“Ann, it’s me Darryl,” I called out. I was afraid that she wouldn’t appear. Finally there was a flash of red light and The Temptress appeared. She was lovelier than I remembered. Her bronzed skin and dark eyes surrounded by cascades of raven-black hair made me weak with desire. Who knew that one could actually fall for a succubus? Of course that’s the reason why she is known as The Temptress.
“Darryl, it’s been a long time,” she said. I wasn’t sure of her demeanor for she showed no emotion. That’s pretty much what separates succubi from the rest of the humanoids. Except for ogres of course.
“I know. I need a favor; some information.” She arched her eyebrow at me with slight interest. My knees started to quiver with an aching of love.
“Really?” she purred. “You must be really in need for you rarely call on me.”
“It isn’t easy because…be…how’s Venesa?” I stammered. Her total beauty enraptured me but also I was uncomfortable about the fact that I have a daughter that is half succubus.
“You don’t have to talk about her if you don’t want to,” she said. Clearly she could sense my uneasiness. “She is fine. Venesa is a very good addition to the horde if I might add. You would be proud of her if you cared.”
“I care!” I responded angrily. “But how am I suppose to be proud of someone or something that seduces men for pleasure and profit.”
“Thieves guilds do it all the time. It’s the same thing. And before you interject, they too kill their victims. We like to take our—prey to the peak of ecstasy before we are finished with them.” I had to admit she was right. But it still didn’t justify the fact that they steal souls.
“Did you ever tell her about me?”
“Look, I know you didn’t call me to talk about old times. Tell me what you want to know and let’s get on with it.” I could tell she didn’t want to discuss it and I was angered by it but she was right in that this was neither the time nor the place. I had a quest to complete.
“I was sent by King Erik to rescue his daughter Elizabeth from Saydens the Black Wizard.”
“Elizabeth? You know it’s forbidden to kiss her.”
“Does everyone know this but me?” I asked. “What do you know about her being kidnapped?”
“Kidnapped?” Ann asked innocently.
“Oh come off it! You know more about these things than anyone else.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry. I forgot whom I was talking to. I’m so use to the flirting banter with helpless adventurers that I automatically lapsed into the pattern.”
“Well you’re not making this any easier.”
“All right. Saydens lives in a large tower in the center of East Cragmor.”
“That much I know.” I removed the map and showed it too her. She moved closer to me to scan the parchment. There was a trace of jasmine in her hair that nearly unnerved me. I spent more time staring at her than at the map.
“The tower is fortified by several deadly spells. If they are not canceled in the correct order—you can stop smelling my hair.”
“Wha—Oh sorry.” I smiled innocently.
“As I said,” she continued, “The spells need to be canceled—look why don’t I just come with you. Clearly you’re not hearing a word I’m saying.”
“Let’s have another child,” I sighed.
“WHAT?!” Her eyes blazed at me and I suddenly came to my senses.
“I am so sorry!”
“I thought you’d built up a strong resistance to the succubus charm.”
“I did. At least I did towards other succubi,” I grinned sheepishly.
“Well if you’re going to complete this quest, you’re going to need my help.” She started off in the direction of East Cragmor. I stood there watching as her hips swayed back and forth under the black gown that she wore.
“Darryl, stop staring at my posterior and get a move on!” She called back without turning around. I mounted my horse and followed after her.
Night was upon us as we crossed the border into East Cragmor. I decided to set up camp for the night and began to build a fire. Ann had disappeared into the woods and a few minutes later she returned with a deer killed and completely skinned. I was about to inquire how she could do it so fast but thought better. The meat was tender and cooked quickly though I think Ann had something to do with that too.
After dinner I lay back and looked up at the stars. Ann lay right next to me and suddenly I felt completely at ease with her. We both stared at the stars when she turned towards me.
“Can I ask you a question?” She asked.
“You? You want to ask me something?” I replied.
