… I’m hungry and thirsty.
Shut up, brain.
Sun’s up and feeling’s back in everything below my neck.
Shut up, brain! I’m staying inside.
Dried blood’s sticking everywhere all uncomfortable like.
Ech… so sticky. Fine brain, I win. I need a bath.
And a drink. Also, what about that ‘fine diet of fish’ I thought of earlier?
Yeah, fine, fish.
Can barely even try to get up properly to greet the day. Blood’s flowing in my body again, sure, but everything is still tingly and numb. I can move my limbs smoothly, but they all feel weighed down or ghost-like, especially my legs. Nothing new, but I never got used to these deadening sensations. Let’s try to rub the sleep out of my eyes at leEEEEEEST- SHIT! Feels like I just punched myself in the eyes! Curse that damn succubus, the ‘afterglow’ was never this bad before.
I’m actually pretty sure its a lilim.
Shut up, brain! Does it matter?! Forget it, I need to get out of the cave and explore even if its only by dragging my body with just my arms for a while.
Ha. Funny though. Never expected to not just explode like a poorly made water skin when that monster showed up. Strongest reaction I’ve ever had with my allergies. Pff. ‘Allergies.’ That’s a laugh.
Next line of thought, brain. I don’t need to be reminded of why the Church is chasing me.
But they’re not coming here.
Oh yeah. Sweet, that’s one plus in my current situation.
I manage to go from dragging my body to crawling on all fours three-quarters across the cave, another improvement, huzzah. Just about outside now, I see blurs of green instead of grey taking up my vision. What’s that patch of…rainbow?
I know, brain.
Woops, not that fast! Smashed into the rainbow there!
Shut up, brain.
Something and something else squish and crunch under me when I hit the ground along with the sound of several items softly tumbling. Nostalgia overlaps pain as memories of apple trees and roughhousing workers come to mind. Blue skies and rain, pruning and fertilizing, cold snaps and droughts, harvesting and sorting, rotten fruit fights and apple pies… Dark matter and migraines… crusaders and captur-
Shut up, brain. Enough angst.
And now I have a headache, but not from those memories. My allergy is warning me about this ‘fruit.’ I rise onto all fours and try to stare at the bounty before me. There’s a gooey cluster of grapes, a blue pear, and some other strangely shaped items I can’t quite make out. But I recognize them all with a grimace upon touch. They’re all fruits tainted, or rather grown, by demonic energy. Ugh. I hate living off this stuff. Spent three weeks in a wight’s mansion eating nearly nothing but corrupted veggies and meats in fancy-schmancy styles. Three weeks of mild headaches, but I got a full belly. … eeerrrrrrggGGGHGHHHFINE.
Chew quickly, swallow quickly. Sooner I finish this, the sooner my head will stop pounding. At least I never get an upset stomach. But now the juice is clinging to my beard and these are now my only rations. … And why didn’t I question where this came from until now?
And why would she help me, brain?
I dunno, sex, SEX, sexxx, or maybe even just Sex? How about I read the slightly damp letter on the ground there?
Oh, must have fallen out with the fruit in the tumble. Thanks brain.
I hold it firmly between my hands, just the top corners got a little fruit juice on ’em, so the words shouldn’t be blotchy or whatever. ‘Course they’re blotchy anyway thanks to my still crap vision. I usually recover more after sleeping, damn succubus/lilim. Can just barely begin reading it even though I’ve got it right up to my face and squinting. The handwriting looking like… dancing nobility doesn’t help either.
My name is Palamina, the woman you met earlier and ruler of this land. I must apologize for my brazen approach and frightening you. As an apology, I have sent this basket of local produce and flora for you to sample as well as medical supplies for any wounds you may sustain in the future.
I have heard reports about your arrival and I welcome you to the Northwest Reaches, the city of Derutcurts, and its many villages. All are sanctuaries free of the Church’s influence. Though I have not officially claimed the region you are staying at, you will still enjoy the full extent of my protection for as long as you stay.
I must ask however, what is your name and your plans for the future? I would very much like to know if I may assist in improving your life as one of my guests or dare I say, as a future citizen?
Once more, my deepest apologies, and welcome to the Northwest.
… Brain, what is this?
I would say it is a letter from our gracious host (and/or possibly newest captor) welcoming me while completely avoiding mention of any monstrous or messy details. … Pretty sure she’s a lilim.
Brain, this is bad. I don’t want to cry blood immediately again. That’s supposed to be a later stage of my allergy.
I know. She’s expecting a response. There’s a quill and a capped bottle of ink in the basket.
And how would this be delivered?
Well maybe I’m being watched. Right now! And I’m about to have this lilim’s/succubus’ messenger sneak ‘a taste of my body’ before she collects my response.
Shut up, brain. My eyesight is nearly half-recovered now. Help me aim the words I want to write onto this scrap I’ve torn off the letter and then I can go hide in the cave again.
… … … Hey.
There’s a harpy right next to me.
Malida has been gone for almost half a day now. If she had found only a corpse, she would have been back before noon so he must be alive. There shouldn’t a concern about her libido, she’s married, so there’s no chance of her taking what’s mine. And yet my primary messenger is still away.
