#QueerBlogWed: Roleplaying and Romantic Adversity, Part 4

And here is the final part of this freebie story for The Players Are the Thing. Thank you for the inspiration, P.T. Wyant!

Fidessa played with a long, curling lock of hair the shade of amber wine, raising it to her lips. “Why did you leave me? We were perfect.”

“Passion of a lifetime.” Amber’s words would have been arch and flip if they hadn’t been laced with heartache. “Some things passion can’t ignore.”

“What, the angry spirits attracted to your artist’s work by my curses?” ‘Dessa pouted a little. “None of those statues would have turned into monsters if she’d been more careful.” 

“How was Isolde supposed to be careful?” Amber pulled away, feeling the old anger which made her pull away to begin with. “She knew nothing of magic or the power she was shaping with her hands. She had no idea what she was up against. Nor did her buyers.”

“It’s not like I knew it would get that bad,” Fidessa fiddled with her rings, biting her lower lip. 

It wasn’t a guilty expression. Amber recognized that particular quaver from the moment their relationship started to fall apart. It was an angry one. A jealous one. 

“None of those statues would have turned into monsters if you hadn’t planned it.” Amber slid out of bed, gazing at her clothes lying on the floor. 

She didn’t reach for them. Not yet. 

“I didn’t like the way that artist looked at you,” ‘Dessa lowered her eyelashes, almost growling the words. “Even worse was the way you looked at her.”

****

“Don’t think I haven’t noticed,” Beatrix muttered against Rhane’s cheek. “The way Mona looks at you.”

“Jealous?” Rhane surprised herself with the archness of her tone as she nestled against  Beatrix. It was wonderful to talk to her again. To hear her lover’s voice without the sarcastic edge. 

Once it had been witty, verging upon charming. Only that edge did its best to cut everyone, including Rhane.

“Annoyed. Annoyed that she’s so pushy, yet backs off whenever I say anything about it.” Beatrix sighed. “You’re not helping, encouraging this romance between Amber and Isolde.”

“Amber and Isolde have a very good relationship. A solid friendship with a certain amount of unresolved sexual tension.” Rhane sighed. “I feel it when I’m playing Amber, but I don’t feel it for Mona.”

“I’m not sure if she realizes that.” Beatrix heaved a huge sigh. “You know she and I had something. A long time ago.”

“Really?” Rhane gave her a sideways glance. “I’m surprised it’s not you she’s looking for excuses to touch all the time.”

“She’s too intimidated by me.” Beatrix turned luminous dark eyes upon the ceiling. “I guess being in my game was her way of being close to me, but I thought she enjoyed playing.”

“She did. We all did.” Rhane forced herself to find the courage to say the next part. “We did until you stopped enjoying it.”

Beatrix stiffened, lips twisting until she let out a sigh. “Was it that obvious?”

“You kept trying to push the plot. You stopped listening to us, giving us time to roleplay.”

Rhane pressed her lips to her lover’s chest to soften the blow. “You keep running the game, but it’s like you’re going through the motions.”

Beatrix shut her eyes. “What do I do? I used to love this game. I don’t want to stop. I want to love it again.” 

Rhane took a deep breath, lifting her head a little higher. “Try to remember why you loved it. Maybe you should, err, cleanse your dice while you do?”

“Cleanse my dice?” Beatrix opened her eyes to give her a sardonic squint. “You think my dice are cursed?”

“It wouldn’t hurt,” Rhane coaxed. “Think of it as a psychological exercise. Something to refresh yourself.”

Beatrix released a breath in a half-laugh. “Maybe you’re right.” 

***

“Is that what you’re up to, Amber?” Never had ‘Dessa’s voice been more menacing. “Trying to warn your little player and her fool of a gamemaster about the dice I’ve imbued with my power?”

Amber froze, trembling a little at that tone. “It’s not right. They created us, Fidessa, in order to enjoy themselves. To help work out some of what’s troubling them through roleplaying. Is that so bad?”

“They made us their toys!” Fidessa rose from her bed, pulling the purple covers around her, eyes flashing. “Toys in a game for their amusement! Just who does that arrogant girl think she is?”

In the anger was a vulnerability, a weakness. If Fidessa was Beatrix’s creation, she shared some of her heart, her dreams. Her vulnerabilities. She was a reaction to them. 

