Dec 21 2009

Storm Clouds XXXIII – 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...

Chapter Nine begins…


Storm Clouds

Chapter 7

By TeraS

“Thomas, talk to me.”

Camilla stood there, looking quite concerned. Tom found himself looking at her, not with the panic he had at first, but, instead, with an odd curiosity.

He let out a snort, “I’m good. You wouldn’t understand.”

“That you lost someone close to you? That you where hurt? Still are? Always will be?”

Tom didn’t answer that. He could, but he felt like she was getting into something that she had no right to. So instead of answering, he turned away from her and looked at the landscape around him.

The rows and rows of grave markers made it clear that this was a place of rest for those who had passed on. For a moment, he wondered how someone like Camilla could be killed, and then shoved that thought away.

It wasn’t something that he needed to think about.

Camilla frowned, “You haven’t got a lock on pain, Thomas. No one does. Not ever.”

He thrust his hands into his pockets, “Alright, I’ll assume that you are telling me the truth and that you aren’t going to kill me.” He heard her coming closer. Passing him, she nodded as her tail moved from side to side behind her. “Why me?”

Her tail stopped, “That’s not for me to tell you. If you want to know, you’ll have to ask Tera about that.”

He managed a smile, “Passing the buck or thinking that I can’t handle it?”

A shrug, “Both.”

He walked up to her, looking at how she had changed. She was still the girl he had met not that long ago, just with some optional extras added to her. If he overlooked those, she was still a woman… No. That was wrong. She was what she was, but she didn’t lie to him … that one thing made her trustworthy.

“Alright. I’ll talk to her later. Camila, what … why are you?”

She rubbed her hands along the side of her dress, “We aren’t all evil, nor are we all good. We make choices just like you do. Sometimes they are good ones, sometimes they are bad ones, but we choose to do and be what we are.”

“Nice speech.”

She winked, “Thanks… Been working on that for centuries, actually.”

“Now how about the unvarnished truth?”

She nodded, “In short, I believe we are in limbo between light and dark, that both want us and both are afraid of us. You can think of us as wildcards, Thomas, but there is one thing, one promise that we have made that we can’t forget … people like you have to make your own choices, decisions, and actions …”

He put a hand up: “I didn’t choose to be here.”

“Oh yes you did. You chose to come. You chose to knock on the door. You chose to see what you could find out. All of that was your choice.” She waved a hand, “All of this followed because it had to; you would have never accepted a lie…”

He thought about that and came to the decision that she was right. He wouldn’t have let this lie, ignored it, moved on. That wouldn’t have happened because it was not his nature to do that.

“Besides giving me the breadcrumbs to find you, why did you pick me?”

Camilla shook her head, “Can’t say.”

A question came to him, “Tell me something. Are there angels and all that other stuff?”

“Yes. Angels, devils, dragons, faeries, and more are all real. It’s just that your world has forgotten about the wonders around it … most of the time.”

“So what are you, exactly.”

She looked almost embarrassed, “Beings like me are Succubi, Thomas. There are Incubi here as well.”

He arched an eyebrow, “I’ve heard of those.”

“No. You have heard of something like us, not us.”


“A Succubus or Incubus kills through sex. We don’t. We gave that up ages ago just to be able to be who what we are right now; independent beings that serve no one.”

Tom thought that over, “Okay, so you split away and you do what you want.”

A slight nod.

“That’s dangerous, Camilla. No rules means nothing to control you.”

A smile, “But there is: one very important thing, Thomas. We know the past. We won’t go back to it again.”

Tom wiped a hand over his eyes, “You know that this is all too much to take in.”

Her hand was soft and gentle on his shoulder, “You are, really, one of the few people that can handle this, Thomas. Most people would be screaming and running in circles at this point.”

“What makes you think I won’t?”

“Curiosity … You want to know the secrets. Your mind is wanting to know answers to questions you have had since the day you were born. Most of all, you won’t let yourself back down from a fight, Thomas.”

Tom thought that over for a while. It was true that he was wondering about a lot of things … more than he wanted to be. But three things came to the forefront. He had a mystery. He had a job to do … and he had a promise to keep.

