Jun 10 2012

A Review of Hell’s Belles By Dayle A. Dermatis

I don’t mind short stories as long as they manage to tell a story, have a story, and in the end, the story they tell I enjoy. The other thing that I look for, and this should be obvious, is when you suggest the possibility of Succubi, by your cover or otherwise, you really should deliver in some way, shape or form. If that doesn’t happen, then I hope that the rest of the story can keep me interested…

Hell's Belles By Dayle A. Dermatis

Hell's Belles By Dayle A. Dermatis

The work summary is short, but says:

Teaching etiquette to a spoiled debutante can be hell…literally.

The first thing that I think I need to make clear is that there are no Succubi to speak of in this work. I’m talking about the kind with horns and tails. No, this story is about a rather poor mannered girl named Alexandria Pointer-Ashe who needs a severe life lesson in manners in order to set her, and more importantly to her mother at least, place at her coming-out ball. Your place in society, especially in the Southern United States where this work is set, matters to these women more than anything else.

And in this world there is one person whom the rich and well placed send their children to be “finished” properly. And her name is Lilith D’Enfer. She is almost a legend in the higher circles of society and everyone, and I mean everyone, wants their daughter to attend her classes and be absolutely perfect.

But perfection has a price, and in the end the question becomes whether Alexandria will pay it, and what that price will be.

The overall story tells of what Alexandria does, where she goes wrong and in the end what breaking Lilith’s contract can mean. Oh there is a twist in the tail of the work that I expected, but it was well done and I smiled a bit when it appeared.

It’s impossible to like Alexandria. She has an ugly personality, ugly manners, and she’s just an all around ugly person in spite of her outer beauty. Who Lilith really is was obvious in the first exchange between Lilith, Alexandria and her mother, but in spite of knowing it, the reveal was kept away to the end of the story which made it a better one.

The story was well written, the author can tell a story well, and I appreciate that, but I think that they need to expand on their story summaries in order to give the reader a better idea of what to expect in their work.

For me personally, watching the train wreck occur over the length of the story didn’t seem to me to be all that interesting. Oh the transformation of attitude was intriguing I’ll give the author that, but how many times do we need to see Alexandria being a pain in the tush? After the tenth time, I think that we got the picture and perhaps we could have gotten more of the resolution of the story, more about Lilith herself, and the world that she resides in?

It would have been more interesting to me at least.

I’ll give this work three pitchforks out of five.

Well written, a good story, but you have to look really hard in order to find a Succubus in it…



Jun 09 2012

Found a trailer for the Lilith movie… how about a plot next?

Some time ago, I discovered a film on the IMDb that was titled Lilith, but really didn’t say anything else about it. Now I have been following it as much as I can as I think that the actresses in it are very good and I am wondering what the film is about…

And now I have a trailer to ponder as well…

And in case you can’t see it here:


After watching it, I honestly still haven’t a really good idea of what it is about, though I have the odd feeling that it is less about the Succubus Lilith and more about vampires, but I hope I am wrong about that.

The film looks wonderful I think and the performances of the main actresses in the trailer at least are compelling to me…

I will hold out hope that, I can see it, and that I learn more about it…



Jun 08 2012

A Review of Tales from the Dubh Linn by Niall Teasdale

It’s been a little while since I last reviewed a work by one of my favourite authors Niall Teasdale. I have reviewed all of the works in his Thaumatolgy series and today will bring another in the series. My review of his first book, Thaumatology 101, can be found here. The second book in the series, Demon’s Moon was reviewed here on the Tale as well. I reviewed the third book in the series, Legacy is here. The first collection of short stories from this universe called Tales from High Towers’ Study is here.  The review of the fourth book in the series, Dragon’s Blood is here. And the review of the fifth book in the series, Disturbia can be found here on the Tale…

This time, I will be reviewing a second collection of short stories from this universe called Tales from the Dubh Linn. I am reviewing this work slightly out of order from the series itself, and the sixth book in the series Hammer of Witches will be reviewed next week, rather than appearing this week…

Tales from the Dubh Linn by Niall Teasdale

Tales from the Dubh Linn by Niall Teasdale

This, the seventh book in the series contains the following stories:

Six dark tales of urban fantasy set in the same universe as the Thaumatology series.

Here can be found fae, vampires, werewolves, zombies, and demons, and the humans foolish enough to interact with them.

  • A Night on the Town: Four friends on a night out in London end up visiting the Dubh Linn, a notorious pub in London frequented by the darker side of supernatural society.
  • Hunt: A young couple spend Halloween night in a tent in Windsor Great Park while overhead they can hear a sound like geese calling. They are in for a very wild night.
  • After Twilight: A teenager with a taste for vampire romance story finds herself falling in love with a teenage vampire who has just started at her school. Will the course of vampire romance run true?
  • Succubus: When Wendy discovers that her husband has been cheating on her, she summons a succubus for revenge and gets more than she bargained for.
  • The Body Trade: When a reporter begins investigating human trafficking into London she enters a far more dangerous world than she could ever have been imagined.
  • Changeling: A farmer in Wales becomes convinced that his wife has been replaced by a fae changeling.