Just as Amber was to Rhane’s. What made Rhane precious to Amber offended Fidessa. 

“A lover.” Amber met her lover’s eyes, trying to connect with whatever they had which had just brought them together. “A lover who was losing hers and trying to get her back.”

For a moment something which might have been sympathy flickered in ‘Dessa’s beautiful eyes. It vanished the next moment, consumed by fury. 

“My existence, my feelings for you are a mockery to her. Something to amuse herself with.” Fidessa rose to her full height, towering over Amber. “Maybe you can forgive her, but I never shall.”

“What are you going to do?” Amberwyne tensed, aware she was naked, not carrying any weapons. She could call upon magic, but this was ‘Dessa’s tower. She’d have the advantage. 

“Why would I ruin the surprise?” The enchantress offered her a smile which was pure mockery. “Especially since you seem intent on protecting that gamemaster and her players.”

Amber reached down to pick up her clothing. “What if I offered to stay if you promised not to harm them?”

For a moment, ‘Dessa stared at her. “They mean that much to you?”

Too late did Amber realize her mistake. Her lover was biting her lip, a lip trembling with angry jealousy. 

“They’re our creators.” Amber fumbled for the right words to convince ‘Dessa to stay her hand. “They’re part of us. Please, ‘Dessa. Hurt them and you hurt us.”

“Oh, I’ve only just begun,” Fidessa hissed. “I’ll need to become especially creative, considering how special these girls are to you.” She make a mocking bow of her head. “To us.”

“‘Dessa-“ Amberwyne tried again, reaching out for the other woman. “Please-“

“Get out.” Fidessa turned her back. “Get dressed and go. Never plead with me again. Not unless you’re truly willing to come back.”

“And what does that mean?” Amberwyne picked up her clothes, hugging them to her chest. 

“The very fact that you’re asking means you’re not ready.” The enchantress stood stiff and rigid. “You still have other things you value more. Like that artist. Like those girls.”

“‘Dessa, those girls and their happiness are tied to us!” Amber tried one last time. “If we hurt them, we hurt ourselves.”

“We’ll see.” Fidessa tightened the velvet spread around her. “We’ll just see about that.”

#QueerBlogWed: Roleplaying and Romantic Adversity Part 3

Things got quite steamy between Amber and her adversary, Rhane and her gamemaster as they once were. Where do they go from here?

This is a freebie story from my Work In Progress, The Players Are the Thing, where characters in a roleplaying game try to save their players. It was inspired by the prompts of P.T. Wyant at ptwyant.com.

Spent, yet craving more, Rhane collapsed into Beatrix’s arms, dazed at what had just happened. 

Beatrix’s face was slack with childlike wonder, flushed. “Did you imagine you were…”

She couldn’t finish her sentence.

Rhane finished it for her. “Amber and ‘Dessa? Yes.”

She raised herself to kiss Beatrix’s nose. “I always knew they had that kind of relationship. A little like ours. For which I’m grateful. They brought you back to me.”

Her lover gazed at her with moist dark eyes. “Yes, they did, didn’t they? How strange that the villain in my game would do such a thing.”

“Just because she’s the villain doesn’t mean she doesn’t love Amber,” Rhane countered, feeling the delicious warmth and curve of Beatrix’s body. 

“It’s a vulnerability.” Beatrix frowned. “I wanted Fidessa to be powerful. Enigmatic. Untouchable.”

“Does she really need to be those things?” Rhane kissed her, tasting spice, coffee, and loneliness. Beatrix may have been as lonely as Rhane had been.

As lonely as Fidessa was. ‘Dessa might well be motivated by loneliness. 

“If Fidessa is invulnerable, just what point is there in Isolde, Amber, and Rhiannon opposing her?” Rhane breathed against her lover’s lips. “Loving Amber just makes ‘Dessa more well-rounded.”

“Finding her weakness was the ultimate goal of the game.” Beatrix shut her eyes, withdrawing into herself. 

Rhane watched her to do so, feeling something wrench in her gut. 

***

“You may well be my weakness,” ‘Dessa murmured into Amber’s hair. “I’ll always want you back, even though I shouldn’t.”

“Or maybe I’m your strength.” Amber played with a dark wave of her mistress’s hair. “Maybe what happened with Isolde, with all the artists and artisans’s works developing a cursed life were motivated by jealousy.”

