Dame Amaranth stalked through the crowd of human cattle, her fangs sharp against her tongue as she looked for a victim. She could smell the blood within them, the rich, red warmth just barely contained within these fragile shells of flesh. Did they know, these brief mortals, what walked alongside them? Could they imagine the eternity of darkness, the unholy appetites that their fingers brushed against? No, they could not see her for what she truly was, could not understand the eternal darkness that was her unlife. They could only see...
They saw a tall girl with obviously-dyed black hair and a light tan, wearing dark clothes and walking through a crowd of fanboys who really should be showering more, that was what they saw. They didn't understand that Darla (the name they saw on her name-tag, since SpecCon didn't let you put "nicknames" on there) wasn't like them. She didn't just play stupid games about fighting dragons and getting magical items, she was engaged in telling a real story with real themes. The mundanes just didn't get real role-playing, not even the mundanes who trekked all the way out to Milwaukee for SpecCon.
To be honest, she really didn't even want to be out looking for victims--too many noobs, or people who didn't understand the rules, or who didn't take the game seriously--but Greg had gone to a lot of trouble, printing up all the little buttons that said, 'I'm a Victim!' and distributing them around the con to anyone who wanted to role-play being taken by a vampire. And he was in charge of the Milwaukee Brotherhood of the Night, so that meant that he could offer bonus experience points to players who came back with 'I'm a Victim!' buttons, collected from their prey. And putting dots in Dominate had started to get really expensive. So Darla--Dame Amaranth--needed to feed.
She scanned the crowd, looking for someone with a button, when she saw the girl. About a foot shorter than Darla, with glasses, long brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, milk-white skin of the kind Dame Amaranth would kill for (it wasn't Darla's fault that the only job she could find was as a bike messenger), and...ugh. Tie-dye T-shirt. She was probably going to reek of patchouli oil or something. Still, she didn't want Clan Ventrue's most powerful member to get left behind the curve...she moved through the crowd until she was close to the girl, made eye contact with her, and just for a moment, bared her fangs. (Plaster, but very well-made. Not like Gina, who just bought plastic novelty fangs that made her look like a total dork...) Then, slowly, she moved back through the crowd.
The girl followed. Thank gods. She'd had to deal with so many people who didn't understand that she was using Summon on them; they'd either run away, because "that's what you'd do if you saw a vampire", or they'd walk up to her and start talking right there in the crowd--she'd had one guy just walk up to her and ask, "How did you make those fangs?" She'd confiscated his button on the spot and left. Life was too short to role-play with idiots. But this girl was following along as Darla led her out of the crowd, around a corner or two, and into a secluded spot, well away from the press of people. (The advantages of being a Milwaukee native...when SpecCon rolled around, you always knew one or two spots in the convention center that nobody ever went.)
Darla's eyes flicked down to the girl's name tag for a moment--it was in-character for her to pull the girl's name from her mind--and focused her gaze upon the girl's eyes. "Look deep into my eyes, Jane," she said. "You are getting sleepy..."
Darla practically snarled in frustration. What did it take to find competent live-action role-playing partners these days? Wasn't this a role-playing convention? Weren't there supposed to be people here who actually understood what the term meant? Jane might not play the same games she did, but even someone who didn't know Dominate from Presence had to know that when a vampire looked into your eyes and gave you commands, they were hypnotizing you!
Jane must have sensed her irritation, because her facial expression immediately sobered up a bit. "I'm really sorry," she said. "I didn't mean to laugh. It's just that out there..." she gave a general wave out in the direction of the convention center, but Darla could tell she meant 'real life'. "I'm a professional hypnotherapist. And...sorry, but nobody who's an actual hypnotist ever says, 'Look into my eyes, you are getting sleepy.'"
"Oh, really?" Darla knew she sounded snappish and rude, but she didn't like having her role-playing skills called into question by some stupid hippy-chick who'd probably never even played in a LARP. "Well, I'm not an 'actual hypnotist'. I'm a vampire, remember? With dark powers that can enslave the mind."
Jane nodded condescendingly. "Of course you are," she said. "But there are little ways you can make your powers more convincing to your victim. Real hypnotists don't tell people, 'Look into my eyes.' I might suggest that you can focus your attention on my eyes, that you'll find that my eyes provide something nice and relaxing for you to look at while we talk, but I'd never tell you to look into my eyes. When you're watching my eyes, like you're doing right now, that's just because you want to. It's not a command, or a power. It's just easy for you to keep watching my eyes, that's all. You don't want to look away. You could, of course, if you wanted to. But you don't."
