Jan 30 2015

Can the Lost Girl paint it black?

The one thing I cannot stand is when a series like Lost Girl has a character appear that, in a lot of ways, tries to be another character. They try to have the same attitude, the same tone of voice, even the same sort of style. But that really doesn’t work when it becomes a caricature and then some. I thought that this was something that Lost Girl wouldn’t do, but obviously I was wrong because Zee seemed to become a Morrigan wannabe, complete with attitude, looks towards Bo and then some. That didn’t work at all. She isn’t close to being near to Evony’s style, for one thing, and for another, it really just felt like someone thought that she needed, in order to be “evil”, to be like Evony. Someone didn’t get the memo about creating characters with their own style and attitude I think. Also a better fashion sense would have helped, but I digress.

The other thing that bothered me about this episode, being that it was the mid-season finale, and is going to mean this is the last episode until next winter by all accounts, was that really none of the characters was in any real danger at the end of the episode. Yes, I know, Mark gets stabbed, Tamsin gets hit by lightning. But otherwise… Where is the tension at the end of this episode? Bo opens the box, okay that was expected. Lauren and Dyson are waiting for help and watching Mark bleed while Vex runs in circles, again, not unexpected. Trick is off who knows where, again not unexpected. All of the main and supporting characters are just… paused.

When I look back on the previous episode, I think that made a better cliffhanger in a lot of ways because it didn’t telegraph what was coming. It set things up, left doors open, but didn’t push through them. By doing that there was a real tension at the end of that episode that didn’t, at least for me. happen in this one. This episode was… as a whole… boring. It really was only in the last five minutes that things happened that I actually cared about and that shouldn’t have been. There was a lot of tension, questions, and mystery that could have been used to make a better episode and it wasn’t.

Now we have ten months of… pause. I’m underwhelmed to be honest. I have no desire to get to the next episode, to want time to hurry up and get there so the next episode can be aired. This is not a good sign and it doesn’t make me happy. Too little “need” was left in this episode’s wake and that’s a problem. But it is what we have, and as such the questions that have been going on in the series to this point weren’t really answered. Save for one thing. At least we finally know what Bo’s father looks like. Hopefully that means that things will finally get ramped up in the latter part of this season. I really hope so.

The eighth episode of the fifth season, also episode sixty-nine of the Lost Girl TV series, was this week. Bo gets her hand dipped in black paint, while her father tells riddles, and the world starts to fall apart around her, before Bo sees the light. Tamsin gets dressed up before having a shocking discovery about the Ancients. Trick enjoys some really good clam dip before some light reading, while Zee does a Morrigan impersonation that needs a lot of work. Dyson loses his mind until Lauren sets him straight, then keeps up the pressure. Mark discovers a one-night stand can go wrong when her parents come home, And Vex calls for takeout and then helps out unexpectedly.

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This is the eighth review of the fifth season of of Lost Girl. A summary of this episode has been added to the SuccuWiki, but won’t be adding my commentary to the articles there as that is what the Tale is for….

Bo has a drink and when she’s done, she’s seen the…

 

End Of Faes

 

The episode begins with a series of flashbacks to previous episodes including: Bo standing in the middle of the symbol the Ancients carved into a street, Lauren commenting “someone is trying to send us a message” and Bo saying that the Ancients were behind the attack. Bo commenting that her father is Hades and he is trying to use her for something as she reads the birthday card from her father and looks at the present he sent her. Iris asking Mark what he can do, Mark replying he is a shifter as Iris demonstrates her powers and then commenting that she serves her keepers. Tamsin watching Bo and Lauren in bed, Tamsin stating that she knows that Bo’s heart is with her, not Lauren, then Tamsin leaving Bo. Hera attacks Dyson and then Zeus’ lightning kills Eros as Bo, Lauren and Evony look on. Cassie is seen asking Zee to let her go, then Zee pushing her off the balcony to her death. Finally, Bo telling Trick that it is about time to meet the other side of their family.

The episode proper begins with Tamsin (Rachel Skarsten) packing her things to leave with Bo (Anna Silk) following as they walk down the stairs in Bo’s home, Bo telling Tamsin that she is “part of the team” and she can’t just walk away, adding that she needs Tamsin. Tamsin throws her suitcase on the floor and comments: “That’s really nice of you, but we both know it’s not true. And I don’t need you either.” Finding a pair of leather pants, Tamsin wonders if they are Bo’s but then throws them at her, telling Bo to keep them, adding: “I know you like to reuse old styles.” Bo replies: “Fashion snark, is that where we are now?” Bo again asks Tamsin to talk to her about what’s happened between them but Tamsin tells Bo: “We don’t need to. I was upset and now I’m not. I realize there’s no winning with you.” When Bo asks what game they were playing, Tamsin tells her: “Doesn’t matter where your body is, your heart will always be with her.” Tamsin tells Bo that she and Lauren will always be a couple, even where they aren’t together. After finishing packing, Tamsin then breaks the roll-along handle to her suitcase, curses, and then throws the handle away before picking up her suitcase and starting to leave. When Bo asks where she will go, Tamsin replies: “Wherever the universe takes me. Motel 6. And then wherever the universe takes me.” Just before Tamsin walks out of the room, she pauses, reaches into a side pocket of her suitcase and hands Bo an envelope, telling Bo it came for her. Bo takes the envelope, then tells Tamsin: “I lost Kenzi. I don’t want to lose you too.” Tamsin quietly replies: “It’s better this way” and then walks out the front door leaving Bo alone. After Tamsin leaves, Bo looks at the envelope, which is addressed to Bo Dennis, turns it over, and then sees that it is sealed with wax, an imprint of the Ancient’s symbol embedded in it. Bo opens the envelope, removes a card and looks at it for a moment.

The card is revealed to say: “Com join us for a gathering. Libations and fun. Dress to impress or you will be turned away.” It is then shown that Bo has travelled to the Dal Riata where she, Lauren (Zoie Palmer), Dyson (Kristen Holden-Ried) and Trick (Richard Howland) all have received the same invitation, Mark (Luke Bilyk) working nearby and Vex (Paul Amos) at the bar drinking. Lauren comments: “It’s always nice to be popular.” Vex comments: “Well, speak for yourself. I didn’t get an invite did I?” Trick tells Vex that he should feel lucky and then wonders why the Ancients are having a party and why at this moment. Dyson muses: “Human sacrifices, murdering a football player”, then Bo continues: “Mutilating the Oracles, a storm that almost wiped out the colony.” Lauren wonders: “They need a palate cleanser?” Bo comments about the Ancients being somehow related to Bo’s father and Bo believes that her father is behind everything that has happened. Trick asks about Bo’s vision from the Oracles, and what her father said to her. Bo replies that it was all a “bunch of riddles” and then repeats: “The greatest evil is the greatest mercy.” Dyson tells Bo that the only way to find out what is going on will be to attend the party and see for themselves. Dyson then tells Mark: “And we’re going to have to get you a new suit.” Dyson asks if Mark wants to go on his first mission while Vex looks on in concern as Mark agrees to go. Trick tells the group: “Mythology states that even the Ancients have an Achilles heel” and Bo replies that they will found out what that is and then end them. Bo then leaves, the others following her, but Vex stops Dyson and asks him if Mark is ready for what Dyson is asking him to do, adding that Mark has not shifted as yet. Dyson replies: “He’s got to become a man sometime” and then leaves. Vex strikes up small talk with Mark and then tells Mark to call him if he needs backup. Mark jokes: “I’ll call you if I get bored.”

The scene then moves to an elevator where Bo, Lauren, Dyson and Mark are waiting, dressed up for the party. Mark comments: “I hope they have an open bar” but Dyson replies: “Except you won’t be drinking” and Mark answers: “No alcohol. Right.” Dyson then prompts: “And?” Mark quickly replies: “Keep your back to the wall. Know your exits.” Dyson nods, then continues: “Trust your gut. If something is off, listen to it. If the plan changes…” Mark breaks in: “Roll with it. Got it.” Lauren then comments: “I hate to be a buzzkill but are we going to talk about the possibility that this is a trap?” When no one answers, Lauren sighs “No.” as the elevator bell rings and the doors open to a darkened space, no sounds save for the elevator music that continues to play. Dyson exits first, followed by Bo, Lauren and Mark tails behind. Lauren whispers: “Now are we going to talk about the possibility that this could be a trap?” The lights come on in the room which reveals a large number of Fae, the room decked out with balloons and several large signs that read: “Welcome Bo” as the assembled crowd cheers “Surprise!” As Bo looks around the room she comments, a bit stunned: “Okay. I need a drink.”

Following the abbreviated opening title sequence, Iris (Shanice Banton) is in her room and asks Hera (Noam Jenkins) if the bracelet goes with the outfit she is wearing. Hera replies: “Don’t be silly, it’s a one of a kind, it goes with everything.” Hera approaches Iris, asking if she cleansed her skin as asked, to which Iris promises that she did so. As Hera fixes Iris’ lipstick, and comments that Zee likes to show Iris off, and that she shouldn’t upset Zee. Iris replies: “Because she would yell at you.” Hera then pushes Iris back onto her bed, commenting that Iris might not be ready for the party, but Iris begs Hera to allow her to attend. Hera relents, adding: “Come along my pet.” When Iris comments that she should greet the guests, Hera tells her: “Can’t wait till everyone sees how special you are.” Hera then starts to leave the room but adds: “Oh, and get the guests to try the clam dip. Zee’s trying out a new recipe and… it’s been a whole thing.”

Meanwhile at the party, Bo takes a drink from a waitress, but before she can try it, Lauren stops her, dips a test strip in the drink, and then tells Bo it’s fine. Bo comments: “Forgot how much fun you are at parties.” As the pair walk through the party, a guest tells Bo that it is a great party and she replies: “Thank you, that’s right, the party’s for me” and Lauren adding “and no one seems to know why.” Bo tells Lauren that the party “reeks of my father” and Lauren wonders if whatever brought the Ancients to Earth also brought Hades, Bo’s father, with them and Bo comments: “Greek gods are throwing me a party so anything is possible.” Dyson, Mark and Trick then approach Bo and Lauren, Dyson telling Bo there is no sign of the Ancients so far, Trick commenting that the clam dip is “amazing” and there “seems to be a fair number of Fae here.” Bo doesn’t like that fact and is concerned that the Ancients are planning something, Lauren adding that they “want an audience” and Bo deciding that they will “give them a show.” Dyson tells Bo that he is on “Hera duty. Soon as I see his smug little face.” Lauren then offers Dyson a syringe with chemicals designed to “reduce the possibility of bug showers” adding “it’s bug spray essentially.” Mark asks why Lauren cannot turn the Ancients human as she did with Evony, which Lauren explains took months to accomplish and then begins to explain the process, but Dyson quickly interrupts her and takes the syringe with thanks. Trick then tells the group that he will circulate through the party and look for any “unusual activity” and “I’ll be by the clam dip.” Mark asks what he should do and Dyson explains that he should find Iris and try to get information from her about her parents, adding: “I’m glad you changed your mind about wanting to help.” Mark replies: “United force right?” Dyson smiles as he walks away, adding: “Just show me you can take it seriously.” Lauren tells Bo that she will try to get samples from the Ancients, and Bo replies that she will look for “our Hostess, assuming I can find her.” Before Lauren can leave, Bo stops her and tells Lauren: “About what happened between us in the blackout…” but Lauren interrupts and tells Bo that she knows it was a one-time thing and not to worry about it. Bo stops Lauren from leaving and explains: “Here’s the thing. I’m not. There’s always going to be a reason for us not to be together and I don’t want to put this off any longer.” Lauren whispers: “Oh boy.” and Bo asks: “Oh boy yes or oh boy no?” Before Lauren can reply, Bo’s attention drifts off into the distance as Tamsin is nearby and when Lauren sees Tamsin, she comments: “Annnd we’re back. Although it is a very nice back.” referring to Tamsin who is wearing a backless dress. Bo tells Lauren they will “finish this later” and Lauren agrees that they will. Bo approaches Tamsin and comments: “I didn’t realize you got an invitation” and when Tamsin turns to look at Bo she replies: “It’s nice to see you too.” Bo tells Tamsin she’s glad that Tamsin is there and that they need her, Tamsin revealing that Dyson told her about “Operation Ancients go history” as she has a drink and tells Bo “I’m game.” When Bo suggests that she shouldn’t drink so much, Tamsin tells her: “Look, I’ll play superhero with you tonight, but there’s no way I’m not having fun while I do it.”

Bo then enters another room where she picks up a small music box and plays it for a moment before Iris appears in the room. Iris comments: “You look beautiful in that dress” and then tells Bo that she doesn’t mind that Bo is in her room, adding that “it’s nice to have company, Hera never lets me have company over.” Bo tells Iris: “You and I aren’t exactly friends.” Iris seems not to notice Bo’s reply and then asks to touch Bo’s hair noting how shiny it is. Bo comments on Iris’ bracelet, calling it pretty and Iris explains: “My parents make me wear it.” Bo then reaches out her hand and tries to use her powers to persuade Iris to tell her where Zee is, but is interrupted as Zee (Amanda Walsh) walks into the room, commenting: “It depends who you ask” and Iris quickly runs off, leaving Bo alone with Zee.

Dyson is walking through the party when he sees Hera and approaches. Hera tells Dyson: “I’m happy you came. I thought after our last interaction you might be… bugged by me.” Dyson replies: “I thought you might think that, so I brought you a little gift” and then injects Hera with Lauren’s bug spray. When Hera asks: “What the hell was in that?” Dyson replies: “A little precautionary measure. What can I say? Every dog has his day, and then again some dogs just need to be neutered.” Hera then taunts Dyson: “That reminds me. How is my bitch Alycia doing?” Dyson calmly replies: “She wanted me to give you this” and then punches Hera in the face, but to little effect, other than a bleeding lip. When Hera asks: “Is that all you got?” Dyson replies: “I guess I’m no match for a god” before walking off with Hera’s blood on his hand.

