A Whisper of Dusk, Chapter 3, Opposites Attach
“After all, the list of powerful male sorcerers who are single is a dreadfully short one.” The Great Maou said as she half-dragged me into the chamber beyond. I felt a sense of doom as I heard the door close behind us with a grim finality.
Nervously, I initiate reconnaissance of my immediate environs. I find myself at one end of a long hall made of black marble, it is lit not by torches, but by large crystals hanging from the ceiling. I also note twenty-seven pairs of sanguine colored eyes that turn and look at the Great Maou and me with benign, yet intense curiosity.
Every set of these pair of eyes lie underneath a crown of platinum hair highlighted with a set of demon horns. Every one of them belong to the Demon Lord’s infernal daughters: The Lilim.
Facing away from me in front of that group of preeminent Succubi, stands a tall Incubus who seems familiar to me. I notice that as he addresses them,the Lilim seem to defer to him. The tall Incubus notices the change in their attention and turns to follow their gaze. As he does so, I recognize him. He is the Great Maou’s Royal Consort/husband. The last I saw of him, was from my Summoning a week agone.
Seeing me, he gives me a genuine smile of warmth and beckons me to join him, as he begins to walk towards me. I glance towards the Great Maou, she then releases me from her grasp with a triumphant smile. Then she turns to meet with a lone daughter of hers, who is carrying an infant.
With a barely restrained grimace, I take advantage of my sudden freedom to massage my numbed arm. As I walk towards the co-Regent, I try to set aside my discomfiture at my ‘voluntary’ attendance. I would have preferred to attend to my mental needs first.
“Merry Meet, Annwyfn Arawn, I hope my wife was able to assist you in the lifting of your Covenant.” He greets me with a cordial smile, meeting me half way.
“Merry Meet, Your Highness. Yes, she was most efficacious in that, and I have pledged my service to her by way of thanks.” I reply by bowing with an equally pleasant smile, despite my arm’s pins and needle sensation. He nods then, approving of my pledge.
“I hope you will understand that I’m here as a means of ‘oiling troubled waters’. I’m afraid that most of my daughters,” he gestures with an arm, indicating the coterie of Lilim nearby, “tend to be quite the handful whenever they are in a room together. I’ve heard my role described as: Herding Cats.” He said with a grimace.
“An interesting comparison.” I reply. “But what are cats?” I ask. He then goes on to explain, and I listen attentively.
‘This ‘cat’ sounds like an interesting specie of animal.’ I note to myself.
“Before I continue, Majin Arawn, I wish to mention that it was not my desire to have you attend this event.” He said with a frown. “Now, I’m not saying I am averse to having my daughters meet with you to discuss matters of matrimony. I feel that your meeting them in smaller groups would have been more appropriate, if not safer.” He said, with an annoyed glance towards his wife and Mistress.
“I understand, Your Highness. But, this is not the first time I have captured the notice of a Match-making Mother, I would say that it is a Multiversal trait of them to take advantage of any opportunity to create another generation.” I finished with a roll of my eyes that only he would see. He laughed boisterously at the sight.
“Congratulations on your first Granddaughter.” I offered, “May you have many more.” to which he seemed pleased, as we both observed said grandchild flirting with her Grandmother.
“Perhaps someday, you will help add to that number.” He replied half-jokingly, as my face froze.
‘It seems that he is unaware of my inability to breed.’ I thought to myself sadly.
“Shall we begin with the introductions?” He asked then, and I reluctantly agreed. I had hoped to discuss other matters with him instead. But such was not to be.
‘Quintus (1)’ I called mentally.
‘Yes Primus? (5)’
‘Begin standard Diplomatic scanning protocols. It would not behoove us to forget who is who. (1)’
‘Understood. Anything else? (5)’
‘Yes, keep an eye out for any possible means of egress, assuming such should become a necessity. (1)’
‘Acknowledged. Out. (5)’
And with that, I was chaperoned by the Lilim’s Sire, and I managed to meet all of his daughters present at this event, one by one. (Though I was not sure if he was there for their protection, or for my own.)
Druella, Ilassa, Vanessa, Laila, Selene, Hecate, Mari, Lysella, Palamna, Sophia, Nyx, and others. Each of them was dressed provocatively in an outfit that was a complimentary combination of both Lingerie, and Battle Armor. Though not all of them were unmarried, each and every one of these athletic beauties were aloof both in manner and behavior, as far as I was concerned.
While they were conversationally taciturn with me, they were far more desirous of vying for their father’s attention. The Royal Consort could scarcely stand still, what with his having to deal with his daughters incessant squabbles.
‘They are not as mature as I expected.’ I thought, as I felt my nascent hopes for a mature life-companion rapidly evaporating.
After the introductions, I chose to stand off to one side and had Quintus enhance my hearing. I did this so that I could eavesdrop upon the ongoing conversations within the hall, all the while appearing to be taking an interest in the innumerable obscene artworks decorating the hall.
Mostly the conversations I overheard, (when they weren’t fighting about something trivial) were about the night to night mundanities of running a kingdom (If they had one), or the finer points in using Demon Energy in converting Humans into Mamono.
“How did you do it Sophia?” asked one Lilim, (Hecate, I think).
“Do what?” I head Sophia answer coyly.
“Override the Werewolf Realm’s influence to transform a woman into a Holstaur instead?” Hecate asked with unconcealed envy.
“Oh, that’s easy, Mari!” (Oops!) “Before Mother, Holstaurs were the prey of Were-wolves. As such, the Holstaur dweomer is still imprinted in the Werewolf realm. You just have to be diligent to isolate its morphogenic resonance!” Sophia answered with a barely concealed pride. To which she received the admiration of Mari, and several other of her sisters.
By that time, I noted that the Great Maou had started the rounds of introducing her Granddaughter to her various aunts. It was also then I started to overhear my name mentioned multiple times in several conversations around the hall. Time and again, I overheard varying accounts of me and my exploits. While a handful of them were somewhat truthful, alas, the majority of them were not.
