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[NPC-M] Étude

Quote:The waves crashed against the distant shoreline, like rippled glass drawn across white silk. Somewhere a bullfrog croaked dolefully in the late afternoon sun, contemplating the opening strains of the evening's song. Nesheika walked up the plank-paved road from the stream with a fresh basin of water. It sloshed patiently within its vessel, artfully balanced on the veiled crown of the islander's head. The basin was a wide, terra cotta vase. Handcrafted, obviously, and scratched with decades of use.

Perhaps this village had a name. Maybe even the miniscule atoll that the village inhabited might have a designation in some rarely accessed Imperial shipping register. For all intents and purposes, however, the inhabitants of either simply had to call their home The Island, or The Village in order to know that it was home. On the matter of Imperial shipping, The Island never really saw any in a meaningful sense of the word. Oh, certainly, they could literally see the high-masted freighters cruising across the blue horizon, but they never served as more than a moment's distraction from the quiet bustle of the bucolic lifestyle.

As Nesheika reached her destination, a sudden cry of agony split the tranquility apart. It was long, drawn, and hoarse, and it was also accompanied by a string of obscenities that the young sand maiden could only fathom the meaning of.

"For all that is fucking holy will you sopping cuntwads just yank this fatherfucking bitch outta me already?!"

Nesheika's eyebrows bobbed upwards in a momentary, dull, look of surprise before dutifully pulling the beaded curtain back. The inside of the thatched, driftwood laden bungalo was warm, dim, and scented with the equally heady aromas of coconut and human effluence. Makeshift mannequins adorned the walls, along with bobbins of thread and skeins of yarn in more colors than can be responsibly listed here. Another teeth-grinding shriek issued out from behind a carved, teak partition. The scream was cut short by the soothing encouragement of Nesheika's mother and erstwhile instructor in the art of midwifery.

"Breath-breath-breath, deeeeep now." Assul said softly, mopping the sweat from her patient's forehead with an already soggy rag. No matter how many times Nesheika saw the woman currently writhing in her bed, Myla Wover would always be a fascinating oddity to the otherwise sheltered islander. Skin as pale as the coral sand, with tiny hornlets as dark as stained ebony...hair the color of the last mauve glints of sunset, and her eyes...orange and fierce. Candles in the night. Yes, it certainly had taken the villagers to get used to their newest member, but when the Angels had told them to take good care of the strange woman, they had no reason to refuse. Besides, despite her outwards appearance, Myla was still a normal woman in all the ways that mattered to the island's head medicine woman. Assul looked up, suddenly noticing her daughter's presence.

"Thank you, Neshy..." the midwife said, using her daughter's pet name, "...put it over on the stove, please, and bring the other."

Nesheika nodded softly and did as she was instructed, setting the warmed pot of water next to her mother. Assul dipped the cloth into the water and used it to clean up Myla's blood-crusted particulars. She tutted softly as she did so.

"We just might have to, k'ou aloha...but I'm afraid she's having trouble, comin' out kickin' first like she is. We'a have to cut the uh..." Assul said, scrunching up her face as she tried to remember the English word for perineum.

"Cut the what?!" Myla bitched, leaning up slightly before letting out a defeated groan. Her vaginal muscles clenched fruitlessly on the child half-way born. Everyone was exhausted. They'd been at this for almost twelve hours now, and to her credit, Myla's baby was still hanging to life. Assul's lack of a direct answer, but very apparent possession of a scalpel caused Myla's entire body to tense. The aging medicine woman nodded at Nesheika and then towards he bag, yapping something in the native tongue that the ex-succubus was still trying to learn. The younger attendant rummaged for a moment before producing a small, long tiki made of hardwood.

