Short story time.

You shift nervously, are you really going to go through with this? You glance at the slip of paper you've been holding. Its crinkled and a little damp from your sweat, but you can still read the address.
You confirm that the numbers on the building match what's written on your note. The building itself is unassuming, just another run down apartment complex in the poorer part of town. You're not sure if it's your nerves or the way the shadows fall, but it seems to loom large.
You walk up the steps to the door, your footfalls echo in your ears. Once you reach the door you stare at it as you try and calm yourself. A scant few months ago you had so many questions and now you're here pursuing the answer you found.

It's exciting and terrifying.
You steel yourself and reach out to knock on the small space of the door that isn't peeling, but it opens slightly. There's a light on inside. The light cuts through the gloom of the city during the evening. It's inviting.
You step inside and look around. There's no one else here, but the entrance is surprisingly well kept. You can hear murmurs coming from deeper inside.
You follow the sounds down a long hallway, passing many doors along the way. There's a scent in the air, like some sort of spice. It gets stronger as you reach the door at the end of the hall. It is a heavy door made of old oak. Delicate and intricate patterns are engraved on it
The designs seem to swirl and twist as you examine them.

Nervous, you turn and look behind you; the hallway seems to stretch on forever into an inky darkness.

You start to sweat, your heart threatening to jump out your chest. This was a mistake you say to yourself.

You feel a hand on your shoulder and you lock up. The hand briefly digs into your shoulder, nails pressing into your skin. You feel hot breath next to the opposite ear. You whirl and turn trying to catch a glimpse of your attacker.
All you see is a flash of porcelain skin and ruby red lips that vanish in a wisp of smoke and cinder.

The door, however, is open. You feel compelled forward, but you sneak a glance back down the hall. The yawning void has gotten closer.

You step into the room.
The door slams shut behind you. You whirl to look at it only to find the walls... growing over it until there's nothing there but smooth stone.

Your breath is ragged.

"This was a mistake."
With no other option you look around the room. There is a raised altar in the center and pillars that hold up an impossibly high ceiling. All of it made of some mixture of obsidian and marble that is blended together seamlessly.
As your gaze settle on the altar in the center of the room a figure appears. They seem to burn into reality, as though this dimension were paper being turned to ash by their entrance.

The figure gestures for you to approach.
Despite your growing dread you step forward towards the figure. Their features become more clear as you near them. A feminine body made what seems to be mostly marble, save the porcelain face and gems that compose their eyes, lips, nails and hair. They wear what appears to be-
-a dress made of black feathers.

The steps up to the altar seem endless, but eventually you reach the figure.

Their voice sounds like chiming mixed with sweet honey.

"I am the great Marquis, Orias and you mortal, I know your Name. It is good that you have come ____"
When Orias speaks the last word, speaks you Name, you feel electricity course through your being. Your eyes widen and your breath goes shallow.

Orias laughs. "Mortal, it is only your Name. Calm yourself and tell me why you're here in my demense."
Despite yourself you manage to speak.

"You seem to know already, so why are you asking me?"

Orias approaches you and places a sharp obsidian nail against the bottom of your chin, lifting it and forcing you to look into their eyes.

"Because, dear ____ you have to say it."
Between the pressure of Orias' presence, the nail against your throat and the raging storm of emotions you've kept bottled up for years you can barely manage a thought.

Orias drags their nail against your throat. "Speak, ____, or I will take that useless tongue of yours."
You feel hot blood seep from your neck. Your eyes gaze into the opals that compose Orias'.

"I want to change. I want to be different than I am."

Orias wipes a finger over your wound as they remove their hand from your throat. The bleeding has stopped.
Orias smiles revealing their diamond teeth. "Was that so hard? Now, tell me; how did you find this place?" They walk over to the other side of the altar. "I'd like to know."

"A friend of mine. They were so... they were similar to me and one day they completely changed-
He was happy and so very different. It took some time to convince me it wasn't a prank. People don't just do *that* overnight."

Orias continues to watch you intently.

"So I asked him how, he gave me the address for this place and. Well... here I am."
"____ lay upon the altar and we will begin."

You swallow hard and lay on the altar. Orias looms over you.

"You didn't properly answer my question earlier. Why, exactly are you here?"

You feel something cold snake over your limbs and neck.
"Don't struggle, you mortals can't break simple cord let alone crystal." Orias leans down placing their ear near your lips. "Answer."

You try to move, but Orias plunges their nails into your thigh. "I told you to speak, not..." they press their nails deeper "struggle."
You grit your teeth, the pain is terrible. A small cry escapes your mouth.

"That isn't an answer!"

Orias tries to close their fist inside your flesh. You scream.

"Still not an answer, speak, mortal!"

Tears roll down your face. "I, I hate my body." A sob wracks your form.
"This isn't how I was supposed to be. I wasn't meant to be like this."

Orias pulls their hand from your thigh, it should hurt, but it doesn't.

"I should have been a girl, not this." Tears flow down your face."
Orias lifts you into a hug as you cry, the crystalline shackles gone.

You return the embrace. "When he came back in, in the body he wanted... I had hope."

Orias is surprisingly warm as they rub your back.

"I'm glad you came."
You shudder. "You really can fix this?"

Orias hugs tightly for a moment "Yes, but I require payment. A pint of blood now and your presence within my estate when you pass on. Do not worry, Pandaemonium is much nicer than those slanderers paint it."
"Did he make this deal?"


You think, not long, but you still pause to think before speaking. "I accept."

"Good, now lay back so we may begin."
You return to laying flat on the slab. The restraints do not return and you breath a sigh of relief tinged with excitement. Above you, appearing much as Orias did is a polished mirror.

Orias smiles down at you. "You are to speak on what changes you want, be honest with yourself"
Time passes, you're unsure how long.

Orias is a master artisan and follows your desires perfectly. During the process you tell stories of your lives, your time growing up and in college. The two of you laugh and commiserate throughout it all.
When the work is done you stand up gingerly, feeling your new center of gravity and other changes. You start to fall and Orias catches you.

"Sweet mortal, do be careful... or do you wish to join me in my home so soon?"

You smile back at them. "No, not yet."
Orias pulls a set of clothing out of the ether for you. "You'll need these, love and don't worry. Your new identity is already in place, I've seen to it."

You take the garments graciously and dress yourself. "Orias, is there anything I can do to for you?"
As soon as you ask your lips are met with theirs and they press you against a pillar. You melt into them as they press a knee between your legs. Minutes pass as Orias does as they please only to pull back leaving you panting and flustered. They smile at you.
"We'll pick that back up when you arrive in Pandaemonium. In the meantime, send me others who feel as you felt. Be a good girl."

Through a haze of lust you nod and head to leave. Others can have this too, you'll see that they do.
I wanted to write something I'd actually finish, I'd love critique and opinions. <3
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