“Hi! My name is Seldana Siyth. I’m going to be interviewing the other patrons of the Inn, so I can start with myself, I guess.” She pauses, looking thoughtful, “I’m a Bastai, which is a cat person, basically. I grew up in a forest in another world where the queen of the land, who was a drow, ruled a happy kingdom. But with lots of undead. It was okay though. I trained as a druid from cubhood, but a reality rift tossed me into the mall in here. I found the Inn and decided to stay. I can turn into a blue-skinned human with gold hair. My age is about sixteen summers. Um…” The camera reverses itself, showing the Inn common room once again, “Oh, we can get Kasukira next!”
The camera moves, wobblingly, toward a silver-haired elf behind the bar. Well, slouched over the bar is more precise. Idly flipping through the porno magazine sitting on the spotless countertop, he darkly tanned elf’s long, heavily pierced ears seeming to twitch occasionally, she doesn’t look up until the camera stops feet from her.
The elf jumps in surprise, her long braid swinging to catch on a beer tab and causing her to fall. The camera leans over the bar to see her sprawled on the floor. Running a hand through her short bangs, and pushing her rectangular glasses to sit firmly in front of her gleaming, golden eyes, she says, “What?”
“Okay. Is that thing ready? Well, oh, My name is Kasukira Darkstalker, but some people call me Kira. I’m a moon elf out of a dwarven city, where I learned my love of all alcohols from my adoptive parents, Geroff and Itaska Gemfinder. I picked up the last name Darkstalker from my stint of running with that organization, and being their representative for Sector B4. I..uh…also worked as an exotic dancer. I’m Cassie’s first muse, and I’ve been with her for eleven years. I’m one-hundred ninety-eight years old as of this spring. Happy?” the camera tilts up and down several times, “Okay. Sasha is wiggling for you to go do her next. Shoo.”
The camera turns away as Kasukira goes back to her magazine, focusing on a young woman with reddish , pierced fox-ears protruding from her floor-length dark pinkish-violet hair. As the camera approaches, it’s revealed that her face is an odd mix of fox and human, with a tiny snout-like nose, sharp teeth and whiskers. Her wide aqua eyes are luminous with anticipation, and her bushy, white-tipped tail is flicking wildly against the floor. Her clawed toes are carving grooves in the floor, her powerful fox-like feet covered with the same reddish fur as elsewhere, extending up her legs, till it gives way to lightly tanned flesh.
“My turn?!” There is the sound of wood scraping against wood, then the camera sinks, it’s carrier sitting in the chair across from the vixen.
“Mmm-‘kay. My name is Sashana Moonchaser, though everyone calls me Sasha. I’m a kitsune, which are native to Japan, though I was born in Sweden. I lived there for several years, and back then my fur was white! But my parents and I had a falling-out over my younger sister’s roll in society (they wanted her to be nothing but a brood-mare to some shithead!), so I helped her get to the US where she applied to and went to Yale. I went to Hawaii, where my fur reached it’s current fabulous color. I met Kira in a bar one night, went home with her and decided to stay. I’m sixty-seven in two weeks. I have a fire kitten named Cuthulu. Short enough?” The camera nods again.
“Okay then, I guess you better move on…Bye Seldi!” The camera pans around, looking for it’s next victim. And spots her. Well, them. Playing poker at one of the nearby tables sits a black-skinned elf, and a bat-winged woman of extreme seductiveness. The cap comes up over the lens, abruptly turning the screen black, and footsteps are heard.
“Beat that, you bitch-demon.”
“Ha! Straight flush!”
“Damn yo….is there something you need, Seldana?”
“I’m doing interviews. No, Tes, wait! Please???” A low growl met this.
“Oh, do the interview.” When a growl met this as well, the voice deepened, and purred, “I might even let you try to win back the grenade launcher….”
“Turn the fucking camera on.” The lens-cap comes off, focusing on the speaker. Skin as black as jet, highlighted here and there with red tattoos, mainly two stripes wrapping around her neck and what looks like a backwards seven with a dot in front of the point under her left eye, and short, sky blue hair. Two thin, white braids trailed out in front of her ears, hanging to her shoulders, and sullen, light green eyes glared at the camera.
