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Misha Burnett
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Originally posted on Cirsova: You can get your subscription for Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine for as low as $1! We need to increase our readership if we’re going to keep this going. Our target for next year is 200 subscribers. Tell…
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Misha Burnett commented on a post on Blogger.
I think this is tied into the idea of character advancement.

When PCs scouted out an area and saw that it contained an overwhelming force it wasn't simply a matter of "Those guys are too tough for us" but "Those guys are too tough for us right now. We'll remember this place and later, when we are more experienced and have better gear, we'll come back and take them out."

Some of the most satisfying battles that I recall from gaming were when a group of PCs decided that they were big and bad enough to finally go clean out an area that they had been avoiding since the campaign began.

There is some of that in video games, but it's usually less a matter of character advancement and more having to obtain a particular item to gain access to an area or to defeat a particular boss.

I think that early D&D module design reflected that concept, with the character level suggestions. The idea was for a DM to populate a world with threats of different levels of difficulty and that part of player strategy was being able to judge which encounters they could handle and which they would have to build up their strength to face.
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Tonight's the night all systems fail.
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One of the most tender and sensual scenes I've ever written, in an odd sort of way:

Jane pushed open the stall door.

It wasn't a horse.

The black furry body that was curled in the corner of the stall was smaller than a horse, although it was bigger than any other animal that Jane had been close to.
It raised its face to look at her when she opened the door and its eyes were large and dark brown, like dog's eyes. It had horns, smooth and dark, curving up from the sides of its head and then twisting to point backwards.

It's face, though, was flat, almost like a gorilla, with a broad nose and wide mouth. A brass ring was set in its nose, gleaming against dark fur.

Jane stepped back, but in wonder rather than fear. It was a beautiful creature. It was obvious that it hadn't been abandoned, someone was caring for it. It's dark fur was sleek and clean, it's eyes bright and healthy. Whatever it was, it was a domesticated creature. Somebody's pet.

But... what was it? A dwarf bull of some kind? When its mouth opened to let loose a kind of rasping whinny Joan could see its teeth were clean and blunt, broad grinders rather than incisors.

The beast shifted position, and the chain rattled again. It was attached to one of the creature's rear legs, just above the bone swelling that Jane guessed would be the ankle on a human. Below that joint was a broad hoof, clean and smooth.

“Oh,” Jane said her voice low and sympathetic, “They've got you chained up. That's not very nice. You don't look dangerous to me.”

She bent to look at the chain, her nose suddenly full of the heavy, musky smell of the animal. It wasn't an unpleasant odor, it lacked the acid tang of human sweat. Musky, like an expensive aftershave.

The chain, she saw, was attached to a thick leather band like a dog collar. It seemed snug, but not tight enough to cause the animal pain or abrade its skin. And the chain itself lay in loops across the floor, long enough to allow movement throughout the stall and probably into the aisle for some distance.

Jane squatted down to get closer. What a handsome beast it was, but the closer she got the stranger it appeared. Its body wasn't shaped like a bull, the chest was too flat, the shoulders too wide.

It opened its mouth and chuffed at her, revealing a thick pink tongue in an expression that was almost a smile. Then it stretched, heavy slabs of muscle shifting under its fur, and raised its chest off the floor.

Jane shifted her weight, preparing to move if necessary, but she didn't feel frightened of the massive beast. It moved with the lazy grace of a house cat getting up from a nap, blinking its large liquid eyes. Jane had an urge to reach out and stroke its fur.

Then it got its hands under it and Jane fell back on her ass.


Its palms were shovel-wide and its fingers splayed out like a gorilla, but it definitely had hands, not hooves, on its forelimbs. It raised itself on to all fours and walked forward, palms flat and fingers spread.

Jane scrambled back, heart hammering.

The beast stopped and cocked its head as if asking why she was running away. Didn't she want to be friends any more?

Jane swallowed hard. “What...are you?” she whispered.

The beast snuffled at her. It sat back on its haunches, not quite like a human, but with its hooves tucked comfortably under its buttocks. It raised one hand to her. The palm and fingers were smooth black skin, the nails looking hard as its horns.

Trembling, Jane reached out her own hand, muscles tensed to snatch it back. Slowly they moved towards each other until they touched. The beast's skin was warm and smooth. Jane's hand looked so slender and frail in comparison. Gingerly she stroked the beast's palm and it chuffed air. It seemed to be a happy sound.

This close, Jane was sure that the beast wasn't a trick. It was a real thing, some species that no one had ever seen before.