“…name is Annwyfn Arawn.” Said one Lilim (Minerva?) “Apparently, he single-handedly defeated a Battalion of Order fighters….”
“…several days now, and he remains uncorrupted!”
“…replaced Ossymand’s tower with a castle…”
“…personally awarded the Order fighters he subdued, to the Mamono he slept with!”
“…dab hand with a hairbrush…”
“…has a ‘thing’ for Baphomet!” *giggles*’
I found it annoying that not a single one of the Lilim sought to clear up said rumors. As I found myself particularly interested in quelling that one concerning Baphomet!
Their standoffishness changed, when I observed the Great Maou’s granddaughter becoming fussy, and was proving to be recalcitrant against both her mother, and her grandmother’s attempts to pacify her. I approached the trio then.
“Pardon me your Majesty, your Highness.” I said bowing to each in turn. “Please allow me to assist with your cranky child. I offer my extensive experience in such matters that I have accrued over the Millenia.”
“I was unaware that you’ve been a father before, Arawn.” Stated the Great Maou, with a hint of suspicion in her voice. (I had previously informed her of my inability to sire children).
“Just so, Your Majesty. Many of my wives during my existence, chose to adopt in order to satiate their child-hungry arms. I, of course, did my utmost to support and assist them.”
“I don’t know why she’s acting this way! Normally, she’s like a Dark Angel!” Victoria (the child’s mother) said vexedly. After getting a nod from her mother, she then entrusted her daughter to my care.
‘whine, whine! cry, snivel, cry, bawl!” said the little bairn as she squirmed in my arms, spraying no small amount of spittle upon me.
“Waaah! Yawn, Yum! Thththththtpppth! Ugh Arr Ugh! I replied. The baby seemed surprised at my ability to understand her, and blinked before speaking again.
“moan, whimper, snivel, Blergh!” She stated clearly.
“Oh!” I cried out. “That’s easily remedied!” I looked around, and noted a handy tabletop that I carefully lay the child upon. Swiftly, I was able to loosen and reattach the overly tight nappy that had been bothering the little girl. After that, with my ministrations, that cranky child rapidly transformed into a bundle of unholy joy!
Oh, that shameless little flirt! Despite her being only a few weeks old she swiftly had me wrapped around her finger!
Now that I had her in my arms, I noticed that her head horns were still but nibs, and she had the chubbiest little spade-ended tail that she artfully teased me with! I soon had her giggling something fierce, as I quickly discovered her tickle spots.
“How is it, that you were able to understand her, Majin Arawn?” asked Victoria with dismay.
“It is quite simple, your Highness. A long time ago, I learned Baby-speak.”
“That’s preposterous Arawn, babies don’t speak!” She claimed, with her own Mother looking dubiously over her shoulder at me.
“Well then, let me give you a demonstration your Highness.” I then turned and addressed her baby. After a few interchanges, I came up with a suitable reply.
“Apparently, the reason why she doesn’t like to milk feed after you bathe, is that the soap you use is overly spicy and makes her mouth feel ‘funny’.” To which Victoria did a double-take, then her mouth dropped open in surprise. I was about to comment further, when my attention was drawn back to her daughter who had something else she wanted aired out. After listening attentively, I continued.
“She is also annoyed with her father ‘stealing most of your milk’, and would…” at which point Victoria interrupted.
“That’s quite alright Mr. Arawn! I believe you now!” she said excitedly, waving her hands, and reaching for her now cheerful daughter. Once I had returned her child, she beat a rapid retreat to stand behind her own mother, looking fitfully over at me occasionally. The Great Maou herself, seemed both amused and introspective.
Not long after I had returned to my perusal of the hall’s artwork, was when I was interrupted by the sound of one of the Lillm’s voices.
“Arawn, is it?” said (Hecate?).
“Yes, your Highness. How may I be of service?” I replied, turning to the source of that voice.
“Please, Mr. Arawn, call me Hecate. (!) I insist!” She smiled sweetly then. Unlike her sisters, she stood a mere 30 centimeters above me. I noticed that yes, she too smelt of brimstone, but also of honeysuckle. At that point, I could not help but notice her rather enchanting chainmail Merry Widow she wore. The reason being, that it bulged in all the right places.
‘Strange, was she not wearing something more conservative a few minutes ago?’ I thought.
‘She was! (5)’ Quintus replied.
‘Oh, Great Maker! (1)’ I said with sudden trepidation.
“How is that you are able to converse with babies, Mr. Arawn?” Hecate said, touching me once upon my arm.
‘Charm spell countered! (5)’ Quintus warned me then. I maintained a straight face with difficulty.
“To hear. One has only to listen.” I quoted then, a Great Teacher I had studied under. “Babies observe everything, and can be quite the fount of information.” I continued. At that point, I felt another touch on my other arm.
‘Another, stronger, charm spell countered! (5)’ Quintus spoke. I turned to look and I saw that it was Kali, who was wearing a Demon-Steel Bustier. From my vantage point I determined that that outfit made her look decidedly spathic. She too spoke.
“That sounds most interesting Mr. Arawn. Is it true that you’re a Master Sorcerer of many disciplines?” She asked me with her eyes smoldering. Before I could tender an answer, I felt a third touch, this time upon the back of my neck.
‘An even stronger charm spell countered, Primus! If this keeps up, we will be compromised within a short amount of time! (5)’ he warned me, fear creeping into his mental-voice. This third person turned out to be Morrigan, she was wearing an overly revealing dragon scale-mail bikini. The kind of which, not even her mother would have allowed in the hall.
Hecate, Kali, and Morrigan, soon squared off.
“Back off, both of you!” Hecate snarled, her eyes flaring red. “I touched him first! I stake claim!”
“What makes you think you can hold onto this morsel, Hecate?” Kali said then, smiling a Dragon’s smile. “You couldn’t even hold onto that Order Paladin!”
“See to yourself Kali!” said Hecate coldly. “At least MY kingdom remains the same size it was when I converted it!”
“With his service, I will be able to reclaim my lands!” hissed Kali, seemingly unmindful of my presence.
