t.

 

 

Leah: Succubus Fantasies by Dark Ones

Leah: Succubus Fantasies by Dark Ones

  • Title: Leah: Succubus Fantasies
  • Author: Dark Ones
  • Publishing Date: January 8, 2012
  • Length: 2,800 Words
  • This work at Amazon.com

This work is of:

Leah’s obsession with sucking cock has lasted for several millennia, yet she has become a bit jaded when it comes to sex. It seems there is nothing new under the sun to keep her from being bored. A chance encounter with someone totally unexpected brings some of the joy back!

This story was somewhat different from the first in two important ways. First, Leah, the Succubus of this story, had a history and we are told so very much about it. It has always struck me that a Succubus had to e involved with the Kama Sutra, and in this story, Luna is that Succubus. Secondly, while the point of this story is the sex, there is a lot of story wrapped around those moments which made this work more enjoyable to me.

The one thing that I didn’t really like was the kind of man that Leah prays upon. While it is a part of her character and it gives her a different personality and desire than Luna in the first book, the place she feeds in and the men she takes are… not what I personally enjoy reading.

Once the story gets past that part, it is the last man Leah meets that really interested me. It reveals a side of her that I didn’t expect she had within her. Within here is a a little sliver of mercy and kindness that I never thought she would possess.

While the overall story was better, the presentation of the story needs some polishing much like the first book does. The tense in the story shifts, the tone of the writing is uneven, and the transitions between moments are unclear sometimes.

Again, this is a book that puts more in the sex than the story and that isn’t what I look for.

Three out of five pitchforks.

Longer please and more story and this would be something much better.

 

 

Victor: Incubus Fantasies by Dark Ones

Victor: Incubus Fantasies by Dark Ones

  • Title: Victor: Incubus Fantasies
  • Author: Dark Ones
  • Publishing Date: January 10, 2012
  • Length: 2,800 Words
  • This work at Amazon.com

This work is of:

Victor is an Incubus, and he is subject to the same driven desire as the Succubi. Once a month he is driven to take the essence of mortal men, mixing it with the sperm generated by his own body. He then seeks a mortal woman to impregnate. Between his missions he has come to seek a bit of privacy from the greedy hands and mouths of the beautiful mortal women he has mated with. Will a damsel in distress be the woman he finally longs for? A woman who can hold his attentions with her own special feminine power?

The final work in this series. Victor is an Incubus, very handsome of course, he is an Incubus. The opening of the story tells of his wotld, his purpose, and some of the problems that being an Incubus brings him. The most difficult being that any human woman that he spends too much time with can become his slave.

He is attracted to Jan, a waitress at a restaurant that he goes to regularly, and through the course of this story he goes back to her place and the two of them wind up in each other’s arms. Jan is plain and is shocked by this as all of the other younger waitresses have been throwing themselves at and he just ignored them all.

Victor has no horns or tail like the Succubi in the earlier stories. He does have powers like their in that he can use mind control and other means to have what he desires. What makes this story different than the other works in this series is that Victor cares about Jen which isn’t really what is seen in the other stories if at all.

It is a more complete story as well. There is background to both of them, there is a point to the story, a path through it, and at the end a closure that made sense and allowed for more if the author ever continued the story series.

There are still writing issues however. One of the most odd is when Victor and Jen are confronted by a gang and then run away. What’s odd is that the story continues and then we move back to the gang for two sentences before returning to Victor and Jan once more.

I don’t believe that added anything to the story. As well, the writing style again is very rough and in the end I have to wonder if any of these stories had a editor take a pass over them all.

Three and a half pitchforks out of five.

It is the best of the three works, it isn’t perfect but it moved a lot closer to being so.

 

 

Overall, the three works are interesting and as a collected book I think would have been better. Linking the three stories together somehow also would have made for something better overall as well. But this author needs an editor to make their work better than it is.

A story is not sex alone.

This is something to be kept in mind always…

 

Tera

Jul 11 2013

Succubi Image of the Week 288

I really like cute Succubi. I’m not sure sometimes why I do like a particular one, but when I find one that I really like, then she’s the one featured on the Tale…

Annalea by Aelannacessara

Annalea by Aelannacessara

This is the Succubus persona of Annalea as created by Aelannacessara. You can click on the image here for a larger version if you’d like, you can find the original page with this art here on DeviantArt as well.

There is also a more recent piece of art of Annalea that I found by this artist as well that is an interesting contrast of where she has gone in the time she has existed…

Annalea by Aelannacessara

Annalea by Aelannacessara

And you can find the original page with this art here on DeviantArt as well. It’s a bit difficult for me to really decide on which of this two works I like better. I do like the first work perhaps a bit more because it was the first one that I saw. There’s just this lovely smile she has that really fascinates me so very much… Her hair is perfect i think as are her horns and tail. They are all just the right look and style for her body shape and that just makes her more cute.