Well, no one except whoever had put it here and was taking care of it.

“You're amazing,” Jane said softly. “I don't know what you are, but you're good, aren't you? You're a nice... thing.”

She shifted her weight to stand, and it pulled back to give her room. Then, as she stood, so did it.

With surprising agility it rocked back and got its hooves under it, straightened its hind legs until it was standing upright. It didn't look like it should be stable on it hooves, but it stood easily, knees bent slightly backwards, broad hooves apart for balance. It held its arms loosely at its sides.

Jane looked it over carefully. It's chest was massive, slabbed with muscle, supporting it's broad head with only the slightest narrowing for a neck. Its arms were likewise huge, like a cartoon superhero. Its belly was flat and hard, the hair sparse and fine. Its hips were broader than human hips, and the joints seemed differently articulated than a human skeleton. It—

Whoa. Not it. He. This creature was definitely a him. Jane caught herself staring and looked down hastily, feeling her cheeks grow warm.

The fur on his legs was thicker, coarser looking, and the legs themselves were not remotely human. They seemed thin in relation to his massive torso, with the strangely articulated knees lower in the legs than a humans, the ankle bone—that collar and chain attached to one—making him look like he was standing on tiptoe. Only instead of toes he had those gleaming hooves.

Jane looked back at his face. They were nearly eye to eye, she saw with some surprise. The other outweighed her by a hundred pounds, probably more, but he wasn't any taller than she was. Just...big. He had the kind of body that competition weight lifters strive for.

Well, in the torso, anyway.

Fascinated, Jane reached out to put her hand on the beast's shoulder. It looked at her with wide, innocent eyes and made a grumbling sound, low in his chest. Almost a purr.

Under the fur his skin was smooth and the muscles of his shoulder tensed at her touch. Slowly, gently, Jane ran her hand upwards, following the line of his massive neck to his fantastic skull.

His jaw was broad and flat, neither human nor bovine, but unique. Her fingers touched his wide lips and he drew back his head with a snort.

“Sorry,” Jane said with a smile. “Are you sensitive there?”

She reached back to his face and he relaxed and let her touch him. His nose was huge and flat. The ring set into it wouldn't have fit in a human nose. Jane let her fingertips brush the gleaming brass, but resist the urge to handle it. Instead she went up to brush his cheek. His face was mostly hairless, his skin a lustrous black, like oiled leather, but felt dry under her fingers. His huge eyes were perfectly trusting, ringed with delicate long lashes.

Then up to his forehead and over to explore the base of one of his horns. She couldn't resist tugging on the horn, gently. He moved his head to follow the movement of her hand. The horn was rooted in his skull, not a prop that was glued on somehow.

He lifted his hand to Jane's face. She flinched, but made herself relax. His fingers were warm and soft and his touch was gentle. She let his touch roam from the point of her chin, across her cheek, and up to her dense mat of thick wiry hair. His lips opened as his fingers traced her hairline back over her ears to her neck.

His own ears were pointed, large and mobile, and she touched the outside surface. The inside was pink and looked too sensitive to touch.
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A minotaur counts as a furry, right?
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Me: Okay, in this scene I am trying to build erotic tension, but subtly.

My Muse: I know! A string of obscure "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" references!

Me: How did you get this job?
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Me: This story is really dragging. It needs something.

My Muse: More hentai! Let's have a nice tentacle bondage scene with extra bukkake!

Me: Do I even know you?
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Okay, a snippet of my current WIP. A supernatural erotic short story (that will probably be novella length, actually). Here's where I introduce my dominant lesbian ghost:


Dr. Evans had already reached the fourth floor, feeling a little thrill of excitement. She knew exactly where she was going. It was a place she'd found—no, a place she'd be drawn to—when she had been working alone in the big old building.

The hallway was dim, lit only by small high windows, but Dr. Evans moved comfortably towards her goal. From the first time she'd come up the winding back staircase she'd felt at home, as if she was coming back to a place she'd always known. A place that, long ago, evil men had forced her to leave.

The door at the end of the hall didn't lock. The frame was patched with a bit of old plywood, as if it had once been broken down and crudely repaired. The door slid open easily, silently. The room wanted her here.

And she wanted to be in the room. She could feel her heart pounding as she walked through the door. The room held some of the furnishings of an office—a roll-top desk, a wire trashcan, an ancient typewriter—but it had originally been part of someone's home. A very special someone.

The next room held a collection of dusty office chairs, which Dr. Evans ignored. At the back of the room was a wardrobe, built into the wall and original with the building. That was her goal.