“Morrigan! I call in favors, assist me in the acquisition of this Sorcerer, and I will share his services with you!” Hecate spoke acerbically then.
It was obvious what was going on. They were not interested in me as a person. No. All I was to them, was a male that ‘needed’ to be conquered, corrupted, and made useful. This became more evident in the resulting chaos that soon followed.
Within a few minutes, more favors were called upon and old rivalries flared up. It soon became readily apparent to me, that many of them wished to ‘acquire me’ solely because a rival sister did and for no other reason than that. Soon, tempers began to flare and less benign spells were cast. Despite both of their parent’s attempts to calm things down, things continued to escalate. I chose then to excuse myself from that growing melee.
I did so by slipping unseen into the Hall’s rest rooms. Judging by the sounds emanating from the main hall, I decided that it was time to seek a form of egress.
‘Quintus? Any luck on finding a means of escape? (1)’ I ask.
‘Negative Primus! This hall is heavily be-spelled and fortified! It is designed to not allow anything to enter without tacit approval from the Hall’s guards. (5)’
‘I may have found some possible design flaws. (4)’ Quartus piped in.
‘What do you suggest? (5)’
‘A blind teleportation through the commodes’ waste-water transferal system. (4)’ he said quietly.
‘Madness! (5)’ Quintus scoffed.
‘Do you have an alternative? (4)’ he returned with a terse tone. I could feel Quintus’ consternation through our mental link then.
‘No, I do not. Primus, it is your call. (5)’ he said finally.
‘Make it happen. Desperate times call for desperate measures. (1)’ I stated as I recalled the account of Ukifune Jinnai. Now THERE was a man dedicated to his master’s cause!
Just before my teleportation, I gauged that it would be sometime before my absence would be noticed. That is, if the sounds of items being broken, along with the yelling and cursing coming from outside the rest room be a reliable indicator.
Luckily, I did not teleport myself inside a wall or ceiling. After that, I managed to avoid any significant bruising when I impacted the floors and walls due to my teleportation disorientation. After recovering for an additional few minutes, I was able to start running for my (bachelor) life!
And I ran.
I ran so far away, that I couldn’t get away.
I just ran down endless wood paneled stone hallways, up spiral staircases both deosil and widdershins, past orgy-filled Great Halls, and I stumbled through an obscene religious service conducted by a Dark Priest. (Though I do admit to having slowed down momentarily then) I feel my heart racing from the exertion of the metronomic rhythm of my feet pounding the rugs, carpets, flagstones, and wooden floors of this vast stone edifice. My motivation for my running was the fear of being pursued by the Lilim, or even worse: their Mother.
Here and there, I dodge the occasional lone Mamono, each and every one of them an eye-catching beauty in her own right. Most of them give me a cursory glance and do nothing to block my way. Occasionally, one of them attempts to get me to stop and chat with her. Twice, I am forced to resort to a polite, yet forceful, refusal that should not leave any lasting marks.
Finally, I realize that I do not know where I am running to. So, I stop and let myself lean against a wall in an effort to catch my breath. I try to take stock of the situation, while keeping an eye out for trouble.
‘Quintus! Is there any sign of pursuit? (1)’ I ask mentally, while panting physically.
‘Negative Primus, but I am keeping an eye out for anything that indicates that status has changed. (5)’ Slowly, my breath returns.
‘This would make for an excellent Marathon contest! (3)’ Tertius quipped.
‘Noted! (1)’ I growl back at him. I had to admit, that Matrimonial/Servitude would be a motivation for anyone to maintain a constant running speed. I am also aware that the longer I ran, the more likely my absence would be noticed, if it had not been already!
‘Where should I go?’ I thought to myself in desperation. Time was running out! I realized then, that I could not return to my apartment. For one thing, Vasi would be there busy with her new husband. Even if she were not, that would be the first place they would search. I needed someplace else, someplace safe…
“Isn’t there anywhere else I can stay tonight?” I say aloud in despair. Then, I feel something strange in the aether. It is a familiar feeling, and yet, not.
‘Primus, there is something form…, wait, a Portal has appeared next to you! (5)’ I immediately go to high alert and ready a Blast-punch. ‘Has the Great Maou found me already?’ I think to myself fearfully, as my heartrate triples.
Looking swiftly around my environs of that eerily quiet hallway. I take note of a door that was not present scant seconds ago. On the door’s exterior, are several items that appear to be made of copper, yet they are free of any verdigris. I note two plaques and a door handle. The first plaque is adorned with writing, as is the second. But the writing appears ‘off’. It is almost as if it cannot settle upon what script to utilize in its display.
‘Primus, Dweomer readings indicate that the plaques appear to be a variant of Psychic Paper. (5)’ Quintus stated.
‘This is more my purview, Quintus. Step aside. (4)’ Quartus said sharply. ‘Standby Primus, I am adjusting Psi-senses…(4)’ then, in a few more seconds I can read the script.
“All one has to do is ask…”
The second plaque read:
“PUSH TO OPEN”
I am suspicious with this sudden windfall. Seldom does one encounter a beneficence that does not come with a hidden cost. But, under the circumstances, I decide that I have little choice in the matter. I knew what lay behind me: over a score of immature power-hungry Succubi, and their annoyed Matriarch.
‘Fortune favors the Bold.’ I think to myself.
Steeling myself, and holding my breath, I place my hand upon that door handle and push it open. Then I step inside and close the door behind me. I do this on the off chance that I might be magically tracked.
I immediately stop, and close my eyes in blessed relief. I could breathe again! That damnable sensation of Demonic Energy that felt like it was worming itself into my skin, is gone!
‘No, wait!’ I think. “It is still there, just much more subdued.’ It could be compared to stepping out of a sweltering greenhouse into a summer day; still warm, but nowhere near as uncomfortable. That, and that alone, does much to subdue my discomfiture. I feel my body relax then, as my blood pressure finally returns to something approaching normality. Even the air itself being filled with innumerable scents and pheromones, does not affect my poise negatively.
