Lamia Pathsways 15a

Even though you just said you could look out for yourself, and even though the stunning colors coming from the beautiful lamia are so alluring that you find it hard to imagine anything else you’d rather look at, something about this doesn’t seem quite right, and you’re not sure you can stop it yourself. Your vision is hazy—the lamia is more in focus than anything else, her eyes shining like a sun you can look at without being hurt, the lovely lamia someone you can follow without being hurt— No! Something’s not right. Though the jungle is blurry you can see Bagheera dozing off. Calling for him could be your only way out.

“B . . .” You can’t even get a full syllable out—it’s so hard to focus that you can barely move your mouth right. After another mumbling start you manage, “Bah . . .” before trailing to more mumbled stammering. With the hypnotic colors encroaching on your vision you focus on speaking and call out, “Baghe–”

“Why, Human.” The lamia moves between you and Bagheera, smiling and leaning closer. “I thought you said that you can look out for yourself. Can’t you?”

Her words echo in your head. Her voice is melodious, but you still can’t help but feel offended. Forgetting that you were calling for help you mutter, “I—I can . . . look out for . . .” You can barely move your mouth properly to say, “myself,” as the colors ripple through the jungle.

“Of course you can,” the lamia whispers, running a warm, smooth hand through your hair. “You don’t need anyone’s help. Why would you need help right now anyway? You feel so good, don’t you?”

A million conflicting messages swirl through your mind in a dying frenzy as an overall feeling of pleasure swarms through you, but something reawakens in you as cool scales trail over your legs and up your waist. Something is coiling around you—a snake? Is it a snake? You don’t want to think about anything but the beautiful woman swaying before you, her eyes flashing with colors so beautiful as to be addicting, but something like a snake is coiling up to your chest. You can’t move. Something is wrong. Even if you can look out for yourself, you need help. You need someone. Who?

There was someone. Somebody from before—but the colors are scrambling your thoughts like ripples in a pond. You can’t remember—B? Buh, bah… You try to form the name but there’s no memory left. You’re becoming less sure that there even was anybody. No, there’s nobody but you and—and . . .

The lady before you! She could help. You mutter out a, “M-Miss . . .” She looks at you with an open smile, almost like she could laugh. You continue with a measly, “H-Help . . .?” though you barely form the -p as your mouth drops open from the relaxing drain of the colors. The effort from speaking just this leaves you even dizzier, and a last few strings of thought hope you got her attention enough before they dissolve in the mind-numbing colors.

The lamia before you chuckles. “Yes, I can help you, Human,” she says. “Just follow me, sway with my motions, and I can help you sleep.” You slip deeper into the fog of alluring colors filling the world. As you drift into a mindless slumber you smile, wobbly at first but then wider and wider. Even the scaly coils around you feel soothing now; you’re no longer concerned about being wrapped up, you’re no longer concerned about yourself at all. There can be no danger with the colors, and you lose any concept of self who could even be in danger.

The coils wrap up to your neck and squeeze you safely. The lamia’s hypnotic spell has turned a sensation of danger into a soft comfort, securing you tight like a cool cushion of scales more soothing than any blanket or pond. You slip into a deep sleep with no feeling but relaxing safety and euphoria. It doesn’t matter what happens now; you’re safe and in bliss.

Until very suddenly you’re not.

A harsh crushing force jolts through you—the force of gravity. Your legs hit the solid branch and in seconds flip from relaxed to sore. The hypnotic colors scatter from your eyes. It takes you a moment to realize what happened, though you’re still not really sure. Scaly coils are around you but lax; a few loops slip off entirely. You shake your head, trying to remember what happened—beautiful colors, a beautiful lady, trying to get help . . . for some reason? Your vision is still blurry and the inside of your head feels like it had a spa treatment. The scaly tail around you doesn’t feel right, but it doesn’t feel quite wrong, either.

You realize someone is speaking. “You have just made a serious mistake.” You see through the lifting haze the lamia you’d been looking at cornering Bagheera on the branch. She seems to be threatening him, while he’s trying to convince her to stop. She tells him to look her in the eye . . .

The eyes!

You wonder if Bagheera might be in trouble. You consider doing something to help—but then, he wanted you to leave the jungle. Besides which, the scaly tail does still feel nice. Do you really want to leave the coils? And the colors, they . . . her eyes . . . it was nice . . . maybe Bagheera isn’t in trouble? Maybe you shouldn’t interrupt?

You smack your head a couple times to try and get your thoughts in order. What are you going to do?

-17a Help Bagheera! He’s your friend and guardian, even if you disagree.
-17b Don’t help him. They’re probably just working out a difference of opinion in a mature, rational way. Besides, the coils feel good.
17c You don’t know! You don’t know, man! You can’t handle having to choose all the time!