"For bite." Nesheika said softly, before cramming it Myla's mouth and imperiously grabbing Myla's sweaty forearms. The demoness's eyes went wild with panic, while she inwardly marveled at how such a delicate young lady could have a grip stronger than some of the road warriors she'd known in the Underverse. A strangled, gurgling scream tried to vibrate passed the tiki clutched in her teeth as a sudden eruption of white pain bloomed from her genitals. Myla's entire body contorted in confusion at the sequence of events, and the world spinned sickeningly. Nesheika lovingly cradled Myla's head as she dry heaved pointlessly off the side of her pillow, having already evacuated the last her stomach contents a few hours prior. She wanted to stop screaming, really, but the utter, unrelenting tedium and indignity of the entire birthing process was beginning to crack the last vestiges of sanity the demoness possessed.

When she was finally done with her hysterics, more due to exhaustion than adaptation to the howling pain, she weakly fixed her gaze out the open window towards the billowing palm leaves and sinfully blue sky beyond. Myla just focused on breathing for now, as he hearing gradually returned. Nesheika was no longer at her side. She could hear the two women speaking in hushed tones from the foot of the bed, and the intermittent clicking of medical implements. Myla swallowed dryly.

"Assul..." she murmured in a scratchy, distant tone. There was no immediate response. Myla's eyes drooped shut for a moment, and maybe some time passed. Maybe not. She couldn't tell.

"Assul...!" Myla tried again, still to no avail. A rising tension began to emerge in her throat. With great effort, she turned her head down to stare at the two women. Blood covered almost the entire lower half of her body, at least based on what she could see over her extended abdomen. A pale, yellow coil of flesh trailed over the foot of the bed, where Assul and Nesheika's heads bobbed up and down. More hushed murmurs came to her ears as the ringing in them subsided.

"Ladies...? What's going on? Talk to me."

"Is she okay?"

"Assul?! Wh-what's going on!?"
And, we dream of home I dream of life out of here Their dreams are small My dreams don't know fear I got my heart full of hope I will change everything No matter what I'm told How impossible it seems We did it before And we'll do it again We're indestructible Even when we're tired And we've been here before Just you and I
Don't try to rescue me I don't need to be rescued

Quote:Angry shouts came from inside the town's meeting house. The long, teakwood structure was spilling orange firelight through its windows, along with the tension and fury of the dozen or so islanders who hadn't gone home yet. It had been two days since Myla had given birth to the tiny child dozing on her breast. Assul and Nesheika had carried her via what amounted to a glorified wheelbarrow over to the square. The Underverse native had been there for several hours now, and despite her porcelain skin, had no signs of sunburn. It was clear enough evidence that there was still at least a trace of infernal power in her; a fact which was readily evident by the baby's limp, dangling tail.

The tiny baby girl was not doing well. Despite the midwive's best ministrations, she had yet to show more than just the basic reflexes. Her appetite was almost nonexistent, and she was rather frail and thin looking. Myla, despite consciously knowing better, was nauseous with a sense of guilt. Guilt that she hadn't taken better care of herself, and thereby the baby, during her pregnancy. Guilty that, now, she could not immediately make the whole world right for her.

Despite Assul's constant badgering, Myla hadn't named the child yet, either. Succubus culture didn't really have conventions for that sort of thing. Newly imagined flesh toys were usually given their names by their first owners, which was a cultural convention that Myla simply did not want to imagine for the girl. The succubus breathed slowly, disembarking that train of thought, as several more islanders stormed out of the longhouse. They cast scornful glances at her before bustling away. Myla held their furious stares as long as they were willing to throw them at her. She had no excuses for them, nor did she feel the need to make any.

Obviously, Myla had always been an object of some fascination on the nameless island. Delivered here by some of Omni's angels, they had revered her as an honored guest. But, in the course of delivering the child and discussing her maladies with Assul, it had come to light that Myla was, in fact, a native of Diablo's realm. The villagers did not take kindly to her, or this infernal freak she had shit out of her womb.

...in so many words.

