Reflection - Sitala Foxtail (Warning: Novel Ahead #SorryNotSorry)

She took a seat on the roof of the hunting lodge, rifle in her lap, and opened a bottle of water, her throat feeling dry from the dusty ground; not that she really needed hydration, but it was nice to not have the small annoyance. Raising her hand to drink, the rays of the sunset hit the ring on her finger, making it sparkle and catch her eye, locking on to it as she lowered the bottle, and placing it beside her. Taking off the ring, she held it in both hands, turning it so it would constantly catch the light at different angles, the red hues looking almost like… fire… Suddenly her mind was gone, reflecting on her life, like the sun reflected off this important piece of her.

Her first conscious thought, the pain, the heat, screaming, words she didn’t understand, the smell of sulphur, brimstone, flesh, blood, burning… then she opened her eyes, seeing red, black, fire, spilled blood, stone, too much, too bright… then came learning, understanding, the idea of emotions, centuries of people speaking, different languages, different areas, different sights and sounds…

This was how she came to be, how Tala was created. Within the fires of Hell, through means she knew not, while also knowing not to ask, she was forced into being, the first being she met a generic demon of some sort, tasked with giving her the briefest of run-downs. She was a succubus, a demon of lust, her job was to be sent to different worlds to feed off the lusts of the resident conscious beings and tempt them to ‘sin’ - a rather undefined term that constantly changed within each specific world, let alone between different ones - so that the souls of these beings could be collected for this underworld. Some of those souls were punished, some were not, some were merely… present, but all were there for the various demons and entities to feed on. She was named Zarinaela - the moment the sound reaching her ears a spell was cast, power flowing through her body, inherently knowing she would now forever be controlled by this name - and roughly taken to her own kind, the generic demon leaving immediately and attempting to get away as quickly as possible, herself realising he would easily become food should he stick around. Instinct told her so.

She met the first of her kind, or who at least claimed to be, and it was from them that they were named, Succubus and Incubus. She was welcomed as a new sister, then given deeper information, her creation was unusual, not created by Satan himself, nor by Succubus or Incubus. No, she was brought into being by humans. It was not known how, but once the first words of humanity were written, cuneiform, she arose. There should have been a ceremony, a ritual, her ‘birth’, as it were, would have included all of her kind, but instead she was seen by the demon who happened to be in the area to witness it. She did not know how to process that information, though a sense of loss was certainly there.

There was no time from there to learn the ropes, learn who and what she was, she was simply told by her kind what to do, and was quickly sent out to a world where she could learn and get her bearings as a demon of lust. Thrown into a kingdom in a world where the supernatural, where new and intriguing demons, angels, and so much more were commonplace, they were more than happy to take her in. She was seen as a daughter, a protege, and learned quickly. In fact, within a mere 2 weeks, she was considered trustworthy enough to run this kingdom when the Emperor was not there, usually out infiltrating and raiding other kingdoms and bringing home his new mistress of the week.

This habit only became frustrating to her seeing the impact it had on his adopted son, a being who, through methods she knew not and did not ask, turned himself into a demon whose powers were considered ‘steampunk’. He was a brilliant boy, one who could make mechanical creatures, really anything, and though his powers made it so these creations had life, most of the creation was purely on his intellect. These women were to be his ‘mothers’, but none stayed for long, nor did they treat him well, only using him to get to his father. She could not stand for this any further, choosing to take on a ‘motherly’, more like mentor, role for the boy, and he grew only stronger for it.

It only took a few months in this world for her to learn what she could do, who she could be, soon enough the subjects preferring to come to her rather than the Emperor, herself leaving with him on some of his infiltrations, sometimes going on her own. She found that she wasn’t great with combat, but she could talk her way out of most situations and let kingdoms destroy themselves from the inside. And honestly, she enjoyed it. She enjoyed being able to use her own wits and a silver tongue to sway people as she pleased, playing with them like dolls in a game. It was here that she learned she could change her appearance, almost entirely as she pleased. She even gave herself a name, for her true name gave others power over her, and she trusted no one with that. To everyone else… She was Sitala Foxtail, though she was more commonly called Tala, which she liked.

