Dec 13 2009

Wishes for Darkness…

Today is the birthday of someone that I hold close and dear in my heart…

His name is Darkness and this is for him on this day…
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Wishes for Darkness

By TeraS

For Darkwalker on this, his birthday…

In the past, the far distant past, there was a mountain overlooking a lush green valley. Within that was a small town of a few hundred people. A small agricultural community that worked the land, lived their lives and made the best of what that time gave them.

Few ever bothered to explore the mountain that loomed over them, and if they did, they returned with tales of strange sounds, the lands above being unkind to them, and the thought that there was something there that didn’t want to be found.

Some spoke of dragons and that served to keep them from the mountain and its secrets…

This remained as the status quo for generations until one day a lone figure walked into their midst. It was a woman, that much they were certain of, but little else, as she wore a long black cape over her shoulders that masked her form within. She passed from home to home asking questions of the mountain and the legends surrounding it as if looking for something.

In her second week of being among them, she had found a place in the town’s tavern. Some approached her with tales of the mountain that were obviously fueled by spirits and ale, hoping to impress her. None of them did.

But one did.

It was mid-day when a old wrinkled man approached her table and asked if he might speak with her. She agreed and, after being settled, he told her of a tale that had been passed down in his family for generations. She listened with something very close to rapture as he spoke of a dragon of black and silver that was finished with the world, had decided to take his leave of it and fallen into the trap of losing himself for the dark that surrounded him.

In the middle of the story, she reached out a slim hand and touched the old man gently on the arm to ask, “What is his name?”

The answer was, “Darkness.”

That seemed to get her attention. After asking several other questions and getting answers she approved of, she put to him the most important one she had, “Do you know how to find him?”

At this point, lesser men of character would demand things of her, promises, gold, something to extract a pound of flesh in return for the knowledge.

He didn’t. His answer was instead a question, “Will you help or harm?”

Her answer was simple, “We will help each other.”

Soon after they left the village towards the forests at the base of the mountain, riding a single grey horse to speed their passage along. The old man guided the horse into the forest at a good pace, knowing from the tales of his forbearers where the dragon’s land started and where he would defend them if they were crossed.

After a day’s ride, they emerged from the forests onto the base of the mountain. She was about to ask a question when it happened…

The roar, when it came through the skies above was deep, long and terrifying…

But she didn’t flinch at it. Instead she just thanked her now cowering guide for bringing her this far, sent him back to the town with her thanks, a good sized bag of gold and a wish for him to have a long life. The old man smiled slightly before telling her to be well and do well for the dragon.

After he was safely away, she then pushed on into the lands that turned darker with each step she took.

The next setting of the sun, she found herself in a clearing halfway up the mountain, far from anyone else and paused there for a moment.

Then he revealed himself…

From the mountain’s peak a dark form rose into the air and began to spiral downwards towards her. As it came closer she recognized it as a dragon. As he approached, the obsidian form of it was plain to see. Large, powerful, containing within the eons of it’s life, it’s world, and so much more. The wings flashed through the air as he sped towards this creature upon his land that was not welcome. Not wanted.

He turned and heeled over her before a long tongue of dragon-fire erupted from him, the white hot mass of fire blasting into the earth and causing all that it touches to burst into flame and becoming ash. The fires torn across the clearing, soon moving to, and then over the lone figure that had come into this dragon’s domain…

The fires seemed to consume her, the fires bright and terrible around where she had stood…

Did continue to stand.

The fire had burned away her cloak and all that she had with her, but what it left behind was something that the villagers would not have understood had they seen her.

Long raven hair framed a lovely face, a pair of small red horns in her hair. A long red tail rose from her shapely rear, twitching from side to side. With her clothing burned away by the fire, she had taken some of it and made it into a corset of flames around her waist and chest, long sheets of it forming a wrap around skirt of orange-red fire that flickered and shimmered around her legs leading to her of high heels of fire…

Most would expect that a being of what looked to be obvious evil, would attack the dragon then, looking to bring it to an end or worse. But she didn’t. Her eyes reflected the concern within them for the dragon that roared in, what was to her, obvious pain and loneliness and need.

She waited for the dragon, now paused in midair, to make a choice. This was the part she had no control over. She trusted in him to make the choice to approach her and not force them into a battle she did not desire to see. What she desired in this moment as something that only came fleetingly…

He circled her once, as if examining her from every angle before landing just in front of her, the last beat of his wings making the flames she now wore thrash around in the winds he created. His head came close by and after a moment, the ground rumbled as he growled, “Why do you not run?”

She tilted her head to the side, “Because…”

That resulted in a gruff snort, “You are foolish little one. You are not invincible.”

