Jan 01 2012

A Review of Hot, Hexed, and Bothered by Lori Green

It’s a new year and the first tale post will be a book review. But not a Succubus story, but an Incubus one that is, in its own way, an odd but silly story indeed…

Hot, Hexed, and Bothered by Lori Green

Hot, Hexed, and Bothered by Lori Green

The work tells the story of:

Hell just isn’t what it used to be. When witches Caryl and Mikki travel to Hell to rescue an incubus, they discover that nothing really is what it seems. From wickedly sexy Destroyers to Satan’s overly-innocent efficiency expert, these witches might be over their heads in the hottest trouble Hell can show them.

I find it difficult to write stories that have a good deal of silliness and laughs in them. That’s because to find a balance between telling a story, keeping some tension in it, and not lose the laughter is not an easy goal to accomplish in writing I think.

This work really has a lot of silly moments in it. When the world of the devils appears, the characters are not at all what you would expect, the situations are so weird and unexpected. It’s hell, but a hell that is twisted through a funhouse mirror and that makes for a story that does have laughs and giggles throughout.

But here’s the thing. There is, I think, a bit too much silly for the serious moments that arrive to confront the characters. That is to say that having a moment of insanity meeting a really seriously bad thing that might happen to the characters is jarring at times.

Getting to the incubus in the story, I found him to be not so much an incubus as a very naughty devil in both the devil world and otherwise. There isn’t much sex to speak of in the story and what little there is, isn’t anything inspiring really…

Mostly it is a quick look at the aftermath or interrupted moments of pleasure that serve to drive the characters a little nutty. But since they are in sort of a personal hell, that has to be expected doesn’t it?

I found the story to be somewhat difficult to read through, I stopped several times in order to get my mind around what the characters were getting into and why. For example at one point they visit a McDonald’s in order to get into the underworld which to me was just odd and honestly started the spiral into weirdness that the characters face.

Overall, I can’t honestly say that I liked the story. I just found the frantic actions of the characters, the infighting and the almost airheaded thoughts of two of the witches bothered me more than I would have expected.

I also have to admit that the appearance of the Incubus in the work seemed to be almost as an aside. Now I can understand that because the story was about the witches and the demons, devils and the incubus were supporting characters. And that’s fine, that was the point of the story. But I found that I didn’t care about the witches all that much and by the end I didn’t care about any of the characters at all which was disappointing to me.

I’ll give this work two and a half pitchforks out of five.

Just didn’t meet my expectations I’m sorry to say…

 

Tera

Dec 31 2011

The 2011 Succubi Year in Review

2011 was another good year for Succubi and there are quite a few events that came to pass that placed Succubi into the public consciousness. The following are the ones that the Queen of the Succubi thought were important, at least to her and what she thought of each of them…

So here, in mostly order from best thing to not so much so, are my top ten of Succubi moments for 2010…