Opening my eyes, I take stock of this new locale. It is a vast room tastefully decorated in a scarlet motif. Despite the room’s resemblance to the Lilim’s eye color, I find it comforting. I began to get the notion that I had finally found my much-desired sanctuary!
Continuing my visual examination, I perceive several high-hanging anachronistic crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. They appear to be more appropriate to a technology that has harnessed electricity. Additionally, I note that there are a variety of artworks hanging on the walls, and almost none of them appear to contain anything obscene (A most welcome variation after Royal Makai.) In the lateral anterooms, there are several decorative low-tables with their own seats and sofas in matching style.
The entire place seems to be inhabited by a variety of Mamono, all of whom are going to and fro on their own business. Off to one side, I note a group of (non-Lilim!) Succubi in a deep discussion with a pint-sized version of their kind. I surmise that I am the topic of their conversation, as they keep looking and pointing in my direction as if they were giving the child some advice.
My attention is diverted momentarily, by a verbal altercation that starts up between a Mamono and an elderly gentleman. Judging by his uniform, I decide that he must be in charge of the premises.
She (Mind Flayer) appears to be upset about the status of her: ’room’s mets’? Or was it, the Roommates? It was difficult to ascertain in the general level of conversational noise that that hall was filled with. Suddenly, I hear an elfin like voice calling out to me from somewhere near my waist.
“Hello, and Welcome to the Covet Corner Hotel.” This tender voice speaks to me cheerfully. Looking down, my eyes were met by the most adorable set of blue eyes I can ever recall having seen.
It was the pint-sized succubus that I had noted before. She was now standing before me. She appeared to be approximately ten standard years of age, and was wearing an impeccably clean blue dress that matched and highlighted her eyes nicely. Over it, sat a pinafore with a single pocket in front that resembled a smiling visage. I noticed then, that she wore black mary-jane shoes that sprouted over-the-thigh tied stockings that matched her ensemble perfectly.
She also sported long blonde hair that lay underneath a pair of delicate beribboned head horns, along with another pair of ribbons attached to her wing claws. All of which was completed with a third ribbon that complimented her delicate spade tail just so.
“Uhhh, Thank You, Miss?” I replied to her kindness.
“I’m Lilly, a pleasure to meet you, Mr.?”
“Arawn, my name is Arawn. It is indeed a pleasure to meet your acquaintance, Miss Lilly.” I said with a bow. My bowing, made her own innocent face light up with a smile, as she curtsied cutely by way of reply. I found myself warming to this young Mamono readily. Then, she did something I found to be most unusual.
She then moved both of her hands and took ahold of the hem of her dress in the front, and then lifted it up above her waist till she had exposed not only her undergarments, but her bare midriff as well! Whereupon, she looked at me expectantly, smiling all the while. What could I do in response?
‘When in Royal Makai…’ I thought to myself. I then took ahold of the front of my tunic shirt and returned the greeting, exposing my own abdomen to her view.
This had the effect, of not only changing her expression from one of hopefulness to one of perplexity, but it also seemed to result in peals of laughter erupting from the small group of mature (?) Succubi that Miss Lilly had been in conversation with prior.
“What on Earth, are you two doing!?” inquired a voice from the direction of the complaining Mamono. Turning, I see two things, the young Lilly dropping her dress, whose action I mirror; and the elderly gentleman half running his way over to the both of us, his reddened face contrasting with the white/grayish hair of his balding head.
“Why are you two flashing your tummies at each other?” this elderly gentleman laughed. His question confused me.
“I am merely returning the gesture that this young lady, first tendered.” I replied, indicating my precocious greeter.
The elderly gentleman, whose name I now surmised was ‘Gramps’ due to the name patch I espied on his uniform, turned his smiling mien over to the now blushing ‘Lilly’, and frowned.
“Lilly,” he said with gravity. “Is what this,…” he gestured to me.
“Arawn!” Lilly cheerfully piped up then with an embarrassed smile. ‘Gramps’ glanced at me with a ‘harrumph’ then he crouched down and resumed his questioning of her.
“Is what Mr. Arawn said true?” he asked gently. Lilly merely nodded. The pair of them then engaged in what appeared to be a private conversation, so I chose then to politely not eavesdrop. I did take note that the group of Succubi that Lilly had been talking to, appeared to be nervous. It was if they were embarrassed of their advice to her. Doubly so, after Lilly gestured in their direction.
Gramps then stood up with an exasperated look, and shook his head while wagging a finger at them. They, for their part, seemed to be embarrassed by their actions. He then turned his attention to us both.
“Lilly, please don’t greet our customers like that again. It’s not appropriate.” The young succubus appeared crestfallen and asked.
“But, Lysella said if I greeted Mr. Arawn like that, he would give me a bunch of hugs!” Lilly said, with her voice raising an octave. Gramps appeared to be flustered by her statement, so I came to his rescue.
“Lilly.” I said, garnering her attention. “I am afraid that Lysella was wrong in her advice to you. Such a gesture on your part is not required by me to bestow any of my hugs upon your person.”
Lilly then looked at me with a pout, then opened her arms to indicate her receptivity for same. I smiled in response, then I knelt down and gave her the desired hugs. I finished with my patting her on her back gently. She seemed satisfied with that, then went her way skipping along most merrily.
‘Odd,’ I thought to myself, ‘just for a second I had the most-obscene idea occur to me.’ I was rather aghast that such an evil speculation would even blossom up at that time.
“Thank you, Mr. Arawn.” Said Gramps. “For your helping me in this matter. Lilly can be, aahhh, quite the handful despite her appearance.” He then held out his hand. It took me a moment to realize the gesture. I then grasped his hand in return. He chose to lift our joined hands together two times rapidly, then released.
“A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Arawn, and welcome to the Covet Corner Hotel.” He said with a smile. I let out a sigh of relief at this welcome news!
“The pleasure is all mine, Mr. Gramps. The reputation of this establishment precedes itself.”
