The foyer of the Rosethorn Hotel is deserted. A crisp white letter addressed to "Mm. Iron" sits on the front desk. There are no other signs of life.
Inside, there's a blooming-flower console surrounded by two couches and a lot of free space. Atop the console is a brochure for Club Coze and a picture of a winged, horned girl with a soft, welcoming smile. There's a phone number beneath the picture. There's a small bottle of what's labelled as "Aphrodia Essence", and a teaset set up and steaming with a small platter of chocolate biscuits. There's also a heavy blanket all neatly folded up.
She sits one one of the couches, relaxing back slowly, grabbing the brochure and the bottle of "Aphrodia Essence", scanning the label for more details and paging through to look through what going to "Club Coze" entails - at a glance it looks interesting but there's no reason not to check it out in more detail.
The blanket she simply rests against, pressing against the piled up weight against her leg.
After a moment, she presses her tongue inquisitively against the lip of the mug to feel out the temperature and taste.
Aphrodia Essence is advertised as offering direct pleasure and warming oneself up for other matters. Drink straight for orgasmic pleasure, dilute half-and-half for a warm buzz, or add a few drops to a glass of another drink to make it just that little bit nicer.
Club Coze is advertised as offering board games, public cuddlepiles, trance music, pet therapy, and a dry bar for meetings and events.
The tea is quite hot, just barely sippable. It's Earl Grey.
She lets out a relaxed sigh at the taste of the tea. Conventional, but comforting.
She blinks hard at the label.
That doesn't exactly seem like the sort of thing that she would normally expect and the sort of thing that clashed quite a bit with the more conventional tea and such...
The dilution instructions were a touch confusing - she uncorked it, and turned the bottle over, stoppering it with her hand, before rubbing it slightly til all that was left was a thin layer across her thumb and index finger.
She inquisitively licked her finger slowly.
Were there any listed meetings scheduled to happen soon?
She let out a little tense sigh as she shuddered a little.
It could really use a bit clearer labelling and...
That's a shame, she doubted that it would be a good idea to rush this to be done in ten minutes...
She experimentally dipped one of the chocolate biscuits into the tea, and takes a bite out of it.
She hums softly as she slowly nurses her teacup.
She pages through the rest of the listings - it might be interesting to try out some more exotic board game offerings or pets to encounter - that's the sort of exotic thing that she was less prone to simply getting as an ordinary pleasure...
The number and listing wasn't especially clear on what exactly the phone number was for so...
She idly dialed the number into the console, and asked.
"Hello. I saw your number listed in a Club Coze ad - are you the right person to inquire about it's offerings?"
"Hello! I think you must have gotten the wrong impression, I'm not affiliated with Club Coze. My name is Tasha, I'm one of the Bower Escorts. I do primarily therapeutic work but sometimes recreational as well, and if the Bowers has given you my card there's probably a good reason. Would you like to set up an appointment?"
She brushes her hair back slowly.
"I wish I knew especially well myself. I can tell you that I do elemental magic work, or that I'm a virgin and something of a shut in who is not entirely averse to changing that status. I look around a lot of what I see is just rather surreal and confusing - there's a public cuddlepile on offer when there's seemingly nothing preventing say, some Ifrit who is perpetually on fire joining, or the oddness of the procured items - 'liquid pleasure' seems a little odd, as there's so many types of pleasure and it seems like it turns into some lust effect? I just look at this and I'm confused and worry if I'm supposed to be horrified or at the very least asking some pointed questions to someone's manager."
"Seemingly nothing is correct - space inside the bowers is nonlinear and time is a little distorted too. The fire elementals get their own public cuddlepile along with those who won't be harmed by them."
She picks up the bottle of Aphrodia.
"As for Aphrodia Essence, it's as close as we can get to generic "pleasure", it turns out including even a modest slice of sexual pleasure tends to dominate. And it's "on theme", you might say. It's quite safe and I'd be willing to drink a whole bottle in front of you to prove it."
"And I would expect I'm here both to answer your questions as an experienced priestess and to address the virgin issue."
She blushes hard at that, and says a little haltingly.
"I think I would be more comfortable starting with a modest dose with the tea? I d-don't think I'm quite ready to see you orgasming like the bottle seems to imply you would, though you saying that does make me curious as to if there's a non-sexual pleasure variant I could try out as well."
"It's just a little suprising that it's not as... 'user friendly' then I was expecting, and it's definitely a lot overwhelming, I suppose."
She fidgets, fingers brushing against each other.
"I'll have a cup of half-and-half, then. That should be about equivalent to fifteen minutes' foreplay."
She finishes her current cup of tea and pours herself a new one halfway to the brim, then fills the glass the rest of the way with Aphrodia Essence.