A nod, “I know. I am not the Queen. Just her Daughter. But I know pain when I see it, feel it, and know of it… I…” She rubbed her hands together, “I have been looking for you Darkness…”

That statement made the dragon’s eyes widen, “For me? No one does. I am alone now.”

Her tail waved behind her, “You aren’t. I’m here.”

He shifted around to look at her again, “You are… different… You look as one of evil and yet you do not have that in you. Why?”

That realization made her smile, “Because I learned that there are better ways and better deeds to do.”

The tension in the air lessened a bit as he settled to rest on the ground. Taking a chance, she moved to stand alongside his flank, her hand hesitant above his obsidian scales before touching them softly. The dragon responded with a small, for a dragon, shiver of surprise. She continued to move around him, talking about how beautiful he was, how she had been searching for him for centuries now, and the joy she felt in being able to touch him and talk to him.

He interrupted her with a question, “Why do you search for me?”

She had moved back to stand in front of him, placing herself close to his face, “I have been looking for Darkness… My Darkness… The one that I trust, the one that I believe in, the one that I have and will forever love…” Her fingers passed gently over his snout as she gave the answer that they both knew was the only one,  “For I am your light and you have need of me…”

For a moment, the dragon seemed to consider her words carefully. His features seemed to soften a little bit and then, to her surprise, wisps of silver began to appear within the obsidian, slowly spreading over his form, making the black mix with the silver until in place of the being of dark, was a dragon of silver and black stretched out above her.

He turned his head to look at his form and then said, “How are you doing this?”

“Me? All I have is trust and belief in you Darkness.”

For the first time since they had met, the dragon smiled. Really smiled. Then a silver mist enshrouded his form masking his shape before it began to shrink and reform into another form. As Tera watched, the mists cleared and she found herself in the presence of a dark haired man in silver armor. His eyes held the wisdom of ages, the knowledge of time, and the strength of one that had found that he was wanted.

She moved to him, her right hand touched his cheek as he spoke, “I never believed what I had seen in time. A hint of a beacon of light coming to me in my dark, the light to draw me to live again.”

She blushed, “I hoped that the story was true… That you could see the future… That perhaps you had seen me in a dream, that you would somehow know me somehow…”

He took her hand and then raised it to his lips, placing a kiss upon it. Then still holding it he spoke, “I haven’t seen any light in my world for ages. Why would you be that to a being like me?”

Tera placed her hand over his, “Because the light needs her darkness… She has been without him for far too long…”

Darkness placed one arm protectively around her waist, “Then Darkness shall never leave his Light.”

And neither of them ever did…

_________________

Happy Birthday my Darkness…

Your Light

Dec 12 2009

Wearing The Succubi Horns – Outfoxed by JHB

After almost two months of weekly postings of stories, this will be the last posting in the Tale of the works entered in the 2009 Realm of the Succubi Halloween Writing Contest for this year…

This last work is by James and takes a little dig at a particular actress and her portrayal of a Succubus…

And what happens when one critic has her way with her…

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Here is the final flash of this challenge, the only one to include the Queen herself, inspired by her feelings about a certain movie.  It also owes a debt to an episode of MM’s New Lesbian Conspiracy, though I went in a slightly different direction, as I am not so fluent in Canadian.

Outfoxed

By James
All through the evening, all through the party, the horns passed from person to person, creating different effects in different wearers.   Just about everybody in the room was allowed to experience fantasies they never dreamed they had, or forced to face depravities they never dared contemplate.

Just about everybody experienced this.  But not her.

She came with her own horns, after all.  Clearly part of the outfit she had worn to the party: a red sheath dress—shiny, either vinyl or latex—that displayed her cleavage quite nicely and came about a third of the way down her thighs, almost meeting her black fishnet stockings with the kitschy red pitchforks at the tops of them.  Those little pitchforks matched the shape of her playful red sequined purse, while the black of her stockings matched her opera gloves and the raven curls that cascaded down her back and over her bare shoulders.  Those shoulders, indeed, all of her skin, was a tan, yet almost reddish color.  But not as red as those horns she wore—horns that made the outfit—or the pointed tail that slipped out and moved as if it had a life of its own.  She was a symphony of red and black.

Except for her eyes: sparkling green eyes, eyes that drew anybody who noticed them right into her orbit.

Toward the end of the evening, her tail swishing behind her, she scooped up that other set of horns.  And then she was seen no more at the party.

Well, not at that party, anyway.

At a trendy party in West Hollywood, a young actress named Bibi Vixen—the current hot commodity among the sea of actresses who were too young, too thin and too cardboard for most post teens—was holding court among a coterie of friends and sycophants.  She was currently the center of attention for her role in a teen slasher flick where she played a succubus as something of a cross between a stripper and a werewolf and a vampire.

The stunning woman from the first party stepped up behind Ms. Vixen.  She didn’t appear to have horns and tail any more—well, not unless one really looked—and her campy evening bag and hosiery had been replaced.  This, after all, was no costume party.

