I promise that all the gay stuff will fizzle out soon, but I got to be honest, it gets really boring to write the same kind of love scene over and over again. I try to make each scene I write unique, but there are only so many ways to describe how a dick goes into a vagina or anus.
FIELD MARSHAL SHORDIAN
I was groggy the next morning. Battle always took its toll the night afterward, when adrenaline and terror had eased from my body, and pain took up residence in their wake. I stepped from the citadel, and out onto the ruins of Mid Fort. Usually, I would have to take a few downward steps before crossing the threshold to the courtyard. Not today. The bodies were piled five-feet-high, and even higher along the walls. Thousands were dead in this small spot, no larger than three tennis courts laid adjacently. The defenders had poured from the citadel, the attackers had poured from the south wall, and they had met here, and here, they had learned the truth of war. It was nearly a religious experience. I was there when we lost all sense of ourselves and became nothing but terror and wrath. There was a strange and terrible joy to abandoning everything that made you who you were, and to commit yourself to death.
I surveyed the courtyard, my eyes running all the way to the gate. There she was, waiting for me. She nonchalantly opened and closed the gate while my mages desperately tried to hold it fast. The archers rained arrows on her, the engineers loosed their ballistae, and she yawned, letting the projectile bounce off her shield.
“Hold!” I growled. My men ceased their frantic defense, and I carefully stepped through the new floor of bodies until I reached her.
“Field Marshal.” She said.
She proffered a mirror from her hip, and handed it to me. “I told you I would give you this back.”
“And so you have.”
There was a silence between us. She floated over the wreckage she’d left of the causeway, and drew her eyes across the battered fort. “Congratulations on your victory, Field Marshal.”
“Should I thank you?”
“It would be the polite thing to do.”
“Thank you, Your Highness.”
She cracked a smile, her impossibly-luscious lips opening to reveal sparkling white teeth, her orange eyes laughing about her pointed nose and high cheeks.
“Did I say something funny?”
“No, it’s just strange. You know a secret that could turn my army against me, but you won’t speak it, because it might force me to do something terrible.”
“Will you tell me why you did it?”
She laughed derisively, “Love, probably. I don’t really know why I do things anymore. Every day this war drags on, I hate the Highlands a little more, and I had so many fond memories there. ‘Had’ being the operative word here, as my present disdain has tainted the memories somewhat. Isn’t it funny how that is? Those present moments were filled with nearly two decades of experience, and all that time amounts to just bitterness right now. Perhaps it will change.”
“I’ve found that looking backward has very little use. Reflection is for those who can’t act anymore.”
“I suppose there’s wisdom in that.” She mused, then looked me over, “Do you want to have sex?”
I coughed, but managed to maintain my composure. “I’m afraid I must decline, Your Highness.”
“Pity. You’re a very interesting man, and I would’ve loved to get a measure of you.”
“Is that really how you gauge a man?”
“Big, small, curved, straight, cut, uncut, veiny, smooth; the parts don’t matter as much as men think they do, but a fellow as utilitarian as yourself undoubtedly knows how to use what he’s got. I’m a hoarder of experiences, and I bet you’d be a unique one.”
“Why did you come up here?”
“To give you back your mirror. Obviously, you and Brock won’t be talking anymore.”
I looked at the fractured mirror in my hand. “Why won’t you and I be talking then?”
“We’re talking right now. I prefer to talk face-to-face.” She looked over her shoulder at the vast orc line below the Rift. “Zander brought the division commanders to me today so that I could *********** one to fill Brock’s position. None of them could. And so, there will be no Froktora. I will lead the army now, and since orc leaders must be the first into the fray, I will be personally attacking you every day.”
My throat went dry, but I did not show a reaction. I could feel her probing at my brain, and though she certainly could’ve taken control of it, I would not let her read my thoughts. She smiled. “So well trained. Tell me, how many men do you have alive?”
She burst into laughter. “Field Marshal, please. I’ll get the information from someone else if I need to.”
“Less than forty-five thousand.”
“And I double that even with my losses. In a month, I’ll have triple.”
“And? I know your game now, Your Highness. You’re not here to invade the Highlands.”
“No.” She said softly, “I am here to kill every soldier on this wall.” She said louder so that all could here. When she spoke next, she projected her voice with her mind, and every man within sight could hear her seductive whisper as she said, I will kill a thousand each day. You will not know when it will come. You will not know where it will come. You will not know how it will come. Your best friend could stab you in the back. You could be compelled to leap to your death. You could burn in a great gout of flame. You could be tossed a thousand feet into the air. If your queen does not call for peace within forty-five days, every single one of you will die. I promise it.
