There wasn’t much time for writing this week once again. As such I worried that the story this week is another one of the very short ones that perhaps don’t always manage to say everything that I want them to. But my heart assures me that, as long as I share what is on my mind, and enjoy doing it, every story is worth the …
Seasons change as time passes: Spring gives way to Summer, then Fall and the snows of Winter. Eventually, the winter snows bring the world to pause, to rest, to a time where life gathers itself in anticipation of Spring’s return.
But, before the Spring can be, all must wait.
For a certain red-tail of the Realm, waiting is a difficult thing to manage. Her mind constructs lists upon lists; thoughts bind themselves to thoughts. By the time the middle of winter has come and gone, Tera has written out several notebooks, using them to fill the time between the moments that were and the moments to be.
But before those moments can be, even a queen must wait.
Those notebooks—with red covers, of course—tell of many things. Some hold fragments of stories to be told, when the time is right, when the moment allows and the words begin to place themselves into the open. In those fragments are worlds unseen by other eyes: places of adventure, places in intrigue, places of romance, places of mystery all waiting their turn to be shared.
But before those tales can be, they must wait.
In other books bound in red, her handwriting—as difficult to read as she thinks it is—tells of the pleasures of seduction, the moments of love she has seen, the entwining of souls, the delights in the moment of wonder found. Every loop and curl, every crossed “t” and dotted “i” carries the potential for amazing arousal and flawless fulfillment.
But before that bliss can be, the moments must wait.
More pages held with red offer glimpses of memories: the love of her mother barely known, then lost, of another mother cherished and missed now more dearly than she can explain. Each recollection connects her to her family, to her tailself, to those absent from the Realm whom she wished would return.
But before the tears and laughter can flow, her emotions must hold and wait.
As she looks out upon the snows for the first few bits of green to begin to show from beneath the white that has been there for so long, there is still another notebook with her. A page is open, her pen resting there.
The moment holds, for both must wait.
She looks at the stack of books, the words written over the deepest time of the year, the words calling out from where they await, anxious for her to see them once more, to take those words, the moments, the tears, the love and laughter, and share them with the world. They would linger as long as required, always silent, but never entirely patient.
How much longer would they have to wait?
The snows will not be there much longer. The Winter has begun, grudgingly, to give in to the Spring. The snows are going away once more, the warmth of the new spring is just around the corner, calling to all. The time of waiting is coming to a close again, offering the beginning of life made anew.
She need not, should not, but she still waits.
A thought comes to her. The page takes her thoughts as they flow from the tip of the pen once more: thoughts of the time spent waiting, the moments waiting, the life waiting. There is a melancholy in her smile, her words upon the page. She pauses in the midst of a thought, her hand stilled.
She finds herself once more, once again, pausing to wait.
Setting the pen down on the table beside her, she closes the notebook, winding a red ribbon around the words written, cradling the precious thing in her hands. This book is done, the words within must wait for their moment as do so many of her words, thoughts, tears, loves, and seductions.
The words whisper that she shouldn’t wait.
The Queen of the Realm looks across the room to see her heart waiting patiently for his Dear One to come to her choice. In his hands he holds a cup of tea, and she suddenly realizes that he’s placed a cup for her by the stack of red notebooks.
She knows that she shouldn’t make him wait.
He, of course, has all the time in the world for her. The indecision is something he knows well: so few have seen her moments of hesitancy, but he knows them well. He has seen her wait for the words to be right, even though she can’t let herself believe they will never be so. Since he never notices time pass when he’s with her, he has no idea how long he spends waiting for the inspiration to come and make the words be what she wants them to be.
But the tea really shouldn’t wait . . . not much longer.
Hesitantly, she offers the book in her hands to her heart. He is always, but always, the first to hold her words, where she believes he sees her flaws, her mistakes, and how awful her words really are—though he has only ever found wondrous stories. And so he accepts her gift in the same way he has always done.
He’s waited for her gift shared, always willing to wait.
The ribbon unwound, the book opened, she now waits for his thoughts about all for which she had made him wait. In this time, in the moments that come, however, there is a truth she knows most of all.
She is willing to wait.
A while ago I shared the first parts of a series called Succubus Tales that I am writing with my Adored Brother. This series originally appeared on DeviantArt and you can find them there with the images that go along with the stories. There’s also a series called Vampire Tales in which today’s story appears as well. It’s set in the same universe, and being so, there’s a certain Queen of the Succubi that makes her presence known…
Tera loves, there’s no mystery to that point about her. A promise is, after all a promise no matter how long it takes… and so, a story about a queen named Bianca, a queen called Tera, and one singularly important word.
Succubus Tales III: Bianca and Tera, A Night of Catching Up
By TeraS and her Adored Brother
It was finally over. The long, terrible conflict with Lilith came to an end last night. Nathan, my love, my mate … was badly hurt. I wish Lilith could suffer for what she did to him. I wanted her to suffer everything that he feels, everything he endures. I don’t know how long it would take until Nathan recovered, if ever.
I was close to Nathan as he slept, keeping watch over him, but if I was to be honest, my fear of losing him, after all we’d been through, held me in a cold shiver. I could see, through the night around us, that some of his injures were healing, but … so terribly slowly.
I looked into the darkness above us, thinking about all we’d been through together: the pain, the loss, the battles both human and supernatural; so many moments to think about and wonder, if only a little, if it was all worth it.
A little snort of derision came. Of course it was … every bit of it. All of this had to be worth something. I believed it was; Nathan did, too. My thoughts returned, again, to wishing that he hadn’t been the target of so much of the pain and suffering that greeted us both. But I couldn’t afford to dwell too long on my own self-incrimination. There was a lot of work still to be done to repair the mess that Lilith caused. We couldn’t live as we did in the past. We could do better, needed to do better than just live in the shadows. It was what we—the vampires as a whole, myself and Nathan—were striving towards.
I couldn’t help the sigh when I thought about human politics and how asinine they were. The state of New York’s proposed laws that would require all of us to be registered with them. Oh they were so short-sighted. We have to be known to everyone, for ‘public safety’, but as for protecting us? Not that law, possibly not any law … ever. They wanted to know who we were, where we lived, who was important to us. So much information to be shared and then … what happened if that all got into the wrong hands? No database was completely secure.
This stupid law would only result in humans being protected, such as it might be for them; but then, no human was really that safe if we put our minds to it. Ah, but then, of course, we’d be targets, it would be inevitable. I shuddered at the thought of some kind of ‘Vampire Season’ opening in the state—a total disaster in the waiting. How many humans, mistaken for us, would be killed? And then, of course, we’d be blamed for it … Wonderful.
Drawing in a deep breath, I blew the tension out of myself. This wasn’t the time for this. There was nothing to be done in this moment; I was only working myself up more than I needed to. After all, it was Saturday night, and even the most arrogant of politicians was smart enough to drop out of my sight for the weekend. Plans had been made, and I would be visiting the capital on Monday to make my presence known once more. They were using fear to push their agenda, though, as humans were wont to do so often.
Still, there were options to be explored. The groundwork was in place, thanks to the press conference with Mayor Michaels, a decent woman who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. There was hope for a solution—assuming, of course, we were given half a chance. It just couldn’t be that easy, of course. The media loves a shit storm, and so they had to start one in the midst of things, trying to anger me, to make me lose my mind so they’d have good video for the nightly news. Sadly, for them, all they got was a calm woman of power giving her answer and smiling sweetly for the cameras. Would we be taking over? Hell no. I have no interest in trying to corral a million or more humans, let alone the several billion that existed around us. To hell with that, and to hell with you, Lilith, for making this much more complicated than it needed to be.
My eyes trailed over Nathan once more. At least he was sleeping. I couldn’t manage that miracle; I was far too wound up to sleep. Rising from my comfortable chair, I looked towards the city I knew was hidden behind the heavy, drawn curtains. The night called to me, singing a song in my blood: I needed to live, to escape … to find myself once more. I smiled wanly at the memories of the past, of how things used to be and how much it meant to me now, enjoying pleasure, feeling part of the world of night. The ache inside tugged, whispering that Nathan would be alright, he’d want me to live a little and be happy. He’d tell me: “You deserve it. Go.”
I crept out of our room, careful not to wake Nathan. It took a bit of time to find what I wanted. My favorite red leather dress with black caressing over the knee-high stiletto-heel boots that I loved. It hugged my curves wonderfully, and I licked my lips as the light of the room spilled over the leather, making it gleam deliciously.
After touching up my lips, fussing with my hair and picking out the right bangles for my look, I wrote a note to Nathan: “I’m going out, my love. If you’re hungry, there are blood packets in the fridge. Don’t fret, I’ll be fine. Love you. Bianca.”
Quietly returning, I placed the note on the night table before kissing him lightly upon his lips. My love, my rock in the stormy seas, my world, and the one that holds my humanity through his love: I owe him … more than I can ever truly repay. Before I left, I took one more look at him from the doorway of our bedroom and then departed, closing the door behind me.
Our home was silent, save for the sound of my heels in the hallways as I passed through. The thought of being out having fun made me smile. So many places I could go … but where? I wondered about going to see that new club that had opened recently. The name escaped me, I thought it was called Pleasures or something like that. It sounded like a good place to check out.
As I came to the landing of the staircase that led downwards to our foyer, I thought I heard something … or someone. Pausing at the top of the stairs I looked into the darkness to see who had come into my domain. A human would never know I was there, but I certainly would be able to see who was intruding. My first thought was: “Friend or foe … Who are you?”
I couldn’t tell.
It was a woman, there was no question of that, but I could only see her from behind—and, to be honest, it was a delicious behind, and I could see that a red dress was seemingly painted on it. No, that wasn’t quite right: that dress wasn’t painted on; it was making love to her curves in a way that I found myself licking my lips over. Her back was bare, at least the little of it that I could see peeking out from beneath a mane of exquisitely wild, dark ebony hair.
She was wandering about the foyer quietly, looking at the little bits of our lives that had been collected on display. She paused at one of my very old pictures, standing there a long time, her hips cocked to the left. When she moved again, there was an elegance and grace that her heels made an art form. My stomach clenched as she stopped at another part of the room, regarding another picture. I could see her outstretched hand, one long red-nailed finger being drawn over the top of the gilded frame. No one understood what that picture meant to me, and I promised myself that, if she damaged it, she would pay.
Then … she spoke. Her voice seemed as if she was standing right beside me, whispering: “Oh my dear sweet Amoureux …”
I couldn’t breathe. That one word: “Amoureux.”
The lump in my throat caught my voice as my eyes began to water. There was only one that knew … only one. But it was impossible. Not after so many centuries … it couldn’t be.
She started to look around again as my hands gripped the railing to watch her. I needed to hear her voice again. I had to be sure that what I thought I heard was real. It couldn’t be, not after so long … but … The railing bent under my hands as the tension inside of me built. She gave me that boon I craved when she paused in the midst of her explorations and looked at the painting of myself and Nathan over the fireplace that dominated the room.
“Je suis si chèrement fier de toi, mon Amoureux.”
My lips mouthed the words in shock as my mind translated them: “I’m so dearly proud of you, my love.”
The accent, the tone of her voice, the lilting playfulness of it all; it was her. My lips parted, my voice trying to call out her name.
Then, she turned towards me, her so-green eyes piercing my own as she had done so long ago, in that first moment and every moment. Before I was turned, before things changed, when I was human, she held me against the world, stood with me, loved me.
I loved her.
“Hello, Bianca, my love.”
My answer was a single word, spoken with the breath I didn’t realize I had been holding: “Tera.”
She walked to the bottom of the stairs, her eyes not leaving mine as she did. It was her, there was no question in my mind. Her voice, how she walked, the sensual air about her all matched my memories. But it was the so-achingly-familiar thing she did next that made the tears flow.
She opened her arms and offered herself freely: “Mon amour est le vôtre … pour toujours.”
Her promise I returned: “My love is yours … forever.”
I flew down the stairs, my only thought one of being in her arms, breathing in her scent, my fingers entwined in her hair. All that mattered was being with her in that moment. To be held again, to cry in her arms, to hear her whispers of love and understanding. To know, completely, that Tera loved me no matter what.
The stairs rushed by. I found myself standing in front of her, looking into her eyes. The moment held, my body trembling, and then I wrapped my arms around her, drawing her to me. It had been so long, and it was better than I remembered. Her cherry scent, how her body melded against my own, her kiss—so open, so complete, she didn’t leave anything from it—she put all she was into that kiss. Tera was the one that I loved, so long ago, when I was human, my cherished lover from another life, another world. I sobbed quietly in her arms, listening to her soft coos of love, the whispers of the secret words of love that we only knew.
She drew back slightly, just enough that we could look into each other’s eyes once more. Her eyes were wet with tears, but she looked as radiant as ever. Tera was, always, the epitome of love, lust, seduction, and pleasure. Her lips curled in a delightfully bemused smile: “Someone missed me.”
I gave her shoulder a light swat: “You’re damn right someone missed you.” Then I crushed my lips to hers again before breaking away and gasping: “I can’t believe you’re alive.”
She shrugged, looking to the side in what seemed to be embarrassment. I caught a bit of a blush on her cheeks: “Yes … Well …”
It was odd to see Tera like that: she was embarrassed about something. But I didn’t care. I just let the vision of her fill my senses and reveled in the moment. My eyes travelled over her perfect curves, but then I noticed something different about her. I never would have been able to see it as a human, but, as a vampire, it was plain as day. She didn’t just love with all of her being. She wasn’t just beautiful and seductive. She wasn’t just an amazing lover. She was something more. The waves of pure power rippled around her like an ocean, and I was just bobbing in the waves. It was like nothing I had ever felt, the power that was wrapped around her little finger alone was enough to make a city of humans drop to their knees and obey her.
It … reminded me of … Sophia.
She saw my eyes grow wide in surprise and nodded. Her eyes were clear, unafraid as that lovely smile of hers wrapped around her words: “Go on, say it.”
I didn’t let go of her. I didn’t fear her—she was Tera after all, no matter what. There was too much between us for me to be worried about her. But I closed my eyes as I replied: “You … You’re a succubus.”
I felt her hand cup my cheek; even with my eyes closed I knew the expression she had. It was the one I knew intimately. She was worried about me: “I’m … oh, my sweet Amoureux … there’s so much to explain.”