The scene returns to Zee and Bo, Zee revealing to Bo: “In Egypt I was Amun. Odin to the Vikings. Jupiter to the Romans. But you would know me best as Zeus.” Bo comments: “Zeus? As in white hair, thunder thighs plus… a dude.” which brings Zee to comment: “Just like a patriarchal society to depict their most powerful member as male. I’ve had many forms, but currently… Zee… is a she.” Bo sighs: “And my aunt. Question is, what kind are you? The cool aunt that buys you condoms or the crazy aunt who ruins Christmas?” When Zee chuckles, Bo continues: “Oh wait, you’re the aunt that murders innocent people.” Zee brushes this off as: “When you are trying to make your way in a new world, people are bound to get hurt.” Bo replies: “Whatever helps you sleep at night.” Zee insists: “My hands are clean. Mostly.” Bo whispers: “Which brings us back to Daddy.” Zee admits that Hades might have inspired the party but insists that “You and I are on the same team. You’re on a sinking ship, the balance is quickly shifting and I don’t want to see you go down.” Bo replies: “I happen to be quite buoyant.” Zee brushes this off as Bo deflecting things with humour, then Bo asks why Zee sent the Oracles to her, and Zee admits it was to find Bo’s truth which Zee tells Bo is: “The thing you crave above all. Freedom from your father.” and then Zee offers to grant that freedom to Bo. Why Bo asks why, Zee answers: “I want the same thing as you but we have to stop him first.” When Bo asks what they have to stop Hades from doing, Zee tells Bo: “From using you to end the world.”

After the first commercial break, Bo marches through the party and when she finds Trick, she tells him they are leaving and pulls Trick through the party in each of them. When Trick asks what the problem is. Bo explains: “My Aunt Zeus wants to emancipate me from Hades.” Bo rants about Zee doing so after all that Bo has been through and when Trick asks why, Bo replies: “To stop the zombie apocalypse or whatever dramatic end of days daddy dearest has in store for us?” When Bo asks about Dyson and Lauren, Trick does not answer the question, but asks Bo to consider the idea, but Bo wants nothing to do with it and leaves. After Bo leaves, Zee appears and tells Trick: “I’m glad you could make it Trick.” When Trick turns to Zee, he comments: “The Aegis shield. Mythology says you are never without its protection.” Zee replies: “No glove, no love.” Bo then calls out Trick’s name and when he reaches Bo, she is standing by a drink bowl which Trick recognizes as the Drink of Prophecy in which can be seen the eyeballs taken from the Oracles. Trick again calls it: “The original original” and adds: “I never forget a drink” as Zee approaches. Zee pours out a drink, as she does so, Trick explains that by drinking, Bo will have a vision of the future. Zee insists “It is the only way you can see the pain Hade will cause if you remain bound to him.” Bo is disgusted by the drink, reminding Zee that Cassie was her friend. Zee ignores this and replies: “I haven’t got time to brush your hair. The longer you are connected, the stronger he becomes.” Zee offers Bo the drink and when Bo looks at Trick, he seems to encourage Bo to do so. Bo and Trick then take a sip and the two see a vision of a park where everything turns to black, all life being destroyed by some unknown force. Bo then looks at her hand and watches as the same darkness covers her hand and then spreads down her arm. The vision ends when Bo drops the glass she was holding to the floor and it shatters. Bo whispers: “All those lives. Everything.” Trick adds: “Gone.” Bo whispers that she needs to sit down and Trick tells Bo that he has “never felt so much nothing. Complete and utter nothing.” Bo turns to Trick and tells him that she has felt a similar nothing before when she was in Tartarus. Zee makes herself a drink as she sighs: “That’s what I have been trying to tell you.” Bo demands to know how this can be stopped and Zee reveals that Hades, being banished for thousands of years to the Underworld and the mark that Bo carries is his connection back to the Earth and it must be removed from Bo’s body. When Bo asks if she has been feeding Hade, Zee replies: “an all you can eat buffet.” Bo asks how Zee’s plan will work to free her and Zee replies: “Some anointing, some chanting, the usual.” When Bo asks about a sacrifice, Zee insists “No one is getting hurt unless you keep hemming and hawing. Tick-tock.” Bo looks at Trick and whispers: “Time to divorce Daddy.”

Elsewhere at the party, Iris is looking over the city from the balcony when Mark approaches her, and asks: “What is the most beautiful girl at the party doing here all alone.” After trying to make some small talk and jokes with Iris, Mark asks what’s wrong and Iris asks: “Do you ever wish you could fall asleep and wake up a whole new person?” Iris then complains about what her parents keep telling her, to be good, to wear the bracelet her parents gave her, and not to ruin the party. Mark replies that he thinks the party “sucks” and when Iris asks if he is leaving, Mark replies that might if Iris wants to go with him or not. When Iris suggests that Dyson would be mad, Mark insists that he wouldn’t be as “He knows I can handle myself.” Iris moans: “Hera doesn’t I’m his divine Messenger. His bidding is my duty.” Mark is shocked by this, telling Iris that she is not Hera’s property. When Iris points out that he does what Dyson tells him to so, Mark explains that Dyson is not “my boss” and “I do what I want.” Iris then reveals that there is a place she has been wanting to show Mark and moments later the two leave the party.

Dyson is with Lauren, who is taking the blood sample that Dyson obtained when he punched Hera. Lauren comments that she hopes that Dyson didn’t contaminant the sample, Dyson smiles and replies: “You’re welcome.” Lauren rolls her eyes and tells Dyson that he “enjoyed it” and “if I didn’t know better I’d think you were scrapping over some girl. Maybe the girl who’s sleeping at the boxing gym.” Dyson smiles and tells Lauren: “You know you’re right. You don’t know better.” Dyson asks how they know that the Ancients are not lying and Lauren explains that Trick and Bo both saw the vision and that they have to try to stop it from coming true. Dyson then sees Hera enter the room and speak with a female Fae, which makes Dyson smile and comment: “There’s no reason why we can’t set up some collateral. Just in case.”

Mark and Iris then walk into a house somewhere in the city, Mark commenting “When I told you to disobey your parents, breaking and entering wasn’t what I had in mind.” Iris tells Mark that going to jail for a day is better than living with Zee and Hera, also revealing that no one had been living in the house for a few days as well. Iris then kisses Mark, adding: “I bet they have a king-size bed” before she walks further into the house, Mark following her.

Back at the party, Zee enters a room, followed by Bo, Trick and Dyson, Zee calling out: “Let the emancipation begin!” When Bo asks if there is a book of chants or if she can choose her own, Zee brushes that off, telling Bo that comes later before removing a tablecloth and revealing an array of weapons to Bo and telling her that one of the weapons will be used to carve the mark from her body. Bo is then told she must choose one of the weapons. When Bo asks what happens if she chooses wrong, Zee replies: “You die.”

After another commercial break, Zee tells Bo to “Pick your poison” and to choose the right weapon or the ritual will fail. Bo comments: “Can I phone a friend?” but Zee tells Bo that only she can decide and that she doesn’t make the rules and Bo can “take it up with the Erinyes.” Bo examines the weapons, starting with leeches. Zee tells Bo” Belonged to a Naiad. Lovely creatures.” Dyson comments: “Used by water nymphs in cleansing rituals.” Bo muses: “Pros. Painless won’t leave a mark. Cons. Ew and Ew.” Bo then picks up a sword which Zee describes as an Xiphos sword, calling it a classic. Bo comments: “Would get the job done, Sharp. Precise. Obvious.” Bo then picks up a Minotaur horn and Trick explains: “Minotaur. Feasted on children. A sacrifice to hold off the plague in ancient times.” Bo then picks up a short blade in a sheath, removing the sheath and looking at the blade, but before Zee can comment, Bo simply says: “This is it.” Trick tells Bo the blade is unknown to him and Dyson asks how Bo knows it is the right weapon. Bo replies: “Because I just know.” Zee then reveals the weapon is the Amethusto dagger, calling it an “interesting choice” as the blade is said to “keep its owner free of evil thoughts.” Bo then resheaths the blade and when asked if she is sure replies: “Rusty dagger. Final answer.”

Hera is then shown in Iris’ room with Tamsin and Lauren, the two having tired Hera to a chair. Tamsin tells Hera: “You’re an little insurance policy in case something happens to Bo.” Lauren adds: “We find out first or you pay.” Tamsin then picks up a magazine, commenting that it will “keep my mind off Bo.” Lauren rolls her eyes and answers: “Okay. Ignoring me. That’s mature.” and when Tamsin says nothing, Lauren continues: “Or we could talk about it like two adults, you know there’s a novel idea.” Tamsin asks why she would “talk about Bo’s emancipation with you?” Lauren confronts Tamsin, telling her that she’s been wanting to “talk about this all night. Go ahead. You, me, Bo.” Tamsin sighs: “Look Lauren, I entered the game late and I lost. That’s life. The best woman won.” Tamsin claims to be “over it” and suggests that Lauren should be as well. Lauren tells Tamsin “that’s noble of you” and isn’t sure what else to say. When Lauren takes a seat beside Tamsin, Hera comments: “Well this is nice.” Lauren then notices that alongside Iris’ bed there are a number of restraints and when Tamsin sees them, she stalks to Hera, anger clearly on her face. Hera attempts to ask them not to “overreact and let me explain.” Tamsin asks: “Why you would want to restrain child that makes me not want to kill you?” Tamsin asks Lauren if that’s possible, and Lauren replies: “No. No I don’t think it is at all.” Hera tries to explain: “We didn’t do it to hurt her” as Tamsin and Lauren move threatening towards Hera. Hera continues: “We did it because we have to.” Lauren asks why and when Hera does not answer, Lauren asks Tamsin, why such powerful Fae would tie up a child. Tamsin replies that it makes no sense, but Lauren wonders if Iris is far more powerful than either Zee or Hera are.

Bo is then seen laying on a table, Zee standing above her with the blade Bo chose in her hand. Zee promises the oil she is using will dull the pain and Bo “will barely feel a thing” and also comments that Bo has “gorgeous skin, flawless like Aphrodite” as well. Bo replies: “Especially since the scar has healed from your bolt.” Zee calls this “impressive. You heal faster than most. Not even a blemish.” Bo taunts: “Must be good genes.” Zee claims to have “overreacted” when she attacked Bo during Clay’s football game. Bo then asks if Zee is up to “facing big brother” and she is glad to be “an only child” as Hade’s mark begins to glow against Bo’s skin. Zee comments: And there he is now.” Dyson asks Trick: “Are we really going to let this happen? Let her cut our girl?” Trick tells Dyson: “The fate of the colony depends on it. I saw it too Dyson.” Zee places the blade against Bo’s skin and is about to begin, gleefully calling this “the moment of truth” and when Dyson coughs, Zee replies: “What? I love this shit.” when Lauren and Tamsin rush in and tell Bo to stop. Tamsin explains that Iris is more powerful than either Zee or Hera. Dyson is aghast, stating that Mark is alone with her, then calling out Mark’s name, but he does not reply and Lauren tells Dyson that she looked for Mark already and neither he, nor Iris are there. Zee is unimpressed by this and Bo turns on her, telling Zee that: “The most powerful of you is with the least powerful of us. We need to find them. Now.” As Bo leaves, Zee calls out that Bo cannot leave as she is not finished. Bo tells Zee: “There’s a first time for everything and then walks away, intent on finding Mark and Iris. As Bo leaves, Zee angrily says: “Fine. Plan B.”

Mark and Iris are then seen at the house in the living room after being intimate with each other. As they dress, the pair talk about all of the pressures on their lives, Mark talking about Dyson and Iris talking about Zee and Hera. When Mark goes off to look for something to eat, he finds a picture of the family that Iris’ human body had been part of which frightened him. Iris then tells Mark about the person she had possessed, calling her CC and that she had a happy life. Iris also points out some of the events in CC’s life before Iris reveals that CC still exists, and that she talks to her sometimes, adding that CC thinks that Mark is “really cute”. Mark is shocked that CC is still alive and Iris asks that Mark not tell Zee and Hera as she was supposed to kill CC in the same way that Zee and Hera did in their cases. Mark begs Iris that they need to leave, but Iris is convinced that she can return to live with CC’s family. Iris also reveals that CC misses her family and that she can hear CC crying as well. There is the sound of the front door opening and Mark panics, desperately trying to leave with Iris, but she refuses. Instead, Iris greets CC’s father, claiming to be CC and that she has returned. Frank (Rothaford Gray), CC’s father hugs her in disbelief, and calls out for his wife Nancy (Catherine Burdon) but then tells Iris that she is not his daughter. This upsets Iris and she asks “Why don’t you love me? Does your heart not work? ” before plunging her hand into his chest and killing him, his body falling to the floor in the front hallway as Mark watched from a short distance away. When Mark approaches Iris and asks what she did. Mark sees that the blood from Frank’s body is making the mark of the Ancients in a similar way as what happened the to football player when he was murdered and whispers: “It was you that killed all of those people.” Iris tells Mark: “They had to go to sleep Mark.”

Following another commercial, Mark has been attempting to save Frank’s life, but cannot do so. Iris tells Mark: “It’s okay. Someday they are all going to wake up and they’ll be better.” Mark begins to panic and tells Iris that she has killed and when Iris tries to tell Mark that Hera told her differently, Mark tells her that Hera is evil and that both Hera and Zee used her. Iris then begins to panic, screaming for Mark to stop, that according to Zee and Hera: “This is what I was supposed to do! And they are going to wake up!” Iris also claims that “Everything that ends is going to start again!” Mark tries to have Iris calm herself, but she does not and then, in a fit of anger, removes her bracelet. Immediately after doing so, Iris tells Mark that something is happening to her, that Mark has to help her and when Mark yells at Iris to leave she runs away. As Mark attempts to drag Frank’s body away, Nancy appears and then stabs Mark in the stomach, gravely injuring him. Mark then stumbles away while Nancy falls to her knees beside Frank’s body.

