Ambrosia Tours Inisfree News: TBA.
Ambrosia Tours Inisfree Abstract
This account details each day and attraction of the official tour of Inisfree. The tour, which takes 41 days, introduces approved guests to all of Inisfree's major constructs and facilities, orienting them to the entire city's layout and purpose. Ambrosia LeMorte, vampire royalty from the Outlands, was the first to complete this tour, and so it is that her story is the one told here.
Auzdein, the tour guide this time, will have his posts in the normal font color.
Ambrosia will have her posts colored purple.
Ambrosia Tours Inisfree
Chapter 1: Reuniting with Ambrosia in the Outlands
When he traveled, as of late, it was in keeping with the philosophy of being as light in weight as possible. All of his items, few though they were, came in very handily with their double and triple functions; his poncho and liner, for example, could be used as a blanket or pillow when they weren't keeping the rain off and the majority of his body ventilated on long hikes. His shirt had its sleeves rolled up, his trousers were full of pockets, and his hiking boots were rugged and soled in such a way as to almost appear as cleats. Feeling no more need for a ruck, that was usually all he brought with him; the exception being whenever he wished to jot notes down or climb, amongst other things. Reaching the castle gates, he made sure to slide the poncho down away from his face and head so as not to appear like a cloaked and suspicious character. Raising his right hand to both wave in greeting and show that it held no sword or other weapon, he strode up to the castle's barred roadway and introduced himself, stating his purpose to the sentries posted there. He had a commanding yet nonchalant and approachable air about him, and his face and expression both bespoke trying times in chapters past, but a gentleman who had emerged relatively unscathed in spite of them all. He regarded the guards with both respect and nostalgia, having been in their line of work not very long ago at all. They bid him enter, opening the gates for him, and he proceeded along the route toward the castle-proper and its entryway. Once at the door, his lightly balled fist gave it a polite, loud rapping to request the butler or whomever might be inside and able to receive him. His long, brown hair cascaded down his shoulders and back like a mane of sorts, catching brief breeze gusts and whipping behind him.
A servant girl whose sole responsibility was to answer the door and allow entrance to those the guards let in through the gates would swing open the wide, wrought-iron gates, her eyes washing over the stranger as she bade him entrance into the hallway, lined with portraits of some of those that lived within the castle. "Your destination, sir?" she asked of him softly so she would know where to lead him.
Meanwhile within the depths of this very castle would be the regent of the lands, hard at work with someone whom would remain a secret to all those there except two. She would sweep her eyes over said little one and secure him there as her sense caught that someone approached within upstairs. Her tri-colored pools blazing a moment; another of her kind within the realms, one she hadn't laid eyes upon in a very long time; a true and dear friend if one had to put a term upon it. So, leaving her chambers after locking the door tightly, would she thread her way from the very bowls of those crypts and make her way, of course taking her time in doing so, towards the upwards via the main gathering hall. Her scent was carefully masked as not to give her away as the tails of the dress that fit her like a second skin would flow behind her like a silken waterfall, black in color at that, as her footsteps made no sounds. Appearing within the shadows then to stand and watch for now, Ambrosia had entered the room where her guest was standing...
He cordially received the servant girl in the manner she would be accustomed to as befitting her caste, and spoke in his warm, smooth, almost musical voice somewhere between baritone and tenor, and sounding a bit like distant, rolling thunder. It hinted of his times spent in performances, followed by instructing roles in the louder branches and billets of military service. With the potential for booming volume, it was almost foreboding in a way, though the vibe he gave off with his aura and intentions was far from it; wholly mellow and serene. "I have traveled here to request the Lady Ambrosia LeMorte's presence; that I might share in discourse with her regarding the nature of my latest chapter of this life." His posture was regal and hinted at his lineage and newly unearthed calling. His body remained respectfully facing the servant girl's until she spoke and directed his attentions elsewhere.
The servant girl would hear his request as she beckoned him with the slight wriggling of a finger for him to follow her. Turning, as she did pay attention to all the details, would she do as instructed when it came to those who came to visit... leading him then down the long, wide hallway at a rather leisurely pace to the main gathering room lined with rows of seats, a long banquet style table, and, of course, the fireplaces and slaughterline. "Please step inside here and wait. I will go see where she is," she said, turning then, unaware of the whereabouts of Ambrosia, would she take off... Meanwhile in the shadows a small hissing was almost let out as that pair of bright eyes of Ambrosia's would watch the servant girl leave before she stepped out of those shadows like a thief in the night. Silent and deadly, beautiful and charming all rolled into one, her right hand sliding along the walls a moment as she teased them with fingertips before a voice melodic-sounding would reach his ears, "And what pray tell do I owe for this unexpected pleasure of thy company?" Her posture regal and her form never wavering as she waited almost impatient for his reply.
Smirking at the slaughterline, his tongue instinctively, involuntarily licked over the fronts of his teeth, wetting them and the inside of his lips. He was hungry for blood already, his salivary glands swinging into overdrive for a few seconds. It felt as though his stomach might growl at any moment, though it remained silent. Part of this reaction was the Marine in him, another part of it, of course, was the vampire, ...and part of it, somehow, had always been him; before any of the events which had helped shape and chisel him into what he had become. Then Ambrosia made her presence known, and Auz raised a hand to rest over his heart. His body language and expression as he pivoted to face her were clear; though she had surprised him, she hadn't startled him. His military training had been drilled into him so well and for so long that he almost frothed at the mouth for such encounters -especially as demonstrations of prowess and stealth by members of the fairer sex. The way she moved, teased, toyed with the walls around her, and showed herself and her abilities off were almost spellbinding to him. He was in the presence of an older, greater, fellow vampire -a fellow Brujah, no less; of his very same clan, and this was what he'd been hoping for ever since his teacher had turned him back in Arabia. "My lady," his smooth voice sounded, full of respect and appreciation, without a drop of fear, though he knew she could do great damage to him. "What an honor it is to be here after all which has transpired." He got right to the point, having much experience in the formalities and urgencies of the highest courts. "I wish to share with you a sizable development unfolding..." his dark eyes looked her up and down, beginning to study her body language as much as they were drinking in the beauty of her alluring predatory form. "Might we sit for a moment and enjoy a drink?" Of course, he meant of blood...
She could sense his need for a drink almost as if her own need was projecting upon him, a tilt of the head given as she would motion after hearing him speak towards the lines of high-back bone-covered chairs. He was a sight for sore eyes, that was for sure. Her eyes lingered over his form a moment drinking him in as she always had. "Please, let us do such," her tone almost soft but held that hard edge as was always her. "This sounds important." A servant then approached with goblets of only the freshest blood available, her slender fingers grasping along one to pick it up before handing it directly to him, and with the picking up the other for herself would she raise the goblet to her lips, almost immediately, shifting lightly within her seat to turn and face him. "Speak freely, Auz. You know I hate formalities." And that she did despise --despite her standing within the realm.
The way she had hissed, slipped out of the shadows, touched the structures around her, and dressed and styled herself... All of these things were incredibly attractive to him; somehow just as stirring as they were calming. His energy had elevated the moment he had heard that noise; that familiar hiss which he thought he alone might be the one to make for the next decade or longer. His torso had tensed up, his posture -although already regal- had reflexively improved. He made no effort to hide these changes in his body and mindset, and had no intention to. After all, he reasoned, she could probably detect and dismiss them all, anyway. This was the kind of woman he felt comfortable around; a fellow predator and seasoned intelligence. This was the breed he sensed was his own.
Taking the goblet from her, his eyes closed, almost tearing up with how long it had been, and inhaled its heavenly scent deeply, as if his nostrils might drink half its essence in before his mouth ever could... and then downed half of it before recomposing himself and holding it before him as he sat and faced her. His dark eyes flashed with deeper blackness taking over their previous chocolate brown, and the message they screamed at her was a deep and heartfelt 'THANK YOU'. It was emphatic even in its silent conveyance. He had been starved of the bloodwine for so long he didn't care to recount. Things had been... complicated.
Bowing his head in agreement to her request, he skipped past the formalities which he, too, sometimes loathed, and began...
"I was turned the better part of one decade ago," he began, speaking as if to an old and trusted friend, and at a pace very relaxed, "then was slowly introduced more and more into this underworld of ours, ... had my wise and prudent mentor slip back away just as remarkably as he had come, then had to make my own way and find both myself and my balance in how I was to fit in with the populace that would become my food supply, ...finding none of my kind for years, all the while feeling less of a hunger for blood --curiously enough-- than I did for resurrecting my old dreams. I spent years as a fledgling vampire revising those dreams into plans... until a one-room shanty design I'd envisioned for 'getting off the grid and away from it all'... slowly grew with single additions; a garden, a gym, a school, et cetera ...until it was a full-sized city... and one being built more remotely than I'd ever dreamed possible even for its progenitor shack." He paused, considering in retrospect some of the predominant factors which may very well have contributed to that powerful calling he felt; "Perhaps it was the Brujah blood now a part of my already Brujah-like essence; perhaps it helped ensure I completed my rebellion against the old ways I was born into... even to the point of rebelling against their forms of interaction, construction, and reproduction. Whatever the case, I couldn't stand from whence I'd come. I burned to travel, to be myself, and to prove I could build what I'd been envisioning more and more of over these past years." He looked to Ambrosia, studying every aspect of her face, hair, and eyes, as his new people were wont to do, then continued: "What I envisioned is now a haven for our vampire kith and kin, as well as many other races. There is every probability that it may soon serve as the capital of all vampire kingdoms, though one which will never subjugate or tax any of them for any reason; it will stand only as a beacon to them all, should they ever need assistance in maintaining their families and ways of life; a U.N. or E.U. equivalent, but without any money or expectations; just a collective of those able-bodied beings willing to stand up for their neighbors, as well as their own."
Upon taking sippage of that sweet, almost intoxicating to the point you didn't wish to quit drinking it, blood would her own usually bright Spring meadow eyes turn a darker, almost black as the blackest night, color as she would then tilt her head at him, listening to him explain in his own delightfully entertaining way of what was happening. She was not sure if it would go over so well here as they were, as most called them, "old school style", but there was room for improvement to bring them forward and this might be the ticket she was looking for. "I see," was simply said. "Interesting point of view you have, dear," her words softly flowing with ease as she would look into his own eyes. "It might work. Are you seeking to expand it to other territories? Is that why you are here?; to see if such a new concept, a fresh new idea, might work?" questions upon questions forming as she mulled this over. Her own ideas flowing now as she had been so drought in the ways of their kind; the old way, that it stuck with her throughout the centuries but she wasn't that 'old school' woman anymore; it was a time for change, though it would come up with resistance. She looked around her a moment as being they for now were the only two within the castle; the others, mostly her family, were either sleeping or away or whatever they were doing... Looking back at him again, then with such an intense look of wonderment.
The way he looked at her was a mix of many elements; uncompromising military bearing, a man groomed for the uppermost echelons of corporate and military management, and one with a passionate adoration to his core for all she was and represented, matched with a longing to know more of her, an internal conflict to maintain his self-control, and a growing wonder as to whether or not she would enjoy his *own* castle, as it had blossomed to become. It was clear in his eyes that he not only loved their kind --especially their clan-- but that he would gladly lay down his life in their defense, but most especially in the defense of such a timeless Venusian goddess as herself. Such was what governed him, and he proudly allowed this to be transparent when in the company of those he counted as his inner circle; as his own. To all others -all outsiders not of their persuasion- he was stone; statuesque and unreadable. To her, though... he was a book very comfortable being read. Such was one of the ways which his kind recognized and honored her many forms of beauty, each and all of which he felt were of the utmost importance to preserve.
He began to sip at the remaining half of his goblet between the portions of his replies to her initial host of inquiries, rolling the fresh blood around his tongue and teeth, ensuring every corner and cell in his mouth was bathed in them for as long as possible before swallowing. It was heaven, and it was making his muscles twitch and his whole system begin to tingle with relief and surges of power. Oh, how it had been so goddamned long...
"More than anything, it is an enclave; a retreat for those like you and me. It is heaven on Earth... finally made manifest... if only for our enlightened and ascended brethren." Another sip was hungrily savored, his eyes closing and going completely black this time as he let his body do whatever it wanted after the horrific years of forced fasting and desperation. Her otherworldly beauty restored his focus and attention toward her and their conversation. "Yes, I am here to seek your important and treasured council on this matter. Few will be consulted, but you are surely counted amongst them." He paused, weighing his next thoughts carefully before he made them his words...