Bibi turned and saw the woman, and was about to say “I’m sorry, but no giving autographs this evening” when she was rendered silent just for a moment by those impossibly green eyes.  The stunning brunette, standing about half a head taller than the waif actress, popped the charmed horns on the shorter woman’s head.  Suddenly, everyone and everything faded away, and the actress noticed that she was not the only one with horns.

“Bibi, dear, don’t scream.  Well, you cannot, really.  We can maintain the illusion that we are the only others in the room only so long as we don’t do anything too overt to draw the attention of the others.  So I have arranged for you not to be able to scream.”

The actress did not care to be told what she couldn’t do, and wound up for a blood-curdling yell: “The hell I can’t scream, bitch.”  Unfortunately for her, it came out about with about as much venom as a parochial schoolgirl reciting her rosary.

“I told you so,” the visitor smirked, “and please try to watch the language, ‘kay?

“Now, I have a bone to pick with you.  You have helped a phalanx of half-witted screenwriters perpetrate a horrid, incorrect image of a succubus.  Where did all of this violence and gore and anger come from? “

“Look, lady, nobody knows what a succubus is really like, because they don’t exist.  And, in the second place, I’m only the actor; I just play the script I’m given.”

The visitor remained implacable: “In the second place first, darling, you have a mind of your own, at least allegedly, and you could stand up for yourself in your choice of roles and how they are portrayed.  It might even help your career.

“In the first place—second, I know—you are about to know what being a succubi is really like.” She sent a stream of warmth breath across Bibi’s bare shoulder, and the horn-clad actress shuddered and moaned more than during her last four climaxes with her lover.  “Succubi are sensual creatures”—the visitor’s tail stroked the back of Bibi’s leg, and her knees nearly buckled as juices began trickling down—“everything is about arousal and enjoyment, never violence.  Even pain”—she playfully nipped ear of the actress, who whimpered—“is meant for pleasure for us.”

Suddenly, in this room where they had been alone, a man appeared, and Ms. Vixen wanted him, hungered for him.  She felt the raven-haired visitor whispering, “As a succubus, you have this need.” She pulled the man to her, and he grew into her: “no one can resist you, dear.”  She felt, tasted, energy flowing into her, “and this act feeds you.”

A woman appeared next to them; nothing spectacular on the outside, but Bibi  couldn’t tear her eyes away.  “Yes, Bibi,” the voice in her mind breathed, “You cannot look away.”  The two women meshed mouths, lips, tongues, and there were more streams of energy: “When you are a succubi like me, you give as well as get . . . and you are never alone.”

Bibi was dressed again, standing before her visitor, alone: “This . . . I . . . may I stay like this?” she pleaded, politely.

Her visitor in red snatched the costume horns away: “You’re not really ready for this, dear.”

And she was gone.  And Bibi Vixen was in the midst of her party, as if no time had passed, and she partied on, but there was something . . .

When she went to bed that night, there was a note on her pillow, with a red lipstick kiss:

“When you’re ready, I’ll look you up.

Huggles,
Tera”

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*huggles for my heart and his words as always*

Tera

Dec 11 2009

The Succubi Queen’s New Manip – Booted

About two weeks ago I posted a little teaser image of the image manip that I have been fiddling with…

Thanks to a good friend on the Garden and the Collective, S.B., I’ve pieced together a story to fit the image that I have put together…

Booted - A Succubi Manip by TeraSWhat came to me in the middle of doing this was the thought that there was a reflection between Angels and Demons, or more accurately I suppose, Angels and Succubi…

There are quite a few changes made to this work, her hair was a mess and had to be fixed. Her boots were pink, now they are red. And then of course the addition of her tail, horns, wings and halo. There is also a green tint to her glasses that wasn’t there before…

The full text of the story with this image I am posting here for completeness:

I know what you’re thinking…

Oh yes I do…

Am I Angel or Demon?

Which one is the truth?

The words are always the same, the ones spoken…

One or the other you want to choose.

They are different by convention.

But are truly identical in the end…

For they both do truly mean:

Power.

Dominance.

Fascination.

Seduction.

I can be the Angel…

If you allow yourself to let go completely.

Obey my commands without thought.

Trust in my commands to you.

Starting with the tip of your tongue on my boots…

Or can I be the Demon…

If you insist in a fight you can never hope to win.

Ending when my tail slithers across your naked body.

Making you whimper and beg for me.

To touch my boots and worship them…

The pleasure is so painfully intense…

Your need so deeply ingrained.

Your submission so utterly complete.

That your mind drifts away forever…

Your choice, really…

But you cannot decide.

It does not matter, come here my pet.