I stop gazing out from my balcony past the second highest building in Derutcurts and head back inside my chambers proper. My lack of knowledge over this situation, my lack of control period, is making me far too nervous. The sooner I know his current status, the better. I sit down at my desk and write down orders for one of my other messengers to find Malida. For a moment, I wonder if a second letter should be delivered to my eventually-to-be-newest toy as well, but wave the thought away. It’s too soon and I haven’t even gotten a response from him yet… Or even confirmation if he’s still alive.
In short order, my command is written. I roll up the paper tightly with another note stating where to go before tying a small piece of iron to it for weight and pitching it out the window above my desk. It sails across a hundred feet before it is caught by the catcher-on-duty standing on the top of the second highest building in my city. I can make out the jinko-shaped figure of Vanna giving the scroll the once-over before passing it off to a bundle of grass green feathers named Gertrude who just arrived and hovers above her. I know with certainty that Vanna read the delivery ‘address’ and recited it to Gertrude without any idle chatter; all of our actions are like clockwork.
As my second messenger becomes a speck in the sky, I look down on my city and review my power base. From the peak of this spiral shell of a tower, I’m separated from my capital’s subjects by one-hundred and fifty feet of stone to prevent any disruption in their work. I’m nearly always up here, but my interactions with the city are not limited to impromptu orgies.
I see the windmill I designed for our bakers. I see the hall that holds festivals I organize. I see a city running on the infrastructure I’ve planned in its entirety. It reminds me that I rule them, that one failure doesn’t stop me from being in charge.
With some renewed confidence, I can go back to pursuing the books stacked at the foot of my bed. Said self-assurance is nearly lost as an unwanted flash of memory crinkles my face in anger and disgust. Blood, failure, shame, imagining my family mocking me, but most of all frustration had fueled my selection of tomes from my private library. Am I not beautiful? Am I not powerful? How did the first fail and the second backfire? Something as violent as the… reaction from him had me scouring my books in the room below from the afternoon to near midnight yesterday for anything related to human romance. Knowledge is power, but I had never thought that I would need this kind of information since I could rely (whether I wanted to or not) on my magic for… intimacy. My insistence on keeping at least a dozen books on every subject paid off that night.
Romance novels gave way to conversation guides for women and men. Those led to books on courting methods. Tomes on dressing nice, body language, flowers, cooking, and numerous other subjects I gathered up and started reading. Human romance is such an interesting and long-winded thing, especially one formed between lovers whom are separated across great distance for whatever reason. War, family feuds, work, many of them had one thing in common, the exchange of letters between lovers and family. Finding that method set a fire in me, loving that I would not need to be near him nor anyone else while developing the relationship. All I needed were ink, quills, and paper.
Sitting down to write after reading half a book on formal writing however, had drained the colour from my face. When my rump hit the wooden seat, I’d realized that I had gotten so wrapped up in trying to find a solution for myself that I’d forgotten that my last sight of my soon-to-be-newest conquest was him bleeding profusely. Panic consumed me and I got careless, leaping out of a window and diving downwards from my chambers to the garden below to cobble together a fruit basket (ignoring the night groundskeeper going into heat) and nearly getting ready to barge into the hospital for medical supplies. I caught and collected myself before even taking off to see the doctors, an orgy of injured and dying would have been an unforgivable embarrassment that would have topped my current failure. Very quickly and efficiently, I calmly flew back up to my chambers and got Malida to collect the fruit, bandages and such while I settled down to write the letter. I finished up just around the time the catcher-on-duty began waving the large green flag that signaled the completion of my primary messenger’s task.
And so it went from there. Malida had received orders to report if he was alive or dead and to wait for him to write a response if the former is true while I crack open book after book after book.
I sit on my bed, leaning against the oak headboard trying to kill an hour with the poorly written ‘Mail Call For the Frontlines’ lying on my thighs. There’s barely any mention of the war that’s supposedly going on in the story, just increasingly lurid letters from both the soldier and the wife about what they’ll do to each other after the war. I would say they’re the best parts, but they’re also practically the ONLY parts. Is this really what human romance is like? Blueballing each other with every written word? No, probably not. But its so different from the directness I’m used to seeing. Perhaps its time to go back to that formal writing book or maybe start looking at poetry. Already, I’m starting to realize this is going to be a very long conquest, but that hardly matters. I must see this through, see him mine, no matter how long it takes.
Several loud THOCKs startles me and my head shoots up to find the source of the sound. Oh. My polished obsidian floor’s been damaged. A tired sigh puffs out between my lips, it’s not the first time this has happened, especially with gifts. Splintered desk corners, crushed packages, holes around the window frame, shattered floor tiles, and even the occasional message passing straight through the room and out the opposite window were consequences I accepted for having this very strange messaging system. Damaged by what though? My eyes slowly track the one, two, three, deep cracks in the floor to the center of my chambers. A large rock sits there with a tiny scrap of paper bound to it with rope. Really now, a roc- Oh! Oh! It’s his response, it has to be!
The novel falls to my bed as I scramble forward, swinging over the footboard and quickly skipping to the rock. I’m not expecting anything nice or long, but he responded! It’s a start!
Severing the rope with magic, I grasp the scrap between my forefingers and thumbs, a small smile on my face before I read its contents.
Oh ho ho. I’m not even mad. Or maybe he’s challenging me to a ‘Fuck-off?’ No, that’s wishful thinking, he wouldn’t submit so quickly.
So he wants to play hard to get? I’ll show him how hard I can get him!