Kitty in the City (part 2)
Jaina needed a moment to let her eyes adjust to the riot of colour. Apparently Weft was a rare exception to the general Instarrian rule of "wear as many bright colours as possible". These didn't clash as much as it might have, however: there was an overall trend, the predominant colours being sunset orange and a deep cyan. She'd heard something about Instarrians being dedicated, yet fickle, followers of fashion.
There was movement and sound everywhere, as Jaina had expected of an arrival and unloading depot in any large city. A sharp, violet-like perfume alerted her to hanging baskets of flowers on lampposts all around the worldgate. Apparently first impressions mattered to these people.
Weft gingerly touched her elbow, causing her to jump. How had she forgotten he was there? "Mind the pallets, ma'am," he said. A crane nearby, an ornate wooden contraption with flags threaded along the length of its boom, swung some goods into place close to head height. This caused a few Instarrian bystanders to yowl complaints when it clipped the feathers on their hats.
There were signposts around, but few of them were in the Interworld Common alphabet. Most were in flowing Instarrian script and consequently incomprehensible to Jaina.
She turned to Weft. "Lead on then, Sheba."
"Ma'am. Where to first?"
"Are you planning to ma'am me all day?" Jaina asked, amused.
Weft looked at the ground. "I-I was taught to be polite to my charges. Is it displeasing?"
Goddess, there was no fun in teasing him like this! "It's kind of weird, Weft. You can just call me Jaina."
"As you say. Where would you like to go, Jaina?"
She thought about the crowds. "Is there somewhere quieter than this, where I can perhaps get an overview of the city?"
"Well, we are quite far down the hill," said Weft. "There's a park near here where you can see quite a lot."
"Sounds good," she said, and followed Weft, watching him scan passers-by and surroundings with such focused alertness that it almost made her neck itch. Maybe she should get him to walk behind her after all. Then she imagined him lurking with daggers drawn outside her peripheral vision. Okay, maybe not.
Jaina/Weft is a popular one at Empousan Mysteries so I've got plenty I could choose from. Seeing as this is by special reequest, however (Ree, sweet thighs, I never knew you cared), I'll do the honourable thing and write it myself.
I have to confess I still haven't got the Jaina-Weft dynamic right in my mind. Writing JJ and Suitov together is easier.
Kitty in the City (part 1)
"I'm afraid not. It's a necessary precaution," he replied.
"No, I do mean kitting. You seriously want me to take Princess Kittenboots with me on a shopping trip?" she pressed, unable to get out of her head the insane image of Weft posing in a silk pyjama set in front of a department store mirror. Did they have department stores in Offwhite City?
"Offwhite is a fascinating place. You should experience it. But it is not the friendliest environment for travellers, and that's just in its own right. I am... not unknown there. I would never forgive myself if one of my enemies decided you were a good way to get to me."
Jaina didn't want to have the "I'm not defenceless, Ice" argument yet again. That had taken a turn for the humiliating the first time she'd run into one of Suitov's magically-inclined rivals. The woman had effectively neutralised Jaina with a few dance steps.
Having to be rescued by a man, even hers, was painful, and the way Ice brushed aside the other woman's spells as if they were curious butterflies drove home how out of her depth Jaina was. She hated that feeling, so she ignored the subject.
"So send one of your staff with me. Send Ferrl!" Hulking and blue-skinned or not, the foul-mouthed, hard-drinking warrior woman was far less alien to Jaina than venomous, hateful Weft.
"No. Weft knows the city and its dangers well. He will not be distracted." Suitov paused. "Besides, shopping with Ferrl always takes twice as long. She... browses and... chats."
Jaina rolled her eyes, but this time it was as much affection as frustration. "That's the point of shopping, Ice. I know it's a strange idea, but not everyone plans their retail campaigns with military precision so as to spend as little time as possible in the shop."
"I can't see why not," said Suitov, looking a little lost.
"Just trust me on this one, sweetie."
"I must still insist that Weft accompany you," said Suitov, yet again refusing to be distracted. "He will be under strict orders to behave himself. I'm sorry; I know you two don't get along, but think of it as a favour for the sake of my peace of mind. You know I... worry about what I've got you caught up in."
He hadn't dazzled her with logic. He hadn't barked orders or pleaded. He was just - just Ice, ever practical and quietly caring. Damn it. Jaina found herself unable to refuse him.
By the time she found Weft, on top of a stack of crates near the Instar gate, it seemed he had already been filled in on his unpleasant mission. His eyes fixed on her as soon as she approached.
"Looks like you're with me, Sparky," Jaina told him.
Weft slithered off the edge of the crate and landed noiselessly on his feet. He tilted his chin up a little way. "I'm yours to command, ma'am," he said, with what was obviously his best shot at professionalism.
"Good. So go away."
"I can't do that," said Weft, who would have liked to cry. "If you wish, I'll keep out of your sight to the best of my ability. You'll hardly know I'm there."
Jaina frowned. "And have you eyeing up my back for the best place to stab once we're done? No way, kitten. You stay where I can see you."
"...Whatever you say."
"You know, you're already a lot more bearable now I know you've been ordered to obey me," Jaina told him with a grin.
Weft looked downwards. "Can... we please just get this over with?" he said quietly.
"Oh no, princess." Something about that face just made her want to poke at him, however one-sided the situation right now. This was payback for all the glares, the muttered insults - the attempts to get between her and Ice. "I've got a full day trip planned and I'm not hurrying for you or any man. In other words, get used to it, kitten - you're mine for the rest of the day."
Maybe, just maybe, this wouldn't be as much of a dampener as she'd feared. Good old Ice - he was smart after all. Jaina set off for the gate at a confident pace, and Weft obediently followed her.