“Just Gramps please. Come! Let’s get you checked in. I assume you know the routine?” he said leading to the, what was it called again? Oh yes, Front Desk.
“Only by hearsay. My personal assistant, Aeshma, told me the details of her own enjoyable visit here.”
“Aeshma is it? Oh, that’s good to hear! How is she and her new husband doing?” Gramps asked heartily, as he reached behind the top of the ‘desk’ and pulled out a clear plastic card, and held it out to me.
‘Ah, another technological anachronism! This place is filled with such!’ I thought to myself.
“She is doing quite well in her profession, and from what I understand they are enjoying their connubial bliss immensely.” I said, taking the proffered card. Around me I noted that many of the Mamono in the lobby were now surrounding me in an air of hopeful anticipation.
‘Quintus, can you get a reading of the card?’ (1)’ I inquired, as the card I held in one hand began to display numerous colors, including some that were not normally in the range of human eyesight.
‘Primus, it is operating with what appears to be a variation of Divination Magic. (5)’
‘Excellent! (1)’ I replied, knowing what I needed to do then. At that point, the card in question was slowly settling down to a mild rapid pulse of color shifts. I then placed an index finger of my other hand in the center of its surface and silently invoked an induction spell. The color shifts immediately stopped and a black ring appeared in the center of the card circling around my fingertip.
“Pardon my intrusion into your Divination.” I said, addressing the card directly. Gramps appeared to be most surprised by this unexpected turn of events. I continued.
“But I am in dire need of privacy right now, and I would greatly appreciate it if I could be granted such. I am more than willing to abide by the terms and conditions of residency herein, afterwards.” I then removed my finger from the card’s surface and then the card slowly resumed its color shifting again, almost as if it too were surprised by my interruption.
Gramps at this point, continued to stare at me in wonder. I noticed then that the surrounding group of Mamono, also appeared to be a trifle frightened of my modest display.
By then, the card had settled down to a display choice between yellow and green. I silently induced another hex into the card’s dweomer to ‘nudge’ it along my desired path. Despite the card’s slowly shifting to a green, it suddenly shifted to its original setting of clear, but with a two-digit number on display that was not there before. This choice left the entirety of the surrounding Mamono in frustrated disappointment, and Gramps now had a bemused expression.
“I’m afraid, that I cannot give you THAT room, Mr. Arawn.” He said with a smile.
“But this is the room that the card chose, is it not?” I pointed out. “Surely I am due such?”
“Well, since you insist. Who am I to argue? I’ll show you to it myself!” Gramps said, shaking his head with a smirk.
This room, was but a couple of corridors away from the Front Desk. When we arrived, I saw the matching numbers on the room’s access door, #69. Gramps was kind enough to demonstrate the activation method and held the door open slightly to allow me access. I nodded my thanks and swiftly entered it.
It was a Broom Closet.
Behind me, I could hear Gramps chortling, as I felt my face reddening with embarrassment. I turned around and viewed his amusement from within. It took only a second before I too lost my composure, and started laughing in return.
“Well played, Gramps! Well Played!” I smiled with a slight bow.
“So why did you feel the need to cheat the selection, Mr. Arawn?” he asked after regaining his poise.
“I apologize for the inconvenience, Gramps. But I truly am in dire need of some privacy for at least a few hours.” I said, letting some of my overwhelming stress creep into my voice.
I went on to explain my situation. I did not tell him everything, only skimmed. But, I never prevaricated when he asked a pointed question.
He was apologetic after I had finished. He then escorted me back to the Front Desk, and produced another key-card from a machine that lay behind the counter. He then brought me to a ‘service-room’ that lay between the Front Desk and the Clinic. I thanked him then, for both his kindness and his indulgence.
After closing and latching the door, my first action was to inspect the apartment. It was a modest affair and perfect for my needs; austere, yet of good quality. A single occupant bed, kitchenette, and bathing facilities. Only after extending my Psi-Tendrils and checking for any ambient indicators of hidden individuals, did I feel safe enough to do what I needed.
Which was to Weep.
Despite being a sort of ‘Meta-Human’, the Annwyfn still had had enough residual humanity to need and desire many human things. These included such mundanities as: sleep, rest, hobbies, companionship (sexual and non-sexual) and stress relief.
For my own stress relief, I resorted to crying. No special tools or outfits were required to perform such an action properly. My only caveat being that I required…, no, DEMANDED privacy for it. I always felt it unseemly for me to show my weakness to others.
Assured that my requirements were met, I knelt upon the floor and began the appropriate contemplation of my recent events. At this point, I chose to indulge in the full depths of my despair concerning all that had transpired to me.
First, (and foremost), my loss of access to Odinne.
Second, was the fact that I had thought that my Summoning would result in more Torture by a Demonic Chaos Lord, and in a way, it had.
As repulsed as I was by Belphegor and her blandishments, she had not (I hoped) done so maliciously. I was ashamed still, by my own actions against her in my post traumatic hysteria.
Third, and most important, I had lost a significant portion of myself: Secundus.
True, he/I had sacrificed him to save the life of a child, and I/we would willingly do so again, if no other option were available.
Yet, his loss was one I still keenly felt, and would for years to come.
Yes, the lifting of my Covenant was a sort of balm to my nerves. But such a change was still stressful in that my hearing Paimon’s voice, had resurrected many a bad memory in me.
Finally, there was my profound disappointment with the Lilim. I had hoped that they would be as mature as their mother; Alas, my hopes were dashed in that regard.
I had put on a brave face these last few days, so I needed this release. Slowly, but with an increasing frequency, I began to feel my long-denied tears spring forth from my eyes and trace down my cheeks as I began to mourn my losses. Quickly, I began to sob uncontrollably as I relinquished my self-control.
Barely, it seemed had I begun, when I felt a stranger’s hand upon my shoulder!
I was so shocked by this intrusion, that I forgot to recoil! I was so sure that I had closed and locked the door! Looking up, the first thing I perceived was a feminine form silhouetted by the light of the hallway streaming through my room’s open doorway.