Either way, we both know you are mine…

Thank you, love and huggles for S.B. for inspiring this…

Tera

Dec 10 2009

Succubi Image of the Week 103

This week I am, at the generous allowance of the artist, posting a somewhat different, yet really amazing piece of art…

Last week on Friday, I posted a link to the Locus webcomic by Adam Black, and thie week I am, for this week’s Succubi, posting a piece of his art that he placed on his Blog in the past… Adam’s art blog is here.

Succubus Prisoner by Adam Black

He posted this image in April of this year and noted that it was done as an album cover insert for the band Necropharmacon, who’s website is here.

Obviously, this drawing shows a Succubus that has been ensnared and is now imprisoned by someone…

Interestingly, her tail isn’t trapped… I wonder if whomever trapped her knows that some Succubus tails are just as dangerous as the Succubus herself… Binding a Succubus is a tricky thing really… Not all bindings are as secure as they should be really…

Adam’s work, and you really should have a look at his blog, because it’s just amazing how much he puts into every drawing, really I think only scratches the surface of his talents…

Yes I gush, but there are few artists that can really draw a Succubus…

Adam is one of those…

Tera

Dec 09 2009

Black is not the color for a Succubus Costume…

Red is, I think the right color for a Succubus costume, generally speaking at least…

But occasionally a black one appears that, occasionally, does work…

This one doesn’t.

Fire Flirty Devil CostumeWhat you get with this is a pair of black horns tipped with red sparkles, the vinyl-like costume that laces up in the front and that’s it. The shoes and fishnets are not part of this outfit…

You can find it on sale all over the net for around $40 USD.

I hate the look of this more than just about any other costume I have found so far in my years of searching… And that is saying a lot I think…

The wing-like fringe kills this most of all, making it look more slutty-vampire like rather than succubus-like…

The only part of this that I sort of like is the horns, they might  work in another outfit, at least they would make things look a bit different with a red one…

Is there a way to improve this? In all honesty, I would just say to skip this and look elsewhere for something a lot better than this…

It gets a quarter pitchfork out of five…

And that’s the lowest rating I think I have ever given…

Tera

Dec 08 2009

Temptations XXXVIII – The Grotto – Part VI

The story moves forwards a little more, revealing that the threat is more than it seemed at first…

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Temptations XXXVIII – The Grotto – Part VI

By TeraS and Thamior, Cyprusmage, and Darkwalker’s Shadow

Tera nodded at his request for the materials and said, “The log if one from this universe will do is easy enough. The Jar from the storeroom across the hall from here also is not a issue…”

Then she said, “But John… Understand this… If you cannot free her safely… I want you to stop your efforts… I do not wish to see her die… I know that this is agony enough, but breaking my heart to watch her pass into nothingness…”

She rubbed a hand along her arm and then said, “I’ve watched too many people die over the eons… I would rather not watch her die as well… Please?”

Then Tera walked into the jungles behind them. A few moments later she returned with the small log John had requested. She smiled a bit and said, “No magic used to find it John… And none from my touching it…. I was careful of that…” She offered him the log and smiled thinly before saying, “May you cast well and true John…”

“I can’t change her back,” said John, examining the log. It didn’t particularly matter if she had conjured it or not, but he could understand her concern; he often did the same thing just in case.
“Transmuting organic matter isn’t really my field,” he explained, “but what I can do is exorcise that parasite, leaving you free to try and bring her back without it exploding inside of her.”

He left, wordlessly, to fetch the glass jar. A minute later, he returned, and sat himself down a few feet from the statue. There, he opened his bag and removed some chalk, a tape measure, and what appeared to be several rather odd wood carvings; they seemed to be different sorts of geometry equipment.
He spent a good half-hour preparing the ritual; he had to be careful, balancing getting it done quickly with getting it done right. Every minute or so, he would check the book, using what information was there to point him in the right direction.

When finished, he had drawn several concentric circles, with the statue at the center. Between each circle were unusual writings, markings in some ancient language. The outer circle was broken in three places, the gap filled with smaller circles, also with added writing. All three smaller circles, which were arranged in the formation of an equilateral triangle, were joined to the statue by lines of writing, with John being careful not to scuff the chalk; he had plenty of experience. In one circle he placed the log, and in the other, the jar, which now appeared to have markings of its own. Once finished, he closed the book, set it aside, and stood in the third, empty circle.

“Here goes…” he muttered, and took out a small, wooden rod. The tip of the instrument had a small, roughly-cut gemstone set into it, which gave the faintest of glows. He waved the rod around slowly, muttering in a forgeign tongue; most likely the same language written on the ground. He hissed the last few syllables, and struck the ground before him with the rod; a spark of light travelled swiftly along the line joining his circle to the statue. The spark reached the statue, which glowed for a moment, then the spark seemed to split in two and travel down the other lines, to the jar and the log. When the spark reached the jar, a creature, small and repulsive, appeared inside, and screeched loudly. At the same time, the other spark reached the log, which suddenly burst into flames. John heaved a sigh of relief, and mopped his brow.