  1. Lost Girl Television series – We had the second season of Lost Girl this year. The season was extended to 22 episodes, it was picked up by SyFy and shown around the world, and the series has received the green light for a third season to be produced and shown in 2012. The series continues to get good ratings in Canada and starting in January it will be shown in the United States as well. Quite a few surprises have happened in the current season, and I personally hope that the quality of the writing in the series will continue to improve.
  2. The Devil Girls – The two Succubi of the Sinfest online comic series had a lot of time this year. Fuchsia, my personal favourite of the two, grew a lot this year and made some choices that will, I am sure, have repercussions in the future. As well, Baby Blue came to realize what matters to her and it’s my personal hope that the two of them leave the Devil and go off on their own. I hope anyway…
  3. Locus – The last issue of this online comic series by artist Adam Black began recently and this event marks the end of a series that I found to be one of the most thoughtful and involved with Succubi as main characters in it. This past year has had a lot of literally Earth shattering moments in it and I expect, knowing Adam, that the finale will be outstanding and nothing like I can possibly expect.
  4. Thaumatology Book Series – This year saw the appearance of the Thaumatology book series by Niall Teasdale, which is, for me personally, my favourite book series with a Succubus in it. There were three books released this year and Niall’s fourth book in the series will be appearing in 2012 and I can hardly wait to see what happens next. Highly, highly recommended.
  5. Astarotte no Omocha! – The Japanese anime series about a rather young Succubus and her world. To be honest when I first heard about this series I was expecting the worst, but that didn’t happen. It turned out to be a cute series that was fun in it’s own way. It wasn’t overtly sexual, which honestly it didn’t need to be, and they sidestepped the manga series’ more adult take on the concept. I honestly would love to see a second season appear of this series, and I hope that someday the story continues.
  6. Lilitu Figurine by Tara McPherson – This past year saw what I think is one of the most striking figurines of a Succubus appear. Based on a piece of art created in 2010, it was reproduced into a figurine. I really like this work in a lot of ways, but having no horns or tail I was slightly disappointed in that. Still, the work itself was inspiring to me in a story I have been working on and for that I am thankful that the artist released this work to the world.
  7. The end of the Georgina Kincaid book series – Richelle Mead brought her book series about the Succubus Georgina Kincaid to an end this year. I personally didn’t like some of the universe she created, and I found many of the characters too easy not to care about. Still, she brought the series to a close that made sense and that seems to be something that not a lot of authors manage to accomplish in their books. She’s indicated that the story of Georgina has come to an end and she’s moved onto other universes, mostly about vampires, so at this point I won’t be reading anything more from this author it seems.
  8. Catherine – Possibly the most famous Succubus character in a video game of 2011. The game itself turned out to be very popular, more so that I thought it would be to be honest. I also thought it was a nice touch that the truth about Catherine herself isn’t revealed unless you manage to end the game in a certain way. The one thing that bugs me about this game is that we really don’t see much of her in a Succubus form and that is disappointing in that the game says she is one, but reveals so little of her being one in an obvious way. Still, it did add to the Succubus universe and that is good to see.
  9. The Devil’s Rock – Released in 2011, a film set in World War II and the hero of the work has to deal with a Succubus. It was a bit too bloody for me personally, but then most films with Succubi in them go for the blood and gore and not for the sexuality or seductiveness that they should in my opinion. As there wasn’t really a lot of Succubi appearing in movies this year, this is about the best appearance of a Succubus in any film that I saw this year and that’s a bit disappointing.
  10. Any Halloween Costume with any connection to Succubi – I thought that 2010 was a bad year for Succubus costumes, but 2011 surpassed that by a large margin this year and I don’t honestly expect that 2012 will be any better. It’s my personally belief that the mass costume manufacturers have gotten vampires confused with Succubi, trashy with sexy, and have forgotten that it’s the look that counts. It can’t be that hard to design something that looks decent can it? I see so many cosplayers that manage to do it, so why can’t they?

And as for my site… A few highlights for the year that I and Succubus.net had:

  • The Tale now has a total of over 642,000 views in total.
  • The Tale now has over 1,500 posts on it.
  • The SuccuWiki has surpassed well over 2.3 million views.
  • The SuccuWiki contains over 1,500 articles on Succubi.
  • The Gallery of the Succubi has over 1,600 images of Succubi.
  • I submitted another story to the EMCSA archive this past year.
  • The Tale and this site had their fourth anniversary in November.

Not a long list, but then this year for me personally has been a series of ups and downs with a bit too many downs for my liking…

I wish you all a Happy 2012… May your coming year be happy and wonderful for you all…

*huggles and love*

Tera

Dec 30 2011

A Review of Demon’s Moon by Niall Teasdale

I’ve been taken by a book series this year by the author Niall Teasdale, and to my pleasure he has released two more books in the series for a total of three so far with another to come soon as well. My first review of his first book, Thaumatology 101, you can find here. This week I will be reviewing the second book in the series Demon’s Moon and next Friday I will be reviewing the third book in the series Legacy.