This beneficent stranger said something to me, but I did not notice what. All I knew then, was the desire to resume control of my emotions. Alas, such was impossible, I was too far gone to regain it.
Instead, I attempted to speak words of apology to her, but all I could manage were a broken word or two before the floodgates of my stress overflowed and I began to wail of my loss.
This darkened Angel of Mercy, came to my aid then. Without saying another word, she wrapped me in her arms gently, yet firmly, then she placed my head upon her breast.
At first, I froze at this alien gesture, but some small forgotten part of me accepted it, which allowed my tears full release. Unconsciously, I wrapped my own arms around her in return, and continued my crying in earnest.
She then did something that I found to be completely foreign.
She rocked me.
She simply rocked her own body side to side gently, and I was carried along with. Then, she did something else, she began to sing a quiet song. It was a short ditty, yet I found it strangely comforting. It was comforting, because it seemed to be sung for my benefit and mine alone. She continued to sing it time and again, endlessly.
I remained there in her arms for what seemed like hours, crying my eyes out and relieving myself of endless amounts of stress. She stayed with me the entire time.
Finally, eventually, my tears and sniffling ended. Yet, I was loath to allow this comforting to end. It was then, that I remembered where I had witnessed such a display before. Many of the women I had married in my endless years, had chosen to adopt an orphan or three, when they decided that their arms had been devoid of children too long.
What they had done with those waifs, is what this stranger had done with me: Soothed and comforted a lonely child with a rocking and a lullaby.
‘Is this, what it is like to have a Mother?’ I wondered to myself. I could understand now the allure of such, and felt a touch of angst for being disallowed of same during my formative years.
It was then that I opened my eyes and took note of my surroundings, which was relegated to the lavender skin of this stranger’s bosom. Now that my nose had cleared of my crying jag, I was able to scent her. What I could smell of her, pleased me. Why? I did not know, other than it seemed to be eerily familiar to me.
It was then that I got my first inkling of whom she was, when I saw an eye form in the middle of her chest. That eye then turned and looked at me. I was shocked by this, and slowly drew myself away from her. She was reluctant to let me go and held onto my head for just a second or two, too long. But, in the end she did release.
I gazed up at her then, and what I saw, astounded me! She most decidedly female, judging by her almost too large bosom alone. But the rest of her! Oh, Great Maker she was a beauty! Her skin was a pleasant shade of lavender, covered by what appeared to be a medical uniform of some kind.
I saw then, her hands slowly moving from my shoulders to her own form. I looked up and met her eyes. They had black sclera with a honey like pupil-less iris. Those enchanting eyes of hers looked timidly back at me then, almost as if she were afraid of being judged harshly, I suppose.
But the rest of her was also wondrous to behold! From her purple tinged brunette hair, that seemingly flowed from her head down past her waist and parts beyond, to the score of iridescent eyes peering out at me from various spots on her person. She was simply dripping with elegance.
I then spoke one word.
“Shoggoth.” I said quietly, in awe of her loveliness.
She seemed saddened by my statement and made as if to go. I placed a hand upon her to try and make her stay.
This surprised her, as I saw a look of hopeful incredulity appear upon her delicate face. I smiled then, to reassure her and I was rewarded by a shocked look, which was quickly replaced by a charming smile of hers in return.
I placed my other hand on my chest and said another word, bowing my head once in emphasis.
“Annwyfn.” I said quietly. To which, all of her eyes widened in awe and her mouth opened in disbelief. She searched me with her eyes as if I seemed familiar to her. After a moment or three, she then uttered a word that shocked me to my core.
“Arawn?” she said questioningly. My own astonishment made her smile with a mild amusement. After I got over my own dismay I replied.
“Yes.” I hesitated. “I am. Have we met?” I asked wonderingly. Her petite smile then widened into a rather fetching grin.
“I believe so.” She giggled.
“If you are indeed Arawn, then you must remember Altair Four?” She said with a hint of mischief in her melodic voice.
“Ummm, not quite.” I hesitated, attempting to recall. “I have been to many star systems in my overly long life.”
“The Yithian Fortress of Memories, about thirty-two thousand years ago?” She prompted. I tilted my head and thought for a moment.
‘Quintus? (1)’ I inquired.
‘Standby, searching memory archives. (5)’
“Yithian, Yithian, Yithian….” I said in an effort to stall. She seemed amused.
‘Got it! The Vanguard Reaches fiasco! We had been sent in to retrieve a particular item. (5)’ Quintus went on and filled me in on the details.
“Now, I remember!” I said. “The Yithian Library, I had been sent in to retrieve a particular Retention-Crystal that my Chaos Summoner had decided was important to her.” I recalled aloud. “But I do not recall meeting you there!”
She smiled ruefully then.
“Do you remember being pursued by the Library’s Guardian?” she said with a mildly tolerant look, her lips pursed. I thought for a second.
“As I recall, I was chased through much of the hallways there, by a….” I then slapped a hand to my face.
“By a Shoggoth!” I said, looking through my fingers at her. “You?” She nodded at me then, with a reproving look.
“I got into so MUCH trouble when you vanished with that Crystal!” she replied archly, as she stood up placing her hand on her hips (?). “It was decades before my punishment was ended, I’ll have you know!” she said indignantly.
I too stood up then, and bowed to her.
“I apologize for that, uhm er …” I hesitated meaningfully. She got the hint.
“Takana! My name is Takana!” she huffed with a hint of shrillness in her voice.
“I apologize Takana! I apologize for making you have to go through your ordeal.” I said, as humbly as I could manage then.
“At least tell me that whatever it was in that Crystal was worth it!” she grumbled, which embarrassed me.
“No.” I replied sheepishly. “I am afraid that it was not.” She gave me a shocked look. I continued.
“Despite the instructions I was given, it was the wrong Retention-Crystal.” I explained. “I was supposed to get the future histories for Tau Ceti seven. Instead, what I ended up with, was a collection of archaic Vogon Poetry.” Takana was aghast at this news!
“I assume that you were punished?” she said half hopefully.