"There are other formulations - one tilted more towards relaxation, one leaning towards awe, that sort of thing - but this one is the most popular, likely because of its sexual effects."
She takes a gulp of her Aphrodia tea and lets out a pleased mmmmm that definitely belongs in the bedroom.
She shivers a little, and pours herself... quarter-three-quarters?
She drinks it in, and lets out a tiny moaning sigh, idly drinking in the taste, too.
"'Awe' is pleasure? I wouldn't have thought. I was mostly curious as to what the generalized non-sexual pleasure one summed to, but I suppose if I was aiming for something in particular it'd be something closer to contentment or maybe a dash of prideful joy..."
"Contentment is one of the formulations and tends to have lethargic aftereffects. 'Awe' like sacredness, like unity, like fitting-in-a-puzzle or regarding great beauty. It's a soaring feeling. Sunaira doesn't like providing it because it's an artificial alternative to real worship."
She takes a second sip, and sighs happily. "So, you want to graduate from being a virgin?"
She blushes softly, and adds a little more aphrodia essence to her tea.
"I never know what to think if that phrasing - certainly, I enjoy the prospect of sex, and I doubt I would choose this place to vacation if I didn't plan on it, it's simply that I just... don't know what I want, for my first time, and I don't know if it really makes sense to put that much drama into it or anything like that. So for the moment... May I please put my head on your shoulder?"
She's quivering, a little, with a mix of lust and nerves.
"Could you please come to me?"
She does a small sigh.
"The specific fear is something like... I don't want to have to compete on this whole different dimension of social activity when it's already rather difficult, and I'm shy and I don't know why people would really want to touch me or... fuck me."
She does a tiny warm murr.
She comes over and leans against Iron gently.
"You're cute, physically. You care about things a lot, like with the Aphrodia and the fire elementals in the cuddlepiles. Most people aren't so quick as you to see the incongruities here; you're bright. And intelligence is attractive. You're fighting past your fear to be here with me, and that bravery is also attractive. I don't think it's very complicated; it's just about changing what your heart says to you, which right now is something like 'I'm a nobody, I'm not hot, I'm not worth anything to others.' Which is simply, factually wrong."
She lets out a soft mmm, and leans up to kiss her lips gently.
"It feels... presumptuous" Kisses at her chin, leaning over to let her lips slide across her collarbone "to assume anything about what could make you" she shivers, and slides her teeth experimentally across her shoulders "feel good."
Tongue lightly presses against her neck, swirling slowly.
"Even assuming you" stray hand wraps around her shoulder and lets her fingernails slide gently down her neck "are happy to do this, and find me attractive, I don't think there's anything" she presses her chest against hers, rubbing up against her. "Stopping you from just kinking on service and people making an effort to pleasure you, beyond anything involved, say."
Licks up her neck, tongue sliding up 'til it swirls across her lips.
"So... I suppose I'll experiment."
Warm sigh, rises up to meet her nose-to-nose.
"Another" peck. "Fear I have is..." Fingernails stroke down her chest. "That just because..." hands slide across her dress to gently cup her breasts. "You enjoy it doesn't mean you don't" teeth nibble across her lips. "Enjoy it for some reason like..." Warm sigh, delving tongue. "That it's cute to see me humiliate myself" gasp, fingertips slide down her cleavage, "that you've set up some mental hack to force it" hands flare out, pressing her breasts against the fabric "or for some 'kink' reason I don't otherwise have ability to specifically" hands wander down to her hips "parse, yet."
Tasha kisses back and starts to stroke at Iron's front as well, gently massaging her breasts through her shirt.
"I swear I'm enjoying this because the sensation is pleasurable and being with you is pleasing and that I have no sensitivity or other mental hacks running at the moment to force it. I'm just picked for the position because, well... I like sex. And you're worth fucking."
She conjures a simple knife, palms it in her hand and gently runs it down the centerline of her dress and necklace, easily cutting through the thread before dissmissing the knife and letting ripping it open, letting her clothes fall to the floor.
She stares at her breasts, a little frozen.
She brushes the gap between her fingers around her nipples, gently teasing her aureola as she hums quietly.
"...I'm kind of tempted to do some elaborate scheme using the Aphrodia essence, a conjured and manipulable vessel I put in your mouth that lets me vary your dosage on the fly to give you extra pleasure, but I don't know if you would be okay with that or if it would be at all adviseable, not to mention the fact that the doses required are probably overly high..."
Her hips buck involuntarily a little, and her stares flick between her lips and pussy as she pants and thinks for a moment, as well as examining how 'ready' she seems to be.