It was interesting how her ‘shapeshifting’ worked. She never really changed how she appeared at all, it was merely an illusion. She could feel the power inherently, never actually being taught how to do… well, anything. And this power of illusions seemed to have no limitations, other than she could never mask what she was. She would always give off a… presence? aura? Something of that ilk, something that was like a venus flytrap, a scent, pheromones, an unknown force that would draw people to her, would have them listen without them realising. It would not hold any real sway over a person, she had to do all that on her own, but it helped, it drew them in and they would let their guard down just enough that she could talk her way through.

__________________________________________________________________________________

She enjoyed this world, she felt at home here, more at home and accepted than she did in the Underworld, maybe Hell, whatever someone wanted to call it. It was all the same place to her, all occurring concurrently to each other, all right, all wrong. Either way, it was not her home, she knew that much, and even though she would always have her appearance disguised, it felt more right than her true form. But after those few years, where she felt powerful, where she bore the scars of many battles, where she was respected, she heard her name called, her true name. She was compelled to leave, compelled to return to… that place. And so she left. She left the only home she knew, heading back to her, well, birth place. She simply walked, and continued walking until she saw a portal, stepping through and immediately feeling the heat on her skin, burning her illusion away so only she, the demon, was seen.

From the moment she stepped through, she was in the realm of her kind, surrounded by her brothers and sisters, the disapproving glances as they shouted at her, Incubus and Succubus seeming to glow with anger. What did I do wrong? I was loved, adored, I fed, I caused many to sin and fall, I even sent some here personally. Why are they angry? I’m sorry. I don’t understand. I did what seemed right. Her thoughts invaded, tearing through her along with the jeers and disgust thrown at her. How could she reveal herself so easily? How could she dare take the throne, a prominent figure, one who was seen, heard, and not working from the crowd, from the shadows? She was lucky to be alive, they should just destroy her now for besmirching their good name. She participated in sex for pleasure, spitting the word at her as if it were tainted. But she could feel that pleasure, so why could she not enjoy it? That was not possible, their kind did not feel pleasure, they did not feel anything. She even took on a child. What was she thinking?

On orders by Succubus and Incubus, she was removed from the group, taken by demons of Wrath and Pride to be… educated on who they were and how they operated. For at least a millenia, she was tortured. She could not remember exactly what was done, only showing new scars from her time, all she could remember was being mentally, physically and emotionally broken down before being thrown back to her kind, almost as if it were a rebirth. A complete mess as she knelt before her people, she was ordered to a new world, one where she would blend in much better, as it was a world of lust, to see if she would do better.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Having been so broken, she remembered little of what - who - she used to be, only remembering it was wrong. She joined an establishment that was a combination of a bar, a nightclub, a burlesque show and a brothel, becoming a ‘waitress’, a title that meant she would entertain guests in any way they wished. Here, she was a nobody, just another girl, and while there were many customers who preferred her and her way of doing things, there were just as many who didn’t. She had no power here, able to be part of the shadows, part of the crowd, only feeding off and influencing those who came to her, took interest. However, she wasn’t there long before she messed up again.

What she didn’t know was she could only fall pregnant if she wanted to, and as she believed it was something normal - considering how many around her were falling pregnant, or already were when she was there - it was inevitable that it would happen with her as well. As such, she gave birth to triplets, two belonged to one man while the other belonged to a different man, Tala excited to be a mother. She considered herself a great mother to those babies, a boy Samuel Phoenix Lyons, and two girls, Vivian Rose and Nikaela Brooke Foxtail. They were her pride and joys, they brought meaning to her life, a life she hadn’t really felt in this world, always feeling like something was missing, but with them, with her flesh and blood in her arms, she felt whole. But again, she was called, torn from her babies, forced home with no warning. She would never know what happened to them.