But first, comes Demon’s Moon…

Demon’s Moon by Niall Teasdale

Demon’s Moon by Niall Teasdale

The story is about:

A PhD thesis on the metaphysical change process of were-creatures, what could possibly go wrong with that? Ceridwyn Brent, thaumatologist and sorceress, figured it was just a matter of getting a few friends together, putting them in the middle of a scanning thaumometer rig, collating the results, and writing it all up. No muss, no fuss. She even has one of the rare South American were-creatures to work with, and exciting new insight into the process to write up. Her doctorate is a shoe-in and her personal life with Lily, her half-succubus “pet” has never been better.

But something is going on among the werewolves. Dane, leader of the North Hills pack, believes that an old menace is returning to Britain. Alexandra, the enigmatic Alpha of the Battersea pack believes that Ceri is the only person who can stop that menace from doing something which will threaten mankind as well as the wolf packs. When werewolves across the country suddenly go to war with each other, Ceri and Lily have to go to war themselves to save their new friends, and Ceri must find “The Fair One” before the Winter Solstice. For then, beneath the Demon’s Moon, the fate of all werewolves will be decided.

There are two things that I like… One is curling up with a good book… The other is looking up from finishing it and realizing that I spent seven hours reading and didn’t stop once. This work gets both of those check-marked off… Another engrossing story from the Ceri universe that is lovely in every way.

The story itself builds in an interesting way in that we get hints about what might be happening through most of the story, but the actual revelation of what the threat is, how that threat is coming to pass, and what can be done about it, are kept away until the right moment to reveal them. I thought that seeing the way this universe works, especially in its government and how it guards its secrets, was fascinating.

The characters grow, the world is more and more detailed, and most of all, the underlying plot, which I will not spoil, made a lot of sense. I didn’t see the resolution of the plot at all, I had an idea, but it didn’t turn out the way I expected. But the climax was everything I could have asked for. You created a world within a world for the weres and what they have as their own society which was well explained and brought a lot of questions from the pervious story to their logical ends… bravo!

The book itself mostly focuses on werewolves in this universe and the author has constructed a society and structure for it that serves well for the characters to live in but also doesn’t feel like something that was added as an afterthought to the story. It has a core relevance to the book, it’s important, and you need to pay attention to it. I thought it was interesting that even within a society were, generally, all of the characters are weres of some kind, the social structure broke into small groups with their own opinions of other groups they were attached to, by biology at least if little else sometimes.

I can’t honestly call any of the characters in the work minor ones really… That is to say, there is no point at which you can look at one and think that having them there was a bad idea. What’s more interesting is that minor characters from the first book grow into major ones in this book and vice versa to an extent. In doing so the mythos of this universe is enriched and it makes reading the work, and the series, more gripping as you care about the individual characters more throughout the book.

Lily, my favourite half-Succubus was central in the story again, which I enjoyed… I loved the way that Lily grew in this story and how her relationship with Ceri is progressing. I think that I like this smarter and more… passionate Lily as she comes to realize, and I hope, to help Ceri realize what she can do. I also liked that we learned some of the fears that Lily has through the story, and also how much she loved Ceri and would, really I think, if it came down to it, die for her, which I hope never happens in the series.

Ceri, the heroine of the series, I also think grew up a lot in the course of the story, though there were two moments where I was a little squeamish at what happened to her. But she didn’t break and I think that in the end, you have to place your characters into jeopardy… and Ceri seems to be into a lot of that doesn’t she? Ceri is hurt, there is no doubt of it, but she pushes through that hurt in order to battle the evil that wants to turn the werewolves to its goals. That shows a great deal of character in herself, but, I think that it also shows that Ceri is vulnerable in other ways which I expect the author to explore in the future.

Solidly written overall, it kept my attention throughout, and I eagerly turned the pages wanting to see what would happen next. There are some sexual scenes in the book, but like the first book they aren’t the point of the work, but endeavour to solidify the relationships between various characters.