Either way, she was taboo, and the villagers wanted her gone. Fine. Whatever. Myla was used to being passed around, and if the damn savages couldn't even extend any compassion to her baby, then good riddance. The big debate, however, was whether or not they should help the newborn and her still-recovering mother reach the nearby Cinnabar Island or not. One of the drawbacks of living on a communal island was that everybody had equal say in resource allocation. If the islanders set Myla up with their best catamaran, medical resources, and food, then there was a complete guarantee that those would simply be burned.

Myla waved away a particularly persistent moth as Assul and Nesheika were shooed out from the interior of the building by the remaining council. The succubus waved at them in a nonchalant manner, and was not surprised when she was given bad news.

"Little help. Some food. Water. Canoe...but..." Assul said, shrugging slightly. Her face was full of pain; the old midwife blamed herself for Myla's plight. When she had first informed the island chief of Myla and her child's true nature, she hadn't expected this kind of backlash. Myla simply wished Assul had run the idea past her first, as the mother. She could have told the well-meaning lady what she could expect. Still, Myla had been roughing it in the Salt Flats for years and years; how much more difficult could an ocean journey be?

"Alright, and I'm supposed to know where I'm going...how?" Myla said simply. She gazed down at the baby girl, fast asleep. Under different circumstances, it may have been adorable. As it was, there was a constant avalanche of panic rising in the demonic mother's gut that filled to overflow at any moment.

"Map." Nesheika said softly, waving a pack of weathered paper in her hand.

"When?" Myla sighed. Assul and Nesheika exchanged a conversational glance.

"Tonight." said a gruff voice. It was the island chieftan. Tall and hoary, with pillowy white chest hair and skin the color of coconut husks. He looked every bit like the type of guy who could harpoon a sportfish like it was taking out the trash. Good for him. Myla snorted.

"Gather things. Boat will be ready." he grunted, before turning on his heel and slamming the rickety door behind him. To Assul and Nesheika's immediate dismay, Myla hauled herself out of her chair, wobbled slightly, then squared her shoulders.

"Well then, ladies. Thank you for slicing open my taint and pulling the demon baby out of me." Myla said in a stiff tone. She immediately chastised herself for her abrasive treatment of the women. They had been her absolute saviors over the past several months. At the same time...her anger needed an outlet, and she didn't want to antagonize the people responsible for her exile, lest they try even harder to send her to her death.

About half an hour later, Myla had packed together a bag for her and the baby and marched down to the shoreline. Indeed, there was a boat on the sand for her, with a small basket of food and supplies. The demon mother shuffled down through the cool sand and tossed her rucksack into the keel of the ocean-worthy hunk of wood, where it landed with a dull clang. The baby girl, slung to her hip in an improvised pouch, was asleep again. Most of the time spent in her hut had been trying to encourage the drowsy creature to eat. The girl had taken a small helping from Myla's aching breasts, but probably not enough, before falling asleep again.

The palm trees rustled and glinted under the waxing moon that hung auspiciously in the sky. Myla became aware of another presence on the beach, and turned to see the shawl-covered form of Nesheika. Her face was covered, buy Myla had custom tailored clothes for almost every lady on the nameless atoll. She knew her work, and who was wearing it, when she saw it.

"Hey Nesh–" Myla started, attempting to apologize, but the young woman shook her head furiously. She held a silent finger to her lips, and Myla nodded softly. Nesheika gestured for Myla to get into the canoe, and after the ex-succubus clambered inside, Nesheika pushed the whole boat into the surf and vaulted in, the hem of her shawl dripping with saltwater. Myla reached for an oar, but it was snatched out of her grasp by the eager young lady who tutted her tongue impatiently. The mother contented herself with hugging the baby girl close to her once more, and let Nesheika navigate the boat out through the breakers. Once things had quieted down, and the only noises were the intermittent, slushy strokes of the island girl's paddling, Myla spoke up.

"Sorry." she said. It was an apology for several things, but Nesheika simply offered one of her musical, lilting laughs.

