Hey, maybe one day someone here will tell me how to do one of those cut things so I don't clutter up my front page with walls of text (looks hopeful). Yes, I am that clueless.
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For hours Neuri Ralston watched the crowds of humanity flow past the front of Absinthe of Malice, an innocuous bar in
Strip District. She had stood watch over the establishment on and off over the
last month. Each time, a siren’s song wrapped in scent pulled her closer to the
door. Who or what was inside? Why was she drawn? Most importantly, was this a
trap or could she finally have found where she belonged?
The door opened and another tantalizing drift of pearlescent smoke wafted her way and she was sorely tempted to give in, to explore the bar’s mysterious interior. Maybe at long last her yearning heart could find a place where she belonged. With a disgusted shake of her head, Neuri subsided deeper into the shadowed cove of an alley to watch and hope.
“I’ve dreamed,” the terse words fit the angry jerk of movement as the petite woman behind the counter slapped decorated cardboard coasters on the sleek surface of the bar.
“Misa, you are the Strix, when don’t you dream?” Lyndi Chiao laughed and shook her walking staff so the incense in the complex metal head plumed smoke to disguise her own. Being a dragon was getting harder and harder with all of the anti-smoking laws being passed. For the last hundred years, the po-shun flying staff remained safely hidden while a ceramic cigarette holder lent her the illusion of smoking. Now, she pretended to sniff the scent of burning orchid seeds as a customer sent her a scathing look, now she faced having to go back into hiding in the hinterlands.
Not so for her voluptuous little lover, the Strix. The modern world had lost true appreciation for the witch-born demonesses. Today, thanks to the neo-pagan movement, strix was just another name for a type of witch, not the beautiful shape-shifting, dream haunting, blood drinkers they truly were. Lyndi loved the feel of Misa’s small talons gripping her wrist as she ruffled her silky feathers before a nocturnal hunt.
Misa’s gusty sigh accompanied a pained roll of green eyes, redirecting Lyndi’s fanciful thoughts. Artemisia had been a youth with the first blush of womanhood gracing her limbs when she walked naked in the creek, harvesting herbs and the attention of a dragoness. No matter her innate tranquil grace, a simmering cauldron of emotion always bubbled beneath the surface.
“At least I find my way through dreams by more than mere moonlight,” an impish dimple dented a soft cheek a split second before Misa’s classic Greco-Roman features turned serious. “Oscar Wilde aside, I’ve been dreaming awake. Again and again the same thing – a cry of loneliness that kills, an arctic wind that burns with heat, and a fury unlike anything I’ve ever felt.”
Lyndi nodded, she too had felt a change in the energies of mountain, air and water. However, she wasn’t as attuned to the earth and its creatures as Misa. A celestial being at heart, she needed to breathe the air and see the stars. Contemplating the possibilities, her claw, tipped fingers twisted the po-shun surrounding her with comforting smoke.
“Ugh, that is so disgusting.” A nasal voice full of haughty derision buzzed in Lyndi’s ear like an annoying gnat. “There are laws about smoking in public places, ya know.”
“Yes, I do know,” instead of getting angry, Lyndi felt amusement coil in her belly. This pale round eye held nothing but contempt in her insubstantial little frame. Humans walked such a small time on the earth, yet roared as though their voices carried the impact of a Shishi, Foo Dog, protecting their temple.
“You are very thin,” she commented, looking at the annoying one’s underfed body with a spark of lazy, masochistic interest. A spark that must have registered in her eyes the way the waifish virago flinched. She felt the bristling energy of Misa at her back and pulled the full-bodied beauty to nestle under her shoulder. If she let her little demon-witch have her way, the woman would be sipping hemlock tea and smiling prettily. Sometimes having dominion over water had its perks.
“I’m a model,” the annoying one said with a toss of badly permed hair. The whining voice was starting to erode Lyndi’s good humor. White women would never make sense. Twenty, or maybe thirty, years earlier, a designer looking for something unique had stumbled into Absinth of Malice and persuaded the dragoness to pose for a few photos to sell his foul smelling perfume. Black women weren’t supposed to have Asian cat-tilted eyes and long layers of waving green-blue hair – she was a hit and business increased. Thankfully, her fifteen minutes of fame lasted only that long. In no time she was back to being reviled as a mongrel freak.
“So was I child. Being pretty doesn’t give you a right to be surly and demanding.” Lyndi’s eyes slid slowly closed, unconsciously pulling the bony creature forward. “Aren’t you,” she extended a pearly claw forward and caressed a hollow cheek, sensing the implants behind it, “thirsty?” The fake blonde licked equally false raspberry lips with a suddenly raspy tongue.
“Yes,” her voice, now quieter, rough with thirst was far less troublesome to Lyndi’s ears.
“Then perhaps you should have more to drink?” The suggestion had the desired effect and the young human stumbled back to her table to order a new round.
“Misa,” she purred, a throaty sound not unlike the rumbling timbre of a tiger defending her dinner. “Be a dear and call your friend, the Peace Officer and allow him to know that a very inebriated female will be leaving within the hour.” Giving in to temptation, Lyndi rubbed her nose against the pale fragrant skin of Misa’s neck, allowing the thick fall of chestnut curls to tickle her nose giving rise to images of another spot of her luscious lover’s body where crisp curls delighted.
With the spark of arousal came an image…snow swirled and flew coloring the air and ground in a tornado of white, above the sound of the howling wind was the wail of an animal that wasn’t quite an animal. The feeling of arousal intensified, Lyndi lifted her head and her lips bowed into a true smile. “Our third nears; soon our trinity will be complete.”