Back at the Ancient’s apartment, Zee is talking to Hera on the balcony, telling Hera: “She knows better than to remove it. Even Iris isn’t that stupid.” Tamsin then appears and Hera comments: “Well, speaking of stupid.” Zee replies: “You’re one to talk. Who let the cat out of the bag in the first place? Can you do anything without me?” Hera attempts to defend his action, but Zee will have none of it and tells Hera: “Once the Super Friends bring Mark and Iris back we’ll get this show on the road.” Zee then dismisses Hera, who leaves as Tamsin arrives on the balcony. Zee then makes some small talk with Tamsin, noting that Tamsin was left behind to watch them. Tamsin replies: “Yeah. Lucky me.” Zee then tells Tamsin: “Report this back to your friends, Bo’s emancipation is now or never.” Tamsin asks why Zee seems not to care that Iris is missing and Zee replies: “Please. They’re fine, they’re kids. Meanwhile Hades is about to wipe us all out. We need Bo to complete the ceremony.” Tamsin replies: “Good luck with that” and when questioned about this, she continues that she does believe that Bo should separate from her father, but also she should make “better relationship choices” as well. Zee comments: “Sounds like she’s made a lot of bad choices about a lot of things. Care to share?” Tamsin says no, but then adds that she is relieved that their relationship is over and then tries to justify to herself that breaking up with Bo was a good idea. When Tamsin begins to cry, Zee comments that she’s “never seen a Valkyrie cry” and Tamsin tells her: “That’s cause it’s against type. No emotions on the battlefield. Yes Ma’am. No Ma’am. Doubt. Kill. Repeat.” Tamsin then whispers: “You’d think by my last life I’d have this figured out.” Zee then tells Tamsin that it can “take centuries to figure it out” and when Tamsin asks “when do people stop hurting you?” Zee replies: “They didn’t. I started hurting them and you’re next.” Tamsin replies: “I doubt that” Zee then comments: “Cassie tried to be brave too. Poor girl. Terrible eyesight that one.” Tamsin coldly replies: “You know, the different between Cassie and me is that I can fly.” Zee chuckles and then a bolt of lightning strikes Tamsin, she collapsing to the floor and unmoving. Zee looks at Tamsin and sighs: “Not anymore.”

Elsewhere, Bo, Lauren and Dyson arrive at a park in Bo’s car, Lauren mentioning that she spoke with Trick and that Mark and iris are not at the Dal Riata. Bo stops the car and Dyson comments that he had a report that there was a “disturbance at the south end of the park” as they leave the car and begin to search for Mark and Iris. Dyson picks up a piece of clothing and notes that it belongs to Mark, Lauren looks at the clothing and adds: “That’s way more blood than I like.” Dyson senses Mark and begins search for him with Lauren to the west as Bo turns to the south to find Iris. As they spilt up, Lauren calls out to Bo: “Oh boy yes.” The two look at each other for a long moment and then Lauren turns away to run after Dyson. Bo then turns in another direction and comments: “Okay Iris. Time to find out what makes you so powerful.”

Iris is then seen elsewhere in the park picking a flower. Moments after doing so, the flower turns completely black in her hand and then crumbles to nothing. A police officer then asks if Iris needs help, but she only asks: “Please sir, just go away.” The police officer then reaches for Iris’ hand, grasps it and then he begins to turn black in the same way that the flower did.

After still another commercial break, Bo approaches Iris and asks if she is alright. Iris asks Bo not to come too close to her, but not why. Bo sits beside Iris on a park bench and asks if she and Mark are alright, Iris replying that Mark is mad at her. When Bo attempts to touch Iris’ cheek, Iris starts to walk away from Bo. Bo asks Iris to talk to her and promises not to touch Iris as well. Bo asks why Mark is mad at Iris and is told: “I’m not supposed to make you sleep. Zee needs you.” Bo is confused, but jokes: “Lucky for you I’m a succubus. I don’t need much sleep.” Iris then tells Bo: “Mark’s right. All I do is hurt people.” Bo then tells Iris about her own past, when she was younger and didn’t understand that she was a succubus and the harm that she did then. Iris replies: “They make me do bad things. I’m a murderer.” Bo asks what “they” made Iris do and then Bo touches Iris’ cheek, intending to use her powers to make Iris answer her. Iris then backs away and tells Bo: “I told you not to touch me.” Bo then looks at her hand and sees it turn black exactly as was foretold in the prophecy that she had seen at the party. Bo then looks at the surrounding park, which is turning black and whispers: “The darkness wasn’t my father. It was Iris.”

Bo travels to the Dal Riata where she shows Trick her hand and tells Trick that the vision came true and Iris was responsible. Bo tells Trick: “There’s something else inside of her. Something turning everything into nothing.” This reminds Trick of something and he quickly searches through one of his books before explaining: “The Nix. A primordial force of evil born from chaos.” Trick notes that Zee and Hera must have been waiting for the right moment to release it in Iris and wipe out the world. Bo calls Iris: “A ticking time bomb wrapped in a rainbow.” When Bo asks how to stop it, both she and Trick watch the darkness continues to creep up Bo’s arm, Trick unsure that they can stop it, but then remembers a story that his mother told him of a toy box that can contain evil. Trick calls it “the original Jack-in-the-box” and adds “only a box of Adamantine, the ore of Ancients, could contain such evil.” Trick dismisses this as a possible metaphor, but Bo reveals that the box is real, that she has it, and it was “a gift from the Underworld… From my father,” Trick asks where the box is and Bo tells Trick it is at the clubhouse, Bo leaving in the next moment to go there.

Dyson and Lauren are seen running through the park, Dyson unable to focus and find Mark. Lauren tells Dyson his feelings for Mark are getting in the way, calms Dyson down and after a few moments of concentration, Dyson turns and moves off in a new direction, certain that Mark is there. A short run later finds Vex carrying Mark as Dyson and Lauren arrive. Lauren asks Vex what he is doing there, and Vex explains that Mark called him for help. Dyson asks in a worried tone of voice if Mark will be alright, but Lauren takes charge and orders Dyson to put pressure on Mark’s wound. As this happens, Vex tells them they he will try to get help and goes off in search of that. Dyson talks to Mark, trying to keep him awake and fighting for his life. Mark does not speak, but gasps for breath and slowly begins to fade away.

Bo arrives at the clubhouse to find Zee has searched for, and found, the toy box. Zee then attempts to leave with the box but Bo replies: “Over my dead hand.” When Zee tries to use her lightning, it is attracted to Bo’s blackened hand and is absorbed, Bo seeming to suffer no ill effects from Zee’s attack. Bo then realizes: “That’s why you sent the Oracles after me. You were after my box.” Zee tells Bo she is “not leaving without it” and tries to walk past Bo which then devolves into a cat fight between the two, the box going from Bo’s hands to Zee’s and back again before Bo wins the fight, grasps Zee with her blackened hand and forces her towards the door. As Bo throws Zee out of her home, she growls: “Fashion and function. Black is the new ‘Get the hell out of my house.'” Bo then slams the door shut, leans against it and then slides to the floor. Zee then bangs on the door and tells Bo: “You don’t want to open that box.” Bo asks for one good reason why and Zee replies: “You open that box and your father will walk the Earth.”

After the final commercial break, Bo is still sitting on the floor as Zee tries to convince Bo not to open the box, telling Bo that she has a choice and she could start over, free herself from Hades and “reclaim what’s your’s.” Bo looks at her hand, then the box, and whispers: “The Oracles deliver a truth to extract the truth.”

Bo then sees her complete vision that the Oracles gave her previously which begins with her father Hades telling Bo not to be afraid. Bo whispers: “Dad” and then Hades (Eric Roberts) is seen for the first time. He tells Bo: “There’s barely any time, we must be quick.” Bo replies: “Leave me alone.” Hades continues: “There are those far more wicked than I on this Earth. You, must stop them.” Bo asks: “Who? The Ancients?” and Hades replies: “Only family can destroy them.” Bo asks: “So what, I need you?” Hades continues: “Our power will decide the fate of this world.” Bo answers: “Enough with the riddles. You just tell me what you want.” Hades reveals: “You will do things you don’t want to do. Lead our victory over night.” Bo refuses, telling Hades: “I will never share your victory.” Hades sighs and tells Bo: “Sometimes the greatest evil is the greatest mercy.” Bo cries: “Nothing is ever simple with you is it? I need real answers.” Hades tells Bo: I’ve given you all that I can. The answer lies with you. A gift.”

The vision ends and Bo considers what the vision told her, whispering: “The answer is in a gift.” Zee pounds on the door again as Bo looks at the box, then screams at Bo: “Oh you think you’re special? Strong? Everything you have is because of him!” Bo calmly answers: “Well, maybe it takes evil to fight evil” and then starts to turn the hand crank of the box, it beginning to play music as Bo does so. Zee screams that Bo doesn’t know what she is doing, but then suddenly stops as she hears the music playing. Zee stands up, a shocked expression on her face before turning away from Bo’s door and disappearing.

The final scene of the episode is Bo continuing to turn the crank of the box until it opens with a flash of light, Bo gasping in surprise, as the episode comes to a close.

 

Fade to black…

 

As a whole I was just disappointed in this episode being the mid-season finale. Yes there was a series of cliffhangers I will admit, but in all honesty, how much do they matter as a whole? Mark can live or die and it means nothing. Tamsin isn’t going to die, so there’s no tension in that. Dyson isn’t in trouble, nor is Lauren really. Trick is off at the bar, so he’s not in danger either. Bo has a problem, but she’s in the middle of solving that. Iris, Hera and Zee are… well to put a fine point on it, a bunch of clowns. Really there isn’t any tension, or at least meaningful tension. It’s all circumstantial as a whole. Really the only thing that even came close to mattering was when Bo’s father finally was revealed.

And that’s my biggest problem. Bo has her flashback to the vision and we see what that is now. I can see, I think, how that scene should have been in the previous episode and use that one as the season finale. And really, thinking about it, that episode ended on a much more question-filled moment by far. There was tension, there was meaning in the episode and there was a lot of reveals, but not to the point where it couldn’t have been the point at which the season paused and made me want the next episode right then. It could have been a long ten months of trying to figure out what was going on and what would happen next.

We don’t have that in this episode. In this episode there a lot of word play, a lot of interaction between the characters, but it doesn’t go anywhere. So much of the episode was spent waiting for something to be revealed or something to happen that it became boring and I lost my interest in it. That does not help in making me want to see the rest of the season.

This was especially true with Zee trying to be The Morrigan… and she wasn’t. It was a poor copy of Evony with blonde hair and an attitude that didn’t have the “feel” to it of a really dangerous being with a plan and the means to carry it out. I have wanted Evony to become “more” and over time she’s managed to go that. Zee… has no hope of that, and in this episode my lack of caring about her when she was on the screen became really bad. Clam dip does not a villain make, and she really isn’t all the villain she should be. Especially considering who Zee is, what she represents and her attitude about things. That could have go somewhere, been something, but it was tossed into the air and no one did anything with it.

I didn’t need to see Mark and Iris rolling around on the floor or all of the scenes that came along with that. I don’t care for either of the characters in the first place, which is a problem. but also that focusing so much screen time on them felt like wasted time. Not to mention, but I will, that I didn’t care when they were on and tuned them out. It was only in the very first scene between Iris and Hera that I was held by what was happening. I even laughed at the Clam dip rant. But then the rest of the episode rolled on, there was a point to get to… and it didn’t get there.

I didn’t enjoy Trick “drooling” over the Clam dip either. Nor did I think much of the “lets have the extras standing around while Bo lays on the table and Zee plays with a knife” scene. I found things that went in directions and did things that didn’t matter to the core story and for a mid-season finale that shouldn’t be. It needed to be focused, it needed to tell a story tightly, and it needed to reveal just enough to keep me interested. Didn’t quite work out that way.

It wasn’t the worst episode of the season, not by any means. Not the best either. For things to pause at this point there was something missing and I think that was focus. This episode didn’t have that for me. I didn’t need all of the answers, but I did need at least to have a reason to want what comes next. It’s not there. It was, almost in a few places, but not enough.

On to the characters in the episode…

Bo… A bit of Boffy, very little Succubus Bo. At least she was thinking for the most part in the episode, and put some of the pieces together. That is good to see by far. But then came the parts which didn’t fit. For example, being told not to touch Iris and then Bo does so anyway. Having a long drawn out catfight on the floor with Zee. As a whole? I didn’t like that with the few highs there were, the lows were so low.

Dyson…Right hook, a weapons lesson, and a run around the park with Lauren. I did like trying to teach Mark, but that wasn’t going to work, that could be seen from the beginning. I did like that Dyson cares about his son, that’s a good character building moment, but overall he was in the episode fleetingly I think.

Lauren. I think “Oh boy.” is going to be a catchphrase for Lost Girl fans. I liked that Lauren was more involved with Bo, that there was more story to her in the episode. There were some important moments which will make a difference later in the season as well. It was also nice to see her personality come out more and for her to express herself more too.

Tamsin: Zap. Fry. Thud. It wasn’t a surprise really that Tamsin would get in trouble somewhere this episode. The opening scene with Tamsin and Bo was, as a whole, the highlight of the episode because it just went over so well. I didn’t like moody Tamsin though, that doesn’t suit her and that needs to change next time.

Trick. Clam dip and books with a side order of weapons. Really not a lot of Trick this episode, but there were some really funny scenes with him that I did like. The last scene where he reveals the purpose of the box that Bo received as a gift told a lot, more than just in words, and I appreciated that a lot.

Vex. Don’t lose my number. And call me if you need a hand. Two quick scenes and Vex was gone. Almost no reason for him to be in this episode sadly.

Mark. The first real character growth… stabbing and living room sex scene not withstanding. At least he’s “dying” but we all know he’ll be back next time. Still, i didn’t absolutely hate him. I just had a really serious dislike going on.

Hera. Didn’t care much, though the punch to the jaw did make me smile.

Zee. At least there was a reveal I could care about before she devolved into a Morrigan wannabe. Then I didn’t care again and really don’t see why I should care about her, big bad or not. Too cartoonish by far.

Iris. Reminded me a lot of Mark being whiny and didn’t care about her much. As a whole she has turned out to be another of the characters that I just don’t care about.

