Temptations XXXII – The Grotto – Part II

The story of the Mage meeting the Queen of the Succubi continues, but what is he getting into?

And who is this that is barging into the Queen’s Domain?

Things get a bit more complicated as Tristan, played by Cyprusmage, appears…


Temptations XXXII – The Grotto – Part II

By TeraS and Thamior and Cyprusmage

Tera pointed into the distance and said, “Goto the main staircase of the library. Something is occurring there. Someone has entered my domain. Forced their way inside. I suggest that you convince them that they should behave here or….”

She smiled and then turned away from him to disappear down a aisle of books…

He didn’t believe for one moment that someone could possibly “force” their way into Tera’s realm. Anyone who got in got in because she allowed it. They might think they’ve broken in, but in reality, she always had the final say in the matter. Especially since she would have been responsible for putting both of them in the same dimensions.

But he knew that there could be trouble if this other person was left unchecked. If he didn’t do something about it, then Tera would, and that didn’t sound like such a good idea. Shaking his head, he followed her directions in search of the perpetrator. Although eager to spring into action but moments ago, now he felt somewhat put-upon, more like a puppet than a man.

Squinting, he tried to glimpse the pattern around him as he walked down an aisle lined by bookshelves. As before, the image was erratic, and difficult to comprehend, but he managed to notice an unusual fluctuation within the pattern. It was a person, but not normal. Probably human…human-shaped, at least. Taking a deep breath, he fought the urge to draw the revolver from within his grey overcoat. Tera was opposed to violence.

“Hey,” he called out to the darkness, “I know you’re out there.”

—elsewhere in the library—

Night had fallen by the time Tristan had reached the university library.  The midnight air was cold, and clouds passed intermittently in front of the half moon above.  The vicinity around and leading up to the campus library was devoid of people, and the entire area just seemed…barren.  But Tristan knew this wasn’t the case.  The library was very much a place of activity at this hour; simply not the activity it was intended for.  The mysterious young man made his way up the decorative flights of stairs leading to the library’s outdoor entrance.  This, of course, was locked.  He figured this to be the case, and slipped around the foundation of the building until he reached the loading dock around back.  He removed something from the confines of the rather cumbersome looking jacket he wore and, in a bright flash of light, broke the padlock holding down the garage door.  He was in.

As Tristan proceeded through the back rooms of the library and into the stacks, the available light washed over him.  In this day and age it probably wouldn’t be uncommon to be highly suspicious of Tristan based on his attire.  He wore a long, earthy brown trench cloak that stretched all the way from his broad shoulders down to his ankles.  This was a great distance, considering his form was somewhat tall and awkward.  His face, which was young and somewhat handsome, was cast into shadows by the tan hat on his head.  He refused to call it a cowboy hat, although that was it most resembled.  The get up was part of his uniform; he was a demon hunter.  It was a family thing.  By day he lead a normal life for a young man his age.  But by night he was often summoned by family obligation to perform less…mundane…tasks.  He was closest to the library when magical activity within came to his family’s attention.  And so here he was…stalking through the stacks of the library slowly…carefully…keeping his eyes open at all times.

It would’ve helped if he had known what he was looking for, but in his line of work that luxury was rarely afforded to him.  That was why his attire and demeanor were so…secretive.  Information and knowledge was power; the rather quick witted Tristan understood that.  His cloak hid his body and his tools from any who would look in on him, while the shadows cast by the brim of his hat seemed almost supernatural.  Keeping one’s eyes hidden was of great value, or so he had been taught…

As he passed into the main library, Tristan heard a woman’s voice. She was speaking to someone obviously. From what little he could hear it was a bizarre discussion.

You know that most of that race would refuse that sort of offer….

And then a strong man’s voice replied…

Come now… It’s not a question of if… It’s a question of when

He listened and then figured out that the voices were coming in the direction of the main stairs of the library. Approaching them, he found a large spiral staircase made of red oak rising to the top floor 5 levels above and the basement 2 levels below.

The man’s voice came again…

All make a choice. Some want a wish. Some want a hope. Some want the other within themselves. It’s only fair that they meet what they seek…

Then the woman again…

Really? Isn’t it all one in the same? Or is it that the attempt makes the difference to them? And why?

He stepped on the first stair to go down a level towards the woman’s voice. As his foot touched the wood of the stairs there was a loud creak of sound that seemed to envelope the entire building around him.

All was silent after that noise….

All but the beat of his heart in his chest…

Tristan had listened carefully to every word that was muttered.  The two voices conversing clearly either wanted to be heard, or thought themselves to be the only ones in the library.  Regardless, it had been a rather ominous conversation he seemed to privy to.  What he needed now was to determine who the parties were in this discussion.  His first theory was that at least one of them wasn’t mortal…the woman’s voice, as she had referred to ‘that race’.  Was she a demon?  It would certainly make some semblance of sense.  But he needed to get closer, he needed more information.  And that was when he grew careless.

His entire body froze as the first step of the spiral staircase groaned beneath the weight of his foot.  Everything went deathly silent about him, and he was confronted with a critical decision.  He could continue his descent into the basement, towards the source of the voices, or he could flee upwards.  His research into the library indicated it was filled with ancient tomes and mystical texts…an investigation upstairs might prove fruitful.  But Tristan was a young man, and when confronted with a choice such as this, he normally took the more thrilling route.  He continued down the stair case, but quickly scurred to the far end of the stacks once he fit the floor where the voices had been coming from.  Someone would most certainly be on the look out for him…but he hoped he might catch them first…

Tristan glanced up from his crouched position, at the end of one of the aisles.  It was a voice.  The voice of a man, although not striking him as similar to one he had heard earlier.  No, this was a different voice, a voice that sounded tentative.  Like this man knew that Tristan was present, but little else.  So he probably wasn’t a threat…at least not immediately.  It was best not to be rash, so Tristan removed his hands from his cloak, devoid of any weapons or anything that could be confused for a weapon.  Hell, the young hunter didn’t even know if something was truely amiss here at the library.  Maybe he had just been…misinformed.  Regardless, he now knew that someone was actively looking for him, and he felt it best not to disappoint.  Just as he rising to speak, his cloak unfolding from its scrunched up position, he felt a slight at the back of his neck.  Call it a knack.  Call it a sixth sense.  Regardless, when Trsitan felt that tingle, he knew he was in the presence of one who at least had the potential to wield magic.  Whether he could or not was another matter entirely.  This premonition did not deter him though, as he stepped casually into the aisle, now face to face with another young man.  In his past experience demon’s rarely took this sort of form, and he felt some of the tension leave his body.  He removed his hat for the briefest of moments, to let this other see his large hazel eyes and boyish face.  A sign of good faith, accentuated by a polite smile, before he replaced the hat atop his head…

“I’m sorry…I figured I was the only one wandering the creepy library this late at night…guess I was mistaken,” he said with a slight chuckle.  Long years of training and work in the field had taught him to relax even in somewhat…hazardous environments.


The environment gets a little more hazardous next time…


1 comment

    • avatar
    • James on October 28, 2009 at 2:48 am

    Another one that is building nicely. It is so impressive how each other “Temptations” tales takes a tone of its own.

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