Lily showed some of her Succubus powers in the work, but she didn’t go so far over the top that I didn’t like it when she did so. What was interesting, and happens somewhat in each book so far, is that Lily treats her powers and her relationships with others in the book as just being the way things are. However, and this is the part that I like, you can sense how proud Lily is with Ceri after a battle with what she did… mind you it makes Lily just ever so slightly horny when Ceri displays her power. Then again our Lily is connected to someone that is very special in this universe and that is becoming more clear as each book comes to its end.

Lots of questions left at the end, but that’s just fine as, of course, book three has appeared with its own trials and tribulations for our heroines and friends… I saw a lot of foreshadowing of what the next book will be about, and if I am right, then Lily and Ceri are going to be in a lot more trouble personally next time… and honestly, if that trouble reveals more about Lily, then I’ll be okay with that…

I’m giving this work, like the first book, five pitchforks out of five.

The work expands on the first book well, the characters develop in ways that are a joy to see, and most of all, the story is a gripping one. I also liked that there are some openings in the plot for the story to continue smoothly into the next book, which will have Lily facing her own demons in a lot of ways…

All are the marks of an excellent story teller and I look forward to reading the next book in the series…

 

 

Tera

Dec 29 2011

Succubi Image of the Week 209

This is the seventh week of a series of posts for the Succubi of the Week on the Tale for next the little while featuring the work of an artist on DeviantArt that has created some wonderful sexy Succubi…

The artist is Darthhell, and this week, I wanted to share what I think is one of, if not the most wonderful Morrigan Aensland 3D artwork that I have ever seen…

Bad Company By Darthhell

Bad Company By Darthhell

This work is called Bad Company, which in a way might be true depending on your idea of what and who Morrigan is… Mind you, the feeling of this work seems to be something like that of Elvira, who should be well know to a lot of readers of the Tale…

This work was created in 2011, and you can find this image where I originally found it here on DeviantArt.

There is a lovely undercurrent of sensuality in this work that really does show a great deal of respect to Morrigan and her history which is something that doesn’t appear in as many of the works of her as they should. Her outfit is perfect, the pose is just right for her and the moodiness of the overall work sets up a moment that just “is” Morrigan…

Please do visit Darthhell’s site on DeviantArt for lots of wonderful 3D art!

 

Tera

Dec 28 2011

This is not a trendy Devil Costume…

For the last Devil costume of 2011, I thought that I would share something that I cannot believe is a Devil costume in any real way…

But I suppose that you can call anything, anything you want to…

Trendy Devil Zipper DressThis is called the Trendy Devil Zipper Dress, and I hated it from the moment I saw it…

Regardless of that, it comes with a stretch micro rhinestones dress, a pair of devil horns and a pitchfork.

It sells for $$137 US.

And I can’t see why it sells for that nor why anyone would want to spend their money on something like this.

Oh, and the shoes and fishnets are not included, but they add nothing to the look anyway so that’s not that important to be honest…

I’ve shared trashy things before on the Tale, but this has to be just about the worst thing I have ever found as a Devil costume…

The addition of the devil horns I think was just to make this palatable as one of the devil themed costumes that are available on the site I found this on…

But really, this isn’t anything like a devil woman costume at all.

I really hate the torn appearance that it has on the front, which adds so much to the ugh factor in this design that I can’t think of anything that can save this one…

Another zero pitchforks out of five.

And that’s 2011… stay tuned for 2012’s disasters coming soon…

 

Tera

Dec 27 2011

Desires 10

All things must end… Or do they? The Queen of the Succubi has her hopes…

_______________

Desires – Beach Oasis

By MacroLass and Tera S

Part Ten

 

 

She felt the Mistress’ power flow over her. Far from resisting, she welcomed it, knowing that the more she obeyed the closer she would become to Tera’s perfect lover….