Lovely art, and there is so much more on their page that is just as wonderful…

 

Tera

Jul 10 2013

This Succubus costume doesn’t reveal that much does it?

I’ve looked at a lot of costumes here on the Tale. A lot of the time the revealing part of them is the rather high hemlines… Well, someone decided that they needed to add a plunging neckline as well… I can understand that, but all the way to the navel?

Devil Mini Dress

This is called the Devil Mini Dress, and it comes with the black mini dress with a red sequin flame design, a pair of devil horns, and a pitchfork.

No shoes, or in the case of the image here, boots, or other accessories are included, nor is a tail.

It originally sold for $99.95, but can be found on special for as low as $$84.95…

Well, it isn’t completely horrid really… However once again they provide a lousy pitchfork and more importantly, the horns do not match at all with the outfit. Getting past the accessories, the flame pattern isn’t a complete mess, though I have to wonder if just removing the pattern completely wouldn’t make this better looking?

Now for some people, the very, very low cut top will look really nice, but I have to wonder if the only reason that costume has such a low cut is for reasons other than for women to think about buying this. Personally, I don’t like it, I really never have liked deeply plunging necklines like this, and I think that if it was about half as deep and still used the lacing, that would really look so much better.

Still, I have to rate this costume as it is, and not what I want it to be.

As such I can give it only one pitchfork out of five.

I think there are better ones than this, it isn’t the worst, but it could be a lot better than it is.

I hope to find one of those soon again…

 

Tera

Jul 09 2013

Desires 85

If not of the pleasures, than the understanding of what each holds within them…

________________

Desires – Beginnings

By BStyles and Tera S

Part Twenty-One

 

Her soft moans made his ears heat up as well, ’til it seemed most of the blood in his body was being routed to his face – as well as other regions. A soft exhalation of breath sighed out as his hands left that strangely textured length of tail, stroking over the smooth, soft curves of her naked rear end. “Oh, wow….” he murmured.

His eyes met hers for a moment more. He was hesitant, to be sure. Like a schoolboy with a crush, or perhaps a man unsure if he is experiencing a dream or reality. It seemed, however, something affixed itself in his mind now, assured him in some way. One arm rose up around her waist, drawing her in close. She was just so beautiful. “Tera…”

Martin tightened his embrace some, inclining his head to kiss this vision in his arms. He felt the warmth of her body pressed against him once more, and shuddered a little with the sensation. With his arms around her waist, his wings doubled the intimacy of the moment by encircling the two of them, the soft weight of his feathery appendages tickling over her shoulders and neck in a manner considered close to playful.


_______________

I like playful… It’s always so much fun…

 

 

Tera

Jul 08 2013

Storm Clouds 198 – An ongoing Succubi Story

This is the continuing story of the Succubi called Storm Clouds…

If you want to read previous chapters, please click here…

Trying more for Chapter 32 this week…

_______________________

Storm Clouds 198

Chapter 29

By TeraS

The Dark was not omniscient. It was intelligent: It schemed and planned, It moved pieces around a board of its own choosing … most of the time. However, the one whom it battled against regularly knew how to make it even less connected to its plans. When that one had destroyed Its view of the only piece that mattered, there was nothing to be done except what It had done.

It had taken control of a pawn. There was no choice in this; but in doing so It isolated itself from all of its other pawns. It was like having cotton in your ears and dark glasses on. You might have heard something, but not clearly. You might have seen something, but not know what it was perfectly.

This was, for It, intolerable.

But what was more intolerable was that It could not simply be where It wanted because It needed this pawn to gain access to the place, to form a new eye, and to have again what it needed most of all: information.

The accursed of the Realm, they understood that more than any other beings, and that was their advantage, an advantage that the Dark wanted for itself. That was Its purpose behind all that had led to this point: to have what they knew, and to be able to use it.

This was the thing that It could not understand. They had to know … everything. This was the worrisome thing, for the question was what they knew about It most of all. What weakness could they use against It? Could they … end It? For one of the few times in eons, It felt something that could be described as being fear, although It would dismiss that as being part of the pawn It held at the moment and not itself. If It was omniscient, or even more than minimally self-aware, It might have realized its folly … perhaps.

The travel took, according to the pawn’s perception, well over an hour, but Its prize had to be in a place where they would not easily find it. The small, out-of-the-way trailer park, along with the one lodging of the pawn that was in it, surrounded by misfortune, grief, and helplessness, masked Its prize and protected it.

The Dark was comforted by all of the dark emotions that surrounded this place, gaining some power from it and giving a fraction of it to Its pawn. This was the agreement: the pawn wanted power; the Dark was willing to give it … for a price.

The Dark was still amused by how little the pawn understood about the agreement. Eventually, It would see that the pawn understood fully. For now, It needed him, and so it fulfilled what he desired without actually giving more than what he could have gotten on his own. Humans were, It well knew, so easily distracted.