This collection of stories is a bit of a departure from what has appeared in the past from this author. That’s not a bad thing, but if you are expecting to see Ceri or Lily in this collection, you won’t. There are some very tenuous connections to them, and some of the minor characters in the series pop up here and there, but this work isn’t about them really…

It’s about just how dark things are in this universe really are and what happens when humans come into contact with the dark forces that surround them…

As this is an anthology of stories, I will be reviewing each of the stories and then give a rating for the collection as a whole…

A Night on the Town – From what little has been seen about the Dubh Linn, anyone with half a mind would realize that going in there isn’t exactly the smartest thing to do. This story shows why that is exactly, and what happens when you tempt fate. Considering all of the beings that have been seen in the series, and in that particular place, it’s not surprising what happens during the course of the story. A bit violent in places, a great deal of sadness in a lot of the characters in the story as well. I do wonder though why it is that, at least in this universe, so many people in it seems not to know what they are dealing with considering that they see magical and mystical beings almost everyday. Still, the people that go into the Dubh Linn aren’t exactly representative of the best of that world… Four out of five pitchforks.

Hunt – Actually quite a different story than I expected at he beginning. It has been said that in this universe, one of the stupidest things you can possibly do is be out in the open on Halloween night. While not an all encompassing explanation, it is both warning and tragedy at the same time. I have to admit that  I couldn’t quite figure out what legends were involved in the story and I had to do some research to figure that out. The revelation that brought made this story a lot more interesting for me personally. While there is a lot of darkness in the plot of this story, what’s sadder is the climax of the story and what happens afterwards… Four out of five pitchforks.

After Twilight – A vampire story, and the thing about vampires in this universe is that, one, they aren’t sparkly, and two, they are very, very evil beings. The passage of time through the two main characters in this story, where they start from and where they end up, is in its own way tragic and unsettling. There is a long look at the dark underside of this world and what those with no morals can and will do. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a common occurrence in this universe and I would be even less surprised if we see Ceri and Lily confront what happens here eventually in the series. I don’t care for vampire stories for a lot of reasons, and while I do have that bias, I did find the characters and their development very good. Four and a half pitchforks out of five.

Succubus – This is, really, the first time we see what a full fledged Succubus can do in this universe. There is a twist in the tail of this story that I didn’t expect, which was well done and actually gives me something to think about with regards to a character we have seen in this series before. I don’t know as yet whether it makes me like them or hate them to be honest. It’s an odd moment when the reveal happens and their reasons for their actions is explained. Still, this is a story of a human being dealing with a demon… and you can never be quite sure about the deals made with them here. A nice opening towards questions I have had for some time in the series… Now if they would only have horns and a tail… Five out of five pitchforks.

The Body Trade – Really a very involved and complicated story considering all of the characters that appear in it. One of them we first met in Disturbia, and they have been very much a question mark since they did. The story does open up some of their motivations, and as well it delves into something a bit more. A rather horrific part of the illegal supernatural crimescape. The ending of the story is possibly the most terrifying part of the entire collection and while it is that, it has its own poetic resolution to it. Again, it seems like something Ceri and Lily will be dealing with in the future for what happens. Five out of five pitchforks.

Changeling – The ending of this story revealed a piece of history that I wasn’t aware of, which was really a moment that I found fascinating. As the story progresses, the sense of “wrongness” felt by the main character in it felt right. The events that transpire and where the story goes from what seems to be a minor event towards a mystery was a delightful read as well. There are a lot of questions at the end left unanswered, which in a story like this you would expect and that makes this story something to think about. My favourite story of the collection and it capped off the work perfectly. Five out of five pitchforks.

I did like the collection quite a lot overall. There are more sexual situations found in the stories here than in the main books of the series, but I think that might be a reflection of the beings involved and the reasons for what happens in each of the stories. It’s also a lot more violent when compared with the series, but, this isn’t really Ceri and Lily’s story. It’s the story of the darker beings in this universe, so a change in subject or focus makes a lot of sense really…

Written with care, told with style, this collection is well worth five pitchforks out of five.

Next week, as I have said, I will be reviewing the sixth book in the series, Hammer of Witches… And it is a very interesting moment in Ceri and Lily’s lives…



Jun 07 2012

Succubi Image of the Week 232

Time for another Morrigan Aensland image as the Succubi of the Week on the Tale, and this week’s work I think is just about the most detailed image of Morrigan that I have seen in quite a long time…

Morrigan Aensland by Foreverblue81

Morrigan Aensland by Foreverblue81

You can click on the image here for a larger version of this beautiful piece of art. This is the creation of an artist on DeviantArt named Foreverblue 81, who’s artist page can be found here. You can also see the original page I found this art on at DeviantArt here too…

The one thing that caught my attention here was the detail in Morrigan’s wings. Normally they aren’t paid a lot of attention in the drawings that I have seen of her, but in this case there are, I think, a central focus of this work.

