The Scorching Depths

Locales abroad of the city centers, from out of doors to the outer planes.
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bc56
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The Scorching Depths

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The Scorching Depths is a hell in a period of gradual upheaval. The old queen, Sapphira, has died, and her daughter, Sekhmet, has taken the throne with rather different views of how a demonic kingdom should be run. Her subjects are split over what to think.

And despite this, she still receives frequent visitors, ranging from her friends and earthly advisors to those unfortunate enough to inadvertently stumble into her kingdom.

This place is hot, literally. A volcanic landscape under a sunless sky. Fields of ash and mountains of dark, igneous rock are cut by rivers of molten lava, which provide the only light in this forsaken place. The souls of the damned float through the magma rivers and lie buried under the ashen flats, eternally catatonic in agony.
The denizens of this place are also hot. Succubi and Incubi, souls twisted into manifestations of desire by the will of Sapphira, form the majority of the population. Sekhmet tries to keep their urges in check, or at least out of sight.

There are only a few places of note in the Depths. More may come as the need arises.
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Many types of demons dwell here. The Depths is the fate of those who bring corruption in their mortal lives.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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[Pandemonium]

KOOM

The denizens of Sekhmet's palace-city would be forgiven if they were unfamiliar with the sound of thunder; rain doesn't seem like the sort of thing that would be especially common in the Scorching Depths. Especially not this much of it, all at once, accompanied by a terrible gale that swirls around the palace, throwing aside anything or anyone not firmly attached to the ground.

The cause of this chaos? An opaque, black void appearing in the middle of the city, roughly the size of a garage, radiating an impossibly bitter cold. And by extension, the creator of this portal, who takes the time to survey her work appreciatively.

Much like the queen herself, when she needs to be, the arriving succubus is quite tall, towering over many of the locals at an even thirteen feet. Unlike the queen, she seems to have a fashion sense befitting a creature of lust, wearing a red, sideless dress that clasps at the hips and just under the shoulders, and nothing else. A massive set of batlike wings splay out from her back, and a thick, spade-tipped tail pokes out from under her dress, striking the ground with a deep thump as she settles in place and surveys the area of her arrival with a gaze nearly as cold as the abyss she just left.

"...Hm." The deviless smirks as rain spatters down around her. "Rather tepid here. Perhaps I should see about building a summer home."

Meanwhile, behind her, another half-dozen or so succubi find themselves blown out of the portal, clad in similar attire and clinging desperately to anything they can find for some semblance of stability. They, too, are quite large, each about half their mistress's height, but despite their mass, still find themselves being thrown around like puppies in an overclocked washing machine.

The deviless snaps her fingers and the void disappears, leaving the storm to sort itself out from there. It won't get much better, but at least it won't get worse.
Last edited by Ironsmith on Aug 03, 2022 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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Pandemonium
The last time it rained was... When Sekhmet took the throne, it rained for about an hour. Normally it's very, very dry here.
The giant succubus is met swiftly by guards in obscuring black armor, wielding polearms. If no hostile move is made, no hostile response will occur. They're just trying to keep the incident contained for now until the newcomer states her intentions or a diplomat arrives.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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[Pandemonium]

The deviless chuckles to herself as the guards encircle her company, an amused expression on her face. Goodness, the locals are adorable. They think they're people. Isn't that something?

Her tail drags across the ground as she stands there with her hands on her hips, sashaying toward the nearest guard, batting aside the polearm with her free hand. "Would one of you be a dear and fetch that lovely queen of yours? We have a matter of property to discuss."
Last edited by Ironsmith on Aug 04, 2022 1:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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Pandemonium
They were people, once. Whether or not they still are is a subject of intellectual debate. They certainly have faces and names, although no one ever looks beneath their helmets or asks them what they're called, and they are disinclined to reveal themselves without prompting.
One thing they don't have is the capacity for lust, so the strange demon's display goes unappreciated (at least by them),