“There you go,” he said, “all done. Not a bad idea, splicing an extraction with an energy conversion ritual. Might have figured it out for myself, but it woulda taken me at least a week. She’s safe to change back.”

Tera considered for a moment and then walked over to Pamela. She stood in front of her silently for a moment gathering herself together for the attempt. Her body glowed a soft green and then she stood nude in front of the statue. Then she said to John, “Be prepared to break our connection just in case… It can’t be that easy…”

Then she raised her hands to Pamela’s breasts. As Tera spoke in a tongue that John and Darkness would understand, the glow flooded over Pamela’s form. Soon the glow became a fire and then a small green sun surrounded the two women.

From within the globe of energy, Tera could be seen chanting the spell and pressing her hands against Pamela’s nipples. Then she leaned forward and their lips touched… The ball of magic was sucked into Pamela’s form in an instant. Tera’s eyes were closed as the spell ran it’s course…

It began from the bottom of Pamela’s feet and slowly, so so slowly moved upwards turning stone to flesh again. As the magic passed over Pamela’s hips and warm flesh appeared there it all seemed to be going well…

But then as John watched, Tera’s tail began to turn white and then harden as he watched….

And Tera?

She just continued to kiss and touch Pamela…

John’s eyes opened in horror as he saw Tera appearing to turn to stone. He knew what was happening; the spell had gone wrong; instead of simply reversing the spell on her friend, Tera had somehow transferred the spell into herself, exchanging her freedom for Pamela’s.

He only had about a minute before Tera would be lost…and if she became petrified, no-one would be able to save her. No-one there, at any rate. Leaping to his feet, John considered his options; one idea presented itself. It was dangerous, and a great risk to his own life, but it was the only thing that sprung to mind. Dashing past Tera, he muttered a brief incantation and picked up the still-burning log, thankfully unharmed.

“Sorry to interrupt,” he said. John dropped the log at his feet, knelt down, and put one hand upon it. His other hand reached out and grasped Tera’s tail.

It was not something he had ever attempted before; as he said, transmuting flesh was not something he had any experience with. But in a pinch, if forced, he would attempt any spell. He began chanting, a quiet murmer that grew steadily louder in time with his desperation.  Closing his eyes tightly, he called upon his reserves of Quintessence, pumping as much as he could into the impromptu arcana.

The spell on Pamela continued to lift, as Tera was transferring the spell. Thanks to John, as Tera transferred the spell from Pamela, he was transferring the spell from Tera, and hopefully beyond. The spread of stone gradually stopped, and even began to slowly recede. John felt a horrible, chilling sensation as the petrification spell passed along one arm and down the other to the burning log, which slowly began to turn to stone, just as Tera had been.

Tera didn’t move as John moved around her and pulled the spell out of her body and pushed it into the log. Tera was perfectly willing to perish to have Pamela live, but she would never say that out loud. She felt the warm skin of Pamela under her fingers and then felt her body begin to move and her breathing begin. It all seemed to be going alright. The danger seemed past.

She felt her spell end and then she took a step back from Pamela.

Pamela opened her eyes…

And they were all silver…

She didn’t speak…

She didn’t move….

Tera swore in a most unlady like fashion before saying to John, “She has a body but her mind isn’t there… Damn it all to hell…”

Then she turned and walked from them to where Darkness waited with a worried look upon his face..

John fell to his knees, his head aching from the effort of exerting so much power at once. His energy reserves had dried up, and they were only half-successful in saving her…And he still had that spe-

John scrabbled along the dirt, got to his feet and dashed off down the hillside back towards the pool. There, he plunged his hands into the water, which bubbled and boiled as the built up heat energy of the flames was expelled into the water. John’s hands stung now, as if the water had been hot before he’d put his hands in, but it was better than having them suffer serious burns.

Breathing slowly to calm his heart, John stood and wandered back up the hill, regarding the still-inert Pamela with a critical eye.

“Tera…” he said, carefully, “Can you track her spirit? I could try to do it myself, but you know her better; you’d have an easier time finding her than I would…”

____________________
Failure is, after all, always an option isn’t it?
Tera

Dec 07 2009

Storm Clouds XXXI – 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...

Editing this week before Chapter Nine next week I hope to be writing…

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Storm Clouds

Chapter 7

By TeraS

“Thomas, talk to me.”

Camilla stood there, looking quite concerned. Tom found himself looking at her, not with the panic he had at first, but, instead, with an odd curiosity.

He let out a snort, “I’m good. You wouldn’t understand.”

“That you lost someone close to you? That you where hurt? Still are? Always will be?”