He looked her straight in the eye, “I need a partner in this; someone who knows the lay of the land; someone who will watch my back.”

She nodded, “You always will in our world.”

He offered his hand, “I … I will trust you Camilla. I trust that you will watch out for me.”

She took his hand, “I promise. I want a promise from you, too: wherever this goes, whoever did it, whatever it takes, you won’t walk away.”

They shook on it and then Tom asked, “Where are we? Fill me in.”

“You are in what you would understand as our cemetery.” She pointed towards the mountain covered in fog at the edge of the markers, “It continues far up the mountain, almost to the very top. Everyone whom we can return home is here. Some never return and we are less for that. Otherwise, from the first of us to the last of us, our bodies rest here.”

Then she pointed into the distance to Tom’s right where three figures collected themselves around a marker, “Her family is up there.”

“Let’s go. I want to talk to them.”

It took them a good fifteen minutes of walking before Thomas got his first good look at Patricia’s family. Her husband was talking to their children, trying to explain to them, Thomas assumed, what had happened and why their Mother would not be returning to them.

The husband was a short blonde man, unassuming, someone you wouldn’t look twice at in the street. He wore a darker suit, in comparison to the children. Looking at the children, Tom was struck with the realization that neither of them had horns or tails.

“Why don’t the kids have horns and a tail like you — or their father, for that matter?”

“They haven’t decided if they want to be like us. So they are simply children with their own ideas and goals. If they decide to become like us, then they’ll have to go through the ceremony and be picked by a Tail.”

“Picked? By a Tail? How does that work?”

She shook her head, “I’ll explain later. Not in front of the children. We protect them from what we are so that they can make up their own minds…”

With that, Camilla’s horns and tail shimmered and vanished, but her clothing remained transformed. As they came within earshot of Patricia’s family she added, “I’d thank you not to talk about it please.”

Tom nodded, but resolved to ask Camilla more questions about their rules later. After all, rules were meant to be broken in the eyes of some people … Reaching the father, Tom offered his hand, “My sympathies upon your loss, sir.”

The other man stood and paused for a moment before taking the offered hand, “Thank you. Name’s ‘Brent.’” The grip was firm but not overwhelming, although Tom had the distinct feeling that he was being judged at that moment by this man.

A nod, “Tom. I’d like some of your time.”

Camilla went to the kids, soon hugging them and drawing their attention away from Tom and their father. She gave him a nod, and Tom took that as his chance to start his questioning, assuming that Brent agreed.

Brent spoke to the kids, “Okay you two, go with Auntie Camila; her friend wants to talk to me. Now be good, right?”

A chorus of, “Yes Father”, and then Camilla and the kids began to walk towards a path leading away from the grave markers.

Brent then rested a hand on the marker which Tom now saw had Patricia’s name on it, “I’ve been told that you are looking into my wife’s death. I’ve been told that Tera asked you to do this. That true?”

“She did, I was investigating before I knew about what you people are. She’s hard to say ‘no’ to…”

A chuckle: “She’s the Queen. Rarely pushes people, mostly suggests and guides when needed. But she has always let people choose to disappoint her or not.”

“Have you?”

“I’ve disappointed myself.”

Storm Clouds

Chapter 8

By TeraS

Tom was not exactly surprised by those words. Survivors usually blamed themselves for things that happened to their loved ones. Some couldn’t handle the pain and didn’t stay in the world, taking what they thought was the easy way out. Others became vigilantes, trying to take an ounce of flesh or more from the person, persons, or thing that took what they loved away. Tom’s concern was a being of power losing control and wrecking havoc.

A being like Brent.

Tom started where he needed to, “Why? What could you have done?”

Brent placed his right fist into the palm of his left hand, “I could have been with her. I could have stopped it.”

“So why weren’t you?”

For a moment, just a moment, a shadow fell over Brent’s face as he replied, “Because I was stupid enough to get trapped in a ward set by a mage.”

“Explain that.”

A pair of black horns shimmered into view at Brent’s temples and his black tail formed behind him, that tail almost lifeless, not moving as Tom had seen Camilla’s do almost constantly.