When the polearm is struck, the guard raises it as if to strike back, then stops, as if called off by an unheard command. The ring of spears reforms at a new distance.
Until it parts. The figure that passes through it unmistakably has the figure of a succubus, but her clothing is much more restrained, with only a hint of cleavage showing. She's opted to match the newcomer's impressive height almost exactly. The heels of her shoes click rhythmically on the stone floor. A fiery beacon hovers between her largest pair of horns, just above her shining crown. There is no doubt as to who this is. "Very well. Let's talk."
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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[Pandemonium]

"Your majesty." The deviless gives Sekhmet a little bow, just enough so to be polite. "You know who I am, of course. Libidine, Deviless of the cardinal sin of Lust." She waves her hand to her entourage, who hastily gather themselves behind her. The deviless leans back into them, forcing the unfortunate succubi to catch her and form into a makeshift chair in the process. The end result, which sees them contorted under sixteen hundred pounds of weight, does not appear to be the slightest bit comfortable for them.

"Now, then." Libidine crosses her legs (much to her supporters' chagrin) and gives Sekhmet a polite smile. "As I see it, you have a few things that belong to me. Three souls and two artifacts. I would like them back, pretty please."
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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Pandemonium
Actually, Sekhmet had no idea who Libidine was. And she still doesn't. But she shows little worry. She's keeping her emotions as tightly in check as she can for this encounter. It's still not quite enough to hide her distaste for the deviless' grotesque display with her servants. She remains standing. "I'm afraid I haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about." That's a lie. She's pretty sure this is about those refugees she took in. She's not sure what the deal with the artifacts is though. "Perhaps you could be a bit more specific?" She can predict how this goes. First, "Libidine" will ask nicely. Then, when Sekhmet refuses to turn over the lives of three people (definitely not innocent), she'll try to strike a deal. Then, when Sekhmet makes it clear that she has no intention of bargaining, she'll make threats.
We'll have to see how accurate Sekhmet's prediction is...
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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[Pandemonium]

"Is that so? Pity. It never bodes well for a queen when her neighbors know more about her internal affairs than she does." Libidine makes a gesture with her hand, prompting the succubi to stumble forward a few steps. "Walk with me and allow me to refresh your memory. Some time ago, you recieved a company of fugitives from our realm. An incubus called Aggravate, a trio of succubi answering to the names Mendacity, Perfidy, and the Crone, and a pair of mulchmen, Spicer and Slicer. Aggravate and the Crone have since been dealt with; no need to trouble yourself with an explanation as to what happened to them. And as I understand it, Spicer was executed by a rather angry and powerful friend of yours, whom I would hope to meet before leaving." She gives Sekhmet a salacious smirk at that. "Which leaves the small matter of the other three. I'm sure you didn't intend to keep them. They're my personal possessions, after all." The deviless whistles to her amalgamated servants, one of them coming forward to reluctantly serve as a footstool. "And of course, I'll need those blades back, as well. Part and parcel to Slicer and the late Spicer."
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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Pandemonium
Sekhmet does not walk with Libidine. If the devil wants to talk, she'll have to stay here. "Funny how one's possessions have a way of walking away from them," Sekhmet replies, "You should really keep a better eye on them." Her tone makes clear she has no intention of just handing them over. Well, that's not entirely true. "You can have Slicer. I have no need for him." She's aware that it's a death sentence for the maimed mulchman, but anyone who deals out true death to her people deserves it. "The other two have made themselves valuable to me." Not exactly a lie. They're no more valuable than any of the other assorted succubi that dwell in her domain but aren't especially involved in the court, but that's orders of magnitude more valuable than Libidine evidently considers her minions to be.
Speaking of which, with a subtle flex of her finger, Sekhmet encourages part of the stone floor to rise up and aid them in supporting their mistress. She doesn't care about earning support from the lust devil, but the succubi under her (literally) could possibly be convinced to join her. "The blades are out of the question." She's not letting weapons that dangerous leave the safe place they're stored in. Especially since if this comes to fighting, she's going to need weapons like that for her forces.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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[Pandemonium]

While Sekhmet's efforts are subtle, the effects are not, as the succubi audibly groan with relief at having some of that truly gratuitous weight off their shoulders. One of them looks up at Sekhmet with an expression of silent gratitude... only to promptly have her face driven into the dirt as Libidine steps down from her "throne".