Tom didn’t answer that. He could, but he felt like she was getting into something that she had no right to. So instead of answering, he turned away from her and looked at the landscape around him.

The rows and rows of grave markers made it clear that this was a place of rest for those who had passed on. For a moment, he wondered how someone like Camilla could be killed, and then shoved that thought away.

It wasn’t something that he needed to think about.

Camilla frowned, “You haven’t got a lock on pain, Thomas. No one does. Not ever.”

He thrust his hands into his pockets, “Alright, I’ll assume that you are telling me the truth and that you aren’t going to kill me.” He heard her coming closer. Passing him, she nodded as her tail moved from side to side behind her. “Why me?”

Her tail stopped, “That’s not for me to tell you. If you want to know, you’ll have to ask Tera about that.”

He managed a smile, “Passing the buck or thinking that I can’t handle it?”

A shrug, “Both.”

He walked up to her, looking at how she had changed. She was still the girl he had met not that long ago, just with some optional extras added to her. If he overlooked those, she was still a woman… No. That was wrong. She was what she was, but she didn’t lie to him … that one thing made her trustworthy.

“Alright. I’ll talk to her later. Camila, what … why are you?”

She rubbed her hands along the side of her dress, “We aren’t all evil, nor are we all good. We make choices just like you do. Sometimes they are good ones, sometimes they are bad ones, but we choose to do and be what we are.”

“Nice speech.”

She winked, “Thanks… Been working on that for centuries, actually.”

“Now how about the unvarnished truth?”

She nodded, “In short, I believe we are in limbo between light and dark, that both want us and both are afraid of us. You can think of us as wildcards, Thomas, but there is one thing, one promise that we have made that we can’t forget … people like you have to make your own choices, decisions, and actions …”

He put a hand up: “I didn’t choose to be here.”

“Oh yes you did. You chose to come. You chose to knock on the door. You chose to see what you could find out. All of that was your choice.” She waved a hand, “All of this followed because it had to; you would have never accepted a lie…”

He thought about that and came to the decision that she was right. He wouldn’t have let this lie, ignored it, moved on. That wouldn’t have happened because it was not his nature to do that.

“Besides giving me the breadcrumbs to find you, why did you pick me?”

Camilla shook her head, “Can’t say.”

A question came to him, “Tell me something. Are there angels and all that other stuff?”

“Yes. Angels, devils, dragons, faeries, and more are all real. It’s just that your world has forgotten about the wonders around it … most of the time.”

“So what are you, exactly.”

She looked almost embarrassed, “Beings like me are Succubi, Thomas. There are Incubi here as well.”

He arched an eyebrow, “I’ve heard of those.”

“No. You have heard of something like us, not us.”

“Explain.”

“A Succubus or Incubus kills through sex. We don’t. We gave that up ages ago just to be able to be who what we are right now; independent beings that serve no one.”

Tom thought that over, “Okay, so you split away and you do what you want.”

A slight nod.

“That’s dangerous, Camilla. No rules means nothing to control you.”

A smile, “But there is: one very important thing, Thomas. We know the past. We won’t go back to it again.”

Tom wiped a hand over his eyes, “You know that this is all too much to take in.”

Her hand was soft and gentle on his shoulder, “You are, really, one of the few people that can handle this, Thomas. Most people would be screaming and running in circles at this point.”

“What makes you think I won’t?”

“Curiosity … You want to know the secrets. Your mind is wanting to know answers to questions you have had since the day you were born. Most of all, you won’t let yourself back down from a fight, Thomas.”

Tom thought that over for a while. It was true that he was wondering about a lot of things … more than he wanted to be. But three things came to the forefront. He had a mystery. He had a job to do … and he had a promise to keep.

He looked her straight in the eye, “I need a partner in this; someone who knows the lay of the land; someone who will watch my back.”

She nodded, “You always will in our world.”

He offered his hand, “I … I will trust you Camilla. I trust that you will watch out for me.”

She took his hand, “I promise. I want a promise from you, too: wherever this goes, whoever did it, whatever it takes, you won’t walk away.”

They shook on it and then Tom asked, “Where are we? Fill me in.”

“You are in what you would understand as our cemetery.” She pointed towards the mountain covered in fog at the edge of the markers, “It continues far up the mountain, almost to the very top. Everyone whom we can return home is here. Some never return and we are less for that. Otherwise, from the first of us to the last of us, our bodies rest here.”

Then she pointed into the distance to Tom’s right where three figures collected themselves around a marker, “Her family is up there.”

“Let’s go. I want to talk to them.”

It took them a good fifteen minutes of walking before Thomas got his first good look at Patricia’s family. Her husband was talking to their children, trying to explain to them, Thomas assumed, what had happened and why their Mother would not be returning to them.