"I would like you to visit this growing city with me one day... toDay, perhaps?" he interjected with half-rhetoric, planting the mental seed which he hoped they would revisit later, returning to elaborate a bit further; "I would like the opinion of a fellow Brujah; you, as you are respected and treasured, and as I've every confidence there are things in that city you will notice ...which I have overlooked in my busiest chapter thus far. I know you will be able to vastly better this new construct of mine -of ours-" he corrected himself, "just with your very presence there, not to mention your thoughts and suggestions." He didn't have to tell her what was all over his face, as well; that he couldn't have made himself stay away from her much longer, anyway. She had her spell upon him, and he was more than fine with that.
The looks back she was giving him were mixed with the internal desires she had tampered down; so far down she wasn't sure they could ever surface again. His internal self-control almost written all over his face, whereas hers was under a series of masks she wore; always to protect not only those around her but her very self. Her goblet laid empty now as she had drank all of it earlier... What was it about him that would make her want to push herself? she did wonder; push herself to be better than she already was; to be the embodiment of that which her kind and his looked up to, came to seek council from, and ask questions of, much like they did her mother when she was here. She could become that. After all, she was her mother's daughter, image, and thinking -all almost the same. A brief pause then, and, if she would have had a heart it would have fluttered, as he asked her to come visit his city. Now, though? Could she? Would she make up excuses this time? No, there was nothing pressing at this time that she could think of that could keep her from wanting to see his place. His handsome features catching her eye as she would give him that rarest of smiles; one that no one had ever seen before. It was warm and lit up her eyes to the point they shined. "I would be honored to come visit this growing city; to set eyes upon it so I may assuage these jumbling thoughts plaguing me."
Her smile made *him* smile, and his features softened as his own eyes alit for a long moment, gazing deeply into the pupils of her own. His calm, gradual pace continued just a minute longer, though; there was more he had to say; "Being a Marine, and a believer in nutrition, survival, Mongol and Norse ways, ...and liking the taste and smell of blood, *anyway*, I LOVED it when my first vampiric appetite showed up. It wasn't a transition for me, nor was it painful or saddening or scary. It was delicious destiny..." he paused, letting his eyes drink her in a bit more; keeping them well restrained, yet free to enjoy all she was, none the less. "I have learned to trust my appetites, whatever they may be, and this has led me to study and advance technologies and techniques in a great many fields since last you and I had fortune to meet." His eyes moved across her impressive inner chamber as he began to remember various cornerstones and breakthroughs of his new city. His goblet of fresh blood remained firmly and appreciatively gripped in his strengthening hand; the effect of the drink already supercharging him -compared to what he'd been all those years without it. "Indulging myself, and experimenting in these natural ways, I have found that embracing my true wiring, as well as the aftermath of my turning, ...has led to wonders becoming realities; to those breathtaking things dubbed 'magics'... becoming sciences... and then art forms." His gaze returned to hers, his eyes now transitioning back to a very deep, dark brown as the ingested blood worked its miracles within his every particle, making him ten times more streamlined and attractive than moments before. "I want to share what I have discovered and perfected with you, Ambrosia. I want to see if it resonates within you; within your core... as it does within mine." He took another sip, almost emptying the goblet. "I want to see if this budding city of mine will capture your fascination as it has mine... as *you* have captured mine." His goblet, now emptied like her own, was set aside without him even giving it one additional glance. He was fixated by her, and he leaned forward in his seat, both of his hands opening, palms up, in request for her own. "Come with me, Ambrosia. Honor my new city as well as myself -as you have already honored me be receiving me here this eve'. It will be my great pleasure to introduce you to what we have started calling... 'Inisfree'."
Chapter 2: She Accepts His Invitation
Such the charmer he was, as always. She would have by now set her goblet down alongside the ornate table beside her chair. It was a breath of fresh air; she might need to go visit with him in this new place, her demure hands lightly resting then within his as she thought things over... It would not kill her to visit this with him... Well, it might but she needed an adventure; something to unstagnate her mind; something to quell that thirst for knowledge. Besides, he wasn't asking her to move there; it was just a simple visit... She had traveled to other realms and always come home, somewhat changed but always for the better, it seemed. It was a way to grow as one could grow... Plus, she could always come and visit again if this worked out. "Aye, Auz," her words so softly spoken, "let's go visit this new world of yours, see if it connects with me as we have connected with each other."
His fingers and thumbs warmly and snugly, slowly closed around her own, holding both her hands in his, and letting her feel, in whichever ways she might, the incredible energies he had kept inside him all these years; the powerful sensations, visions, and warmth which radiated out from him even in the coldest of winds and the blackest of nights. He was a nova personified, and one which had been focused as a beam of light directly into his singular vision, amplified by both the Marine Corps and the Brujah turning, into Inisfree and the blissful empire for their kind it was promising to become.
"We may leave as soon as you feel ready, my perfect fellow Brujah," he warmly smiled to her, feeling the electric excitement already in his gut and veins. His voice was again smooth and rumbling, but even more refined and appealing now due to the goblet of blood he had completely downed. Somehow, his military bearing remained, and he stood well composed and very presentable before her, though what he *wanted* to do was whoop and warcry for joy; he had finally had the opportunity to reunite with a beloved fellow vampire, and one, no less, who was equally excited to uncover that timeless dream of his which had finally become a reality. "All I ask is your patience as I tidy myself up a bit before we depart. I have traveled far and wide since last I laid mine eyes upon you and yours... to all six of the colonized continents, no less, and I would absolutely quake in pleasure for a bath with you in blood..." He was almost surprised that he had said that; that he had added 'with you' into that sentence, but that was how he felt, and the sudden restoration of his bloodwine supply had apparently yanked it right out of him in the open where it probably belonged.
"Pardon me, my lady. I didn't mean to-" he glanced down with a serene and knowing smile, looking to her feet, then back up her legs and torso, neck and lips to her shining eyes again... "I am very open about such things... and it is the way of my kind to bathe and lounge with one another in total peace. It is how we massage and unwind together." Though a bit shocked at how forward he had been, his voice was still calm, slow, and smoothly rumbling like the king he had become. "It feels like a lifetime has passed since I felt anything but being totally alone even in the largest of groups where my travels have taken me. You overwhelmed me, is all -in a truly beautiful and breathtaking way... but still... overwhelmed." He licked the last blood from his lips, swallowing it down as his dark brown eyes looked apologetically down into her own, their hands still warmly together between them.
That electrifying feeling that she hadn't felt in awhile --a long while-- slides through her veins and courses through her as his hands envelop her own always-cold ones. He was brujah like she was, but different in so many terrifying, yet thrilling ways; ways she had long pushed and tampered down so that the humanity side would not emerge. But around him they did, always around him. Her eyes widening then as she heard his right-out outburst and request.. This is where they differed. In her world, one simply did not do such things as he suggested, and she pulled back from him a bit as he would look her over like he did. Resisting to roll her eyes at him, would she sit there, though composed as best she could. A smirk then appeared when he spoke of her overwhelming him; it was as if she couldn't resist in taunting him now as she pulled her hands away from his, despite wanting to bask in the warmth they provided. "Go freshen up, Auz. I will be here waiting for your return. You may use a guest room upstairs on the second floor, and find a servant to carry out your needs."
"You a*maze* me, Lady LeMorte..." he cast a mischievous, adoring sideways look her way as nodded in understanding, then walking out of the dining and slaughtering hall, smirking to himself. He could take in the sights and motions of her angelic features all day and night long, never once thinking of anything other than them. Oh, how it had been so long since he felt any attraction to a woman; so pallid and shortfalling they all had been as he scoured the whole globe in search of anything his heart felt was worth saving. "Merely being in touch with you again, after all this time, is..." he shook his head, closing his eyes, feeling both disbelief and wonderment as he spoke to himself, "It is indescribably wonderful." His words might be audible to her heightened sense of hearing as he made his way to the prescribed hygiene chamber, but his mind was already elsewhere; on getting things in order without taking up too much of the castle's time or other resources.
Upstairs, he made use of one of the servants; aiding in undressing him and drawing the great volume of the life-perfecting red liquid which he more and more often preferred to just water. Warm as it probably already had been before filling the washing tub, he eased down into it and took a few minutes to settle, stretch out in it, and relax. When he had felt sated and fully saturated by all it was, he slowly rose back up out of it and let the servant pat him down with a towel, soaking up the trickling streams of blood and drying him off before he donned his change of garments.
Returning to the dining and slaughtering hall, and now, more than ever, sensing and being completely aware of its purpose, he couldn't help but smile to himself, lips remaining closed, as he approached the table and Ambrosia again. "I thank you for your understanding. That won't happen again." His eyelids and head lowered in that slight bow of his. The blood within him had settled and done its work, and he was back to his very composed and dignified self.
As Auz would take off and go freshen up would she sit there now alone within the gathering hall, collecting her thoughts, trying to put them back within proper place, and then she would be damned if he didn't return looking better for the most part, not that he looked bad before, and even composed himself as she would smirk to him, "No harm, no foul." ... Meanwhile, the guards outside had spotted another man landing hard like something they had never seen before, and were rushing to where he crash landed, standing over him, all stiff and proper, as it was their duty to protect the castle and the occupants, looking down upon him as if saying 'where the hell did you just come from? the sky?' It was truly amazing but they needed to make sure he wasn't there to cause injury or other harm to those within. They would surround him as best they could. standing though not so close; if he should strike out in retaliation that they would get hit. A bunch of pansies they were, those guards...
"If you are ready...-" he waited for her indication, standing before her with his hands once more open toward her, palms up. "The journey may occur in a number of ways... It is up to the guest and traveler to decide how quickly he or she wishes to arrive at the destination... which will dictate the means." There was the ghost of a smirk bringing one of his dimples almost to life, but in no sinister way at all; he was just very pleased to finally both be at the point of receiving guests, and, of course, having one so distinguished as to be a fellow vamp' and clanswoman. Did he have a ride waiting? An escort or entourage? Whatever was the case, it was clearly a surprise for these next few moments as she made up her mind.
A biting down upon her lip seen then almost piercing it as he once again held his hands out to her. Was she ready to go on this visit with him now? The wheels turning could be seen almost within her mind as she would debate this issue internally...
Outside the head guard --one of the braver ones of the bunch-- shook his head at the spectacle the man made as he would in his gruff voice speak out, "You are at Wolfe Castle in the Realm of Darkness. You need to state your business if you have any here," crossing arms before him as his fellow guards followed suit almost immediately as if forgetting what they were supposed to be doing...
Inside the castle, Ambrosia would not take Auz's hands though she would stand up on her own feet, gliding out of her seat almost as if she didn't need his help, standing at her fullest height then as she tilted her head at him, "I think I need to change clothes, don't I? How are we traveling?" She was the most curious of these things as if she had to know everything all the time.
He gave her another warm, knowing smile again, looking her over upon her remark about changing. "You look divine, Lady LeMorte, as you very well know, ...but I know what you mean." He had lowered his hands, reading her body language and indicating through his own that he accepted her as she chose to be. "Being that which we now are, I would think any manner of dress at all would suit us, regardless of the mode of transportation... or the port of call." His eyes moved as if tracing a circular orbit around her head, up from her right shoulder and back down to her left; he was thinking and imagining the answer to her last question. "As for how we are traveling, that is one of a few special things I have managed to develop over the years our paths had diverged." Part of him wanted to tell her, and an equal part wanted it to be a surprise as thrilling as all the rest. "It will feel... strange to you, perhaps; as if the air all around you is caressing your every spot of flesh like a feather-light touch... everywhere... all at the same time." He looked to her sides and then back to her eyes. "Some prefer to close their eyes as they experience this, for what they see during that time is... rather disorienting, to say the least."
He was taking this well --too well, in fact, as if he had been trained. Oh, nevermind; that's right; he was trained to read body languages and such and so on, given out by them as well as those not like them. It was the way their kind was, picking up on the slightest of details. A narrowing of her eyes given, though playfully almost, to him as she tapped her foot a moment as she did when impatient or when she was caught off guard. Looking down to her attire and then back into his dark eyes, staying her focus there for the longest time as if trying to read him."Fine, then; I have traveled 'that way' a long time ago." And she had Space travel or whatever, so it was wasn't new to her, but it had been years if not centuries since she had done so. "Lead the way, then," choosing at that moment to be surprised by how they would travel to his city.