The first time she had come up here it had taken her an hour to open the false back of the wardrobe. An hour of pounding, prying, using the contents of her purse to try to find some way to remove the back panel. She couldn't have said how she knew that there was a secret concealed there—there was certainly no evidence that it had been opened in all the years since the death of Headmistress Smith—but neither could she deny the compulsion.

In the end she persevered. Two tiny bits of the molding, when pressed at the same time, caused the secret door to swing wide, revealing the wonders within.

And O, such wonders...

Now that she knew the secret Dr. Evans opened the panel easily. The room was so long and so narrow that it had probably been a hallway originally. There were skylights in a line down the ceiling, letting in a warm light. As always, she took a deep breath at the threshold, inhaling the dark, sensual scent of leather.

The objects that lined both sides of the narrow room should have been cracked and dried by age, as filthy with dust as the furniture in the room outside.

They weren't. Everything seemed brand new, the leather smooth and supple, the chains gleaming as if just polished. Even the wood was spotless. This place had somehow been preserved from the ravages of time, untouched and waiting patiently.

Waiting for her. Dr. Evans didn't question it. She knew that it was magic, a beautiful and perfect magic that knew the warmth and luster of her dreams.

With trembling fingers she tore at her clothes, those ugly stupid clothes that she had to wear out there, in the cold, hateful world outside this room. She threw them back behind her, unmindful of torn zippers and lost buttons, careful to make sure that they were all past the secret door. Those things had no place here, in the heart of her dream.

Naked, she closed her eyes and breathed in the intoxicating scents. She should have been cold, but the air here was as warm and sweet as breath. It was heat that made her body react, that made her skin tighten and her nipples into hard, aching points. She sunk to her knees, then farther, pressing her face to the smooth wooden floor, backside still raised, in a posture of supreme submission.

Eyes tightly closed she whispered into the floor, “Please. Please, I've brought them to you, like you asked. Please.”

And then she heard the footsteps.

Coming from the far end of the long room. Slow steps, the click of heels. Without daring to open her eyes she could imagine those heels, the high boots on long, long legs, the gleaming leather and bright brass.

Her breath came in shuddering gasps, the heat between her legs a tormenting thing on the verge of pain. One touch, she thought, one touch and I will lose all control.

The footsteps stopped, the still unseen boots just inches from her face. The moment stretched until it seemed hours of unbearable anticipation.

Then, at long last, the voice. The voice that she had heard in her dreams, that she had so long craved to hear in this secret place. The voice of the Headmistress.

“Look at me, girl,” that voice said.

Dr. Evans—no, she was just Darlene here, not doctor of anything, not master of anything, not even her own flesh—Darlene opened her eyes to the sight of her own face reflected in the gleaming black leather of the Headmistress's boots. Trembling she raised her eyes to the hem of a black skirt, starched and straight as an arrow. She dared not—could not—raise her eyes further.

“Good girl,” the voice said, warm with approval and humor. “Yes, you have brought them. I can feel them, in my house. Inside me.”

Darlene quivered with pleasure. One touch, she thought again.

“The mind is the house where the soul lives,” the headmistress mused, as if to herself. “And in every house there is a door that soul fears to open. A door that leads to the land where the shadows dwell. You know that door, girl, you opened it and let me come inside you, to take you as my own.”

“Yes, Headmistress,” Darlene whispered.

“Every door is different,” the Headmistress continued, “And the soul tries so hard to hide them away. But I'll find them. I'll find the secret doors in the girls you brought to me. And I will take them all to live in my house, to play with forever.”
The Headmistress laughed, a warm chuckle full of good humor and love.

One boot slid an inch forward.

“Kiss,” the Headmistress commanded.

Shaking, Darlene pressed her lips to the gleaming leather and at the moment the heat inside her raged and broke, a tide of fire storming through her trembling body, pleasure too intense to be accepted without tears, and helplessly she sobbed at the feet of her mistress.

“I will return to you, my pet,” the headmistress promised softly. “In the meantime...”

In the secret room the rattle of chains momentarily drowned out the thunder of her heart.
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Me: I need a new story to write.

Muse: Write about the ghost of a sadistic headmistress of a girl's school who enters the minds of young girls to trap them in an endless loop of their darkest sexual fantasies.

Me: You hate me, don't you.
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One of my favorite Audible narrators, Kobna Holbrooke-Smith, has a bit part in "Justice League".

Not really anything else good I can say about the film.
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