“Summonings are a bitch. Any idiot with the right book and a fragment of knowledge can summon us into their world. They can summon anything. The stupider ones go and summon beings that they can’t control and then in a panic they summon another being to try and save their worthless hides.”

“Which were you?”

A snort: “The latter. The ass summoned a Darkweaver: ugly horrid tentacle thing that likes to hide in shadows and kill the unwary that get too close. The ass summoned it thinking that he would use it to kill a rival. He didn’t expect that it would try to eat him instead.”

Brent rubbed his fist twice, “So in the middle of that happening, he grabbed his book and tossed out a summoning spell with no focus. I was unlucky enough to be nearby and got dragged into it.”

Tom held up a hand, “You haven’t said where you were.”

“You remember that house that burned to a crisp on the lower west side the same night that … that Patricia left me?”

A nod was Tom’s answer. That was in the papers. A two story, hundred year old house went up that night. One body was found in the mess, the morgue didn’t even bother trying to identify it; there was not a lot left.

“I was the closest supernatural being to him, so I went from being at home with the kids to standing in the middle of a bloodbath. The mage didn’t last five seconds after I got there. The Darkweaver then turned its attention to me and I had to kill it…. Otherwise it would get loose in the city. Couldn’t let that happen.”


He laughed, “Because the Queen forbids it. She says that we’ll never get recognition for what we do, but someday it will matter. So I cornered it in the basement, lit some hellfire in the floor to surround it and then burned the place to the ground.”


Brent didn’t flinch at that, “Burn it or let others die, me first, then whomever got in its way. Arson was the quickest way to stop it. So I did it. You can take me to jail for that if you want.”

Tom pushed on, “You have more important things to deal with. And two kids to look after.”

The tears that formed in Brent’s hurt eyes were something that Tom had seen before.

Brent wiped his eyes with the back of his hand, “I couldn’t leave until I was sure that thing was dead. I stayed in the flames watching the place turn to ash because I had to be sure it was gone. When the fire department had the flames under control and I couldn’t sense anything else there, I portaled out back to our home. When I came through I … I felt her die.”

This was confusing to Tom, “How could you do that?”

Brent started to play with a silver ring on his right hand, “She was more than my wife. She was … is… my Eternal as I am hers. When something happens, something really bad, we know…”

Tom took that at face value, “Why didn’t you go to her?”

Brent gave him a look, “I did, dammit! I portaled as close as I could and ran to her, but the mall cops were there trying to save her and I couldn’t reveal myself, not even to save her. Then your people arrived and it was far too late to do anything more …”

Tom could see the anger in Brent’s eyes, “If I had left, if I had just assumed the fire would have done its job, if I wasn’t so focused on that … thing … I might have felt her in trouble and gotten there sooner, taken her back here and our healers might have saved her …”

Tom felt like he was walking on eggshells, “You won’t believe me, but I know what you mean. Do yourself a favor … get yourself together and real quick. You have two kids that need their father right now. If you forget them I’ll slap you myself so that you remember.”

The dangerous look in Brent’s eyes vanished at the mention of his children, “They have no idea what’s really happened, or it hasn’t hit them yet … what the hell am I supposed to do now?”

“Be a father. Be their father. At least you have that to comfort you Brent. I wasn’t that lucky …”

Brent looked off in the distance where Camilla and the children had vanished behind a small rise moments before, “Luck? I’m all out of that. All that’s left is …”

“Is getting on your feet, making sure those kids of yours know that you are going to be there for them, and that their mother loves them. Not loved.”

A nod, “They know. They’ve always known that. It was the first thing we said when we found them.”

Tom’s reply held a question he had, “Adopted. Camilla told me but not why.”

“One of the things that marks us is that we can’t have kids. Legend has it that as part of the price for being free, the pound of flesh that was taken in return was that we would never have our own. But like any being that deals with contracts, a loophole was found. They never said that we couldn’t adopt them.”

Tom smirked, “Nice. Good deed in place of a bad one. So you got your freedom and then took it upon yourselves to … what? Take kids you wanted to fill a void in you?”