"Need help. Have baby. Need map." Nesh said, a mirthful tone in her voice. Myla turned around in the darkness to peer at the midwife, and grinned sheepishly. The folded wad of papers was sitting on Nesheika's lap. In her rush to be rid of the xenophobic tribalists, Myla had forgotten to take the map from her younger midwife. They shared a moment of bonding laughter before Nesheika recommended Myla to rest, and the mother took the suggestion.

Two days passed, and on the third night, much to Myla's delight, the baby girl shit all over her. The mother's delight was not so much out of being excited by such filth. Granted, she wouldn't have cared if that was the case. There were a lot of things wrong with the Underverse, but you would be hard-pressed to find any form of kink shaming there. But no, the mother's happiness was due to the very evident fact that, at least to some degree, the tiny baby girl's body was working. Beneath the constant napping, ghostly appetite, and utter silence, there was a living, growing body attached to the serene face. As Nesheika and Myla took turns washing the mother's clothes in the quiet surf, the conversation of a name was struck up again.

"Just easier!" Nesh said, wringing sea water out of Myla's skirt. The almost-nude mother had just finished swaddling the baby again when she stood up and stretched her back in a luscious manner. For better or worse, the desert-dweller was starting to get her sea legs. As Myla sat back down, in no hurry to dress again, she glanced back at the diligent young woman and sighed.

"Oh for fuck's sake. You name her then." Myla said, a curious grin on her face. Nesheika looked as if she had just been stung.

"Me? Name?" Nesheika said in mild bewilderment. Myla laughed in spite of herself.

"Shit yeah, girl! She and I owe you at everything, seems like a good start to me." Myla said, her auburn hair glittering in the pure sunlight. Nesheika looked around, as if the solid blue horizon could offer her insight into this sudden crisis. Just as Myla was beginning to consider rescinding the offer, just for Nesh's own sake, the midwife spoke up.

"Elise." she said softly. Myla was taken aback. She had been expecting some sort of verbose, tiki-ass name.

"Elise?" Myla said, her surprise evident in her curious pitch. Nesheika back down at the damp garment in her small, but strong, hands.

"Y...yes. I like piano, and...if you don't like it..." she started, but Myla had already picked the napping baby girl up and held her out for Nesheika to see. Elise's eyes were closed, but Myla pretended that wasn't the case.

"See there, Elise? That's your godmomma! That's Neshie! Say hi!" Myla said, having genuinely no clue what a godmother was. She placed her mouth against the back of the baby's swaddling and imitated a tiny, adorable voice.

"Hi Neshie! I'm Elise!" Myla chirped, making the baby's bundle bob up and down in pantomime. Nesheika blushed happily, just as the still ocean water was shattered by a staccato blast of small arms fire. The two women ducked pointlessly behind the runners of the canoe, as more bullets whizzed overhead, plopping softly into the water behind them. Distant, echoing cries came from some distant point, and Myla peeked her eyes over the edge of the canoe just enough to see a small cadre of human figures hopping onto various pokémon and beginning to ride them out into the surf.

They had been passing by what they had assumed to be yet another, nameless sand bar. They had even considered camping there for the night, but decided that Cinnabar was close enough to reach by daybreak. How the pirates on the grottoed islet had seen them in the twilight was unknowable, but what Myla did know was that they were in deep shit. Myla swore several Underverse exclusive curses under her breath as she propped Elise up against a bench and began rummaging through her rucksack. Nesheika was already beside herself. That was fine. She had been paddling them across the fucking ocean for half a week. Myla could do this.

She could do this.

"I can do this." she growled, pulling several red shells and a literal SPAS 12 tactical shotgun out of her bag. She racked them in and gave the black boomstick a satisfying pump before ducking back out of sight.