I also think that her pose, in the midst of flight, is sensual and shows that without being over the top, and that again is something very attractive to me…

Morrigan, when she’s drawn as sensual, is much more so than Morrigan drawn in a way which over endows her. Really that’s not needed as she is, really, quite beautiful and alluring as she is…

Lovely work, and I hope that the artist creates more soon…

Please do visit their DeviantArt page and see more of their talents!



Jun 06 2012

Some Sexy Devil Costumes… aren’t.

When I see the words “Sexy Devil” I assume that there is something sexy about it, and, that there is a good deal of Devil, or I hope, Succubi in it. But the thing of it is, that’s a rare thing and not a lot of costume designers manage to make that work.

Case in point…

This is called the Sexy Devil Costume and it comes with the horns, the pitchfork and as well, the off the shoulder dress, a vinyl waist cincher and a tail which isn’t visible in this picture.

It does not include the boots, which honestly is a shame because I think they would be about the only thing I would want from this costume.

It sells for $50 US on various costume sites on the web…

I hate the pitchfork and the horns from the moment I saw this. The horns are nothing special and, as seems to be the style now, they look really tacky to me.

The dress by itself is okay, but the hem on it bothers me as all of the dresses in this style do. The cincher sort of helps the look, but it has a lot of tacky in it which makes the entire look just go downhill quickly…

I have to admit that the boots I am interested in, but they aren’t included in the costume. They are however available for $45 US…

I’ll have to seriously consider them as an accessory for this Halloween…

So. taking the boots away, I really just can’t see anything here that I would want to own, and I won’t be. The boots are one my list and we’ll see where that goes in the future…

This costume gets one pitchfork out of five, not including the boots…

I suppose as something to wear in public it would be, if not okay at least as being  “respectable”…

And I don’t think that means a lot…



Jun 05 2012

Desires 32

The RP is called Desires for a reason… The Queen of the Succubi knows her desires, but that of others? That depends on them doesn’t it?


Desires – Truths

By MZ and Tera S

Part Twenty

“No, you are wrong my pet.” I stared down at Tera evilly and with great joy in my eyes. “Curtis Allen told you that… Curtis was the one that buttered you up…. who prepared you for me. I’m not Curtis anymore. Curtis is dead.” Clenching the Black Rose for emphases, I pricked his finger again on a thorn. Out of anger, I slammed down the rose and stomped on it. The rose splintered into hundreds of pieces. I looked back into Tera’s eyes with my nostrils flaring.

“I am Mind Zapper. You destroyed my empire over three years ago. I’ve come to return the favor. I’ve come to get my revenge. But I’m not going to kill you for what you did to me…. Oh no… death would be too light a punishment for you. And I’m not going to give you the comfort of serving me as a mindless drone either. No you will suffer dearly.. “Queen Tera.” I’ll keep your mind in perfect condition as I force you to serve my every whim.”

“You’ll beg for me to put you out of your misery before I’m done with you. You’re empire and all your followers are mine now. I’m going to make you break every commitment… every promise you’re ever made to all your “loved ones.” I’m going to have you lure everyone of them one by one. Either they will serve me as their master like you or I’ll just enslavement myself. After I’ve regained all my glory plus interest, I’m going to make you my community whore to be used by all that come to pay me homage. I’m going to put your own collar on you and lead you around by a leash everywhere I go. Soon you’ll your only self worth will be in the servicing of anybody that has to pity to bother with you.”

I held up the collar and showed it to Tera. “This will be your only possession from now on. This will be the only thing that will ever caress you again. This will be a constant reminder of what you used to have and will never have again. Now take your collar and put it on….. doing so will forever seal your allegiance to me as your master… a promise if you will, just like the one’s you are so fond of.”

Yes… yes… yes… crush her….make her suffer for what she did to you…. what she put you through.
I’m going to miss those loving eyes a little, but my revenge will not be denied.


Revenge? Oh we will see about that soon enough…



Jun 04 2012

Storm Clouds 170 – An ongoing Succubi Story

This is the continuing story of the Succubi called Storm Clouds…

If you want to read previous chapters, please click the link in the Tale header at the top of the page marked Storm Clouds or click here...

Nothing new this week, real life has made sure of that I regret… Maybe someday soon there will be again.


Storm Clouds 170

Chapter 21

By TeraS


The thing about the Dark was that it was too confident. It thought that it had all of the answers and that no one could oppose it.

That was almost true.

She could, and did . . . regularly.

It had become almost an obsession for her now. There were so few who would challenge the Dark when it appeared, and so it fell to her to do so. It wasn’t a chore or an imposition; it had to be done, and she had seen enough of the Dark and what it was capable of to know that the best thing to do was what she did: drive it mad with anger and make it stop thinking.

Losing the one portal did that. Then letting it stew in its anger had made it get involved intimately with mortals and their world. She wondered if, this time, it would actually learn something from the experience or not.