He took a step or two up to stand directly in front of her, just inches between them, and, leaving his hands at his sides, as she had chosen not to resume physical contact with him, he closed his eyes for a moment and willed the connection to occur. Somehow... his decision was detected... acted upon... and the process for them both began. The faint aromas of aphrodisiacal incenses and a wildflower-laden mountain breeze became apparent in the new and remarkably crisp, clean, fresh air all around her. Any bloodthirst she might have felt would be incredibly lessened for no apparent reason -as though something... somehow... was sating that aspect of her for the time being, ...and a feeling of being deep within the protective confines of a well-crafted tomb, treasury, or temple's innermost chamber would begin to resonate all around. The view of Wolfe Castle's dining and slaughter hall had faded away into a featureless, matte gray, ...little by little replaced with the new view of being out on some vast, vast, horizon-to-horizon, icy, snowless plain coming into perfect focus. The night sky was completely cloudless, crystal clear, and full of a billion stars along with the entire arm of the Milky Way Galaxy arching over their heads. It was as if the atmosphere was much thinner wherever they had gone; so much so that none of the stars were even twinkling as they did elsewhere in the world. Slowly swaying bands of vibrant colors hung in the sky like the ribbons of a separated rainbow; the aurora in full swing this time of year. Their colorful bands refracted on the smooth, slippery, ice-covered landscape expanding out in every direction from where they stood together... and there was literally nothing but gleaming, icy terrain spreading out that way as far as the eye could see... all around them... except for right behind her, just out of her peripheral fields of view. There, once she turned around to see what his eyes were now smiling at, was the towering ice cliff those dark brown eyes of his were beholding. Standing fully a mile high from its sheer base meeting the icy terrain at a clearly manmade, right angle, was the perimeter wall that served as one of the first lines of defense and early warning for his city, Inisfree.
Within that span of time that he stood within mere inches of her, and the time things faded away... and into where they were now, she had itched to make physical contact with him but withheld, and now her eyes that had been shut tightly ...slowly opened as she would inadvertently reach out to grasp at his arm, fingers curling around it as if steadying herself, feeling... not sure what that she was feeling but it was new and exciting and the smells and sights of the aurora she had only read about were there in all their glory before her, her skin tingling then at the sensations that flooded her, making her seem somehow different than what she was... Her fingers never left their post around his arm, as if, if she were to let go, the earth might swallow her whole. It was breathtaking and overwhelming as she would glance to him then, the brightness in her eyes gleaming brighter than before, her cheeks with an almost rosy glow to them as if she had drank and feasted before she took this trip. "OH, Auz!" she exclaimed lightly. No other words could come to form how this made her, what was that? Oh, yes; feel.
"Surprisingly, you might think, this wall wasn't all that difficult to build," he began to offer her bits of information as her private tour as a distinguished guest began; "we simply shaped it from the ice which was already here." Stepping off from where they had arrived, he walked alongside her while leading the way at a leisurely pace toward the sky-high cliff which stood four times taller than the tallest skyscraper humankind had ever erected. There was no cave mouth, door, hole, or even an outline of any sort of access point in front of them, yet toward its vertical face of unclimbable ice, he still strode.
The ghost-like bands of the aurora a dozen miles over their heads continued their lava lamp like dance in super slow motion, casting shifting and merging bright and colorful shines on the icy terrain at their feet to make it a challenge to balance -as if the slippery ice wasn't enough on its own. "I chose this location for its pristine landscape, as well as its geographic isolation. Few things can compare to the serenity of being just about at..." he paused for effect, casting a brief and fun sideways glance her way as they continued walking in the direction of the towering ice cliff, "the South Pole."
A hairline rectangular outline suddenly appeared in silence, high up on the ice cliff in front of them. The sides of the cliff stretched out toward the horizon in both opposing directions, and it seemed as though it would be forever unyielding -until the very Earth it stood upon was consumed by its expanding star in the distant future. There would be no way around such a cliff without incredible aircraft of abilities, but now there was a hatch seemingly forming out of nothing; a rectangle longer from side to side than top to bottom was yawning open for them, its top edge moving out away from halfway up the mile-high ice cliff's face... and arcing down and out toward them. It was a drawbridge large enough that an aircraft carrier could sail through with room to spare... and it was moving more quietly than even Ambrosia's catlike footsteps. "Humans cannot survive in this environment, for the cold drops down below -80 Fahrenheit in the winter. Humans flash-freeze within seconds of exposure." He waited for the lip of the drawbridge, many hundreds of feet wide, to ease down onto the icy terrain a few meters in front of their feet, creating a textured ramp for them to walk up dozens of stories upon. Its cavernous, rectangular 'mouth' was the darkest brown, shadowy and deep enough for a host of ships to pass through, greater than the Panama Canal, and reserved just for the two of them this starry, aurora-kissed night. "Welcome to the Gates of Inisfree. Ladies first, s'il vous plait." He extended his hand out before them both, indicating that she might lead the way up the ramp large enough to put a football stadium on.
And they were off on her grand tour of this wondrous new city, her eyes feasting on everything he spoke about from the massive wall before them to now the sky-high cliff, bigger than anything she had ever laid eyes upon. It was starting to sink in how vast this place must be. Bigger than her own place she called home? It was almost too much for her --almost. She kept pace with him over the iced terrain now as if magic of some kind then made this drawbridge walkway appear before them, giving her pause then at the edge of it; unsure of how to go about it. Like you did back home? She shook that mane of dark hair that seemed to have ice upon it, but that didn't phase her. Her steps then moved her forward as she would not let go of his arm no matter what happened. Okay, for a brief moment she did, but then she gripped it again as they started their entrance to deeper within the walls of ice. "SO... this is where you call home. I am impressed," and she was.. It took a lot to impress her, that much was true. Such a wonderful, peaceful feeling churning inside her now that it nearly made her snarl as she wasn't used to it, but she held her composure best she could.
Accepting her taking hold of his arm for whichever reasons her spirit commanded, he rested one of his hands over where her forearm hooked around his, gently letting her know that all was well in hand as they proceeded farther inward to the hidden realm so shrouded in secrecy that scarcely 10 outsiders had ever even learned of its name. "I meditated for a long time on how to create the first city in history which would be so stirring and wondrous that it would make even the legendary Fey cry overwhelmed tears of joy; a city beautiful and magnificent enough that even those who could not feel --such as veterans of prolonged wars, and, like you and I, vampires-- would somehow still and miraculously feel once aGain. It had to be perfect, and that meant many things to me; it meant in terms of location, and appealing to all the senses simultaneously... but, perhaps most importantly, it meant protection; an undeniable feeling every guest would share... not just of feeling they finally are welcome and belong... but a feeling that they are truly safe beyond all measure or compare." He walked with her up the ramp, eventually reaching the shadowy, first chamber now exposed to the Antarctic air and night sky, standing like the open garage of a Titan's car collection. Turning to look back over his shoulder and her own, he took in the sight of the pitch black mountain range barely visible now at this great height at which they stood; the Trans-Antarctica Mountains which split East and West Antarctica snaked their way like a charred dragon's spine where the Milky Way Galaxy and rainbow colors of the slowly drifting auroral bands and tails met the icy, partially reflective ground. "I decided to place it in the most private, remote, and beautiful place I could think of on Earth..." He looked back toward the open chamber, 26 stories from floor to ceiling, and then to her. "And now here it stands... more than a decade after I first envisioned it." The ascended to the top of the extra-wide drawbridge, finally able to see over its edge. No hinges were visible, for they were so well hidden in its design. The chamber they entered was featureless; three walls, a floor and a ceiling, each a dark, matte brown, much like the irises of his own eyes. Behind them, the moment they stepped off the ramp and onto the dark brown, shadowy floor of this first chamber, the drawbridge began to rise back up -again in total silence. Its slow pace ensured even the air moving back out around its rising edges made not even the noise of whispering winds. The chamber grew darker and darker as the star-speckled night sky narrowed more and more until it was a rapidly decreasing sliver, the Milky Way Galaxy disappearing behind it, along with the last curls and flickers of the dancing Aurora Australis; the Southern Lights.
Each amazing step they took would she in awe and wonder glance to every little detail while he explained how things were, his vision of a place so wondrous that even the infamous fae's would cry, where their kind could feel again as if the humanity had never truly left them. It made her stomach flip into knots a moment, one feeling after another welling up as she was having a difficult time controlling them. And then they arrived to the inner sanctum of this city. The massiveness of it was impressive but she was used to such big places, and she wasn't afraid of getting lost here; she had him to guide her along and help her out, after all. The flooring, though, made her give him a questionable look for a brief moment. "I seriously didn't expect anything like this," she whispered as if saying things that aloud would make her seem foolish somehow. Despite all the knowledge she knew, she had no idea something this wondrous could ever exist. If those back home could see her now or got wind of this place, they would label her insane, lock her away and throw the key away for good. A saddened feeling about that took precedence soon as the southern lights in all their glory faded, leaving them in the shadows which transitioned her into a feeling of comfort. She was used to shadows and darkness. It was her comfort, her rock, her way; how she always lived, never really seeing the light of day except maybe once in a blue moon when she was feeling courageous.
"I once read in a religious text that Heaven supposedly was sealed by 'pearly gates'..." he said, waiting for the gigantic, silent drawbridge to finish rising back up behind them, reforming the otherwise unbroken, sheer face of the ice cliff wall they now stood dozens of stories high up and within. When it completed its closure, not even a hint of one impact vibration was felt, and, curiously, the cavernous, rectangular prism of a chamber they now stood at the beginning of, was not shrouded in total darkness; it was still a very deep, shadowy, barely visible, dark matte brown across all of its floor, walls, and ceiling. At the far end seemed to be just another matte-brown wall, but, as before, Auz began walking at a comfortable pace very confidently toward it. "So instead of doing what everyone *else* was doing; instead of just reading about things and wondering or wishing... I built them and made the stories true." It was a quarter-mile from one end of their dark brown chamber to the far wall, and took a good minute to traverse on foot. The temperature was a few degrees warmer now than it had been outside under the galactic arm and Southern Lights; it was now about 10 degrees, as opposed to a flat and unyielding zero degrees on the other side of the incredibly thick blast-door that had just served as their hidden drawbridge and ramp. In front of them, as they reached the end of their quarter-mile walk across the floor of the first chamber, the matte-brown wall in front of them began to silently slide out of their way. The thought of how tall and deep the slit inside this perimeter wall had to be to house such a massive inner panel was as staggering as trying to balance outside on the slick and aurora-refracting ice plateau. There was now, expanding before them, an equally deep chamber much like the one they had just passed through; tall and wide enough for an entire aircraft carrier, yet lit with the soothing, cream-like color called 'warm-white'. No light fixtures were visible; its flat-panel walls, too, were bare, smooth, and featureless. The light seemed to be generated by the translucent walls themselves. "We are now entering one of those Pearly Gates; each gate consisting of five of these rectangular chambers in sequence, connected and encased in such a way, as to make any damage from future attacks only increase their strength and difficulty in breaching. 'Pearly' because some of these chambers are housed inside armored spheres a quarter of a mile in diameter, which rotate on giant ball bearings to align the chambers one at a time as guests pass through them. Nuclear weapons would only briefly cause us to have to redirect their blast waves, absorbing their radiation within minutes, and executing a form of technology-based reforming much like what is called 'memory foam' or our healing." The massive inner wall silently slid back shut behind them, taking several seconds to race along its long floor track. Now they were surrounded by soft, dull, 'warm-white' colored walls as large as stadiums. He paused once more, turning to her, her arm still wrapped around his own, and looked her meaningfully in the eyes. "You are welcome to speak of this hidden city with those your heart truly senses it can trust... but it is better to show them... as what you are about to see is far more unbelievable than anything you already have. Inisfree is 100 square miles; 10 by 10, with structures and statues on the scale of the mythological gods of olde. Are you ready?" His voice was still as soft and inviting as his eyes, and he was clearly very happy that she had chosen to join him here in this epic project he had spent more than a decade nonstop on. This -she here today- was his breath of fresh air -and Inisfree's.