__________________________________________________________________________________

This time, there was no mercy. She had betrayed her kind for a second time, and it was not going to be tolerated. This time, her punishment was eternity. She did not know how much time had passed, not only was time different in this realm, but the torture was continuous, constantly broken, rebroken, and again, a constant cycle. There was nothing in her. She had forgotten everything, remembering only pain, heat, sulphur, brimstone, blood, steel, stone, hatred… emptiness. This was to be her life until the day this realm was destroyed… Until one day…

It was no saving grace, but a world was experimenting and opened a portal to her exact location. it was a rare moment she had a chance to escape, a brief, unstable moment of hope, once in a lifetime, and she took it, tearing out of her bonds and through the portal, closing behind her, taking the tip of her tail. The moment she came through, the broken thing was taken, magically restrained, tortured again. The leader of these people asked her questions, some she could answer, some she could not, only knowing for sure that she was in this state because she was different. She found out the people of this world were mainly human and were ruled by extreme force. Human… She could work with that. Waiting for the right moment, she began to work her silver tongue on the one who questioned her. It took some time, but soon enough, he released her.

There was something different about this world, she could not shift as she wanted, could not shift at all. Using the questioner, a man she came to know as ‘Blitzkrieg’, it was discovered that as this world was not ruled by magic, and as it had a relatively weak connection to her birth realm, she could not use the latent power to shift, instead needing to use runes. It took a lot of research, as well as a lot of trial and error, to find the right ones, but eventually, she was able to make herself appear as she wished. Now that she could blend in with the people of this world, she used Blitzkrieg as her shield, placing herself in the position as his ‘lover’ so none would question her, nor would they touch her unless she allowed it.

The thing about this world, she learned that she didn’t just need to feed off sexual lust. The term “X lusted after Y” held true for her as well, meaning if a person lusted after anything, she could feed off of it. Power? She could feed. Money? She grew stronger. Anything and everything people of this world wanted badly enough, she could feed off of it. It came as a great relief to her, as each day, each person she interacted with, she grew stronger, little by little, until she was strong enough to stand on her own. Instead of dropping her ‘protector’, however, she kept up this ruse, wanting to have him as a fallback, just in case anything happened.

Now strong enough, she decided to use any time she could to research runes on her own, not only for appearance, but for anything else she may need, protection, defence, offence, influence, whatever it was she desired, she made sure she would have it and be able to use it as she pleased. This took her a couple of centuries until she felt she had enough in her arsenal, testing these runes out in different, sometimes unconventional, ways, wanting to make sure she knew exactly how to use them to her advantage in as many situations as possible.

Feeling she had used this world as much as she was able, she used her new found knowledge to use her own power, her own runes, and the strength this world had given her, to open a portal of her own, one that she did not know where it would take her, only knowing that it would open for her, and her alone, before destroying itself and its markings. She did not want anyone following her, nor did she want to have a way back.

__________________________________________________________________________________

This time she landed in a world similar to the last, but more… peaceful. This may be more relaxing, but who really knew what would happen? Using her runes, she crafted her appearance to her liking, something a little different from last time, only this time she wanted the chance to hide who she was. Though she was not able to change the solid black eyes she held, the only thing she had never been able to learn to disguise, she scrawled runes on a masquerade mask, runes that would heavily dampen her persistent ‘aura’ she produced, curious to see if she would be able to achieve similar goals without that to help her. Sure, she would never be able to completely mask it, but mostly was still fine.

While she met many people, few caught her enough to stick around, except one person, a man named Kole. He seemed to be more of a loner type, not really hanging around other people, but seeming to take a liking to her. He would be a nice testing ground. It was through him she learnt of this world, how it worked, who was important, names she could use if she needed to, but also finding out that Kole was seen as a ‘snitch’. That intrigued her. So, people would not trust him, and by her being around him, they may not trust her either. She was right, this was a perfect testing ground. What better way to test her abilities than to start off on a bad foot?

She was almost disappointed to find she had no issue with this. Yes, there were few people who got to know who she was, but even then, they seemed to not judge her just for who she was around. Nice in principle, but for her purposes, it was a failure of a test. Oh well, take the positives, at least people were willing to happily interact with her. But, once again, it was not long before she was called ‘home’.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Something she did not expect when she was forced back to this realm she despised, was praise from her kin. Finally, she had won their approval, and they were quickly speaking of where her place would be, her ‘inheritance’, factions she didn’t know existed vying for power under Succubus and Incubus to get in their good graces, trying to sway her mind to their ways of thinking. She had enough of it all, for though she didn’t remember events or specifics, she remembered the pain they caused her, she held the scars, her visage disgusted her, this world churned what should be her stomach and she wanted gone.