I still couldn’t look into her eyes. But I needed to know: “Tera … who are you … really?”
“I am your Tera. I am the Tera that loved you then and the Tera that loves you now. That has never changed. I promised.”
I managed to smile: “I … know. You’ve always kept your promise to me. But … you aren’t … like the other succubi I’ve met.”
She laughed and the goosebumps I felt were delicious: “No, I’m not. I’m …”
The hesitation bothered me. It was like she was trying to find a way to tell me something she’d been wanting to for centuries. Come to think about it, it had been centuries since I’d last seen her.
Her answer brought me up short: “I’m … their queen, my Amoureux. All of them … every succubi and incubi … they all … are mine.”
I opened my eyes in shock and I found she’d changed. In her ebony hair a pair of small, cute red horns peeked out from her bangs and a long red sinuous tail was arced over her right shoulder, the tip pointing at me. Somehow—and I’m not sure why exactly—seeing her like that made Tera all the more hot. My hands found her cheeks: “I don’t care. You’re here. That’s all that matters.”
As her lips played against mine, her answer made me wet: “A promise is … a promise.”
The moon was the only witness to the heat of our kiss, the gasping of our need and the love that, for us, was now truly eternal.
We both had to come up for air eventually, but neither of us let go of the other. I had so many questions to ask her, so many thoughts racing in my mind. Where was she? Why didn’t she come when I was turned? What kept her away? Why would she appear now?
Tera, of course, had other things on her mind, and those questions didn’t matter when she looked around my home: “Sorry about not knocking on the door or ringing the bell. For that matter, I’m sorry for not being here sooner.”
I shook my head: “Recriminations? Really?”
She smiled. I melted: “I’m not perfect.”
“You’ll have to prove that to me. I think you are.”
Tera’s eyes showed her concern: “You have quite the mess to clean up, my beautiful Bianca.”
A small nod: “I know. We’re managing.”
How she knew about it all bothered me, but, knowing Tera, she’d explain soon enough.
“I’ve been watching you and what you have been doing in Bridgeport for a while now.”
There it was. I sighed softly: “Yeah, well, I have a lot of work to do now thanks to a spoiled and vindictive vampire.”
Her eyes narrowed: “She did not deserve the name “Lilith.” She did not honour that name. What you did needed to be done. She’s a memory now and soon will be forgotten, as she should be.”
My mind spun knowing that Tera knew who Lilith was. How did she know all of this? “That’s going to take a while.”
She tapped my nose with a finger: “You have all of the time in the world.”
Oh, how I had missed her, not just as a lover, but for her wisdom, her thoughts. Tera stepped back a little and ran her eyes over my dress: “Were you planning on making some new memories tonight?”
I laughed. Tera always could change my mood in a heartbeat: “This little thing? I was going to check out a nightclub or two and …”
“Get some takeout?” She always had the most interesting ways of putting things.
“More like eat-in.” I raked my own eyes over her delicious body: “What about you?”
Her smile made my pussy tremble: “I did want to look my best for the Queen of the City. It wouldn’t be proper to appear in a potato sack.”
“Tera, you could make anything look sexy.”
“True. Still doesn’t mean I’m not going to be sure to give my Amoureux the proper respect.”
I was about to protest, but she brought me up short with a wink: “At least until I don’t have to. Then what I’m wearing isn’t going to be as important as what I’m going to do to her in bed.”
Fuck—I hoped she would. But then again my thoughts turned to the questions I needed to have answers for. Was this all a dream? There were more questions than answers, and she saw the look in my eyes. Her teasing stopped, her voice clear: “Amoureux … ask your questions, but remember our rules.”
They came back in a flash: We will never lie. We will answer honestly. This was a promise forever. Now I truly understood what that meant to her.
But standing at the bottom of a flight of stairs was no place to talk. My hand holding hers, I guided Tera to a pair of leather chairs off to one side of the foyer. She, being the proper woman of etiquette she was, waited for me to settle into a chair before doing the same across from me, a vision of red wrapped in the night, her hand flicking an errant lock of her hair back into place. I ached at the sight; it had been too long. She waited patiently as I marshalled my thoughts before asking my first question: “How long have you been a succubus?”
She tapped a finger against her lips, then explained: “I’ve been … me … for a very long time. Long before the first bits of rock came together to form this world, I existed.”
I laughed, I couldn’t help it. The expression that Tera gave me, a calm measured pause and expectant wait for me to finish made me remember our rules.
We will never lie.
“Yes, Love. Completely.”
I had to look at her in a different light now. She was immortal. She had been for a very long time, probably longer than I could ever understand. She said she was the Queen of the Succubi. She might be a Goddess … one that loved me when I was human.
That realization brought with it a question.
I needed to know. My heart cried out that I was being foolish, that she had told me, over and over again, she loved me. But I needed an answer.
“Do I love you because … you made me?”
The force of her words shocked me: “NO! NEVER!”
I was riveted to my chair as she crossed the short distance between us and kneeled before me. She held my hand, looking into my eyes: “I never once, not once, used my powers to make you love me. I never once fed on you. I never looked into your soul, never did anything to you except one thing.” Her fingers rubbed gently over my hand, her eyes still not leaving mine, the hurt within them so achingly clear to me that my heart cursed me for asking the question in the first place: “I gave you my heart, forever. I didn’t want you because of what I am. I wanted you to love me freely because you did; purely for that and nothing else. I was not going to sully your love. I was not going to hold you beside me if you did not wish to be.”
She gave me her heart, but then she had mine at our first hello. My thoughts went back to the past, the first day we’d met.
It was the time of the French Renaissance, a time when not all was sweetness and light, especially for an unmarried woman … or, rather, to be more clear, a woman seen to be cursed for the passing of her intended husband. Isolated—shunned, really—my days spent alone. It was a solitary existence. My family were the only ones that were close, if not completely so. I had resigned myself to a life of being known as cursed by those that knew, set aside by the society of the time. I never expected anything more than that.
I had cared for my husband-to-be, if not perhaps loving him as completely as he might have liked. My tastes were not with those of the masculine persuasion, though I tolerated them and made appearances otherwise. No, I had learned, long ago, that my core melted at the sight of a woman that caught my fancy, making me raise a fan to my cheeks to hide the inevitable blush that would come to them.
His passing was both freeing and a trap. None wanted me, but then none that I encountered could be with me. It was not proper for two ladies to be in love, to be intimate, to know each other fully. The social mores of the time, such as they were, simply didn’t allow it. One needed to have the stature, the wealth, and the power to even consider it. I didn’t have any of that.
I had given up on the hope of finding love. Spinsterhood was my fate, perhaps to be a guide for the younger generations in the future, to make them the proper women that society expected them to be; a sad fate, but one still far in the future, thankfully, at that time.
Fate however, had its own plans for me.
I had taken an interest in art, finding it a way to escape from the bonds of my wretched everyday life. Being invited, through acquaintances, I came to attend at the Château de Cloux, to see a marvelous artist late from Florence. He was especially proud of one piece of art he had created, an image of a woman, seated, with the most captivating smile upon her lips.
That, then, was where I first saw Tera.
She was speaking with the artist, a vision of red in her petticoat, laced up corset, and complex mane of embroidered hair that cascaded down her back. She held a red (of course) fan in her hand, snapped open to gather a breeze to cool her underneath the layers of clothing that encircled her. Fashion was—come to think of it, still is—a rather painful thing at times to deal with.
I must have looked like I was in a stupor from across the hall. My dress was nothing as elaborate as hers, though I had been sure to look the best I could. I was a candle next to a raging fire, hoping to be burned by her heat. There were others there, far more stunning than I, but still my cleavage was held invitingly, my look was attractive. I hoped she would grace me with at least a glance.
The artist turned away, called by another for his attention, and she glanced about. I could have looked away, I could have turned and left and she’d never be the wiser. Instead I found myself pierced by her deeply emerald eyes, the soft gentleness of her smile. Her fan was positioned as to be sure none but I would see as she licked her lips and my sex became slick.
Turning away, I snapped my own fan open, frantically waving air to sooth the heat within and keep me from fainting. Make a scene here? I would never hear the end of it! I rushed from the room, leaving her behind me and seeking a cooler place to recover from the encounter. I found a marble bench in an alcove that looked out into the gardens of the estate. I was out of the limelight, none were about, thank goodness, for my thoughts were anything but good and proper now. I wondered about her name, what she looked like, tasted like. Those were the more innocent thoughts, the more needy ones I was keeping at bay until I was alone in my own home to tend to my needs.
“Are you alright? You left in such a rush!”
Dear God, someone found me! I turned away from the lush gardens to reply to whomever it was: “I’m … quite fine, thank you. I …”
It was her: the woman of mystery, of grace and presence. My breath caught, my hand clutching at my corseted waist, trying to find a way to breathe once more. She rushed to my side, and I just couldn’t breathe. The attraction to her was … everything. All else around us vanished from my sight. I only had eyes for her look of concern, the curling of her lips as she spoke to me, trying to tell me something, but the blood rushing in my ears made it impossible to understand her.
She settled onto the bench beside me, her arms wrapped daintily about my waist to comfort me. I didn’t understand her words at first, but in time the roaring in my ears lessened and I could hear her. “Shhh … All is well, lovely one. Breathe now … In … Out … Be calm … All is well …” She … purred. No, perhaps it was more that she mewled her concern for me. I found myself leaning against her, quite an unladylike thing to do, and, in the time, quite a scandal if someone found us that way, I can tell you! Her corset pushed her cleavage into a delightful shape and she guided me to rest against her.
I found my breath and took in with it a scent I’d never forget: the aroma of cherries—delicious and sweet, somehow exactly like the dear woman that held me in her arms.
“I think I should introduce myself … My name is Tera.”
In spite of the warmth and joy in being in her arms, I found myself wondering about her name: Tera. It was … exotic … different … almost spellbinding. “Bianca … my lady.”
She purred and my sex weeped: “Lovely … Bianca.”
She said my name like a lover would, putting her heart and soul into those three syllables that identified me. The tremble that passed through me hid, though I doubt she didn’t notice, the little orgasm I had. What was more amazing was the shiver I felt from her. In that moment, I decided I needed to know her better. I wanted to know the taste of her skin, lap at her sex, suckle and be with her.
“Are you alone?”
“Yes … my lady.”
“Might … would you care to attend my boudoir?”
I stifled the moan: “I would.”
She stood, offering her hand as I gazed upon her: “My carriage awaits, if you’d please, my lady.”
As I took her hand, my thoughts were anything but lady-like, I promise you.
The memory washed away and I found myself looking at Tera holding my hand: “I loved you from the moment I laid eyes on you.”
“I know. I …”
I squeezed her hand: “You felt the same. You don’t need to tell me.”
“Then why ask that question?”
It was a long, deep breath before I answered: “Because … my foolish insecurities pushed me to. I know of the succubi, how they can seduce others, use them, then throw them away.”
“No, my love, you didn’t. But where have you been? Why are you here now?”
“Someone needed help, she was lost. I couldn’t leave her alone.”
I smiled: “I’m not lost, my love.”
Tera stood up and kissed my fingers before she let go: “I know you aren’t. I came here because Sophia needed me.”
The shock in my voice was clear: “Sophia? What’s wrong! Is she in some kind of trouble?”
Tera’s smile was soothing: “It’s her nature, my Amoureux. She needs … to learn.”
I thought about this for a moment, then it came to me: “To control her powers? To control her… feedings? Is that possible?”
Tera smiled and pointed at her horns as they faded away. Which was a bit of a shame as I found myself lusting after them, and that tail of hers as well: “I think I can. At least I’m going to try.”
“I know your idea of trying.”
She nodded as she reclined on her chair once more: “I never give up on those I love.”
I could attest to that. “Can I help?”
The familiarity of her twirling a lock of her hair around a finger was delightful: “Teaching sweet Sophia will take some time. She should have been taught sooner by the elders here, but she wasn’t. That is something I will have to deal with myself.”
Being on the wrong side of Tera in a bad mood wasn’t something I wanted to experience. I felt sorry for those that had failed in their role in her society: “I see.”
Tera pulled slightly on her hair: “When Sophia came to be, she wasn’t taught how to take what she needs and avoid killing. Her lack of control is an issue I need to deal with. Every killing brings her closer and closer to exposing herself and then … us. Especially as she seems to have decided that she wants to live here, with her dear and loving friend Bianca and her Nathan.” I was in the middle of a nod when she completed her thought: “That’s an … interesting threesome, you know.”
My nod was choked off by my laughter. If Tera only knew. She probably did, of course, which made me squirm just like I did so long ago.
In the time we met, there were such things as Mistresses, those women taken by men when their own wives were … insufficient for them. They sought out playthings to make their own and, when they were no longer interesting, or had been abused to being not quite so lovely, they were cast aside.
Tera … was different. There was no question, based on the deference that every man that she passed by on the way to her carriage gave her, that she held all of the cards. She held power, there was no question of that, and woe be to those that thought they could hold her or control her.
Her footman guided us both into the cherry wood compartment, positioned our finery and then left us to ourselves as he drove the carriage onwards. I tried to look out the window, to see the landscape as we traveled, but it was so difficult to do so. Tera was across from me, her eyes only for me, her expression of deep concern. My heat continued to build and I snapped my fan open once more, trying to hide my own need and scent from her.
“Did you like the art?”
The question seemed irrelevant, but, being polite, I replied: “Some of the paintings, yes. That one of the smiling woman was especially well done.”
She nodded: “I understand, from the artist, that her smile was the hardest thing to create and he seemed crestfallen that it wasn’t perfect.”
“It seemed… very well done.”
She smiled. No, that’s not quite right: Tera favoured me with a look that offered herself, all of her, to me, an expression that said, “I know something … see if you can guess what it is.”
My lips were dry and I licked them: “I think … he did the best he could.”
I so wanted to kiss that smile as she answered: “I suppose history will have the last word on that.”
My eyes lowered to the floor, seeing the red and black patterns there and concentrating on them: “My lady… may I ask what is your place?”
I felt her hand touching my knee through the layers of clothing: “I am … an independent woman with my own thoughts and desires.”
“What … are your desires?” I asked, praying that she might desire me.
Her hand moved, now cupping my chin and bringing my eyes to her own: “If I can be so bold … Would you consider kissing me?”