Fidessa scowled. “Are you accusing me of something so petty? I’ve always had plans, Amber. Plans you seem determined to upset.”

Amber leaned a little closer to whisper with playful intentness against her lips, “I can’t believe you didn’t take me into consideration. Especially since I usually upset things.”

***

“Players upset plans.” Rhane pinned her lover beneath her, forcing her to look up. “You were the one who told me that.”

“So I did.” Beatrix let out a sigh, let herself return to the present, to Rhane. A wistful smile played across her lips. “I’ve been a bad gamemaster.”

“The game isn’t over. Not yet.” Rhane ran a finger down Beatrix’s cheek, stroking the curve of her neck. “There’s still time to make some new moves.”

“Or rediscover old ones.” Beatrix reached out to touch a strand of ashen hair which had fallen across Rhane’s face.

To be continued in the final part next Wednesday…

#QueerBlogWed: Roleplaying Games and Romantic Adversity Part 2

Is Rhane losing her mind? She continues where she left off in this four-part freebie story for my Work in Progress, The Players Are the Thing, a story about characters in a roleplaying game trying to save their players. This story was inspired by the prompts of P.T. Wyant, ptwyant.com, a messy house, crackers, and plans.

Rhane wouldn’t look back. She refused to look back until she reached the room she shared with Beatrix and shut the door behind. “What was that?”

She was going nuts. What was happening? 

“Fidessa,” Amberwyne whispered from inside her. It was only to easy to picture her standing at Rhane’s shoulder, breathing in her ear. “You can finally see her, too.”

“Fidessa isn’t real. Neither are you.” The litany of reality rang hollow in her ears. 

Not when she felt Amber’s arms encircle her, enfolding her in a warm embrace. The smell of honey and flowers filled Rhane’s nostils.

“‘Dessa just figured this out herself. That she’s the villain in your Beatrix’s game. Just a character she made up. She’s not happy about it,” Amber murmured against Rhane’s cheek. “She wants to strike back at Beatrix, seize control of this game she’s trapped in through her dice.”

Amber pressed herself against Rhane with the warmth of an entity which wasn’t real. Not that it mattered to Rhane. She sank into her arms, allowing her to become solid, comforting. 

 “‘Dessa wants to master the game master, to take Beatrix’s toys of control from her,” her character whispered. “To teach her what it is to be a toy herself.”

“How can she do that?” Rhane whispered, leaned back into that imaginary warmth. 

The door opened at that moment.

Beatrix stood there, wearing an expression which was very un-Beatrix. 

***

“You told her. Your player.”

Amberwyne stood, facing Fidessa in her tower room. It was a place she often visualized in her imagination and heart. Any moment she’d strip down for her mistress, join her in the waiting bed of purple silk. At any moment she’d entwine her limbs with ‘Dessa’s. They’d be writhing together as they had so many times before. As they still did in Amber’s dreams. 

She dreamed of her mistress. Rhane dreamed of her. How could they unentangle this web of dreams and thwarted desire? 

It flickered in and out of existence. Amber saw the chamber dissolve into Rhane’s bedroom, only to reform. 

***

Beatrix and Rhane gazed at each other, acutely aware of how long it had been since they’d touched each other. Or done anything else. 

Somehow they looked each other, felt their desire rekindling. Through their villain and their character’s emotions. 

Reality was relative at that moment. 

***

Fidessa reached out to cup Amber’s face in her gloved hand. “Am I real to you, Amber? Or am I just the fantasy of a petty creature who uses a game to act out her forbidden desires? Or a nightmare she’s terrified she’s becoming?”

Amber reached out to claim the gloved hand, slipping it off to reach the soft flesh waiting beneath. Waiting to be touched. 

***

Rhane drew a shuddering breath, realized she’d pulled Beatrix in her arms, that Beatrix wasn’t resisting. 

She leaned forward, claimed her lover’s lips in a kiss filled with all her loneliness for the woman she’d once adored. The woman she’d thought she’d stopped loving. Being with Beatrix had become a habit. 

Time to break the habit. Time to transform it into something new. 

Beatrix froze for a moment, shocked, rigid with fear before her mouth softened and opened. 

She pushed Rhane back in the direction of their bed, allowing them both to lose their balance, tumble onto the waiting mattress. 

***

Amberwyne fell back into the waiting silk, legs sliding apart, unsure if she was Rhane with Beatrix or here with ‘Dessa. 