“My name is Tesrin D’Armore. The freaks around here call me Tes. My female parent was a Rakshasa and my father a drow who was taken as a plaything for a festival. I was born unintentionally, but was kept, altered genetically, and trained as a one-woman army for the Rakshasa. After that they decided to murder my father, and I decided I’d be better off on my own and killed the rest of the…my relations. I ended up here, and haven’t left yet.” Her voice softened lovingly, “My favorite weapons are Anything and Everything, my two .44 Magnum Revolvers, a gift from my father.” Her voice hardening again, she continued stiffly, “ I’m roughly seven-hundred-forty-seven. Now leave me the fuck alone. Deal, demon-bitch.”
“Wait just one second, Tes. It’s my turn for an interview now….” The camera twisted to show a white skinned woman with black, red-tipped, short hair. A large piece fell over one eye, rendering it invisible, but her showing eye was deep blue, and vibrant. Large black and gray wings protruded from her back, and, barely visible amongst her hair, were a pair of small white horns.
“My name is Sosoma Barriana. I am a succubus….or an incubus, depending on my inclination. I woke up one day in a room in an inn, knowing nothing but my name, by race, and a burning desire for sexual contact. I joined the Sensate guild, as to get the most out of future…interactions. Then I, with the help of the guild and the assistance of my partner at the time, created a House of Sensation, where people sell their memories and feelings for other people to view. I got bored, left Hyotcki in charge, and eventually wandered here. I don’t know how old I am, but I’m at least three-hundred.” She began dealing cards and waved the camera off. “Niona is in the far corner hallway, south greenhouse. Watch out for Ty. She’s biting today.”
The camera turns away and bounds towards the far corner of the room, through a illusionary wall, and into a dark, twisting passage. A heavy stone and steel door lies immediately to the left, and the camera turns towards it. A furred hand is seen reaching out and grabbing the door’s handle and yanking it open. Light pours into the hall, and slowly, the camera adjusts to reveal a grotto. A waterfall fed pond lies in the center of what seems to be a fantastical woodland cave-grove. In the pond, waist deep in the cool water under the waterfall, a pale, blue-black haired woman faces away, arms raised above her head as the water pours down on her.
“Niona!” The woman turns and nods to the camera, seeming uncaring of her nudity. Wading towards shore, exotic fish weaving patterns about her body, she holds up two fingers and disappears into the foliage on the far side of the pond. A few minutes later she reappears, clad in a sheer, loose purple gown. Her hair, still damp, hangs limply over her lavender eyes and seems determined to drip her dress into transparency.
“You came for the interview, I presume? Yes? Alright then.” She cleared her throat as the camera refocused, “My name is Niona Darksoul. I am a dark nymph, which simply means I am cursed to wander the realms, due to a transgression involving a war, two elves, a human and a gnome village in my youth. I am a wizard, a mage, a sorceress, whatever term you wish to use. If it is magic, I can do it. I live within my greenhouses, though most are open to visitors. I have three sisters, two who shun me for what I have become, and one who is a dark nymph as well, though she lives with her faun lover. I am three-thousand, one-hundred and eleven years old. Have a nice afternoon, and watch out for Ty.”
The camera turns about and heads back into the hall, the door closing softly of it’s own volition. Ambling down the hall, Seldana comments, ‘Well, Now we need to find someone else…hey, it seems to be getting warmer in here!” As these words filter into the recording system of the camcorder, around the corner at the end of the hall slithers a woman with hair of fire, and the lower body if a great flame-colored snake. Moving tattoos of every color writhe over her skin, and set in the middle of her forehead, right above her glowing orange eyes, is the symbol for fire.
“Ember! I’m glad I found you! Will you do your interview?”