The idea of submitting to her thrilled me: “Of course, my lady.”
Her fingers shifted to draw her thumb over my lips, caressing them lightly: “Why do you say ‘my lady?’”
“You are a lady; your status is well above me. It is only proper.”
Her thumb pressed between my lips and I suckled on her thumb, my own need and heat pressing on me to please her.
“You are, my sweet, equal to me in every way …”
My eyes showed my confusion.
Then, Tera said the word that would sear itself into my soul for eternity: “… Amoureux.”
Oh, dear God. Me? I was nothing.
“Je sus amoureux de toi.”
The shiver that passed through me was wonderful. To be wanted, needed by another woman in a world where it was forbidden. More, to be loved by another who had no fear of the world itself and only cared about me. Five words, said like none other had said before: “I’m in love with you.”… words that I never believed that someone would say and mean. There was no question she meant it; the expression in her eyes, the depth of her concern, the feeling that she needed me, loved me, I could taste all of it around me.
I kissed her thumb and smiled: “Amoureux.”
I pushed my finery aside to press closer to her: “Amoureux.”
My fingers entwined into her hair, our cleavage rubbing delightfully: “Amoureux.”
Her fingers finding their way to drip and tease my clit as my lips caused against her own: “Amoureux!”
The passage of our carriage through the forests punctuated by our joined cries of passion: “Amoureux!”
My memories gave way to seeing Tera smiling: “Penny for your thoughts?”
I blushed, a rare thing for vampires: “I was thinking of our first carriage ride.”
Tera had the most tempting look: “Before or after we tore off each other’s clothes?”
I giggled: “Both?”
She winked: “The first time, Amoureux … I never thanked you properly, did I?”
“I think the … what was it? … ten orgasms in a row did that!”
“Should have tried for eleven.”
I was hoping for that, and a little more if she was willing. No, that wasn’t true. I wanted her to stay here, to be nearby: “We could try?”
She wagged a finger at me and my innocent look didn’t work, but then it never did with her. Perhaps another tack: “Sophia’s found a really nice place to live here. Do you need a place to stay or something?”
“I would never want to impose on you, Amoureux … that would not be proper.”
I snorted and rolled my eyes: “I am the Queen of the City, Tera. What good is that to be if I can’t do something for you?”
Tera shrugged: “I’ll be fine.”
She always did this: never one to impose, to ask for anything. I’d had to draw it out of her and so, with a little bit of an edge to my voice I declared: “If you are looking for permission to live here, then by all means you are welcome here in Bridgeport. Stay as long as you like. You will always be welcomed here as long as I am the Queen of the City.”
Tera smiled and nodded. “Thank you. But I’m going to be fine, I promise. I’ll get myself settled, find something … respectable … to do … I rather like the idea of a nightclub, actually. You have many other responsibilities, I’ll manage to get my affairs in order soon enough.”
I chuckled and shook my head. “You never were going to ask, were you?”
“Well, I wanted to.” Tera said innocently. “But you were busy with that war of yours. I didn’t want to interrupt or get into the middle of it. I am a lover, not a fighter.”
Oh, yes … Tera was a lover. But she was a force when she put her mind to it. Still, this was all being formal with each other, as things needed to be for my sake. Tera wouldn’t knowingly step on my toes and she would be there for me and Nathan; that I was absolutely certain of.
“Seriously, Tera, it’s me. Why didn’t you appear sooner?”
She steepled her fingers over her nose and lips: “A Queen needs to rule. You needed to be in control, to do what you had to, make the choices you needed to. I would be a distraction to that.”
Well, that was true, but the thought of her ‘distractions’ made me squirm again: “So going to take you up on that, you know.”
A click of her tongue against her cheek was Tera’s only answer to that, her expression turning a bit more concerned: “Not before you get something in you. I can see you’re fading out … I’ll be right back.”
I watched Tera leave the room and I felt the tiredness seeping into me. She was right, I was tired, I needed some blood and soon. My fangs came out a little with the thought of nibbling on Tera and that squirm turned into my pussy dripping in need. My thoughts were interrupted by Tera’s hand holding a wine glass, the scent of blood calling to me.
“You vampires and your blood,” Tera teased.
I accepted the glass without question, but teased her: “And you succubi and your souls.”
With a shrug she returned to her leather chair and watched me sip my blood. A thought crossed my mind: “Did you want something to drink?”
“I don’t need anything to drink, sweetheart, but you do.” Tera teased, waving a hand in my direction.
The blood helped, and my thoughts focused once more: “And speaking of you needing souls: I do have to ask, when you and I were a thing, when I was human, why didn’t you fully devour me?”
Tera smiled: “You were, and are, my Amoureux. I would never take from someone I loved. Had I when you were human, I would have harmed you, made your soul less. That had no attraction to me.”
“So it wasn’t about my soul.”
She purred: “It was about so much more.”
I thought as much, it made complete sense with the promise Tera made to me then: “My love is yours … forever.”
Another five words that brought my thoughts back in time once more.
Night had fallen during our travel to Tera’s estate, the time passing in delicious wonder as she graced me with her touch, breath and desire. She gave freely to me, spoke of her desire for me, my needful whimpers of submission and love for her total and utterly so. She could have demanded anything from me and I would have given without a thought.
But she never did. From the first lick against my skin, her words were clear: “You are my equal. You are Amoureux. For me, please, never forget you are.”
A kiss was returned with a kiss. A suckle was returned with the same. Folds parted, tongues entwined, sex weeping against sex. She didn’t take or command from me, she just … was. The carriage passing through a series of hedgerows caught our attention: “Welcome to my home dearest Amoureux.”
I still can’t quite manage to put into words, ones that fully describe the grounds, the mansion itself. I had seen such places before, ones that offered a glimpse of power or wealth. Her lands were vast, green spaces that surrounded the most exquisite estate one could imagine. The coach arrived at the main doors, they opening soon afterwards. Tera strode from the carriage completely nude, her garments forgotten within the coach about me. I watched, a bit taken aback, as her servants bowed to her, offering their deference to her. Not one of them was dressed. The light of the candles and fires lighting the foyer played off their skin, shimmering, revealing them. I hesitated, unsure, wanting to gather myself.
She turned away from the assembled mass and returned to me. Pausing at the doorway she offered her hand: “There is nothing to fear, I promise. All is well. Please, be with me?”
I was unsure, but accepted Tera’s hand and was guided to stand outside of the carriage, as nude as all others there. My ingrained status in society made me pause as she began to walk away, intending to be a few steps behind as was my proper place.
That didn’t last long as Tera stopped after taking three steps. She turned slightly, her lovely eyes upon me: “Amoureux … I love you, forever. I know you are frightened, unsure, but your place is with me, beside me.”
She offered her hand again: “I beg of you. Please stand with me.”
Blushing, a little ashamed, my hand found hers. As we walked past the throngs, my eyes took in the vast pleasure of what she’d made here. A place unlike any other I had seen before, societal rules be damned.
So many questions came to me, but she promised: “We’ll talk … later. For this moment …”
Her lips kissed my own: “Our bed awaits, Amoureux.”
Our bed: two words that made me melt once more, my legs becoming a little wobbly again, needing help to manage the wide ornate staircase to her boudoir.
There I saw red, so much red: silk sheets, smooth and delicious against my skin as she watched my fingers toy with them, sliding over them, finding a pillow to raise my head to look towards her. My eyes found the red of her lips and nails as she crawled over the sheets to me, the feel of her nails leaving their marks against my thighs, followed by her lips to soothe the burn, kissing softly, slowly moving towards my need. My back arched as her lips found my folds, my clit, my heat. Screaming in pleasure unlike anything I had felt before, I found my hands entwined in her hair, crying out for more and more and still more.
Tera never stopped giving me all that I desired until I couldn’t take anymore and fell into a wonderfully fulfilled sleep. She spooned against me, still nibbling my neck and marking me with her lips, sucking on my skin.
I awoke in the middle of the night, seeing her sleeping with me, needing to pleasure her for all that she’d given me. The taste of her skin was delicious, as was that cherry aroma wafting from her, as was the thrilling hum within my clit as she moaned in pleasure as my lips worshipped her, needing her. It was a night of discovering I was wanted … for me … loved … for me. She’d given me the one thing I needed: being loved … for me.
The memory just made me need her more and sipping blood didn’t help at all with that. The memories of being with Tera, part of her life, started to flood my mind. From the time I felt and enjoyed love to the day I was forced into being a vampire to save my life.
I used to hold this against my sire, for stripping away what Tera offered and I couldn’t have. I hated him for that, feared what Tera would have thought of me at the time. I didn’t try to find her, assuming she was human and she’d never understand.
But then, he made me into the vampire I am today. He still regrets what he did, having no choice because of dire need for blood just so he could survive.
Bits of the memory came back again: the uprising, the death and destruction; looking for my parents who got caught up within the riots, and then finding them dead.
My thoughts betrayed me. “Where were you when … it happened?”
Tera’s eyes had a faraway stare now: “I knew something was wrong. You didn’t return when you said you would. You’d never done that before. I heard of the uprising, I took the chance to find you in spite of the humans that were all around, fighting and killing.”
I nodded. It had been terrible, violent. The memories of seeing my parents … hurt. It still hurt more than I would ever admit to anyone.
Tera’s hand stroked lightly against her lovely shapely neck, revealing something I had seen, but not realized what it was. Seeing it made me gasp: a gold necklace with a heart shaped pendant. “I gave you this … remember?”
I did. The pendant was the one that she’d given me after our first night. She’d said it was a mark of her love for me, that I was her equal.
“The pendant holds a little part of me. I could follow you, know where you were. It led me to find you with … him.”
She cupped the heart in her hand as she remembered: “I rarely use my powers fully. I moved in the blink of an eye from our home to your side … but it was far too late.”
I didn’t know about this, he’d never told me. Why?
“I found you in his arms, moaning in pleasure. I didn’t know what to think. He was at your throat and you were limp in his arms. I saw him release you and then cry out in despair. I saw his fangs, pushing his blood back into you. He was trying to save you after he nearly killed you.”
I smiled and nodded, but I didn’t know where this was going: “I know” was all I could say.
Tera’s hand remained about the heart: “I … kept this. There was nothing I could do.” She sighed: “What you don’t know is that, when you came back to me, as you had promised, I was going to tell you everything about who I really was and offer to make you immortal. I wanted to give you my gift, transform you into a succubi.”
I could see the tears. This hurt her more than she was telling me: “You loved me with all of your heart. I wanted you with me, beside me, part of me … forever. I held a place for you as Amoureux. The only one I have.”
It was my turn to weep at what he’d taken from both of us. The tears flowed unbidden as Tera showed me her right hand, revealing something that I thought lost forever: my wedding band. “Tera …”
“I’ve worn this since that day. We couldn’t be together, but I wasn’t going to forget you.”
My voice was a whisper: “My love is yours … forever.”
She smiled: “Yes. I have no other Amoureux. There will never be one other than you.”
That admission made me sad: “Tera … Do you have … another to love?”
She smiled warmly: “Yes … I have an Eternal.”
“Tell me about this Eternal, please.”
“Keith is my Eternal, the King of the Incubi, my soulmate, my love and … he knows.”
“What does he know?”
“He knows you are my Amoureux, he knows that I love you. He would love to meet you someday. He’d welcome you into our family. He’s told me that often. He reminds me that, just like everyone else in our family, you are part of us.”
That made me feel better. Someone like Tera needed love: “I’m glad you have someone.”
“As am I, Amoureux. You need Nathan as much as I need Keith. There’s no shame in that.”
I managed a smile: “I know.”
There was a long silence then. She’d answered my questions and not asked her own. Again, that was Tera. It wasn’t a concern for her. It didn’t matter, because she loved me. All else paled to that point in her mind. Something that little voice in the back of my mind finally accepted as being real.
The glass was empty. I felt stronger now, and the time for talking was over.
I wanted … her.
My wine glass found itself forgotten on the carpet as I crossed the space between us. It was my turn now. She’d offered herself to me, now I wanted her. I could feel Tera’s power swirling, building in anticipation, and that thrilled me. Knowing that she’d become aroused just because I came close to her was a thrill. Being a vampire, I could resist it, or I could let it wash over me and be carried away.
I touched the chair on either side of her, looking into Tera’s eyes, and then leaned in closer. My own desire raged as the love I had … still have for her… made me wetter still. She told me how she would honor me and I allowed that to overwhelm me. I allowed Tera’s seductive powers to wash over me as my lips came close to her own.
Tera put her index finger to my lips and smiled. “I want you, Bianca. I always will. But … I want to be with you, not to be served by you.”
I let out a disappointed sigh, but I understood. My Lady was always about being equal and her sitting in a chair wouldn’t make us equal. While in the past I didn’t feel like I was, now we were both Queens: equals that none could argue against.
“I have a guest room.” I said with a smile.
“Then let’s go.” Tera said with a purr.
From the sitting room, up the stairs and down the hallway we went, my hand in hers, occasionally stealing a kiss that made us both smile. Feeling her fingers playing against my thigh and tugging at my dress was a thrill. The master bedroom wasn’t our destination. Nathan needed his rest, after all. A short walk further and we arrived, the guest room’s door opening as we passed inside.
I flicked on the light once inside, Tera following closely behind me, her touch against my bare shoulder making me shiver in need. It was a simple room, windows covered by heavy curtains, not quite as opulent as my own. Oddly, the blue satin sheets seemed a bit out of place with Tera loving her red, and I pouted: “I wish I’d known you were coming. I’d have made it all red for you.”
I heard the door close with a click, then Tera was standing behind me, her hands on my hips, nuzzling her lips into my hair: “It’s lovely … almost as lovely as you are.” I moaned; I couldn’t help it as her fingers toyed with the hem of my dress, rolling it slowly upwards: “And now… I can do what I have always wanted to do with you.”
“Gawd, Tera … What’s that?”
There was no resisting her. There wasn’t any point. Being licked and kissed while her fingernails scraped close to my sex made it impossible. She pushed me across the room, pressing my legs against the edge of the bed. Tera was, in this moment, fully the apex sexual predator she was. The heat of her voice, the power she poured into me left me nowhere to run … not that I wanted to. My legs gave out as I fell into the bed: “I’ve always really wanted to make you cum.”