The pawn removed the traps, broke the sigils, and lastly turned the key it held to open the door and reveal the space where the prize was. And, in doing so, it failed completely to notice the shadow that had followed It from the moment It had taken over Its pawn …

From within the shadow that fell across a nearby tree, a purple hand with pink nails rested itself against the bark. For a few moments one finger tapped against the bark as if the owner of that hand was considering something, or more accurately, planning something.

Considering who this was, it wasn’t surprising that she was here and watching It carefully. The tapping stopped as she felt the viewing portal begin to form and waited patiently for would happen next.

There was a snap of energy that only those of magical ability would ever notice and then there came a rumble as the trailer itself vibrated, then stopped. Then the curse came from within. It never should have left the door open really; It was becoming sloppy and, in that, more dangerous. Then she watched as Its pawn was thrown from the trailer and the door slammed behind him as he lay stunned on the grass.

She considered removing the pawn from the field, to stick another pin into It’s hide and make It more angry than before. But she had a use for him, as well, if not yet, so she left him alone and continued to watch from where she was safely hidden. The problem was that she didn’t know exactly what was going on within the trailer, and that stayed her hand.

Within the trailer, the Dark was pleased that the tail was still in its jar, trapped, and held from her kin. It lifted the jar from the floor and looked inside, shaking the jar slightly before gloating. “There you are, still safe and secure. You have no hope except to give in to me. Do so, and I’ll end your pain. What hold does your precious Realm have on you now?”

The Dark finished ranting and then the tail in the jar … moved. The tip rose out of the coils of itself like the head of a snake. It pushed against the lid just once before the heart shaped tip turned to look at the one holding it. A moment passed, as if it was not looking at the Dark, but through it. Then a tired woman’s voice answered it, “No. I will not give you what you want. You have done everything save end my existence. Do so, if you dare.”

The tip turned away, almost dismissively, and then sunk back out of sight, seemingly having said its peace and finished with It.

“What if I gave you new life?”

A pause, then the answer: “I know your tricks and your boons are nothing but traps.”

“Then I’ll find an innocent and force you to join with them.”

“Please do try.”

The Dark paused at that. The tone was not dismissive, but was instead challenging. It understood how Tails were joined, or It thought It did; the information was so tightly guarded that only hints and theories were really known outside of their world.

“You are not Tera. You cannot trick me.”

“No. I’m not. But I am of her Daughters. Do your worst, if you dare.”

“Why not turn to me, to where you came from?”

The laugh this time was certain and strong. “You never made us. You only wish you did.”

The Dark shook the jar once violently and then set it back on the floor: “You will, all of your kind, bow to me.”

The tail answered: “Better luck next time. Now go away and leave me be.”

Everything the tail did and said was exactly how every one of their kind had responded to It in the past. Denial, resistance, and then they just turned away from It because they could. But this tail couldn’t. It had trapped it, imprisoned it, and It held all of the cards in this case. But still It was denied, refused, and, more angering of all, laughed at for Its efforts.

The Dark turned It’s efforts back to making the viewing portal again, for some reason it didn’t form the first time, and so It focused itself on making it again. Again it formed and then collapsed. Twice more It tried, and then the portal formed in the far corner of the space the tail was held in. As the place was unprotected now, It moved towards It’s own place in the darkness to confirm all was well before commanding the pawn to again protect the place. It gave the tail one more look and then swirled away into nothingness.

And then the Dark made a mistake. It left the door wide open and unprotected. In the silence that came after It left, there was the sound of something running through the grass outside … and then it stopped. Then a small, grey calico cat peered inside the trailer, as if checking out the place.

When the cat saw the jar with the tail in it, its eyes narrowed and then it leaped inside. It took but a few seconds to rush to the space under the viewing portal, scratch three times on the floor there, and then flee outside once more. As the cat ran back outside the pawn began to stir. The cat saw this and, before the pawn regained all of his senses, darted into the shadow of the tree, where a pair of purple hands caught and then pulled the cat out of sight.

Before the pawn could gather his mind and sense for her being there, she vanished, taking the cat with her. She promised a favor for help and this she would do … unlike a certain arrogant being of darkness.

It had pawns. She had friends. Something the Dark would never be able to understand …

The Dark, in the meantime had returned to its lair, the remnants of what once had been it’s means of watching its plans unfold. It would take time, much time, to repair the damage, and there was no doubt that she was planning something. The destruction she had left in her wake was not important in the grand scheme of things, however. All that mattered was that one tail It held. Losing the view of It’s pawns was less important, after all; pawns could be replaced, if need be. They were nothing compared to the prize It wanted … no, needed.

It regarded the mirror, and the tail sitting there, with some satisfaction. This one piece of the plan could not be allowed to be free to return to her kind. It knew well that, should what it had done come to be known … the repercussions would be universe shaking.