It was too much for her to take now, overwhelmed by a sense of drowning as she tried to keep up with his explanations. The way things changed, though, she shouldn't be too surprised as her own home had seemed to change on the whim of its own desires. No one would ever believe her about this massive place and the technology of how things were built here . She turned those bright-glowing eyes over that icy terrain, and they were now as bright as the southern lights, as if the light had somehow seeped within her to shine outward. "No one would believe me even if I wrote it down or showed it to them. This is best kept to myself as an experience I will never forget." And that was true; she would never forget this ever, locked within her memories to cherish and go over when she got a chance. But she had to wonder if he meant for her to stay here within this paradise city... A shake of her head as she tightened up her insides and would slowly let go of his arm, then losing that grip.
"Ready as I ever will be," an affirmation given with the nod of her head.
They passed through three more chambers like those first two, each one being a rectangular prism, hollow and otherworldly in size, and each one sealed with gates doubling as their far-walls. As they walked toward the far-end of the final of that Pearly Gate's five chambers, its wall did not slide out of their way as all the others had; rather, like the drawbridge large enough for a carrier, this wall began to yawn open, out, and down from its top edge, revealing what at first appeared to be the same brilliantly star-bespeckled and aurora ribbon laced, Antarctic night sky... but with even more brilliant colors and auroral activity, and, in the center of their field of view, the central mountain in the middle of the 100 square miles of Inisfree; a mountain which stood even taller than the city's perimeter wall -at twice its height; two miles to its snow-crowned summit. Like Mt. Fuji of Japan, its slopes spread out and down from its summit in an almost mirror-image of one another, and the little pinpoints of colored lights peeking out from its lush canopy of trees and other flora foretold of the neighborhoods and other attractions she would soon be shown and told the stories of as the days of her tour progressed. "All of Inisfree will welcome you with open arms, open minds, and open hearts. They will be as deeply honored by the advent of your visit and tour here this eve'... as I am to have met you long before. First distinguished guest of my forever-hidden city and realm, Lady Ambrosia LeMorte of my clan, the Brujah, may I welcome you to the newest kingdom on Earth." By the time he had finished that sentence, the innermost drawbridge had completed its descent and connected its lip with a very mesmerizing roadway surface running parallel with the Perimeter Wall... and held up not by normal, concrete, blocky highway pillars as in the Outlands... but by the most beautifully perfect statues of women in every proud and majestic pose. They, like the highway's surface, were like white marble as smooth as glass, inlaid with bands and elven ivy swirls of inlaid, pure gold, and their bare statue feet stood upon the grass-covered, gently rolling plains which spread out from this side of Inisfree's Perimeter Wall. Auz' and Ambrosia's way was now open to them; right across the level-surface of the fully opened, inner drawbridge, and onto the surface of what he explained to her next; "This is our highway system; we call it the Glowing Art Highway, and you will see precisely why in a moment..." He led the way, walking alongside her, letting her hold onto his arm as she took in all the sights of sky, mountain, white-and-gold highway, and more... His voice was softer than ever now, almost subliminal like a voice in the back of her head; a technique he enjoyed which helped people stay focused on all they were suddenly and unexpectedly beholding, "The tour takes 41 days, but time passes differently here; one more development I made based on the legends of our Brujah ancestors' abilities. You are welcome to come and go as you please, Lady LeMorte, but I do hope you will enjoy your time here... and return until you have, at least, seen all there is on this introductory tour." His hand gave her forearm wrapped around his a little squeeze.
She had not realized she had let go of his arm, as she would move forward then across that glowing white, polished surface of the glowing art highway. Her senses were going wild now that she was in this city, and then it slowly dawned on her she was being watched as these females approached her. Her instinct was to bare fangs though she soon retracted them when she realized they were the welcoming party and not there to harm her. So different was here than there that she would soon then do what instinct told her to do as she bowed at the waist to them before righting herself to her full height, the tails of that black and crimson dress flowing with the breeze as she would realize they were there to welcome her and serve her as if she were a queen and not a guest. "Is this how everyone whom comes across this sacred, beautiful city is greeted?" Was that jealously in her voice heard? Perhaps maybe it was the humanish side of her wanting to come out and play despite how much she had tampered it down within her. The smell of the wildflowers and incense were then hitting her nose and her eyes widened as those statues, so high they looked like they were touching the sky, would pivot and turn as if alive, making her step back to his side again. Never had she been so overwhelmed with emotions since before she was, well, ...never had she had emotions like this overrun her, period. It was unnatural and would take time to adjust to, as it would take time to take the tour he had so adamantly planned for her, and, not wanting to seem ungracious, would she let go and embrace what was about to be the most epic journey of her immortal life.
What to the who to the... There was an array of different trees, now neighborhoods, and statues like she had never seen before. She had seen a lot in her time and even knew how to time travel, as it was a brujah way, after all... Just nothing to this extent, and she would keep that tight grip upon his arm, as she for the first time ever in her immortal life would blink and act all humanish. It made her shake her head again; at how massive and expansive this city was, but then he softly spoke to her like no one else could, and it got to her; inside it really got to her as she paused then as this thing he called a highway appeared. Now she had seen one before but nothing like this; this was a true work of art, a technologically advanced piece of work.
"Oh, so like how different these 41 days may seem; like it's not that long... or more mortal, as time seems to stand still?" Yes, she, as she stated before, knew about that and even mastered it for the most part. Feeling his hand squeezing her forearm made her smile to him a moment, "You truly are a charmer, Auz. It would be hard to want to leave here and go back to what is comfortable and known," her eyes widening then as she never spoke aloud things like that; not so freely, and she looked around to see if anyone else had heard her before she realized or wondered if his city walls had eyes and ears like hers did back home.
Her hand had slipped away from him, and he let her move however her spirit bid her; standing free and solo, or returning to use him as a brace and anchor however she felt she wanted to. 'The training wheels were off', as the expression went, and she was free to walk across the Glowing Art Highway whose surface was like white, polished marble, yet with plenty of grip even where its inland gold swirls and other designs complemented it. There were indeed 'eyes and ears' to this city of his, as there were to hers, but they were so common and so great in number that, though she might easily sense them otherwise; in fewer volumes and lesser frequency, ...that she might not even realize what she was sensing in the first place. The whole city was alive -biomechanically, speaking- and was in a constant state of self-observance and fine-tuning.
As she walked on her own across it, its soft-white surface illuminated from deep within; like the walls of the chambers of the Pearly Gate they had just passed through to get here, it was translucent and aware. Following and anticipating her movements, it kept her spot and the path before her illuminated with the soft glow of indirect light. Another quarter mile or so out across it and in front of her, past the 16 lanes of this highway section's width, was a Chinese outpost-style gate with the classic, signature tiles and swooping, curving, pointed corner tips. In the middle of its base was a wide, open-air walkway leading out onto a great width of stairs descending down onto a mile-wide public square which looked like an airport's tarmac, yet was as soft as though they were walking on taut, cushiony skin. Surrounded by well groomed landscaping and filled with evenly dispersed yurts and legion-like formations of an all-female welcoming party in *very* distracting feminine armor, the Inisfreean guard force and entertainment population had been waiting for her somehow -at a moment's notice, summoned, suited and formed up, and ready to serve her like an entire nation worshiping the first appearance of its prophesied goddess. "This is how we Inisfreeans welcome our guests. We love to put on a big show for the few guests whom the stars have crossed and aligned with us, pouring our hearts into everything, and being the most exemplary of hosts and hostesses. I know this is all a lot... but we will constantly adjust ourselves and the pace of your tour based on what you feel you can handle. There will be more than ample time to rest and think, I promise you, Ambrosia."
This was clearly where the hints of wildflowers and incense had originated; all the air was subtly laced with it. This was *also* clearly where women and the female form were championed and praised as triumphs of all creation... for, as Ambrosia would look up toward the two-mile-tall, central mountain rising up from their Welcoming Square... she would see that the three silhouettes evenly spaced out before them, standing at the far end of the mile-wide Welcoming Square full of yurts and formations of female Inisfreeans... were the tallest female statues of them all; three female statues, each half a mile tall, and... upon closer inspection... appearing lifelike and *moving*; they gracefully shifted on their heels, taking up new poses as their artificial heads of rich, cascading hair flowed in the warm, 5mph Inisfreean breeze high above her and Auz.
They step down off the final and lowest step-line from the Chinese-roofed gate separating the Welcoming Square from its bordering Glowing Art Highway, the carrier-sized drawbridge of the innermost chamber of the Pearly Gate passageway silently yawning back up behind them, finally closing so that its outline became such a seal of precision that it vanished entirely onto the mile-high surface of the matte-gray Perimeter Wall. Auz removed his hiking footwear and handed it off to one of the Inisfreean women who gracefully and dutifully appeared at his side. Barefoot, he smiled as his feet drank in the happy return to and feeling of the special, soft yet comfortably-gripping Inisfreean paving terrain. His aura and life-force were effortlessly magnified tenfold at the least; his whole being embracing the return to his beloved city and flaring up like a fireworks display for anyone capable of sensing it. When Ambrosia had started to bare her fangs, all of the Inisfreean population spread out in formation before her became aroused by all she was, for they had been made in their maker's image, and their maker was Auzdein von Schäfer; their maker, as did they all now, had Brujah instincts and attractions. When Ambrosia then bowed to her welcoming party, all the many millions of them bowed just as formally and gracefully, returning in unison and uniform to their beautifully postured stances, with one foot forward in a readied-stance to show off their vigilance and prowess, ...and then their lion-head-shaped helmets rippled and pooled back away from their faces like flowing water over pebbles, revealing their impossibly beautiful faces, each one of them looking like both a teenager and a masterpiece of genetic engineering, upbringing, and poise. "Yes," he softly answered her question, his voice again sounding like distant thunder, rumbling baritone in a way she would feel to her core and every chakra; "though few and far between our guests certainly have been thus far, we greet every one of them as the god or goddess they are growing to become. Such is part of our belief system here. I hope you will enjoy it; being elevated to your due status and tier." He looked out to the millions of formed-up Inisfreean women, all of whom stood between 4'11" and 5'9", even in their very sexy suits of armor, and his booming instructor-of-instructors voice echoed out across and back o'er the whole mile-wide Welcoming Square, "Citizens of the Kingdom of Inisfree, please give a warmest of sacred welcomings to our distinguished and loveliest guest, Lady Ambrosia LeMorte of Wolfe Castle of the Outlands." In an instant, all of the irises of their eyes lit up and flashed through every color in creation -not just of the rainbow, and all of their heads of hair changed through as many colors as they shouted out in a deafening, yet somehow also very arousing, wholly female tone, "Ah-ROO!" It was a motivation-skyrocketing, mass battle cry of sorts; the kind you would hear from an elite unit of warriors in an action film about ancient times, and it was all for just one person; Ambrosia.
Chapter 1, Day 2:
Standing at the base of the mile-wide stepway leading down from the Chinese-roofed gate, many hundreds of feet wide, the formation of many of Inisfree's legions stood proudly before them, all in the modified Position-of-Attention; their right foot forward, their entire body at a slight angle forward; a very aggressive, intimidating, suggestive, and foreboding manner of standing. Yet the entire population of every rank and file of each of these formed-up legions... was female -and not only female, but what appeared to be young women no older than their later teenage years, and, even more remarkably, some who appeared to be barely teenagers at all. All of them, without the slightest exception, were unspeakably beautiful, confident, focused, serene, and radiating wisdom and prowess beyond their years and smaller bodies. They were absolutely lethal in both what their aesthetic looks and manners of combat could do. The irises of their eyes had simultaneously brightened so that Ambrosia could easily see them cycling through every color an Outlander's eyes were capable of seeing, and their eyebrows and heads of hair had done the same, though not quite as brightly. There, before her, as she stood at Lord Auzdein's side, were at least three million of the king's citizens -and possibly more. Even with the several dozen large yurts, black-iron fire-bowls, and surrounding cascades of landscaping and softly babbling fountains and creeks, all three million of them managed to fit within the square-mile that was this matte-gray Welcoming Square of his city. This was, in part, due to their surgical precision in close-quarters, but also to their size; each Inisfreean female was, perhaps, only half their king's size, and a good head shorter. Thus, they were not cramped at all; there was room for them all and their guests to spare, allowing carefree and even skipping or cartwheeling movement all about the Welcoming Square, between its many yurts and everything.
