One of the things that marks Tera is that she is, really, more than anything, very polite. Some see that as a fault; but for her, it masks something more than just being polite … It brings a moment for … consideration.
The only source of politeness is consideration.
Occasionally, more often than not, really, there are moments when Tera finds herself encountering someone that just … doesn’t quite get it. Now the “it” comes down to a matter of understanding more than anything else. If one takes the time to at least speak to her civilly, they generally find that they receive so much more than they are ever asked for; many times Tera never asks for anything in return, to be quite honest about it. But sometimes the encounter begins on the wrong foot—or other body part—and then the question isn’t so much one of what they want, but what Tera will teach them before the moment is over.
And, if nothing else, Tera does enjoy teaching …
In this case the lesson began with a young couple arguing over a scroll they discovered in the deepest archives an old medieval castle and what it represented.
“You have no damn idea what you are talking about!”
That would be the female half of the pair, Lina. She’s an outspoken slightly gruff twenty-something who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. And she does so regardless of whether it gets her into trouble or not. Just because she’s blonde, one shouldn’t expect she isn’t smart or that will just get you into deeper trouble with her.
“Screw you. If it’s real, then we can get something out of her. If it isn’t real, then all you’ve lost is ten minutes of your worthless time.”
And that would be Gary, the male side of the equation: generally only really cares about money, getting ahead, and pushing around whomever he can to get what he wants.
Now the only reason the two of them were a couple, they believed, was that they could tolerate each other when everyone else around them couldn’t. Think of them as two peas in a pod, even if that pod was slightly rotten at the core.
The argument had been going on for most of the day after they had translated the scroll and found that it was a means to ask for an audience with the Queen of the Succubi. Gary assumed that, since she was a Succubus, she would be submissive to him, and Lina assumed that this Queen, whomever she was, would grant her desires. Of course neither of them really thought things through clearly before they went about the summoning. There wasn’t a need for anything other than the scroll and the instructions were very clear:
“1. Be polite when you call.
“2. Be polite when she arrives.
“3. Remember that manners count.”
The calling wasn’t polite, several curse words found their way into the calling, as that was just who they were. Actually, more than a few when their impatience made them call not just once, but several times, with each summoning more crass than the last, eventually ending with the scroll being torn in half when each came to the conclusion that the other was “doing it wrong.”
And then they both figured out that they possibly did it right when there was a puff of red cherry-scented smoke in front of them and a woman’s voice echoing around them … “Such language and manners!”
As the smoke cleared, but the scent remained, they found themselves looking at a woman with red horns peeking out of her raven hair, a long slender heart-tipped tail undulating behind her, the tip hovering over her right shoulder. Deeply green eyes considered them as a bemused smile played over her lips. She wore black: her corset, short skirt, and thigh-high boots were all of the deepest black, almost latex-like in how they shone in the light of the room.
As neither of them said anything, the woman arched an eyebrow and queried: “Would you care to explain just why the two of you decided to use that calling? If you wouldn’t mind, that is.”
Now, a smart person would likely offer a hello or some other greeting, ask this being’s name, and then perhaps request something. But it didn’t quite go that way. What came instead was the couple each yelling out what their individual demands at the same moment, their words becoming a mash of noise that couldn’t quite be understood.
But what was worse was that the one they summoned didn’t care for that sort of thing. She took the few short steps to where the couple stood, each being quite loud and uncouth, and then simply touched Lina on the shoulder, silencing her voice even though her lips kept moving. Another touch on Gary’s shoulder gave him the same problem.
“Now then, allow me to introduce myself … I am Tera, the Queen of the Succubi and the Ruler of the Realm. You …” She smiled a smile that would be worrisome if either of the couple had been paying attention … “… I hesitate to call you “children,” but that seems to best describe your attitudes at the moment … have sent out a call for me. Not just once—as the scroll clearly told you—but, in fact, several times. That in itself wouldn’t be so bad, but really … the language? Tsk.” She crossed her arms over her chest and regarded the pair, now shooting daggers at each other with their eyes, before she continued: “In days past, that would result in the two of you being taught to behave by being given to another of the Succubi, being shaped to her will, and … well … neither of you would be here any longer.”
