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I entered Marissa’s dimly lit room, approaching a moveable divider. Squinting at the figure behind the partition, I could barely make out a shapely female form in the darkness. She turned to me, but I could see nothing of her face.
I greeted the form I could now barely see. The figure answered in a voice that was slow and deadly, like a steel dagger drawn across stone.
“Yes? Come to speak with Marissa, have you? Quite rude of you to enter a darkened room, storming behind my partition like so… rude, and foolhardy.” I could hear a faint whispering sound, like a slight breeze… or the hissing of serpents.
Morte whispered quietly, “Whoah… creepy chit.”
“My apologies, my lady… I wasn’t sure if someone was here.” I replied to the vague shadow. The woman gave a sligh thmph.
“But it would seem there is someone in this room, wouldn’t it? Shall you be on your way, then?”
“Not just yet… I had some questions. “ She grudgingly allowed me to ask them.
“Why do you remain behind this screen?”
“Is it your wish that I step away from this partition, into some patch of light, and speak to you face to face?” Marissa laughed, and there was the sound of scales sliding on scales. “Nay, I think not. The darkness suits me, and doubtless suits you as well. It also prevents any unwanted… and embarrassing… casualties. Now what is it that you want?” I was now intrigued.
“I want you to come into the light.”
“Nay, and the addition of ‘please’ will not serve to persuade me. Now what do you want? Surely you did not come all this way to see me.”
“I do want to see what you look like…”
“You have no such want.” Perversely, the more she demurred, the more I wanted to clearly see her.
“Oh, I do.”
“What do you look like? The darkness hides us both. Let’s make it a game? I'm frightfully bored. Let me guess… are you a human male?”
“Are you… wounded in the throat?”
“I can’t see but I believe so, yes.”
“Hmm… describe yourself for me.”
“I'm tall, muscular, and horribly scarred,” I replied truthfully.
“Indeed? Hmmm…” She paused for a moment. “How were you so horribly scarred? Wait… never mind. I do not wish to know.” I was very curious what she was hiding.
“Now describe yourself, for me.”
Marissa described herself as a shapely, pale-skinned, beautiful woman with a forked tongue, hair made up of writhing asps, and glowing eyes… which I assumed she must be keeping shut. I considered if she could be from the lower planes.
“Are you a fiend?” Marissa laughed lightly, the sound accompanied by a slight hissing.
“No, hardly… though I've powers some might call fiendish. My glance turns living things to stone, for instance. From beings of flesh to statuary with the bat of an eyelash…”
“That must be inconvenient at times.”
“You think so? That must be why I sit here alone, in the dark, hiding behind a partition.” Though I couldn’t see Marissa, I was certain she was sneering. She suddenly sighed. “If only I knew where my Crimson Veil had gone. Have you seen it, perchance?”
I assured her I had not seen her veil, and asked her about the missing scent, saying someone had seen her sneaking away from Vivian’s chambers. Marissa said nothing for a moment, though an angry hissing issued from the darkness around her.
“Yes, I've been known to creep into Vivian’s chamber for some of her perfumes… though I doubt you'll meet another here who hasn’t. If you’re implying that I've got her personal scent, well… feel free to sniff around. You'll not find it on me or in my chambers, I assure you. Perhaps whoever took my Crimson Veil took Vivian’s scent, as well.”