“Yess…” The voice which rolls from the woman is deep, with drawn out s’s and a crackling undertone, though her mouth does not open, “My name iss Ember Tai’chitsu. I am a flame elemental. My clan iss known to be generous, and it wass that very generosity which casst me from it. I agreed to go on a quesst, but it wass a futile ruse….but I cannot rejoin my family until it iss complete. I have found happiness here though, with Alli, and no longer wish to leave. I am ssix-hundrend and sseventy-three. I musst go now…I have a meeting to go to…. Oh, and beware of…”
“Ty. Yes, I know. Have a good day, Ember!” Ember nods, and both she and the camera continue on their respective ways. Abruptly, with a “BLARG!” the camera is dropped to the floor and Seldana screams, but is abruptly cut off. Several seconds go by, then….
Muffled, another voice responds, saying something like, “Artichokes?” The camera is picked up to show a ruffled Seldana and a blonde-streaked brunette, yellow cat-eared and tailed woman. She has her teeth sunk into the fur of Seldana’s arm, revealing sharp fangs, and her left eye has been replaced by a ingeniously faceted black opal, while the right remains a solid black. Seldana shakes the other off and considers her for a moment before facing the camera.
“This is Acetaminophen, by we all call her Ty, because Acetaminophen is a mouthful when she’s stealing your bra, and Acetaminophen is Tylenol, and Ty is short for that. Other than the fact that she’s half-cat demon, no one really understands her well enough to know anything else. She hates Az though. Anything to add?”
“Children, gird thine lederhosen. I walk with the orange slurpee sprinkler come the dawn!”
“See? I have no clue what that meant. Bye Ty, the Inn has new customers. ” The camera took a moment to view Ty scampering off, before it turned to float after Seldana, who was walking backwards, down the hall. “I got tired of carrying the camera, just so you kn…OW!” Seldana had backed into a girlish female with short, blazingly red hair, brilliant emerald green eyes, slightly pointed, heavily pierced ears (as well as having numerous other facial piercings) freckles, pale skin and ragged dragonfly-ish wings.
“Ryvenna! Are you alright?”
“I’m fine. What’s with the camera?”
“The camera’s name is Barry. And, oh, I’m doing interviews! Would you do one for me?”
“Fine. My name is Ryvenna Sylianna, and I’m a Forbidden Maiden, one of the Faery Exiled. I was born one, being a bastard child. My mother was a Forbidden Maiden because of rape, but she ‘redeemed’ herself. I was unable to ‘atone’ in the eyes of the Elders, ‘cause I was unwilling to carry an Elder’s children (he was my uncle by marriage!), and I was deflowered forcibly outside of wedlock. Thus, I have no family. I’m cursed to turn into a glowing sprite-thing that looks like a hollow glass fairy with glittery lights inside (or as Joe put it…a sprite with a light-bulb up it’s ass) if I am struck in the head with a particular force, only to be reversed if kissed by a virgin. I like rock, metal and punk music, and pairing people together in stories. I hate butterflies. I’m ninety-two years old.” With a wave, she left. Seldana waved the camera further down the hall.
“Okay, now we see if Shade and LeCraine are in their room…..”
Seldana opened another door. Inside, curled up on a giant beanbag in front of a fire lay a suspiciously plump, emerald-pony tailed man with a draconic green tail, pointed ears and a black tribal claw-like tattoo over his right eye. His vibrantly leaf-green eyes were near closed as he purred as his head was scratched behind his ears. Doing the scratching was another man, with short black hair divided by a wide white streak, extremely pale skin, purple eyes and an intricately designed red band tattooed across his cheekbones and nose. Both turned to look at Seldana, who seemed mildly embarrassed.
“I’m doing the interviews today….”
The black and white haired man spoke first. “All righ’. Ah can start, Ah suppose, while Shade gets ‘is act toget’er. Ah was Lestel o’ Clan Craine at one point, but Ah am call’d LeCraine now. Ah’m uh Vampire Lord, or was, seeing as how Ah’m an outcast. Clan Craine sends assassins aft’a me evr’y once ‘n uh while….Ah dared ta love. Which seems ta be uh big crime amongst de Clan. Ah met Shade here in New Orleen at Mardi Gras in 2002, and we fell in love. We were marry’d November uh 2003. Our blud brothers are Trio and Sariein. Ah was twenty-eight when Ah was turn’d, and Ah’ve been a vampire for nine centuries.” He gave a nudge to his spouse, who looked up and smiled.