Only to be distracted by long fingers, soft lips, and a tongue seeking the parts of her body they’d once mapped out, discovering them once more. 

Those parts quivered and opened under her lover’s ministrations, coaxed towards shuddering release. 

Again and again. 

To be continued next Wednesday…

#QueerBlogWed: Roleplaying and Romantic Adversity Part 1

This may be one of the sexiest things I’ve ever shared in this Cauldron. It’s a freebie story for my Work in Progress, The Players Are the Thing, a tale about characters in a roleplaying game becoming self-aware and trying to save their players. I can’t believe it came from P.T. Wyant’s Wednesday Words prompt at ptwyant.com involving a messy house, crackers, and plans.

Rhane was only too aware of Mona’s eyes moving across the left-over crackers spilling out of the box on top of the kotetsu, the sweatshirts lying crumbled on the flood, taking in just how messy their apartment had gotten. 

Yes, Mona’s was worse, but this didn’t say much for Beatrix and herself. Mona had to share her townhouse with several flat mates. She and Beatrix had been lucky to get their own place. Why didn’t they take better care of it?

“Yes, why don’t you?” Amberwyne glanced back at her, leaning against the back of the sofa. 

Strange to see her here. Her character shouldn’t be here. Amber should be at the window of a tower, looking down at a landscape of mountains, lakes, rainbow deserts, and shadowy patches spreading across it all. 

“I can almost feel it, like a subtle whiff of something foul lying beneath burning incense.” Amber did a turn upon a rug with a dark purple rose upon it. 

All right, that wasn’t here. 

Rhane could see the stone walls, the brazier, the tapestries with a purple rose in the mouth of a serpentine silver dragon. Just what was this place?

“There’s a curse lying around here,” Amber sniffed the air, standing upon the carpet. She was definitely in the aparment. Only she couldn’t be. “Do you think it’s your dice bag? Or the dice themselves?”

“Well, we do complain about our dice being cursed sometimes,” Rhane said with a laugh before she realized she was talking out loud. 

Mona and Beatrix stood a little distance away, staring at her. 

“Just talking to myself,” Rhane smiled, doing her best to shrug it off. “It was an engrossing conversation.”

“Sorry to interrupt.” Mona smiled right back at her, dark eyes locking a little too long with her own. They were softer and rounder than Beatrix’s, reminding her of a puppy dog’s. Inspiring affection, a desire to pet. Nothing like what she often worried that Mona wanted. 

Beatrix did not smile. “You’ll never stop worrying if you worry about interrupting her conversations with herself. Anyway she was the one interrupting.”

Rhane realized her girlfriend, ahem, game master was carrying a stack of papers in her hand. 

On top was a colored illustration of a wiry dark-skinned girl with silvery-blonde hair and lustrous fushia eyes, dressed in dark purple leather with a flowing cloak catching the wind over her shoulders.

“Is this Rhiannon?” Mona gazed admiringly at the drawing. “Quite the striking character. I don’t like her.”

“Quit channeling your character so much.” Beatrix scowled. “Zoe drew this. Ask nicely and she might draw Isolde.”

“Isolde has more muscles. Strong hands. Pale bluish-green skin like the marble from the quarry near her village.” How different Mona became when talking about Isolde. More thoughtful, instrospective. More interesting. 

“As if I wasn’t aware of this.” If words could slice, these would have taken a swipe at Mona. “I’m well aware of what your character looks like. What she wants.”

Beatrix’s voice changed, deepened, caressing its resonance, becoming much more menacing. 

The air before her swam along with the messy apartment. Rhane swayed, caught herself, realized she was holding the edge of a stone basin attached to a pillar.  

A woman in a velvet dress with a wide, winged collar stood before her, holding a fuschia gem in her gloved hand. Or was it a die? 

Rhane realized she was in the stone room with the tapestries. 

“You know where we are,” Amber moved ahead of Rhane, standing between her and the mysterious woman. “Don’t worry, Rhane. She’s bound by the power of the dice. She can only strike through them.”

“Oh, do you really wish to banish us from reality, Rhane?” How sweet the woman’s voice was. “Amberwyne could be as real as you wish her to be.”

“Wish me into this world and she can step in as well.” Amber shut her eyes as if her own words pained her. “I’m sorry, Rhane. I didn’t know she’d follow me back into your world, using the dice.”