She takes both nipples into the grip of her fingers, rolling and pressing and massaging the hard points as she considers.
She gently brushes her hand away from her cock.
"I have two - no three answers. The first one is 'I would like to do more to you, like sticking my dick in your cunt and have you convulse around me as you drink a large dose of aphrodia essence', the second 'I want to get aftercare and talk to you about the experience' and the third of 'I want to try an aftercare potion and see what I think afterwards.'"
She smiles slightly.
"But the main body of comment was... I feel like the way you talked about pleasure felt a little pretextual? That yes, you enjoy the way I touch you and so on, but that's not really the point, and that it wasn't about that, and more just the experience of something like 'being maximally available'. I don't feel super reacted to towards the end, beyond the more indecisive moments where you helped me out of that issue. And I can't say that I felt especially comfortable being giggled at in that sort of context."
"Sorry, I was just... happy that you were doing well and expressing yourself. You're right, I need to control my giggles more. And yes, I was focussing on signalling that you could do anything with me you wanted because I thought that was what you needed. We could do tantric practice instead next time, if you wanted to focus on emotional connection and specific sensations?"
"You did perfectly well, I'm just... a touch disappointed, I suppose."
She sighs and nuzzles against her chest.
"I think you probably could have spent more time feeling out my willingness to have sex and comfort with that sort of thing before straight up propositioning me, and I confess that I'm modestly confused that I read to you as averse when I jumped on the first opportunity to do so, without much further preamble. Mostly, I was looking for a chance for something... 'shared', or similar? I want fufilling my desires to be something that is productive rather then just... a stepping stone for a chance to do more until the process is complete? I'm not the expert on sex or relationships here, but I hope this at least an adequate start for a chance to thing it back over."
She nods slowly, and reaches out and nibbles on her biscuits slowly.
"That being said, I would still be happy to use your services again, sometime, and your company for at least a while longer would be appreciated - I might have instinctively tried to raise my magic resistance against the aftercare potion, or similar, and having someone there with me is... nice, regardless."
She reaches out to pull the warmth of her against her chest hesistantly.
She blushes brilliantly, and lets out a long contented sigh as she nuzzles back.
She shivers, a little, but this time it's a nicer one.
"I think it would be wisest for me to reserve judgement as to whether I 'really' care about you 'til I have a bit more experience as to what..."
She gestures broadly.
"All of this is like, but if I ignore that consideration, I would say that I care about you too, Tasha. Perhaps sometime tommorow we should meet again?"
She checks out the bath's supplies and features, and the state of her muscles and skin.
She's excersised a good deal before, but somehow it's different looking at it after... that.
It's not even that her skin is raw, or that she's all that physically worn out, there's just that faint lingering warmth and stretched-out feeling lingering, and the idle niggle of arousal at the back of her mind.
She shakes her head and laughs a little, and takes care of that with a cleaning wand she procures.
She steps into the bath, and turns it on, grabbing the rose scented soap and one of the bath bombs to try - hopefully if she doesn't like the interaction of them she can just cleanse the water and start again.
She drinks it down, and melts against the back of the bath, pressing herself up against one.
It's surprisingly... relaxing to do this, she finds. It can be more right to have the other set but really...
This is excellent too, especially with the interesting things that the pressure of the jets and moving bubbles can do to her when she's doing this....
She methodically massages the soap into her skin, enjoying the slight slickness and the way she can relax back into this.
She did her hair too - despite what she tended to think about for all this, it didn't especially matter that she could probably procure and 'wand of shampooing' without going through this. There was snothing wrong with htat sort of convenience, but considering the way that she enjoyied the way that it settled in to her hair, there wasn't really an edge for going for that sort of thing, she expected.
She let out a small snort, and looked to see if there was an option for getting rose petals in the bath itself - if she was going to have that theming, why not go all in?
The petals form from light amongst her warm bath, and she lets her hands stroke through the water, feeling the way that the petals drift around the movement of her hands.
...This is good, to actually rest and indulge, even if she was only letting herself do this on her own though...
If there's a public bath, she might want to try that, as well. It's important to have a chance to enjoy this a little more properly, beyond just doing it 'because she could'.
She rests in the bath for a while, smiling a little.
After perhaps half an hour, she leaves the bath and towels off.
"Namer's War is a recent game, it's a simulation of the war for Cthonia. You have cards and pieces that you move on the board. Some of your cards are the names of your units and I have abilities that let me steal cards from your hand and thereby steal the names of your units which makes them mine. You have overwhelming force at the start of the game as the OTC, but if you play sloppily you could see your own invasion turned back against you. Want to give it a try?"
She nods and smiles faintly.
"That does sound interesting, Miss Morning-Glory."
She settles into her chair.