She could hear the jeering voices getting closer and closer...
And, we dream of home I dream of life out of here Their dreams are small My dreams don't know fear I got my heart full of hope I will change everything No matter what I'm told How impossible it seems We did it before And we'll do it again We're indestructible Even when we're tired And we've been here before Just you and I
Don't try to rescue me I don't need to be rescued

Quote:"Hey! Pretty ladies!" came a jeering voice. Myla peeked out through an impeccably placed bullet hole in the sidewall. A shirtless, well-tanned man was riding on top of...some kind of dopey looking whale raft monster. She never got the hang of memorizing pokémon, despite their rampant use in the Vasty Deeps. They hadn't shown up much on the nameless island, and what Myla didn't have in front of her was rarely her concern. She was fairly confident they would respond the same way most other things did to a point-blank shotgun blast.

Another one of the lackadaisical pirates swished up, riding some sort of...giant blue wart with red bulbs. The hell? Myla glanced back and Nesheika for a moment, then performed a double take. The young woman was clutching a dark patch on her shawl, and a rather significant amount of blood was beginning to stain the palmwood canoe.

"Fuck!" Myla spat, double checking the safety on her firearm. There was no way their tiny boat could handle the blast from a SPAS 12 without risking capsizing, but maybe if she remained seated, it would help a little bit. Her thoughts raced, looking around for other options when the first hooting brigand spoke up again. Except with his gun. The harsh, rattling blasts seemed to punch the very air as they whizzed overhead. For the first time in her life, Elise made a noise. A small, pathetic little whimper where her face scrunched into an expression of very deep discomfort. Myla stared, wide-eyed at the tiny creature for what seemed like an eternal, strangling moment. Cold, burning adrenaline rose from every inch of her demonic body, filling her brain with one directive and all the strength she needed to see it done.

The woman was utterly incoherent with fury as she lurched up from her cover and leveled the black implement of death at the shirtless pirate. A fantastic, miraculous thud sent him flying off his stupid animal and into the serene ocean in a puff of pinkish haze.

"Fuck me!" the other scout swore, swiftly raising his own gun at Myla. It was some poorly maintained autopistol, and the hasty shots slapped into the water around Myla. The ex-War Bitch swung her SPAS around on the inexperience cuthroat, pumped, and fired another sharp blast. Apparently, however, whatever mutant dinosaur the pirate was riding had woven some sort of invisible forcefield with a quick swipe of grey tentacles. Myla shrieked in fury and flicked the tactical shotgun in to semiauto, and sprayed the beast with two more shells, blinded to the fact that its writhing arms were snaking in around her feet. With a sharp yelp, she was yanked from the canoe with immense force, and held aloft like a target for the tentacular monster's fidgeting rider.

Myla screamed with pain and rage as agony flooded into her legs. Millions of stinging cells dug into her porcelain flesh with relish. In the confusion, she realized she had dropped the shotgun, and flailed spitefully at the shaken buccaneer, just out of reach. The young man had not expected to encounter the rage of a provoked mother that day, and any normal bravado he may have had was swallowed hard. The old, dirty glock was pointed at Myla with one hand, and a burst of four shots rang out. In her thrashing, the the succubus managed to constrain the damage to a lacerated cheek, but she suddenly felt a sudden burst of warmth and soreness from between her legs. Not that she cared at the moment.

The berserk mother suddenly became aware of another woman's scream, and twisted around to see Nesheika on her feet, stabbing tearfully at the wriggling tentacles around Myla's ankles. A gout of green blood sprayed over the island girl's vibrant shawl, but the glinting of her knife did not cease. All at once, Myla was released, and the demon mother scrabbled fitfully on top of the rubbery monster's head. She groped angrily at the young man's legs, trying to upset his balance, anything. The pirate did indeed stumble, and with a yelp, began to slide backwards of the bulbous pokémon's head. Through sheer luck, or perhaps, the serendipity of rage, Myla caught the boy's glock as it was dropped and cracked a snap shot right between his eyes as he sank beneath the surf. His gaze remained surprised as it disappeared into the deep, blue eternities.