In what may have been seen as a rash decision, she brought herself before Succubus and Incubus, renouncing her status as a lust demon to them and requesting they send her back to the world they had pulled her from, never to return. Anger could not describe how the two reacted to this request, but they could see this would be the only way to get this obvious trouble maker out of their sight for good, and so granted it, cutting her off from her birth place entirely.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Thrown back, she had found that 3 or 4 months had passed in this world, having missed so much, and she felt she was a different being. She no longer felt any connection to Kole, even as a food source, much later on she had met Blitzkrieg again, following him through a portal to a world called Cyndara, and while she enjoyed her time there, she still felt it was wrong. But she did meet someone on her return to this world, a man in a black skull mask, black clothing and a black bike. Something about him intrigued her, finding herself wanting to get to know him more, wanting to seek him out. He even seemed somewhat familiar, but she couldn’t place it, not exactly, it simply gnawed at the back of her mind. Each time they spoke, she wanted to know who he was, who lay beneath the mask, but he would not give anything away, and she could not put her finger on the hints he gave. That was until Kole spilt the beans, in a sense, giving her enough clear hints that she would know without him saying a name, the revelation bringing a smirk to her lips.

She kept this information to herself, acting as if she didn’t know who the ‘mysterious’ man was, but it wasn’t long until he revealed himself to her, the mere fact that JoJo felt she was one of the few trustworthy enough with this information, though she knew little about him, gave her a slight ego boost that was more than likely entirely unwarranted. She was able to get to know him a little as himself before something big began to go down. She started off being with JoJo, but soon her and another happened to break off from him, messaging to keep him updated on what she could, having no way of knowing the shock that was about to come her way.

With an alternate Necroval in front of the people of Los Santos, he announced his new champion, JoJo appearing beside him. She had been so ready to help the people of this world, of those known as ‘Genesis’, but seeing him, she put her gun away, willing to simply watch, though she thought of maybe helping him if she thought he needed it, even if her disconnect from her realm made her much weaker. What she couldn’t deny was that, from her perspective, it seemed he had been trying to miss her, his powers hitting those around her, but not her, even when she stood still. Eventually she was taken down, but that was just part of the game, and the fact she was one of the last? She couldn’t deny something clicked there for her. This was the event that opened the portal to Cyndara.

__________________________________________________________________________________

In a last ditch effort to find out how she really felt, where her loyalties lay, she followed Blitzkrieg through the portal. Ultimately, it showed her that she didn’t feel any connection with him. It was fun, and she fed, but that was all. There was no mystery, there were no sparks, it was just a farce. In that moment, she decided to give it all up, Kole, Blitzkrieg, what she was, and pursue JoJo. When the Cyndara portal shifted, it was JoJo she went with.

The rest is history. It had been a ride, a lot within Tala changing, both from her disconnect with her realm and her connection to JoJo. She now had a heartbeat that beat only for him, the aura she once had fading to more of a pleasant perfume, her eyes finally changed to appear more normal, though her irises were still pure black, she no longer needed the runes for her appearance, though they would be helpful should she ever want to change drastically. She was learning what love, jealousy, intimacy, caring, and a myriad of other emotions are, and it felt right that she was experiencing them with him. Placing the ring back on her finger, she raised her hand in front of her face and smiled softly, the last of the sun’s rays glinting a deeper red… the red of his eyes…

She stood from the roof of the lodge, careful to hold her rifle in a way that it would not be a danger as she jumped down from the roof, handing everything back to the lodge before driving home. She needed him right now, and not to ‘feed’ - as much as she hated it was the only aspect that had not changed at all - but just to be with him. Whether it meant just to cuddle or if more happened, she didn’t care, she just needed to be with him. Her man. Her Fiance. Her Saviour.