TKoT Vol. 3: Chains of the Heart

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14: Feather Fall

“HATCHLING, I GOT YOU!” Charmeine shouted as he felt a vibrating tingling sensation throughout his body, warning him of her touch. This must be the darkness he felt earlier. Needless, he hung on to her spiraling body until both were safely back on the ground. Charmeine had felt a sensation like this before, sometime in the past, but he could not remember when.

Andrea looked up at him and tugged on his arms. She reached up, using him to steady herself. He looked into her eyes; she was staring back at him, locking her gaze on his. She slowly moved to kiss him; he lowered his head to hers. Their lips locked for a moment. Andrea closed her eyes, her body becoming warm and her face blushing. Charmeine eyes widened as he felt the strange vibrations coming from her touch; the sensation was even more erratic than before.

Andrea opened her eyes, pulling back off of him, gasping for air. Shaking her head and waving her hands away from him, “Sorry, no, not going to happen. Not that you are very pleasing to the eyes. But I can’t. My own worst impulses are getting a hold of me. This is going to be a hard week. ” Andrea pushed him away and stepped back.

Charmeine shook his head, “Hatchling, I can feel the darkness that is in you by touch.” The kiss was pleasant enough; it was not his first. His heart began to race. He felt like this before with a few other women who had given him a surprise kiss, but he was betrothed. He would not be able to go any further in a relationship than this.

Andrea giggled, “Is that what you call that? My kiss is darkness?”

“I am sensitive to such things. Let’s keep a safe distance between each other.” Who was she? I will have to investigate; the Dark Arts Division is doing something shady, well that’s not unusual.

Andrea then noticed something, something that had not happened since she had become the Hand of Katalina. “Did I hurt you? My touch causes everyone pain. A nasty side effect of accidentally draining somebody.”

Charmeine had to think, “No.”

Andrea asked, “Mind if I try something?”

Charmeine was trying to figure out if he should run now, but he was sure she could not do anything to him; he had faith in Toluene to protect him. He nodded in agreement.

Andrea took her glove off and moved her hand to his bulging muscular arm. She just traced her index finger down the bulk length. She did not have the impulse to feed. Andrea looked at him in amazement, “Wow. I can do this again.” She took her other glove off, letting the glove fall to the ground while grabbing his other arm, letting her hand feel his arm. She felt the warmth of his skin. Nothing, no attempting to feed off of him.

Charmeine’s curiosity spiked, “What’s wrong?”

Andrea asked, “You don’t feel any pain, do you? Your body is not burning like you are on fire?”

Charmeine worryingly answered, “No, not at all, just the strange vibrations I get when you touch me. Those are even different now.”

“How so?” Andrea asked.

Charmeine pulled one of the arms free from the one Andrea was pawning on, “Well, when you were falling, it was like,” he did not know how to put the feeling into words. “Then, when we kissed,” he paused again. “And now, I don’t know how to describe it.”

Andrea’s eyes narrowed, “A bit of fear, a little arousal, and excitement. You pick that up just by touching me? Maybe you are empathic? You may have the ability to read others by touch.”

Charmeine laughed, “No. It’s just you.”

Andrea pulled her feeling appendages back from his well-muscled arms. “Well, that was fun while it lasted. Need to rest a bit?” She asked.

Charmeine flexed his blue feathery wings, boasted, “Not really; I am used to endurance flying. It takes me a week to fly between here and Floastone. Not that I fly nonstop, just a few extra hours a day.”

Andrea chimed back, moving to lean back against a nearby tree, her eyes not leaving his. Trying to figure out where this conversation goes next, she decided to talk about her hometown. “I never left Bale until a few months ago, loved the beaches there, though I often never went down to the beach itself. I had a hard time seeing myself in one of those skimpy swimwear suits to compete with other women for males’ attention.” she pushed her seeing glass up. “I like books a lot; I would just curl myself up near a tree and read for hours.”

Charmeine waited for a moment for her to finish, “Really, your personality is one who would like to put herself out for all to see.”

Andrea reflected on her past self and who she was now, “I understand where you’re going, and that is the new me. Now, I look and crave attention; it’s much more like a curse.” She paused, changing the subject, “How about yourself? We chatted for a while a few weeks ago. Care to elaborate on the story? How did you come about? What’s the story about your family and Toluene? Must be exciting; how does the world react when you tell them you have god blood? Can you access your bloodline’s grace? Have demons come to hunt you down while trying to make a point? Or have other faiths such as Bhuul tried to remove you for your lack of faith in their crappy god? ”

“You don’t like Bhuul very much?”