"Though I do wonder what the idea is around having a random hand within influence - it seems like even beyond the level of force, for efforts like that simply being 'beyond reach' is one of the largest advantages that the OTC enjoys."
"The OTC is excellent at a great many things, but starting at level of force and caution sufficient for the problem is not one of them, it seems. I certainly understand the desire to cut costs, but... Well."
She gestures at the game.
"So... How do I start?"
She grabs a rulebook, if there is one present.
Morning-Glory hands her a rulebook.
"Set up your initial scouting force, we're in the exploration phase at the start of the game where you investigate my politics and try to discover my Scheme cards. I pick them at the start of the game before you scout and so this is a game where you try to uncover my Schemes and I try to get the Name of your initial agent. After I get your agent's name I make them spill their guts and the War starts. Depending on how many of my Schemes you've uncovered, you're in a better or worse starting position for the war."
She runs a hand through her hair. "Sorry, it's a bit complicated, isn't it? I'm Morning-Glory by the way." She offers her hand to shake.
"I'm Iron. Pleasure to meet you."
She shakes her hand firmly.
"As for the complexity, I confess I'm just more confused about what this is all modelling, rather than anything around how complex it is overall. If I was able to get enough cultural knowledge to know that names were a danger, I would simply strive to ensure that I sent in Agents without names or some such thing. But taking the game as is..."
She closes her eyes to think briefly.
"Is seeing more of your scheme cards a purely informational advantage? Could I simply decide to skip the information gathering phase and attempt to overwhelm you before you can implement any conversions, instead of playing the espionage game?"
"The exploration phase represents the period before you know that I have name magic. You're investigating the world as a potential and trying to uncover what's going on. As soon as you know I have name magic - represented by my third Scheme Card, which is the same in all games - the war starts. If you uncovered it before I got your agent's name you're in an advantageous position, if you didn't you're in a disadvantageous position. The first and second Scheme cards, Species and Sin, tell you what kinds of units I'll be using against you in the war and therefore let you prepare for that when you're selecting units to bring. So it's mostly informational advantage that you're playing for in the early game. There is a variation, Conquering Consortium, where you come in blind and attack without even knowing name magic exists on Cthonica, but that one is actually weighted slightly towards Cthonica balance-wise because you don't have the Security Measures deck in play until something's been majorly subverted."
She nods slightly.
"I suppose that makes sense - Does that mean that I can only initiate the war once I get the Sin Card I need to justify it organizationally, or some such thing? The blind game seems rather harsh - One would hope that in hostile territory one would aim for compartmentalization and mental defenses irregardless of the knowledge of some specific threat."
"You need a Sin card to start the war and you can only introduce the Security Measures deck when you get my Name Magic card. There's another variation, Cautious Consortium, where you introduce the Security Measures deck at the start of the game instead of having it be introduced when Name Magic exists, but that skews balance towards the Consortium. You might want to play with it, actually, since I'm experienced and you're new."
She pages through it, absorbing it throughly.
Her early strategy appears to be to do probing cyberattacks, looking for the basic information she needs to more confidently play the rest of the game. She's quick to make an effort to disentangle, disengage, and wait for a chance to get the cards comboing before exposing herself.
Soon Morning-Glory's species card is revealed: Gremlin. A species built around manipulating technology and systems, the natural counter to a cyberwar strategy.
Morning-glory reveals a Honeypot card because a cyberattack was played last turn and draws four. "Let's see if this can get you."
She doesn't pull the Name card with her search effects, but she does discard most of Iron's combo. "Drat."
She plays her Compartmentalization card - mostly rebuffing the ability to get higher level names, though there's still a good number more soldiers and assets gained. She unveils her Stealthed Mine card, debuffing Asteria academy and somewhat crippling the ability for the mages to respond. Still, she's on the defensive.
Divine Wrath is a problem, she has no defense except her hostages. But because she has offworld presence, she can play Public Knowledge, revealing the name of a public figure - one of the Directors or a Deity. She rolls; Sunaira. And with her Hostage-Slaves card...
"I hold the Rose Bowers and everything within it hostage. That's a win, pretty sure. Unless you have a counter?"
"I'm suprised that's in the game, to be honest. I would expect any deity or director to be able to hold at least a planet hostage but..."
plays Trickster's Artifice then thinks.
"I think you rolled badly, for that - Sunaira's realm is enchanted to provide safety for the guest through an elaborate domain miracle, as best I understand the relevant magic. It's possible that enslaving her would allow you to radically overhaul the expression of her divine nature, and she could probably eventually break it, but perhaps trickster's artifice could activate some evacuation contingency through that, or it would simply not work at scale...?"