A silence proceeded her proclamation, the echoes of her voice ringing within our minds. She looked upon the ranks behind me, savoring the terror she saw. She looked back at me, and grinned wolfishly. “Starting… now.”
The tone of the Noble Court was drastically different than the day previous. It didn’t benefit Leveria or Ternias to read the battle report, so I did, trying to keep my voice dispassionate. “The enemy casualties are as follows: an estimated three-hundred who tried to summit sector four, fifty who tried the South Fort causeway, between seventy and ninety during siege exchanges, and seven-hundred dispersed between sector one and sector three in a large, but ineffective assault. Friendly casualties are as follows: fifty-three in siege exchanges, then exactly forty-seven men walked one at a time off the wall. Two-hundred men then systematically killed each other. Three-hundred men were picked up individually and thrown hundreds of feet into the air, and four-hundred men exactly were burned to death by fireballs sent from the sky. The exact total of deaths is one-thousand.”
The familiar drone of the nobles’ whispers followed, though it was more akin to a panicked buzz. Lord Ternias was the first to break it.
“Cheap intimidation tactics!” He yelled, “There are ways to repel her! She is not invincible!”
“Would you care to share your knowledge with the group, Lord Ternias?” I queried, “Or will she be repelled by your bluster?” I turned to Leveria, “You said that we would outlast the hardships the winter would bring, but our army won’t even make it through the second winter month. Till victory or death? It sounds like the choice has been made for us.”
“Should we bend at the first sign of a challenge?” Leveria asked, “Yesterday, the enemy was humiliated and broken at Mid Fort. Today, they have retaliated in force to try and regain their morale. The Dark Queen is not invulnerable, as we all know. If she continues to put herself at risk, eventually she will make a fatal mistake, and this war will be over. How many of the men she killed were mages? Ten in total. She fears attacking our magic users. Field Marshal Shordian will adjust tactics, and this terroristic campaign will come to an end.”
“And if it doesn’t?” I asked. “What will you all say if we convene here a fortnight from now, and a third of our army is gone? The Dark Queen is not fighting the war herself. Every man that dies is a hole in the line, and the more that die, the harder it is to fill the holes when the orcs climb the cliffs.”
“We must go on the offensive!” Ternias countered, “She has given us no other choice! If we break the line, we will drive the enemy back into the marshlands, and massacre them! Then our mages can pin their ears back, and deal with the Dark Queen.”
There was a loud grumble of concurrence.
“Are we that desperate, Lord Ternias, that we would risk everything when we can end this war right now? I said yesterday that we had a unique opportunity to negotiate with Alkandra while they’re—”
“You are an Alkandran whore, Elena Straltaira!” Lady Jonias snarled.
I rolled my eyes. “Lord Ternias, please keep your bitch muzzled while in court; I’m tired of hearing her bark.”
“Impudent dark-blood shit!” Lady Jonias roared, rising to her feet, “You have spouted your treason in this court long enough! My queen, if you have any love for your country, you’ll have this traitor seized this moment!”
“Sit down, Lady Jonias.” Leveria sighed, kneading her brow.
Lady Jonias blushed until the roots of her blonde hair were red. She sat down beside Ternias, and ruffled her dress indignantly. He looked annoyed at her, but she hardly seemed to notice. She was staring a hole through me.
I turned back to the court. “The situation has not changed, ladies and gentlemen of the court. We are still losing this war. Now we have been given a timetable for exactly when we will lose it. In case you have not noticed, the Dark Queen is now toying with us. She has taken off the proverbial gloves, and is now fighting the war herself. What is the ace up our sleeve? What is the deus-ex-machina to save us? While we circle each other in the court, our nation circles the drain.”
Fifteen minutes later, Sofia was at my dais.
“Any word on that money?” She asked.
“It’s being delivered.”
She looked nervously over her shoulder, “You need to deliver it soon, my lady. If the Dark Queen’s promise holds true, and you haven’t secured those funds, Huntiata is likely to join Ternias’s faction. Where Huntiata goes, Feractian goes, his barons be damned.”
“And where you go, Percian goes. Or so you say.”
“You don’t think I can deliver him to you after I’ve dropped Huntiata and Feractian in your lap?” She smiled incredulously at me, “Elena, you insult me.”
“Does Percian know of your true plan?”
She blushed a little, “I… well... no.”
I grinned. “You’re abandoning him, you evil bitch.”
