They descended softly into darkness, V's booted feet echoing soft in the confined space. The woman had no such encumbrance, gliding noiselessly down the steps. Varsuvius began to wonder if the woman was even real, and had to stretch out a hand to touch her arm for reassurance.
The skin was soft as though she'd lived her entire life wearing velvet covers, without so much as a blemish or scratch.
A faint smell rose up the stairwell, tickling the elven mage's nose with it's spicy odor. Just as Vaarsuvius opened his mouth to inquire where the steps were lading them, the woman glided around another and Vaarsuvius found a large, subterranean chamber stretched out before them.
A variety of figures awaited them, of many different shapes and sizes. All features concealed behind masks, but the rest of their forms were not. Some were lithe and hard, others soft and curvy. A few were obscenely fat or gaunt, and one was so over-muscled his every movement looked almost painful.
They stood in concentric rings surrounding the spiral stairs - six, then twelve, then eighteen, then twenty four - all facing them, all facin Vaarsuvius, and raising their arms in a gesture of supplication. They cried out as the mage approached, filling the chamber with an exultant chant beyond the elf's comprehension.
The chants of the supplicants suffused the air, washing through and trembling the mages bones. It was like nothing the elf had ever felt before. Is this what it was like to be worshipped, to be adored?
It was something Vaarsuvius could grow to like,
As they approached, a figure handed the woman a goblet, who, with a sultry smile that made blood race, offered it to Varsuvius. "The prince of the revel has come!" The figures cheered, their voices trembling with anticipation.
"Drink." The women said in a voice pitched to carry across the caravan, yet still soft enough to feel intimate, her hand lingering on V's for a second longer then was strictly necessary. "Anoint yourselves with the necter of desire. Drink deep and awaken the hunger."
Moving slowly, as if in a dream, the elf took the chalice. V's mind raced, as it struggled to come to grips with what was happening. This was no blood and wine-soaked orgy as it had been initially taken for, this was some kind of perverse ritual.
So what should the mage do? part of the elf urged to throw down the chalice and run, but where would that take V? Back to the maze? Then what? The part that urged to face the inner demons was small, and weak compared to the lure of power.
Of course, Vaarsuvius was lying. The elf's mind had been made up the second the desirable women had awakened something within the elf long thought all but non-existent, desire.
Trembling slightly, the elf brought the cup to its lips careful, for some reason fearing to spill even a drop of the thick, sloshing liquid. Hot blood filled Varsuvius's mouth, bitter and salty. It slid like oil over the tongue, filling the elf with a hunger. Not just the mortal desires of one mage, but the appetites of each and every one of the supplicants who had poured some of their blood into the chalice.
Total power would not be enough. Kyrie's love would not be enough, nor the love of this new women who awakened something in Varsuvius that had never existed before, or perhaps been forgotten. Even godhood would not be enough. No amount of gold, no lands to rule, no lofty title or magical knowledge would ever satisfy the thirst Varsuvius now felt. Perhaps even the entire world would not be enough.
But the elf would feast upon it nonetheless.
Flesh. Food. Wine. Power. Murder. Every appetite Varsuvius could conceive, every desire, every scintillating taste reverberated through in waves of heat and cold. When Varsuvius closed its eyes, it was almost as though they could be seen, dancing throughout the mind, tasting their pleasure as they slaked their terrible, eternal, unquenchable hunger.
The women reached up and pried the cup from Vaarsuvius's grasp. The mage was surprised to discover once begun drinking, V hadn't paused until the cup was dry.
The revelers cheered again, and in that moment, Vaarsuvius felt like a god, drawing strength from their ecastic cries, as though the mage claimed some of their devotion for itself.
The women pressed against him, the heat of her nearly naked body radiating through V's cotton robes. Thunderous laughter filled Vaarsuvius's ears. Whether it was V's own, or the desire speaking through the elf's mouth didn't matter, V laughed along side it and stepped down the last few steps to join the revel.