The husband was a short blonde man, unassuming, someone you wouldn’t look twice at in the street. He wore a darker suit, in comparison to the children. Looking at the children, Tom was struck with the realization that neither of them had horns or tails.

“Why don’t the kids have horns and a tail like you — or their father, for that matter?”

“They haven’t decided if they want to be like us. So they are simply children with their own ideas and goals. If they decide to become like us, then they’ll have to go through the ceremony and be picked by a Tail.”

“Picked? By a Tail? How does that work?”

She shook her head, “I’ll explain later. Not in front of the children. We protect them from what we are so that they can make up their own minds…”

With that, Camilla’s horns and tail shimmered and vanished, but her clothing remained transformed. As they came within earshot of Patricia’s family she added, “I’d thank you not to talk about it please.”

Tom nodded, but resolved to ask Camilla more questions about their rules later. After all, rules were meant to be broken in the eyes of some people … Reaching the father, Tom offered his hand, “My sympathies upon your loss, sir.”

The other man stood and paused for a moment before taking the offered hand, “Thank you. Name’s ‘Brent.’” The grip was firm but not overwhelming, although Tom had the distinct feeling that he was being judged at that moment by this man.

A nod, “Tom. I’d like some of your time.”

Camilla went to the kids, soon hugging them and drawing their attention away from Tom and their father. She gave him a nod, and Tom took that as his chance to start his questioning, assuming that Brent agreed.

Brent spoke to the kids, “Okay you two, go with Auntie Camila; her friend wants to talk to me. Now be good, right?”

A chorus of, “Yes Father”, and then Camilla and the kids began to walk towards a path leading away from the grave markers.

Brent then rested a hand on the marker which Tom now saw had Patricia’s name on it, “I’ve been told that you are looking into my wife’s death. I’ve been told that Tera asked you to do this. That true?”

“She did, I was investigating before I knew about what you people are. She’s hard to say ‘no’ to…”

A chuckle: “She’s the Queen. Rarely pushes people, mostly suggests and guides when needed. But she has always let people choose to disappoint her or not.”

“Have you?”

“I’ve disappointed myself.”

Storm Clouds

Chapter 8

By TeraS

Tom was not exactly surprised by those words. Survivors usually blamed themselves for things that happened to their loved ones. Some couldn’t handle the pain and didn’t stay in the world, taking what they thought was the easy way out. Others became vigilantes, trying to take an ounce of flesh or more from the person, persons, or thing that took what they loved away. Tom’s concern was a being of power losing control and wrecking havoc.

A being like Brent.

Tom started where he needed to, “Why? What could you have done?”

Brent placed his right fist into the palm of his left hand, “I could have been with her. I could have stopped it.”

“So why weren’t you?”

For a moment, just a moment, a shadow fell over Brent’s face as he replied, “Because I was stupid enough to get trapped in a ward set by a mage.”

“Explain that.”

A pair of black horns shimmered into view at Brent’s temples and his black tail formed behind him, that tail almost lifeless, not moving as Tom had seen Camilla’s do almost constantly.

“Summonings are a bitch. Any idiot with the right book and a fragment of knowledge can summon us into their world. They can summon anything. The stupider ones go and summon beings that they can’t control and then in a panic they summon another being to try and save their worthless hides.”

“Which were you?”

A snort: “The latter. The ass summoned a Darkweaver: ugly horrid tentacle thing that likes to hide in shadows and kill the unwary that get too close. The ass summoned it thinking that he would use it to kill a rival. He didn’t expect that it would try to eat him instead.”

Brent rubbed his fist twice, “So in the middle of that happening, he grabbed his book and tossed out a summoning spell with no focus. I was unlucky enough to be nearby and got dragged into it.”

Tom held up a hand, “You haven’t said where you were.”

“You remember that house that burned to a crisp on the lower west side the same night that … that Patricia left me?”

A nod was Tom’s answer. That was in the papers. A two story, hundred year old house went up that night. One body was found in the mess, the morgue didn’t even bother trying to identify it; there was not a lot left.

“I was the closest supernatural being to him, so I went from being at home with the kids to standing in the middle of a bloodbath. The mage didn’t last five seconds after I got there. The Darkweaver then turned its attention to me and I had to kill it…. Otherwise it would get loose in the city. Couldn’t let that happen.”

”Why”

He laughed, “Because the Queen forbids it. She says that we’ll never get recognition for what we do, but someday it will matter. So I cornered it in the basement, lit some hellfire in the floor to surround it and then burned the place to the ground.”

“Arson?”

Brent didn’t flinch at that, “Burn it or let others die, me first, then whomever got in its way. Arson was the quickest way to stop it. So I did it. You can take me to jail for that if you want.”

Tom pushed on, “You have more important things to deal with. And two kids to look after.”

The tears that formed in Brent’s hurt eyes were something that Tom had seen before.