The almost deafening vocal blast of three million Inisfreean troops gutturally blasting 'AROO!' in that brief moment was now echoing back toward Ambrosia and Auzdein from behind; bouncing off the Perimeter Wall which had resealed itself behind them, it was almost a tangible force as it moved with the Inisfreean breeze to return to their ears, almost as startlingly as it had been uttered from directly in front of them. "These are my people, the Inisfreeans," Auz' looked to Ambrosia, beginning to make mass-introductions, "and they, my children; the new race I have spent a decade siring and raising, are now your personal guard force, for you are our distinguished guest for so long as you shall choose to be here in our home with us." His hand extended out before them both, its digits lightly kept together. "If it pleases you, my Lady LeMorte, I now invite you to walk down amongst them... for feasting and revelry the likes of which the Outlands have never known." He knew Ambrosia probably only consumed blood, but the whole array of what Inisfree had to offer was now showcased out in all directions for her to browse and sample however her heart fancied.
The Aurora Australis continued to hang and sway like practiced, professional, female dancers high in the midnight-blue and crystal-clear sky of Antarctica above them. There were smaller, slightly brighter bands of aurora lights appearing only half as high, somehow visible only now that they were inside Inisfree's Perimeter Wall, and Auz' spoke in his soothing rumble of a male voice, mentioning that these additional 'lights' were generated by one of the facilities in the city itself; "When we travel, we take the aurora with us, for we love it so." Large drums the size of cars began to be struck by padded mallets throughout their 'tent town' spread out all across the Welcoming Square, and the short, Inisfreean girls beat their soft hands on the taut hides making up the walls of many of the yurts, creating a very interesting, smooth 'buzzing' sound to compliment moments throughout the square-mile of live music. The orange flames of the many black-iron fire-bowls flickered and popped plumes of glowing and fading embers up into the starry sky, each of them dancing like the two levels of auroral lights, only so much more quickly, and as their embers climbed toward the closer of the two aurora tiers, they disappeared amongst the full arc of the Milky Way Galaxy bisecting the dome of night above them.
It was 70 degrees with a wind chill of 65, and the aromas of the most technically brilliant, from-scratch, hand-made, gourmet cuisine wafted along on the lukewarm night's slow breeze. Some of it was heavy with broths and stocks, as well as flowers used in some of the signature recipes, and the fresh bloods and mists of entire animals rotating on spits over crackling, lower flames and glowing piles of charcoal changing back and forth between pale soot and pitch black colors. Various woods were also being used for the smoking and flavoring of some of these meats, and dozens of types of herbs picked fresh from their vines that very hour were being precisely added to some of the boiling pots, temperature-regulating fine-dishware, and hanging bowls of lit and slowly ashing incense sticks. No buffet tables were visible, however; the manner of serving Ambrosia and all guests-to-mighty-Inisfree was yet to be revealed to her.
As Auz' walked alongside her, keeping her company and serving as her royal and private tour guide, while letting her pick the pace and direction, as well as lead the conversation in all questions and requests, he only asked that she pause for a moment for a few of his Inisfreean daughters to remove her footwear so that she could feel how warm and almost-soft the 'smart-pavement' of their Welcoming Square was; like so many Inisfreean constructs, it was both temperature- and texture-regulated based on the real-time desires of whoever was treading upon it.
"I know you have said to me you do not care for formalities, Ambrosia, so I shall call you by your forename here to forth, however please know that I and all my Inisfreean-borne citizens here are always thinking of, and feeling in our hearts, the formalities you so very much deserve." A few of the Inisfreean girls knelt around him to remove his own footwear this time, and he looked to a nearby yurt which was glowing from tiny flames within hanging lanterns within its tipi-like, tan hide walls. "Would you do me the honor of joining me for a spot of supper before we relax and rest for the remainder of this, our first evening here?" The Inisfreeans who had doffed his and her footwear bowed very gracefully and fully, walking backward for a few steps until they were away from them, and then those standing between them and the indicated, nearest yurt, stepped back out of their way, making a bordered pathway for them straight into its rectangular opening of overlapping, translucent curtains and draperies of fabric so soft they put silk to shame. "Vicuna," he smiled to Ambrosia, reaching out to enjoy feeling it as he walked through it, causing it to slide over his fingertips and back away from him.
This sudden noise of welcome was so startling to her that it nearly made her take a step back, she was used to fan fare and such but not to the level they had given it to her now, and she blankly looked at them all a moment before she would nod her head to each and everyone. It was something she perhaps would get accustomed to after time --if she decided to stay here, that was. An inhaling of what would be considered breath taken in and let out in a huff into the air heard, almost startling as she stared at the beauties before them. She then turned to look to Auz as he introduced his children to her; his citizens. "Why all female?" she had to ask, noting he was the only male so far that she had seen since they started this wondrous journey, the Chinese roofed gate beckoning her like a beacon standing in the sea of many.
Soon she heard his request to join him as she tilted her head to him a moment before standing upon tiptoe to whisper in the direction of him, "You do realize I don't eat," she paused, looking for the right word, "Mortal food," leaning back, then wondering if in this tour he had realized to make said provisions of food for 'her kind' being as he was one himself. Licking at her fangs a moment as she waited to hear his reply, her finger tips gliding along his forearm to grip it as she allowed the women then to take her shoes off as she detested them in the first place. If she had her way she would be naked right now strolling through the wonderful, glorious city of his. Glad to have him as her personal royal tour guide as she smiled brightly in his direction, lashes fluttering against her cheeks as she would soon feel what he was talking about beneath her feet, it was a marvelous feeling indeed. It had been centuries since she had indulged in any kind of thing such as walking barefooted... His name wishing to leave said crimson stained lips in a slight groan, "Oh god, Auz, that ground beneath my feet feels good. I can't wait to enjoy the rest of the tour with you. I might even consider after this making this my get-away place," she grinned wider then.
Meanwhile while she was enjoying this mortal sensations the fluttering of women they passed by caught her scent and made her smile as they offered her bits of food or a offering of flowers and so on as she would decline them. Her eyes training occasionally upon her tour guide, noting how handsome he was, how patient he was with her. Making her -if one could- blush as she turned quickly away in order for him not to notice as she cleared her throat then, "Explain this to me?" she asked in such a tone much like a child would when they were curious about something, pointing to the yurts, were they called?
Speaking in that calm, pleasant, matter-of-fact, almost musical, masculine voice of his, he politely answered her first question; "I encountered all-female races and species in my travels and found them utterly lovely and respectable, also I have a deep appreciation of the female form, I have long since wee ladhood greatly enjoyed sketching and drawing many different and exemplary females I have come across and envisioned, and, for tactical purposes, I have found as a student and instructor of special warfare that females are superior warriors and warfighters; it is much more difficult for both males and females of all races to do anything other than stare in lust at a beautiful girl, let alone assume she is a trained threat, let alone also strike her down. The female form is more distracting, more pleasing, more agreeable to both sexes, and, thereby, almost impossible to defeat in combat, let alone to kill. I knew my children would be safer, because of all those facts, if all my children were daughters. While some Outlander dynasties and kingdoms hope mostly for male heirs, I not only refuse to hope (instead, I develop ways to ensure), but also prefer instead the opposite; only female descendants to carry on the honor of our new realm and way of life."
When Ambrosia whispered to him her dietary concern, he just gave her a knowing glance and grin, indicating he had, of course, made due preparations for just what she would enjoy. It was a look which said something to the effect of 'Please trust me... Please trust what you are feeling about me; my awareness and tailoring, and so on.' His eyes were dark yet kind, and paired well with his whole demeanor and gait, which were equal parts commanding and amiable. This air about him lifted even further when she had groaned in pleasure at her bare feet meeting the soft, warm, inviting surface of their Welcoming Square; it was clearly both 'music' to his eyes as much as his ears. "I share those sentiments entirely," he had remarked in regard to her word choices there-after.
Upon walking into the nearest yurt, as the translucent draperies and curtains slid out of the way of their walking bodies, he began to explain; "Yurts; these large, round tents, are the ancient, traditional, Mongolian houses. They are for nomadic peoples, predominantly, and evolved into the smaller, simpler tipis of the Native Americans when their ancestors, once related to the Mongol peoples, crossed the ice-bridge from Kamchatka to Alaska many hundreds of generations ago. Today, tipis and yurts are still used, though far less often, and mostly for tourism purposes. Larger, sturdier, more permanent yurts are called gers, and we have neighborhoods of all three of these tent types here in Inisfree; tipis, being the smallest, yurts, being the oldest, and gers, being the largest and built around wooden frames with porches and railings. In this city of ours, I include at least one neighborhood and architectural style to represent every nation and race on Earth; to honor and revere them all, each and every one equally."
He rested his strong, warm hand gently over Ambrosia's fingers playing with his still-horizontal forearm; he kept his forearm nearest her up at a right angle to his upper arm, such that she might take hold of him as a lady would her gentleman whenever she felt so inclined. Now inside the yurt, he remained dutifully by her side, and, taking the lead for a moment, began to ease down into the indian-style sitting position, helping her to follow suit in order to sit, still at his side, on their yurt's furs-covered floor. "There is also something timeless and magical about tents and camping, I find, and I love to share that experience and sensation with others," his smile was again fatherly, serene, and inviting as he looked to her, then in front of them in the indication of her next surprise and treat as their guest...
Four of the tiny, teenaged-appearing, Inisfreean girls (though they moved and carried themselves as the most mature and refined of all women), then appeared, walking in a rectangular formation, out from an Oriental-style folding partition of intricately painted, rice paper panels. All of them were nude and clearly proud as if they were goddesses and always had been. Between them was a fifth Inisfreean girl of their same appearance, and they carried her, each with their nearest hand, by what appeared to be a golden gurney with its legs and wheels retracted up into its underside. This fifth Inisfreean girl was lying prone on the gurney's stretcher on her back, eyes looking straight up, arms at her sides, hands resting palms down, maintaining her stillness as if she was a statue. Positioned all atop her body were tiny mounds of something which would come into clearer view as her four Inisfreean sisters carried her on the golden gurney right up in front of where Ambrosia and Auz' now sat, pausing once her waistline was exactly between them. It was at that point that the golden legs of the gurney descended and extended like slowly pouring, molten gold, and solidified to form highly-decorated table-legs curving this way and that, embedded with countless Celtic ivy ridges and overlaps, all of them softly catching the light of the many candle-lit lanterns hung on the rounded walls of their house-sized yurt. The gurney was now a very low table centered several inches in front of Ambrosia and Auz', and the mounds positioned a few inches apart all over the tops of this fifth Inisfreean's shins, thighs, hips, flat belly, chest, breasts, shoulders, arms, neck, and forehead were all bite-size morsels of the many impressive and artisan-quality foods the Inisfreeans were practiced, world-class chefs at preparing.
"This is the traditional manner of dining still enjoyed by the wonderful Japanese people, who call it Nyotaimori; where a female who has worked well to sculpt her physique has her hard worked honored by becoming the centerpiece and living platter for the meal which is to be enjoyed directly from her own flesh. This is considered one of the highest honors, for it means that every spot on her body is now so well cared for that it is clean enough to eat off of. Also, as you have seen with our skyscraper-tall statues, highway support pillars, and suits of armor, many creations we make here are to honor and accentuate everything that is natural feminine beauty. We are proud and loving artists, after all -and above all else."
The four Inisfreean girls who had carried their fifth in now all pivoted in a simultaneous facing-movement to face Ambrosia and Auz', bowed gracefully and fully to them, and then eased down so fluidly in their bodies' movements to the furs-covered yurt floor around the golden gurney-turned-dining-table that the Asparas (water nymphs and legendary dancers of ancient India) would have been amazed and taken note. All four of those girls, still facing Ambrosia and Auz', had eased down into kneeling positions to accentuate their feminine features; all of their knees were wide open, their asses relaxed, their backs arched, their tummies slightly curving out toward their dinner guests, their chests proudly raised to extend their perky breasts toward and before them, their shoulders rolled back, their necks straight and vertical, the backs of their hands resting over their thighs, their palms straight up toward the ceiling, their heads held high, their chins jutted out slightly, their thick heads of cascading curls flowing down behind their back and shoulders, and their eyes cast down toward the furs on the floor so as not to make eye contact with their guests unless asked to. Inisfreeans, clearly, were both extremely proud of their natural bodies, and extremely respectful to their guests and leaders -even to the point of almost behaving like slaves, if it pleased them.