"Now, that's hardly the attitude I would have expected from you, your highness." The deviless croons, running her tail over the demon queen's shoulders. "Imagine if everyone thought as you do. Refusing to return what is mine because you find it valuable? Hrm. How would you feel if our roles were reversed?" She stops and takes a moment to drum her claw-like nails against Sekhmet's shoulder. "At the very least, you owe me compensation. Souls for souls, hm?"

In the time it takes to blink, Libidine is across the square, holding one of Sekhmet's subjects in her arms, stroking thr succubus's hair with a lecherous smile on her face. "What do you think, darling? Is that a fair deal? No? Hm." She chortles and turns her attention back to Sekhmet. "Remember the golden rule, highness. Do unto others and all. Is this what you want done unto you?"
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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Pandemonium
They got to the threats much more quickly than Sekhmet anticipated. Her fist tightens. "I will not sell my people into slavery to satisfy your greed!" Sekhmet's gown is twisting, stiffening, turning into armor. Her clawed hand clenches around the handle of her hammer. The air warms a few degrees. "If your toys are running away to join my court, the problem is yours! Do not come into my domain and threaten my subjects if you haven't earned the respect of your own!"
Someone cheers.
With a flick of her wrist, Sekhmet moves to telekinetically separate the targeted succubus from Libidine.
"Do not speak to me of the golden rule if you will not honor it yourself! Or would you bear these succubi on your shoulders as if you were a humble seat to them?" Sekhmet challenges.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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[Pandemonium]

For a brief moment, Libidine's expression is one of absolute terror, and she involuntarily stumbles back as Sekhmet frees the other succubus from her grip. Evidently, she was not expecting that.

But it only takes a moment for fear to give way to... some form of perverse delight?

"Temper, temper." She scolds playfully, returning to the queen's side as quickly as she left it. "Perhaps you do not realize the sort of position you leave me in. Call it greed if you will, but I can't just leave my things with you should they happen to come into your possession. One queen to another, I'm sure you understand." She smirks and catches Sekhmet around the shoulders, leaning in from behind to mock whisper into her ear. "There are really only so many ways this can go. You can return them to me, and that will be the end of it. No harm, no foul. You can refuse to return them to me and force me to take them instead... and since we're disregarding the notion of property here, why would I stop at taking only what is mine? Or we could arrange a trade, but if I have the right measure of the woman under the queenly mask-" She runs a finger along Sekhmet's cheek for emphasis. "-You would no sooner allow that than you would give yourself over to me."

The deviless smirks and works her claws into the queen's shoulders. "But those are only how things must end. Lucky you, I'm a patient woman. I'm willing to ask nicely, very nicely, many times before taking matters into my own hands." She smirks as her tail forms a loose circle around Sekhmet's feet.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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Pandemonium
Sekhmet looks uncomfortable with Libidine's behavior. But she's glad to see her power frightens the devil. "Oh, no, I am well aware of the position you are in. Your subjects are chafing under your rule. Some of them managed to actually escape you and made it to the domain of a younger, more permissive queen. They're beyond your reach now, but you need to demonstrate to the others that following their example will end badly. So you come to her kingdom and start threatening her in the hopes that she'll capitulate. But I won't back down. Learn how to keep your subjects or lose them to those who can." Libidine really isn't negotiating from a position of strength here. Sekhmet is in her own domain, surrounded by her soldiers, who in turn are surrounding Libidine, who has only a few succubi to whom Sekhmet has already shown that she cares more about them than Libidine.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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[Pandemonium]

"Threatening you? Moi?" Libidine puts a hand to her chest, giving Sekhmet a little pout. "Oh, you poor thing... if you regard this friendly little chat as a threat, you wouldn't last ten seconds in the real world." The deviless smirks at Sekhmet, a wicked gleam in her eye. "Unless... oh, no..." There's a mocking lilt in her voice as she turns to survey the assembled crowd. "...That is perverse. You've bonded overmuch with them."