“My draconic name is Shadivicornicus, but my elven name, which everyone knows me by, is Shade Korinvar. I’m half elf, half green dragon, though for some odd reason I can breath fire. I have nine siblings, each of the major draconic types. My father was an elf who had an obsession with siring a half-dragon of eyery type, but he was a good father anyway. I came here because I was lonely, and eventually met the love of my life and all my friends. I’m sleepy right now because I’m pregnant with my and my husband LeCraine’s first children, paternal twins whom we plan to name Ciara Arielle Blythe and Cyrus Alaric Blake. They are due October 1st. I’m forty-eight years old, which is VERY young for a half-dragon, and my siblings, husband and parents are very worried about this pregnancy.”
“I’ll see you two at dinner tonight! Bye!” Seldana, with a wave, left the two in their room. Once in the hall, she opened up another door to reveal what looked like a wall of water. Walking through, she disappeared until the camera too passed through, showing the door to be a transportation device, as they were in a completely different section of the Inn. “That just moved us from the lower southern wing to the uppermost north-eastern wing. We should be able to find…..” She trailed off as a pink-haired, red-eyed, begoggled and striped man came out of a nearby wall.
“Az! Will you do an interview for me and Barry?”
“Wh..? Barry? Nevermind. Knowing Corsica, all the electronics around here have names….but, an interview? Okay…My name is Prince Azariel Moonsword of Eastgate, commonly known as Az, and I’m a cooshie-demon, born of two Demos, with a year-twin. I’m the youngest and only male child of thirty. A cooshie is a type of dog…don’t give me that look, you great cat…I’m a Seer, and I used to work for the Elder Gods, but, I uh…don’t anymore. I still can See, though. Half my soul was stolen fifty years ago, and I’ve been in love with the last priestess of Irdsbane for some time, whom the merest touch of would burn my flesh away, recently cumulating into me sacrificing my half soul to heal hers, dying in the process. Through some complicated matters, she proved to be my soul-mate, and went into death to anchor me until one of my sisters, Melana, could reclaim my half soul from this chick named Saintiel. Now we’re soul-bonded, and contemplating marriage. I’m three-hundred. Phêdré is right through that wall.” This said, he passed Seldana and continued on his way, humming an unfamiliar song.
Looking uneasily at the distressingly solid wall, Seldana and Barry walked into it, and passed into a small, cozy study. Sitting at a desk, bent over a keyboard, was a yellow-eyed woman with long aqua hair, tied up in a pig-tailish style, each topped with a roughly tied knot, somewhat resembling the meatballs of a certain Sailor Moon. Under each eye was a gently curving design, looking similar to an upside-down triangle with a spiral coming off the end.
“Phêdré? Will you do an interview? I already got Az, and he told all that stuff about the bond and everything, so you don’t need to go into that.” Looking up, the other woman nodded and straightened up in her chair.
“I am Lady Phêdré Irdsbane, last of the priestesses of Irdsbane, devoted to the slaying of evil demons. I am, ironically, a Cansin, a child of Chaos, predetermined by birth to sow chaos wherever I may go. My childhood was a troubled one, thinking myself abandoned or orphaned, as my mother had been killed and myself stolen, and sold into slavery by my very own father, I grew up in a world of hate and deception. I was…abused, mentally and physically, in every way possible. My soul began to rot. Eventually, I escaped and found my aunt, who trained me in the way of Irdsbane. I was bound in an egg to attemp to heal my soul, and, to my eternal amusement and Tesrin’s embarrassment, she laid the egg to allow my entrance to this world. Azariel spoke of more recent actions….thus, I am here. I have thirty-eight years behind me, and centuries yet to go.”
“Thanks Phêdré. I’ll leave you to your work.” Stepping back into the hall, barely missing Az as he re-entered the room with a food tray, Seldana patted Barry the digital camera on it’s metal casing and said, “Let’s go see your mamma.”