A couple dozen more of the Inisfreean girls filed into the yurt from the rectangular, draperies-laden opening which Ambrosia and Auz' had walked into a minute prior, and these additional Inisfreeans separated into smaller groups; most of them easing down to the furs to lie splayed out in artistic poses, while one each eased down behind Ambrosia and Auz' to serve as their living backrests; human seat-cushions to keep them feeling softness and warmth as they dined, while the final two took up their positions off to the sides of Ambrosia and Auz'; one to Ambrosia's outer side, and one to Auz's. These last two girls had brought with them chalices seemingly carved from a single, arm-sized gemstone, and Ambrosia's was filled to the brim with warm blood, while Auzdein's was topped off with piping-hot cocoa and a cinnamon stick as its stirrer. Each of these two cupbearer waitresses, nude as all the other Inisfreeans in their yurt now were, lovingly and with closed eyes presssed their lips to the side of the chalice she held for her assigned guest, then, after meaningfully kissing its rounded side, bowed her head and presented the chalice to her guest, that they might take the shimmering goblets of pure diamond and thereby enjoy their lovingly bestowed first drinks. "Master," the girl kneeling at Auz's side had sweetly whispered as he closed his hand around the neck of the chalice held at arm's length before him. "Mistress," the other girl, kneeling at Ambrosia's side, had sweetly whispered to her at the same time.
Auz' eased his diamond chalice over between his seated position and Ambrosia's, that she might lightly clack its side with that of her own; an opening toast to their dining festivities and the onset of her relaxed settling in to the lavishly pampered lifestyle of Inisfreean visitors. "It is no coincidence that your name shares its meaning with that of the highest-quality foods and drinks we now offer you here; ambrosia; the food of the gods." Auz' took a sip of his hot cocoa and then handed his diamond chalice back off to the waitress kneeling at his side, who dutifully and ever-gracefully took it and waited in position for whenever he might reach for it again. Looking to the many morsels of artfully crafted food resting atop the bodyparts of the Inisfreean on the golden gurney-table in front of them, he picked up a pair of fancy, decorated chopsticks from her gurney's edge and brought one of the slices of a sushi roll to just under his nostrils for a silent, brief inhaling to savor its scents, then into his mouth for an appreciative masticating.
When he had finished savoring and swallowing his first morsel, he resumed the light conversation with Ambrosia; "Growing up rather trapped in the Outlands, I had to learn to eat their mortal foods and drinks. Over time, I somehow managed to adjust to such diets -though I still, of course, prefer a good bloodwine from time to time- and realized I was, somehow, a mutation (a naturally occurring, new breed) from both the humans and the vampire who had turned me. Somehow, ...I had grown genetically and culturally eclectic... to the point that I could make use of both mortal and immortal diets."
He looked back to some of the waitresses kneeling at positions to their front and sides. "These Inisfreeans present their full, natural selves to you for the thrill of all of your senses at once." At their closer proximity, Ambrosia would be able to smell how each of them smelled remarkably clean, as well as with hints of lavender, sage, and sandalwood. And, though the foods were not for her to consume, they, too, smelled incredibly fresh, all of them having been done just moments before Ambrosia's arrival. Such technical precision and loving attention and care by her Inisfreean hosts could only lead one to describe their dining establishments and other eateries as temples of gastronomy.
Auz' set down his chopsticks and the waitress nearest him moved to pick them up in her tiny hand, watching his eyes to see which morsel he was looking at next, then used the chopsticks to pick it up for him, and then let the chopsticks settle the morsel into the fingers and thumb of her other hand to offer it before him, as she had the chalice, but this time to hand-feed him. "Here in Inisfree," he explained, "which some have taken to calling New Asgard, we are wont and oft' to handfeed each other, showing the tenderest of loving care, the same way we do when bathing, massaging, relaxing together, and, of course, sleeping..." Another Inisfreean waitress, a couple inches shorter than Ambrosia, longingly kissed the side of a golden vase full to the brim with more of the bloodwine Ambrosia knew and loved, only thereafter pouring it into Ambrosia's chalice to bring it back to its full mark.
"While you are here, Ambrosia, I would like you to show me what your true and full nature is. What you have had to hide from all others, be it -out in the open here, ...for if you do not, how ever can this special, hidden city of ours be your paradise as much as our own? This place is fantastic, and was made that way on purpose; it is here that fantasies become reality, so fantasize -and, I ask of you (for you are a free woman of the realm we call the Outlands), grant us permission to know these fantasies of yours, that we might help you make them at long last come blissfully true whenever you decide to bless us with your presence."
He was a great teacher and an even better tour guide, as he would patiently answer her questions politely and with that pleasant, matter of fact tone she now held and found so endearing that she wished to hear him speak more often, and so when he answered her first question it made her tilt her head --especially when he replied back to her second question. That look that would make most women melt in their place. But inside it did her, as well, though her outer self remained calm and stoic in position, as was how she was until she was fully compliant, that she was not going to be reprimanded for laxing about and showing off her "feelings" as they were called. Still, she bestowed upon Auz a great smile, then; the one saved for those personally known to her, the one that reached her eyes to lend warmth to them. Her eyes then widening in surprise and well almost a lust as these beautiful women entered with the fifth woman, all of them nude and poised as if they were goddesses themselves. It made Ambrosia want to reach out and touch them, finally reaching then the yurt in which they entered. He helped her learn how to sit Indian style as her diamond glass was filled with the sweetest of blood, and she clinked her glass to his as if in a toast. She was trying to get the hang of this and when the other beautiful girls came to act like living furniture it took all she had not to bust out in a tinkle of laughter at how wondrous this was; something she might try at home, of course in private. It would never do in public. She didn't think it would, at least. However, this wasn't here nor there, as she turned to look upon Auz's face then when he asked her to share her fantasies or what she wished to have happen so they could make preparations for her time here now and when (or if) she ever decided to return --which was a great possiblity... Her eyes flashing to him, letting him know she, even though she could speak freely, wasn't one to do so. She simply took what she wanted; she just wasn't used to this yet. It was as if she was uncomfortable. He might have to do something a bit more drastic to get Ambrosia to open up to him --and to them (the Inisfreeans) milling around them...
A shift in her stance as she was finished then and stood up to slide her bare feet across the fur covered flooring... Crossing her arms before her, she stood looking out where they had entered; the doorway, as it might be called... a small sigh escaping crimson (blood) painted lips of hers. Her form straightening out as she furrowed her brows. It wasn't as if she never spoke her mind before about anything else, so why was it so hard to tell him her deeper, darker fantasies? Because she only shared those with people she was physical with. It wasn't something brought up in public. Not for her, at least. Returning then to sit down again beside him, she picked at some of the food from the naked woman's form. Occasionally, she would eat mortal food, as well. Then he spoke about what her name meant and how this wasn't an accident of how things were planned. All the food was indeed like food to the gods; she moaned lightly, biting into one of the delectable morsels a moment, letting it flow over her tongue before she resumed sipping on her chalice some more. Deep in thought was she as she tried to relax and open up to him and those here.
Looking her up and down as she rose from her sitting place by his side, he smiled at the sight of all Ambrosia was, and his cheeks swole into a quiet, merry laugh as he watched with great pride and enjoyment when she began to slide the soles of her feet across the amazingly soft flooring of furs; those emotions came from how the work of his people had paid off by being so pleasing that even a turned lady from the Outlands was letting her body feel as it wanted to feel. This, to him and them, was a noteworthy milestone of advanced hospitality.
His toes slowly wriggled, much like Ambrosia's own might, and he enjoying feeling the otherworldly-soft vicuna furs piled as a fluffy carpet beneath them. The Inisfreean girls continued to sit as their backrests; each girl with her warm, taut legs open and hugging the outsides of her assigned guest's own, and her arms resting warmly around the upper arms of her assigned guest, with her small, soft hands softly, subtly massaging their shoulders and trapezius as they drank and talked.
After Ambrosia sampled one of the morsels, her guide spoke regarding their chalices; "Alchemy, metallurgy, and remote mining techniques are among those we have refined to this level," he explained to her, his voice still a gentle rumble at her side. His rich, flowing mane of earth-tones hair slightly shifted half an inch this way and that in the dim candle-lighting of their dining yurt under the pleasant Inisfreean night. Somehow, his city's atmosphere was hermetically sealed; the temperature inside its mile-high Perimeter Wall being maintained exactly within the low 70s. "It also turns out, we have found, that on many worlds throughout Creation, the gemstones we must mine for *here*... are in such greater abundance that global rainstorms are entirely consisting of them out there, literally 'raining' diamonds, such as on Saturn... There are even entire worlds *made* of gemstones. And, of course, we understand how to mass-produce them now just as easily as the printing press made mass producing books in centuries past, and as 3D printers then made mass-producing everything else just a decade ago..." Handing off his half-emptied, diamond chalice to the waitress kneeling at his side; his human-coaster of sorts, he then smiled softly with lips remaining sealed as he looked to the tan and cream colored furs between them, Ambrosia and himself. He could sense the expected and understandable tension and internal conflict that all guests tended to have in very new settings, and reminded himself how he had experienced those same reactions in so many new places in the Outlands. The recipe and remedy for those feelings, he had learned, was not to plan too much or lead the conversations at all; just sit there and be at peace, letting the newcomers decide in which ways they felt best warming up in their own time. Sometimes all that was needed to assure a person it was safe to relax and enjoy themselves... was respectfully silent company and a knowing look that says 'I understand.'
As their meal presentation wound down, the four gurney-bearer Inisfreeans rose back up from their kneeling positions by simply flexing and standing straight back up onto their feet. Turning back into their original positions, they eased down in the most feminine of ways, secured their grips around the gurney-table's handle-poles, and stood back up as one, raising the golden gurney back up off the floor, its golden table-legs shimmering and morphing back up into its underside from whence they had appeared and solidified. Together, as a military's Silent Drill Team, they marched the living-platter and the gurney-table she lied prone upon back off behind the Oriental folding partition, all five of them returning a minute later to join the other Inisfreeans sitting and lying all around them... standing and gently converging into a warm and tender, group hug. With Auz' (having stood) at the epicenter of the embrace, he extended one arm out for Ambrosia, if she wanted it, and the other out into the middle of his many Inisfreean girls. They all squeezed him appreciatively, and he; them, taking a moment to kiss each of their foreheads as some of them leaned in and stood up on their tiptoes to peck him on his cheeks and jawline. "You all have made yet another absolutely wonderful and perfect meal and evening," he warmly and fatherly thanked them. "You're welcome, dad," many of them just as warmly replied as their group hug eased together just a bit longer and then began to dissipate. They were a very loving and appreciative family of one another, it went without saying.
Auz' then politely bid Ambrosia walk with him back ouside their dining yurt and to an elevated position on the Welcoming Square where they could see out and over all the conical tops of the lantern-lit tents aglow from within. The 5mph breeze played with a few of the long, brown strands of his slightly curling hair, and the auroras and star dots reflected off his dark eyes. "Whenever you come to this faraway, secret realm of ours, Ambrosia," he rested his warm palm and fingers on the back and top of her own, "you will be treated as the goddess you are; far above and beyond even what you can expect in the Outlands as vampiric nobility and regent. Here..." he looked out, sending his eyes over the sweeping, rising vistas of the Inisfreean night, treelines, and mile-high structures... "your wildest dreams will be made true. This is New Heaven..." His eyes looked down for a minute as he thought... then returned to look deeply and perceptively into her own... "Or, perhaps, this is the only Heaven that ever truly was..." His features softened into a serene and adoring expression as he looked over the features of her face, one by one... "-thanks, a very great deal, to your now being here."
The legions of Inisfreeans moving in the blind-spots beyind the large yurts and other tents and black-iron fire-bowls fanning out around them... began to sing in an unbelievably choreographed way, moving this way and that to cause their voices to sound as though they were riding on the slow and gentle, warm wind currents caressing their faces and toying with their strands of hair. It sounded like a choir of ghosts or Siren, or soothing angels, and had no words at all; only a flowing, harmonious symphony of notes, ooo's, and mmm's, punctuated by the occasional striking of a finger-cymbal... with the hushed and distant, intermittent beat of a timpani drum...