I giggled as I felt backward onto the bed with a smile. Over four hundred years of lust and love boiled within me: “What stopped you?”
Her horns shimmered into view as did her tail: “You were human.”
My eyes opened wide in understanding. Tera didn’t have to hold back now: “Oh dear God, yesssss …”
I reached up and wrapped my arms around Tera’s neck as my left leg curled around her hip. Our lips met and the sweet cherry taste of her kiss flooded me. Memories of our love making, the pleasures we’d shared, rushed into me just as Tera’s fingers explored my … naked body? I felt flesh on flesh and wondered where my dress went to, then where Tera’s did. The answer was obvious even for my lust-addled brain. Tera was the Queen of the Succubi.
Shut up and enjoy this, brain.
My pussy agreed with that, and soon after my mind took a back seat to my needs. I felt her fingers exploring all of the places that she knew so well. When Tera withdrew from the kiss, she lapped, then took the nipple of my right breast into her mouth and began to suck. My back arched reflexively, my hands twined into her hair as her fingers toyed with my clit at last. Shockwaves of pleasure overwhelmed me, more than anything she’d given to me before. I wanted more and she knew this as I felt her fingers teasing at my womanhood, slipping over and then pushing inside but I didn’t care. I clung to her tightly, humping her fingers and whining in need for her as my heat pressed past just needing sex, needing something more.
My fangs ached to find her flesh. They lengthened, longer and sharper than I could ever remember them being. My tongue danced over the points and I shivered feeling how sharp they were. One bite. Just one. To mark her with a love bite.
“You mustn’t bite me, Amoureux.” She said.
“But I want to.” I moaned out, my fangs shining in the light of the room.
Tera explained as she continued to play with my body, pulling back the pleasure slightly: “You mustn’t, because my power could do things to you. I don’t want to lose you again. I don’t want to hurt you.”
I purred as the pleasure continued to wash over me. “But I want to … Please, Tera … please let me give you my loving mark.”
Tera moved back up my body, her so-green eyes holding my own, not being able to look away from her: “I know … but on my terms, my sweet one. You’ll be …unnnnnnh … more than happy, I promise you.”
My needful whines came between my gasps of delight: “What … ooooooo … What are they? I’ll do anything, I promise!”
Tera licked my lips as her tail wrapped itself around my leg: “First … that promise to make you cum.”
We lost ourselves in love for hours and at the end of it, we were wrapped up in each other’s arms. Tera wasn’t kidding.
I’d never cum that hard before, and it was amazing. I was exhausted, running on how amazing the orgasms were and how wonderful it was to be in her arms again. Tera nestled with me, her index finger tracing lazy circles over my navel.
“Let me see your fangs.” Tera said.
I didn’t resist, my lips parting and my fangs fully visible. They hadn’t become any smaller throughout her pleasuring of me, but I think she knew exactly what she was doing and why she was waiting so long for this moment.
What I so dearly wanted.
Tera brushed the finger that had been playing with my navel against one of my razor sharp fangs and pricked it. My eyes widened as I smelt blood, my pupils dilating at the scent. Tera teased me by keeping her finger right above my mouth.
I wanted to lock my lips and suck upon her finger.
The scent called to me, urged me to wrap my lips around her finger and suck … and suck and suck. I started to move closer, but Tera took her hand away, a single drop of blood shimmering on the tip of her pricked finger. She chided me: “No, my Amoureux, you must only take a taste, a drop, nothing more.”
I nodded, accepting her words but not understanding why. She drew her hand back, holding her finger above my tongue. She waited and then just allowed that one drop to fall. The blood fell upon my tongue and my mind shattered from the power. Visions of kneeling at Tera’s feet, of worshipping her, overwhelmed me. My pussy clenched as I imagined all vampires being her slaves, her will overcoming all we were. My mind screamed as the vision showed Tera on a throne, the entire planet her playthings. It was too much power, and just from a single drop. My mind was open to her; she could have done anything to me. Anything she said I’d do without a thought.
I screamed, begging her to.
Her voice was soft, being all that mattered: “Come back to me, Amoureux. You are my equal. You are my love. You are everything to me … The visions are false. You know the truth.”
The change in the vision was another shattering experience. The dark vision vanished, Tera’s love for me washed through me, comforting me. I knew the truth. I knew Tera.
We were equals in love.
That new orgasm was far more mind-shattering than the first one by far. When my mind came back together, I struggled to keep a hold of my senses because of the power that now flowed within me.
I knew Sophia as a succubus and wondered if this would have the same effect on me, what it all meant. Then it all surged once more as Tera licked my clit and I screamed with pleasure beyond that of sex or drinking blood. My body felt as strong as if I had fed … deeply.
No; it was something far more than that. There something deeper inside of me, a ball of power that churned inside, making me gasp and then scream once more. It wanted release, but I just couldn’t quite make it happen. I came down from that high sprawled out on the bed.
“Wha … What the hell was that?” I asked.
Tera smiled softly: “The promise I gave. A taste of me, what I am, the power I am … and something more than that.”
“Confused. Amazingly horny, but confused.”
Tera kissed my cheek: “I’ve missed you so much.”
Nuzzling into her hair I moaned: “Me too.”
Tera was about to explain something when the door opened and I sat up with Tera in surprise. There standing at the door was my mate, my love, Nathan.
The concern in his eyes didn’t mask the pain he was in: “I heard screaming, is everything alright?”
I looked at Tera, she simply smiling as she looked at Nathan: “Well I hope so. Good sex isn’t good without amazing orgasms.”
The answer confused Nathan: “Did I miss something?”
As I regained my senses, still horny as anything, I replied: “No, you didn’t.” That hot ball of power inside of me thrummed and my voice turned sultry: “mmmm … Nooooo … you didn’t.”
“Why do I feel so … ah I can’t find the words for it?” Nathan asked as he stood at the door.
I just smiled, looking at Tera, who waved her hand teasingly and continued to smile at Nathan. My fingers toyed with her hair as I explained: “Nathan, this is Tera. She was my first … everything … when I was human. And before you ask, no she isn’t a vampire. She’s … a succubi: a very powerful succubus.”
Nathan just blinked as Tera rose from the bed, her horns clearly visible in her raven hair and her long red tail arched over her left shoulder. The view I had of her heart-shaped ass was every bit as delicious as the view Nathan was getting, I was sure.
Tera’s walk was mesmerizing as she approached Nathan with a warm smile: “You are the one who makes Bianca happy.” When she was close enough, she cupped his cheek: “Thank you for loving her.”
Nathan replied as he closed his eyes and I watched his facial expression change, the pain and worry seeping away: “She makes me happy.”
She kissed his lips, then licked them with her tongue: “I know.”
A wanton smile was my reward as Tera turned to face me. “Remember I said I gave you something a little bit more?”
I could only nod. My voice was lost; only that need inside mattered.
The succubi’s eyes glowed: “Nathan … please go and lay down on the bed.”
I didn’t move as Nathan found his place there with me. Tera crawled onto the bed with us, then spoke to me: “Amoureux … make him hard for you. I want his cock vibrating in need for you.”
What came over me was an intense need to suck, lick, and stroke Nathan until he was harder than I’d ever seen him before. Tera watched me, occasionally telling me how to toy with him, make his hands clench into the sheets and the needful growl from my love made me ache for him. When our guest told me to mount him, that was the only thing that I cared about. I needed him: my sex sucked him deeper than he’d ever been before. My hands found his shoulders and I started to ride him, screaming in the pleasure, his voice mirroring my own.
Tera purred as we fucked with abandon: “Harder … deeper … more … more …” Her words brought the two of us to fuck harder, more wantonly. My hair thrashed around as I screamed seeking release. One single word from her pushed us both over the edge: “Cum.”
The ball of power within me exploded, washing over both of us as we came, screaming, the windows rattling in their frames. Nathan arched as he came, his seed exploding into me as my sex flooded the sheets at the same time.
Blacking out was a mercy.
I awoke to find Nathan still buried deeply in me, and I smiled. Then I shrieked in realization. He was far too injured for what we did! What had Tera done? I scrambled to free myself of him, needing to look into his eyes.
Nathan, the love of my life … was sleeping. I quickly looked to see what harm I’d done, how many wounds had been opened by me, my hands running over his skin in terror.
But … there weren’t any; not one cut, bruise, blemish; nothing.
“I promised you a gift, Amoureux.”
I turned to see Tera sitting in a chair, completely nude, to the side of the bed. “Tera? What happened?”
Her tail moved slowly behind her: “I’ve given you … a gift: your mate, your love, whole again.”
I started crying, I didn’t know what to say.
Tera traced a finger over her cheek: “I need you to understand this, Bianca. This is truth. Only I can do this. None of the succubi or incubi, save for my Eternal Keith, can do what I did.”
Nathan stirred beside me and I wrapped my arms around him, weeping. My first lover watched us, her eyes sparkling: “I’ve done this exactly twice. I promised you I’d be there if you needed me. You needed me now.”
I didn’t think about what Tera said, exactly, as I hugged my love and crushed my lips to his as he woke up.
Tera watched us, from her chair, and her thoughts fell back to that terrible day so long ago when everything changed. “He was crouched over my sweet Amoureux: a vampire, the bastard. Of all of the humans, he had to claim her. Take her from me. He thought he’d saved himself, but all he did was shift his death to my hands.
“My hands took hold of his shoulders and ripped him from her. Spinning, he snarled, lashing out a hand at me before he realized who I was. His strength was nothing compared to my rage. My voice was icy: ‘How dare you.’
“Realization of who I was came quickly, the horns and tail tended to do that: ‘You!’
“‘It’s a mistake! I didn’t mean to!’”
“I gathered up his vest in my hands and pulled him to me. I’m sure my black eyes and the legends of what that meant scared the hell out of him. It scares the hell out of me.
“I struck him across the face with each word that came, his neck snapping from side to side: ‘She … is … my … Amoureux! My love! Do you understand?’
“He could only nod when I stopped striking him. He didn’t say a word as I growled in anger: ‘I should kill you. Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t tear you limb from limb and end you.’
“Most would have pleaded, begged, looked for mercy. I was expecting that.
“He surprised me.
“The hurt in his eyes was real, the emotion was true: ‘I’m sorry. I …’
“Disgusted, I threw him away from me, leaving him in a crumpled mess in the middle of the death around us.
“Turning my attention to my sweet dear Bianca I knelt beside her, brushing hair from her eyes, looking at what I’d lost for being foolish. I should have told her everything so much sooner. This never would have happened.
“I stroked Bianca’s cheek lightly: ‘You will teach her. She will not be forgotten. You will, I promise you, treat her well.’
“His answer held truth as well: ‘You have my promise.’
“I gathered my Amoureux’s broken body in my arms: ‘She has mine.’
“I looked at him harshly with eyes of black: ‘As do you. I keep my promises. I suggest you do the same.’
“We left then. No human lived there anymore. None saw what happened.
“But I would always remember.”
No matter how many centuries passed, she’d never be forgotten.
She watched as I cooed and fussed over Nathan, his expression of confusion clear as he realized that, somehow, he’d been healed, and, putting two and two together, turned to Tera. “Thank you.”
She, as she always did, waved a hand idly: “Just don’t go thinking that this is something I’ll do for a hangnail or something.”
We laughed, still holding each other tightly.
Tera rose from her chair, her tail darting behind her. A moment passed and she kissed Nathan lightly before doing the same with me.
Tera’s wan smile made me ache: “I love you both dearly, but …”
As Tera turned to leave, my hand flew out to take hold of her right wrist and Nathan did the same with her left. I needed to know: “Why are you leaving?”
She spoke plainly: “You have your love whole. That’s what matters.”
I looked at Nathan, but spoke to her: “We owe you.”
“You owe me nothing.”
He shook his head: “Are you always like this?”
Her tail touched his chest: “Yes, as a matter of fact, I am.”
She slipped out of our grasp and walked towards the door. Being vampires, we moved from the bed to the door and blocked her way faster than any human could.
Nathan stood in front of her, his chest pressed against her own, I wrapped my arms around her, spooned against her ass. I kissed into her mane of hair: “Tera … my lady … you give and give and give. Please, just once, let someone give back for all you do.”
Nathan’s hands rested on Tera’s hips: “I’d love to.”
My hands curled around her waist: “We’d love to.”
I could see the look in Nathan’s eyes: that he wanted to kiss her. He looked at me and I nodded with a smile before his lips found Tera’s.
Tera moaned as his lips met hers and my fingers slipped between her legs and toyed lightly here. She didn’t resist as we made our way back across the room, soon entwined there together.
The Queen of the Succubi found herself at the “mercy” of two vampires that had one thing in mind and purred, a gleam in her delightful green eyes: “If … you insist …”
We did and we’d see to it that this succubi knew pleasure until the crack of dawn … maybe longer.
A variation of Murphy’s law whereby if you happen to be criticizing someone else’s spelling or grammar you’ll have a mistake yourself. Or should that be criticising?
Another week of not feeling exceptionally well, as a whole. As such I haven’t been able to write as much as I would like. Still, there are little bits of story that have been jumping up and down, demanding to be told, and I suppose that this is as good a time as any to give those thoughts a chance to roam free in a …
One of the quieter, more serene parts of the Realm is set quite a fair distance from the Palace, the Library or, for that matter, the tall silvery spires that make up the downtown core of the Realm proper. It is a place of rolling green hills, not quite the same shade of oh-so-green eyes that a certain red-tail is known for. Still, the green is lush and radiant, with winds that pass over the grasslands making the tall stalks wave about, for the most part, occasionally turning the blades of green into strange and yet beautiful patterns to contemplate.
From afar, the green seems unbroken, endless, uniform in its appearance. But, from time to time, if one is paying attention, there is a glimpse of red among the green. On occasion that flash of red darts from place to place, a skittish thing, whatever it might be. It seems to come closer, towards the viewer, then turn and bolt off once more into the pasture, leaving a wake behind like that of a boat passing through water.
The beauty of the pasture called out to a particular few in the Realm, but it was the red, that mysterious flash that appeared from time to time that attracted Tera to the pasture. She and the red had a relationship, in a way, if not quite an understanding. That relationship had been forged in fire, a fight for the freedom of the red that was never meant to be. Some might go and chase the red, rush after it in the belief that they would chase it down, bring it to heel, to submit to the one seeking. Some didn’t quite understand what the red feared, had been through, what it had lost and why.