Myla wasted no time, and emptied the remained of the shitty handgun's magazine into one of the seamonster's glistening red bulbs. There came a highpitched keening, then stillness as the jellyfish pokémon keeled over in the water. Myla slipped drunkenly into the waves, and pulled herself back towards the canoe, where Nesheika stood with arms outstretched. Myla rose her feet to the side of the canoe, but found them numb and unresponsive. The women panted and strained, and only after a severe effort, was the succubus hauled about the dangerously pitching boat. Water now filled the keel almost by half, spilling in through bullet holes. As Myla sunk he weight back onto one of the benches, she noticed two things.

First, the intense amounts of blood tricking out from under her britches and down her thighs. An experimental touch confirmed that her crotch had torn open again in all the fuss. Second, a quick scan of the island revealed about six more of the fuckers piling into an outboard dingy and motoring towards them. Gunfire was already start to come their way. Myla began to panic.

"Shit. Shit." she stammered, looking around for the SPAS. She hoisted the shotgun onto her lap and stuck her finger into the tubular magazine. She had...five, maybe six, shots left. A gentle shuffling sound from her right caused her twist around and watch as Nesheika slumped against the side of the canoe. The midwife's eyes fluttered softly and her breaths became heavy.

"Shit!" Myla continued, flopping over and fruitlessly pawing and grabbing at the girl's listless body. There was nothing she could do for her. Not right now. Elise was still fussing, crying loudly now, which was ironically the only good thing that was currently happening. Her noise was reassurance of her life. Of the tiny baby's will to live. Myla was breathing heavily. She felt dizzy, and the world swam in front of her. It wasn't from blood loss; she was very familiar what that particular faintness felt like. This was crushing, overwhelming dread and fear. A bullet caught her in her left shoulder and she went spiraling down to the ocean-flooded floor of the canoe. Myla's eyes opened again, slowly, and she looked up at her baby girl, wailing in fear.

Myla knew what she had to do. The baby's father had told her what to do if things got this bad. A fire alarm. The last resort. The succubus mother held the swaddled daughter close as tears began to flow, uncontested, from her eyes. She hugged Elise tightly to her chest, shaking her head in protest of what she knew she had to do. Myla the Demon poured as much love and sweetness as she could manage into the tiny, shrieking child. This may be the final chance to do so. Then, when the timing grew urgent, she spoke in a whisper, for that was all that was needed.


Everything stopped. A shadow fell across the ocean, or rather, the sky. There was nothing so vulgar and mundane as a sudden eclipse, or passing cloud. The light simply waned, and in its place, came the sound. A bellowing, undulating sort of trumpeting vibration that filled the air and water like the approach of a hasty glacier. Shrill, keening piplets danced on the crests and crescendos of this deeper music. It was a vacuous, rhythmless piping that did not recall the timing or pace of any sane world. Myla felt herself sit upright, freed from her pain and suffering, clutching Elise tightly in her arms. The girl's face was frozen in an expression of horror befitting the sudden shift.

A great bulge perverted the surface of the azure waters, heralding the emergence of some immense, profane thing from the depths. The saltwater cascades stretched and froze in their upward paths, up, up, up, as the towering unthing reached its full height of somewhere beyond infinity. Eyes bloomed on it; thousands in clusters of millions, all burning with the same, delighted viridian color that Myla had stared into as Elise's father was burned into the destiny of the Omniverse. There was a new sound, something like the white tinkling of rain on pavement, but upon closer observation, the demon mother realized that it was, in fact, the sound of a million black, seething worms writhing against eachother's mucous-defiled flesh.

The pillar of unthing stood tall and irreverent against all rational description, and it wasn't for some time until something else happened. At length, Myla became aware of an approaching figure from the distant column of depravity. It walked, robed in darkness itself, along the leading edge of an unfurling, tapered tentacle of immense strength. The robed man was unhurried in his pace, walking as if through a sunny park or quaint museum. That burning, acid green light shone from under the low hood, and for a moment, Myla's heart fluttered in vain hope. Could this, perhaps, be Tearen come back for her and their child?

No. There was a shift, and the robed figure stood before her in her charnel canoe, staring down from atop his position on a glistening, onyxian pseudopod. Two hands, as black as charcoal, pulled back the hood, revealing a long, gaunt face that stared down at Myla and Elise with undeserved fondness. The Black Man spoke.