((the sound and feel of the music now sounding in the distance all around them: ))
The flames of the warm fires flickered all around them, sending up tall swirls of their embers fading away into the Inisfreean night sky, full of countless, bright, untwinkling stars, all amidst the much brighter bands of the Aurora Australis which seemed to hang in the air as pleasantly ghostlike and aetherial as the timeless and practiced voices of their hidden Inisfreean choir of thousands. When he and Ambrosia returned to fur-laden interior of their canopy-bed yurt, those Inisfreeans still standing dutifully at their sides, ready with their drinks and refills, as well as those Inisfreeans lying on their backs as living serving platters before them, let the colors of their irises glow through the rainbow, sometimes synchronizing with the colors of the auroras high above them. Their full heads of silken, cloud-soft hair shifted through those colors as well, though not glowing as their irises did. Even their complexions seemed to fade in and out of all the levels of skin tone and tans, always subtly, slowly, and in a way as to make the heart and soul melt to behold them; 'living lava-lamps', one might call them.
When the Inisfreeans spoke, chatting peacefully around Ambrosia and her guide, it sounded much like the singing of their legions-sized choir still tastefully hidden from sight; the Inisfreean language was akin to distant, soft singing, with their words and accents flowing evenly between all those of the peoples of the Outlands. When they addressed one another, their lips almost met, and they spoke as much their warm breaths and the vibrations off the tips of their tongues directly into the awaiting mouths of their fellows; their fingertips tracing featherlight paths down each other's bare bodies to make the most imperceptible hairs on their skin stand up on end with electric desire and certain need for more.
Inside their yurt for this, the first evening, as was the case with them all, the entire interior was adorned with the most lavish of decor; furs and throws of vicuna were hung along the walls and covered the floor in piles for sleeping mounds even taller and softer than those they had been sitting on for their supper. The fires on the other side of the translucent yurt walls' fabric danced and cast the sexiest of shadows about inside those radial bedchambers. The mountain breeze wafted its floral aromas past their doors, caressing their overlapping curtains to sway in and out, and as they stepped toward where they would rest for the remainder of this night, side by side, several dozen of the Inisfreean girls glided in past them, making barely any more noise than Ambrosia did when she walked, and it was then that those short Inisfreean girls lied down in a choreography without words, and one which was so smooth, it was as fluid as pouring water; their nude bodies formed a throne as wide as a chair-and-a-half; another form of living furniture more comfortable than anything the Outlands might carve and sew together. It was a human throne just wide and large enough for both Auz' and Ambrosia to recline upon.
And as the sleeping hour drew nigh, in preparation for the first 'big day' of the official tour of the city of Inisfree, just moments after they had left that 'chair-and-a-half' for their separate sleeping spots on the floor of furs, their living throne had just as fluidly flowed and slipped back apart, with all of the Inisfreeans whose bodies had composed it now sliding out and down into a 'cuddle puddle' on the vicuna furs; the softest material on Earth... now complemented by the softest flesh; their own. "We sleep together for warmth and touch-therapy; constant subtle massage and energy exchanging, so that we are always all balanced, evenly dispersing all of our energies, and, thereby, reaching a synergy unlike any ever before imagined," one of the Inisfreean girls softly spoke to Ambrosia as Auz' patted down his preferred pile of the furs. A few of the Inisfreeans slid their bodies up on all sides of Auz' and Ambrosia's own, forming a protective and warming ring of people around them, but giving Ambrosia plenty of space all to herself if she wished not to be touched much yet by them. "We are a very tactile, holistic, gentle people. We adore sharing touch, and the miracles proper touch causes for people."
She would listen half intently and half not to Auz speaking in regards to the chalices they were holding, and she would nod to him. When it then came to the girls kissing upon him and thanking him, and him them, would it make her slightly frown then but only a moment as she would internally conflict why she was thinking this way about him. Was it she adored him and his ever lasting abundance of information which both amazed her and conflicted her? ...Was it more than that? She remembered the first time they met and how they shared in touching then as they got ready for the night... Here it was difficult not to simply ask him if they could sleep near each other but then it was perfectly clear to her that would not happen as she dreamed of touching him without anything else happening that could come with touching... as she simply laid down then upon her furs and curled up around herself basically... "Good night, Auz," she said softly. Laying there now with those tri-colored pools wide open as she thought about everything they had been through and seen in this, the first of many days of this tour, a small sigh leaving her lips as she would grow restless but didn't wish to disturb anyone surrounding them.
Outside, the legions of choir singers together slowly dialed down the volume of their mystical voices... so slowly that it would not even register to the conscious mind... until all that could be heard were the flickers of the many fire-bowl flames, muffled by the fabric of their yurt, and hushed away by the Inisfreean night's breezes. Two Inisfreean women took up their guard posts at either side of the yurt's tent-flap door, their lion-helms rippling like flowing water back into place around their heads, sealing over their faces like summoned visors and face-plates, and it was then that they both placed their right foot one step forward, resuming that aggressive, agile, lithe version of the position-of-attention which their formations had displayed for Ambrosia upon her arrival through their city's Pearly Gate and over the first part of its Glowing Art Highway. Countless more of them patrolled under cloak and guise in the distant Inisfreean lands, caves, and airspace all around them, and a nearly numberless additional collection of them remained in hibernation within their many docked ships further below. Some of their couture power-armor suits were transparent, some mimicked their surroundings like chameleons, but the two who now stood as beautiful sentries at the entrance to Ambrosia's guest yurt looked like female statues of deep bronze and gold, catching and bending the refracted light of the dimming lanterns hanging nearby them along the yurts ceiling edge.
The Inisfreean lullabies of aetherial choir, flickering, popping fire-bowls, and whispering warm winds continued to usher their yurt party to sleep, and it was so overwhelmingly and overpoweringly relaxing and entrancing that even beings who never before felt the need to sleep at all... might surely still feel their eyelids getting heavy and their lips parting in the onset of ecstasy and sweet release of every tension and worry they had ever known.
One of the Inisfreean girls entwined her silken limbs over and around a couple of Ambrosia's own, snuggling and nuzzling up to her like a trusting house cat would with its loved and loving owner, and that Inisfreean kept her eyes closed as she caressed Ambrosia's upper arm with the skin of her cheek... her fingers then finding their way in between Ambrosia's own. If Ambrosia preferred her space, this Inisfreean would dip her head in a nod and bow to her, and ease back away. If, instead, Ambrosia enjoyed the coziness with these ever attentive and caring citizens of the city, she would continue to lightly snuggle with her. Meanwhile, just a foot off to Ambrosia's side, Auz' called upon his decades of military training to keep his distance while they courted and acclimated to one another. He wanted very much to have Ambrosia fall asleep in his arms; something that would be at the height of comfort and a welcome change for them both, but he would wait until, perhaps, their next night on the tour. There was so much to take in and catch up on, after all, and he didn't want to overwhelm such a special guest.
"We Inisfreeans form the human, 3D versions of Celtic infinity-knots whenever we are together," his low, soothing rumble of a voice spoke to her in the fading fire- and candle-light of their yurt. One of his hands slid left and right over the furs in the foot of space between them, his fingers and thumb pads petting and enjoying the soft hairs as his eyes looked at the spot near where Ambrosia lay. "Doing so takes the magical, protective and health-promoting powers of the wreaths and pentagrams (timeless symbols of continuity, balance, and support) to a completely new and incredible level. This is also how we prefer to teleport ourselves en-masse, as well as how we accelerate and stabilize all healing processes. Even our Naval formations in Deep Space co-orbit in these Celtic symbol orientations. The results are astounding. It goes far beyond just being tactical and jaw-dropping; it energizes and cheers up everything within an astounding range."
Auz' made no move to share anything further with Ambrosia that night; he simply... gradually... peacefully... went to sleep... Right at her side, in the warmth and coziness and softness of their 'cuddle puddle' of a dozen other Inisfreeans lying atop the piles of vicuna furs, he drifted off into the dreaming world... and had the most delicious visions and experiences there. Warm feet, and a safe, loving haven, after all, lead to the best of dreams...
Chapter 2; Tour Day 2:
When it came time to wake, it was still dark outside. The silkiest of fingertips traced feather-light routes down over Ambrosia's skin from her collarbone to her sternum, and then her sternum down over the slight curve of her abs until she began to stir. The aetherial singing outside had ended sometime during their first night there, and most of the fires had been allowed to die down into deep red glows, as well. The silky Inisfreean touches eased away from her for a moment until one of their warm, little hands was cradling Ambrosia's own; its thumbpad circled the center of her palm so lightly that it would give it that electric charge of touch-craving need for more pressure so as not to tickle. The effect it would have was profound; so little touch, in just the right acupuncture spot and erogenous zone... very quickly leading to her thighs trembling and her knees wanting to come closer together. The educated and practiced masseuse of a young lady and citizen of the Inisfreean city was careful only to arouse and channel her meridians' and chakras' energies just that tiny bit before waiting to see if Ambrosia appreciated those sensations; Inisfreeans loved touch, but they loved being thoughtful and conscientious more.
"Time to rise, my lady," a sweet and passive, Inisfreean female's voice cooed to her in barely audible whisper; its warm breath blew over and caressed Ambrosia's lips as the words graced her ears. Auz' was easing up to a sitting position at Ambrosia's side, several different pairs of warm, smaller hands already beginning to welcome him back to the world of the waking with their innate and life-honed masseuse gifts exponentially spreading soft serenity. When Ambrosia looked his way, the Inisfreeans flowing around him in a choreographed massage all eased back away in every direction, giving Ambrosia his full attention. His dark brown eyes seemed warmer and more relaxed now that he had been back in his new homeland for a full night's rest, and the way he looked over Ambrosia's face and serenely smiled to her made it clear how much he loved her sight and company.
Sitting against a living backrest of an Inisfreean girl with her legs to his sides as living armrests (as before; during their supper), another Inisfreean combed his hair for him with such attention to detail that not a single tangle was tugged. Other Inisfreeans knelt at his sides and massaged his every muscle group, working their ways up and down his limbs, chest, and sides, even massaging his hands open with their fingers and thumbs sliding back and forth between his own, squeezing his hands open in a sort of 'hands-hug' before letting them gradually and naturally re-close.
When the massaging of all his muscle groups had been completed, he let his few remaining articles of clothing fall away from him, and rolled his shoulders up and back as two of his Inisfreeans placed and fastened a long, flowing, blood-red cape about his trapezii and collarbone. Rising in silent ease to his feet, Ambrosia would now be able to watch all of his toned muscles flex and relax in sequence as he shifted to one knee and then stood up as if proudly sporting some heavy rucksack. His long, brown mane of hair slid down over the blood-red cape hanging like a curtain down his back, and one hand held the left side of that cape just in front of his groin; she would only be able to see him fully revealed before her if she requested it.
Extending his free hand and arm toward her, he offered to help her to her feet. He knew she, being an incredibly strong and capable immortal, would never need that, but that is precisely why he offered it; it was the gentlemanly thing to do. "Goodmorning," he rumbled a welcoming greeting to her. "You need only wear your clothes here if you wish to; we are a nudist colony, as it were. People here love feeling the fresh air and warm fire-light upon the whole of their bare skin -much like how we relish the feeling of smooth pavement, healthy grass, or wet sand at our feet. How are you feeling today?"
If she was worried about the morning sunlight harming her vampire body, she would quickly notice that it still seemed very dark outside; all their light still coming from the lanterns hanging around their bed of fine furs...
It was with the last rumblings of his voice that she did indeed fall into that slumber. The one whom never needed sleep before would soon be drifting away into her own dream world, the soft caressings of the Inisfreean woman helped indeed as she stirred not a drop or had her move away... Soon, though, as that was over, it was the next day... and she would indeed feel as if she was dreaming a most erotic of dreams; hands touching her caused her to stir, then, as those liquid tri-colored pools of Spring meadows colors would flutter open, she beheld a sight before her of Auz, whom was now awake, as well; his flowing hair around that robe made him look as if he was one of the male statues in the sea of thousands upon thousands of female ones, each one just as beautiful as the next...
Accepting then his gentlemanly offer of assisting her to her feet, would she wrap her demure fingers around his as an electric-like shock would occur, causing her to gasp softly between soft, crimson stained lips. He would feel it, as well. Never had that happened with another --not in many centuries. But those glowing orbs of hers then lit up as if the world was on fire and could be seen through her eyes when he mentioned that she didn't have to wear clothing if she didn't feel like it. She personally hated clothing, but of course, the way things were, she wore them to appease others. A biting upon her bottom lip gave a sharp tugging motion as she would mull over this offer seriously... Eventually she would give him a deep, warmed smile as she then would notice it was still dark out for now.. She wasn't concerned about the sun hitting her; after all she could walk through fire, but that was a story in itself for another time... Meanwhile, she stood there still in her clothing from her first entrance past those pearly gates and that marvelous highway... A wrinkling of her nose given, then "I thank thee for the offer but for now perhaps a bath would do me better. Could you instruct me where I might take one?" Her head tilted a moment to carefully look through veiled eyes and a fluttering of long lashes to watch Auz ... The Inisfreean woman whom had cuddled her through the night would gently smile in her direction, then the one whom had been her backrest at dinner followed in kind, and it made Ambrosia stop a moment to look upon her form appreciatively before turning to Auz again to wait for his answer... The day's breeze blowing upon the entrance, and the glowing embers of those fires allowed to burn out, ...all would cause her a sense of peacefulness as she was at for this moment considering staying here longer than the tour...
