Izobella: Part II

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The Inevitable City invited Izobella to hours of exploration, and a chance to meet certain influential denizens perhaps. In the cyclopean halls of that city, where the abyss awaits quietly like a bottomless sea, Izobella found the general commerce building where one might learn a trade skill, buy rare dyes imported from strange far flung corners of the world, or find a merchant willing to trade bits of scavenged merchandise for silver and gold.

Humming throughout the citadel was its sense of pure chaotic power, which in Izobella’s mind, had much to do with the central pylon located in the roofless commerce building. From that pylon an unceasing beam of chaos crackled red from the heavens to the deep core deep in the city’s roots itself. She had a theory that this was pure corruption, the pure energy of the Chaos god, Tzeentch himself. But of course it was only a theory, it’s true purpose might perhaps be for some other occult reason that yet eluded her.

Her first real contact with another being was with a dandy clad in pink silks, a fellow associated with the local Slaanesh cult, a cult given to excess, intoxications, and other venal sins she was well versed within. “You are a stranger, methinks,” the dandy said, waddling out of an alley. “And you would be looking for a home. A guild by which you might meet other fellows of your own kind?”

“What kind might that be,” Izobella asked, her Tzeentch disc wobbling under her feet. The corpulent lord of lust had surprised her, even caused a shred of revulsion to slide up her spine. In truth the guild tout’s bald, sweaty appearance made him look like a great baby swaddled in pink.

“Why, a magus of course,” he chuckled, fiddling ceaselessly with large sausage-like fingers. “And a fine magus you be,” his eyes slid up her robed form like leeches crawling up a leg.

“You got me there,” Izobella smiled, easing her sense of distaste. What harm would befall her if she did nibble at the bait? The corpulent tout did have a point. What in Kyber did she really know about this world. “How do we proceed?”

“Tis easy, easy as pie,” he said, reaching into his sweaty pink robes, satin rustling like snakes in dried leaves. “Merely wear this medallion for all too see, and you can be one of us. You will find certain niceties in association with us, yes, yes, niceties abound. But you are free to wonder. We have no creed, no law, no meetings to attend.”

“Then why do I matter,” Izobella asked, holding up the medallion to the weak sunlight that yet penetrated the eternal overcast mood of the citadel.

“Slaanesh sees, Slaanesh smiles,” he said. “It is wise to appease the god of lust, yes, yes, wise beyond years to deliver unto Slaanesh the gift of your flesh.”

“And what does this god look like in appearance? How will I note…the manifestation?”

“Manifestation? Yes, yes. Form. Sometimes Slaanesh appears as a transvestite queen, tall, proud, muscular, but clad in the sensual garb of a temple prostitute. And yet sometimes, Slaanesh is dark haired female like yourself, pale of skin, dark in demeanor, but charming, beautiful, beautiful beyond compare. Yes, yes.”

“I see,” Izobella smiled cautiously. What she had her was a cult devoted to either a fop or a necromantic doll who got hers by the way she appeased, or did not exactly appease her, or was it his, followers? “And besides rewards, which I assume are had in market stalls in terms of bargains, what else do I get for my trouble?”

“Trouble,” the tout gaped. “Trouble? Why surely you feel the purr of Slaanesh in your blood even now, my dear. Do not stand here and tell me you do not gain by your looks. Have you no sense of pleasure? Have you no sense of pride when you stand by someone as devoted to pleasure as you and I surely are?”

“Pleasure,” Izobella smiled, noting the dandy’s silk stockings on his legs that appeared whenever he rustled his pink gown with agitation, “pleasure is a tool used on the weak minded. I draw my power from pain and suffering.”

“Yes, yes,” the dandy clapped, “Slaanesh knows pain. Slaanesh gifts pain as rewards. Why I could show you the scars of whips, the burns of irons on flesh if that is your thing.”

“No thank you,” Izobella said, handing the medallion of Slaanesh back to the tubby tout, “I don’t think you understand.”

“Or I could demonstrate before a statue of Slaanesh, or you could. Or we both could, and both profit wisely if you get my meaning, my lady.”

“I will not demonstrate before a statue of your god, I refuse your proposal.”

“You reject the God of Lust? You reject Slaanesh?” the tout said, and despite his smile, his voice took on a darker tone. “O, you hussy. You tramp! You will be sorry for rebuking Slaanesh. You will need us one day. You will turn to Slaanesh in times of dire need and Slaanesh will not be there.”

“I don’t need your god to protect me. I have my will. I have my spells.”

“Tut, tut, dear! Your powers, like your good looks, will one day fade. And when you are feeble and old, bent on all fours somewhere on the side of the road, scrounging for morsels to feed your dying body, you will remember the day a Priest of Slaanesh offered you this advantage.”

Izobella spread her lips in a cruel grin. “And when you have been used by your god to the fullest extent of your fleshy endurance, and be but a corpulent pool of orgiastic nerves without the means  to move about, you will remember that I do not need Slaanesh to help me towards my destiny.”

With that, Izobella tilted her body and backed away from the sputtering priest as best she could. She was not used to the disc, but she was getting better all the time with it. She laughed at herself for letting the man get to her, but that was only due to her sense of loss, her sense of not knowing where to go, to step, to explore.

What she needed was a guide. Someone who had connections with important brokers, someone who knew the land like the back of their hand. In old Eberron, she would be in the market for a ranger, but here, she was not so sure. Perhaps the best plan was to follow someone, overhear what they said to an agent of travel, and let dark fate guide her then…

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