Hades. Well, we’ve seen him finally. Actually I think he’s interesting and will drive the series in a new direction with luck. I happen to like the actor and I look forward to what will happen with the role going forwards. But a fleeting glimpse only tells so much and it didn’t tell much.

Overall the characters did have their moments, but it was few and far between for my liking. I think that as a whole there needed to be a lot more development in them for one, and a better story to tell for another. It was okay, not great and that’s the real problem.

 

My Review of End of Faes

Keeping my interest – 3 Pitchforks

Portrayal of a Succubus – 1 Pitchforks

Overall look and feel – 4 Pitchforks

Storyline – 4 Pitchforks

Main Characters – 3 Pitchforks

Mythos – 5 Pitchforks

Overall Rating – 3.4 Pitchforks out of 5

 

I really wanted this episode to end on a note that made me want the rest of the season to get here. I wanted to be engaged with the episode, to stay with what was happening. It didn’t have the attraction that I think it should have. While it ended the current run, it didn’t end it as well as it should have. There wasn’t enough for me to like so that the parts that made me roll my eyes didn’t overcome that. But they did and so it just became a lesser episode.

While there were answers, they came few and far between and as such my interest ebbed and flowed. There were some moments that kept me in the story for some time, but then a disliked character appeared and then it all falls apart. There was too much running and making eye contact as a whole and not enough important dialog and story to tell.

Bo was not, as a whole, much of a Succubus in this episode, though she wasn’t Boffy all that much either. Mind you it’s hard to be an action hero when you are wearing the dress she was. The single instance of Bo being a Succubus turned into a mistake which led into things going really wrong. While there wasn’t a real need for Succubus Bo to appear, teasing her in the episode was… disappointing.

The episode was filmed very dark again this time and with that a lot of things couldn’t be clearly seen. One of the main ones was Bo’s hand turning black and the ongoing creep up her arm. But another one was that it just was hard to see a lot of things in the episode. The party was set up well, and as a whole that part of the episode worked, but when the “yank the tablecloth off and reveal the weapons” moment came I had only one thought which was… where did they hide that? The other thing that bothered me was all of the people at the party. Who were they all anyway and, for that matter, why did so many of them stick around and stand in the background to watch Zee get prepared to cut Bo?

The main storyline, which focused on Bo learning about the possibility of being free from her father, really felt like a red herring from the first moment. The same can be said about the Iris reveal, that has been telegraphed for a while now as well in that we knew that was coming. There were a lot of plots that could have been tied up, even if only a little, but they weren’t. In spite of that I will say that when I was not rolling my eyes at Mark or Zee I did think it was really interesting.

There wasn’t a lot of growth in the main characters, though there was some and it was important when it happened. The events that effected them did matter and did mean something, but then along with that came the secondary, read as Ancients, that didn’t grow, learn, or be anything other than dislikable. Being that they were the ones that drove the main character growth, there was just a lot of attitude that didn’t go over well and hurt things overall.

The best part of the episode by far, and you had to suffer through a lot of junk to get to it, was the mythos that really expanded this episode. The story of Zee’s past, what Iris is, Bo’s father appearing and, of course, the connecting of the dots around Bo did matter. While some of the long standing questions were answered in the series, there were others that came to the edge, but didn’t go to the point of telling. The episode didn’t close off much, and in doing so that was disappointing. But it did tell a story, which did matter in the end and that story grew the series a lot.

This was, as a whole, a middle of the road episode that came at a moment when such a thing was not the best thing to happen. It needs to be more, to be powerful, to leave a lasting impression. Revealing Bo’s father doesn’t do that on it’s own and the lack of tension when the episode ends didn’t make it what it should have been either. As I think about this a bit more the episode feels a bit patched together… Perhaps it was?

 

Next Winter: FaeWreck

Bo faces off against her father, the Ancients, the local neighbourhood watch, and gets her car stolen. Bo gets mad and then she gets even.

As a whole, that is pretty much what I am expecting the last run of Lost Girl to be. There isn’t going to be much in the way of focus about Bo’s core story, there isn’t going to be really a solid run of episodes either. We will see, again, a series of stories that don’t mean anything, go nowhere and tell nothing.

My greatest fear, and honestly I have resigned myself to it, is that when the series comes to a close that I will be disappointed beyond words and I shouldn’t be. But it’s hard to like what has happened so far, starting with Kenzi leaving, and all of the scattered lost directions that the series went through to this point. It’s more bothersome when I look at all of the episodes, how much time was wasted, and consider what could have been done instead of watching the characters run from place to place. All that lost time adds up, it reflects something that wasn’t right with the season, and it creates the problem of being bored waiting for something to happen.

I don’t like the idea of the past episodes revolving around Bo being dark, or evil, or facing off against her father or similar storylines. It really doesn’t link up for me with the beginning of the series. There was a clear point in the first season. That was “I’ll live the life I want to live.” and that hasn’t happened for a very long time. Bo hasn’t lived her own life all that much, especially in this season, and I don’t see why that couldn’t be focused on more.

Then comes, of course, the problem of Bo being a Succubus… and she hasn’t been one except in passing for most of the series, but especially this past season. It’s core to her character, it should have some bearing on her life, but it just seems like the only reason that it comes up is so that Bo can goto bed with someone and that’s about all. Her character… lost character. I cannot see the coming episodes getting things on track again, and they likely will not. What I do see happening is that Bo will be turned in directions where she’s being Boffy again, loses her character, her intelligence, and in the end, finds herself in a situation which brings the story back to the first episode of the series.

That is something that cannot happen. The series has to end on a positive note at the least and at the best I expect to see Bo and Kenzi together again. Perhaps the “perfect” ending is Bo running the Dal Riata with Kenzi. I think that would be a good note to end the series on. But again, I don’t expect that to happen. I do expect that there will be a lot of heartbreak to come for the series before it ends.

Personal and otherwise.

Still, none of this will happen until the Winter 2015/2016 season which means at least ten months of waiting for the next episode to arrive. The thing is… that I don’t feel a need to see the end of this season. There’s nothing that held me in the ending of this episode that makes me pine for things to get going again. It’s not a good sign.

However, it does allow for the popcorn stocks to be refreshed…

See you a long time from now when the last half of the season starts… and keep your fingers crossed…

 

Tera

Jan 30 2015

A Review of Shadow Master and Shadow Slave by Lillian Hanes

Shadow Master by Lillian Hanes

Shadow Master by Lillian Hanes

An unfinished series this time for review on the Tale. A story of an Incubus who discovers a warlock and what happens in the time after their first meeting. A story with heat, lust, devotion and need. Moments of terror mixed with submission and dominance.

A choice, or fate, encountered for the need once tasted can never be forgotten. The question is, and it is the one that matters, is whom is the one that leads or follows… Or is it in truth both?

  • Title: Shadow Master
  • Author: Lillian Hanes
  • Length: 20 Pages
  • IBSN: 9781301045631
  • Publishing Date: March 15, 2013
  • This work at Smashwords.com

The work tells the story of:

Laen thought it would be a night like most: doing drugs with his friend and, if they were lucky, finding a whore. As an incubus, not much fazes him. But when he realizes the whore they picked up is a warlock — just the kind of girl who could actually reign him in — he balks. She doesn’t know what she is just yet, and when she finds out, maybe she’ll decide she wants him…in some form or another.

Felane had no idea this night would completely change her life. She thought offering her body to two men for a share of their drugs would be a straightforward deal; after all, she’d done it hundreds of times before when she needed a quick fix. But when one of them makes her feel something she’s never felt before, something that makes her feel more alive than the drugs ever did, and when she realizes what he is — and what she is — she can’t get him out of her mind.

Although reluctant to admit it, neither demon nor warlock can stop thinking of the other after their first time together. Their twisted and forbidden relationship grows beyond a single night of cheap sex into something darker and more pleasurable than either ever imagined.

Felane is truly a lost soul with no hope, no future, no understanding of herself, what she could be or what she might have if she did. She lives for moments of pleasure that are not real, not truly so, and in that comes the realization that perhaps it is all she is good for. As she tries to make a deal for a fix with a dealer, two others appear and she finds herself going with them in order to have her fix and in doing so, give them what they desire at that moment from her.

Laen is not human. He is a demon in disguise, looking to feed on the pleasures of others and by doing so keep himself alive. But when he touches Felane, he discovers what she is. More frighteningly, he knows that she could claim him with a word if she knew how. He takes her, they share in their pleasure and when it is over Felane knows what she is, what Laen is and their futures are intertwined evermore.

Time passes, the two meet again, and in that moment their passions are rekindled, strengthened, and the battle between Warlock and Incubus begins. The question of who is whom’s underlying and driving them onwards.

There is a lovely detailed world that is created within these pages. While it is a short story, and the erotica takes up quite a lot of the tale, there is a part told for each of them, their moments apart and together are compared and contrasted well. Their thoughts about each other, what they feel, want and desire is deliciously told and makes both characters very interesting and more so together.

Felane is, at first, submissive to the desires of Laen, but as the story moves into their future, she has grown in the idea of herself, of what she wants and more. With that comes the knowledge that the one she wants is Laen. He, of course, uses this to his advantage, to dominant her, tease her, and drive her towards submitting to him. This all moves towards a climax which is very hot and felt very right for both characters.

I’ll give the first book three and a half out of five pitchforks.

A very good example of what I like to read. Erotica with story and characters that are more than the sex in the story.

But then the question of what happens after each one has a taste of what they want?

Shadow Slave by Lillian Hanes

Shadow Slave by Lillian Hanes

No relationship remains static over time. The problem can be one of learning new things. Or it can be forgetting what the other in the relationship cherishes most. What happens when both sides forget themselves and make mistakes that only lead towards strife, anger, mistrust, and worst of all, the need to strike back in revenge?

What is the result? Are all bridges burned away between them? Can they find a means to trust each other again? Or are they condemning themselves to lose everything for a momentary mistake?

  • Title: Shadow Slave
  • Author: Lillian Hanes
  • Length: 20 Pages
  • IBSN: 9781301632077
  • Publishing Date: August 31, 2013
  • This work at Smashwords.com

The work tells the story of:

Felane, a warlock’s apprentice, straddles the delicate line between tamer and tamed. When a slip of the tongue wounds her daemon lover’s pride — and solidifies Laen’s growing fear of her power — he punishes her, forcing her to service a troupe of underworld creatures to settle the debt. Felane welcomes this chance to mend the rift between them. No human — nor any other daemon — will ever satisfy her now she’s had Laen.

But when his revenge goes to far, nearly killing her, restoring their trust in each other won’t be easy. They must test their limits and probe the cracks in each other’s boundaries — or else their next time together may very well be their last.

Time has passed between Felane and Laen in the second book in the series. She is learning about her powers and is becoming stronger over time. Laen is there with her, teasing and arousing her so that he can feed on her sexual needs and desires. During her teaching, Felane’s concentration slips, Laen’s life hangs in the balance, and their relationship suffers greatly as a result. Later, when she attempts to apologize, he draws her into an agreement to “settle” the debt he feels she owes him. But it goes wrong, the tables are turned, and both find that what they thought they knew only scratched the surface.

Felane is much more vibrant character in this work when compared with the first. She’s progressed from a lost soul into one that has a purpose. That purpose however is entwined with the needs and desires of Laen. His need for her in return makes him do some things that drive Felane to distraction and at one point threaten his life. His reaction is well over the top and what he demands of her in order to remain is something that turns very wrong very quickly.

Then comes his greatest fear, made real by Felane, and what follows is the truth that each has. They are very powerful emotionally and the loss felt by each comes close to crippling each of them. How that is resolved, even if only to scratch the surface, becomes the core of this story and it tells a powerful story among the erotica that pushes them onwards.

The undercurrent of their relationship, of who is in control and why, makes for a story that twists and turns on this point and leads towards a moment when they come to understand that the answers are not as simple as they might wish them to be.

Again, excellently written, fully told characters and moments that make this story very powerful and an enjoyable read once more. But, like the first work, the story feels too short, as if some important things are not told and I would have liked to see them. The pacing and erotica is excellently told… But there is a moment where a question is asked about each of their pasts and the answer isn’t given. I would have liked to have seen that.

I’m giving this work four out of five pitchforks.

Sadly, the author promised a third work in this series and, as of this review, it has not appeared. That’s a shame honestly as the series has so much in it as a whole that leaving things as they are makes for so many questions that I would like to know the answers for.

The ending, if the third work would bring the story to a close, I think would be very illuminating and in that would come a resolution to the question of what Felane and Laen’s relationship really is meant to be or what it becomes. The mistrust and yet need that each holds so tightly against one another has, truly, meant nothing but the circling the main question that traps them both.

Hopefully, someday, that conclusion will arrive. Until then I will have my thoughts and fantasies about that to wonder about often…

 

Tera

Jan 29 2015

Succubi Image of the Week 367

Expression in the art of Succubi is important. It’s that look, that smile or glare, a licking if lips or other such thing that can take a simple pose and make it so much more. For this week’s Succubi, I found a work of art that I think tells a story in a glance and more…

Jezel by Blazbaros

Jezel by Blazbaros

This art is titled Jezel and is by the artist Blazbaros on DeviantArt. I found this work here on DeviantArt and you can see this artist’s page here too.

The thing about this art is, honestly, her expression. It’s kind of a “oh, don’t worry, you’ll like every moment of this” as she diverts your attention from the fireball she’s about to toss your way. That might be a little devious i admit, but really that look and smile is just priceless.

As a whole, I do like her looks, her outfit, really everything about her… I do wish she had a tail though, I think that would have just been perfect really. Something to ponder I suppose in that way…

 

Tera

Jan 28 2015

A costume that is masquerading as a Devil and isn’t…

Devil Masquerade CostumeI rather like going to masquerades and the right costume for them, to me, is very important. However, sometimes the costumes that suggest that they might be for such things are never quite that which they claim to be.

This is called the Devil Masquerade Costume and it comes with the dress, panniers, the gloves and that’s all. It sells for $65 US.

Did you notice what’s missing?