But that would be deemed considered after she got the full tour, of course... A pausing in her steps though upon the fur caused her to stumble a moment --'accidentally', of course-- which made her grasp his arm tighter lest she fall into a heap, her knees still wanting to push together and a small moan ensuing from her lips. The awakening process that had happened and those soft words in her ears from earlier coursed through her like a well played memory, and she then could be heard softly gasping as if for air before it stilled... That moment of silence, though, was 'echoing' throughout the yurt they had shared as she drew her attentions from that memory back to Auz again with a small, faint smile. "Pardon me. I ..." she was at a loss for words now.
Auz' was enjoying watching her react agreeably to the culture of his new home-city and people, and hoped she would decide to extend her stay with them. She listened when he explained things, she was well mannered and soft spoken, it was clear she had so much more she wished to show --when the time was right, and, of course, she had one of the loveliest faces he had ever in all his many travels seen. Thinking about these things, he cast that serene, pleased, inviting expression her way, the ghost of dimples from his grin hinting at the corners of his mouth, and dipped his eyelids in a nod 'yes' to her request; "Then a bath you shall have."
It was still dark, he explained as they walked back out of their tent into the still-dark, morning-sky only lit by the ever-present streaks of aurora light and colors a dozen miles above them, because of 'axial tilt'; how the Earth rotated on a slanted axis which caused both day and night, as well as the seasons as orbit around the Sun slowly changed the orientation of that tilted axis. At the present time of year, the orientation of that axial tilt kept the whole continent of Antarctica in its season of ongoing night; the Sun never made it up over their local horizon, and the most the very edge of the skyline would do was brighten from black to a very deep purple. Ambrosia had arrived at the final weeks of this dark season, so in time (several more weeks) she would begin to see the phenomenon called 'pink midnight'; this was the time of year at both of the polar regions when the Sun remained just below the horizon throughout the 6 to 12 hours of nighttime, causing the entire sky to remain a deep and sexy pink until the morning light when the Sun once again rose just to peek up over the horizon and follow it for many degrees. "When it happens," he smiled to Ambrosia as they walked off to the edge of the Welcoming Square, "you will know. The whole sky will flash alight with that signature pink, and then all the snow and ice for as far as the eye can see will reflect it; completely surrounded in warm, pink light. It makes everything look and feel as though one is on an alien planet." His eyes smiled as his mind remembered the first times he had witnessed it.
"Direct sunlight will not hurt you here," he elaborated further, as Ambrosia had not yet decided to tell him she was immune to its effects."This realm has many overlapping inventions which keep our guests stable enough to be immortal if they so choose --and not just ever-living, but immune to harm and, sometimes, even thirst. What we do here is our choice; never our addiction. Eating, sleeping, even breathing and temperature needs... become matters of habit and tradition here, rather than necessity." Several of his Inisfreean daughters walking a few meters off to their sides extended their strides and moved into position as polite gatekeepers at the sides of an opening doorway on the steep slope of a small hill just beyond the landscaping and babbling brook running parallel with the edge of the Welcoming Lot they had just stepped off of. The double doors slid apart from their center, apparently from detecting their approach.
"The clear 'sky-dome' over this hemisphere of our city also acts as a polarized lens and ultra-violet radiation filter much like the Firmament before the Great Flood; the protective water layers in the stratosphere many millennia ago." He continued their pleasant walking pace through the double doors into the hillside and down a staircase leading deep underground; another set of surfaces subtly glowing from within, illuminating their soft white surface and inlaid gold designs. "Here, our much smaller, city-sized version of that Firmament allows us to gaze directly at the Sun and any star, no matter how bright it is, for as long as we want. That effectively makes this 'vampire heaven'. All 'generational curses' of our kind, as I have heard them called, are lifted here... effectively ending them. We bow to no spell or curse; we study and figure out them all." The double-doors silently slid shut behind them, but were now out of sight, for their path had taken them much farther down the white-and-gold staircase and far below the surface; into a network of well-lit, also white-and-gold tunnels whose sides were rounded all the way up and over their ceiling sections; tubes with the exception of their flat floors.
"We are heading toward what we call the Receiving Quarters; where all first-time guests spend a few days further adjusting to our way of life here, learning our vocabulary and jargon, our customs and courtesies; that sort of thing." He walked along the rounded corner of an intersection with another of the white-and-gold tube-tunnels, and their view there-after expanded to reveal an entire subway station just as luxurious as everything else she had thus far seen. There were no tracks or oil, and no sound of squealing brakes, nor of any electric motors humming and straining to life. Everything looked as clean as what one would find in a show-home, and was silent except for the faintest whisper of wind. As the white-and-gold subway bullet-trains slowed to a halt at the three levels of the station open like a courtyard before them, and as other bullet-trains rapidly accelerated back into their tunnels and beyond where Ambrosia could see them, there seemed to be a very slight glowing and misting effect around them. This, Auz' said as he pointed in the direction of the latest visual and auditory example, was the result of Repulsine-based cavitation; an effect which negated air friction and, thereby, almost all of the sounds a normal train would otherwise make. "It also allows our train-cars and other vehicles to travel at remarkable speeds through these subway tunnels and along our Glowing Art Highway up above."
One of the subway trains raced in and quickly, silently decelerated to a halt in front of them, lining up its double-doors right in front of where they now stood on the waiting platform. Motioning again with his hand as he had before, he waited for her to step aboard and then stepped in to stand beside her as the double-doors slid back shut to seal behind them. The interior of their subway car was clearly for groups of public and high foot traffic, but looked like a mansion or a palace, complete with wood paneling, leather chair-and-a-half recliners, fountains, dining booths, hovering chandeliers, hedges precisely trimmed into the figures of more female models in a great variety of graceful poses, and a waitstaff of train-car attendants dressed in a skimpy and couture version of women's tuxedos. "Please sit wherever you wish," one of them smiled and musically addressed Ambrosia, bowing her head to Auzdein as he neared her. "Our destination is the Receiving Quarters, estimated time of arrival: five minutes." Once their Inisfreean attendant had spoken, Auz' then leaned his head a bit toward Ambrosia's to put emphasis on his next hint as to some of the fun attractions of the city; "If you would like, any of these Inisfreean girls can project a holographic image of our train's route... directly into your mind's eye... as if you were imagining it yourself. Give it a try."
Their subway train-car seemed to be sitting perfectly still, as if they were still waiting on the whole train to leave its parking spot along the waiting-and-boarding platform in their subway station, but then all of the airplane-style windows blurred to a pale gray, and the mental image of their route along the subway tunnels running deep beneath the surface of Inisfree --if Ambrosia used her thoughts to request one of the Inisfreeans let it appear within her mind-- would show that they were already moving at incredible speeds. In a matter of no more than four minutes, they had covered more than 25 miles; their subway train had accelerated to nearly 380mph without them even feeling one second of increasing G-forces. Even its turns inside the subway tunnels as it changed directions and merged onto other groups of subway paths felt as though they were still at a full stop, while in reality they were banking almost 90 degrees up along the walls of their train's tunnel sections.
Arriving at their destination within the predicted five minutes, the double-doors slid back open and Auz' stood and offered Ambrosia his hand or forearm if she wished to hold onto it again. She would be able to sense that he adored when she did this, and loved walking alongside her as both her guide and, perhaps, something more. Stepping out and off of their luxurious subway train-car, he walked alongside her off and away from the local subway station's waiting-and-boarding platform, and into another white-and-gold tube-tunnel corridor leading to a wider, taller set of double-doors which looked more like a bank vault's. "This lodge; one of the suites of our Receiving Quarters complex, will help you feel more at home. Like a tomb or massive vamp coffin, and as luxurious as a palace, we usually have newcomers (first-timers to Inisfree) come and stay here for their first week in our realm, then escort them back out and up for their second week 'topside', as we call it; on the surface (above ground) in what we call our Holistic Hospital; 'Holi' Hospital' in common speech."
As with the handful of other doors of Inisfree, both great and small, which Ambrosia had been accompanied through and beyond, these vault-like double-doors leading into the underground foyer of the Receiving Quarters slid silently open and out of their way in anticipation of their approach and arrival. Once inside, they sealed themselves the same way. "In Inisfree, showers are waterfalls, all of which are warm. Shower rooms in residences are walk-in sized, designed to comfortably fit at least a few dozen people if you wish to be hand-bathed by attendants, and feel somewhere between a waterfall and rainfall, with dials controlling temperature, angle, pressure, shower-heads arrangements, lighting, and more, all by thought via our 'by-mind interface' technology, and by our 'smart-surfaces' technology which allows every place in our city to read our body language. In this case, our showerers' body language, constantly minutely adjusting all of those features, fine tuning throughout every showering session for the absolute most sensual and satisfying shower one can imagine -quite literally because it is precisely that; their imagination, which is directly controlling it!" he smiled to her, his eyes alight for a few seconds with his great pride at having finally developed and mass-installed that ultra-hospitality and synchronization technology so many had only dreamed of before.
The foyer they now stood within was a wide, lobby-like chamber with a domed ceiling and walls softly lit from within, producing an almost womb-like lighting effect of pink, salmon, and coral colors, and like-colored, translucent curtains, draperies, canopies, banners, and floral ivy hung near the walls all around them. The air still smelled of a refreshing mountain breeze laced with wild flowers of a dozen kinds, and it was clear that the Inisfreeans had worked out a flawless ventilation system even for their deepest of subterranean facilities. Another pair of short, Inisfreean debutantes proudly and serenely strode and swayed their hips up to Ambrosia, kissing her on her cheeks before moving to stand at the sides of her and Auz'. "And now," Auz' smiled to her, then looking ahead of them to the inner set of that large foyer's double-doors, "we introduce you to your private suite for the next week."
As they traveled, She was beginning to wonder about things, She liked things simple and easy, challenges thrown her way though were always met one way or another. This learning about Auz's city and how things were here was considered a challenge to her, but one she welcomed with open arms, and she had readily decided that she wanted to extend her stay here. It would be good for her to be gone from the stagnation of what was her realm, and to learn and grow. Always room to grow and learn, she did say.. Ghosting of small dimples she kept concealed brightened her face then when she was to learn she would have a bath and then they were there before she knew it... Faster than what she expected.... Once arriving at what would be her personal chambers while here would she look around with doe wide eyes at everything here. From the walls to the flooring, to everything in between, it was simply amazing...
She kidded around with Auz "So I am not allowed to bring these things such as decorations or perhaps these Inisfreean girls back to my realm?" She would be the envy of them all. Well, that was an understatement. But it was a known fact the longer she stayed here, the longer she did not want to return to her dark realm. She longed to stay here but knew that would never fly even if she did catch the hang of their language, their customs, their ways of life... The darkening rays of the morning sky she was falling in love with, to witness this pink midnight as he described would be wondrous. "But only if I can view it with you, Auz." She was straight forward in her thinking and never one to mince words; she went after what she wanted, but wondered a bit... What did a sophisticated, well educated, very futuristic vamp like Auz see in a simple girl who needed things dumbed down for her to understand them, regal vampire though she was? Her tri-colored eyes darkened to a deep jade green as she kept her thoughts well locked; to never reveal.. It wasn't that she didn't wish for him to know these things about her, but as well she knew those kinds of secrets, wishes, and dreams could be used against her in the future... She hoped he wouldn't do that to her. Somehow, she knew better than to think that about him as she shook her long, lustrous, darkened locks a moment. Finally arriving at the bathing house that would be hers to use, would she receive the kiss to her cheek which made her almost smile to the girl before she drew eyes upon Auz's handsome features as she boldly looked at him with those dark green hues the color of jade which held a certain sparkle to them. "Am I bathing alone then this evening before we move on to the next leg of the tour?" her words dripping like honey.