Bathed in Moonlight
An ash moon's icy radiance pours down with the weight and power of a raging waterfall, filling this small stone alcove with a piercing, painful light no matter the time of day or season. This is not a gentle lover's moon, but the full, unforgiving illumination that has the power to drive men mad or summon the beasts within their souls. Despite the brilliance above, darting shadows flit here and there within the alcove, their forms and tasks unidentifiable. The soft music of falling water seems to come from several directions, and odd protrusions from the walls defy easy identification. A low lying mist coils about the floor, rising then falling, as if alive and answering the command of the Moon's keeper, enshrouding the corners, hiding details from the casual observer's gaze. Snake-like tendrils of the cold, gray fog encircle you, swirling and twisting around your body, leeching the very warmth from your bones. The only hope for release from this moonlit and misty entombment is the whim of the Lady.
The shimmering movement of liquid and light to the north catches your eye. A large pool, its edges padded by a thick layer of moss, steams and bubbles. Illuminated softly by glowing balls of red light, it awaits the opportunity to enfold and embrace the delectable form of the Lady Herself... but what exactly IS in that pool? Is that sheen of crimson merely a reflection of the dancing balls of light? or a property of the liquid itself?
A waterfall lies to the east, discordantly replacing the hearth that you might have expected. Tinged with an undeniable crimson stain, it reminds you more of a river of blood, than a peaceful or idyllic waterway. Surely, however, you could simply step through it with ease? Water cannot trap one such as you... could it? As if of its own volition, your hand lifts and extends, passing into the scarlet flow. Instantly, a sensation of overwhelming, mind-shattering pain fills you. It feels as if your limb has been dipped in lava, devoured by insects, poisoned by a thousand scorpion stings. Unbearable, exquisite, horrific agony sends you shuddering to your knees.
The way out may not be as easy as you thought.
The sound of flowing liquid is everywhere. Glancing to the south, a low stone altar is seen set into a small niche in the wall, odd protrusions framing it. A tiny artesian spring wells up in the altar's center. Odd, though, how the liquid appears to be a dark crimson... Closer examination reveals to your horror that the ornaments surrounding the niche are the bones of at least three individuals, trapped within the stone in a posture of agony and fear. Shivers crawl with cats claws up your spine as this altar's purpose becomes clear. Those who have incited the wrath of the Moon's keeper become decorations here, their blood feeding the eternally flowing fountain for her merriment.
More of the glowing balls of crimson float here, more closely resembling the lost souls found in distant lands than the common magically created sources. An overstuffed red velvet chair waits here, perfectly sized to accommodate a female form, a matching footstool nearby. A side table within easy reach bears a variety of implements of pain and torment, along with a frosty glass of some unknown steaming beverage. Cast aside, as if in annoyance, a thick cookbook sprawls haphazardly upon the floor. Surrounding the chair, as if in silent support, life-like paintings of each of the Coven's Elders gaze down upon you, their eyes silently judging you... and finding you most unworthy.
There is something haunting in the light of the moon above; it has all the dispassionateness of a disembodied soul, and something of it's inconceivable mystery. One moment shrouded like a modest virgin, her bounty hidden by thin wisps of clouds, the next a raging pure light enough to blind or tempt a man to madness and beyond, the moon above is ashen cold, clear, and unforgiving.
A thin layer of mist covers the floor, swirling and twisting around you, concealing the stone floor beneath. Here and there, it parts, teasingly, revealing a bone, a bit of broken sword, a stain of blood...
The spine reads, "The Joy of Cooking" and has fallen open to the index page:
Chocolate: <BR> about, 845, 847-51 Almond Candy Bar Pie, 885-86 Almond Torte, 959-60 Angel Cake, 953 Black Bottom Cupdakes, 962 Bread Pudding, 1023 Buttercream, 1002 Charlotte, 1030 Cheesecake, 982-83 Cherries with Cream and, 456 Cherry Torte, 969 Chips, about 848 Chocolate Pancakes, 799 Classic Cookies, 821 Coconut Coffeecake, 782 Cookies Cockaigne, 830-31 Oatmeal Cookies, 821-22 Orange Scones, 792 Pecan Pie, 889 Sour Cream Cake, 931 -Cinnamon Cookies, 827 -Coated Mocha Biscotti, 834-35 Cocoa, see Cocoa Couverture, 847-48 -Covered Strawberries, 455 Cream Pie, 884 Custard Filling, 997-98 Custard Pie, 887 Custard Sauce, 1041 Dairy-Free Cake (Vegan), 932 Dark, Truffles, 850-51 Devil's Food Cake, 944 -Dippled Candied Citrus Peel, 461 Dipping, 850 Eclairs, 921
(We could keep going, but you're starting to drool and it just looks terrible)
This small side table is carved of a deep rosewood, and has a thick silver- veined, black marble top.
Look implements pain torture
- a pair of sharp-toothed locking pliars...
- a paddle...
- a riding crop...
- a cat-o-nine-tails...
- a very small black leather band with sharp spikes on the _inside_ and a snap closure...
The pool shimmers in the faint crimson light, and looks wonderfully inviting. The thick moss padding around its edges would cradle and pillow the head, and the temperature seems just perfect to soak in. You consider slipping into the pool - after all, who would know? - when a whip-like tentacle of black rises up like a cobra ready to strike. When no further encroachment is made, the tentacle slides back under the water's surface and is hidden from view once more.
Thick cushions pad the seat of this luxurious chair. It seems made for a woman of delectable curves but petite size.