Brent’s tail, for the first time, rose into the air and then pointed itself at Tom, “No. We go through the same steps that you would to adopt them. We don’t cheat and we don’t pick. Every single one of them is loved by all of us. We’ll protect them, let them choose their own way no matter what.”

“And if they choose not to be like you?”

Brent’s tail drooped a bit, “Then they choose that. We stay with them in your world as long as we can. At least until they have their own lives to lead. Then we fade away from them.”

“That hurts doesn’t it?”

Brent sighed, “More than you know. We still watch over them, watch them grow old and then … then we mourn them… It’s a lousy life when you have to watch your kids pass on before you do.”

Tom asked the obvious question, “How old are you, really?”

“Going on three millennia.”

“Holy Crap!”

Brent chuckled, “Pretty much. Seen a lot, loved just one, and now I don’t know what the future brings to us.”

“You hoping that the kids follow you?”

Another nod, “Have to. But I won’t push them, not an inch. They’ll know when the time is right and then … then if they want it, its theirs freely.”

“And if not?”

Brent’s tail and horns shimmered and vanished again, “Then it will be like a dream to them and they’ll continue in their lives never knowing the truth. But I will, and I’ll still be their father.”

Tom considered that; knowing that even beings of power believed in free choice was a small comfort. He wanted to continue to a question about Patricia. But before he could, Brent started walking off in the direction of the kids.

“Sorry Tom, I know that they are safe, but I don’t want to be away from them.”

Tom caught up with him in a couple of strides, “Would you tell me what Patricia did for a living? That might give me a place to start.”



Brent nodded, “Nothing. She stayed home, looked after the kids and that’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.”

“And you?”

He reached into a pocket and then handed a card to Tom, “You won’t believe it.”

Tom looked at the card and didn’t believe it. There in black and white was proof that the universe had a wicked sense of humor. The card read, “Brent B. The Daily Times. Gossip.” It was so weird that he asked, “So tell me then, who’s the mayor seeing?”

Brent’s eyes actually had a spark of mischief in them, “If I told you, you’d fall over from shock.”

Putting the card away, Tom sighed, “Probably. I don’t believe the porn star rumor myself.”

Brent had a look like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, so Tom asked, “You make enemies over your job?”

That question brought Brent to a sudden stop and then he shook his head, “Nah, they wouldn’t do something like this over something so trivial.”

“Who’s they?”

As the two of them crested over the hill, the answer wasn’t what Tom expected…

“It would be easier to list the ones that aren’t …”

Storm Clouds

Chapter 9

By TeraS

There are two sides to every story. There is a dark side and a light side to the universe. This was the way things were from the beginning.

But in one part of it…

The dark was… disturbed.

It watched those that called themselves Succubi and Incubi with distaste. Such beings not doing the things that they should. Not making souls choose the wrong thing at the wrong time to damn them utterly.

The balance was, the dark knew, tipping ever so slightly towards the light. Its power would, given time, wane…

This was something that could not be allowed to continue.

The pawns that had been placed into motion had removed one piece from the board of play. It was not enough to alter them all. This was disturbing because, from what the dark knew of them, it expected those that it wanted to change to fall towards damming themselves.

But instead of seeing great numbers of them doing so… it wasn’t happening as it should. Oh there were some that were turned slightly, but the ones that mattered didn’t budge from what their Queen had made as her, and through her, their destiny.

The dark looked at the other pawns in the game, knowing that at least one would have to be sacrificed for its plan to succeed. But which one?

Dark emotions were effective in making beings lose themselves. Be that anger, revenge or similar things, they could be effective in tipping the balance.

Seeing that one in particular wanted a kind of revenge, it slipped into the world and made it’s way towards that one pawn it believed would be affected by persuasion whether it realized it or not.

It found the pawn sitting on a park bench looking at a newspaper. It was almost child’s play to alter a story deep within the pages to leave a clue for them to follow. The story that had to do with a fire in the city that appeared to be arson, changed, just a bit.

Where once there had been no evidence of what had caused the fire, a mention was added of there being a witness that claimed it had seen a man enter the building and then leave it just before the fire started.

A small, almost insignificant change, but to the one that was reading it…

It would make them question what they had been told and whom had said the words.