Making the portal vanish was child’s play for a being like her. If the Dark ever figured out just how powerful she was, it might actually pause to think twice about the plans it had against Tera and her kind.


The thought did make her smile as the portal showing the severed tail reappeared among all of the Dark’s other ones. She stood there for a time, tapping a single pink fingernail against the surface and trying to decide what would be the most unpleasant thing she might do.

She could destroy this portal—the thought had been there before—but she had her own plans, and, for those, this one portal needed to remain, at least for the moment, in spite of what it showed.

The tapping stopped as she placed that hand against the surface and whispered to the awful image that it showed, “It will not be long. Promise.”

And, unlike some beings, she kept her promises.

She turned away, coming to the decision that, for once, just this once, she was going to make the Dark know what it was to lose something valuable.

What followed was the sound of fingernails raking across portal after portal, each of which turned white against the darkness, throwing light into a place which despised it. She didn’t ruin every single one of them, but, when she was done, she had left the Dark but three portals.

She thought that she just might be able to hear the scream of anger from it from three universes away when it returned to see what she had done here, and that thought made her smile slightly.

She glanced once more at the portals that remained, satisfied that this would be a problem for it, that it would have to spend effort and time repairing the damage if it could, and that, thankfully, might give the others needed time to figure out what was happening and where.

As much as she wanted to, she couldn’t actually get involved in the battle or make choices for those involved. It was, after all, necessary that all beings make their own choices, no matter how wrong or ill-advised they might well be.

Still, she had one thing that the Dark didn’t have: trust. Trust in others, trust that they would make good choices, but, most of all, trust in that one person that saved her life so long ago and, in doing so, changed her own universe for the better.

She would always owe that person for that gift.

She passed into the ether, on her way to where she needed to be. If the Dark could get involved with mortals, she could as well … to a point. But first she needed to talk to someone who needed to understand that some paths were not worth following.

Following the path of one who owed the succubi—and Tera, in particular—her life … that was the most foolish thing that it had ever done.

And it would soon learn.

As for the Dark, possessing one of its pawns was distasteful. But there was little choice. That damnable creature had cost it its watch over the tail. The one thing that would, if its plans went to completion, cause the barriers to fall before it and thus have what it wanted most.

But having to deal with a corporal form? That was something that it did not enjoy in the slightest. Emotions, thoughts, images from this pawn were getting caught between its own thoughts and, as well, it knew that its own thoughts would be mixing the other way.

But the important thoughts, the ones that it needed for itself, those it kept under lock and key, or so the Dark would believe. The problem was, as it always was, that nothing is ever completely closed off when beings merge, even if only for a short time.

Fingerprints leave smudges, after all …

It took the Dark some time to return to where the tail was kept. The wards around the place made it impossible for someone to appear there without seeing the place first and entering at one specific spot. From the outside there were traps and obstacles that it knew would stop any magic user from getting close.

But this pawn was tuned to the place, and the wards would fall before it. Even so, the time … the time was taking far too long for the Dark’s liking.

And so time passed, the Dark fumed, and the universe turned …



Storm Clouds

Chapter 22

By TeraS

“I think I am.”

Tom looked behind him expecting to see Camilla there, and she was … sort of.

It was Camilla, but her tail and horns were grey instead of black and her hair had changed color from blonde to purple. Tom couldn’t stop the words that came out: “I liked the blonde and black better, Camilla.”

She smirked.

And Tom paused. He was pretty sure that Camilla didn’t smirk.

“It’s a long story, Tom, and right now we haven’t got the time.”

And that was wrong, as well. Camilla never called him “Tom.” Mary Ann tried to get away again, and Tom was forced into flipping her over, straddling her, and then locking her wrists together with handcuffs before sitting on her legs. Having some control of the situation, he looked at Camilla and said, “We’ve got the time. You want to let me in on why the style change? Got tired of your hair color or something?”

She ran her left hand through her hair, pulling on it slightly, “Okay, short version: I’m Camilla’s bad side; I’m a bitch; I’m nothing like her, and you don’t want to screw with me. That good enough for you?”

“I’m never going to understand this, am I?”

She smirked again, “Oh, I dunno … You’d make an interesting Incubi … I can put in a good word for you if you’re up for it.”

Tom shook his head: “Thanks, but I have enough issues with my life as it is. The universe isn’t what I knew it was, there are people—like you—who are legends, and I am supposed to deal with that. Oh yes, and I am acting under the command of the Queen of a race of beings that exist on sex and pleasure and I have no idea why I should be, but I’m doing it anyway.”

She nodded, “Tera does have her ways, doesn’t she? At least she isn’t using that pitchfork of hers on you. Mind you, some like that sort of thing…”

“So what do I call you? ‘Not Camilla’ or ‘Punkie Brewster’ or what?”

She leaned down so that they looked into each other’s eyes: “You really want to know who I am?”