Tera did. She’d been there. But, even so, the red didn’t always trust. The brunette had learned patience: the art of standing on the edge of the pasture, waiting for the red to come closer, to see her, to feel that it was safe to appear. She’d also learned that it was wise to bring an offering, if not a treat. Thus, the Queen of the Realm stood in the midst of a pasture of green, holding in one hand an offering for the red to consider.
It always was a surprise when the grass parted and Tera would find herself being examined by a pair of deeply black eyes. Her own green ones would look back, open and accepting that she wasn’t the one to decide if the moment was to continue or if it would come to an end. Her breath held, her tail stilled as she waited for the choice to be made. There was no rushing the red when she was in a mood—much like Tera herself, truth be told.
Tera easily saw her quarry now, the one she’d come to know in their flight from what had been to how things were now.
The one she called Night.
Time passed slowly, then Night let out a sharp snort before turning away as if she had made a decision.
Tera called after, softly: “Come on, Night … Don’t you trust me after all we’ve been through together?”
The reply was a nudge with a wet nose before the carrot vanished from Tera’s hand, being enjoyed as Night’s shiny black eyes regarded her as she cautiously brushed a hand lightly over her host’s flank. Her long sigh didn’t mask her memories as she remembered finding Night, setting her free, being chased through worlds until they’d managed to come home to the Realm.
The Queen didn’t expect any thanks for what she’d done, but was surprised when Night flexed her wings in the midst of relishing her treat and neighed lightly. She’d finished the small delight, but didn’t run away, seemingly content to allow the contact offered. Unlike so many winged horses, Night wasn’t what the legends spoke of them to be. Her mane was a black deeper than the darkest of evenings, as was her tail. But it was clear she was not as she was meant to be, the red that painted her coat marking her as cursed to some, to others something far worse. Some said she was now a Hell Horse; the licks of fire around her hooves threatened to burn the pasture with their heat, or so it would seem to those that didn’t understand what she was and what she wasn’t.
Tera didn’t see Night as what others claimed. She saw the creature harmed by no fault of her own. Being shunned by her own kind, not wanted, not being able to join with the herds of winged horses roaming the universes—a fate that the succubi found she understood better than most could, she thought.
Their moment together passed. Night shook herself before turning back towards the pasture, the solitary home she’d found in the Realm. Tera watched her disappear into the thick grass, once more a shadow in the colour of life, dwelling within, waiting.
The Queen of the Realm turned away, starting on her own path towards home, thinking about her Night and what the future might bring, a bit of sadness for not having seen Night in the air, but still glad that she’d had a moment with her equine friend.
On the edge of the pasture, a snap of a twig made Tera look behind her to find Night staring with her black eyes. The moment held as a wide pair of black wings drew wide, sweeping towards the ground. For a moment, just the slimmest of instants, a lost winged horse took to the air before returning to the ground.
Wet eyes brought accompanied a whisper: “Thank you.”
As the red vanished into the green, a little bit of hope grew that this pasture would behold the most wondrous of things …
… a rebirth.
It feels very much like of late that I just haven’t the energy to write as I’d like to. Taking into account that this past week I was enjoying the delights of a cold, among things that are best left to the imagination, it’s not surprising that I didn’t write anything of note. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to walk away from sharing something this week on the Tale. Perish the thought!
A while ago I shared the first part of a series called Succubus Tales that I am writing with my Adored Brother. This series originally appeared on DeviantArt and you can find them here with the images that go along with the stories.
This then, is what I think of as Part Two, though in actuality it’s Chapter Three. At some point I’ll get Chapter One here, as well, for the sake of being complete …
Learning from the Queen
By TeraS and her Adored Brother
I slept a sleep of dreams—of being held, loved, cherished. I dreamed of a pair of green eyes that looked deeply into me, eyes that saw everything I had done … everything. Those eyes didn’t judge me. They only wanted to understand—something I hadn’t been able to do.
I dreamed of spooning against a lover that loved me, a lover that didn’t need anything from me save for me to be me: the heat of her body against mine; the teasing touch of long red nails over my skin, tracing around my nipples; the wanton gasp of need that burned within me. I imagined her voice, her scent, her seductive energy. I envisioned how damp I was, how needy I became, needing to be hers, to fall into her, to touch the one that so few could.
I went around in circles, from dream to dream, love to lust and back again. I heard her voice asking a question. I didn’t hesitate in my answer. The price was one I would pay, always, without a thought, because she loved me.
I didn’t wake up until the following evening. The sun was just falling to twilight when my eyes fluttered open. I stretched out, feeling satisfied, full, content as a delicious moan escaped me and my sex shivered with the memory of the night before. I turned over, my arms seeking her, my leg wanting to drape over her own.
But she wasn’t there. I raised myself, the sheets held to my chest, the scent of her still in the air, making me wet. Tera had promised to watch over me, for one night, and I had no doubt she had. My thoughts were a bit muddled as I had flashes of memories come to me.
Licking my lips, which were still tingling with pleasure, I was a needy thing for a moment. The thought of crawling to her, parting her legs and pleasuring her came so easy to me. I wanted her, so dearly so that my whine was sharp enough to scratch a mirror. But she wasn’t there, and so I sighed, a bit sadly. But Tera had promised to see me again, and soon, to teach me. And that made me smile. I would be hers alone for as long as she wanted me … forever.
As memories of the pleasure and passion that she gave last night continued to tease at me, I drew back the sheet and slinked out of bed. As I did, I realized that how I had poured myself out of bed was very much like Tera herself, and the thought thrilled me. Perhaps Tera had already taught me something.
A silver card on my nightstand caught my attention, and I turned my focus to it. The front of the card had a single word: Pleasures. The word was familiar; I recognized that it was a new nightclub in Bridgeport. I’d never been there, nor really heard much about it. But the card being here was a clue, obviously from Tera, and I turned it over to see a note written on the back.
“You are cordially invited to a night of cool jazz, warm moments, and hot passions. The pleasures to be found will be yours … and mine.” The card was signed with a single letter T and a red lipstick kiss, that particular shade that only Tera had. I smiled, knowing well what Tera meant by “hot passions,” as she had shared some of them last night.
I couldn’t say no. How could I? Tera wanted me there, she told me so. It would be so very gauche not to attend her party. Noting the time—it was still a bit early to be on the town—I decided to wait for full nightfall before going out to Pleasures. But that didn’t mean that I couldn’t spend the time showing my teacher that I was a tempting little succubus.
I could have shifted, been ready in a moment, but that wouldn’t have impressed Tera. She believed in succubi being their best. That would start with a hot shower, a little bit of fantasizing, or a lot of it if I was honest with myself; then Tera’s student would be nicely heated up for her.
I was in the shower for twenty minutes and spent the next forty making sure everything else was just right. I didn’t often spend the time to make myself stunningly beautiful; really, being a succubus made that as simple as breathing. But something Tera told me a long time ago whispered to me as I was drawing a tube of lipstick over my pouting lips: “Seduction isn’t a game. It is our being.”
I called a taxi as I was soon ready to go. As I was on the phone, I looked at myself in the mirror, a shiver passed through me. I looked hot, sexy and seductive. A tight mini dress that clung to my body shaped my sexuality. The blue leather on the front and back contrasted with the white and black leather that glowed against my curves. As I finished the call, I looked down, checking that my blue pumps were the right ones to finish my outfit.
I was drawing a lock of hair into place when my cell phone let me know that the taxi had arrived. Gathering my purse, which held my invitation and my phone, I slung it over my shoulder. The long straps allowing the purse to bump against my hip as I left the apartment.
As I descended to the ground floor, I checked that I had everything in my purse before the elevator doors opened and I walked across the lobby towards the main doors. My need was so clear in my walk. I was sex. I was power. I was seduction. The waves of lust that my body put out drew everyone in the lobby to look at me, and I loved every moment of it. The doorman opened the door for me, I graced him with a smile that nearly brought him to his knees, and thought about doing more than that some other time.
The taxi awaited me. When I stepped into the yellow van, I smiled as the driver looked at me in the mirror and whistled. I could taste him on the air, how my power called to him, but that wouldn’t do. Closing my eyes, I shivered at a little orgasm as my power ebbed slightly. It wouldn’t do to have him lose focus and crash the taxi.
“Where to, Beautiful?” he asked.
“Pleasures,” I purred, a wanton smile that I couldn’t help forming around the word.
“Got it, Babe,” he sighed.
I didn’t talk to him during the drive. My mind was wholly occupied by the thought that Tera was waiting for me. Just the thought of being with Tera was making me hot, but the thrill of knowing she wanted to help me was overwhelming. I really didn’t want to screw this up. I found myself wondering how often Tera did this. What was it that brought me to her attention again, that drew her to me … seemingly me … alone? I knew there were very few succubi and incubi in Bridgeport, fewer still that Tera was intimate with. How did this happen?
The trip was over so quickly that I missed we had arrived and the driver coughing drew me back to the moment. A smile came with his fare and a tip. Perhaps at some point he might be getting a bigger one. He opened the door for me and I found myself standing outside of Pleasures itself. As he drove away, I stared openly at the club. I could see Tera’s hand everywhere. It was classy, welcoming, but with an undercurrent of excitement, lust, and seduction. Exactly like Tera herself, I realized.
Approaching the main doors, I found a long line waiting to enter and two big burly bouncers in suits covering the front door. I smiled, seeing Tera’s hand there too, there was no question that they would be delightful morsels. Walking towards them, my hand found the card from Tera in my purse as I approached the line. I had but one focus now, one thought.
I wanted in.
Stopping at the velvet rope they guarded, I nibbled on a corner of the card and sized them up. I could feel the heat from them, but they were quite strong-willed, and Tera wouldn’t be happy if I made a scene. As that thought came, I realized something. This was a test. I nibbled my lip, knowing that this was one that I was going to pass. Putting on my succubus charm would work, in time, but that was a waste of energy. I pushed down my hunting instinct and smiled. The bouncers looked at me, a no-nonsense look in their eyes.
“Name?” The bouncer with the shaved head asked as he looked at his list.
Presenting the card to him, I replied: “I have this.”
He took the card and looked it over while the other bouncer, a blonde with muscles I’d love to lick my tongue over, watched me. “Invite’s good. But you need to be on the list. What’s your name, little lady?” The bald bouncer asked.
“Sophia Beauchamp.” My name came from my lips clear and strong, as I know Tera would want it: displaying pride in myself, in who I am. I am hers. I am of the succubi. Fear me. Crave me. Obey me.
I could see the pen in his hand shake at my voice. I knew I had my hooks in him now. Another word and he’d be on his knees. But instead I smiled, then winked, and he marked me off the list. As they moved the velvet rope out of my way, the card was returned to me. I waved it at the crowds waiting to enter Pleasures, feeling their need and desire to come with me. Such a shame they wouldn’t be.
Once inside, it was clear, without a doubt, that this was Tera’s playground. Red was everywhere: the red of passion, lust, want and need; the red of seduction; Tera’s red. The bar came into focus a moment later and I noticed a couple at the far end of the bar in an intimate dance. A blonde succubus in a green latex dress was whispering into the mind of a lucky guy there. She was going to feed on him, there was no question of that. As I approached, she straddled him, her lips pressing against his own, her hands possessively entwined in his hair. The sparkle of his soul being sucked from his lips into hers flickered in and out as their lips slipped and pressed against one another.
The clicking of my heels made her break the kiss and look at me. She smiled a wanton smile, a finger on his lips. Her eyes met mine and she winked before turning her attention back to him and continued to feed. I wondered how much of him was going to be left when she was done with him. The look in her eyes was a deep, deep hunger: the raw need to feed on a soul. But this was Tera’s place, and she wouldn’t dare go against Tera’s wishes … if she was smart. I turned away and began to look for the one that invited me here tonight: Tera, our Queen, our Lover, ours.
My eyes drew over the dance floor and I saw her. I nibbled my lip as I raked my eyes over her red leather dress, black lace mesh covering her back and delicious cleavage. The dress invited eyes to draw over her when she graced them with a smile. Tera looked … just right. I couldn’t explain it any other way. She always looked right, her sexuality, her power so totally encompassing that I ached being in her presence once more.
Tera was looking at me with a smile, her tempting hips rolling slowly as she pressed them into a male that was entranced by her power. She looked across the dance floor to me, licking her lips and then turned her attention to him. I was frozen, a statue—if a hot, wet, and needy one. Tera had her dance partner wrapped around her little finger. I could see the waves of need and lust rolling off of him, I could taste his energy in the air. My mouth watered as she cupped a hand behind his head and kissed him. He was enthralled, captured, lost in Tera’s power. His hands did not leave her hips as they slow danced there in front of me.
The song they were dancing to ended as Tera’s lips left his, her capture of her prey done as the last note ended. Tera was, if nothing else, well-versed in making a scene, a hot one that made my sex ache again. The Queen’s eyes returned to me, then she took his hand. Her lips brushed against his ear, he gasped, and then she began to lead him towards me.
If there was one thing that I had learned about Tera, it was that she had very specific tastes. As they came closer, I saw she had trapped in her web a tall man with short black hair and brown eyes. He was dressed nice, nothing over the top, just a good-looking guy in white slacks and a blue shirt. A closer look at his eyes as they came closer revealed that he was Tera’s thrall now. His eyes were lost with lust and desire for her. I could sense him being unsure, questioning his luck in being in the presence of the beauty that is Tera. It’s hard to explain just how her beauty is her, how there’s no one, either human or any other supernatural creature, that can be as beautiful as she.
That beauty was so very clear as she came close to me and whispered: “Good morning, sleepyhead. I’m glad you were able to get out of bed. I was wondering if I had worn you out too much and I’d have to come looking for you,” Her wink came with a light hug and a soft kiss, one that I needed, lusted for, and returned joyfully.
“mmmm … Loved cumming … Thank you, Tera,” I responded as my cheeks blushed at the memories of what she’d done to me.
The gorgeous red-tail looked at the man: “Come along, pet.” I found my hand holding one of his, Tera holding the other. The crowds parted, making a path for us towards a private booth a short walk from the dance floor. It was a little bit hidden, a private enclave. Our Hostess pointed at the middle of the booth and the man moved there. It was clear what she wanted from me. It was only a few moments before I was on one side of him, Tera on his other.