Several hallways and minutes later, the camera and cat entered a brightly-lit laboratory filled with hummin, beeping, buzzing, blinking electronic equipment. Seldana looked around, unable to find what she was searching for. From her left, with sudden, startling abruptness, a soft voice called out. “Seldana? Do you need something?” Seldana squeaked and turned towards the voice.
Barry turned and focused on a young woman, with her long blonde hair caught up in three ponytails. A lime-green gem sat in a gold circlet in the center of her forehead, and another, slightly duller gem of the same color sat in the hollow of her throat. Wide, baby-blue eyes gazed from the Bastai to the camera and back again, before she broke into a slight, sunny smile. “My turn?”
“Yes, it is.”
“Alright then….I am the Core Operational Response Systems Integrated Cybernetic Android, or Corsica. I’m a Androidic Super-Mobile Sentient Computer, and this body, along with the other five, are called Avatars. I have both male and female bodies, but prefer the female ones. I was built to maintain working order here in the Inn, but mostly I just build other things, such as Barry there. I was built by Shade. I’m now three years old. I’ll see you later Seldana. If you hurry, you might catch Bob before she goes out.”
Hurry she did. She nearly ran the black and neon-green haired woman down in her haste. What seemed to be half an exquisitely worked Noh mask covered the right side of her face, with only the black, light-speckled darkness behind the eyehole of the mask to reveal the true ominous-ness of the thing. Her other eye, the iris barely visible, being just a shade off the white of the rest of her eye, gave her a glaringly evil look. A neon-green scarf wafted about her neck. “Bob! Quick, do an interview, please?”
“Very well, but very brief. My name is Bob Akiko, and I am of the Japanese Shadowkin. I am trained in all types of martial arts, as well as in spy and assassin techniques. I was tricked into being cursed with this mask, but managed to lessen the curse by breaking the mask in half. I have a void where the mask covers, and I need to feed it on occasion. Ty changed a map to a target at one point, leading me into an ambush, where I fell into the legendary Spring of Drowned Man, thus, now every time I am doused with cold water I transform into a male. I am fifty-nine years old. I must go. Farewell, Seldana.”
Seldana watched Bob dissipate into a cloud of shadow and drift speedily away. Turning and walking down the hall, she entered a kitchen. Sitting at one of the tables was a short person of unidentifiable gender. A rat’s nest of matted silver-gray hair hung in a haphazard ponytail, and the figure’s gray eyes were half-closed and bloodshot. Two horizontal stripes of purple ran across it’s left cheek, very visible despite of, or maybe because of the dark, nut-brown skin color. Seldana sat down across from it. “Zane? You promised me an interview.”
With a groan, the short person looked up, “So I did. I’m Zane Kadohisa, a tallfellow halfling. I’m a runic curesbreaker, but my art draws a lot of energy, so I sleep a lot as well. I don’t always look like crap. I really like coffee. I live here because the centralized universal location makes my business lucrative, plus, the beds are comfy. I can’t break the curse on Bob. My gender is unknown by most, well, all with the exception of Joe, and thus I am often referred to as an ‘it’. Honestly, I’m transsexual in a perfect combination, and choose to live as such or non-gendered, so ‘it’ is entirely appropriate. I’m, oh, eighteen? Nineteen? Yeah, I’m going back to sleep. Bye.”
As Zane left, a young man with tightly folded white, gold-tinted wings walked in past it. His white-gold hair seemed to glow dimly, even in the bright kitchen, and his gold eyes widened with pleasure as they rested upon the bastai. “Good day, Miss Siyth. How are you?”
“I’m fine. Would you do an interview?”
“I would be honored. My name is Kin Ruadrim, and I am a Seraph. I…I do not honestly know why I am here. I simply do not remember much more than my name, my race and the burning desire to do…something. I know not what that may be. I have been told laughingly that I need to talk to Miss Barriana, but I have not yet had the chance. I am not sure of my age.”