"Hey pretty boy, how'd you like to suck my dick?"
Weft looked the speaker over in irritation and just a little panic; then, leaning forward with his eyelashes low, he breathed:
"With a cheesegrater."
Not because that makes them a "challenge" so much as it's so freaking sexy.
Not that I don't find poly and infidelity fics enjoyable, but a faithful man is just oh YES.
Dolly Parton - Why'd You Come In Here Lookin' Like That
Namely, "what passes for adult publications in the Twine Wars 'verse?"
A scurrilous succession of sorcerous minxes - male, female, unidentified, extraplanar and other - show off their spells and much more besides. Includes plenty of space for notes, as well as the most stringent disclaimers.
This quarter's guest editor: Valdemar
Shiny, shiny, magical swords seem to be the order of this trimonth, which sees most of the models hefting one or more edged weapons. Sword-mage Varla says: "Exploiting your foibles is my forte!" Gronnla is more straightforward: "I stab you with my +3 xiphoi then I fireballs your corpse! That innu-endo. What you say, handsome?"
The ONLY™ magazine printed on Kevlar™, whose pictorials use hundreds of precious-metallic inks. First issue comes with gigantic, steel-reinforced collector's case™. Tagline:
Hoards you can ogle without getting your throat ripped out™
This year's guest editor: Ayu-Asra
Articles include "Fish fish fish fish fish", "Tweet. Tweet tweet squawk whistle HOOT" and "Foooooooood". Free CD containing a selection of noises in attractive, easy-to-mimic chunks. The year's draconic models all have two or more heads.
Olfactory publication; contains few words. Free rawhide chew with first issue.
This month's guest editor: Hrian
We thought Hrian was asking to be paid in pork chops, but it turned out that these were to form a large portion of the month's content, too. New model Rottenfang says "Look after pups while hunt, you!" Yes yes YES, alpha ma'am!
Contains soothing pictures of smiling faces and hard-hitting articles like "I'm addicted to prayer!", "Worried you're not pious enough?", "Outside the walls: Making sense of a scary world" and "I took a brick to the face for my order... after nine weeks of dentistry, I can smile again!"
This liturgical season's guest editor: Weft
Many knitting patterns are included, along with schmaltzy, tear-jerking stories about broken hearts, murder and lovely duty.
This comes as a standard blue globe, intended to be internalised and then explored. It's very exciting, but you don't have the right organs for me to explain exactly how.
"Hello. What is your name?" asked the captive.
"It's whatever you want it to be, handsome," the demoness breathed. She was statuesque, golden-haired, in a gown of exquisite shadow that grazed the floor behind her.
"I'd rather know what you prefer to call yourself," the captive said patiently.
"You can call me Smoky, your lordship. Smoky Martini." The demoness licked a fingertip and gave him a seductive smile.
"Pleasant to meet you. And how long have you worked in this place, Ms Martini?"
The demoness hooded her eyes. "Okay. I'll level with you, your lordship. I'm desperate for a man's touch. I'm not after conversation; I just want to get on with it and get off."
There was a sigh. "Then, Ms Martini, I do not think we can help each other. Good day." The captive watched her leave without much interest, then resumed pacing the floor.
Nyphilgyphelau, dressed in red from her blood-red tresses to her hind hooves, looked on. "Dysfunction!" she swore. He had been polite to all the women, but Nyphilgyphelau could see the captive's temper was growing tired. Not much longer and the game would be up.
The demoness who had called herself Smoky, and was really called Thrgencephmurrit, showed up beside Nyphilgyphelau. "This is going nowhere," she observed.
The man stalked back and forth across the full width of the room. Nyphilgyphelau imagined a lashing tail there, icy vapour seething from a chimney-like snout. Of all the habits she'd learned from mortals, imagination was her favourite. 'The sight beyond what is seen', that was what she'd heard someone call it.
"Should we try telling him the truth?" asked Thrgencephmurrit.
Nyphilgyphelau considered that. "I think it's too late. He'd object to not having been told in the first place." There! She could see it so clearly and she hadn't even tried telling him. That was imagination, that was. The sight beyond! Such power...
Thrgencephmurrit made a noise like a duet between a kookaburra and Godzilla, which meant she was annoyed. "What's wrong with him? Our comeliest nymphs have tried with him. I know he was interested in the dark-skinned warrior lass, but he sent her away like all the others."
"How many women has he back home?" Nyphilgyphelau asked.
"I checked. Just the one." Thrgencephmurrit was taking this failure hard. Nyphilgyphelau suspected the taller demoness was developing a soft spot for mortals in general.
"That explains it. Probably in love or something," she said.
"These monoamorous fools! Bless them all to impotence!" exploded Thrgencephmurrit.
"Language, darling!" said Nyphilgyphelau softly.
"Well, it's too much. He'd give us such strong children. Dark, wily little demons. We need him."
Nyphilgyphelau touched the glass. The captive paced up and down. "No sense crying over unspilt seed," she said after a moment. "I'm writing this one off as a failure."
Like that rude wolf man, and that hyperactive dwarf who wasn't even male. Too many failures. The planetary conjunction had but scant days left and there would be no more opportunities for 600 years. Meanwhile, Thrgencephmurrit's judgement was worsening if anything. If they didn't manage to kidnap some properly horny men soon, their plans were doomed.
"And his familiar?" Nyphilgyphelau asked as an afterthought. "As obstinate as the master?"
"Not at all," said Thrgencephmurrit. "He's impregnated twelve nymphs already."
None of them could see anything out of the ordinary. And yet...
"I hear paper burning," muttered Suitov.
"I smell cats, really big ones," whined Basaltine.
"I keep feeling something tweaking my butt," whimpered Weft.
(add your characters in the comments... ^_^ )