Her eyelids drooped. “Every lick…every taste…makes me…more sleepy….”, she replied drowsily.

“No…fear…no….worries….safe and secure…..”, she echoed as her devotions became softer and more langorous.

“…rest…listen…”, she finished in a childlike voice as she nestled her face against the demon’s pussy.

 

Tera watched with a smile as Miliani faded into trance. She very softly whispered, “Miliani… Please sit up for me….” After Miliani was sitting upright on the beach towel, Tera slipped in behind her. She rose up on her knees and gently leaned against her body as she spoke, “Miliani… Listen to me… Listen and remember every word… Every command my love…You are going to fade away into a blissful sleep in a moment and Flexi is going to return to me… But there is nothing to fear… Nothing to worry about… You will be safe within her… Watching over her and giving her pleasure when it is safe to do so in her dreams…”

Tera moved Miliani’s hair to the side and kissed the nape of her neck gently, “Someday I know that you and she will be together so that she can have happiness in her life… And perhaps someday you will see me out again… I will be hoping for that day…”

Tera stroked her fingers through Miliani’s hair and whispered, “Sleep and fade away Miliani…. Let Flexi return… Let her take control again as she must….”

As the transformation began Tera continued, “Flexi…. Just relax for a moment… Let your clothing return to envelope you again…. Just remain calm and relaxed here for a moment…. There is nothing wrong… Look into your mind and let the memories that Miliani has wash over you like a wonderful daydream… All is fine…. Just relax and enjoy it….”
“Nothing…to worry about,” the islander echoed, the smile of pride still broad on her lips at Mistress’ approval. She closed her eyes and let her mind sink into Flexi’s, awaiting the next time she was called…

As the heroine’s psyche returned to the fore, the physical changes began to reverse themselves as well. She began to grow taller and more voluptuous, hair lightening to a honey blonde. As her black irised eyes once again turned blue and her clothing reappeared, she blinked and looked back at Tera. “Wow…sorry…I must’ve zoned out for a sec.”

She smiled, feeling a bit embarrassed about her vivid fantasy but otherwise unconcerned.

 

Tera laughed softly and gently brushed Flexi’s hair, “Too much heat for you I think my dear…”

Tera was clothed once more in her bikini and helped Flexi to her feet. Tera’s tail pointed down the beach and a moment later the portal shimmered into being again, the green of it swirling around and around.

She held Flexi close to her as they walked towards the portal. Her tail wrapped around Flexi’s waist gently. As they approached the portal, Tera turned to her and said, “It’s a shame that you couldn’t stay longer Flexi… It would have been so nice to get to know you better… But you have a future to see and it won’t wait forever for you… Perhaps I will see you again someday… Somehow…”

Tera reaced a hand to Flexi’s cheek and then kissed her softly on the lips. She held the kiss for a time and then broke it slowly. She slipped her hands from Flexi’s body almost regretfully. The last thing to move away was her tail as it caressed her waist before moving away from her…

____________________

Next time everything is explained… mostly…

 

Tera

Dec 26 2011

Storm Clouds 150 – An ongoing Succubi Story

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

If you want to read previous chapters, please click the link in the Tale header at the top of the page marked Storm Clouds or click here...

Another year of sort of writing Storm Clouds comes to an end… Maybe next year I can actually be creative again and actually write more about a story that I want to, but just can’t seem to right now…

We’ll see.

_______________________

Storm Clouds 150

Chapter 21

By TeraS

 

The thing about the Dark was that it was too confident. It thought that it had all of the answers and that no one could oppose it.

That was almost true.

She could, and did . . . regularly.

It had become almost an obsession for her now. There were so few who would challenge the Dark when it appeared, and so it fell to her to do so. It wasn’t a chore or an imposition; it had to be done, and she had seen enough of the Dark and what it was capable of to know that the best thing to do was what she did: drive it mad with anger and make it stop thinking.

Losing the one portal did that. Then letting it stew in its anger had made it get involved intimately with mortals and their world. She wondered if, this time, it would actually learn something from the experience or not.