“Is it true that Sir Talbot married an Ogre Chief’s daughter?”
“Yes, he did. He’s on his year long honeymoon with her.”
“Damn! I was hoping it was a rumor.”
“You mean you actually didn’t know?” I asked incredulously.
“No I didn’t. I laughed for three months straight thinking it was a joke.”
“It’s true! He fell in love and married her.”
“Well great! I’m out 6000 gold pieces and twenty-five souls for that.” She fumed for a while.
“Love is strange,” I said.
“It brought us together,” she smiled in the firelight.
“As I said love…” She then slugged me.
It was a couple hours later when I awoke to several voices. Ann was not there. I figured she went off to be alone. As I sat up six ogres came into the campsite.
“We demand food.” The common language was thick with the ogre accent but I could make out what he was saying.
“I’m sorry. I only had enough for me and my traveling companion.” I remained calm. Figuring since these were ogres all I had to do was mention Sir Talbot’s name and they would move along.
“If you no have food then we eat you!” They all closed in and I was about to blurt out the ogre friend greeting when from behind them the woods lit up with a bright red light. The leader picked me up but a voice behind him made him pause.
“PUT DOWN THAT MORTAL!” The leader turned and into the campsite appeared a horrific sight. A large demonic creature with a giant wingspan and burning eyes floated in. The air was thick with the smell of brimstone and sulfur.
“Hold on. Stop the story again,” Sir Talbot demanded.
“Now what?” asked Dingle.
“Aren’t you getting a little too gruesome with the description? I know you are a bard and it’s your job to be descriptive about scary things but I’m an adult here.”
“Actually Talbot, I was holding back on my description. When Ann gets angry she gets ugly!”
“Sorry. Please continue.”
“YOU DARE TAMPER WITH WHAT IS MINE?” the creature wailed. The look of fear in the eyes of all the ogres was genuine and I almost burst out laughing because of it. The leader dropped me and openly trembled.
“Forgive me, Temptress. I did not know this puny human belonged to you. My friends and I will move along. Please don’t harm us.”
“HARM YOU? I WILL DO WORSE THAN THAT. I SHOULD SUCK THE SOULS FROM YOUR VERY BEINGS. HOWEVER, I WANT YOU TO SPREAD THE WORD THAT I AM ON THIS PLANE FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS. ANY OGRE I COME ACROSS WILL SUFFER MY WRATH!!”
“In that case, the Tribe of Grog is giving us trouble. Perhaps you can…”
“BE GONE NOW!!” Ann floated in closer to them and the ogres fled like rabbits. After they had gone I burst out laughing for fear of rupturing some internal organs. Ann transformed into her human form and approached me. I looked up at her and continued to laugh.
“WHAT ARE YOU LAUGHING AT, MORTAL?” My laughter suddenly stopped as if cut by a knife. Her eyes blazed at me as they had in her succubus form.
“JUST REMEMBER THIS…regardless of my form, Darryl, I am and will always be a succubus. I don’t have to revert to my natural appearance to call upon my abilities.”
“Yes, ma’am,” I said like a punished child.
“Good. Now get some sleep. We arrive at the tower tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow? According to the map, we still have two days travel.”
“ARE YOU QUESTIONING ME?”
“No ma’am. Good night.” I quickly turned over and tried very hard to sleep.
As the sun stretched across the horizon to introduce a new day, I awoke to the smells of breakfast. Even from my bed in the inn I could smell…”
“Dingle, are you leaving part of the story out?” asked Talbot.
“No. Why?” he asked.
“You just told me that you and Ann had made camp out in the woods and when you woke up you’re in an inn?”
“That’s right,” Dingle replied as if it happened every day.
“How is that possible?” Sir Talbot challenged. Dingle looked at his long-time friend for a moment.
“You really don’t know much about succubi, do you?”
“No, I don’t.”
“Well it was Ann’s doing and she brought us to an inn. The Weary Warrior, I think.”