Seldana laughed, “You really DO need to talk to Sosoma. She was playing poker with Tes in the common room a while ago.”
Kin looked distressed, “Miss D’Armore? She…she frightens me.”
“Don’t worry, she frightens almost everyone. By the way, have you seen Dirk, the Raven Tumor or Mordecai?”
“Dirk was heading this way, but I have not seen Miss Raven or Puma, or Miss Wyatt.”
Another, deeper and vaguely amused voice interjected at this point from the door, “Funny how he refers to us men and Zane by our first names, and all the women have a ‘Miss’. Hello, my darling Seldi! You sought my company?” With dark blue hair and black-eyed, this new man cut a dramatic figure, especially with his black clothing and dark skin tone.
“Dirk! Yes, would you do an interview for me?”
“Certainly, sweetling! I am the dashing Dirk White, and I live for adventure! I was sired by an evil force from the outer planes, but let that not dissuade you from being my…mmm…friend.” He winked, and Seldana giggled, “Yes, I am a tiefling, and I was raised by my mother, a (somewhat) virtuous woman (I think), who was a member of the famous (infamous), courageous (stupid), adventuring (looting) troupe, The Huntresses! Obviously, I ran away and joined the circus, learning any and all the acts that I could. My personal favorite would be the trapeze….or the knife throwing. Eventually, I left my surrogate family and joined the crew of The Crimson Moon, the pirating vessel of the Raven clan. I came here with Puma and Coyote, and am looking for my ex-girlfriend Koto, who has my favorite set of bed linens. I am twenty-five years of age.”
Seldana clapped, “Bravo Dirk. Very funny.”
Dirk feigned a pout, “I was being serious!” Then he laughed. “Coyote and Puma are down in the central entryway, and the lovely Mordecai is….entering the kitchen.” And so she was. Tall, willowy and graceful, with pale skin and a delicate mien, this female figure had a veil draped carefully about her face. The reason for this was suggested not only by the faint hissing that seemed to accompany her, but the very obvious source of this. This source being her hair, which was actually a mass of snakes.
“What is this? I come to find a meal and instead find a crowd?”
“We’ll leave, but would you do a quick interview for me?”
“Very well. I am Mordecai Wyatt, called by either name, and I am a Medusae. I play guitar in a local band, and am here because I was invited to come. I am theoretically blind, and navigate through the eyes of my snakes, as well as by sound, scent and feel. I am still able to turn men to stone when they look at my face, thus I keep it veiled. I am twenty.”
“Thanks Mordecai. We’ll leave you to lunch then, won’t we boys?” With that, Seldana proceeded to shoo both men out of the kitchen, where each went on their respective ways. Moving with unnatural speed, and leaping floors at a time, Seldana was soon in the central entryway. Sure enough, there stood the twins, Puma and Coyote. Both sported spiky copper-brown hair and dark blue eyes, along with an almost obscene amount of piercing, mainly eyebrow and ear. Both also had steel studs in their cheeks, under the left eye, the male four and the female three.
“Hey! Will you two do interviews?”
“Why surely!” They meandered over to the humanoid cat. “I am Puma Raven…” spoke the male, “and I am Coyote Raven.” finished his sister. “We,” at this point they began speaking in tandem, “are the Raven twins. Our father is Egyptian-American, and our mother is Japanese. We are the heirs to the pirate vessel The Crimson Moon, with our father being the current owner and captain. Our cousin Koto is living with Monica, but she might be closer than cousin, seeing as her mother was our’s sister, and her father was our’s brother. We are here because last time the ship needed repairs, we stopped in here and liked it so much that we keep coming back. We’re both twenty-two years of age.”
“Wow! The stereo effect of both of you speaking was SO neat!”
Seldana turns to look at Barry and groans, before grabbing it out of the air and manhandling it. “Aw…the tape is almost out! It focuses in on her face again. “There is also Yrrah, but she lives in the Palace of Glass, and almost never shows up around here. She guards the Portal of Hate, where Dante resides. I don’t know anything else about her. CRAP! The tape!”
The screen goes dark.