A pair of horns for one thing. And some tastefulness for the other. It’s quite the train wreck really, looking very unfinished and really unflattering I think. But there is something else missing that’s rather important as well.

There is no mask either.

So, in truth, what this really represents is a collection of other items you are supposed to purchase in order to attain this level of tackiness…

Not that you would want to I think.

I would have a far better costume by finding one of my strapless dresses, a pair of horns, a tail, and a pair of kitten heels…. Oh, and a mask that I wouldn’t be holding in one hand all of the time either.

To say this entire concept needs help would be putting it mildly and honestly it is something that is better left behind on a costume search…

Zero pitchforks out of five.

However, on the plus side, I have given myself an idea for a…. special surprise for my Eternal so that has to be a good thing…

Or it will be…

 

Tera

 

Jan 27 2015

A Review of A Willing Plaything by Rafaela Valdez

A Willing Plaything by Rafaela Valdez

A Willing Plaything by Rafaela Valdez

I’ve sometimes wondered what a group of Succubi in a kind of Dungeons and Dragons story would be like. How “evil” would they be? Would they be more practical? More thoughtful? What would the group be structured like?

But of course being that it would be sort of D&D in nature, that means chain mail bikinis, buxom warriors and Succubi having their way with them. All in all, if the right mix of laughter, erotica, and uniqueness was in the story, it could work really well… Sometimes it can.

The summary tells of:

Siofra’s ninth adventure in an underground succubus sex magick lair. Siofra’s long-awaited ninth adventure takes her underground, where horny devils live, hoping to use her eagerness and energy to refuel their dark magickal needs. Who’s playing who?

Siofra is a Paladin on a quest, one that involves finding her way through a dungeon and confronting a group of evil succubi. However she finds out that the succubi aren’t exactly evil, but they all know exactly what they want from her.

The work reads very much like a Dungeons and Dragons encounter in a lot of ways. Siofra is a Paladin, wearing a chain mail bikini of course, and she encounters a group of succubi who use a bit of mind control on her before they have some fun with her.

The odd thing about the work is that the succubi seem to speak in a very modern sort of way which did give me some pause as the story progressed. The tone seemed to be slightly Valley Girl in accent which just seemed weird as a whole.

That said, the method of mind control that the succubi use is quite interesting and how Siofra was effected by it, how her attitude, wants and desires change as a result is nicely subtle at first. It isn’t that she suddenly wants to have fun with the succubi, it’s more than her own needs get ramped up over time and then when Siofra is suitably trapped, the complete submission to the will of the succubi comes. And for that matter, so does Siofra and the succubi.

None of the succubi are actually named in this story, though there is a cute little passage about a new succubus “learning the ropes” that I just adored. The group as a whole is unique, each succubi having their own personality and sexual drives which they each draw from Siofra over the course of the story.

Siofra isn’t quite the normal oversexed female Paladin in chain mail, there’s a bit of magic she’s been stuck with that the succubi take full advantage of and really some of what transpired as a result of that was hilariously funny.

The work is well written, the erotica is nicely hot with an undercurrent of both mind control and dominance that I felt came together really well. At the close of the work, the view of the succubi was I thought perfect for what they did over the course of the story. The story does leave a few plot paths open at the end for another work, but as a whole it does end on a good note and I did like the story overall very much.

Four out of five pitchforks.

I think I would have liked names for the succubi and perhaps a bit more mind control being used on Siofra. Perhaps the succubi need to visit her? What would be the effects of a group of succubi entering a town in this world? And would Siofra help them or simply become their pet again?

I think I would like to see that.

 

Tera

Jan 27 2015

A Review of Seduction 101 by Dou7g

Seduction 101 by Dou7g

Seduction 101 by Dou7g

Continuing my reviews of the works of the author Dou7g in the series called Succubus Temptations. You can find my review of the first work in the series here on the Tale and you can find the review of the second work here as well. Book three I’ll be reviewing this time, the title alone did catch my attention obviously, and the teaser plot did look interesting as well…

There is an interesting thing that happens when a relationship starts. Sometimes it isn’t clear where the lines are, who’s in control, and what it all means. Sometimes the pleasure of finding out masks things that might be good to know. Sometimes that need to know isn’t as important as the need itself…

The work tells of:

Kendra the Succubus returns to call in the favor that the lovely mage, Megan, owes her. The Succubus wants Megan to bring down a powerful force for good in the land. Despite being mostly good herself, Megan agrees to pay back the favor she owes to the demoness she loves but this requires some training in the art of seduction. Also Edmund begins his own course of swordsmanship to become a fitting bodyguard to the mage from an unusual instructor.

Kendra has a problem. One of them is that she is supposed to deal with a certain do-gooder, but she can’t actually do so. However, Megan is more than willing… in a lot of ways… to do so. But first Kendra needs to teach Megan some of her tricks… which soon become treats for them both.

This part of the series focuses, for the most part, on Kendra and Megan’s relationship in a lot of ways. While they don’t quite come out and express everything to each other, the undercurrents that are quite evident as the story is told tells of the pair’s relationship changing and shifting between them. It’s interesting to see one, then the other, be in control for a time and what happens to each as a result. There’s some really cute teasing and seduction that goes between the two and it adds that little bit of depth to both of the characters that I think needed to return from the first work.

The beginning of the work tells of Kendra, the succubus of the series, and Megan, who really feels like a succubus-to-be in this story, having a hot erotic time together in which quite a few of the seductive tricks and powers of Kendra come to the fore. When the tables turn, Megan shows that she is a quick learner and returns the favour in some deliciously hot ways. Once they come back to their senses, Kendra tells Megan of the favour she wants, and when Megan explains that she cannot be “seductive enough” to perform… Kendra shows her how wrong she is with the help of a willing friend in the castle.

There is some really nicely told succubus mind control scenes at this point which I though were perfectly told, the scenes being both very seductive and sexy, but also, at the right moments, having a bit of playful fun that I adored. I did love it when Megan found it within herself to actually be seductive, to learn the ways to be so, and it was even more cute when Kendra found ways to “encourage” Megan to continue.

The work sets things up well for the next part in the series without giving too much away. It also leaves a few hints here and there of where Megan’s tale might go from here, what Kendra intends for the future, and what else might be next. In all of that, and more importantly for me, the joy that was in the first work in the series came fully back in this one and I found it a much better read than the second work in the series.

The story was cute, fun, and had some lovely heat in it which brought me back to the first work in the series. The tone of the work, though having some serious moments in it, didn’t feel wrong or out of place and the characters all felt right as well. A couple of minor mistakes in spelling and grammar, but nothing really serious as a whole. While not quite as good as the first work, it does come close in a lot of ways, and the setting up of the story to come I think worked well.

I’m giving this work four out of five pitchforks.

A cute, fun, sexy interlude where some truths about the characters are revealed, their lives become more intertwined, and the story deepens very nicely. Book Four will be out shortly, and where the series goes from here I expect will have some twists and turns to be found.

 

Tera

Jan 26 2015

Storm Clouds 216 by TeraS

Starting Chapter 40 this week… As things happen to Jane and John, Tera and her Dear One face the music. Or at least the first few notes…

For those that would like to read Storm Clouds from the beginning, you can click this link, and it will take you to the page where all of the previous chapters can be found.

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Storm Clouds 216
Chapter 36
By TeraS

 

Time passed ever so slowly in the room. Someone who concentrated might be able to follow the dust motes as they floated here and there among the bookcases, tables, and chairs. Someone not so inclined to watch them might be held by the image of a woman straddling a man on one of the chairs, her fingers laced into his hair and their lips crushed together in a deep kiss.

One might also notice that neither of them was moving. But there was one other in the room who was. She was stalking back and forth, her long, red, heart-tipped tail swaying pensively as she walked, her eyes scanning intently from the carpet below her to the two intertwined and then back again as she paced.

Out of what some might mistake for frustration or impatience, she would tuck a wayward lock of hair back behind one of her ears from time to time. In fact, it was neither of those emotions, but rather, her pondering over what she knew and understood …

… and when Tera, the Queen of the Succubi, put a puzzle together and the pieces fit? That spelt issues for someone.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a familiar presence entering the apartment building, so her pacing came to a stop and a warm smile played upon her lips. She had been wondering when he was going to appear, and it seemed that this moment was the one that mattered.

His timing, as always, was impeccable. But then, he was especially attuned to her.

Counting to twelve, Tera walked over to the apartment door and then waited another three beats before opening the door and looking out into the hallway. The elevator dinged, the doors opened and she waved to the one standing there, his hands quite full. “Coming! Just a moment, my heart!”

The man in the elevator, who Thomas would recognize as the pastor from the funeral he attended not so long ago, nodded his head in lieu of a wave: “All fine, Dear One. I’ll manage.”

Quickly making her way down the hall, Tera replied: “Manners will not allow that, you know. At least allow me to be of some use?”

He chuckled: “We’ve talked about this before, Dear One. You sell yourself short. You are more than useful and, one of these days, you’ll see that.”

She scrunched up her nose as she took a small bag from under his arm: “Family trait, you know.”

He nodded once, blushing a little: “Yes … quite so.”

Moving to walk beside him, she slipped her arm with his and they moved towards John’s apartment. As they walked, they slipped into the banter they always shared.

“I’m sorry for being late.”

“Not late. You are exactly on time, as always.”

“How are you managing, Dear One?”

“Oh … managing, my heart.” Of course, she didn’t want to worry him.

“I see.” Of course, he saw right through that.

The next words that passed between them were ones that each knew didn’t need to be said, for they had known each other, it seemed, forever. Tera’s heart would always be so, as would she for him as his Dear One. That was just how things were, and nothing in the universes could change that fact. After they entered John’s apartment, he handed her one of the styrofoam cups he held. As he closed the door he asked: “And where is your Eternal, Dear One?”

Tera smiled as she traced a fingertip around the rim of the styrofoam cup: “Oh, he’s off and about looking after something.” She looked at him and nodded once: “But he is with me and I am with him.”

The look he gave her was somewhere between understanding and trepidation: “Of course. That was not my concern.”

Her finger stopped moving as she tilted her head to the left: “But you are concerned.”

He nodded, taking the lid off his tea: “I am worried about you, Dear One. You are troubled, have been for some time. I can see it in your eyes … your Eternal and I might be the only ones that possibly could have seen it, of course, but it is there.”

Tera was silent for a time, then admitted: “I think the Dark has been messing with things it should not. So I am … hoping … to fix that damage.”

“I see. And the two over there?”

“They are the thing that needs to be made right once more.”

He took a sip of his tea: “Playing matchmaker, Dear One?”

She took the lid off her own tea: “Oh those two are matched, my heart. I’m just trying to set things right once more.”

“Dear One, are you sure you are doing the right thing, or are you possibly … inadvertently … just maybe … doing the Dark’s own work for it?”

Tera paused, her tea almost to her lips: “Memories have been changed, my heart. The reason for that I do not know. Yet the Dark has altered the memories of some of the succubi. It has also changed the memories of innocents. It is trying to set something up to Its benefit. Jane is one of them. John, the dear man she is with at the moment, is the other.”

“Are you sure?”

Tera’s tail moved slowly behind her: “I know Eternals when I see them, my heart. In that I am sure. What happens after that is in their hands.”

“Which means we wait.”

“You need not have to, my heart. I’ll wait.”

He winked: “And have you talking to yourself? I shudder to think what your dear Tail will have to say about that.”

Tera smiled a warm, knowing smile: “You are, of course, quite right, my heart.”

He walked over to the couch and settled in: “What would you like to talk about while we wait?”

Tera took a spot on the other end of the couch, curling her legs underneath her as she did: “I have a theory … more of a thought, perhaps.”

He looked at his tea: “Why do I have the feeling, Dear One, that we’ll need more tea?”

She laughed: “Because that is how it always works when we chat, my heart. And, next time, I will bring the pie to share.”

He tipped his cup towards her: “So. Tell me what’s bothering you.”

She tilted her head to the right: “There is quite a lot that is bothering me. To be truthful, there has been for some time. I think that the time which the Dark has spent in trying to get into the Realm has made it desperate for some kind of success.”

He furrowed his brow: “It is a persistent entity; that much is obvious. And yes, your … resistance … has been a thorn in Its side.” The innocent look she gave in reply just made him chuckle as he sipped his tea, waiting for her to continue.

She considered the cup she held, then continued: “To be honest, it’s been a bother to me as well, in more ways than one, but we won’t dwell on that part of the story, as we’ll come back to that a bit later to try and tie the threads together.”

“Which means we start with … ?”

“We start with the question of what, exactly, is It intending to do with the tail that is missing.”

“You assume she is being held?”

“I know she is being held. I am just not sure exactly where she is at this moment. I know that she is nearby … somewhere … but otherwise I am not sure where. I sense she is trapped or bound in some way. That means It must have a plan for her. Whether by influencing her, forcing something upon her, or other means, It has but one goal, and having a Tail would give It something It never had before.”

He nodded: “A key.”

“Yes. There are only a few entries into the Realm for those not …” She paused here, considering her next words, worrying that “like us” would sound more than a bit conceited, but he finished the thought for her.

“… like you, Dear One. I know better—we know better—and you need to keep that in mind.”

She nodded in reply: “Of course. Like us, my heart. There are some with that key. Some others, like you, are offered a pass to the Realm, at the right time for the right reason. But all of us, even myself, have to pass by the gates, all of them, before stepping foot in the Realm.”

He smiled: “And, of course, that final gate, the one that none shall pass without permission, is the last bastion.”

She sighed, wistfully: “Yes. But we won’t dwell on that point, my heart. Let’s try and keep focus on our missing tail for the moment.”

He gave a sidelong look at the pair on the chair as he wondered: “Can I assume that they are both part of the story?”

“Quite so. She is the sister of the one whose tail is held, obviously. He is, I am sure, her Eternal. When we had the funeral, it struck me that she was there, but he was not. The question then was … “Why?” Speaking with her afterwards, it was clear that the Dark did something to her, and, I think, vice versa.”

“So, you have two souls no longer connected.”

