The story continues on, bringing more questions to be anwered…
Maybe the Hunter and the Mage will figure out a game plan…
Temptations XXXIII – The Grotto – Part III
By TeraS and Thamior and Cyprusmage
The man in grey squinted slightly, viewing his pattern more closely. The spacial warping of the pocket realm made it difficult before, but now that they were within close proximity, that no longer applied. The man was definitely human, but carried that odd fluctuation to his pattern that said he was…somewhat gifted.
“Lemme guess,” said the grey man, pointing his way, “Hunter? Yeah, thought so. In that case I’m guessing you can tell I’m a mage. I bet you got a tip-off about this place, right?”
Tristan relaxed ever so slightly as the man across from him spoke. He hadn’t attacked, or even made a threat. In fact, he seemed to be more at ease with this place and odd voodoo going on around here than Tristan was. Had the young hunter found an ally without actually looking?
“Yeah….hunter would be on the money. Guess the outfit sorta gives it away. Not like something you’d see at the mall,” Tristan said with a nod of his head. “Yeah, this place seems to be drawing a lot of attention to it. I was asked to come check the place out. Lots of interdimensional energy wrapped around this place, from what I can tell,” Tristan offered. He didn’t have the sort of powers where he coul actually see these pocket dimensions like the man across from him could, but he could tell when things weren’t as they appeared.
“So what could be significant enough to draw a mage and a hunter to the same library?”
“Not what. Who,” explained the mage, “This library is the home of an entity called Tera, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of her. If you haven’t, then you oughta know that she’s one of the most powerful beings in this or any universe. Especially here. Don’t worry, she’s harmless…Sorta.”
The mage pinched the bridge of his nose, and continued, trying to put all the facts into a few short sentences. After a few seconds, he continued, “Anyone who gets inside here does so because she lets ’em. No matter what you did to get in, if she didn’t want you here, you wouldn’t have managed. Sooner or later, we’ll have to find out why she wants us here. Just do yourself a favour and play nice. She doesn’t like violence.”
Tristan listened carefully to his companion’s explanation, a somewhat grim look hidden on his face the entire time. The name struck a chord. He wasn’t the most well educated when it came to myths and legends, but every hunter in his family was raised to have a rather basic knowledge of what sorts of creatures they might face in the field, and what some of the greater powers that be were. Tera was one of the names mentionned, and he quickly searched the library of his mind. Powerful demoness, supposedly a succubus. That was all he could manage to remember at the moment.
“I’ve heard of her…once or twice. Nothing extensive…” he paused, listening to the rest of the explanation.
“So she’s allowed two adventurers into her realm…I guess toying and manipulating civilians became a bit boring,” Tristan said with a slight chuckle before offering out his hand. “My name is Tristan, by the way.” As he did so, the fold of his cloak slipped to side ever so slightly, revealing the glimmer of a pistol’s barrel. “Oops…guess they won’t be of much use here…” he mused.
“So, I take it you’ve already come in contact with the lady of the library? Any guess as to what the next move is?”
His expression lightened, losing the somewhat put-upon look he had been wearing since Tera sent him on his way. Giving a brief smile, he shook Tristan’s hand.
“John,” he said. Once the formalities were over, he placed both hands in his pockets and glanced about idly at the library shelves. The hunte- Tristan’s question was a valid one, albeit slightly mis-informed. Explaining Tera’s actions was difficult, as it was so easy to view them as evil, when they weren’t…At least, most of the time they weren’t.
“Not sure what we’re supposed to do now,” he said, brow furrowing as he stared down the aisle, “Tera told me that the people who come here do so because they have a good reason. Not sure exactly what she meant by that, though. But if my guess is right, she means we’re here for what she thinks we need, rather than what we want.” he then looked to Tristan, “I came here to secure this area, and we’re both here to make sure it doesn’t cause trouble. I doubt that’s why she let us in.”
John looked about, trying futily to track Tera’s presence within the realm they both occupied, again to no avail. After a few moments silence, he sighed, “I guess we’d better go meet her. She’ll want to speak to us both eventually. Just…be careful around her. She’s not evil, but she can still be dangerous. She…this is a kind of game. Her game. If you win, you get something important, something that’ll make you happy. You lose, and you belong to her. As gifted as we both are, we might as well not be here. We’ll have to use our brains for this one. C’mon, let’s go.”
Tristan’s expression remained stoic almost the entire time John was speaking, although here and there he seemed to dip into a state of deeper thought. From the myths he remembered and John’s description, this wasn’t the type of demon that they would be able to vanquish. Indeed, they were already at a severe disadvantage in terms of raw power. They were in Tera’s world. They had to play by her rules. And her rules were what entertained her…and more likely than not, nullified their strengths.
“I suppose the question is,” Tristan began, following up John’s first comment, ” does what we need coincide with what she wants. I’ve met charitable demons…but they’re far and few between. There’s always an angle. We’re both here to make sure things don’t get out of hand…but clearly there’s only so much we can limit here. Maybe we’re here as a last chance to save those who can’t save themselves…although I doubt Tera would bring us here for that if she believed we had a legitimate shot at success…” Tristan mused. It was depressing to think about, the motivation of a higher class demon.
“We might as well go back from where you were…either there or on the ground floor is where I would suspect her to be,” Tristan pondered, dwelling silently on this notion of a game. What could he possibly want from this woman? He followed John at a close but safe distance back to the area where he had last left Tera…
The Queen always has an angle…
I’m good at pool after all…