That got their attention, and they looked at her with some fear in their eyes.
“Ah! Understanding and attention! Lovely!” She then walked around the pair, considering them, making a complete circle before turning towards Gary: “You will be able to speak in a moment. You will answer civilly and truthfully or there will be consequences.” Looking at Lina, she added: “You’ll have your chance. Just be calm and you will. Do not and you will not.”
Having set out the rules, she touched him on the chest and said, “Your name if you please?”
Gary, being somewhat an idiot, replied, “Gary. But you can call me Mas- …”
The word didn’t make it out entirely as she looked at him and her eyes glowed a bright green, capturing his attention: “Shhh … That’s enough, Gary. You will watch your words, won’t you? You know your place, of course, as you should. And that place is on your knees, isn’t it? So … please do drop to your knees and be quiet, won’t you?”
Gary found her suggestions completely reasonable and just nodded before dropping to his knees and focusing his attention on her.
She then turned to Lina and touched her on the chest as well, her question being the same. Lina, not quite the idiot that Gary was, managed: “Lina,” but didn’t say anything more.
Tera looked at her, one eyebrow raised, and then cupped Lina’s cheek with one hand, drawing Lina’s attention to her: “A better answer, but where are your manners? You can do better than that, can you not, Lina? Say your name again, but in the correct way, if you please.”
It had been a long time since Lina was polite, and the words were barely remembered, but they did come: “My name is Lina, ma’am.”
Tera nodded and then her fingertips stroked Lina’s cheek, making Lina’s body shiver: “That is much better, my dear. Of course, you want to keep a civil tongue in your head don’t you? And with that you of course want to show the proper deference, don’t you? And that means, as you are in the presence of royalty, that you must kneel before me … Isn’t that right?”
Lina found that Tera’s words made perfect sense, and in the next moment she was kneeling beside Gary, not looking at him—which would be tacky—but instead looking at Tera as she considered the two of them intently.
“Whatever will I do with the two of you then? Perhaps changing the two of you into pets would be for the best?”
All she did was snap her fingers … just once … and the couple was transformed utterly. Both were collared in red: her hair in a pony tail, his clipped short and neatly; she in latex stockings, shoulder length gloves, and a so-very-tight one-piece suit that clung to her curves and glistened in the light; he in a pair of latex booties and tight boy-shorts … and nothing more … save the so white eyes and utter devotion that ruled their minds and lives.
Tera seemed to ponder them for the longest time, watching them both mewl and whisper for her to command them, their desire to obey utterly all that they were. She allowed this to continue for a time, but then waved her right hand idly. “No. I think not. Neither of you would learn a single thing like this and really that wouldn’t be useful would it?”
She snapped her fingers and the couple returned to how they where before, still kneeing there and waiting.
“Lina my dear, what it is that you want … exactly?”
Her answer was quite surprising, really: “To stop fighting, ma’am.”
“Gary, would you please answer the question as well?
His answer was almost as direct: “For her to admit she likes me.”
Tera considered that, tapping her finger on her lips as she did so: “And it took you calling me to admit that? Whatever happened to just telling someone what you might wish so that person might consider it?”
Neither of the two looking at Tera could answer that question, for that approach had never occurred to them.
“Honestly! The lack of communication in your time is simply amazing. Mind you, I suppose that it does make things more interesting for me from time to time.”
Again, neither said anything. It wasn’t their place, after all.
“I shan’t change the two of you … much. Give you each a civil tongue, for one … and the strength to think before you speak, for another. Beyond that, you are both on your own. Remember what you really want. Then perhaps you won’t go around doing things you don’t understand.”
Tera touched each on their foreheads, then turned away to leave. Or would have if the question hadn’t been asked—by whom wasn’t really clear: “Ma’am? Why be merciful?”
She looked over her shoulder at the couple and smiled: “Because being polite is important. And watching mortals learn something is always better than having someone pick up the pieces afterwards.
After Tera left, by the door whose presence meant she was off to see whomever else she was going to meet, they looked at each other.
“I guess we clean up the mess and, like she said, we try.”
And so they did. Because, in the end, it is about trying to consider and considering to try …