Tom didn’t finch: “I trust Camilla. She’s proven herself. I don’t trust you.”

She nodded: “Good; backbone and will. I can see why Tera wants your help. You may call me ‘Nina.’”

“All right; ‘Nina’ it is. Tell me something, seriously: does every one of you have an ‘a’ at the end of your name?”

She laughed, “No … Just some of us do. Congratulations, Tom; you just endeared yourself to me. Camilla will be pleased to know that. Make sure you tell her when you see her again.”

The smirk vanished and she looked past Tom to Mary Ann on the floor beneath him, “You mind getting off her? She and I have … a past.”

“Good or bad?”

“I won’t kill her, at least, not just yet.”

“If I don’t?”

“Then I’ll have to move you, Tom. You don’t want me to, I promise you.”

Tom got up and moved to the side. Nina reached down and pulled Mary Ann to her knees by the handcuffs before grasping her chin. “Hello, bitch. It’s been a while since I’ve seen you. How long has it been?

The fear in Mary Ann only allowed a quiet whisper of an answer, “Babylon.”

“That’s right. As I remember it, you came into my temple and tried to turn my followers, didn’t you? You corrupted them from the top down and, in the end, you were responsible for how many deaths?”

“I don’t know.”

“I do. I remember them very well. You watched as they fought, four hundred eighty-six of them falling to your promises of riches that were hidden from them. And when it was over, what did they find inside the walls?”



Mary Ann closed her eyes, “Because everything they gave you, you returned to them … and more. You … you cared about the cattle and …”

Tom didn’t see Nina’s hand as it struck Mary Ann, sending her sprawling across the floor.

“They are not cattle, you worthless bitch! They are more than you will ever be or ever could be. You can’t understand that, can you?”

There was no answer, and Nina pulled her once again to her knees by the handcuffs: “Here’s the deal. You tell us what’s going on and who’s in charge, and I won’t kill you today. You lie to me, and I’ll start taking you apart one piece at a time …”

She extended her left hand and, to Tom’s shock, a silver sword appeared there, flames dancing along its blade. Tom thought he could hear the sword … growling?

She placed the edge against Mary Ann’s neck: “You know what this is. You know exactly what will happen if I strike you with it. Camilla wouldn’t; she follows the new ways. But I don’t. So make up your mind, right now, and tell me why you are here and what you have done to Ginger.”

Tom coughed, “Nina … You said you wouldn’t kill her.”

She didn’t look at Tom: “Oh, this won’t kill her. It will, however, take away what makes her special. What she is, she won’t be anymore.” A cruel smile appeared, “And since she is so enamored with being immortal …”

Mary Ann closed her eyes, “You are a fool. I serve powers greater than you. You’ll never leave this room alive if you harm me.”

“Oh I’ve already harmed you. Now I’ll cripple you …”

And she pulled the blade back and then swung it towards Mary Ann’s neck …

What happened next was something that Tom would never quite be able to explain.

The blade came down and struck on her right shoulder, then passed through her body and came out at her waist … leaving not a mark on her. Mary Ann still breathed, still was alive, but the look of disbelief in her eyes that she had been struck was matched by the satisfaction in the look that Nina had …

… and what the sword now held upon its blade.

Tom could clearly make out what looked like a twisted, ghostly image of Mary Ann’s form wrapped around the blade, with the flames licking against it and a silent scream of pain on the ghost’s face.

Nina didn’t look at Tom, she just held the sword in front of Mary Ann, “You have very little time, bitch. I’d say about three minutes before you aren’t immortal anymore. Maybe ten and you’ll start aging, and we both know what happens when you do.”

She looked at a clock on the wall, “Three minutes. Talk.”

Tom wanted to intervene. This was torture and he knew it. But he didn’t know what would either help or harm in the situation he found himself in. He didn’t expect that he would be able to disarm Nina, nor did he have any way to fix whatever Nina had done.

Tom hated being helpless … it reminded him of Beth and …

… he just turned away and kept his thoughts to himself.

To Mary Ann’s credit she held out for an entire minute. She just looked back at Nina, but when Nina drew a finger along the shaft of her sword and then licked a wisp of Nina’s ghostly form from her fingers, she caved in…

“Ginger is nothing. She was a convenient way to gain power. She didn’t care about anything save her own beauty and screwing her husband. It was child’s play to alter their minds and take him out of the picture.”

Tom heard this and asked, “What did you do?”

“I made him get involved with the mob, you asshole. I made sure that he was stupid about it. I saw to it that they would find out what he was doing, make him transfer everything to Ginger and then you so helpfully took him away, leaving Ginger to my tender mercies. Didn’t take a week and she was a hot little slut that would do anything for me to degrade her and …”

Nina interrupted, “Nice story. Now, how about why you did it in the first place?”

Mary Ann gritted her teeth, “I needed power.”


She didn’t answer that question. Tom had a thought, “You needed power for a purpose. You seem to have a past with Nina and her kind … is that why you needed this … power?”