The article was read, the paper crushed, and then left behind on the grass as the pawn stormed off in the direction of a certain brownstone building.

The dark made that paper burn in an acid smelling flame before leaving that pawn and appearing to one of its own, special ones.

It arrived at an old run-down trailer park on the northern edge of the city, not too far away, but enough that the crawling evil within the walls was unseen by those that would sense it within the city.

But the usefulness of this corrupted human in the dark’s affairs was ended. There were loose ends to tie up and this was one of them.

It was trivial for the dark to pass through the walls and be within. Within was not a place that the light had seen for ages. The windows were boarded over. The light switches ripped from the walls. Nothing that could produce light remained within.

The man within the walls reveled in the blackness within.

That was his downfall and his tie to the dark…

Dec 20 2009

I need an image of the Poxnora Succubus

There is an online game called Poxnora, which is also a card game for those that do not know of it. I want to add this game to the Succubus Wiki (see the link in the right side bar called SuccuWiki to see more)…

There are Succubi in this game, I have found some stats and information on them, but I have yet to locate a good image of the Succubus in the game. Not one piece of artwork or a screenshot or anything else…

So I am making a request  here of anyone that plays the game…

If you can take a screenshot of the Succubus and send it to me, that would really help in completing the article in the Wiki on them…

If you know of some artwork on them, that would be wonderful too!

Hoping for some help!


Poxnora Succubus Rune ImageI found one image a little bit ago, it looks to be the Succubus Rune card image, but I cannot confirm this since I don’t play this game…

But she looks like a Succubus and it comes from a site which is about the Paxnora game, so, for the moment, I am going to post this image in the Wiki entry for this character on the SuccuWiki.

Again, any help is welcomed!


Dec 19 2009

A Succubus Christmas Picture Tease…

I’m pondering the annual Succubi Christmas manip… Not going to be a lot of changes in the image I think as it’s mostly going to be the story that matters in the end…

Christmas Teaser by TeraSI know that this tease doesn’t show a lot, but let’s remember that it is for Christmas so you really shouldn’t expect to know what your gift it ahead of time now should you?

If you search in the Tale, you can find previous years Christmas manips that came out really well I thought…

This year I just don’t think I have the time to manage an involved piccy, so I pocked something that I only need to change a little bit in order for it to be Succubish…

Besides this project, I am poking at some unfinished stories that I hope to be posting here and elsewhere in the near future…

I hope…

Keep your fingers crossed that I can do all that I am hoping for in the holidays…

Love and Huggles


Dec 18 2009

A cute Succubus Book Trailer…

The thing that I find interesting about books and novels, and not only those about Succubi, is that there are trailers for them appearing on the net…

Not exactly movie-quality trailers, but they have there moments…

Some are a lot better than others…

This one is for the upcoming release of the novel Gentlemen Prefer Succubi by Jill Myers…


And in case the embedding doesn’t work…

I’ve read some nice advance previews of her novel, and I think that it will be an interesting read when it is released at the end of this month… Her second book will hit the stores in February 2010 as well…

The one thing that bugs me a little is that, from the previews, trailers, and other sources is that it would seem as if vampires and Succubi are getting mashed up in this novel…

Which is, as I have said before, somewhat of a pet peeve to me…

Still, I want to read this when it’s available, and I’ll review it as well…

Fingers crossed…


Dec 17 2009

Succubi Image of the Week 104

I have a problem with hooves on Succubi… I’ve mentioned that I don;t know how many times…

Mostly it’s because I don’t see them as sexy to be honest, and yes, I do know that a Succubus can shapeshift so it shouldn’t matter…

But to me it does…

I just can’t wtap my head around the idea of hooves, even though I know that Succubi are generally seen as “evil” and that generally such creatures have them… Regardless of that, this week’s Succubus is a delicious work in my eyes…

Evil by TaylorShe’s a bit on the “doing evil” side with that head she is holding I admit, but I can overlook that for all of the beauty in her form and stance…

I’m especially happy that she has a tail as well as her wings and so forth, too many times the tail is missing in art of Succubi and that is a shame…

At least I think so…

According to the signature in the lower right corner of this work, the artist’s name is Taylor…

But which one?