“I was indeed! They made me memorize that Crystal in its entirety, and I was forced to recite it endlessly for a least a dozen years to all and sundry.” I winced in remembrance of it all. I understood now, why I had buried that particular memory so deeply. She giggled again then, louder.
“I am sorry that you were punished for my actions.” I continued. “Particularly in light of the service that you did for me, just now.” I said sadly.
“Apology accepted. But, I didn’t know that it was you who was crying! All I knew, was that there was someone who needed my help. I was glad to do so.” She moved closer to me. I did not step away.
“How did you know?” I asked, looking at her.
“Your room’s door was wide open, when I passed by during my inspection. How could I not know?”
“Open? I could have sworn that I had closed it. How odd! Well I am glad that it was open then! Wait! Inspection?” I asked, perplexed.
“Yes. A medical health inspection. It’s part of my duties here at the hotel.” She explained.
“What is it that you do here?”
“I am a Nurse at the Hotel’s clinic. Also, I am studying to become a Medical Doctor. Even though Mamono don’t normally get sick, many of their lovers do, and I am more than happy to help them.” She smiled with pride. “Particularly the ones who ‘slip in the shower’, she added with a grin.
“Fascinating! That is wonderful Takana! Not only are you a fantastically physically beautiful creature, you’ve chosen to improve yourself dramatically! Well done!” she seemed both surprised and pleased by my honest compliment. Then, she did something that caught me totally off guard.
She leaned forward, and kissed me.
It was so sudden and unexpected, that I am afraid that I simply stood there like a simpleton in shock. She mistook my lack of response as a rejection, and turned away sadly and apologized.
“I…I..am sorry Arawn. I don’t know what came over me then.” She said tremulously as she shrunk into herself a bit, and turned to leave. Her departure was curtailed when I reached out and placed a hand upon her shoulder. She stopped, and turned her head looking at me with a mixture of fear, and just a bit of….hope?
I pulled her close to me, as I stepped over and put my hand to her cheek. I then looked at her in wonder. Impulsively, I leaned forward and returned that not quite chaste kiss of hers, with one of my own. I chose to layer mine with more than a little passion. She was surprised, but she answered it with her own passion as I felt her arms and pseudopods encircling me.
Oh, Great Maker! The ways that our lips mingled then in that endless moment! It was joyous beyond compare! Slowly at first, with just a bit of hesitation quickly scuttled, we began to kiss in earnest. I breathed in then as I tasted her lips, and I recognized her scent at last!
She smelled of anise and something else. I could not quite put my finger on what that something else was then, nor did I care!
My only thoughts (?), was of the pleasure her lips interlocking with mine created. I felt both of my hands reach up and take ahold of her head, and she took ahold of mine in kind. There we stood facing each other, slowly brushing our lips together in an endless crescendo of barely restrained lustiness.
After a long while, we stopped, and parted our flesh. We opened our eyes in unison and gazed into each other’s soul. I then reached out with a Psi-tendril and initiated a temporary bond with her. I saw her eyes widen with the momentary flare that such a Psionic connection creates, and she heard the gasp I uttered, when she accepted and allowed it to flourish.
Then, for a few seconds, our thoughts and desires intermingled. I felt her loneliness as she felt mine. We felt together our mutual longing for connection.
I learned of the pain of her existence, of her quest to find a mate that predated the Great Maou’s morphogenic change to this Shadow’s Mamono. She learned of my aching loss of the Chaos Goddess Xiom, and my endless wanderings throughout the Multiverse. But such a barebones psychic connection could not last, eventually, it began to fade.
I felt her then, attempting to reach out and maintain that connection as we both sensed its cessation.
“No, please!” she whispered desperately. My only answer was to silence her demand with another kiss. I knew her then, as she knew me. We could have conversed for hours, and still not shared as much intimate knowledge as we did then in those scant moments of our psychic confluence.
I looked up at her and gave her a silent apology for not authorizing its continuance. She was forlorn for its ending I could tell. But I could see her forgiveness, and her unasked question.
“Yes. There will be other times when we bond. But,” I began, she continued.
“We have all of the time in this world now for more, now that we’ve found each other.” She finished my thought for me, with a hopeful smile. I noticed then over her shoulder the door to my room closing, seemingly of its own accord. She followed my gaze and spoke.
“That’s why I was doing room inspections Arawn.” She explained. “This room isn’t normally used for occupancy since its door keeps opening and closing of its own accord.” I sighed wistfully, seldom have I been happier with defective equipment.
“If you are desirous of privacy Arawn, we could always adjourn to my room.” She suggested with a sultry look. I agreed to her suggestion with a matching smile.
“But first, let us drop off my card with Gramps. I think he would appreciate the knowledge of my change of locale.” I said by way of a physical reply.
Hand in hand, we strode forth from that room to do just that!
Gramps was surprised, yet pleased, when he saw us together. However, the ever-hopeful lobby Mamono were not, judging by the number of imprecations I overheard from them that were coupled with the word: “Shoggoth”.
Takana and I then wandered our way to her domicile, acting like a pair of love-struck teenagers along the way.
Which, I guess in a way we were.
Barely had the door to her rooms clicked shut before she reached out and crushed me to her, she being as eager to commence our lovemaking as I.
Our lips met, and it felt like we joined there, one with the other, our lips and tongues intermingling. I attempted to fumble off my clothing then, but Takana came to my ‘rescue’ by using her own pseudo-tentacles to rip them off of me! Not a shred was left upon my sudden nakedness.
“Takana! Please, these were hand-made!” I cried in modest outrage.
“Hush Arawn! I will make you some more clothing LATER. Better clothing! But for now…” she said, letting her hands caress my chest skin.
I then reached out to her in an attempt to playfully remove her clothing in return. I soon discovered that she had already removed them herself! That eager vixen!
I reached up to cup her head anew and she did likewise. We drew our heads together in a loving and passionate flurry of kisses and suckles. While my hands caressed her sweet skin, I nibbled on her neck and heard her moan with desire. Gently pushing her chin up, I explored the erogenous zones of her neck with my lips, tongue, and teeth. It seemed to me that everywhere I touched her dermis, she was smitten with excitement!