If this was any other night, I would know that our prey was trapped, ensnared, under the power of the succubi, his own needs and lust being toyed with. But this was Tera, and things were never what they appeared to be at first.
“This is a very lovely club.” I said as the smooth and cool jazz played in the background.
“It is, Sweetheart. Thank you. Some nights are more special than others,” Tera replied as she looked at me, her focus on me, the man between us held in our combined power now as my need, my ache to feed started to grow. She pressed herself against him, her tongue licking his ear: “This lovely man volunteered to help me in your lessons tonight.”
I looked at the man. He sat there, smiling, his mind adrift in the power of the seduction that had captured him. Another word from Tera and his arms moved. He placed his hands on our shoulders as we surround him. I saw Tera looking at me, nodding slightly, her eyes darting to him. Her message was clear.
“What is your name, darling?” I asked of the man as my gaze turned to him.
“My name is Franklin,” he said in a breathy yet lusty tone. He wanted both of us badly.
“Yes Franklin. Our dear pet, Franklin, will be offering some of his essence tonight, because he is a good and obedient pet, of course.” Tera said as she pressed her hand upon his chest and pushed him back into the seat. Tera focused her so-green eyes upon him and I whimpered at her power. “Relax now, pet. Be a good pet for your Mistress.” Tera told the human. Franklin nodded and did as he was told.
Things were quiet for a moment, time seeming to wait for what came next. I watched as Tera stroked her long red nails over his sleeve. How he moaned, completely in her power.
“Tera… if we both feed from him… he’ll…” I asked.
“No. He won’t because we will not.” Tera licked her lips. “I’ll be here, I will watch, and I’ll be here to catch you.” Tera’s gaze was upon me now: “Trust me. I will not allow you to fall.” Then Tera returned her attention to Franklin. “You have been such a good boy tonight. You worked so hard just to kiss me, I knew you wanted to. It wasn’t time then, but now …” she purred softly to Franklin “… now Sophia is here with us. A special kiss, one you’ve been craving tonight. It’s time now, pet …”
“Thank you,” Franklin moaned as our Mistress cupped her hand to his cheek and pressed into him. Franklin did the same and their lips played against each other for a deep and passionate kiss. I could see the stream of life go from Franklin to Tera. It was like nothing I could have imagined: a trickle, a little tiny spark. It wasn’t very fast, either. It was achingly slow, almost as if, as their tongues danced, the irresistible brunette caressed a little bit of energy from him. My eyes got wider and wider. This was nothing like I could have imagined. Tera’s control was … perfect. The kiss only lasted for a brief moment before she drew her lips away in a delicious smile. Her tongue licked over her lips as Franklin fell back, slumping, into the booth. “mmm … About a year, more or less, I would think …” Tera said with a soft smile as she turned to me.
I was still in shock to see any human still alive after a kiss from a succubus. “I can’t believe he’s still alive.” I whiapered.
Tera had that bemused smile of hers as she patted his leg. “The lesson is a simple one: will and control. You have to have the will to stop and the control to do so. Now, sex is harder than just a kiss—we can easily fall into the lusts of feeding—but we’ll get to that in time. Right now, my sweet Sophia, a simple kiss, and nothing more,” she said, pointing at Franklin.
“Okay …” I said as I turned to look at Franklin, the tremor in my voice clear.
Tera stroked her long red nails over Franklin’s cheek: “As a succubus, you need the life force of humans to survive. That is a given. Taking it all will kill them and their soul will be part of you for eternity. Without control, we risk being discovered. Leaving a trail of bodies eventually means one will lead … to you.”
She patted his cheek: “I don’t want that, lovely Sophia. I love you too much. So, we’ll learn to take only a little today. You’ll see, it’s not impossible for us to coexist with them. Just like how Bianca has been preaching to the humans now that vampires have come into public view.”
I nodded as I looked at my red-tailed Love. “Okay; so far I am with you.”
“I’m glad, because the tough part comes next,” she whispered as she turned to Franklin, his eyes fluttering. “Did you enjoy my kiss?”
“I did,” Franklin sounded like his breath was taken away.
“My sweet Sophia would love to kiss your lips, too.”
“Is her kiss as sweet as yours?”
“Sweeter,” Tera smiled mischievously as she turned and looked at me. “Slowly … very slowly; don’t rush. We have all night. I’ll be right here to help.”
I nodded and swallowed the lump in my throat as I turned to Franklin. He was already leaning in for a kiss. I looked at Tera once more. Her expression was one of complete trust in me, that I would be fine. I held onto that thought before turning all my focus to the human.
Our lips pressed together and I felt his life force connect to mine and the rush to take all of him was immediately there. My instincts pushed to take over so that I would devour him.
“No”—a single word that gave even my own basest needs paused at—“Don’t give into your instincts”—it was Tera whispering to me, her voice firm yet kind and compassionate—“Push them down and just sip.”
“You are the Mistress of your power. Make it obey … you.”
I keep those words at the center of my thoughts as I try to push back my instincts. The need to feed teases my clit. My mouth waters while I feel Franklin’s life connected to mine. The Queen’s words come to me again: “Your power obeys you. Command it.”
Something inside of me changed. Part of me decided to try taking a little bit, to see what it was like. The first ebb of his soul licked my lips and I felt the dribble of him caressing my needs. A sip, a taste, so different, so seductive, so much more delicious; my need moaned in pleasure as I slowly sipped away at him.
“Now, break the kiss,” Tera said softly.
I didn’t want to. I wanted more.
“Sophia, control your power or it will be the end of you.”
I took one year after another of his life. Slowly yes, but I didn’t want to stop. The taste was … exquisite.
I felt a tap on my shoulder as my Teacher spoke again: “Break the kiss, Sweetheart. If you don’t, I will.”
I didn’t care. This was heaven: so delicious and wonderful.
I felt Tera’s nails pressing against my collarbone: “Stop, please; you don’t want me to pull you away. It won’t feel good.”
I didn’t care. Nothing was going to …
“Please, Sophia; please don’t disappoint me.”
Those words were like an icepick to my heart. Even my own needs froze at Tera’s statement.
“Please don’t disappoint me.”
Tera trusted me. She trusted me. I had to …
… I had to force myself away from Franklin, throwing my body across the booth and far away from him. I gasped, my eyes wide and my breathing heavy. I realized something as I looked at Tera gently touching his forehead: I wanted him all but only got a part of him. Tears came to my eyes as I realized only a small part of him was inside of me.
I did stop.
Whether that was Tera’s voice or that I didn’t need to take everything. I cupped my hands over my lips as I thought of Logan inside of me. I was still filled with him. Perhaps this was his gift to me.
“That’s a good start.” Tera said as she put her hand gently on my shoulder. “It’s always hard the first time, but it gets easier.”
Tera then continued to examine him: “Taking a little bit only works when you are the Mistress of your needs. If you need to heal, or are starving, it’s a lot harder to do. But I won’t put you through that … just yet.”
“I want more,” I said, licking my lips, my need rearing its head again, before I turned to look at my Teacher.
She shook her head. “No, you have already taken more than enough.”
I looked at him and gasped as I saw his head hanging down. He wasn’t moving. “Oh, no!” The guilt came rushing back, drowning me. I’d failed. He was dead! I couldn’t do it! I’d failed! I’d …
“Sweetheart,” Tera clutched my hand, “he’s still alive. He gave up five years of his life to us tonight. He’s sleeping now.”
I looked at him again. Hesitantly, I pushed his head up to see he still had flesh tone color in his checks and not the more deathly pale I knew too well. The relief washed over me, but I needed to ask: “How long will he sleep?”
“Depends on how much life they have to what we take. It can be a normal night’s sleep to a couple of days. I have heard of someone sleeping up to a week. Some fall into a coma.” Tera stated all of this without malice.
I nodded as I watched Tera touching his cheek and forehead. A question formed in my thoughts and I asked: “Sex is harder. Why?”
She smiled as she leaned in closer to me, seemingly finished with him for the moment. “Sex is just as much pleasure for us as it is for them. We give them love and pleasure, but we take pleasure too and it’s harder to hold back our instincts from draining them dry. It takes a long time to control that.” I noticed a wistful smile on her lips: “So much time.”
Tera looked into my eyes. I couldn’t look away from her. She held my attention as she moved to straddle herself over me, trapping me beneath her. She cupped my cheeks with her hands: “But time is an illusion.”
I started to ask a question, but as my lips parted, Tera pressed her own against mine. I felt her tongue probing, then playing with my own. Her scent, her heat, the power she was, poured over me. Her body pressed into mine, I ached, moaned, my eyes fluttered and then …
… everything changed.
“All is prepared my Queen.” I didn’t recognize the voice. It was deep and male, but other than that I didn’t know who it was. More importantly, why was he calling me a Queen? I’m no Queen.
I nodded my head, but didn’t say a word. I wanted to ask what the hell was going on, but I couldn’t. I wanted someone to tell me what was happening and I couldn’t make the words come. I looked around as he left and found myself resting on a throne. My eyes trailed over my body and I saw that I was draped in golden silk, a style that tugged at me. There was something about all of this, a story, something …
Rising from the throne, I rolled my hips, my tongue licking over my lips and a seductive smile playing there. As I descended from the throne, two rows of figures draped in white lace and silk, hoods hiding their faces, made a path for me. I could sense the raw need and desire from each, the life that my hunger demanded I take, consume, and relish in.
The walk from the throne to the other side of the chamber was longer than I expected. Idly, I counted the kneeling souls, and realized there were one hundred of them. I still had no idea what was going on, where I was or why I couldn’t do anything except watch. I came to the end of the assembled masses and paused in front of a glided mirror, taller than I. I looked into it, seeing myself covered from head to toe in golden silk, my own face covered by a hood, cloaked in darkness.
I stood there, looking into the mirror. The need inside of me, the hunger to feed on the bounty of souls that waited before me making me wet. My arms moved, my hands moving towards the cowl that covered me. I saw the flash of long red nails as they appeared from beneath the sleeves.
The hood fell away, the trappings of gold spilled like water from my skin and I stood there naked. I saw the smile and then saw the rest …
… the so-green eyes.
It was Tera.
She stood there, looking into the mirror, her hands trailing over her skin. A little moan of pleasure when she caressed her cleavage, a delicious look of desire when her hands played close to her sex.
Then I spoke, or rather she did: “Our lust consumes us. It is our undoing. This cannot be.” She turned towards the throne, the sight of all of those delicious souls making her … my … our mouth water. “One hundred souls to feed on; one hundred chances to fail; one hundred moments to fall into the Abyss …”
Our hunger pulled at us, our need an ache we could not ignore. How could we? It was part of us, tied to us, inseparable. We walked to the first soul. A flick of our hands, the cowl removed and they were revealed: a woman with auburn hair, eyes unafraid, in bliss of being in our presence.
The kiss was deep and soulful. Our need dove into her, intending to rend her asunder. She was only human; what did she matter? The hunger leaped toward her soul, to tear, shred, and consume.
A hand clutched at our collarbone and we were wrenched away. Our connection broke, the barest of the sacrificial soul taken. The pain was like a whip against our skin, burning deeply and remaining there. Doubling over in pain, our voice cried out in agony.
That male voice returned: “One.”
We felt anger in his word for a moment. Then the shame. We couldn’t control ourselves and he needed to stop us. We were weak.
We were not going to be.
It did not go much better for the next twenty-two souls. In each we couldn’t break away quickly enough and he did as we had commanded. With the next, we broke the kiss just as his hand began to pull us away.
There was no pain. No agony.
There was no anger. No shame. We had controlled ourselves. We … were … not … weak. We felt a bemused smile form. We would learn.
The next souls gave, but we didn’t take all we could have. His hand came five more times, but after that he did not pull us or touch us. He simply counted.
From here, we played with the souls, teasing them, making them orgasm in pleasure before licking at their souls to taste the delicious ambrosia they were.
The playing wasn’t enough. We rode the males. We made them howl in pleasure, to orgasm as we licked their souls. We strummed the females, to make them writhe in pleasure as they screamed from our touch. We learned the taste of divine bliss in that moment.
The next three we took at the same time. Two males and a female came to us. The pleasures pushed at our control, tempted our need, demanded we take and feed until they were all devoured. When they were all spent, we stood. Our body shining in sweat, glowing with the power we had consumed.
Ninety-nine souls. So many moments to fail, to lose ourselves. But we did not. Our will overcame. Our power controlled.
There was one last soul before the throne.
He stood by the throne, the last barrier. He waited there, draped in black, his face hidden by his cowl. The need roared suddenly. It wanted all of him, ever drop of his soul. That craving washed over us, our powers wanting to reach out to control him, to push him to his knees.
This was the last test. He wasn’t prey; he wasn’t. But the need didn’t care. If it took control of us, it would take him. We prowled to his side, our hands playing over his body. He said nothing, just waiting there.
Our hands pulled his lips close to ours. The need howled in victory.
A chaste kiss and we released him.
We did not have to feed, did not have to take. The need cried out in defeat and we smiled.
He nodded: “One Hundred, my Queen.”
Our voice was clear and strong: “One Hundred.”
Nude we reclined on our throne and replied: “The first one hundred. Tomorrow a hundred more and every tomorrow … still more. The fight never ends.”
Reality shifted as Tera broke the kiss. She smiled, licking her lips as she looked at me. Her green eyes sparkled and she breathed a little heavier.
“What … the hell … was that?” I asked.
The Succubi Queen’s fingers played over the nape of my neck: “A memory … a time long ago when I was learning to control myself … a temple that the humans built for me … a place where they worshipped me as a Goddess. I gave you the memory I had—how it feels, what it’s like, all of it,”
“That’s impossible.” I said in shock.
“You forget, Sweetheart; even though I don’t go and flaunt it, I am the Queen of the Succubi. It is within my power to do just that,” she said with a wink.
Tapping my nose, Tera explained: “I’ve given you a head start. But like the memory says, the battle is never over. You have to fight, tooth and nail, every day.”
“That’s up to you. I trust you, Sophia. I know you can do this. Believe in your own will and it will be fine.”
I looked at my Idol with loving eyes. “Thank you.”
She kissed my nose: “Should have happened when you first came into being as a succubus, but it didn’t. You’ll learn more, in time.” She then patted my shoulder: “Now we should let Franklin rest. He did well for us tonight and I did promise that all the pleasure will be yours and mine tonight.”