“Yes, but that’s just where it begins. She, our dear Jane, is impulsive, quick to anger, and more importantly, would do anything to have revenge for her sister’s passing. What would she do if she believed that her only family, the only one she loved, was gone?”

He shook his head: “Oh, I have a good idea. There was something wrong about her; I had chalked it up to grief and did not push her. I should have.”

She set her cup down on a small side table, some worry in her eyes as she looked at him: “No guilt, my heart—not for either of us. There was enough grief to go around for everyone. We both missed it, but we are both now aware.”

He allowed those words but replied: “Then I expect you not to have guilt, either. It is not becoming of you. Queen or not, it is not becoming of you or your soul, and I will not allow it.”

She laced her fingers together, placing them in her lap: “The guilt I think I have dealt with. It was slowly turning into anger … or it was until Jane came back and I saw she had a problem. That problem made it clear that there was a … discrepancy that needed to be repaired.”

He considered his tea: “Now that your anger is gone, Dear One, you need to keep it away … the Dark is counting on using it against you.”

She looked towards Jane and John: “Something happened in the two weeks that she was out of touch. When she came back, she claimed to have been overseas for some time, but that made little sense, as they were inseparable. There was something missing in Jane. Again, it seemed like the loss of her sister was the answer, but it goes further than that. He was missing. They were missing.”

“So, that’s when you put Tom and Camilla onto things?”

She nodded and picked up her tea again, taking a sip: “There was something that happened in the world here, driven by forces bound to rules that apply here. Something else happened outside of this world, where other rules apply. Having the two of them dealing with this will give me a new perspective on what It wants.”

He chuckled: “There’s something more, Dear One.”

She smiled over the rim of her cup: “Perhaps … perhaps not. We shall see.”

He raised his cup in reply: “Yes. We shall. But the story isn’t over yet. You are holding back a few things. I can tell.”

She paused, just before taking a sip: “Two things: All four of them are connected to what happened. Two of them are what It has focused upon.”

He frowned: “So they are all at risk. But which two are the ones It has focused on?”

Tera’s tail pointed at Jane: “She is one, obviously. I believe that Thomas is the other. They both have suffered great losses. They can both be influenced by It making an appeal to their darker emotions.”

“What happens when one … or the other … or both … is freed?”

“That, my heart, is what I am intending to find out with Jane.”

“And Tom?”

She sighed: “I am trusting that his belief in doing good is strong. Camilla will help in that. So will Nina … assuming that Thomas will let them in to help.”

He considered her words, then asked: “But what about our missing tail? How does she fit into this?”

Tera looked into her cup as if reading tea leaves, though there were none: “What would one do if one could bring a lost love back? What would one give up? What would happen when the truth was revealed?”

“That, I think, would depend on the truth, would it not?”

She looked up: “Yes. Yes it would.” Then she looked back down at her cup once more.

He sighed: “Dear One, it does you no good to keep things bottled up inside you, nor can you get them past me without me noticing.”

“There are two problems with sharing the truth in this case, my heart. One is that the truth will not set anyone free. The harm in the truth being known would only play into It’s hands. The truth I speak of is meant for one soul only and it is one that I do not have the right to share.”

“If not you, then who?”

Tera looked at him: “The one that cannot speak.”

She stood and began to walk around the room, still holding the cup in her hands: “The second reason for not sharing is that I may—and yes, I know this sounds impossible—I may be completely wrong about what I believe the truth to be.”

He leaned back in his chair, a small twinkle in his eye: “You, Dear One? Wrong? If so, I do believe I will have to check on whether the laws of the universe have been changed recently.”

Tera laughed softly: “I’ve been wrong many times, my heart. The thing is that I hide those mistakes well enough that they are not seen for the mistakes they are.”

“You are avoiding the point, Dear One. It isn’t that you are wrong nearly as often as you believe … except when you think you are hiding these things from your Eternal or me. It is that you are far too hard on yourself when those around you are hurt. You make it your focus to deal with that, to take it upon yourself. Sometimes, you do have to allow others to stumble.”

A sigh, quite a long one: “Cannot do that, my heart. Call it … a very deep fault. Perhaps it is the one that the Dark has figured on to be how it wins the war.”

He placed his cup on the table and then walked over to her. Resting a hand on Tera’s shoulder he explained: “It is not a fault to care. We have talked about this many times before. It is a fault to take on too many things, to not share with others who can help with the burdens. And I would bet my socks that this is exactly what the Dark will use to defeat you.”

Tera patted his hand lightly: “As you know, that sharing is something not easily done.”

He smiled: “True … for both of us. Now, there are plans to be made, and in this case, Dear One, your heart is going to help.”

She began to shake her head, to refuse. She couldn’t possibly allow him to do so.

“Ah! I am sorry, but no, Dear One. There is no getting out of this. You need more help than what you have now, and if you don’t let me help you, then I will go on my own. So please, tell me what you have in mind next.”

“You really will not like it, my heart; not at all.”

“I’ll be the judge of that, Dear One.”

Ten minutes later found Tera sitting on the couch, rolling her cup between her hands and looking at him as he paced back and forth as she had been before he arrived. She had explained her plans, what she intended to do and what the cost would be.

He finally stopped pacing and looked at her: “I do not like this at all, Dear One.”

“I did warn you.”

“So you did. It is a dangerous plan. It can go wrong at any of a dozen turns. Worse, if it does go wrong, then the Realm is lost. However …”

“However?”

He furrowed his brow: “However, misquoting Einstein, ‘I, at any rate, am convinced that you do not throw dice.’”

She was puzzled; the twist in her tail, which he knew well, spoke to her thoughts as much as any words would: “Meaning what, exactly?”

“Meaning that, though your plans appear to be risky, somehow you have a fairly good idea that it will turn out well.”

She traced a finger against her lips, as if sealing them, a thin smile there as she did so.

“But what is missing from this equation is that you are not going in alone. I won’t have it. You would risk yourself to save the Realm. Someone needs to be there who will risk the universe to save you.”

She looked him in the eye: “I worry that I may have to do something of which you do not approve, something that would disappoint you.”

He didn’t waver: “You could never disappoint me, Dear One. Never. And I will stand beside you no matter what … including no matter if you tell me not to.”

She opened her mouth to speak … but then closed it, smiling.

He smiled back and nodded once: “Did you ever meet Einstein in your travels, Dear One?”

“Yes. I was fortunate to hear him play the violin once. His connection with music was … breathtaking. Even if he didn’t see his talents for all that they were.”

He chuckled as he took the other end of the couch once more: “Your words remind me of a certain red tail that I know who has the same problem. She needs to see that in herself every now and again.”

She tilted her head to the right: “I have no idea what you mean, my heart.”

He shook his head: “Yes, Dear One. Of course you do.”

 

Storm Clouds
Chapter 37
By TeraS

 

Billy wasn’t sure if Donna actually had to go and visit every single person in the building. Actually he wasn’t sure if they actually did visit them all or not, but there were a lot of people that she had introduced him to, and he knew there was no possible way he was going to remember all of their names. Funny thing was, the only name that he wanted to remember was Donna’s. He wasn’t sure why it mattered so much, but he was bound and determined not to forget.

He always hated going around with his father and meeting with people that mattered to their business, or to his father. They always treated him as if he was being tolerated, and they were always formal and cold, seeming like they only did so in order to not offend his father.

Donna’s co-workers weren’t like that. He wasn’t sure if they were always that interested in other people, or if they were now only because he was with Donna, or because he was helping deliver the coffee and donuts. Whatever the reason, there wasn’t one person that he met who didn’t greet him warmly. The hugs from the women were embarrassing, but Billy managed to get through that without making a fool of himself. Even the men weren’t trying to break his hand during the many handshakes, which is what normally happened to Billy. They treated him as an equal—which, again, was something that didn’t usually happen for him.

Billy, being overwhelmed as he was by what was happening, didn’t notice the look that Donna gave each person that he was introduced to. The look was, if one was paying attention, almost pleading for approval.

By the time the tour ended, he figured that he certainly must have met everyone in the building. As they passed by an office on the upper floor, he noticed Donna frown, just a little, and that bothered him. “What’s up?”

“Oh. I was hoping you might meet my …” The pause was very noticeable, even for Billy, and he was about to ask about that when Donna continued: “… boss. Her name’s Tera.”

Billy was still bothered about the pause: “Don’t like her?”

Donna shook her head, her short platinum blond hair moving in an odd wave, which Billy found very interesting: “Oh gosh no! I love her bunches!”

Her answer brought Billy up short. She didn’t seem like the kind of lady that would use the words “gosh” and “bunches.” For some reason, he felt she was putting on a show or something. “Really?”

Donna stopped and turned to look at Billy. She placed her right hand on his chest and explained: “She’s wonderful, Billy. She’s done so much for me. I owe her a lot, and I’ll never be able to repay her.”

He looked at her hand, then into her eyes: “Lots of people tell me that, but they do it ‘cause they fear the people they work for.”

Donna scrunched up her nose, which Billy thought made her look awfully cute: “Not me. I love Tera like a sister. We’re all …” Again she paused, which was odd, but then she continued: “… a family. I know that sounds weird, but that’s the only way I can explain it.”

Billy had come to the conclusion that there was something odd about the place where Donna worked. There was something odd, but what it was, in the end, didn’t seem to matter as much as meeting Donna did, so Billy nodded: “’kay. I can see that. This place is kinda’ weird, but if that’s how you think about things, then … ‘kay.”

Donna smiled, and Billy thought that it was a good thing to see her smiling.

After going down a flight of stairs that took them past the Receptionist—and Billy still found himself not wanting to make her mad—Donna led him down a hallway that he was sure they hadn’t been through before. He actually wasn’t even sure if the hallway had been there when they had entered the place and first met the Receptionist. This place was built weirdly, and he had been turned around so many times that he wasn’t sure what direction he was facing. Not that it mattered that much: he was fine with walking with Donna and talking to her, anyway. But he had expected to arrive in what Donna had called the “Lounge,’ and, as they walked, he worried about making a mess there. This building was amazingly well kept and clean, and he just knew that he would drop something somehow and make a mess somewhere. Luckily, he thought, that hadn’t happened so far. So it was a surprise when she opened a door and he found that that the Lounge wasn’t their destination.

Instead, the opened door revealed what looked like a neatly kept lunch room, large enough for a dozen or more diners, with a big picture window to one side that looked out over what seemed to be the backyard of the place. Though Billy wasn’t exactly sure how it was that so many trees would be there.

“After you, Billy.”

He shook his head: “Sorry. Manners say that it’s ladies first.”

Donna smiled: “How about together? You’ve been following me around, me leading the way. I’d much rather have you walking with me. You don’t have to hold hands if you don’t want to.”

Billy blushed, but managed: “That’s kind of forward, isn’t it?”

Donna smiled: “A little bit … maybe.”

With a flick of her shoe she held the door open for them: “Now you don’t have to hold the door, and we can go and find a place to sit and share my coffee and bagel.”

Billy held up the bag that he had been carting around with him: “Bagel? Not a donut?”

A short walk across the room and they were both sitting at a table over by the window, Donna facing Billy: “Bagels are a good thing to have when you want to think about something.”

“I don’t get it. Sorry.”

She opened the bag and took the bagel out, placing it on top, then opening the coffee and sitting it beside the bagel: “You have to work at eating a bagel. It’s a bit of a struggle to tear it into pieces to nibble on. It’s a bit of work to chew on. Because it takes a while, you get a change to think about things.”

The look on Billy’s face made it clear that stuff like what Donna was talking about was a little over his head: “Like what?”

She picked up the bagel and tore it into four pieces. Taking one of those, she broke it in half and then gave Billy one of them: “Oh, all sorts of stuff.”

He looked at the bagel in his hand: “Like?”

Donna held her piece a bit away from her lips as she answered: “Like if you might like me as much as I like you. Like what you like to do for fun. Like if you might ask me out to dinner.” As the last word left her lips, she popped the bagel in her mouth and started to chew on it.

Billy was brought up short and stuffed his piece into his month to occupy himself while he thought. She was really classy, and that meant that she’d want to go out somewhere expensive. That wouldn’t be a problem: Dad had always paid Billy well for the work he did, and he had saved a lot over the years. But he didn’t have a suit, didn’t run around in those sort of places. After finally swallowing the bagel he explained: “Do like you. But you’re so classy. I don’t know what you like to do for fun, and the place I like to go for dinner is the burger joint on 11th and Main—not exactly the sort of place you’d want to be in.”

Donna stood up, and Billy didn’t have any other choice but to look at her standing there in a classy blue dress. When she didn’t say anything, he closed his eyes and really tried to remember what she looked like, knowing that he’d never see her again—that little sweep in her hair, the twinkle in her eyes, that chunk of bagel that she was chewing on that pushed out her cheek and gave her a dimple. Darn him for being honest. He opened his eyes and watched her chew. She had that bagel in her mouth. Then it hit him that she wasn’t mad, she just had her mouth full.

Donna picked up the coffee and took a sip, swallowed, then said: “Billy, I don’t always dress like this. This is what I wear to work. It’s like your overalls or uniform or whatever you wear where you work. I look classy because that’s how it is appropriate to look here.”

She put the coffee down and walked around the table, taking a seat right beside Billy: “I’m just as happy to wear an old T-shirt and jeans and running shoes.”

Billy gave her a look: “Can’t imagine that.”

She laughed: “I clean up good. Like you do, okay?”

Billy shrugged: “Okay.”

She folded her hands onto her lap and looked at them: “You know, a lot of the people here think that I’m shy.”

He looked at the tabletop: “Dunno about shy. Think yer cute though.”

“Could say the same about you, too.”

“Not cute. Cute isn’t a guy thing.”

Donna pursed her lips and blew out a long breath: “Billy, if a gal says you’re cute, don’t argue.”

He looked at her: “How am I supposed to talk? Usually no one sees me or stuff. Haveta’ be honest, Donna. Don’t talk to a lot of cute girls that I … like.”

“Because you’re shy?”

“Maybe.”

She smiled, which made Billy happy: “Maybe, between the two of us … maybe … we can work on that.”

“Wadda ya’ have in mind?”