At least, that was It’s plan.

It was very good at building traps, and to trap Tera and her kind would be the pinnacle of It’s work. To have them all in It’s control would feed the Dark for eons to come. So, It had been planning and scheming for eons before this, looking for a means to enter their Realm, to influence, to take everything apart from within. But every time It tried, something stopped it at the edge. No matter how it tried, whether by possessing, inhabiting, or means even darker, nothing it tried allowed It to pass through. Why could others enter and not It? What held It at bay, and how? This was the question that needed to be resolved, regardless of the cost.

The cost had been high. It seemed as if it would be even more so. But the rewards where tempting and many, and so it continued on it’s path towards …

It’s thoughts were stopped by a partial image in one of the broken mirrors. The image was unclear but it appeared as if one of Tera’s had been in It’s grasp and then tried to flee. It watched as they and … some other being … had been killed by It’s protections.

The Dark would have to punish some of Its pawns, but that was acceptable to have caused Tera more grief at the loss of another of her kind. Perhaps enough that, taunting her or others of her kind, would make it easier for It’s plans to come to fruition.

It returned back to the pawn near the tail and had it set the traps back into place, giving it a measure of power for doing so. It needed this one for a time longer, not much more, but long enough to be sure that this went correctly.

Once the pawn was finished, the Dark moved to leave—It had others to teach how wrong they were not to obey It’s wishes—but paused a moment. If It had been human, It might have explained that it felt as if someone had walked on Its grave. Instead, It felt … uneasy. It scanned the place, looking for a reason to do so, but found nothing. Dismissing it as being echoes of the pawn It had possessed, It vanished.

It had two pawns to deal with, and so It did.

 

 

Storm Clouds

Chapter 30

By TeraS

“Where the hell are we?”

The frustration in Tom’s voice was very evident for two reasons: one was that Nina hadn’t told him what she was going to do, and the other was … she blindfolded him, again not telling him she was going to.

“You’re safe, Tom.”

Tom considered that. On the one hand he wasn’t crushed by a window washer platform, so there was that point for her. He was, however, sitting flat on his ass, didn’t have a clue where he was, and wasn’t happy about it. “This has to be a definition of the word that I haven’t been acquainted with before.”

He could hear the smirk in her voice, “What? You don’t like learning new things?”

“I have issues with not being able to know what the heck is going on, Nina.”

He felt a hand—he assumed it was Nina’s—on his arm, “I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version: you are in a place where, if you could see, it would probably break your mind, and I don’t want to have to explain that to Camilla … or Tera, for that matter.”

“I’m not that fragile.”

She laughed, “Maybe. And maybe you need to trust me like you do Camilla.”

He thought about that, only for a moment, “She’s …”

“… proved herself to you. Yes, I got that. I just saved your bacon … and eggs … and hash browns … so how about you give me the benefit of the doubt and …”

The break in Nina’s rant was disturbing

Tom didn’t like it, “And what?”

Then Nina, more seriously than any time Tom had heard her before, said, “Tom, be quiet and don’t say anything no matter what happens.”

The grip that Nina had on his arm tightened, as if she had seen something that was a threat. Tom began to move his hand to the blindfold to remove it, but he felt what seemed like Nina’s hand, or tail, or something, bat his hand away and she hissed “Shhh!”

Then things got … weird.

There was a … presence. Tom couldn’t see it, didn’t know what it was, but there was suddenly someone … or something … else nearby. Nina’s grasp relented and she seemed almost overwhelmed when she spoke …

“I’m sorry. I know he’s not supposed to be here. I didn’t have anywhere else to go that I could think of.” Tom listened for an answer trying to figure out who was there, but he didn’t hear a single word spoken by anyone other than Nina. “He can’t see where he is. He won’t be able to tell anyone.”

The presence came close. Almost touched Tom, but he didn’t flinch from whatever it was … whoever it was. There was light, or he thought there was, around him, around them … and he wasn’t afraid of it. He should have been; there could have been a threat. But it didn’t feel like it. It could have been dangerous, but that little voice in the back of his head that told him to duck before something bad happened … didn’t.

“No, he isn’t. I mean … he could be … Couldn’t he?”

Tom was trying to figure out what that meant when he felt something brush against his cheek and a voice echoed in his mind softly, “I’ll see you again, Thomas.” He heard Nina gasp—again he wasn’t sure why—followed by a whisper of, “I promise … always.”

Then the presence was gone and Nina spoke with an odd tremor in her voice, “That’s never happened before.”

Tom didn’t say anything—he wasn’t sure he could—so he did the next best thing. He pointed at his lips and then turned his head towards Nina’s voice and starting mouthing words.

Nina seemed sad, “Sorry, Tom. You can talk. They’re gone.”

“Who … or what, was that?”

“Can’t say right now. Not allowed to.”