Slowly, carefully, I nibbled upon her skin, until I found one of her ears and stroked her lobes and pinnae with my fingers and tongue. Soon, she was whimpering with desire as she melted into my embrace.
I lifted her up, and swiftly found her bed after a quick glance around the room. I placed her upon her cushiony throne and made to sit next to her.
Alas, she was having none of that! No sooner than she was upon her mattress, than she whipped out a pair of tentacles and drew me swiftly to her. The next thing I knew, I found her lying atop of me. We grinned at each other then. I in my surprise, she in her triumph. So I initiated another kiss.
By this time, my penis had gained full tumescence with her gentle yet determined ministrations of one of her hands. My attention was diverted from her lips, when I felt her form a tongue in the palm of that hand and started to give me a licking/handjob that elicited a mighty groan of pleasure from me. This, was something no mortal woman could ever have done!
I responded, by moving my kisses down her mouth and neck with the intended destination of one of her nipples. I could almost swear that that nipple met me halfway, she was so eager. Always, I paid enough attention to avoid suckling upon one of the eyes that she had formed on her body’s surface.
Then, I discovered her nipple/treasure and began to suckle upon it with a loving care. I held her right breast in my hand, so as to be able to receive her nipple in my mouth more fully, and to taste her richness in all its glory. I swirled my tongue around, and around, her areola.
It was then, that I felt her reach out with her mind in an attempt to engender another mental connection with me. Tentatively, I accepted, and formed another first level confluence with her.
It is not readily known to the common Majin, but Shoggoth have their own innate psychic abilities that they developed aeons ago. It was but one of the reasons (I later learned) that their rebellion against the original Gods of Chaos was successful.
Words alone cannot describe the sensuousness of such a connection between two compatible minds. In those first few hours that we shared that bond, we knew of the other’s needs and desires. Regular human sex being painfully clumsy in comparison, barely above the level of a pair of rutting beasts. The main difference between Psi-Sex and words is that spoken language transfers your expectations and disappointments in the other’s performance, slowly, incompletely.
During Psi-Sex, such mundanities are left far behind. No longer do you have to diplomatically explain, after the fact, what you liked and did not like about their performances.
Instead, you need not make any explanation! Just as soon as you feel a desire, your partner feels it as well (and usually) responds appropriately. Gone are the frustrations at not being treated the way you would prefer. Stroke a little lighter there; Done! Kiss a bit longer; Done! The differences between you and the other(s) fades away.
As quick as Takana’s thought was formed. I knew then, that despite the pleasure I was giving her with my tongue upon her nipple, she preferred that I proceed with full coitus instead! And so, I did!
I moved myself and her around, in preparation to penetrate her for what many call: The Missionary Position. (Why it is called such, I have never learned why!) She wanted me inside her, and I wanted it as well. Scarcely had I positioned my penis to the entrance of her vagina than I felt her labial folds expand of their own accord and then they kissed me upon my glans!
It was a curious sensation, but delightful nevertheless. I could feel her satisfaction in the knowledge that she had surprised me that way! Then, her arms grabbed me by my shoulders to draw me to lie upon her while simultaneously her nether lips suckled my penis deep within her joyous depths.
We lay there for a moment or three, reveling in each other’s sexual ecstasy, with my penis in full penetration, and her vaginal muscles enveloping and pulsing/clasping me.
For those endless seconds that we remained there in that state, it felt as if we melded more than psychically. The barriers between our two genitals seemingly melted away as well. Slowly at first, but with increasing fervor, I began to slide my penis in and out of her vagina rhythmically. We each could feel our own and the other’s bliss then.
This resulted in an ever-increasing tsunami of pleasure and mindful mental connection. I could feel her then, attempting to meld with me at an ever-deeper level. Despite her mental entreaties, I chose the path of caution and refused anything more than the level of intimacy we had then.
She and I soon forgot her resentment of my prudence, as our ever-increasing mutual gratification inexorably reached its inevitable crescendo! Loudly we screamed our linked cries of erotic completion, as I felt myself expel what seemed like endless amounts of not only my ejaculate, but also a significant amount of my Essence as well.
As she achieved the peak of her ecstasy simultaneously with mine. I could feel her eager absorption of my soul energies that I so freely gave to her. Our mutual orgasms were in such synchronization, that for a brief moment we were but one person.
It is a memorable sensation, that I had not felt since my times with Xiom the Chaos Goddess long centuries past. I had not realized how much I had missed it.
Our mental connection crumbled of its own accord. Then we fell into a rapid and satisfying slumber wrapped in each other’s arms and appendages.
I dreamt that night.
Mostly, my dreams were of the restful variety. For that, I appreciated the interlude. But, like all good things, they had to come to an end. Eventually, I received the message that I knew I had been overdue to receive.
It began, when I realized that I was dreaming. In that moment of lucidity, I became aware of my surroundings. I was standing in front of a Kinetic Sculpture, of a type called: A Gravitram.
I remembered the first time I had viewed one on my home world. Whenever I got the chance, I had wasted many an hour watching the ball bearings in their endless journeys, swinging, rolling, and launching. I had always found such a display to be fascinatingly soothing. Curiously, wherever in the Multiverse I roamed, I always managed to find one version or another of same, waiting for me on every civilized world I explored.
I sensed her then, standing next to me long before I acknowledged her. I knew without turning to see, who she was: Zrihea. A Satyros I knew now. After a bit, I released a sigh and turned my attention to her.
“Thank you for waiting patiently, Zrihea. I take it, that this is not a social call?” I smiled at her. She gave me a sidelong look then, with just a hint of a smile. We both knew my question was rhetorical. She looked different this time. Younger, healthier, more…I guess I could say…more vibrant. Her Dream Sending existence appeared to be agreeable to her. Even the curling goat horns of hers appeared to be shinier.
‘Indeed, it is not Arawn. As well you know!’ she replied mischievously with her dream-mind speech.