The next part Billy didn’t expect: “I like walking, looking at the ships as they come into the harbour. I like movies—old ones, not the new stuff, the more B-grade the better. And what I like most of all is watching those sorts of movies with a greasy burger and fries from Ben’s at the corner of 11th and Main. But only when Jack is cooking; Adam burns the buns and I can’t stand that.”

Billy was shocked to put it mildly: “You eat there?”

“Yup. Never do dinner, but I do lunch, and, sometimes, midnight snacks.”

Billy mulled that over as he took another piece of the bagel, tore it in two and handed Donna half: “Always thought that Jack was kind of an ass. Never went in when he was there. And you are going to be mad at me.”

Donna looked confused: “Why?”

He had a lopsided grin as he started to chew on the bagel: “I like the burned buns.”

Donna slapped his shoulder lightly: “Oh! You! How could you possibly!”

Billy just continued to chew on the bagel and chuckle to himself as Donna ranted over that, liking her more and more by the moment and feeling a lot better about himself as he did so.

 

 

 

Storm Clouds
Chapter 38
By TeraS

 

It was after about an hour of walking through the Realm that Tom noticed something. It wasn’t all of the beings walking around with horns and tails; he had gotten used to that surprisingly fast. It wasn’t the looks that he had seen from some of them; he understood the why of the looks of lust or curiosity or even temptation came in his direction. Nina was in the middle of turning a corner when Tom said, “I have a question.”

“Oh? If it’s about life, the universe and everything, I think there’s a book that has that answer in the Library. I think it’s one of Tera’s favourites, actually.”

“Nothing that grand … just something odd I’ve noticed.”

Nina stopped walking and looked at him, her tail swaying behind her, the sunlight glinting off her silver dress: “You’d better be specific. There’s a lot of ‘odd’ in our world.”

Tom nodded: “Yeah, noticed that. What’s odder is that it all seems to fit, in a way.”

“So? What’s bugging you?”

“Where’s your police department? I haven’t seen any references to one.”

Nina pointed off to her left and when Tom looked he noticed what seemed to be a castle of some kind standing a fair distance away: “See that? Want to guess what it is?”

Tom rubbed his chin: “Normally, I would reckon that was Tera’s place.”

“But?”

“But Camilla said that Tera doesn’t go for that.”

“Correct. Tera only rarely can be found there. That’s for show, for those that expect to see a Queen in her castle.”

“So it’s a symbol of … of what, exactly?”

“It symbolizes one very clear point: that the words of Tera and her Eternal govern us. But it also symbolizes, in her refusal to be there, that she does not believe that she needs to lord her authority over us.”

“So, she’s Queen in name only and nothing more?”

Nina frowned deeply: “Oh no. She’s our Queen, but she will only allow one being to call her that. She gave that one the right to do so for reasons that are between the two of them. To everyone else, she’s Tera, and, honestly, that’s more powerful.”

Tom looked at the castle, far past the nearby rolling hills, the occasional bit of mist or cloud shimmering nearby: “In what way? It seems more casual, more open.”

Nina walked up to Tom and said, with a slight shake of her head: “Tom … I’m really disappointed in you.”

When she didn’t say anything else, just looking at him, Tom sighed and shook his head: “I get the point. It’s worse to disappoint someone you know than it is a faceless title you never see.”

She smiled and twined one of her braids around her right hand: “That’s part of it. Remember Camilla told you that, if Brent had been lying, Tera would have known? That’s another part of it. But the most telling thing is that, when she’s standing there, looking at you, and says, ‘I’m disappointed.’ Believe me, those words are something no one wants to hear from her … not after all that she’s done for everyone.”

“Okay, I get the picture. Pissing off Mom would …”

Nina shook her head: “Tera’s not … Mom.”

“Come again?”

She looked into the sky, seeming to be looking for something … but for what, exactly, Tom wasn’t sure: “It’s … complicated … in a lot of ways.”

“Okay. So if you don’t think of her as your mother, then … who is?”

“That’s yet another story.”

“Your world has a lot of them, you know.”

“We also have an fantastic library, vibrant art, passionate culture, and our midnight get-togethers by the Lake are amazing.”

Tom shook his head: “You know the most amazing thing?”

“Hmm?”

“The most amazing thing is that you speak of all of this as completely normal, and it feels normal. Well, except for some of your kind who aren’t exactly my type.”

Nina’s look was not hard to read, not with the question that came: “What is your type?”

There was a slightly far off look in Tom’s eyes: “No; doesn’t matter.”

Nina frowned at the emotions that were starting to boil inside of Tom: “Tera has said that there is someone, somewhere, for everyone. The trick is bringing them together.”

Tom nodded his head in the direction Nina had been walking: “Yeah. Sure. Let’s go.”

Tom’s attitude surprised Nina, but she didn’t press further on that, nor come back at him with a snip of her own. That part of Tom’s story she’d find out, or Camilla would, eventually. For the moment, she turned and continued to walk, knowing without looking that Tom was there beside her.

They crossed an intersection, and Tom was treated to the sight of a carriage being pulled by two pony-girls, with their Mistress—a Succubi that Nina recognized as Rachel, a rather strict personality that some submissives were attracted to—riding inside.

“Getting back to your question about our police: we are all, in a way, our own police here. We help each other if needed, protect one another, and otherwise keep each other from going down a path that leads to nothing for us.”

“A collective, then?”

Nina nodded, still looking at Rachel as she went on her way: “For example, the succubi in the carriage? Her name’s Rachel. She’s a very strict domme; she controls the lives of her submissives in every way and means.”

“And?”

“And the thing is, she knows the lines she cannot cross. She knows what her pets desire and gives them that, pushes the boundaries from time to time with them. But if one of us felt something wasn’t right, we could find out what was going on. And, honestly, it’s better that one of us did. Otherwise …”

“Otherwise Tera might be disappointed.”

“Yeah. It’s about the most powerful reason not to do harm you can think of. How can you disappoint someone who would do anything for you, who has offered you something precious, and who trusts you with the power to do almost anything?”

“Have you?”

“You know the answer to that.”

“Sort of. You’ve left a lot of questions around your answers. You keep dancing around the point, trying to avoid it. Why?”

Nina sighed and pinched her nose: “Because the thing about being a survivor is that you remember all that didn’t make it. You also remember the second chance you were given.”

“What’s that?”

“The first time I met Tera, it was when she had come into her power as the Queen. So many of us that had done wrong were called, one by one, to see her. I expected to be banished at the least; my end was almost certain for all of the souls that I had taken.”

“You’re still here.”

Nina smirked: “Yes. Don’t let anyone tell you what they think Tera will do. They’ll always be wrong. I was … so, so wrong.”

“So, what did she do?”

Nina crossed the street as she called out: “She hugged me. I broke down in tears, I told her everything that I had done. Then she just said, ‘Do better this time.’”

Tom paused in crossing the street when Nina had said. ‘Do better this time.’ The words where haunting and struck very close to home. Before Nina could turn around and see the look he had, Tom ran across the street and caught up to her.

Tera was going to have a lot of explaining to do … someday. For right now, the question of where the hell Nina was going mattered more.

“Got another question.”

“And?”

“Why are we walking? Faster to just jump over there or whatever you call it.”

“It’s called bampfing by some—Tera, in particular, calls it that. As for the “why”? We are going to meet someone important and just appearing in front of them without warning would not be … good.”

“Sounds ominous.”

“Wouldn’t call them ominous, exactly.”

Tom strode a little faster than Nina was and touched her hand: “Nina. Slow down. Talk. Who is it, why are you so worked up over it?”

She looked down at Tom’s fingers, then into his eyes: “Remember when Camilla said that she knew some names, some beings that she thought might be a threat?”

“Yeah. She also said that she wouldn’t go near them without … hellhounds or something.”

She pointed towards a low building made of blood red bricks that stood a short distance away: “We are going to go talk to one of them, it will be me as Camilla won’t be enough to make this work, she’s never actually commanded … them.”

“What? Hellhounds?”

Nina shook her head: “Oh no, that wouldn’t be enough. They would be laughed at. No, we are going to borrow something from Tera that isn’t seen often and, when it is, that is on very rare occasions.”

Tom huffed dangerously: “Nina …”

She came to a stop suddenly, looking down a short piece of sidewalk that ended at a gold and black door inlaid into a red brick wall. There were no windows to be seen, no other way in save that door and nothing more.

Nina looked at Tom: “You have that card Tera gave you?”

Patting his chest, Tom nodded: “Yeah, keeping company with my badge.”

Nina approached the door and knocked twice. After a moment, a panel slid open and a low voice pronounced: “Nina … and a human. Why would you bring a human here? You know it is dangerous for them. You may enter, Nina. He cannot.”

Tom dug out his badge, flipped it open and showed the silver card from Tera to … whatever it was. There was a long silence, then the door opened to shadows and sounds that Tom couldn’t quite place … though, somehow, he felt as if he had heard the sounds before … in his nightmares.

Nina stepped through the open door, offering her hand as she did so: “Stay with me; don’t drift off. Some of the things in here don’t react well to humans.”

Tom slid his badge back where it belonged: “Makes two of us.”

The door closed behind them without a sound.

 

Storm Clouds
Chapter 39
By TeraS

 

Jane refused to believe John when, two weeks later, he told her that she snored.

“I … do NOT … snore.”

John was panting when he replied: “Yes … you do … like a jet … on takeoff.”

“First, I don’t. And, second, how would you know what that sounds like, anyway?”

John had to think about that. The only reason why he even brought up the point about her snoring was that she was musing about moving in with him. He wasn’t sure about that and was looking for a way out … or at least a way to slow her down a little.

He slowed the treadmill down enough to manage a real conversation with her. She’d been pushing him again—for the best, he knew—and he could honestly say that, without her being here, he’d be a lot worse off than he was.

For a moment he wondered why that particular thought seemed like a sense of déjà vu … As if he’d been through this before, and things didn’t turn out well. Shaking that thought off, he continued to walk—not jog, and definitely not run—as he replied:  “Considering that my apartment is right under the flight path to the airport, I think I have a good idea what it sounds like.”

“Well at least no one will hear me when I rant at you about being late … or lazy… or, for that matter, sleeping in when you should be doing more important things.” The look Jane gave him was the one he knew well enough by now. It was a mix of “Just try me” and “Why haven’t you?”

After wiping his face with a towel, John decided that the best thing to do was get right to the point, no matter how things were going to turn out from here. “Jane. I need to take a break.”

She looked worried: “Are you hurting? What’s wrong?”

He stepped off the treadmill and she was right there, helping him as always, without complaint, as she promised. He realized a long time ago that she mattered to him, but neither of them had pushed things beyond that save for the occasional threats about moving in together just to see how long it would take before they drove each other nuts.

“I’m fine. I just can’t talk to you like this.”

She helped him over to a chair and then pulled one over for herself: “Okay, talk.”

He hoped for the best as he began: “You do snore. No let me finish, there’s a reason why I’m starting here. See, I’ve never been able to sleep through the night; there’s always been a nightmare that’s woke me up. I’ve never been able to remember it exactly, but I’ve become used to it waking me up.”

Jane had taken her seat, placed her hands in her lap and was looking at him intently. Still, he pressed on. Some secrets had to be shared, after all.

“I’ve woken up every night to the sound of you snoring away. I’ve thought about tossing a pillow at you every night, actually had one in my hands many times, and I’ve been on the edge of throwing it at you.”

Jane smiled: “Maybe you should have.”

John reached out a hand and put a finger over Jane’s lips: “Not a word till I’m done, okay?”

She nodded and he continued: “You know, it’s a weird thing for me. To see you across the room, the light from outside letting me see you there asleep in the night. It’s hard to explain, exactly, but you aren’t quite the same person then.”

Jane bit the inside of her lip at his words. She worried that he had seen her horns, or tail, that he knew that she wasn’t exactly human, and a sick feeling started in the pit of her stomach. After all she’d hoped for, he was going to say the words that would mean that her plan didn’t work, that things were going to be as they were.

John’s voice broke through her thoughts then: “You put up … a front, Jane. The real you isn’t all here right now, somehow. I want to know the real you, the you that you don’t want everyone to see or know.”

He looked down, then pressed onwards: “See, the thing is that, as stupid as I am, I know that I do like you. More than like you; I just feel like I’ve known you before. That doesn’t make any sense, it doesn’t to me, but I look at you in the middle of the night and … it’s familiar to me.”

He looked up at her: “Even the snoring.”

She smiled. She couldn’t do much else, really.

“So, here’s the deal: I don’t have much to offer, I don’t know what the future is going to bring. I do know that I don’t want to lose you, and I’m hoping that you, somehow, feel the same about me. Actually, that’s not exactly true. I know you do—God knows all of the signs are there—but we’re both dancing around what we want like two scared teenagers.”

They were both silent for a while, then Jane answered: “I’ve been doing the same thing. Not every night, but there are some nights when you are asleep that I’m lying in bed watching you and … wondering … hoping.”

John shook his head slightly, but Jane continued: “There’s been something about you, too. It’s not rescuing my ass or anything to do with that. It’s the dreams I’ve had about you, John … a lot of them.”

Then she smiled: “And, for the record, you snore, too, you big dummy.”

He rolled his eyes: “Okay, I know I do. The guys at the station have told me that for years.”

“And … so you lied to me about the snoring. Shame on you, John.”

John sighed: “Yes, I did. I admit that I thought that telling you the truth would turn you off and you’d leave.”

Jane shot a look at him: “We’ve been through this. I’m not leaving, not unless you tell me to my face that you want me to go, and make me believe you mean every word.”

“That’s the problem.”

“Not getting you, John. Explain, please.”

“Tell me what you remember from … oh … about two days ago when the guys from the station were here.”

Jane thought a minute, then: “Three of them came in to see you, first time I met those three, they weren’t at the station when I was trying to find out about you. They seemed nice enough.” In spite of those words, Jane didn’t tell John what she had seen in their thoughts about her, knowing that doing so would be … unwise, at best.

“And that’s all?”

Jane hesitated a long moment, then made up her mind: “I know they were all trying to make moves on me, John. I’m not totally stupid.”