“Is this a thing with your kind, Nina? Riddles and hints? Not giving out information?”

“You aren’t supposed to know. Only our kind does and it’s something we don’t talk about.”

“Family secret?”

Nina actually laughed, “Oh, it’s a big one. Even bigger than Tera’s age. Don’t ask because I won’t be telling that, either.”

“So, now what?”

“Now we’re continuing on, and then you can take off that blindfold.”

Tom didn’t know what to make of that, either, and then be felt his stomach lurch and twist just like it did when he passed into what Camilla called their Realm before a warm breeze blew through his hair and he heard the sound of birds around him.

“Okay. We’re home now, Tom. You can take it off.”

Tom removed the blindfold and found himself standing in a well maintained courtyard, the grass trimmed to within an inch of its life, the flowers in their beds in precise rows, and not one leaf from one tree falling from a branch.

“Nice gardening. Who’s place is this?”

“Mine. Haven’t been home … for a while.”

Tom considered her as he stuffed the blindfold in a pocket, “Don’t come home much?”

Nina was looking at a building: a simple side-split home in orange brick with a dark brown wood door in front, the door itself oddly marked with what looked to be a symbol that reminded him of the shape … and color … of Nina’s tail.

“Not since I died. Want to come in?”

Tom didn’t know how to answer that and, when he didn’t, Nina just took his hand and pulled him towards the front door.

“Remember I said that I’m a tail? We need to talk about that, I don’t have a lot of time left to do so, and you’ll need to know some stuff when Camilla comes back.” She took hold of the doorknob and, as she turned it, added, “And you can never, no matter what, tell anyone about this. Or I’ll kill you, Tom.”

In spite of his confusion, Tom didn’t doubt she would.

Tom found himself looking at a home that hadn’t been lived in for a long time. Little motes of dust floated in the sunbeams that came through the windows. The light revealed protective sheets covering furniture, the true forms shielded both from dirt and from prying eyes.

This actually made Tom think about Nina more than anything else. All Tom knew was that she was part of Camilla, but he really didn’t know anything else about her. Tom didn’t like mysteries, and here was one of the most complicated ones he had ever seen.

Nina didn’t say anything for some time once they entered the house. Tom watched as she seemed to be transfixed by the stairs that led to the second floor, and by a particular chair in the sitting room next to the door they came in through. Tom glanced around, looking for some sense of who lived here, but, where there should have been pictures, all that remained were nails in the walls and the space here and there on a table where it was obvious a picture should be, but wasn’t.

When Nina just didn’t say a word as she moved from place to place, Tom asked quietly, “How long haven’t you been home Nina?”

She shook herself before answering, “Oh, at least a few centuries, probably longer. Time really means very little to me anymore.”

Tom was going to make a flippant comment, but stopped as Nina pulled a black sheet from a sofa sitting next to the bay windows of the sitting room. She dropped the sheet to the floor and then turned to Tom, “You might as well sit down, Tom.”

He shook his head, “Ladies first. You can have that end, I’ll take this one.”

“Chivalry, Tom?”

He watched her settle in, her legs drawn underneath her and then took the other end of the sofa and sat facing her, “Manners, sure; one of my better points.”

Nina chuckled at that. Tom was pleased that she did. What followed next wasn’t as amusing …

“I think I’ll start by asking what you know about the succubus myth.”

“They take people’s lives, and souls. They are evil. Those are the highlights.”

“I’m a succubus. Or was, once.”

Tom frowned, “You’ve killed, then.”

Nina didn’t look pleased with herself, “Yes. Many times. I’ve done things that are awful, horrible, and evil.”

Tom just looked at her, saying nothing, and, when he didn’t, Nina continued to talk, her hands in her lap with her looking at them and not Tom as she did so. “I cannot make up for all of the things I have done, Tom. I know that I can’t. I can’t bring them back, I can’t do anything to make the past not happen.”

Again, not a word from Tom; just his eyes on her; nothing more.

“I exist as I do now to atone for what I did. I am a reminder to Camilla that … if she isn’t aware of what she does … she’ll …” Nina’s voice trailed off, the rest of the sentence leaving Tom never sure of what she said, if she said anything.

“Camilla doesn’t strike me as the kind to do that. Neither do you. You’re a pain-in-the-ass, Nina, no doubt …”

Nina looked at him and smiled, “Thanks. I’ve had a long time to perfect that.”

“… but stop the self pity, will you?”

The shock on Nina’s face was very plain to see.

“It doesn’t suit you and you are tougher than that. Don’t sugar coat it for me; if you want to dump on me, then do it. Otherwise, we’re playing a game, Nina, and, frankly, neither one of us has the time for it.”

Nina nodded, then stood up and walked out of the room leaving Tom alone for a few minutes before she returned carrying a picture frame. “Here.”