Brent wiped his eyes with the back of his hand, “I couldn’t leave until I was sure that thing was dead. I stayed in the flames watching the place turn to ash because I had to be sure it was gone. When the fire department had the flames under control and I couldn’t sense anything else there, I portaled out back to our home. When I came through I … I felt her die.”

This was confusing to Tom, “How could you do that?”

Brent started to play with a silver ring on his right hand, “She was more than my wife. She was … is… my Eternal as I am hers. When something happens, something really bad, we know…”

Tom took that at face value, “Why didn’t you go to her?”

Brent gave him a look, “I did, dammit! I portaled as close as I could and ran to her, but the mall cops were there trying to save her and I couldn’t reveal myself, not even to save her. Then your people arrived and it was far too late to do anything more …”

Tom could see the anger in Brent’s eyes, “If I had left, if I had just assumed the fire would have done its job, if I wasn’t so focused on that … thing … I might have felt her in trouble and gotten there sooner, taken her back here and our healers might have saved her …”

Tom felt like he was walking on eggshells, “You won’t believe me, but I know what you mean. Do yourself a favor … get yourself together and real quick. You have two kids that need their father right now. If you forget them I’ll slap you myself so that you remember.”

The dangerous look in Brent’s eyes vanished at the mention of his children, “They have no idea what’s really happened, or it hasn’t hit them yet … what the hell am I supposed to do now?”

“Be a father. Be their father. At least you have that to comfort you Brent. I wasn’t that lucky …”

Brent looked off in the distance where Camilla and the children had vanished behind a small rise moments before, “Luck? I’m all out of that. All that’s left is …”

“Is getting on your feet, making sure those kids of yours know that you are going to be there for them, and that their mother loves them. Not loved.”

A nod, “They know. They’ve always known that. It was the first thing we said when we found them.”

Tom’s reply held a question he had, “Adopted. Camilla told me but not why.”

“One of the things that marks us is that we can’t have kids. Legend has it that as part of the price for being free, the pound of flesh that was taken in return was that we would never have our own. But like any being that deals with contracts, a loophole was found. They never said that we couldn’t adopt them.”

Tom smirked, “Nice. Good deed in place of a bad one. So you got your freedom and then took it upon yourselves to … what? Take kids you wanted to fill a void in you?”

Brent’s tail, for the first time, rose into the air and then pointed itself at Tom, “No. We go through the same steps that you would to adopt them. We don’t cheat and we don’t pick. Every single one of them is loved by all of us. We’ll protect them, let them choose their own way no matter what.”

“And if they choose not to be like you?”

Brent’s tail drooped a bit, “Then they choose that. We stay with them in your world as long as we can. At least until they have their own lives to lead. Then we fade away from them.”

“That hurts doesn’t it?”

Brent sighed, “More than you know. We still watch over them, watch them grow old and then … then we mourn them… It’s a lousy life when you have to watch your kids pass on before you do.”

Tom asked the obvious question, “How old are you, really?”

“Going on three millennia.”

“Holy Crap!”

Brent chuckled, “Pretty much. Seen a lot, loved just one, and now I don’t know what the future brings to us.”

“You hoping that the kids follow you?”

Another nod, “Have to. But I won’t push them, not an inch. They’ll know when the time is right and then … then if they want it, its theirs freely.”

“And if not?”

Brent’s tail and horns shimmered and vanished again, “Then it will be like a dream to them and they’ll continue in their lives never knowing the truth. But I will, and I’ll still be their father.”

Tom considered that; knowing that even beings of power believed in free choice was a small comfort. He wanted to continue to a question about Patricia. But before he could, Brent started walking off in the direction of the kids.

“Sorry Tom, I know that they are safe, but I don’t want to be away from them.”

Tom caught up with him in a couple of strides, “Would you tell me what Patricia did for a living? That might give me a place to start.”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing?”

Brent nodded, “Nothing. She stayed home, looked after the kids and that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.”

“And you?”

He reached into a pocket and then handed a card to Tom, “You won’t believe it.”

Tom looked at the card and didn’t believe it. There in black and white was proof that the universe had a wicked sense of humor. The card read, “Brent B. The Daily Times. Gossip.” It was so weird that he asked, “So tell me then, who’s the mayor seeing?”

Brent’s eyes actually had a spark of mischief in them, “If I told you, you’d fall over from shock.”

Putting the card away, Tom sighed, “Probably. I don’t believe the porn star rumor myself.”

Brent had a look like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, so Tom asked, “You make enemies over your job?”

That question brought Brent to a sudden stop and then he shook his head, “Nah, they wouldn’t do something like this over something so trivial.”

“Who’s they?”

As the two of them crested over the hill, the answer wasn’t what Tom expected…

“It would be easier to list the ones that aren’t …”

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