"I would say that I'm one of the more traditional new experience seekers, here, including the standard losing virginity component thereof. As you might be able to tell, I'm not exactly the loosest person, and that has made this an... awkward experience. I wish I knew more about what exactly to look for, beyond the more obvious indulgences, and whatever items seem to show up. That Passivity is... uncomfortable, in some ways, and I'm not sure how to shake it."
"I'm sure the Escort catalogue will have someone suitable to your tastes, and well..."
She raises her eyebrows and waves her hand down across her chest.
"I would expect that the infamous Rosethorn Matching Service is attempting to link the two of us together, all things considered."
She gently takes her hand, and walks in a random directly 'towards' the baths, 'til she passes through the arches leading outside to the iddylic garden itself on a stone path to the classical-designed bathing building.
"I might as well review the game experience..."
"I'm a little struck by how swingy it is - it seemed rather easy, or at least manageable and then you were digging for win conditions and I needed a very particular card in my deck to get victory. I'm sure I only won because I had those precautions and traps ready, as well. You did rather nicely, I'd say, and it makes me want to look into more such games - is it part of a franchise of similar 'simulations'?"
"It really is quite swingy. Cthonia can blow out a win very easily if you have poor name security. But in my opinion that makes it fun. There are others like it by the same company, but Namer's War is definitely the best."
She stretches her arms above her head, then takes Iron's hand again. "What did you do before coming here?"
"Yeah - there's something to be said for the battle of wills and minds and such, but unfortunately I've never been an adequate Exalted game player, considering the company I keep, and I like the feeling of having options up my sleeve - both as an underdog and steamroller."
"By trade I'm a metal elementalist - which in practice tends to mean that I do weapon, armour and bunker fabrication, but I've served in more traditional 'adventuring' roles upon occasion, or even as a diviner - it can expedite an adventure greatly if you can sense where all the precious metals are - as a horde or simply integrated into electronics - and can manipulate many unshielded projectile and melee weapons to harmlessness."
"OTC exec, on the planetary level. I've been told by my therapist that I need to take some time off for mental health reasons. I'm... a bit of a workaholic. You kind of have to be, to exist that high in the corporate structure. But doctor's orders, so I finally used some of my vacation time."
"I have to say I'm always skeptical about... 'always', in this world."
The gardens glisten with the light of the midday sun, the flowers blossoming beside the path in colors so vibrant that it's difficult to believe they are truly real.
"There's always ways to buy more threads, more time, more delegation, more efficiency. Which isn't to say that you aren't using such things already, but there's a limit to how much you can reasonably push someone vital before it makes sense to make compromises on some dimension to reduce the risks of that sort of burn out or vulnerability. It's not exactly desirable for someone who is expected to lead in a crisis to be living on the razor's edge of mental health, even beyond the normal considerations for why you should care about your own, you know."
Her hand squeezes hers gently.
"I can understand - that being said... have you looked into getting some sort of spirit-bonded automaton or familiar for that? It doesn't nesscarily need to be exactly, fully you for it to do many a thing as you, I find, and it can let you feel the there-ness, if you need it."
They are coming close to the bathhouse, now.
"Not my style to trust my work to somebody else. There's already enough people who can be almost me, in this world. If I didn't want to do the work I could just get a fork, you know?"
She sighs. "- I know, beside the point. I've looked into getting a raven familiar to handle some of my more basic work in my stead. It's going well. But it's new."
"I understand. I think a lot of the reason why this is important is for you to get a chance to become used to the idea, beyond just letting you relax more conventionally."
The doors shimmer out of existence for a moment, letting them see the opulent baths before them. They're in a quieter section - a luxurious jacuzzi bordering on full on swimming pool with no one close enough nearby to hear or disrupt there conversation.
"I'm comfortable bathing nude, but if you have anything else in mind, I can do that instead."
She smiles broadly, and lets herself float backwards, resting back with her head just above the water, cock and floating balls faintly visible below it.
"I'm glad. It's always nice to just... feel the license you can get when trying something new and pleasant that you didn't realize you could before - I've already bathed today, but there's a convenience enchantment that means I don't need to worry about my skin shrivelling up from it so I can just... enjoy, which is quite lovely."
She smiles, and rolls her head around, letting her hair float around her face.
"Yeah. It's also nice that if I want, I can be aroused, at least faintly, and that doesn't change it. I'm in the Rose Bowers with someone els who is similarly naked, and that's all the reason I need for me to have that extra bit of emotion inside me, and that doesn't fundamentally change anything."
She reaches for a Bedroom Charm and activates it, teleporting them to her room.
"So tell me how you would like to be fucked, December."
She strokes her full hand possesively across her neck.