The look she gave him spoke volumes.

Tom sighed, “Peachy: a war between omnipotent beings. I should have stayed in bed.”

Nina placed the point of the sword just in front of Mary Ann’s lips, “Who are you working for.”

“Give it back to me first!”

“No. You give me the information and I’ll give it back to you. Better hurry. You’re running out of time … rapidly.”

Mary Ann finally broke down and said in a whisper, “The Dark. It’s the Dark …” Then she screamed, “Now give it back!”

Nina stood up and then wiped the length of the sword with her fingers, balling the ghost into her hand before tossing it casually at Mary Ann. It fell into her body producing a sigh of pleasure from her lips and then a look of defiance on her face.

Which Nina promptly removed with another strike of her hand against Mary Ann’s cheek which resulted in her falling to the floor unconscious.

The blade vanished in a flash of light and then Nina then stood up and looked critically at Tom, “Tell me something. Other than you being human, is there anything special about you?”

Tom shrugged, “Cats like me.”

She looked at him for a long, long moment.

“That’s good.”


“That would be telling. Come on, if she is working for the Dark, then we need to get out of here right now.”

And then she pushed past him making for the elevators without another word, Mary Ann on the floor out cold and Ginger in the other room pleading for her Mistress to come back to punish her again …



Storm Clouds

Chapter 23

By TeraS

Smoke. The first thing he smelled was the smoke. Then he noticed the flames licking up the walls of the warehouse, the beams falling from the ceiling, and the yelling from behind him.

And then, as he watched three men rush past, John had a horrible realization. He was back at the fire. Not a fire; no, the fire … the fire where he was injured, the one that haunted him every day. He felt and then saw the fire axe in his hands and knew exactly what was going to happen next. He would rush after the rest of his company, follow them into the hell around them and search.

There would be … What would there be?

That part he never could remember exactly, when no one could tell him what happened, between this moment when they last saw him and the next, when they found him underneath the remains of the structure.

He hesitated there a moment longer, the others vanishing into the smoke, and then, twisting the axe in his hands, made his way forward, the smoke becoming thicker, the sound of his breathing loud in his ears as the respirator cycled back and forth, keeping him alive. Coming to a locked door, he kicked it open and then drew back as more smoke poured out and around him, making it almost impossible to see.

But did he see … something? Did he hear something?

There was no choice: he was going in there and searching. He had to be sure.

John pushed his way in while calling out, “Is anyone there? Answer me!” He didn’t hear anything, and so he moved deeper into the space. The light from the hallway, which showed him the way out and to safety, slowly dimmed as the smoke thickened more and more. But that didn’t matter. He had to search, had to help. That was his job and, no matter what else, he was going to do it.

He spent almost five minutes searching, the odd layout of the room confusing him. It seemed like an office, there were desks around him, but the space was too large for a simple office. Still, he pressed on, moving back and forth, calling out and listening even as he searched, his axe in his hand and the flashlight attached to his helmet probing into the smoke around him.

And then John saw her.

A woman crumpled to the floor, covered in black soot and grime. Her figure was indistinct. He knew it was a woman, but her features–hair, eyes, skin tones, what she was wearing–were all a blur.

But that meant nothing to him.

He knelt down beside her and checked: she was still breathing, but unconscious. The problem was that he had no idea if she was seriously injured or not. He found his spare mask and, after hooking it up to his air supply, placed it over her face. Her breathing improved, but now he was stuck there. He couldn’t leave her, which left him one choice: reporting on his radio that he found a survivor and then triggering the beacon built into it to call others to assist him.

He was about to do that when he heard the first shriek of the ceiling starting to come down. John’s only thought was to protect the woman however he could. He dragged her under a desk and then pushed himself under it as well, his body over hers.

The noises stopped for a moment, everything was silent around him, and then, just as he was about to look out from underneath the desk, there was the sound of a train wreck as the world came down around them both.

Then all was quiet again.

Except this time, standing amid the rubble, there was Tera, her dress pushed around by the smoke and fire, her arms crossed over her chest, and a look of concern on her face. She considered the pile of rubble that now held John and the woman, her long red tail moving slowly, catlike, behind her.

“Well … that explains a lot.”

From the smoke and fire, Jane came into view to the other side of the rubble. “Damn it, Tera! We don’t have the right to do this!”

Tera considered her for a long moment and then explained, “We need a clue, Daughter, an idea of what has happened. He has that clue in him; we just have to pry it out.”

Jane stormed up to Tera and then poked her into the chest with a finger, “You tell us to respect others, to help them. This does neither!”

Tera looked down at the finger pressing against her, then took hold of Jane’s hand before gently moving it away.

“His mind is blocked from what happened here, Daughter. He knows he came in, he knows he found someone in here, but he remembers nothing of who that woman is. She’s the key to this in someway and we need to know.”

“It’s not a good enough reason!”