Tom looked at it while Nina settled back in and talked, “That’s me. The real me, or at least the me that existed when I was here. To be honest, I’ve forgotten what I look like. I think that’s part of being a Tail. You lose who you were for who you are joined with.”

Tom looked at the picture, then at Nina before setting it face down on the sofa: “Let me see you.”

“What do you mean?”

“The myths say you can look like anyone. Is that true?”

“Yes.”

“Then let me see you: the real you.”

“Tom, I can’t do that.”

“Why? Are you scared, or is it something else?”

“My life is done, Tom.”

“Doesn’t seem to be from my point of view. I can talk to you, so either you are a figment of my imagination or you are here. Which is it?”

“It’s complicated.”

“You keep saying that. Explain it to me as Nina, not as Nina in Camilla’s body.”

“I … can’t.”

“No, you don’t want to. There’s a difference. Look, you said you are running out of time. Just do it, Nina. Camilla won’t mind.”

“How do you know?”

“Easy. She’s not the kind to hold a grudge.”

“She will, Tom.”

“Then I’ll explain it to her.”

Tom picked up the picture frame and handed to Nina, “Show me who you really are.”

 

 

Storm Clouds

Chapter 31

By TeraS

 

“Looking for Mister Right. Are you he?”

The question wasn’t one that John had expected. To be honest, he didn’t expect her to be with things enough to be able to ask anything at all. Normally, there would be screaming or yelling, tears, pain …

… and that’s when the pain pushed through the adrenaline and he gasped loudly in surprise: “This isn’t the time for a date, lady.”

She squirmed beside him—whether she was trying to get out from under the rubble or not he wasn’t sure—“Stop … moving.”

The tone, even through the pain, was firm, and Jane stopped before pleading, “I … want … OUT!” Jane had one secret that he hadn’t shared with anyone save her sister: she was very claustrophobic. The fear that came with being crushed into such a small space made her feel as if all of the weight of all of the rubble was on top of her … she was starting to find it hard to breathe …

“Nowhere to go. We’re both stuck here until they dig us out or something worse happens.”

Her laugh was raspy. “You are such an optimist, aren’t you?”

His answer was not, however: “I’m optimistic that they might not have to amputate my leg.”

Jane had forgotten that this was all in John’s memories and that she was trying to help him. For an instant, she began to change, so she could use her power to simply bampf the two of them out from under the wreckage and to safety. Then she could heal John’s leg and …

… and completely mess everything up. She had to stay, had to allow his memories to move forward into the space the Dark had taken.

She hoped that she could do that.

“They won’t have to.”

“How do you know?”

“You seem like a cane kind of guy to me.”

He did, at least, chuckle a little bit at that: “My old man voice sucks.”

Jane managed to turn her head enough to look at him, or at least look at where the sound of his voice was: “I’m … Jane.”

There. It was done. He would know her name and this moment would connect with when he rescued her from the brownstone in what his memories would call the future from now.

Jane didn’t want to think how messed up that was going to be.

She wasn’t sure if he was looking at her, but, for the longest moment, he said nothing. Another groan—dammit, she didn’t want him to have to suffer through all of this again—and then, finally: “John.”

“Yes? Well, John, when we get out of here, you owe me.”

“I owe you?”

“Absolutely.”

“Lady, you are something else, you know that?”

“Damn right I am. I’m pissed off at this building.”

He sighed, Jane imagining that if he could, he would he shaking his head as well: “If you want to blame someone, how about yourself?”

“Me?”

“What the hell are you doing here?”

Jane thought quickly, she really didn’t have a plan, then told the truth: “My Sister comes here. I was looking for her. Next thing I know, you’re here and we’re under a desk.”

“Better than being under a wall or worse.”

“This is bad enough.”

John was quiet … and then something beeped: “That’s my beacon. They’ll be able to find us.”

“How long?”

“What’s the rush? You have a date or something?”

While Jane appreciated the levity, she explained, “I’m claustrophobic.”

“Ah. Well.”

“Well what?”

He grunted and then took in a sharp breath before he answered: “Me, too, actually. This isn’t a lot of fun for me, either.”

Jane didn’t believe him, “You are so full of it. Is that some kind of fire department training you learned?”

“No, really; I am.”

The tone in those four words told Jane he wasn’t lying to her.

“Sorry. I mean …”

“S’okay. It’s something I don’t think about often. Better, really, as this sort of thing”—he tapped the rubble—“is what they call an ‘occupational hazard.’”

“You are crazy.”

“Thank you. I also like ballroom dancing, curling up with a book, and coffee.”

“Are you hitting on me, John?”

“Me? You’re the one that started asking.”

It took the fire department just over two hours to dig their way through to them. While the beacon did tell them were John was, they found it was just as easy to follow the argument that came from under the rubble. That continued as they were pulled out and put on stretchers …

“And another thing, you are the most frustrating pain-in-the-ass I have ever met.”