A flash of lightning punctuates that statement, highlighting the deviless's outline as she walks around the crowd. "I should have known better. I'm dealing with a child. One who has just recently gotten her hands on some brand new toys." Her tail swishes back and forth as she completes her circle, reclaiming her "seat" (with much moaning and teeth-gnashing) and looking down at Sekhmet with a little smirk. "Tell me, little queen, are you still offering them freedom? Letting the mortals with their pitifully small pool of experiences try to stumble their way into happiness? How many times have they betrayed you already?" She swirls her hand around the "arm" of her chair, conjuring an empty wine glass, and eliciting a series of concerned murmurs from her chair in the process. "Trying to sympathize with them is always a mistake. Because they will always make mistakes." She pinches one of the succubi on her throne between her fingers, who lets out a squeal of panic as she magically shrinks down to about the size of a mouse, pleading furiously in a squeaky little voice as Libidine suspends her over the glass by her wings. "Take little Madeline here, for instance. At her eulogy, her family had the gall to call her a 'loving mother' and a 'pillar of the community'. As though she hadn't demolished her marriage and raised her children to be as twisted and foolish as she was, when she wasn't actively hurting them with her own nonsense. As though she hadn't failed her community time and time again, choosing self-service over the needs of those around her. Oh, sure, she loved her people, but from a place of cowardice and ignorance, and in the end, her legacy is one of misery."

plink! goes the succubus as she lands inside the wine glass, beating against the sides furiously and screaming silently in Sekhmet's direction.

"We gave her so many chances to turn it around. So many opportunities to change for the better. And always, every time, she took the easy path. She failed those she claimed to love, not once, not twice, but always. So what good is her love? Why bother to cultivate it?" The deviless holds up a finger. "One reason, and one reason only."

sprch!

Libidine smirks and sips from the bubbling red liquid inside the glass, smacking her lips appreciatively. "...Exquisite." The deviless comments idly, setting her drink aside.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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Pandemonium
Sekhmet's blood boils at this display of callous decadence. "You remind me of my mother." That's not a compliment. With a dramatic sweep of her arm, Sekhmet calls forth spears of stone from the floor to impale Libidine and lift her off her "seat." "You squandered any potential she had for repentance and redemption for what? A few moments of pleasure for yourself and a pitiable attempt to hurt me by proxy? You're not even worthy to lick Madeline's boots!"
The air near her is blazing hot as she storms up to Libidine. "I strongly suggest you leave my kingdom immediately, before I do something you'll regret." No more Mrs. Nice Demon Queen. Sekhmet is furious (and quietly hoping some of Libidine's entourage slips away in the confusion).
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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[Pandemonium]

The deviless lets out a pained gasp as Sekhmet impales her on the end of a series of spears, before giving the demon queen a wicked grin. "Oh, look at that. Looks like you'll be taking the scenic route back, Beatrice."

While the words are still fading away, the demon's expression changes, to a look of pain and horror as she surveys the damage done to her body. "A... a-a-a... a..." She manages to gasp, that licentious lilt gone from her voice.

"Like I said; a child." The voice comes again, this time from what used to be the back of Libidine's seat, standing and dusting herself off. "Complete with a tantrum when she sees something she doesn't like. I'll be seeing you again soon, little queen... if you manage to keep your throne for that long."

Libidine lets out a cackle as the black void opens again, bringing with it that furious wind and further intensifying the storm around them. Sekhmet's silent hopes that the other five succubi might manage to get away are summarily dashed as they're dragged, with various amounts of desperate clinging and screaming, back through the portal, leaving behind only the oversized demon Sekhmet has skewered to the ground, and a half-empty glass of some poor unfortunate soul.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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Pandemonium
Sekhmet's fury does not yet subside for a few moments. Then she returns the floor to its normal smoothness and sets the impaled succubus gently on the floor. "I'm sorry I didn't know she was possessing you I can find someone to heal you." She's already telepathically calling out for someone, anyone with medical training. Injuries like that should be all rights be fatal, but with magic, a lot more can be done.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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[Pandemonium]

