Cordelia loved the smell of old books the way most people loved dogs. For her, getting to hunt down bookstores in cities all across the world was honestly the best thing about traveling internationally for work. It was a preoccupation that had garnered her many nicknames from her coworkers, some endearing, some not. That she looked like a “sexy librarian” between her petite curvy build, her thick-framed glasses, her feathery auburn hair, as well as her fondness for sweaters and skirts did not help matter any. This week, the OpsReadiness team was in Budapest to look at their company’s new data center. It was while she was out for a walk on the last evening, that the hyper-analytical bookworm stumbled upon a little hole in the wall at the far end of a winding alley.
“Loved and Magical Tomes,” she read aloud before stepping through the door. Once inside, the pleasant and sensual aroma of well-worn wood and books wrapped around her like a blanket. She was drawn deeper into the vast space by the comforting embrace, her mind only passively registering that the store was much larger than it should have been. Wandering aimlessly, Cordelia eventually felt something telling her to stop. Her hand rose to caress the leather-bound spine of a nearby volume which was unusually thick. The material’s texture was far softer than she expected. Touching it was so satisfying that she found herself purring as her fingertips slid up and down over the ridges of the binding.
“Hello there,” said a faint voice from behind her. She turned to face the speaker, and a spindly old woman covered in shawls stood there with a kindly smile on her face. “How might I help you?”
“Oh! Um, I was just looking,” Cordelia said, quickly stepping back, though the book kept drawing her eyes like iron to a magnet.
“That’s okay, dearie,” the woman assured her while stepping closer. “You’re supposed to be here. That book’s life called to you–and you alone. Go on, take it down from the shelf. I assure you that you will feel complete in a way you never thought possible…”
“O-o-okay,” Cordelia stammered as she reached for the book with shaking hands. When she gripped the spine in her hand, a jolting sensation traveled up her arm. The bookworm heard a click inside herself like a lock was coming undone, and the sound of it vibrated her skull. In the midst of that ringing, she detected a dark, sultry voice.
[Ah, thank you, Mistress. I cannot say enough about how being held once more is an indescribable pleasure! Now, let me return the favor…]
The massive room spun around her as information streamed from the ancient object she held, directly into her mind. Entire languages that had been lost to time were now filling her awareness as the spells of countless nations became a fundamental part of her being. A creeping sensation traveled down her spine and around her waist, one that gave way to a writhing pressure just above her hips.
“Wha-what’s happen-ning?” She felt two enlarging masses in the small of her back. The mysterious growths pushed out, stretching her sweater as their shape grew longer and more flowing. Something on them snagged in the wool thread and began to tear it. Held back, the pressure kept increasing like shaken soda. Then, there was a long, loud rip followed by the rush of her inhuman appendages emerging from within. They sounded like unfurled sails catching a fresh wind as she instinctively shook them out. Slender, tentacle-like arms, which ended in triangular wings with brilliant pastel webbing, wrapped around her midsection. The tips of the leading edges brushed past her ankles. However, that was not the only noticeable change. Her auburn hair had brightened to a strawberry blonde as it grew into great cascades of ringlets down her back. She could also sense something in the air now, something sweet and tempting that she had not been aware of before.
[So Mistress became a Leanan Sidhe, did she?] Echoed the sexy female voice once more. [The vampire muse, yes. A Lilin of Dreams, she is. Her power is a perfect fit for you, My Dark Lady.]
[Now,] continued the voice which was likely coming from the book, [let us retire and become more… familiar. I cannot wait to feel your fingers slipping over my pages as you pour over knowledge from worlds only dreamed of…]