Her cock is pulsing needily, and her chest is heaving with soft lusty breath, showing of the way the water makes her skin shine.
She gently strokes at her chest, fingers running down her chest admiringly, feeling the muscle as she hotly sighs against her lips.
Slowly, her cock slides up to brush against the sensitive entrance of her ass, leaving little electric tingles as it rubs its' length against her thighs.
"Alright. You were lovely. Mmmmmmmmmmh..."
She makes a small soft affirmative noise. "You are lovely. And I'm rather worried I'm getting attached."
She takes the aftercare potion and drinks it down. Cupping the empty bottle in her hands, she turns it over. "... what's your opinion on getting together another time?"
She blushily laughs, smiling a touch shyly.
"As for getting together again, at the very least I'm happy to keep you in my social and sexual contact list for my duration here."
She drinks down her own, swigging down the thick white fluid, shivering as it goes down.
She glances down at sweaty occasionally cum coated form.
"Should we clean up, or just cuddle as is?"
She procures a simple cleaning wand to get rid of the mess off of both of them, and rests against her shoulder.
"You're welcome. I've always been someone who's been a little skeptical of the 'manual process' for this sort of thing, but I suppose it's nice to be able to be the one notionally 'cleaning you' as you ask, rather then simply ordering a cleansing talisman that I don't have to 'use' in the same way."
She smiles broadly.
"That's a shame - I understand the reluctance to go for something full-on sexual and indulgent, but it's good to make sure that you get taken care of, even if that's just something as simple as getting especially responsive wait service or getting a massage."
Of course the bowers can do it!
The taste is oddly full, with the normal notes you'd expect of a chicken nugget and vinegar mingling together, and making it have a faint hint of the soggy texture and the pureness of the chicken's mixing in her mouth with the ordinary experience.
"That can be pleasant, yes. Despite the way that the Rosethorn hotel tries to provide everything, it's not exactly a place specialized in dedicated culinary exploration - I'd guess it's more inclined to just make you otherwise comfortable. It's a bit of a shame but well..."
She shrugs, and procures herself a blue cheese dip and chows down on another few wings in silence.
She laughs a little, and reaches her hand over to pet her head.
"You do realize that you can simply get more, including in that cup, December? Even if you are full, it's perfectly possible to increase your effective appetite and stomach capacity with standard options here as well."
She nods and hums quietly.
Then... She concentrates for a moment, and a simple fidget spinner materializes in her hands, which she passes to December.
"Take this - I know that this is hardly something that you could't get otherwise, but well..."
"You've been looking for simple pleasures, yes? This is a good one, I've found, and I hope that it being mine will mean something to you - there's... a faint trace of my soul, in it, that might bring you comfort, as well."
December goes and digs in the pocket of her suit, which has been neatly folded and left on the table in the center of the room.
"Here, I'll trade you." She offers a black pocket notebook to Iron. "I use these to write down ideas and thoughts, they're like my diaries. This one is blank, but..."
And the fact that she felt herself falling in love with her didn't... really change that, she thought?
She shook her head slightly.
She wasn't exactly sure what it meant for her to give her a notepad like that, either - it more felt like she was reaching to do something, rather then something considered and well...
She realized it was supposed to be personal, but she wasn't sure if she had really...
Listened, when she talked about how she liked her product experiences.
She was sure that she could rig up something to automatically record some verbal thought feed or dictation, especially here, but was it really worth it for the pretence, if that's even what it was...?
She really didn't know.
After a few minutes, she drags herself up to check out if there's any more recommendations, or perhaps to see if she can do something a bit more comfortable then tending to someone so new to all this - perhaps something to do with playing with the fashion, here, or just someone to talk to...?
"I'm a touch new to... all of those, really, but I suppose it would nice to have a chance to do that with someone else. My room number is 68, though now that I think about that it's not like that's sufficient to disambiguate for the whole of this place... I suppose the magic handles it."
She brushes back her hair a little timidly.
She unlocks and opens the door for her, gesturing for her to take a seat inside.
Her cock is half-hard already, hanging there in the air, and she stares at her breasts for a moment before refocusing, swiftly followed by her taking her seat again.
..."May I make a small confession?"