Tera looked bemused, “Oh it is … It most certainly is.” She then reached around behind Jane and took a hold of something there, making Jane gasp in surprise. Tera then showed the tip of a grey tail to Jane, a tail that was connected to her body. “Daughter, you look like yourself.” Then Tera, that enigmatic smile still on her lips, released Jane’s tail.

Jane felt behind her, touching her tail in surprise and then running her hands over her horns. “How?”

“That is, of course, the question, isn’t it? Why should things be fixed here? It doesn’t make any sense … or … perhaps it does.”

Tera walked over to the pile of rubble and then pointed a finger at it, “The answer is in there, isn’t it? Who is the woman he rescued? Why can’t he remember her? How was that done? Most of all: why would all this make it necessary for your physical appearance to be changed?”

Jane didn’t answer the questions. She didn’t have the answers.

Tera then began to twirl her finger in a slow circle, “While these are his memories, they are not immutable. We can alter them, to a point, or, get a better look at them, can’t we?”

Jane rubbed her temples: “Yes, Tera … That’s Succubi 101 in the Realm, isn’t it?”

Tera continued to work at the rubble, bits and pieces of it vanishing at her touch, “What was your grade, Jane?”

Jane mumbled, “B Plus.”

Tera smiled in spite of herself, “Well, at least you passed.”

“I passed because a certain Queen made me work at it harder than anything I have done before.”

“Are you complaining?”

“Tera … I’m not. Honestly.”

“Oh, I’m not mad at you Jane, perish the thought. No, what I am, however, is very confused at this moment.”

Jane looked to where Tera was focusing and saw something that she didn’t, couldn’t expect to see. There, in the rubble, was John, but the woman that he had saved … wasn’t.

“Tera, what’s going on?”

“We missed something while talking, Daughter. Something happened here, and we didn’t pay attention to it when we should have.”

Jane’s look was one of confusion, so Tera continued: “Something, or someone, took that woman away after the ceiling collapsed, and we missed it.”


“That’s the question, isn’t it? Why take her away? Why make him forget about all of this? What was the point of it?”

Tera rubbed her fingertips over her temples and sighed: “We’ll just have to start all over again and, this time, not look away.”

In the next moment, the collapse of the ceiling happened again, John saved the woman and all was quiet once more. But seconds later, the two succubi saw what came next.

A black shadow fell over John and the woman, covering them both and then vanishing, taking the woman with it and leaving John behind … alone.

“Tera, what was that?”

“Something I hope you never have to face: the Dark.”

“Tera … Why would it care about either of them?”

“Oh that’s easy. It wanted the woman; it didn’t care about John. But taking her and leaving him with these memories would have been worse. So it damaged him, made him forget about what he actually did, and then continued on with its plan.”

“Tera … you are being evasive.”

“I have an idea of who the woman is, Daughter. A pretty good one, but I don’t like where that idea is leading me.”

“Who is she?”

Tera ran one hand through her hair and sighed, “It has to be Patricia.”

Jane just stared at Tera in disbelief …


Storm Clouds

Chapter 24

By TeraS

Tom followed Nina out of the office and watched her hand slam against the call button for the elevator. “You know,” he deadpanned, “putting your hand through that wall won’t make it get here any faster.”

Nina shot him a look and began to pace, “Tell me something, Tom: what was the story that scared you the most when you were a child?”

Tom had to think about that for a moment, “The Boogieman, I think.”

She stopped in mid-pace: “Okay, then you can think of the Dark as him on steroids, if you want.”

“He scares you?”

“Me and just about anyone that knows about it.”

“Hang on; he’s an ‘it’?”

Nina waved her hand at Tom, “No one is really sure. ‘It’ seems to be the best way to describe it; likes mayhem, destruction, and violence above everything else.”

“So, why you?”

Nina laughed, “Oh it’s not me that it’s interested in. It’s all of us. Tera’s told us about it, told us not to get involved with it, and, no matter what, we don’t allow it back to our home.”

“How’s that working for you?”

Nina smirked, “So far, so good. But it’s a persistent bastard.”

Tom pinched the bridge of his nose, “So what you are telling me is that an omnipotent being is responsible for killing Patricia?”

Nina punched the button again and started to pace once more, “No, someone killed Patricia either under the influence of the Dark, or for it, thinking they would be rewarded with power or something else.”


Nina sighed, “And they likely are under the Dark’s control somehow, still acting for it, and are possibly looking to be the cause of something else happening.”

“Wonderful. This just gets better and better.”

She turned back to Tom and, with a hard look in her eyes, said, “If you want out, go see Tera and tell her that.”

“I’m not a quitter. I complain, moan, and curse, but I don’t walk away from a fight.”

Nina’s answer was, “And you have no idea why Tera asked you to look into this?”

Tom smirked, “I figured she liked my looks.”

The doors to the elevator opened and Nina grabbed Tom by the shoulder dragging him inside before punching the button for the ground floor. After the doors closed, she continued, “The thing is, Tom, I think you are involved because the Dark uses humans for its own gains.”

“And you don’t?”