Darla listened intently, her irritation melting away. After all, how often was it that you got the chance to learn tips on hypnosis from a real hypnotist? Maybe she could learn how to hypnotize people in real life. That'd put Greg in his place!
"And of course, we never tell people, 'You are getting sleepy'," Jane said in a calm, soothing voice. "That's guaranteed to put people on their guard, make them wary and defensive...and the best way to hypnotize someone is to relax them into it. You don't tell them, 'Look into my eyes, you are getting sleepy', you just keep staring into their eyes, like I'm staring into yours right now, and you use words that make them think about relaxation, words that bypass their conscious mind, but words that their subconscious recognizes as cues to go into a deep, heavy, relaxing trance. Words like 'relax'. Words like 'heavy'. Words like 'deep'. Words like 'trance'. Words like 'sleep'."
Darla nodded, trying to absorb every word of Jane's impromptu lesson. This was so fascinating. She couldn't wait to try it out for herself.
"And so, even though every time someone hears, 'Look into my eyes, you are getting sleepy', they know they're being hypnotized, I'd never say, 'Look into my eyes, you are getting sleepy.' I'd say, 'Darla, your eyelids are starting to feel heavy.' Because that word, 'heavy', it makes you feel sleepy without actually hearing the word 'sleepy', and it brings you down into a deep trance, and these words pass by your mind, because your mind is already beginning to relax, and so when your eyelids become heavy, it just feels so natural, because you're relaxing more and more now, and it's only then, when you're already so relaxed, that I say, 'Look into my eyes, Darla, look deep into my eyes. You are getting sleepy.' Because by now, you know it's true."
Darla nodded again...or at least, she tried to, but her head was kind of hard to lift for some reason, so she just wound up letting it slowly bob forwards and slump down in relaxation. She could still see Jane's eyes that way, though, because Jane was a little shorter. Or at least, she kind of could. Her eyelids kept fluttering, because they were so heavy.
"And because you're so sleepy, Darla," Jane said, taking her hand, "you're happy to just let me help you sit down, so you can relax more...and more..." Jane was gently stroking the back of Darla's hand as she talked, and Darla sighed as she sat down and relaxed more. "And as you get more and more sleepy, more and more relaxed, more and more deeply hypnotized, you can just let those sleepy, heavy eyes close down now and slump down in total relaxation."
Darla let out her breath in an explosive sigh, feeling her muscles go limp and loose. She was learning so much, now, and it felt so good. She felt like she could just relax like this forever.
"Darla," Jane said, "why did you pick me out of the crowd to play with?"
"...because you had a button, and i needed victims..." Jane was stroking her hair now, relaxing her further. "...greg made a rule, we get bonus points for playing with the mundanes..."
"That's what your conscious mind is telling you, Darla. But think back, just a bit, to that crowd. Just let yourself remember a few minutes ago. How many people did you see with buttons like mine?"
"And subconsciously, you picked mine over those others." Jane kept petting her, keeping up the soothing, relaxing touches. "Now, Darla, you're deeply hypnotized, and your subconscious mind can tell you why it chose me. So just go ahead and open your mouth, and let your subconscious speak."
"...because you were cute. i'm bisexual, and i saw you, and part of me was thinking, 'ick, hippy', but underneath that, i could see that you were really attractive, and i was hoping to get laid at the con, so i decided to role-play with you..." Darla heard an almost plaintive quality in her subconscious self's voice. "...because i'm not good at asking women out, i'm too shy, that's why i made Dame Amaranth so powerful at Dominate and Presence, i just want to be able to hypnotize a woman, and say, 'sleep with me', and they'll do it..." Darla listened to herself talk, quietly amazed. She'd never actually made that connection, but now that she realized it, all her characters had been telepaths or mind controllers. "...and i know it doesn't really work that way, but i could pretend it did, because i want to sleep with you..."
Jane kept caressing her, moving her hands down to Darla's shoulders now. "And now I've hypnotized you, Darla. You thought it didn't really work that way, but now you know it does. So if I said, 'sleep with me', you would do it. You wouldn't be able to help yourself. Does your subconscious mind have any objections to that?"