“I am not.” She said with and indignant tilt of her chin, “Percian Feltian is promised to wed Sofia Droughtius, but Sofia Alkandra does not intend to be tied down.” She giggled a little, “Or perhaps she does, I don’t yet know her proclivities, but monogamy most assuredly won’t be for her.”
“Sofia, you disappoint me. Keeping your promise is the entire basis of trust. You’re betraying him.” And even as I said it, I felt like a terrible hypocrite.
She blushed even harder, an expression of shame crossing her face. “I did what I thought I had to, my lady. I am sorry.”
“Well, it’s done.” I sighed, then gave her an impish smile, “But I’m going to have to punish you for it later.”
“…now,” I sighed, easing into my chair, “what is it I can do for you, Lord Huntiata?”
The old bastard twiddled his mustache. “I have questions about yesterday’s battle.”
“You understand that I can’t divulge military secrets. The Dark Queen undoubtedly has spies in the court.”
I laughed, “Lady Straltaira is our spy, my lord.”
“Are you so sure?”
Huntiata was guarded and uncomfortable in his chair. He was a straight-forward man, and believed that money and swords were the only power that mattered, and so flaunted his abundance of both. Not now, obviously, since he had neither money nor swords with the watch on strike. I’d hoped when he came knocking on my door that he’d be looking for me to help procure his precious wealth, but it was obvious by the chain of ham-handed questioning I was receiving that he was simply vetting another factor. Huntiata was a very poor player of the game.
I poured myself a morning glass of wine, sipped it, and smiled at the lord. “Has she fucked you yet?” I asked.
Huntiata startled like I’d struck him. “What?”
“Has Lady Straltaira opened her legs and let you inside of her, or do you prefer to use her more… unique feature?”
Huntiata turned a shade of red that bordered on purple. “Your Highness, I… I can’t believe you’d even suggest such a thing! She’s a dark-blood! A monster! A harlot from the bowels of hell!”
“So the noises coming from your open upstairs window at seven o’clock last night after Lady Straltaira visited you through the hidden entrance in the alleyway were you and her just… aggressively moving furniture.” I laughed at his reaction, “There are very few secrets I don’t know. I choose not to share them because discretion is paramount in statecraft.”
“Are you blackmailing me?”
“I would never do that. Loyalty is not something that can be forced.”
“You want my loyalty.”
“Do I not already have it? I am your queen.”
“Of course.” He said, tucking his chin. He eyed me from beneath his brows. “Have you… never mind.”
My smile broadened. “I am the queen of the Highlands. I have taken oaths that cannot ever be broken. They’re not just oaths of matrimony, but oaths of state. Infidelity for me doesn’t just mean a divorce, but a constitutional crisis. There are no treasonous questions, only treasonous answers, but I’m a little insulted that you’d even think it, much less suggest it.”
“My apologies, Your Highness.”
“Don’t apologize. It was I who steered the conversation right into the gutter.” I tittered sweetly, “While my occupation is a consuming and thrilling experience, the personal life of royalty is designed to be dull. You nobles with your scandalous debauchery are so very intriguing to me. I’ve heard—and this just might be rumor—but I’ve heard that Lord Ternias has two dawn-elves on staff that he uses as ‘comfort servants.’”
“I wouldn’t know anything about that.” Huntiata grumbled.
“I’m sure.” I said around my wine. “And what of Lady Droughtius?”
“She’s a fine young woman. I’ve heard nothing lewd of her, and I won’t slander her name with gossip.”
“Of course. And Lord Xantian? Has Lady Straltaira got her hooks into him yet?” I probed with a conspiratorial smile.
“It was my understanding that Lord Xantian already got his contracts procured with the help of Lord Ternias.” Huntiata shifted uncomfortably.
My smile broadened. “And let me guess, it wasn’t Lord Ternias who told you that.”
“My queen, I’m not at liberty to… um… I don’t want to discuss court matters here, if it pleases you.”
“My apologies, my lord. Now, you were asking about the battle?”
He twiddled his mustache again, and considered me carefully. “What happened to the causeway at Mid Fort?”
“There was a spell that destroyed it if the gate was ever breached.” I replied.
“The king told me he’d never heard of such a spell, and it’s his family who made those forts.”
My smile cracked a little. “My husband, bless his heart, is not an aficionado of history, even that of his own family.”
“I had heard from Lady Straltaira…”
“Lady Straltaira wants peace at all cost, and she is not above fearmongering.” I gave him an impish smile, “She’s not above doing quite a few things to get what she wants.”
He coughed uncomfortably, then stood up, and bowed.
“Is that all you wanted to know from me, my lord?” I asked.
“Yes.” He grunted, “Thank you for your hospitality, my queen.”