"We were hoping this day would come." he whispered. The vocalization seemed to hiss forth from the air and waves themselves, as if commanded to vibrate in keeping with the movement of black lips.

"This is...the singular brood of Nealaphh?" the Black Man crooned, reaching out to run a clammy hand over Elise's damp, sweaty hair. Myla screamed inside herself, but took no action to resist. She was not meant to. She knew this to some degree. Intuitive as breathing, and yet it hurt her all the same.

"He ditched that name a long time ago. His name was Tearen." Myla said, her glinting, orange eyes fighting against the emerald hues arrayed against her. The glacial trumpeting rumbled more intensely for a moment, and then subsided.

"So, you're Azathoth then?" Myla spoke up, having come to the understanding that she was now permitted to speak, to some extent, freely. The Black Man chuckled loathsomely, his shoulders bouncing softly, before replying.

"No, my goodness no. Azathoth does not permit Himself the indignity of treating with bric-a-brac moppets such as yourself. But the child..." the Black Man said, running another chilly hand over Elise's scalp,"...she is of royal bearing. You seek her deliverance from...this?" he said, gesturing at the floating corpses and the advancing skiff, still as a statue on distant waves.

"Not just this...but...can you do something for her? Protect her? Make her...I dunno...invincible?" Myla said softly, not being permitted to feel anger when addressing the Right Hand of the Daemon Sultan.

"Primehood? You would have her under the jurisdiction of that feckless, grinning janitor enthroned in the Oververse?" the Black Man said, undeniable mirth in his voice. He let out a long, dark sigh.

"No, I think not. The Sultan has grander schemes for little Elise." the tall, human-shaped blasphemy crooned. He stooped over and took Elise from Myla's arms, who offered the baby to her with no resistance. Pain. Anguish. Regret. All of these things ricocheted through Myla's impotent soul as her possessed body betrayed her. The was more awful than she could have imagined, and yet, like so many other times in the demon's fraught existence, Myla was forced to trust in uncertainty over ensured doom.

"Fret not, brave mother. Your daughter will be delivered to a fate befitting her heraldry. But you, I'm afraid, must face your choices as so many other mortals must." the Black Man called as he turned on his heel and began walking back towards the pillar of grisly, horrid blackness. Myla was released from the bonds of her obligation to the Daemon Sultan, and shook her head softly. A thought occurred to her, and the demon mother grabbed the bloodstained knife from the flooded keel. With an abrupt slice, she severed a length of her long, auburn hair from her head and began to rummage through her rucksack. After a moment, she withdrew a small braid of silvery, white hair that had been woven into an intricate pleat. Not knowing how to best integrate her own sentiment, the succubus simply tied her own locks around the other braid and held it aloft.

"Can she take this with her?" Myla called. The Black Man held the braid up to his face, for it was instantly within his own grasp, and sneered shrewdly at it.

"I suppose." he called back in a lazy, noncommittal tone. The obsidian tongue of the eye-smothered pillar abruptly receded back into the greater mass, and the world returned to normal with a suddenness so jarring, that Myla lost her balance, despite being seated. She thudded back into the waterlogged basin of the canoe, arms limp, and looking skyward. There seemed to be little point in doing anything else at the moment. One of the pirate jackasses shouted something loudly, some sort of order. In the next moment, Myla became of an immense, booming noise and realized that she was airborne.

As Myla's limp body twirled, bloody and sundered through the tropical breeze, she closed her eyes and smiled. Before she died, the mother was glad that she had chosen to hug her daughter one...final...time.
And, we dream of home I dream of life out of here Their dreams are small My dreams don't know fear I got my heart full of hope I will change everything No matter what I'm told How impossible it seems We did it before And we'll do it again We're indestructible Even when we're tired And we've been here before Just you and I
Don't try to rescue me I don't need to be rescued

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