Googling I found at least ten arists with that name and not one of them had this work on their websites that I could find…

As always, if anyone can confirm the artist I really would be grateful for the assistance in the search…


Dec 16 2009

This Succubus Costume should be on fire really…

It’s odd the costumes that come into existence… Some are better… Some are worse…

And some I just look at and start twitching imagining the sort of Succubus that might want to wear one…

Like, for example, this one…

Devil on Fire Costume

This costume comes with a set of horns, the tail, a lace-up corset dress with the wings attached to it, and lastly a pair of red sleevelets…

This outfit is available in a lot of sites on the web for around $20 USD

And really, that shows in this one doesn’t it?

Oh gosh where to start with all of the problems I have with this one…

What was the model thinking when she posed like that? Mebby she’s channeling Catwoman or something like that, but she isn’t looking much like a sexy Succubus would I think…

Wings? Trashy.. Dress? Looks like it was pieced together from leftover material from other outfits they had made… Horns? Can’t see the hairband for them, but at least they aren’t radically oversized…

The stockings and shoes aren’t part of this costume, and frankly they don’t help it at all.

I don’t think anything can really…

Going to rate this one a half pitchfork out of five and that is being generous…

I wouldn’t pick this one no matter what the cost of it was…

There are other costumes out there far better and sexier than this one could ever be…


Dec 15 2009

Temptations XXXIX – The Grotto – Part VII

Trust is hard to come by sometimes… If the Queen of the Sucubi asks for trust, can you do that? That answer, as they say, can vary…


Temptations XXXIX – The Grotto – Part VII

By TeraS and Thamior, Cyprusmage, and Darkwalker’s Shadow

Darkness shifted to the familiar human form as he moved toward Tera, taking her in his arms and holding her gently. His eyes glowed intensely as he examined Pamela’s still form.

He kissed Tera on the forehead gently and said sadly, “I’m sorry, my Darkness, but I must do this…”

Eyes glowing still, he gestured toward the unmoving woman and dark mists began to wrap and coalesce around her, solidifying her once more, as a black stone material, perfect in detail, but stone again, nonetheless…

He turned to John slightly, still holding Tera – “You have great talent, young mage, you have undone a great evil… but it hid an even greater evil beneath… her soul is indeed still there, left deliberately so we would keep trying – and perhaps weaken Tera as it would have if you had not the skill you do… But Pamela’s mind is not there – it is held captive by the one who changed her. If the object containing her essence can be found she may be restored. But until it is, if she were to remain re-animated, she might become a tool – an agent, if you will, for the very forces that seek to destroy us…”

It was unusual, to hear that a soul and a mind could be two separate things. To him, they had always been intertwined to the point of being inseperable. But he knew just how powerful Tera and Darkness were. He still wondered why he, a mortal mage, ended up doing more work than the dragon, but as far as he could tell it was some sort of…non-interference thing. This was why he tried to avoid dealing with Incarna…

“I’ll take your word for it,” said John, gently rubbing his hands, “But if I’m gonna be any help I’m gonna need two things; first, I’m gonna need a Node, because without enough juice my bigger spells are only gonna backfire, and I’m gonna need information. Tell me everything.”

Tera sighed a bit at John’s question before saying, “You know my curse John.. I cannot offer answers to vague questions…. It’s like when you are in the library… You must know what you need to know to find what you need…”

She considered for a moment and then said, “A Node isn’t possible here… It would not be allowed to leave the Grotto because of the wards and restraints around it…. We could go to the special collections and see if we have a Node in the collection….”

She nuzzled against Darkness for a moment and then said, “Darkness knows that part of the library better than I do…”

John realised there had been a misunderstanding; a Node wasn’t so much a thing as a place. It was possible that she had a different terminology for it. Perhaps, to her, a Node was something else entirely.

“Uh…I meant,” he began, and tried to explain his definition of a Node as best he could, “Like…an intersection of ley-lines, where qui-” he stopped, realising that the words and phrases he’d learned as a mage were not universally known, “magical energy seeps into the world. I just need some sort of power source to recharge. I can use magic without it, but not the bigger stuff.”