“Lady, you need to look in a mirror … seriously.”

“So do you! Better, you need to shave, have a haircut, and learn some manners, you dumb ape!”

The fighting continued as they were carried out of the building and then placed into an ambulance … together. The fighting only stopped when they both were jabbed with needles to knock them out when the paramedics had enough of it all.

But, after they got to the hospital, Jane would wander into his room and berate him for being lazy, not to mention trying to get out of the date that he owed her.

When he could walk—with a cane, mind you—John turned the tables on Jane and walked to her room to chew her out for being stupid enough to get caught in the fire in the first place. This went on for a time, until Jane was discharged, but John would have to remain to recover for a long time, they said.

He found, to his surprise, that he walked the same path to the room where Jane had been several times a day without thinking about it. He claimed it was just exercise and the nurses accepted it, even if they didn’t believe it.

When he didn’t see her for three days, John found that he … missed her.

On the fourth day, after another walk around the floor, he came into his room and found Jane leaning against the window, her body silhouetted there.

“Hi.”

“Hi, yourself.”

She started to walk towards him, “I wanted to see how Mister Right was doing.”

Leaning against his cane, John was going to reply with sarcasm, but stopped himself, “You look … nice.”

She walked up to him and looked into his eyes, “Thank you. They told me that you are not improving as they thought you would.”

“And how, exactly, did you get that info?”

Jane touched his hand, the one that held the cane: “I told them I’m your girlfriend. They believed it because we argue so much.”

John looked down at her hand, then back at her again, “Lady, you aren’t my girlfriend.”

“I can be.”

“Don’t need pity from you or anyone else!”

John was surprised at how strong Jane was. He found himself bouncing on the edge of his bed in the next moment, Jane standing in font of him, both of her hands on his thighs, looking at him with … really … really green eyes: “How about we start over? Hi. I’m Jane. I like reading in bed, I’m lousy at making coffee, I’m a lousy dancer, but I’m stunning in a little black dress.”

As she said the words, Jane couldn’t understand why she was being so forward with him. He was a pain … he drove her around the bend … he had wonderful eyes, though … still, he was a pain … but he did have a nice smile … dammit, this was all so confusing …

John smirked, just a little, “Are you, now?”

Jane continued, “As I understand it, you have a fireman’s ball coming up in three months. The guys at the station tell me that you never go.”

“I don’t.”

“Why?”

The smirk became a smile, “Been looking for Miss Right. You her?”

“That depends.”

“On?”

“On how fast you heal with me kicking your ass every day and how good a teacher you are when it comes to dancing.”

“No stilettos.”

“Only while I kick your ass, John.”

“That a promise?”

The kiss certainly was … but Jane didn’t keep the promise about the shoes.

When John woke up the next morning, Jane was sitting nearby drinking a cup of coffee and watching him.

“What are you doing here?”

“I told you. I’m going to kick your ass and you are going to teach me how to dance.”

John sat up and looked at her, “Are you always this stubborn?”

“Are you?”

John knew the answer to that question, but he didn’t give her the satisfaction. Jane stood up and tossed her cup into a waste bin before she tossed a calendar at John, which landed on his lap.

“So, it’s less than three months until that dance.”

“I’ll never be …”

Jane stood next to John, looking down at him with frustration in her eyes, “Why? Why are you so damn negative, John?”

He shrugged and pushed the calendar to the side, “Because that’s how things are, Jane. The docs have told me that I won’t walk right, won’t be right. There’s nothing that they can do to help.”

Jane took a spot on the bed beside him and then placed a hand on his bad leg. “They don’t know everything. How about having a little faith that miracles can happen.”

“I gave up on the tooth fairy when I was eight.”

“I’ll be sure to tell her that. She’ll be miffed.”

John was going to laugh, but there was something in Jane’s voice that gave him pause … or was it the warmth he felt through the bed sheets from her hand touching his leg. His eyes went from her hand to her eyes before he continued: “You are the eternal optimist, aren’t you?”

This time it was Jane’s turn to pause. He couldn’t possibly be. Could he? “… Someone has to be.”

John complained and grouched throughout the day as Jane pushed him through his physical therapy. He didn’t feel like he managed anything by the end of the day and told Jane so very clearly when she got him back to his room. She poked a finger into his chest and told him that she would see him after dinner.

John really didn’t know what to expect, and, when Jane came back, he decided that he wasn’t going to lose her… even if she drove him crazy every single day. It wouldn’t be easy, but he wasn’t going to let go of her.

Jane stood there, wearing a little black dress looking like a million dollars. She wasn’t joking when she said that she was stunning in one.

“Nothing to say?”

“You promised no stilettos.”

“I lied. Deal with it.”

“That’s going to be really hard to do.”

It was Jane’s turn to smirk, “Oh, I hope so.”

