So it started with the girl.
A while before I'd all but fallen onto her porch, I'd reacquainted myself with the young man from the Eastern lands I'd met, before I'd been locked away on the dreaming isle. In one sense I was astounded he remembered me at all; but in the other sense, I always had to remember that as long as it had been for me, it had been a very much shorter time for everyone else.
I searched for the Captain of the Ravens, my lost half-Drow love, and received only intermittent mental contact, no sense of place, not a thing that could aid me in cleaving to his side again. Plus, I wasn't entirely sure I wished to, because for me, it had been so long...
Then came what, to me, was the crushing blow: I went to Valruna, stood in the village square, and called for him, and...he would not see me. That night, I needed to see him, I needed to, hard-edged in me, the resurgance of succubus drives after long trial, and...he refused. He refused. He turned me aside with a cavalier amusement and an invitation to come see him anon.
I did what I felt I had to--I fled to the young man from the Eastern lands, and he proposed an...alliance, of sorts. He would feed me, feed every desire in me--surging energy, sensual bliss, blood--and in return, his demon within would feed from me.
I thought I looked at every angle. I thought I understood. I thought I was making a rational, reasoned decision.
I was wrong.
He'd mentioned addiction, this young lad. I'd been addicted once, previously, to the demon within the third incubus. I thought--hard as it was--if I really needed to rip the addiction out of me, full-formed, I could. And in the meantime, I'd have what I want.
Maybe not so.
The morning I'm thinking of, I was spending time at the fire of the gypsies' camp, and there was a very worried damsel, worried over her friend in the tent behind me. In general, I'm not a gypsy, I don't look in their tents--but she started screaming for the healer, and I had this vague impulse I might be able to help. So I rose from the fire, walked over to the tent--and was struck dumb by febrile red glow.
It was the girl in the red dress. But now trembling, shaking, and fairly completely unaware of her surroundings.
It had been some few days since the last time I was fed. I hoped to see the lad that evening, but--I couldn't turn away. As they screamed for aid, undressed her, drew a cool bath in the large wooden tub--I drifted over, lifting the woman's arm, thumb rubbing over her pulse, thinking. I tried sending my consciousness out, around hers, into hers, and was blasted by unheard-of levels of pain, rage, anger, outright hate. What in all the hells was going on here??
Her friend leapt into the bath, holding her out of the water so she wouldn't sink to the bottom and drown. She wanted to die; that much I'd gotten. I didn't know how much I could help freeing her of a death wish, and I began to ask her for permission to help. The healer arrived, took one look at her, sneered at the 'demon' in the midst, made some harsh comment about the vampire in the camp, and I knew two things, with clear surety:
1. If I bit the girl, to help her heal, it might get me staked; and
2. If I used any of my succubus skills, she might very well kill me anyway. Just on general principle.
I admit, I was frozen. And hungry, and getting hungrier. And it didn't help that it would have been so easy, so easy, to lean down, open a vein, and drink...
I shuddered with it, watching as the woman of the Rom debated various things, the healer obdurately proclaiming she needed more time to come up with a solution. Finally, a healing circle was called, and again, I felt I couldn't turn away.
I joined it, but rather than send my energies out in link with the other women, I sent my energies into her, trying to draw out that pool of red anger, black loathing, I'd felt in her. It nearly overwhelmed me, and the pull of her was riptide--so much of my energy sank into her, trying to free her from emotional pain, even as the others tried to purge her of fever.
I shuddered as the circle fell, staggering to the fire, spending enough time to know I could walk off on my own, and then realizing, if I did, I'd just find the nearest warm body and drink them dead. And I...couldn't. Not now. Bad precedent, I'd told the healer, to start a day by killing, and I still agreed.
I worked my way high into the hills to an abandoned keep, finding a crack in the wall and crawling into the mountain, slowing my breathing and pulling in everything I could...and spent several hours trying not to think.
The first contact I had from the Eastern lad I nearly leapt on him, mentally--and he agreed to see me. I crawled out of the riven cleft in the land, at that time, I thought, scraping my back, causing odd pains and shivers through me, as I went. I fled to his side, begging him to take me, feed me, and--that's when everything skewed.
He threw me on the bed, the demon within him, and while I was struggling, the odd pain in my back getting worse, he tied me down. I was too distracted to fight him, and he plunged into me without a further word, offering me his neck. I nearly tore it open, feeding as if I'd die without him, and thought never another thing until a savage pain tore through me, tearing down the length of my spine, drawing screams that were anything but pleasure cries. I begged him to turn me over, because I hurt, it hurt, and I couldn't understand--
He untied me, the lad from the Eastern lands, the demon receding, and turned me over, stroking down my back--and it split under his hands, thick, pale tendrils forcing themselves out, glistening, waving in the air. I didn't know this then--I knew it later, when he placed his hands on one, moving it down into my range of view.
Now, my succubus has always had an odd manifestation--invisible tendrils, thin as reeds, able to entice, skin to skin, able to drain energy, sinking through skin, but all intangible, unseen. These were not unseen. These aren't unseen, though I can hide them.
Even hidden from open view, those who can see energy can see them, trailing from me. They are with me always.
The lad from the Eastern lands...says I'm evolving.
By all the gods and all the hells...into what?!?