She lifted her hands, showing him the scars on her wrists. “I was to be a sacrifice to Bhuul for one of his priest fertility rituals; I refused at the last moment on the altar. I chose it at the last moment to save my life. I got cursed for it.”

He paused for a moment, “I thought you said you were born a first-generation succubus. Your mother was not a succubus?”

Andreas’ eyes sunk a bit. She had intentionally let this slip, “It’s easier to pass that lie than tell the truth I saved myself with a contract made out of desperation. You know a bit of my secret now. I got more than I bargained for.”

She then tapped at her horns. “Bhuul did not curse me. I made a pact with something I did not know or understand. I am coming to terms with that now. That is what you feel when you touch me.” Andrea paused.

Charmeine pondered for a moment, trying to rationalize what she said, then his curiosity peaked, “What demon did you make a pact with? How does that work? What goes through your mind?” He was inquisitive, never met somebody with such a cursed transformation.

Andrea lifted her head to meet his gaze, "Not a demon, a dark goddess. Who, I will let you keep guessing, but you will find out soon enough." Andrea would not be ashamed of her pact; she said yes to Katalina. “Umm, what I was like and what I am now are two different people. I used to be a shut-in magician. I loved my research, avoiding people as much as possible. After being cursed, I changed mentally and physically. Master Martin believes me to be still changing. The curse gave me dark gifts of a succubus and a mentality to go with it. I constantly want to find somebody to love, even if it is for a few moments. I want to play mind games and manipulate people to my own will. Think of losing one’s inhibition; everything I would suppress normally is gone. All the restraints one has that moral compass, nearly gone for me. Master Martin is helping me to manage these darker impulses, so I am not a destructive force that needs to be dealt with. That’s why he warned everybody in the camp to ignore my advances; he’s right. I think.

Andrea became a bit more serious, “I hope and pray; I do not turn into a monster when this is all said and done. Master Martin believes I still have my soul; otherwise, I would not be here today with you, folks.” She paused and changed the subject; she was trying to get an empathic response with him, feel a little pity with the tale, “So what about your god’s grace? Can you make miracles happen? How does that work?”

Charmin grinning, replied, “Going directly there to see if I can channel the divine grace of a god? No, I can’t. The further you get from the source, the less powerful you are until you reach a mediocrity peak.

Charmeine studied Andrea’s body with his eyes; she was a petite woman. “My great grandfather is the 'Divine Prince Dorah Toluene.' I am 3 generations down from him. I got a few gifts but nothing compared to Dorah.”

Andrea reached inside her pack on her belt and withdrew a round flask, “I have been craving wine recently. I myself and not a big drinker, and Master Martin says that I should not partake. A drunk succubus is not someone you want to be around. So you want some?” She took the top off and swallowed a bit, and handed the flask out to Charmeine.

“No, that’s okay, I am fine.” Bells in his head were warning him, do not trust her. “Not thirsty.” He wiggled his light blue wings a bit. He continued to study her, trying to read what her body told him. “I myself trained at the family’s temples, mostly undergoing martial weapon training, I am not as good at casting as I should be, so I pursued the weapon arts.”

“Oh, do you have a wife?” Andrea skipped the girlfriend’s question and went straight to the end.

“Not yet, but I have an arranged marriage with my family—the classic of joining two households for political gains. I will be going through the joining in about a year. I will need to return to my family and resume my duties there when I get married.”

“Why wait? I say if you are going to go through it. Just jump in.” she paused for a moment, “Learn to live and love the partner you will be with.”

“She’s not of age yet, and Coming from you? How would that work? I have watched you flirt with just about everyone, and that’s in the last couple of days. Your husband would have to share you with every other male and maybe a few of the womenfolk. You are as bad as Varriss.”

Andrea giggled, “No worse, where Varriss only looks, I touch.”

“Well, my husband might like a few extra women, maybe not other males though, might be kinda rough for him. However, I have thought about getting myself a harem. I mean, who does not want many useful men and women to be your husbands and wives. The night could go on for a long time.” Andrea started to laugh, just thinking about something like that. Andrea took another swig of her drink. She thought Any relationship with me could not be monogamous at this point. “I am not as lucky as Varriss. He found somebody he can love, but with that, I don’t have somebody punching me either.”

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