If Sekhmet is expecting a coherent response from the injured succubus, she's going to be sorely disappointed. Her unwilling victim is in a state of shock, staring blankly up at the stormy sky, with no signs of life other than rapid, shallow breathing. The numerous wounds she'd sustained are bleeding profusely, mixing with the rainwater to cover the square in a crimson haze. Given the locations of many of the stabs on her torso, Sekhmet can safely conclude that several of her vital organs were damaged by the assault; one of the punctures is in the exact right spot to have obliterated her left kidney, another went through her lung, and a third barely missed her heart but ruptured enough major arteries that it might not even matter. The prognosis, even to the untrained eye, is very much not good.

Sekhmet will recieve a reply that confirms a physician is on her way, but with as badly as the succubus is torn up, she might not make it in time. If Sekhmet wants to keep this soul from returning to the Lethean Abyss in a most excruciating fashion, she needs to intervene now.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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Pandemonium
Sekhmet knows nothing about anatomy. What she does know is that that's a lot of blood and chest wounds. "Stay with me! Just, uh, keep awake, okay?" She pours fiendish energy into the wounded succubus. It's a stopgap measure at best, hopefully enough to keep her from expiring.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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[Pandemonium]

Good news and bad news for Sekhmet, with regards to her attempt at first aid:

The bad news is the succubus doesn't seem to be a fiend in quite the same way Sekhmet is, and merely pouring energy into her is about as effective as dumping sugar onto her wounds. Possibly less so, as sugar would at least provide a physical barrier keeping blood from flowing out as quickly.

The good news is the very act of pumping her full of fiendish energy sort of changes that. Even if Sekhmet can't help her much today, she might alter the fundamental makeup of this woman just enough to avoid going back to the Lethean Abyss if she expires here.

It's cold comfort, though. When the physician finally arrives and the oversized succubus is carried away, her immediate future still looks to be a bleak, if mercifully short, time spent in incredible physical pain.

...

She'll get the news a few hours later.
► SHOW SPOILER
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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Pandemonium
"I don't extend diplomatic immunity to murderers." In context, "murderer" means something slightly different. True permanent death was a punishment not even Sapphira frequently meted out. Even to the most jaded demons of the Depths, it is an appalling waste of resources. An entire demon's worth of power, skill, and manpower gone forever. Centuries of accumulated knowledge obliterated in an instant.
As news of this gets out, most of the court will agree, Sekhmet is right to oppose this.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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[Pandemonium]

"Nobody said you had to. But some things can't be solved with a good stabbing, and unfortunately, it looks like that nutjob is one of them." The physician returns her attention to her clipboard and scribbles down a couple of notes. "Just food for thought. Again, I'm a doctor, not a political advisor." She pauses and looks back up at her queen. "...Would you like to see the patient yourself? I'm sure this is tearing you up inside. Probably not as much as it did her, but..." She snorts a little and shakes her head. "...Sorry. You either laugh or go nuts down here. Question still stands."
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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Pandemonium
"I'll see her as soon as she's well enough to talk to me." That may be now, or it may not be for a while. Sekhmet doesn't know. But there's no point in her visiting the succubus while she's unconscious.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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[Pandemonium]

"Well, that's the good part about using magic." The physician notes, flipping through her clipboard. "She's a long way from getting up and walking around, but she's awake and lucid. Right this way."

The doctor leads Sekhmet to the patient's room, which is normally large enough for three people but seems to have been adjusted to house one oversized succubus instead. The beds have all been pushed together and the demoness is laying on them sideways, laying on her side, a series of tubes running out from under the sheets and into something resembling a boiler off to one side, right next to a cylindrical set of bellows.