He began to ponder what questions to ask next. It had to be concise, and it had to be accurate. Wait a minute. They were in a library…

“OK, Tera,” he said, “here’s a better question; do you have any books containing information on the person, entity or phenomena responsible for…for what happened to your friend?”

Tera was silent for a time and then said, “To be honest John…. I am not sure…” She slipped from the gasp of Darkness after kissing him on the cheek. Then she paced back and forth on the path for a few moments.

Then she turned to John, “There is no specific book that would fit into what happened to Pamela… I suppose that if we checked the volumes on the eighth floor, that we might have an answer there…”

She explained further, “The eighth floor contains all of the books on transmutations and transformations of one substance to another… Such as taking lead to gold and back again… But a specific tomb?”

She shook her head, “I cannot think of one… A general book of knowledge and then perhaps we can dig deeper into it? That’s my thoughts….”

Then Tera turned to look at Pamela again and sighed, “We need knowledge… And I don’t have it…”

John listened carefully, eyes closed in contemplation. Tera was honest, he knew that. And now, he realised that while Tera might be extremely powerful, even she had her limitations. She was faced with something she didn’t fully understand, and like mortals, it worried her.

For him, solving mysteries was always a case of asking questions. Asking the right people, be they friends or enemies. Outside the library, he knew people, ones who were…very well-informed. But here, within this secret place, he did not have the luxury of his regular contacts. And since Tera didn’t know what they were up against either, his choice of informants was severely limited.

Pamela was the only person who actually saw anything, and while her spirit was safe within her body, without her mind it was little more than a blank slate. Or was it….?

“I might have an idea,” he said, glancing over to Pamela, “Sometimes a ghost isn’t a spirit, but an echo of a powerful, emotional event. If I cross over into the Umbra-” he stopped, realising again he was speaking out of the mage lexicon again “-I mean, the spirit world, there might be something there, an imprint of Pamela’s emotions at the time she was….changed. Which means we might see who did this…Tera, is there anything about the barrier between worlds here that is different to outside your realm? I need to know about any…complications that might arise.”

Tera shook her head, “Not really…. There is a lot of overlap as the library itself has to be in all realities… But that portion of the worlds should be easy to get into….”

She looked at Pamela and then said, “I do think that you had better be extremely careful… There are traps within traps to keep the secrets we seek away from us… I would think that they would have considered this attempt as well…”

Tera looked at John with concern in her eyes, “Be careful John… I do not want to see a second statue here…”

John took a deep breath, briefly contemplating the fate that befell Pamela. Petrification did not appeal.
“Without more information, I’m out of ideas,” he said, and reached up to pull a small medalion out from inside his shirt. It was a small, iron trinket, shaped like some bizarre mathematical symbol. He rubbed the medalion between his thumb and forefinger, as if it were some sort of nervous habit.

“This might take me a minute. Without extra juice I can’t afford to rush this. Travelling to the spirit world is…not very easy. Just trying to get there can leave me stinging for hours…”

John closed his eyes, and with one hand still holding the medalion, the other began tracing a strange pattern in the air. It was, in truth, a sort of concentration ritual; something to help his mind focus on the task at hand.

The process of travelling between the physical and spirit worlds was known as “stepping sideways” amongst his collegues. It was named so because for John, the process involved, well, stepping sideways, in both a literal and metaphysical sense. Both hands were held out now, muscles taught as if grasping reality itself in his hands. He drew his hands back, and then rather forcefully took a heavy step to his left. To everyone else watching, John would seem to fade from view, as if stepping into an invisible room. From his perspective, the world twisted, shifted before his eyes as he passed into the spirit realm.

The process did not go swimmingly, however. As John had said, crossing over was particularly hazardous for mages. Certain beings, especially those with closer ties to the spirit world, had it easy. And overall, the name for the barrier between worlds was called the Gauntlet. For some, like the Fae, it is like walking through water. For mages, it is also like walking through water…filled with broken glass.

John emerged into the spirit world, wincing at a sharp pain in his side. Not a perfect step, but it could have been worse. Taking a moment to collect himself, John looked towards where he had first seen Pamela, so that he might glimpse into the past…


Next time… The past arrives…