..."I'm kind of terrified, and feel like I'm on some bizzare alien planet. The idea popped into my head that it would be polite to slather my cock in oil of fascination and jerk it off over and over again as you watch while we talk, because surely a place that has people randomly calling you up with the expectation that they have sex would have such a custom. I don't know if it's 'rude' or 'immature' to not spend every moment that I have fucking or bathing, because I don't really understand what actually relaxing looks like. I'm terrified that if I tell you that I don't want to have sex that I will have hit some cultural taboo because you could be from anywhere for all I know, and that would somehow count as some important lesson about 'not making assumptions' that the Rosethorn hotel would facilitate and we would have 'make-up sex' and that would count as being better. I'm scared of the fact that I do in fact realize that you are beautiful and likely quite fun to fuck and that it somehow makes me a bad person if I don't indulge or make some massive conspicious effort to tell you exactly how little sexual experience I have. I don't know what I am supposed to do or how I am supposed to let myself be alone in a place like this if I'm tired of needy people or those that I need to guide, and I'm scared that despite all of that I still trust the Bowers enough that I can rattle of all of this without hesistation simply because you were there to have that interaction in this web of fate."
She lets out a long tense breath.
"Whoa. Steady. I've been in the Bowers for months and what you're doing isn't healthy, the second-guessing. The Bowers isn't complex that way, it's made for you. It sends you what you seem to need. Which, right now, I suspect is something uncomplicated. Conversation, sex, whatever you want. And I'm cool with that. Okay? So let's start with what you want. An explanation?"
She lets herself stay deflated, for a moment.
"I would like to hold your hand, I suppose."
She offers it, and some chair-esque thing for her to sit in.
"I know exactly what I want - but that has no bearing on what I actually can do - or perhaps it's something more like that I know the equation for what I want but there's a term in there that is in some way 'buggy' or missing around cultural expectations or some such thing? But mostly, I would like to know how I'm supposed to make expectations to work from, with... all of this, so yes, an expectation would be appreciated."
Hannah holds her hand.
"I can be your native guide if you want me to be. A few answers - first, you can raise privacy screens around your rooms to keep the Bowers out if you want to. Second, you aren't expected to fuck 24/7, Sunaira would be kind of cross if you did. The place is set up to give you time at other things. I personally only get up to about 50% most of the time - I track it with the Bower app - and I'm definitely a slut. Third, ettiquette is pretty simple - respect consent. That's pretty much it, the Bowers handles the rest. Um... The rest of it I'm not sure I need to address, it sounds more like worry being generated from the main issue than something else."
"What does it even mean for it to be kept out - I doubt that say, the safety screens would stop applying inside them, say, and that makes me suspicious that it's anything more than a fiction. And I just... If you asked me what feels comfortable to do, then I would tell you that what currently feels that is that I should make sure that I adequately take care of my body in regards to bathing and eating and cleaning, and that otherwise I should be doing something productive with my time, in that it should be meaningfully working to fufill someone else's preferences or else be working towards paying the basic utilities and funding towards immortality. I'm perfectly capable of resting through work, I have no objection to using Dyne or basic mental magic to ensure focus but it just feels like that's not what I'm being asked to do, and there's this nebulous blob of people that I could notionally go out to meet and socialize with and all I can think about is how constrained my basic toolkit for interacting with people is - what if the most compatible person for me is some fire elemental that isn't comfortable in rooms that aren't constantly on fire? What if the best conversations to have require some elaborate set-up around spatio-temporal interface equipment because they don't have traditional understandings or interactions with those things?"
She takes a deep breath.
"If you're that focussed on 'what is right for the bowers', 'what is optimal', make a run for the Doors of Night and let Sunaira sort it out. Otherwise, chill. Accept your vacation might not be as perfect as it could theoretically be. And take some damn time for yourself. It's not a vacation if you keep putting other people first."
She smiles broadly, and she slowly walks over to her.
An intricate mass of gears form all across the room, some vast clockwork mechanism slowly and softly clicking as a simple blank of metal and a small sword forge appear from a flower.
Iron herself... shifts somehow, her stride becoming oddly even and imposing as thin curve hugging plates of adamantine form over or almost from her skin, interlaced with runework of orchicalum and many odder metals beside. It's oddly quiet, despite the weight that she must be materializing around her. Her eye is shot through with silver highlights of wire work, and something about her magic shifts.
"Tell me, do you have any experience with mystical projection...?"
"Alright - I'll start from the beginning and help you along."
Her hands gently slide across the back of her shoulder, cool and firm yet with softness of her hands.
An amulet appears around her throat, veins of metal wrapping around it to form the real body of it.
"There's a lot to this sort of thing, but fundamentally, the best way I can explain it is that it's simply a chance to let an affinity within your soul become dominant without restriction, letting the conception of you bleed into the things that have that nature itself. Everything that you work with is touched by your soul, everything that is held within your worldview is something that exists in the world outside, and like calls to like."
Something about the amulet makes her vaguely aware of the position of all of the metal in the room, the way the gears interlace, the way Iron's hand feels against her skin, the way she breathes, and of something vague and small within her.
"Of course - though I assume that the hotel can clean it up without me regardless."