"...no.." Darla felt a pleasant, damp heat between her thighs, and knew that far from having any objections, her subconscious mind was very eager to do exactly that.
"Does your conscious mind have any objections to that?"
"Yes," Darla said, hearing the tone of her voice shift, not quite waking but just becoming a little more aware. "I'm the vampire, you're the victim. You can't hypnotize me, it doesn't work that way."
"Oh, but it does, Darla," Jane said, her hands sliding just a little lower, letting them trace slow, lazy spirals over her breasts. Darla could hear the shift in Jane's voice, becoming less soothing, more commanding. Subconsciously, she knew she'd already given in, was already practically begging for Jane to take her, but she still had enough of Dame Amaranth's pride not to want to submit. "That's exactly how it works. I'm Commanding enough to Dominate you."
Darla recognized the challenge from years of live-action role-playing, the coded language that told her that Jane was attempting to control her will. "I'm Stubborn enough to Resist you," she said, even though those spiraling touches had moved in to the point where they were playing over her aureolae now. Darla couldn't quite remember how she resolved challenges like this under the current rules of the game, her brain was too hazy and foggy to think about it, but years of instinct came to the fore, the simple rules they'd used for so long, and she slowly moved her hand into a fist, and held it up. "Rock," she said.
Jane said, "I have Paper. Paper covers Rock. I'm Commanding enough to Dominate you."
Darla could picture Jane's hand in her mind, flat out like a sheet of paper, covering and surrounding her. "I'm...Stubborn enough...to Resist you..." She wanted to give in, but she didn't want to lose the game, she never liked losing...she made a different gesture, held up a hand that felt like it weighed a ton. "Scissors."
One of Jane's hands moved down between Darla's thighs, the other kept tracing a spiral over her nipples. "I have Rock, Rock smashes Scissors. I'm Commanding enough to Dominate you."
Damn, Darla thought. It was like she was always one step ahead of her. "I'm Stubb...ohhh..." Jane's hand, pressing between her thighs, was almost driving all conscious thought out of her mind. "I'm Stubborn enough to Resissst...ahh..." She could feel Jane's mouth on her neck now, kissing, licking, nibbling. Darla felt like Jane was draining out her resistance with her teeth and lips, like Jane was the vampire and Darla the prey...was that right? It had to be, Darla was the one deeply hypnotized and feeling those tiny sexy nips on her neck, those hands on her body, making her helpless and obedient...she tried one last time, her last retest. "I'm Stubborn enough to...Resissst you..." She held up her hand, barely managing to stretch her limp fingers enough to convey the notion before her arm slumped back down to her side. "...paper..."
Jane moved from Darla's neck to her ear, whispering as she nibbled on Darla's earlobe. "I have Scissors," she whispered, alternating back and forth between Darla's ear and her neck. "Scissors cuts Paper." Darla moaned as the hand between her thighs rubbed faster now, sending all her thoughts away as she melted into pure bliss. "I'm Commanding enough..." Darla's panties were wet now, she was spiraling away into arousal, just about ready to cum in her jeans... "To Dominate you."
"...yes..." Darla gasped out, giving in completely and letting the orgasm take her as she bucked in Jane's arms, melting into a puddle of sexual heat, surrendering and obeying and cumming, cumming so hard...
Greg found her a few hours later, wandering through the dealer's room with a blissed-out smile on her face. She had hickeys all over her neck, and the 'I'm a Victim!' button was pinned to the crotch of her jeans, failing almost totally to obscure the visible damp spot. Greg put his hand on her shoulder. "Are you alright?"
Darla blinked a few times, looked around her. "I, um...I don't want to talk about it," she said, shaking her head quickly to clear it. Inwardly, she grimaced. Greg would have to be the one to find her when she was all vulnerable like this, still half-tranced and looking all...all victimized! Oh, Dame Amaranth would never live this one down, the dark mistress of the realms of the mind hypnotized and bitten by one of the cattle. This would definitely give Ventrue a black eye that she'd spend months repairing.
And all because of that...that stupid Jane and her 'I'm a hypnotist' tricks! She turned away from Greg and stalked off. Jane would be back in her hotel room in an hour or two, Darla thought, not wondering how she knew that or how she knew where Jane's hotel room was. She'd go there, and she'd give her a piece of her ass--mind! She'd give her mind to Jane. Something seemed wrong about the phrasing, there, but she was sure Jane could help her figure it out. Jane was good at explaining things.