She crossed the room to him and helped John to stand up with her. For a moment, time stopped and he wondered about finding a black tux for her next dance lesson.

“How bad a dancer are you?”

“The worst. But I’ll learn.”

The half dozen prods of her heels onto his slippers put the exclamation point to that.

“You really do have two left feet, you know.”

“Be happy they aren’t hooves, smartypants.”

“Oh I am. Trust me. Now, from the top, and this time step with me, not on me.”

Jane’s smile was nice. He found himself wanting to see it every morning …

 

Storm Clouds

Chapter 32

By TeraS

 

The Receptionist was, as always, at her desk. If you asked any of those in the Realm if they ever saw her not being there, the answer, after a time, would be a slightly confused “no.”

Not everyone understood what her place was, though there were many opinions. Some thought she was just there to manage things. However, what those things were was never really well explained. Some thought she was there for her looks, but they never said that to her, or even anywhere within several dimensions of where she was.

As for herself, she knew why she was there. In the end, that was all that really mattered.

She had greeted Donna, and did smile when Billy introduced himself, as awkward as it was. She herself did not have time for such things, but the young did, and that was the important thing.

She noticed the almost pleading look in Donna’s eyes when she presented herself and Billy. It would have been impossible not to see it, even for one of the less observant of the Realm.

“Ummm … I’d … Well …”

The fidgeting was cute, to be honest, and normally she might have made the two of them sweat things out for a time. But she was a good judge of character and there were two obvious things she saw. One was that Billy might to bolt for the front door because he was embarrassed, for Donna more than himself. The other was that he would defend Donna. Having him run wouldn’t have done either him or Donna any good at all, and making him think that she was being mean to Donna wouldn’t be much better.

So she smiled—which shocked Donna—and greeted him: “It’s nice to meet you, Billy.”

Billy honestly didn’t know what to say, but did manage a quiet “Hello, Ma’am,” before he drew a bit closer to Donna.

The Receptionist had an odd smile as she continued: “Thank you for helping Donna.”

“Ma’am?”

Donna gave her a look and then explained: “She has cameras to watch the front doors, Billy.”

That wasn’t true, but it was a good excuse and so she nodded.

There was another uncomfortable pause, which there shouldn’t have been. But she wasn’t going to tell Donna what to do and Billy was deferring to Donna. Finally Donna asked: “Is the lounge being used?”

“No, not at the moment. I believe most of the … staff … Is in the coffee room waiting for a certain person to return?”

There was a moment of panic in Donna’s eyes: “Oh. Oh!”

The young were fun to tease at times, really …

After they had left—which was not before Donna left a cruller and a cup of tea with her—she settled in to do some paperwork. There always was paperwork to be done. For the umpteenth time she allowed herself a small snort of derision at the two beings that had made such things part of the universe.

It was when she was reaching for her tea that she looked towards the front doors of the building … her building. While to anyone’s perception she would still be at her desk, in truth she was … elsewhere. On another plane of existence, in the same space where the brownstone stood in the city, there stood an archway, stone with wisps of ethereal, eternal mists, clouds, and fog around it. Within the archway were a pair of seemingly fragile wood doors that could seal off whatever lay behind them from prying eyes.

At this moment the pair of eyes were that of the Dark, regarding the archway again and again, as It had countless times before, trying to find a way in.

“Are you quite finished?”

It turned to see the Receptionist there, leaning against the doors looking almost bored … and she was a red tail, just like her Queen.

“I will pass.”

She walked from one side of the arch to the other and then rested her right hand just above one of the door handles before turning towards It and crossing her arms over her chest.

“No. Would you like to try again?”

“You cannot keep me out forever.”

She chuckled as her tail brushed against the door.

“I have all the time in the universes.”

“Insolent.”

She shook her head and then looked at It again, “You know, I have a lovely tea and cruller on my desk which have a far better chance of succeeding than you do.”

“Perhaps I should destroy your home there.”

“Oh, please try. As I recall, that will make the hundredth attempt. You know, at two hundred, I’ll be sure to send a lovely potted plant as a consolation prize.”

“Wouldn’t you rather be Queen instead of serving her?”

For a moment, a very long one, she didn’t answer that question. She seemed as if considering the offer, in exchange for what the Dark wanted most of all.

In the next she was standing in front of the Dark, just out of It’s reach, a silver broadsword in her hands and the tip pressed against It’s chest. The flippant attitude was gone, and her words were calm … much too calm. “Are we done? Because then I can cut you in half, again, and scatter your remains over a dozen universes. How long did it take last time to pull yourself together?”

The Dark answered her by vanishing.

The Receptionist rather enjoyed her tea and cruller.

And, on her desk, a small photograph of a newborn Succubi with her red tail wrapped around a feminine hand, held her attention and made her smile until she returned to her paperwork once more …

… and that smile didn’t leave her for the rest of the day.

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