Making the portal vanish was child’s play for a being like her. If the Dark ever figured out just how powerful she was, it might actually pause to think twice about the plans it had against Tera and her kind.

Possibly.

The thought did make her smile as the portal showing the severed tail reappeared among all of the Dark’s other ones. She stood there for a time, tapping a single pink fingernail against the surface and trying to decide what would be the most unpleasant thing she might do.

She could destroy this portal—the thought had been there before—but she had her own plans, and, for those, this one portal needed to remain, at least for the moment, in spite of what it showed.

The tapping stopped as she placed that hand against the surface and whispered to the awful image that it showed, “It will not be long. Promise.”

And, unlike some beings, she kept her promises.

She turned away, coming to the decision that, for once, just this once, she was going to make the Dark know what it was to lose something valuable.

What followed was the sound of fingernails raking across portal after portal, each of which turned white against the darkness, throwing light into a place which despised it. She didn’t ruin every single one of them, but, when she was done, she had left the Dark but three portals.

She thought that she just might be able to hear the scream of anger from it from three universes away when it returned to see what she had done here, and that thought made her smile slightly.

She glanced once more at the portals that remained, satisfied that this would be a problem for it, that it would have to spend effort and time repairing the damage if it could, and that, thankfully, might give the others needed time to figure out what was happening and where.

As much as she wanted to, she couldn’t actually get involved in the battle or make choices for those involved. It was, after all, necessary that all beings make their own choices, no matter how wrong or ill-advised they might well be.

Still, she had one thing that the Dark didn’t have: trust. Trust in others, trust that they would make good choices, but, most of all, trust in that one person that saved her life so long ago and, in doing so, changed her own universe for the better.

She would always owe that person for that gift.

She passed into the ether, on her way to where she needed to be. If the Dark could get involved with mortals, she could as well … to a point. But first she needed to talk to someone who needed to understand that some paths were not worth following.

Following the path of one who owed the succubi—and Tera, in particular—her life … that was the most foolish thing that it had ever done.

And it would soon learn.

As for the Dark, possessing one of its pawns was distasteful. But there was little choice. That damnable creature had cost it its watch over the tail. The one thing that would, if its plans went to completion, cause the barriers to fall before it and thus have what it wanted most.

But having to deal with a corporal form? That was something that it did not enjoy in the slightest. Emotions, thoughts, images from this pawn were getting caught between its own thoughts and, as well, it knew that its own thoughts would be mixing the other way.

But the important thoughts, the ones that it needed for itself, those it kept under lock and key, or so the Dark would believe. The problem was, as it always was, that nothing is ever completely closed off when beings merge, even if only for a short time.

Fingerprints leave smudges, after all …

It took the Dark some time to return to where the tail was kept. The wards around the place made it impossible for someone to appear there without seeing the place first and entering at one specific spot. From the outside there were traps and obstacles that it knew would stop any magic user from getting close.

But this pawn was tuned to the place, and the wards would fall before it. Even so, the time … the time was taking far too long for the Dark’s liking.

And so time passed, the Dark fumed, and the universe turned …

 

 

Storm Clouds

Chapter 22

By TeraS

 

“I think I am.”

Tom looked behind him expecting to see Camilla there, and she was … sort of.

It was Camilla, but her tail and horns were grey instead of black and her hair had changed color from blonde to purple. Tom couldn’t stop the words that came out: “I liked the blonde and black better, Camilla.”

She smirked.

And Tom paused. He was pretty sure that Camilla didn’t smirk.

“It’s a long story, Tom, and right now we haven’t got the time.”

And that was wrong, as well. Camilla never called him Tom. Mary Ann tried to get away again, and Tom was forced into flipping her over, straddling her, and then locking her wrists together with handcuffs before sitting on her legs. Having some control of the situation, he looked at Camilla and said, “We’ve got the time. You want to let me in on why the style change? Got tired of your hair color or something?”