I smiled and nodded as Tera guided me from the booth. When we were standing together, Tera looked back at Franklin, then said: “Sophia, please wait for me upstairs—the stairs are just over there. I need a moment to be sure Franklin is looked after.”
“Of course, Tera. Thank you.”
Tera watched me leave, her eyes not looking away as I crossed the club and then made my way up a staircase towards Tera’s lair.
After I was out of sight, Tera returned to Franklin. She settled in beside him again, looking at his sleeping form. “I’m sorry she took so much from you, pet.” She kissed him, deeper than before. The glow of souls came brightly between their lips. But it wasn’t like before. Tera wasn’t feeding on him. She was giving to Franklin instead.
Her kiss ended and, after a few moments longer, Franklin woke up. “What … what happened?”
Tera touched a finger to his cheek and turned his eyes to look at her own. Both pairs glowed brightly: “You had a wonderful time with two amazing women. The club was delightful and you’ll be sure to tell your friends that they need to come here.”
His head nodded slowly as the succubi’s commands seeped into his mind: “Yes … amazing … wonderful …”
She smiled and kissed him again, Franklin nodding off once more. Tera then poured herself out of the booth and motioned for one of the staff. “Look after him, please. Be sure he makes it home.”
“Of course, Tera. I’ll look after him personally.”
The Queen left Franklin with a cute redhead, knowing she would look after him. Judging from how the waitress was looking at Franklin, he might have memories of three amazing women before the night was done.
Now she could look after Sophia. That thought made Tera smile.
Click here to go see the bonus panel!
Also, Griffins talk at the movies.
Thanks again everyone! The book has been selling great! If you're still on the fence, Amazon dropped the price a little this morning!
If you want more info from an utterly biased source, the luscious Phil Plait wrote an article about Soonish.
Lastly, we can now announce that the book is on sale on Amazon UK!
Thanks again, everyone. This is a dream come true for us.
Another one of those very short stories that I’ve been sharing of late, one of those stories in which there is, perhaps, a little of reality seeping into the cracks. There are moments, special ones, in which, sometimes, things that need to be said … are. Those aren’t the worst of times, they aren’t the best of times, but regardless of all else they are the moments …
The day comes in the midst of winter, a time when the snows have blanketed the world, turning the air crisp, leaving the sounds a bit muted over the crunching of boots in the snow. It falls between the New Year—when promises are made, hopes are set, and the future is looked towards—and Valentine’s Day—when lovers meet, flowers are abundant, and, if there’s some chocolate as well, that’s not a bad thing either.
This day isn’t one that’s celebrated, held out to the world as being important. It’s a more private day, one in which the meaning is important to one small family. It’s what one would expect, all things considered when the family in question is identified.
Everyone in the Realm knows that Tera never wishes her birthday to be celebrated, and in the same way Keith’s birthday is, again, a day where he doesn’t expect, nor wish, for anything special to unfold. What they don’t know, what they cannot know, is that this approach to birthdays comes from someone that both Keith and Tera dearly love with all they are.
This day came a little bit darker than the year before, a little colder than it had been. The snows were a little deeper, the winds a bit more forceful in their rushing about the landscape. The light coming through the window wasn’t quite as warm as it passed within. It was, all things considered, a little bit bleaker for the three souls that had gathered together this particular morning.
The home was still a home, a dearly cherished place of memories, and so stories came as the three talked, smiled, and shared some black forest cake. There was coffee for one, hot chocolate for the other two souls. There were memories of arriving here, so long ago: to a new house, waiting for the family to make it a home; of the time spent making the home a better place, adding the touches that were needed to bring the love that came with the family to the place that would be their home, the family homestead. There were stories of the embarrassing moments of a son growing up: remembering that one day when he’d come home, carrying his bike, broken in two pieces, and then went off to learn how to weld the broken metal together, learning a skill when he was only a child at his father’s hands.
They mulled over the better things that came as time passed along, of the time spent in the garden, helping with the flowers, putting things as they needed to be, giving up—but gladly so—time with others for the sake of spending it with his parents. They remembered his going off to university and still being with them both; the long hours he’d spent studying, then helping his parents with their lives; that day, when the time came for him to walk across the stage, take the offered parchment, looking out into the crowd, and see them both there, proud of what he’d accomplished.
There were stories of how the family had grown, how a couple had watched their sons go off and become men, starting their lives, making both he and his love proud of all they had accomplished. They had seen their family growing, over time, the seasons changing, the time passing and that day when their eldest came to the door, holding hands with his Eternal, asking for his mother and father’s blessing. They recalled the joy the couple had felt in calling her “daughter,” welcoming her to their family: how she’d become every bit the eldest daughter as he was their eldest son; the visits; the holidays; the time spent together at the river, off on the occasional trip, finding their paths through time and cherishing each and every one of them.
The joys of just being a family.
On this birthday, there was one seat where the sunlight did linger. There was one mug set, for the soul that was with them. Watching, knowing there was warmth, love, and joy to be found. There was, in spite of the gloom of the moment, the feeling that she was there, holding them all, smiling at the black forest cake and nodding in approval. It was his birthday, he not needing—as was his way—anything special to be done.
But it was special.
The family had called through the day, souls from far and wide sending their love to him. There were conversations about everything and nothing at all. There were chuckles when the granddaughters and grandsons had wished him well. He’d spent the morning with his eldest son and cherished daughter—for she was his daughter, make no mistake about that—finding that cake, searching out that coffee, that hot chocolate, being out in the world, being part of what was, what is, and what, in time, would be. The afternoon was spent talking over that coffee, hot chocolate, and cake; spent with the laughter and smiles that chased the gloom away; spent with the stories that made the light brighter, the warmth stronger.
It was, in the end, a day for him, one that he enjoyed, for the family was together and always would be. This was the truth that, in time, would be the comfort needed.
It was a birthday, not of loss, not of missing aches, but of hope, love, and knowing that she’d not left him …
She had shared it with him, and she always would.
Sometimes there comes a point where Tera has to actually appear as the Queen, an instant when Keith must appear as the King. This, of course, is something neither really enjoys, exactly, but, affairs of state being what they are, it is an inevitable thing. But with the formality comes a most special memory for them both, the memory of a most special …
The throne room of the Realm is a place with memories. It is a space in which choices have been made, rules laid down, and the future shaped to be what it came to be. While many think of this place as being central for Tera and her Eternal, Keith, it’s really not seen that way by them.
To Tera, the throne itself represents her parents. She remembers the hardships they confronted, the battles fought—both with words and, regrettably, in blood—when there was no other recourse to be found. The throne isn’t a terrible thing, not by any means, but she also recalls the point her parents made: the throne is a symbol; it need not be her. It might have to be used sometimes, it might be part of her life, but she did not have to be chained to it to be the Queen.
For Keith, the throne represented a promise he’d made and it was one that he held for always.
Meeting Tera’s mother was the first hurdle he’d had to pass. Now, that in itself was something that didn’t unfold as he’d expected. But that was meeting her as Tera’s mother, not as the Queen of a Realm. What has more concerning was having to meet her father, the King, as the King, not as Tera’s father, and that, if he was honest with himself, was a real concern. Keith knew that he was being protective of his only daughter, something that Keith respected and understood. It wasn’t his place to second guess his soon-to-be father in law.
It was, in the end, a matter of respect, and so it was one of the rare moments when Keith had to wear a tie.
“Are you nervous?”
Keith was tying his tie—something that he detested wearing—for the twelfth time as he looked into the mirror: “What makes you think that?”
Tera was leaning against the doorway, tapping a finger against her lovely red lips as he pulled the tie loose and started again: “The hour you’ve spent looking into that mirror and fumbling with that tie of yours.”
His smile was reflected in the mirror: “I always fumble with my tie. You’re the one that isn’t helping, oh bemused one.”
Her giggle did help settle the butterflies: “You didn’t ask, oh stubborn one.”
Pulling the tie free, her blue eyed Eternal offered it up: “Oh wondrous Princess of the Realm, would you give your assistance to a mere human who is all thumbs?”
Gently pulling on the tie, which was a particular shade of red that only one particular tail in the Realm possessed, the bemused one in question winked: “It would be my delight to help the soul whom I love … thumbs and all.”
“You’re just lucky we have to be on time. Otherwise I’m sure you have all sorts of plans.”
“I lost count at sixty-eight.”
He arched an eyebrow: “Sixty-eight?”
The red-tailed temptress purred, invitingly: “I’m sure you can figure out one more.”
Human or not, he wasn’t going to let that pass: “I have an idea.”
Seeing the look in his eyes, Tera looped the tie around his collar: “I’m sure you do.”
As she worked away at his tie, he mused out loud: “I might. It depends on whether or not you want both of us to be a complete mess, or just mostly.”
It turned out that Tera preferred a complete mess and the tie found itself used in a way it didn’t expect itself to be. Another tie was found, eventually, though the “search” took more time than it really needed to, not that the two Eternals really minded. This one was as red as the first, and this time Tera was the one to be fiddling with it.
“It’s going to be fine.”
“Sure, it’s only your father and he’s only the King.”
“You weren’t this nervous meeting my Mom.”
“Your Mom … is your Mom. She wasn’t the Queen at the time.”
Tera pulled the tie, perhaps a bit too sharply: “Mom’s always the Queen.”
His hands found hers: “She’s your Mom first, Queen second.”
So-green eyes found so-blue ones: “Dad’s the King first, Dad second.”
Keith smiled, trying to calm her worries: “I’m more concerned about that pitchfork of his.”
The ebon-haired Eternal smirked: “Not worried about mine?”
One of her Eternal’s hands slipped free of hers, lightly tracing a path over her hip towards the sensitive spot just beneath where her tail appeared: “In your case, lovely Princess of the Realm, I know your weakness.”
“mmm … Do you?”
His blue eyes sparkled: “I do.”
The second tie eventually found itself wrapped around a bedpost, having witnessed the talents of a very persuasive human upon the singular weakness of a certain red-tail that loved him. The search for a third tie took a lot longer than the preceding two attempts, mostly because there was a side trip into the kitchen where a lot of RediWhip had been “consumed.” Keith did, after all, need to research the effects of RediWhip on succubi tails … extensively … and Tera was an excellent subject for that research, of course.
The third tie was the very last one that they had. It was exactly the same shade of red as a certain future Queen of the Realm’s tail was. Whether the tie was hoping, for or against, for the fate of its fellow ties to occur was anyone’s guess. The tie betting pool wasn’t taking any bets on that.
They were standing in their front hallway, Tera fussing over things as he mused: “You know … I was thinking …”
The red-tail winced as she was trying, again, to get his tie exactly right, this time for real: “I shudder to think …”
“What difference does it make if I’m wearing a tie or not?”
She’d just about got the knot perfect: “It matters because Dad’s a stickler for formality.”
Tera finished up the knot and stepped back: “I can be, if I really have to.”
He looked over his love’s black dress, trimmed in red, one that in the future would become the thing of legend which marked the appearance of the bemused Queen of the Realm: “I really do like that dress.”
That got him a peck on the cheek.
“But you know …”
She pressed two fingers against his lips: “I know, and I’d love nothing more than to walk in on Dad completely casual, but he’d flip his lid.”
A slightly gruff voice broke into their repartee: “That depends, dearest daughter, on why, exactly, you are both so late in making your appointment?”
Tera froze, not daring to turn about and look her father in the eye. She could see the clock on the other side of the hall and realized that they were almost four hours late: “Dad?”
Keith found himself looking over his love’s shoulder to see an older gentleman regarding him: “Sir, I’ll take responsibly for being delayed and causing any issues for you.”
“Care to explain what delayed you?”
Keith’s answer came with the lacing of his fingers with Tera’s, her tail wrapping around his waist and she resting her head against his shoulder: “I was having trouble with my tie.”
His red tail was moving slowly behind him: “Really?”
“It seems that a tie cannot be perfect without the help of an Eternal’s hand.”
He felt Tera’s tail tense, squeeze him a little tighter.
Tera never saw her father smile as he tapped two fingers to his horns: “Looks perfect to me.”
She did feel Keith’s nod: “She is.”
The King turned and made his way out of his daughter’s home: “Better get more ties young man. Useful things, you know … so I’m told.”
Keith smiled as he felt Tera trying to stifle a giggle: “Will do, sir.”
The promise was an unspoken one, passed from a father to his son-in-law, seeing his daughter and her Eternal.
Ties are, indeed, useful things . . . sometimes even as apparel.
The one tie that matters, however, is the one that binds two Eternals together.
Another one of those weeks in which I haven’t been feeling all that well, which means that I haven’t been writing much and what I have managed to accomplish doesn’t feel like a lot. But great things sometimes come from something that …
If there is one constant about the Queen of the Succubi, it’s that she never expects anything in return for what she does for others. The common refrain heard is, “I owe you”, and Tera’s reply is inevitably, “You owe me nothing.”
Regardless of what she might have done, how complex or simple it might be, how much it means to the recipient of Tera’s generosity, she expects nothing in return. This, of course, brings no end of confusion and concern to others. It’s obvious that she’s a Queen, that she should, therefore, expect some sort of gift in return, some promise made, some offer. Some even think their soul would be acceptable to her. The red-tailed one just smiles in that bemused way of hers, shrugs, and comments: “It isn’t much, don’t worry about it.” She doesn’t see that what she’s done is anything special, that it might be something beyond the pale. Giving to others, for her, is a kind of pleasure and it is one that she especially loves.
So, regardless of who it is, what Tera might have done, or anything else, nothing is expected, nothing is wanted, nor is anything needed. A “thank you” brings a smile, while the offering of a gift is gratefully noted, but she’ll always say that she couldn’t possibly take something.
And so we come to the telling point. It’s just about impossible to give something back to the Queen for all of the things she’s done. Not that many haven’t tried, in all of the ways you could imagine, of course. It’s quite a battle trying to get Tera to see, within herself, that what she’s done for others is far more than nothing much at all.
This, then, brings to light a cherished gift which can be found in Tera’s bedroom, something which she did accept, in spite of her stubbornness, from a moment in her life where the gift mattered, more than she could put into words for the gift carried with it that most cherished of things… a memory. The first, the very first thing she ever accepted seems so simple, something almost so ordinary that it could be overlooked, but Tera never does. It’s a pair of fuzzy red socks.