Her hands settle on her shoulders, and a quick pulse of magic runs through her body - her skin turning to iron in much the way that one might experience with stoneskin or barkskin. But something about it is deeper somehow, as the feeling of her body through the amulet intensifies, but you can tell there's many more steps to go, if she desires.
"There's a lot to see when you meld with the metal - but I think for the moment you should focus in on what it means to you for you to be armoured, to for you to be firm and unyielding and enduring, and what it feels like to have me there with you, in the metal together."
It's sharp, the way she focuses blending into the feeling of her skin and form and the communion, creating an extra pure focus, everything else falling away as she feels the trickling changes flow through her.
She can feel her nerves slowly change to gold, nerves humming with the feeling of power and sensation running through her, irises shifting to citrine, muscles shifting into something more mechanical as the electricity flowed through her as the conversion continues.
Every little bit of her body started shifting, turning into a construct of steel and engineering rather then mortal flesh.
"You are seeing through eyes with a transparent aluminum lense. You ears are turning into microphones, the very hairs on them shifting to steel. You are yourself the metal, you are seeing as metal. You are as much as part of this as any gear, any shaft in these vast machines. Feel it."
A mirror of silver unfolds before her, and she can see herself wrought in metal, every part of her changed and altered to become something more, like some beautiful sculpture brought to life through magic then anything organic.
Her mind quickens, and her thoughts are oddly visible and noticeable, everything being cleanly logged as if her brain had somehow become digital.
Her fingers trace across her shoulders, and wings like an angel sprout from her back, glossy reflective metal changing her appearance once more to look like a cybernetic angel.
"There's more to this, of course, when you find your way to make this a part of you, a part of the magic that you are, the way that you can make the structure of your soul and form perfectly resonant with the nature of what you have become, when you learn but..."
"This is beautiful, isn't it?"
She nods slightly.
"It's not really, for anyone who doesn't earn it themselves. I can show something that is supposed to be it and arguably is but well..."
She gestures, and the metal in the room dissapears, and there's a gentle tug upon her that lets her cancel the transformation, the magic draining out of her.
"You can't find a harmony if you are making yourself discordant, not really, but..."
She shakes her head and sits back contemplatively.
"I still hope you enjoyed."
She laughs quietly.
"I've always enjoyed a good knife, but that's more of a specialist thing - and I suspect I'm far from ready to use such things fully, here, and well..."
She hums contemplatively, and stands up, naked as the day she was born.
"It's hard to feel like I'm really showing anything, when I know that more or less everyone will have seen the configuration of parts and the general aesthetic, but..."
She tilts her head.
"We might want to do something about that - even just seeing the change from oiling up can be... quite substantial~"
"I may have seen my fair share of naked girls, but my life has been notably lacking in naked you thus far."
She goes over to the console, selects a perfumed oil in a scent she likes (strawberry).
"I have a friend you might want to share knives with, too," she says, pouring a dollop of the oil into her free hand.
Her skin is a little flushed, already, and her chest heaves as she takes in the oils' smell.
"There's nothing wrong with the idea of that but well..."
She lets her hand gently slide across her breasts as she thinks.
"It's so easy to just let myself remember how generateable the images of what I look like naked, with or without some fancy computer system that it's hard to find it... meaningful."
She shudders a little, leaning in and repressing a moan slightly.
"That's why I said image - there's so much more to it, even if it's just a matter of something as simple as frame rate or small artifacts of the process or just the magical thing but well..."
"I'm naked to all, in every moment, whether or not they take advantage of that."
"Sometimes I like to think that? But well..."
She sighs softly.
"Sometimes I want it to just be that I'm not denying the inevitable reality that people can see me naked, in such a vulnerable position, that there's no point in adding needless friction into people's lives even for something that is so automatic and easy and guarenteed to happen. Or perhaps it's just because I'm not sure that I can feel like I'm really... a girl, without the sort of reaction and parsing and connection that you get when you are presented with this."
She stretches out languidly, rubbing her back against the chair.
She leans up to kiss across her cheek.
"I never know wht to think of the way that so many people's perceptions just... fall in line. I like being in the moment, even if I'm not exactly the sort of person that you would normally expect that from and just... I like following this all, and seeing where it goes. It doesn't have to be adventurous but well...~"
She smiles a little wryly.
She smiles softly as her kisses trail up to her forehead, getting softer and more tender.
"I've always found that it's easy to just... dissociate into what it's in front of me, and just... float away from my capacity for desire? I don't know how healthy it is to be lost like that, but it's always been something that I can do nd always something that is... nice to have, at least."
Her hand slides up to brush into the falling strands of her hair, stroking them softly.