Nina waved her hand at the ceiling, “You want me to claim that we’re pure and lily white? Sorry, Tom, I can’t do that. Yes, in the past, a long time ago, we weren’t nice; we didn’t care, either. Once upon a time we had humans as pets, toys, and worse; we would twist them into whatever we wanted them to be.”

Tom flinched at the tone of her voice, but still asked, “So, what changed?”

Nina’s hand dropped to her side, “One human, just one, showed us that there was a better way and we took it.”

“Have I met this person?”

Nina laughed, “Oh no, no you haven’t … Trust me, you would know if you had.”


Nina looked wistful, “You’ll have to ask Tera about that sometime …”

Tom filed that away for later before prodding her, “Okay, so back to me being involved?”

She nodded, “You’ve been told that some beings need humans to do their work for them. The Dark needs willing humans, or at least humans that it has touched, to do its bidding.”

“Still doesn’t explain me.”

“You know human nature better than we do, Tom. You see more than we do. It used to be that we would just take control of someone and force them to talk. You saw what Camilla did, right?”

He nodded.

“She hadn’t done something like that in about a thousand years, Tom. Oh, she was brave about it, but it tore her up inside to have to do it.”

“So, what we have to face are people who might be … mind controlled or something, acting for the Dark without knowing it, and best of all, you really can’t be sure until you come in contact with them?”

Nina sighed, “The Dark isn’t stupid, so it’s placed some red herrings to draw any investigation away from it. Lots of humans to comb through for an answer and …”

Tom waited, but Nina just started tapping a finger against her lips as the elevator descended. After ten floors, Tom slapped her tail with his hand, which jolted Nina, so that, in the next moment, Tom found himself pressed up against the wall, a very angry Nina looking at him.

“Why … did … you … do … that?”

Tom pushed Nina’s hand away, “I lost you for a minute. You drifted off into thought, and I wasn’t sure that something wasn’t wrong with you. My cat doesn’t like it when I swat her tail; figured you would act the same.”

Nina ran a hand through her hair and tugged on it, “Nice. I was thinking about what Patricia was missing when she was buried. Something important wasn’t there.”

Tom pushed, “Like?”

“Her tail; it had been severed from her body, and we couldn’t find it when we buried her.”

Tom was confused, and the look on his face spoke volumes.

“Okay, Tom, quick lesson about succubi and incubi for you. Beings like us are, in fact, two beings in one body. In our case, Camilla is the dominant personality most of the time. I am what we call a Tail. I reside in her tail, oddly enough, and I can see and feel everything that she does. But, normally, I don’t appear.”

“So, why now?”

“Because I saw who you were pinning down to the floor, and I wasn’t going to miss the chance to get a measure of justice. And, if you had left me alone with her, I would have killed her.”

Tom shrugged, “I figured as much. You aren’t anything like Camilla, really.”

Nina’s tail swished behind her, “And?”

Tom smiled, “And, as you said, you are a bitch to those who have done you wrong. But, so far, you haven’t been to me. So, like I told you before, you still have to prove yourself to me.”

Nina reached out a hand and stroked it against Tom’s cheek, “It’s because Camilla likes you, and I have to admit that I find you … interesting …”

Tom closed a hand around Nina’s and drew it away, “Sorry, Nina. My heart belongs to someone else.”

Nina sighed, “So does your soul, Tom. So does your soul.”

Tom’s face soured, “Why is it that you all have to be so damn cryptic?”

Nina looked away from Tom, “I apologize, but that’s how our kind is. I’ll give you a hint, though, that you should keep in mind … You want a direct answer? Give a direct question.”

Tom gripped the railing behind him and looked away from her. Neither of them said anything for a dozen floors, but then Tom asked, “Tell me about Tails, Nina.”

She didn’t turn around, but Tom could see her body tense, “Tails are the succubi or incubi of the past. If you can recall your myths, you might remember that we can be very evil, very dominant, and most of all, we have, on occasion, claimed souls.”

Tom frowned, “That’s not exactly comforting, Nina.”

She shrugged, “It’s not important. What matters is that we exist in order to keep the young aware of what they might be if they do not learn, and if they go off the path, or worse. We are there to help them.”

Tom considered what she said, but before he could ask more, Nina added, “Your next, obvious question is, I think: ‘Do you have a soul?’”

Tom nodded slightly, “Seems to be a reasonable question to ask at this point.”

Nina smiled, “We both do. Very much like yours, really …” Nina looked over her shoulder, “Would you like to know what I can see in yours, Tom?”

He didn’t have to think about his answer, “Not really. I suppose that it’s not that important.”

As the bell sounded to announce their arrival on the ground floor Nina sighed, “See, that’s the biggest problem in the universe, isn’t it?”

The doors opened before Tom could ask what that meant, and they found themselves staring at a group of security guards who were waiting in the lobby, their backs to the elevator doors.

Tom reached for his weapon, “Got any ideas? I left my holy hand grenade in my other pants.”