This very special pair that brought her to tears one Christmas a long time ago was a gift from the Queen’s heart, one that few can understand or see in the way that Tera can. It was a reminder of a conversation at the fence between the Queen and her heart one winter. She spoke of being a bit cold. That thought drifted for a bit in the winter air between the two, the musing that she needed a pair of socks to warm her toes on those cold winter mornings when the floors were so bloody cold.
Whenever she saw those socks, she remembered a package arriving, out of the blue. Her mind drifted back to opening the gift, looking inside to find a Christmas stocking with some delightful fudge hidden beneath a pair of red socks. A card from her heart, the tears of joy in holding in her hands that which he and his Beloved had blessed with their love. The first Christmas they’d shared as family, one she cherished, one that she was forever grateful to Goddess for scheming to bring two families on either side of a fence together.
She can remember telling her heart how wonderful the gift was, how delighted and thankful she was, asking how she could repay his kindness. Her heart, being who he is, replied in a very familiar way: “It isn’t much, don’t worry about it.” It was a familiar reply, said with love for the one that was gifted, whether they expected the gift or not, whether the giving needed to be or not. It simply was and all else that came with the gift was reflections of what giving unto others means.
Perhaps, then, the need within the Queen to brush off the idea of receiving a gift for simply being herself is something that is reflected in many of her family. Perhaps, in a way, they all know that it isn’t about the gift, about the thing done. It’s about giving, as one can.
Perhaps the gift is found in the giving. And, sometimes, the grace is found in the receiving without worrying about deserving, but just because the gift is given out of love.
For in giving to another may seem like it isn’t much, but it’s the greatest miracle in any Realm when it is done out of love.
..is when lost or abandoned fishing gear continues to catch fish. And those who are caught attract larger predators who can also get caught. Find out more: ghostfishing.org
Also see Bycatch—other stuff you caught while trying to catch something else.
And quite different from ghost cooking—the art of cooking leaving a sparkling, untouched kitchen.
Nurse shark drawn using How to draw a grey nurse shark.
- Susan B. Anthony (via isthatwhattheysaid)
So: how do 5e skills compare to how the same activities would be handled in an old school game?
Perception--Oh boy--first one's the hardest. This is a case of old school being more micromanaged than the current edition. There's Hear Noise which just covers thieves saying "Hey I'm gonna stop and listen carefully", Find/Remove Traps and several different (usually racial) abilities to notice specific things like dwarves have a chance to notice odd stonework in certain editions, etc and then LotFP's Search which is the Specialist (Thief's) active "Look around" ability. There may also be buried away in the originally Unearthed Arcana or 2e some stuff about druids or rangers or barbarians noticing specific stuff but checking would require getting out of bed, which I refuse to do right now.
Popular semi- and unofficial ways old school would handle other aspects of this are:
-The classic "careful examination" which means the player describes that they look at it or turn it over or whatever (some modules include a time limit like "If examined for at least 3 minutes you notice there's a Potion of Gaseous Form hidden in the carpet").
-Wisdom check as a passive perception check
-Some modules would point out special noticeables by being like "A magic-user will immediately notice an eldritch energy in the air". Which gets into the thorny thing about how basically every knowledge or lore skill could be lowkey considered a perception skill if you think about it. (PS in Call of Cthulhu like half the things on that sheet are kinds of perception skills, and in Night's Black Agents even more.)
So what's better? One explicit reason for Perception being a skill in 5e was so that rogues/thieves could have better chances of noticing stuff than clerics. That makes more sense to me than the straight Wisdom check at least in dungeons (clerics are only wise in a non-niche non-technical environment). The hodge-podge of "notices" is just that: a hodge podge, and are hard to DM in a passive situation because you're like "Uh...who has a bonus to sense sloping corridors? No reason..." which leads to these only being used actively.
In practice, I tend to use a passive perception check a lot because:
-I want to convey the layers of information between "It's a stone room" and "Oh, you look at the chandelier? Well you see..." Often this is useless information on purpose that just is some setting stuff because I want to cram in as much detail as possible ("The architecture appears to the paladin to be Late-Decadent-Albino-Dogman").
-If you're doing like overland travel for hours it isn't practical or nice to be a straw old school hardass and go "Aaaand what are you doing the next minute?" for every minute of a journey, but at the same time you want to be able to ambush-murder players while still giving them a chance of a subtle clue first. Passive perception is good for that.
...so having that as an official thing is good. Getting rid of thief Hear Noise doesn't really lose you much, but I like the race and class-based ones, like dwarves notice stonework, elves hear stuff because pointy ears, etc. it's probably easy to be like "Ok, Plover gets advantage to this one"--which does take some effort on the part of the GM but no more than remembering Halfling's get a 2 in 6 to notice pie or whatever so I'm gonna say 5e gets it right on this one.
Athletics--Strength-based feats of physical prowess. In games like Runequest and 3e this would break down into like Swimming and Jumping but at that point it's a detail fetish--this is mostly just stuff old school would handle as a strength check and I'm good with that.
The only reason it's a skill in 5e is technical: so that strength-centric classes get the proficiency bonus to doing strengthy stuff and so are as good at those things as other classes are at their things--ie so that when the druid is extra-wise when looking at a tree, the barbarian is using the same probability math when trying to arm-wrestle.
In other games being good at sports and being strong might be worth hair-splitting about, but in D&D you can be pretty sure that's basically why they took you along.
This skill is a strange outcome of trying to do everything on the same die and on the same scale--skill checks (modifier plus skill bonus, which goes up as you increase in level) typically involve bigger numbers than ability checks (modifier only, which only goes up when the whole ability score goes up--which is often enough in 5e), so for simplicity's sake it's a way to make ability checks into skill checks. In practice it kinda doesn't matter though--see Persuasion/Deception below for an example of how this plays out.
Handling some stuff with broad ability checks and some stuff with training-oriented skill checks (with better math) is only hard once you got a bajillion skills because then the DM has to remember what all the skills are. This is a problem in like Chill 2e. In D&D there's not so many skills so I don't see why they tried to make all the math the same.
The only exception to the pointlessness of Athletics is climbing: Goats, monkeys and thief-types are supposed to be able to climb stuff without being very strong (this is a major point of skill systems: to have people be good at specific parts of things they aren't broadly good at. Like you need to be able to make an idiot who knows a lot of Dr Who trivia.) Old School handles this as its own (usually thief) skill, which makes sense in the more archetypal world of those games, but it works in 5e if you always handle climbing under...
Acrobatics--Agility-based feats of physical prowess. Old school games would handle this with a dex check and--again--it's basically just here to give Dex-centric classes a proficiency bonus to the kinds of things their class does. Outside that technical reason, the only good reason for Acrobatics is it's a place to put climbing (dodging is handled with saving throws).
Sleight of Hand--Gary thought it mattered a lot that while you had a 3 in 10 chance of Picking Pockets, you only had a 2.5 in 10 chance of Opening Locks and a 2 in 10 chance of Removing Traps but he was the only person in RPGs ever to think that. As a long-time AD&D thief player I can definitively say the father of role-playing games was full of shit wrong because what you really have until like 7th level is a really good chance of dying if you try any of those things and many retroclones agree--Lotfp bundles these skills as Delicate Tasks or whatnot. Old School and 5e are almost identical on this score.
This also points to the other reason for skill systems at least in D&D--creating things that only well-trained people can do, but that also (unlike ability checks) you get better at as you level.
Stealth--The Artist Formerly Known As Move Silently and Hide In Shadows and another fine example of pointless Gygaxian 5% difference hairsplitting and another example where LotFP uses the same skill--this time calling it the same name--Stealth.
Arcana--This is the wizard's equivalent of Athletics--the skill they get to represent their smartness is especially wizardy smartness and just balances out the math so they are as good at their thing as the thief is at theirs. (Obviously skills like this also let you build PCs with off-class skillsets like a scholarly thief, an undeniable perk of newer games if you are into that.) In old school you'd just have this be an Int check only wizard-types could do, which....works fine.
History--Old school doesn't have this and as a guy who has literally hundreds of pages of stuff he wrote about his stupid D&D world I like it. It's a nice way to throw useful info and red herrings at my players. Can't think of a lot of reasons for it not to be something any character with a high Int could do, though.
LotFP has Architecture, which overlaps with this but is less useful if you're looking at a chalice and more useful if you're looking for hidden rooms, but then that pokes in on Search.
Some old modules handle this kind of thing as "PCs from Greendale have a chance to notice that..." which is pretty easy to implement.
Investigate--I hate this skill. 90% of the uses for it overlap with stuff I want to rig so the players can try to figure it out themselves ("The corpse looks like it was killed from behind by a bunch of needles and there's some pinholes in the wall, so..."). I have to work to find ways to not cheat players who got proficiency in this out of their 2 points worth of D&D and probably so does every other old-school-minded GM.
Arguably it is also trying to be for Intelligence what Athletics is for strength--the skill that balances out the math. It can fuck right off.
Nature--What rangers and druids have in common (and some barbarians). This is a good new skill because it covers things those classes should be able to do at a level better than someone else of equivalent Int. In Old School systems which have rangers and druids this is broken down into stuff like Identify Plants and whatnot which so far as I can see confers no important playable benefit. Good job 5e.
Religion--Looks at first like a math-balancing cleric equivalent of Athletics (for fighters) and Arcana (for wizards) but it isn't for two reasons.
First: a lot of the time this applies to other peoples' religions, like Iceblood Orcs of the Fuckwastes. So this is not just about how to be a priest but identifying a broad swath of the culture going on in your gameworld (presumably because it's heretical and needs to be annihilated).
Second: it's Intelligence-based and clerics are supposed to be good at Wisdom, so the idea here is that knowledge of scripture and holy lore (especially other peoples') are secondary skills for a cleric, which makes sense. A D&D cleric is not necessarily so much a scholar as an armed zealot.
Old school would typically handle this with an int check that only clerics could do, which loses a shade of subtlety, but maybe not enough to matter.
Animal handling--Arguably part of druid and ranger (and for horses, paladin) skillsets in AD&D 1e but basically new. This is my favorite 5e skill: it's something that comes up a lot (in and out of combat), it defines a medieval world, it makes sense for a variety of classes to have it (it's one of the fighter options because: horses and guard dogs), and ladies love it.
Insight--Telling if people are lying, mostly--plus other interpersonal details the GM might not want to trust to his or her acting ability. The most proximate ancestor is Call of Cthulhu's Psychology skill but old school you could handle this with a Wisdom check, and Wisdom without this is barely Wisdom.
Medicine--An odd one. Somebody smart pointed out that there are very few uses for this skill, rules-as-written. Old school has no skill here, although various Death and Dismemberment tables allow an Int check to help an injured PC in some cases. I put it on my 5e one to give it some more use.
But in the end, even if you rewrite the rule so magic healing doesn't do all it could do and more--do you need a niche for someone who is better at medicine than they are at general Int-oriented tasks? Might be a pointless skill.
Survival--The other thing rangers and druids (and some barbarians) are supposed to be good at, and which AD&D handles kind of scattershot in the abilities for those classes. It makes sense to bundle hunting, tracking, fishing, etc in one skill and it makes sense that a ranger can be wiser when hunting than they are about offering advice. I also like the idea that a druid who takes this skill is typically better at it than a ranger of the same level (better wisdom) because they just like disappear at camp-setting-up time and come back with a pile of dead warthogs like what?
This plus Nature would be identical to the LotFP specialist's Bushcraft though serving a slightly different purpose since there are no rangers or druids in that game. Ok.
Performance--Old school would handle this as a dex or charisma check (could also see an argument for sleight of hand). It could be argued that if you do that you lose the ability to differentiate a trained musician from a gymnast holding a mandolin but I can't think of any reason any sane person would care in a D&D game. PS still fuck bards.
Intimidation--Surprisingly useful in that it often does what a reaction check does in old school. It is a little weird though because intimidation capacity seems more a function of charisma plus how big, scary or well-armed you look rather than charisma plus a special skill plus level. It's not a skill in old school, but would be derived on a case-by-case basis from those factors. And if it's a matter of looking more dangerous than you are then that seems like a species of Deception?
But then again there's that issue of Daredevil where DD is missing and the Human Torch (who can set things on fire by looking at them) has to take his place as urban vigilante and sucks at it because none of the lowlifes or hoods believe he'll light them up. So maybe Intimidation needs to be a skill. Convince me?
Persuasion--This is just straight up a skill that exists so charisma checks can use the same math as strength checks boosted by athletics etc. Old school would just use charisma. However...
Deception--Well there's charisma as clerics use it and charisma as thieves use it. Fair enough. Old school does not make this distinction at all, though it is meaningful.
Here's a weird result: if they didn't include Persuasion as a skill and just relied on Charisma, yet Deception was a skill, then that would mean that after a few levels you would always be better off lying to someone than telling the truth. At least in the abstract--realistically the GM would/should simply set the DC of convincing someone by lying higher than by telling the truth.
So altogether we've got:
1. Reorganized thief/rogue/specialist skills (Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand, Stealth)--these are by most measures just more useful than their old school counterparts and there are less of them, so definitely a vote here for 5e solely on the grounds of simplifying life.
2. Reorganized ranger/druid/maybe barbarian skills (Nature, Survival)--as thief skills, these are a clear improvement because they're simpler than their old versions without losing depth.
3. Skills made necessary by the system math (Athletics, Arcana, Persuasion, Insight) You're not missing much by excluding these from old school play, except the ability to make your PC less archetypal on paper (cleric who is a witch hunter so knows a thing or two about Arcana, for instance)--but you knew that when you decided to roll old school.
4. Borderline, arguably useful depending on the campaign/rulings but could probably be absorbed into parent ability with no big loss (Performance could be assigned to dex or charisma the few times it comes up in a properly bardless campaign, Medicine, History and Religion can be Int).
5. Total abomination (Investigation)
6. Oddball thing I'm not sure should work like other skills do (Intimidation)
7. Genuinely clarifying or adding new level of detail to the game (Animal Handling, Deception, Perception)
My overall verdict is no matter how you slice it, old school games have some weird problems around noticing shit and 5e has players making a few more choices during character creation than they probably need to.
Happy New Year!