To say John was shocked was an understatement: “Okay, I didn’t say you were stupid … except when we were under that desk … I still think you were stupid to be in there.”

“That’s your opinion. Personally, I thought it was a great way to meet Mr. Right.”

John crossed his arms and looked at Jane: “I’m still not completely convinced I’m Mr. Right.”

Jane pinched her nose: “You know, we really need to get you over that problem of yours as much as your walking problems.”

“That’s never going to happen. There’s not a thing that will …”

John trailed off because Jane had tilted her head to the right, the most evil smile on her lips that he had ever seen appearing there. She stood up and walked towards him, her hips rolling in a way that she’d never done before as she did so. “Oh, I think I can convince you. See, I haven’t, totally, been honest with you, John. See, the thing is that I haven’t, really, ever shown you just how much I want you … how much you are in my thoughts and dreams … how, every time you aren’t looking, I’m thinking things that would make you rock hard, wanting to bend me over a bench and do all kinds of dirty things to me.”

John was finding it hard to find his voice, but managed: “Jane, what’s come over you?”

She didn’t stop walking towards him, finally straddling his legs and resting there. She didn’t feel like she weighed anything, and his hands were suddenly moving to cup her curves as she wiggled her hips against his fingertips.

“Truth, John?”

He nodded as she traced a fingertip against his cheek: “Yeah.”

“Truth is that I am a hot little number who has been saving herself. There hasn’t been one man that’s turned me on, been in my thoughts, made me think about him every moment … until I found you.”

“That’s … just because I rescued you. You’ll …”

Jane’s finger was on his lips again: “No, I won’t. There’s a belief my kind has that, when the right two souls touch, there is nothing that can tear them apart. That’s part of who we are. We believe there is one for each of us that there is that one we call “Eternal.” When we find that one, we … just know.”

John listened, but found that it was hard to keep his eyes open. He blinked and shook his head, but Jane’s finger remained on his lips and she kept looking to his eyes. She had nice eyes, really nice, clear, sparkling eyes that he just couldn’t look away from.

“I never believed in the stories. I never thought I would find my Eternal. That wasn’t for me. I wasn’t like the rest of my kind. I should have listened better, because, if I did, then I would have done this sooner. Made you understand. To see what you need to see, John.”

Her voice seemed far away now, strange, echoing. John thought he saw something moving behind Jane. Something thin, but then Jane’s eyes held him again and the thought slipped away. It wasn’t as important as looking into her eyes again.

“I’ll show you … everything. But, for right now, I’m going to make sure you never have that worry about me leaving you again. That thought isn’t good for you.”

She moved her finger away, at least he felt the pressure on his lips vanish. But then her lips kissed his. The sensation of her lips … they were so pillowy soft, having just the right texture, shape, scent, and taste as her tongue slipped in for a moment, then darted out again. There was … something … strangely familiar and revealing in her kiss, like there was something that had been missing inside of him, taken away. He hadn’t known it was missing, but now, now he knew that it had been missing for so very long, and deeply so.

The kiss broke and reality snapped back into focus. John blinked and looked at Jane, who had her eyes closed and was smiling. He found himself captivated, watching, seeing something change within her, somehow.

Finding his voice, John asked: “What just happened, Jane?”

She opened her eyes and then mussed up her hair: “Some call it rapture … enlightenment.”

John noticed there was something that was reflecting the light of the room in Jane’s hair but dismissed it as a trick of the light: “I think I’m enlightened … and I’m sorry.”

Jane placed a hand on his chest: “You’ll make it up to me. I’ll think of something.”

“Why does that worry me, Jane?”

“Maybe it’s because neither one of us has been in love before. I’m not talking about lust. It’s too easy to be in lust with someone; too simple a thing. It’s a lot harder to be in love, having that one, true love that they talk about but you never believe in.”

“That’s pretty deep.”

“I got it from someone I know. She’s … sort of a theologian … sort of a big sister … sort of many things.”

“But what are you?”

Jane touched her forehead to his: “Yours. And you’re mine.”

There was a cough and they turned to see one of the nurses standing at the doorway: “Sorry to interrupt, but the shift is changing. Need to know if you are both going to be here for a while.”

Jane put her right hand on John’s chest, almost possessively, as she answered: “We’ll be here for a while longer. I’ll get him back to the room … after he takes a shower.”

The nurse shook her head as she closed the door: “Right. Don’t forget to turn out the lights.”

“We won’t.”

Jane didn’t wait outside this time. She walked in with John, closing the door behind them and locking it.

“What are you up to?”

Jane was leaning against the door, her hand on the light switch: “Close your eyes.”

John did, he heard the snap of the switch and when he opened his eyes there was only pitch black to be seen. While he couldn’t see anything, he did hear the rustling of clothes and then the  padding of feet around him. The sound of water spraying came next and then he hear Jane’s voice close to his ear.

“Tell me what you’re thinking right now.”

“I’m thinking you’re here, with me, in the shower … and you’re naked.”

He felt Jane’s hands rest on the waistband of his shorts: “I am.” Then he felt her chest press into his back, her breath hot and wet against his cheek: “I’m here, in the dark, where I can do anything I want to you and you won’t know what I am going to do … I could stay here, pressed against you.”

Then she seemed to vanish into thin air, no longer touching him and John waved his hands about him trying to find her.

Her voice came from his right next: “Or I could tease you, whisper all of the things I want to do to you. Tell you exactly what you are thinking right now, all of the things you’d love for me to do, or love to do to me.”

John had never experienced something like this before. It was all Jane’s voice, tempting, teasing, whispering to him, and she had his complete attention. She had more of it when he felt her hands on his shorts again and they being pulled down his legs, then winding up in a puddle around his feet. He felt Jane’s hands steady him and then guide him free of his clothes, before her hands took hold of his shirt and pulled it up and over his head, then heard the sound of it falling into a puddle somewhere in the room in the next moment.

“But you don’t want me to tease you John.”

Her hand … he thought it was her hand … wrapped itself around his shaft and started stroking him slowly as she continued to speak: “I know you’ve been aching for me … how often you’ve been in here … stroking yourself … thinking about me … needing me … wanting me.”

John’s answer was in a whine: “Yesssss … God, yes.”

He wasn’t prepared for the long, slow, wet lick of her tongue, the hum as she kissed her way along and then … stopped … her hand still continuing to stroke slowly.

“You’d love to have me, right now, right here, wouldn’t you? Press me up against the wall, the spray covering us … laying on the floor, me riding you, the water pouring over my curves, your hands cupping me. That’s what you want, isn’t it?”

“Jane … please … I can’t …”

He gasped in surprise as she rimmed him slowly, sucking deeply and then slipping up and down before breaking free with a pop.

“You won’t. Oh, you’ll come achingly close … so close you’ll scream … but you won’t; not yet. I’ll make sure of that. You’ll see.”

The she was gone again, leaving him achingly hard and gasping. The spray from the shower then poured over his head, soaking him completely. Her hands started to roam over his back, sides, chest, thighs. A sound of something being squirted, then her hands returned, a washcloth, he thought, in one hand, her other following along as she washed him … slowly.

He started to move his hands, to reach out and draw her close, but something slapped at his hand even as he felt her hands still sliding over his body.

“Ah … no. You just stand there. You will return the favour soon enough.”

He wanted to ask why the lights were off, why they were in the dark, but, before those thoughts made it to his voice, they were blotted out by her hands soaping his shaft and by her voice as she did so: “All slippery and wet … and hard now. And here I am … all wet, too.”

She pressed the cloth against his chest, and then she rubbed a leg against his own: “You’d better clean me up before we get all dirty again.”

He took hold of the cloth and at the same time held her hand: “Jane … you’re …”

Her voice was a purr: “… bad? Oh, I’m evil, John. But I’m all yours. Touch me.”

He did. It wasn’t quite a command, but the thought of touching her was overwhelming. He started by drawing the cloth against her neck, over one shoulder and down her arm before moving up again, over her chest and down the other. She whimpered when he didn’t move to cup her chest next, inside running the cloth against her flanks, over her waist and then across her stomach.

“Tell me what you want, Jane.”

She was breathless: “Everything.”

He didn’t give that to her, not quite yet. The cloth moved down one thigh to her toes and then back up the other before he paused. He moved closer to her, cupping her rear, kneading her skin. She pressed her chest against his, her skin slipping against the soap that covered his body. She nuzzled her lips against his neck and moaned needfully for him.

His hands moved up towards the small of her back, expecting to hold her there, draw her close …

… but … something … was in the way.

 

Storm Clouds
Chapter 40
By TeraS

 

Time had passed quite pleasantly for the pair as they were waiting for things to unfold. While Tera couldn’t interfere—or rather didn’t want to—in what Jane and John where going through, she was keeping watch over the events the pair were reliving and, occasionally, commenting about them, or other things. It was, in truth, the other thing that was holding much of Tera’s attention at that moment: “So, what do you make of it, my heart?”

He was reading a very old text, peering at the words through his glasses as he did so: “I make of it that it is garbled, unclear, uncertain, and, perhaps most irritating of all, the author has no sense of punctuation whatsoever.”

She leaned back on the couch and smiled: “Well, to be honest, the one that wrote that mess likely was doing so after having more than enough to drink and the scare of her lives.”

“And this is the earliest record of the Dark, is it?”

“The earliest one I know of. There might be others, but I have not found them as yet. Miriam has been looking for me on occasion.”

He smiled: “And?”

She looked perplexed, which for Tera was something rare: “And?”

“And when are you going to tell the brightest yellow tail of the Realm that she …”

Tera took a sip of her tea, then replied: “Oh, I think she knows … or at least suspects. After all, I have been giving her more and more responsibility; although she and Irving really do need to put up signs when they are … busy … in her office. You have no idea how many times I could have opened the door when I was walking by and flustered the two of them to no end.”

He chuckled as he returned to the text he held: “I can guess. But I also know that you are proud of them both as well, Dear One.”

Tera tipped her cup towards him and then took another sip.

He tapped a finger against the old parchment: “As for this: there are some interesting passages about why It is and how It is. It is the picking out of what is useful in this moment that makes things more complicated.”

“That is the thing, is it not? Somewhere in all of that alcohol-induced haze that passes for a story, there is a truth, but to find it … I’m not sure where it is and what to do with it should it be found.”

He leaned forwards and placed the text on the table: “Not if, Dear One: when, and soon, if I come to understand your plan and what needs to happen.”

She nodded, being serious for a moment: “All plans start with the first step, you know. I know that I am at least several dozen steps behind at this moment. However, that does not mean that all is lost.”

He adjusted his glasses: “Excellent. Now, if my Dear One would allow her theologian self to come out for a time. I have some questions.”

Tilting her head to the left, she replied: “I shall need a moment to get some glasses. Possibly put my hair in a bun as well.”

He chuckled: “I think not.”

She sat up again: “I think that the text is, as a whole, meant to divert one’s attention from the truth. Something about the words feels wrong, as if the writer had been made to put the words in against her will and then, when she could act freely again, she put the truth in where she could.”

He considered the text again: “A puzzle? Word scramble? Text within a text, then?”

“You yourself said that the text makes little sense.”

“True. Perhaps it is how one approaches the text that tells the story.”

“In what way?”

He turned his attention back to the text once more: “I will let you know, Dear One, when I find it.”

Tera was rolling her cup in her hands when she suddenly looked in the direction of Jane and John: “It appears they are finally to the point, my heart.”

“Which one would that be, Dear One?”

“The one where she reveals who she is to him. Why she is doing so in a dark room, I have no idea.”

He furrowed his brow in response: “A dark room, you say?”

“Yes. She turned out the lights and … well, Jane is one of the more talented of the Succubi, you know, when it comes to using touch.”

He nodded, but also replied: “But, it is the Dark. And …”

Tera looked at him and then shook her head: “Well, that is not exactly the most original way to spring a trap, is it?”

“Originality is not, as a whole, from what you have told me, one of the things It is known for.”

She smiled, thinly, which then turned quickly into a frown: “So that is what happened. Clever … much too clever.”

He considered her words: “What shall we do?”

“I know what It did. I know where things went wrong and … we are going to have a problem, my heart.”

Peering over his glasses to her, he asked: “Problem, Dear One?”

“This is the part where I did not wish you to be involved. This will be dangerous. Now that I know what happened to them, what It did, this can go one of two ways. Either they overcome what happened themselves, or I am going to.”

He removed his glasses, folding them up carefully and placing them into an inside pocket of his coat: “Not alone.”

Placing her cup on the table, Tera stood and walked over to him: “Never alone, promise. But you must promise not to leave your chair until it is safe.”

He chuckled: “Safe is an interesting term, Dear One. Would you care to be more specific?”

She smiled and kissed his forehead softly before touching his hand: “My heart will know. He always does.”

Tera then turned towards John and Jane, still unmoving and entwined on the couch. As she and her heart both watched, a black fog began to surround the two lovers, their forms becoming indistinct in the murkiness that surrounded them. Tera looked back over her shoulder: “With luck, the Dark will not try to stick Its nose in here to try and keep them in check. It likely is occupied with other things at the moment, which means that one of the minions will be making an appearance.”

He did look concerned, but stood, took two strides to stand with her: “And how do we defend against that possibility?”

Tera nodded in the direction of the fog: “I will keep an eye on that. Should we have a visitor, would you mind terribly greeting them?”

His eyes showed concern over the request: “I am not sure what you mean, exactly, Dear One.”

Her voice was warm, clear, and truthful: “I only ask that you greet them, my heart. You need not do anything more than that.”

He nodded, still unsure: “Just greet them?”

“Yes.”

Tera frowned slightly as there was a knock at the door.

He rested a hand on her shoulder: “I’ll see to them.”

Tera clutched at his hand, giving it a squeeze before he turned and walked towards the apartment door. She watched as the fog began to grow from where it encompassed Jane and John before lacing her fingers together and stretching her arms.

Her tail swisched slowly behind her as she focused her attention on the scene in front of her, knowing that her heart was watching her back.

“And here … we … go.”

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