December 31, 2012 Leave a comment
“But Master, you can’t,” Carraith insisted, her tail twitching irritably.
Xanaroth continued writing at his desk, ignoring the succubus’s tantrum. She had been at it since he’d come home the night before. “Watch me,” he said, dipping his quill into the inkwell. “And need I remind you that you don’t make the decisions around here.”
“She’s not suitable! She’s hardly even–”
He supposed he was fortunate not to have had to deal with a jealous succubus before now. Still, her wailing was grating on his nerves. “Not suitable? It was your idea in the first place. You’re upset now that I’ve decided to act on it?”
Carraith gave him a dark look, crossing her arms. “I changed my mind.”
“In that case,” Xanaroth replied, “I suggest you change it back. And keep away from her, lest you find yourself bound in the Nether.” The demon gave an indignant huff at that, but at least it got her to stop talking. He had worked with Carraith for a great many years, but it wasn’t an idle threat — if she caused trouble with Vallindra he would be all too happy to send her away.
He continued in silence, pausing to frown at the paper. He frowned and tore it up, fetching a fresh sheet. Carraith glanced over, her tone softened. “What are you writing?”
Xanaroth’s ear twitched. “A letter,” he muttered. How was he to begin it? “Dear” might be too familiar just yet, but he didn’t want to seem too impersonal either. There were so many opportunities to say the wrong thing. With Saralith it had been much simpler, everything was arranged so it was only a matter of agreeing or not. They’d gone to eat together, and her company was pleasant enough. She had her own interests and was quite intelligent, so he agreed. All he’d had to do was show up to the ceremony, really. And things with the ranger had just sort of happened on its own, quite naturally. He hadn’t stopped to think about what he was supposed to say, because in the end it didn’t really matter. Whatever he said was always the right thing.
In the end, he opened with simply her name. He remembered that she hated when her sister shortened it to “Val”, so he made a note to avoid that.
You may find it odd that I am sending a letter when we are certain to see each other soon. The reason is that I believed you might wish to receive a letter, and there are some things I find it easier to write than to speak of. I think this is especially true when speaking to you, as I have found I am always afraid I will say the wrong thing.
I am not sure if you are aware, but the study of various herbs and plants is a long-time interest of mine. In addition to the properties of color that they lend an ink, different plants may imbue the finished product with magical effects. The plants of Outland are considered exotic to many, not only for their rarity but for their effects, many of which cannot be replicated by other means.
One of the most remarkable of these is the plant commonly called “netherbloom”. This plant, rare even on its home world, can thrive only in areas of high magical concentration. It requires a constant supply of magical energy, either through the ground or in rarer cases, from airborne streams such as those found in Netherstorm. Alone, its essence has few effects. It is only when combined with another that its true nature is revealed; it amplifies and strengthens whatever it is paired with. Its high levels of magical energy can sometimes be unpredictable, and lead to wholly unexpected results. In the living plant, the magical energy is so concentrated that insects and animals that come into contact with it may actually be altered — or even die — from the exposure. Even magically-resistant creatures such as mana wyrms and nether rays can react in such a way to this plant. Yet its allure is so great that these animals are drawn to it in spite of the danger, ensuring that the plant’s pollen is carried to new ground even though it may kill its carrier.
I hope you will not be offended if I admit that you remind me very much of this flower, perhaps in part because we are here in its home.
PS – Please be wary of any strangers, particularly in female guise. My succubus is a bit displeased with me at the moment and may try to bother you.