“No,” Rhane took a step backwards, nearly stumbling into the couch. 

Beatrix and Mona were both staring at her. She was back in the messy apartment, her messy apartment, the reality she had to deal with which now felt less safe than it ever had. 

“Rhane, you shouldn’t hear what I’m going to say.” Beatrix’s mouth was moving, but her image was overlapped by the woman in the velvet gown. 

“Yes, I’ve learned a great deal about the upstart artist who lured my Amberwyne away from me.” Menace dripped from each word with seductive slowness. “I’ve been considering just how to thank your beloved Isolde.”

“What?” Rhane blinked to see Mona standing close to her. Too close, invading her personal space.

Not that Beatrix seemed to notice. 

“Rhane, why are you still here?” Her lover wrinkled her nose. “Mona and I need  to talk about Isolde. Player to game master.”

“Sorry, Rhane.” Mona looked at her with those velvet brown eyes, sad and longing. “Amber shouldn’t know these things. Neither should you.”

“Go.” All of a sudden Fidessa was there, in the apartment. She placed her hands on an oblivious Beatrix’s shoulders, fixing her own fuschia eyes upon Rhane. “It’s not time for me to play with you yet.”

Rhane fled up the stairs, wondering if she’d lost her mind.

To be continued next Wednesday…

R is for Rhodry

I was the first. The scribbler’s first character to emerge from a roleplaying game. 

I’d been in many. A table-top campaign and one-shots, inspiring fanfic on the part of our scribbler. Years later, I and my entire family were revised and transported to The Keep; an interactive writing/online roleplaying project. House Mavelyne went from being a noble family of blood mages to a branch in a powerful dynasty, entwining itself with other player’s noble houses and bloodlines. Ours was ruled and guided by a single vampire against Unicorn clerics and a dragon enemy (created and controlled by another player). Caught in the middle, I became one of several youths who took place in the Keep’s Library, a neutral institution. At The Keep, I became Rhodry Mavelyne.

Yes, that’s where our scribbler’s nickname and handle, rhodrymavelyne comes from. It comes from me. Once upon a time, I was a major part of her life. 

Sadly that has changed when I changed again. 

I’ve transformed into Rhodry Nevalyn, one of the Serpent-Born descendents of Nevalyn herself in Trouble at Caerac Keep. Our story is a fantasy mystery work in progress, taking place in the Worlds of Ouroborous centuries after A Suitor’s Challenge. Some of my original conception has been revised, including a special familar. Our scribbler is revising some of her oldest materal for this project. 

The problem is I have to compete with Christopher and Tales of the Navel for her attention. Christopher took Danyel, Tayel (who used to be Dayel), and Leiwell away from me, making them part of his Shadow Forest. I can’t help being resentful of that. His story took on a deeper meaning for the scribbler. Mine isn’t nearly as strange or complex. 

Not that it’s all bad. I have companions in Trouble at Caerac Keep I didn’t. Only I don’t trust them. They don’t trust me either. At least one of them despises me. It’s hard not to miss The Keep sometimes. It’s hard when my story keeps getting put aside. At least I know the scribbler won’t forget Trouble at Caerac Keep or me. 

I is for Isolde

I’ve had many conceptions. I’ve been a troll artist for a roleplaying game. Much of my genesis came from the scibbler when reading about Michelangelo; his affinity with stone, his efforts to free the art he saw trapped in the stone. Some of this concept went to Quartz. Some of it stayed with me. Working with stone, feeling Fidessa’s victims trapped within the rock gave me an idea of what she was up in The Players Are the Thing. 

I thought this was our story. Mine and Amberwyne’s. Only it turns out to be just a game a group of lonely, bored girls are playing. Why would anyone play our lives? Why would anyone play with our lives? What sort of monster is capable of such a thing? Except I sometimes catch glimpses of my creatrix. She’s no monster. She’s a frustrated woman trying to express things she cannot. I’m that expression. I’m her creativity given life and voice. I cannot say I’m unhappy with the life and voice I have, for all the danger I encounter. 

I’m not sure if she is, which is a waste. She should stop and enjoy life more. Enjoy me more. Here’s hoping she listens when I try to tell her or show here. Here’s hoping the scribbler doesn’t forget The Players Are the Thing. We’ve come too far for her to forget.