She ran her left hand through her hair, pulling on it slightly, “Okay, short version: I’m Camilla’s bad side; I’m a bitch; I’m nothing like her, and you don’t want to screw with me. That good enough for you?”

“I’m never going to understand this, am I?”

She smirked again, “Oh, I dunno … You’d make an interesting Incubi … I can put in a good word for you if you’re up for it.”

Tom shook his head: “Thanks, but I have enough issues with my life as it is. The universe isn’t what I knew it was, there are people—like you—who are legends, and I am supposed to deal with that. Oh yes, and I am acting under the command of the Queen of a race of beings that exist on sex and pleasure and I have no idea why I should be, but I’m doing it anyway.”

She nodded, “Tera does have her ways, doesn’t she? At least she isn’t using that pitchfork of hers on you. Mind you, some like that sort of thing…”

“So what do I call you? ‘Not Camilla’ or ‘Punkie Brewster’ or what?”

She leaned down so that they looked into each other’s eyes: “You really want to know who I am?”

Tom didn’t finch: “I trust Camilla. She’s proven herself. I don’t trust you.”

She nodded: “Good; backbone and will. I can see why Tera wants your help. You may call me Nina.”

“All right; ‘Nina’ it is. Tell me something, seriously: does every one of you have an ‘a’ at the end of your name?”

She laughed, “No … Just some of us do. Congratulations, Tom; you just endeared yourself to me. Camilla will be pleased to know that.  Make sure you tell her when you see her again.”

The smirk vanished and she looked past Tom to Mary Ann on the floor beneath him, “You mind getting off her? She and I have … a past.”

“Good or bad?”

“I won’t kill her, at least, not just yet.”

“If I don’t?”

“Then I’ll have to move you, Tom. You don’t want me to, I promise you.”

Tom got up and moved to the side. Nina reached down and pulled Mary Ann to her knees by the handcuffs before grasping her chin. “Hello, bitch. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you. How long has it been?

The fear in Mary Ann only allowed a quiet whisper of an answer, “Babylon.”

“That’s right. As I remember it, you came into my temple and tried to turn my followers, didn’t you? You corrupted them from the top down and, in the end, you were responsible for how many deaths?”

“I don’t know.”

“I do. I remember them very well. You watched as they fought, four hundred eighty-six of them falling to your promises of riches that were hidden from them. And when it was over, what did they find inside the walls?”

“Nothing.”

“Why?”

Mary Ann closed her eyes, “Because everything they gave you, you returned to them … and more. You … you cared about cattle and …”

Tom didn’t see Nina’s hand as it struck Mary Ann, sending her sprawling across the floor.

“They are not cattle, you worthless bitch! They are more than you will ever be or ever could be. You can’t understand that, can you?”

There was no answer, and Nina pulled her once again to her knees by the handcuffs: “Here’s the deal. You tell us what’s going on and who’s in charge, and I won’t kill you today. You lie to me, and I’ll start taking you apart one piece at a time …”

She extended her left hand and, to Tom’s shock, a silver sword appeared there, flames dancing along its blade. Tom thought he could hear the sword … growling?

She placed the edge against Mary Ann’s neck: “You know what this is. You know exactly what will happen if I strike you with it. Camilla wouldn’t; she follows the new ways.  But I don’t. So make up your mind, right now, and tell me why you are here and what you have done to Ginger.”

Tom coughed, “Nina … You said you wouldn’t kill her.”

She didn’t look at Tom: “Oh, this won’t kill her. It will, however, take away what makes her special. What she is, she won’t be anymore.”  A cruel smile appeared, “And since she is so enamored with being immortal …”

Mary Ann closed her eyes, “You are a fool. I serve powers greater than you. You’ll never leave this room alive if you harm me.”

“Oh I’ve already harmed you. Now I’ll cripple you …”

And she pulled the blade back and then swung it towards Mary Ann’s neck …

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