The giant succubus looks up at Sekhmet as she comes in, though in the state she's in, she can only manage a slight incline of her head and some eye movement. "...Ow." She snarks quietly.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

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Pandemonium
"Sorry," Sekhmet apologizes. "Uh, anything you could tell me about her and, uh, where you come from would be, uh, useful." Maybe that's a bit too direct. But she's in urgent need of information.
If this doesn't work, she could probably ask Perfidy and Mendacity about it. But this one is readily available.
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Re: The Scorching Depths

Post by Ironsmith »

[Pandemonium]

The succubus raises an eyebrow, stirring slightly but unable or unwilling to get up. "...You must think I'm stupid." She mumbles. There's surprisingly little vitriol in her voice; what she's saying is just a fact, if an unfortunate one, at least to her. "We never left the Abyss, did we? This is all just another way to get my hopes up." She curls a bit tighter, looking down into her pillow. "...I'm not falling for it again. Do whatever you're here to do and get it over with."
Who're you? ...Don't matter.

Want some rye? Course ya do!

Here's to us!
Who's like us?
Damn few,
And they're aaaaall dead.
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bc56
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Re: The Scorching Depths

Post by bc56 »

Pandemonium
Sekhmet sighs. "Thanks anyway. Just tell the doctor if you have anything to say to me."
That was unfortunate. She pities the poor woman who's been so tormented she can't believe in an escape from the torment. Maybe some time will help her realize the truth of her situation.
For now, she needs to see if someone can find the other two Lethean refugees.
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Ironsmith
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Re: [Planeside] The Scorching Depths

Post by Ironsmith »

[Pandemonium]

Fortunately, it won't be too hard to locate the refugees. They do have a dedicated room and they do spend a lot of time there, together, occasionally with the company of some of the other members of Sekhmet's staff.

When Sekhmet approaches their door, Perfidy will answer, rubbing at her eyes and wearing her traditional morning attire (a couple of dashes of perfume, applied the previous night).

"...Oh shit. Um... give me a moment." The succubus gives an aplogetic smile and hastily closes the door.

"Mendy! Get up! The queen's here!"
"Crap! Quick, help me hide this thing! If she sees it-"
"Where am I supposed to put that? Under the bed?"
"Does it look like it'll fit?!"
"I don't see you coming up with any ideas!"
"Oh, for the love of- there. Send her in."


Perfody is returns to the door a few moments later, now dressed in a little black nightgown. "Sorry about that. We weren't expecting any guests today." She smiles and holds open the door. "Come in, come in."

Mendacity gives the queen a little wave from her seat on the bed, cross-legged and dressed identically to her roommate. "Your highness. To what do we owe the pleasure?"
Who're you? ...Don't matter.

Want some rye? Course ya do!

Here's to us!
Who's like us?
Damn few,
And they're aaaaall dead.
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bc56
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Posts: 2667
Joined: Jul 25, 2022 3:09 pm
Location: Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha

Re: [Planeside] The Scorching Depths

Post by bc56 »

Pandemonium
"I had a visitor here looking for you today." Sekhmet explains. She's not going to mention the conversation she overheard yet. "Her name was Libidine." She leaves it at that to judge their reactions.
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Ironsmith
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Re: [Planeside] The Scorching Depths

Post by Ironsmith »

[Pandemonium]

"Libidine... Libidine... do we know a Libidine?" Mendacity frowns.

"Maybe she went by Libby? I remember a few Libbys."

"Like that one with really weird piercing?"

"Yeah, and that one that was always all-" Perfidy puts on a stoic-looking face.

"Oh, yeah! I almost forgot about her. She was cute."

"Yeah, yeah..." Mendacity giggles, before suddenly going pale. "...Oh."

"What?"

"...I just remembered where I heard that name before. Didn't Euphoria and Tricksy work for a devil named Libidine?"

"...Oh. Shit."

"And she was here?!" Mendacity starts pacing back and forth nervously. "If one of the devils turned up here, she has to be looking for refugees-"

"And that means she could find us-"

"And if she's interested in us, specifically, then..."

Perfidy is, by now, a few shades whiter than the sheet. "Oh god, we're screwed..."
Who're you? ...Don't matter.

Want some rye? Course ya do!

Here's to us!
Who's like us?
Damn few,
And they're aaaaall dead.
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