“The pleasure was mine.” I smiled, and watched him walk away, escorted by Sir Raftas. When the door shut, I practically sprinted across the room. On the table in my office, were the names of the ten nobles. Shordian was in my pile, Jonias and Xantian were in Ternias’s pile, and Droughtius was in Elena’s pile. In the middle, were Feltian, Feractian, and Huntiata. But it was all wrong, everything, and the jaws of the trap were closing.
The mines weren’t just a maze; they were a city beneath the earth. The Highlanders of old had sought to extract every last piece of valuable metal from the Great Forest’s basement, and they had dug deep and long. There were caverns that stood fifty-feet high, and there were tunnels that required us to crawl on our bellies. Some led to dead-ends, some led to forks, and others led back to where we’d come. When we sniffed the air with our heightened vampire senses, all we smelled was dampness and decay. There was no light. We saw through the darkness with the heat-lenses in our eyes, seeing the path by the way the cool water covered the rocks. We moved deftly through it all, navigating slippery rocks and uneven surfaces without a single errant slip. But we were still lost. In a straight line, the distance between Castle Thorum and Alkandra was a four-day horse ride. The mine exited just ten miles north of Castle Thorum. I had given a conservative estimation of six days for our trip. That was becoming optimistic. With no sense of direction, and no sunlight to guide us east or west, we had to resort to our memory, and our minds were becoming hazy with hunger.
Do you need me to change now? Furia asked me telepathically.
We can only risk it once per day. Vampires can smell blood for a mile.
We haven’t seen any of them yet.
You know damn well that doesn’t mean they’re not here. They won’t show up on thermal.
They? A voice interrupted us, Who is ‘they?’ There is only ‘we’ down here, distant child of mine.
Furia and I froze in our tracks.
I am disappointed that Drake decided to create half-breeds. I told him to never do that, but you know how boys are. If their mother tells them ‘no,’ it must mean fun. Is that why he fucked me?
Furia and I looked at each other. Gloria Titus? I asked the void.
Do they still know my name on Tenvalia? That’s nice. This backwater continent does have its charm.
We’re here at the behest of the Dark Queen.
Hmm… I don’t know you very well, distant child, but I know that was a lie. A slight inflection in your thought patterns, a minute elevation of your heartrate. It doesn’t really matter anyway. The Dark Queen was never of any consequence to me. What was Alkandi really, but a glorified sorceress? On the pantheon of demigods, she rated very low. I have known true gods. They moved mountains, turned deserts to rainforests, and melted glaciers. The Dark Queen is very good at fucking, but I daresay I’ve had better.
We looked around, but we could see nothing.
Will you help us? Furia asked.
No, I don’t think I will. Old age has made me very lazy, and when food comes willingly into my abode, I think it’s just natural ***********ion asking me to help it along. Directed evolution, and all that.
You can’t eat another vampire.
You are not vampires. You are pretenders. To truly know what being a vampire is, you must understand the craving. It will come to you, you will see. You thought you knew it when you first transformed, but that was but a glimpse. It will drive you to a madness you cannot comprehend. Just ask those lost children who surround you now.
Though I could not feel the cold, a chill crawled up my spine. I switched from my thermal lenses to my normal sight. We weren’t in total darkness. A small bit of faint light came from an unknowable source, and it bounced off the reflective water on the rocks, the pools on the ground, and the hundreds of wide, manic red eyes gazing at us from the mine’s ceiling.
They can smell your falsehood. They hate you for it. And when the craving becomes unbearable, you will risk them. You will take off your disguises, and run blindly through the darkness, and my lost children will feed. If you come to me, I promise I’ll make your end painless. I cannot promise the same for them. They like to savor the screams. Follow my voice if you wish to die well. I don’t really care. I’m not even that hungry.
She said no more. I looked up at the decrepit white bodies clinging to the ceiling like humanoid spiders, then looked back to Furia.
“What do we do?” She asked with her real voice.
“Run.” I said.
And we did. We sprinted blindly through the corridors, moving so fast that my thermal eyes had trouble catching the walls before I ran into them. The vampires overhead scurried after, not chasing us, but simply following. We weren’t trying to outrun them, but ourselves. I didn’t know where we were going, but indecisiveness wasn’t a luxury I could afford anymore. I chose our path, trying to keep an alternating pattern of right and left just to avoid going in a circle. We only needed to find an exit. At this point, I could deal with Arbor’s questions. Right, left, right, left, right… what?
We skidded to a halt and spun around, but there was nothing but a rock face where a tunnel had been.
“Shit!” I snapped, and pounded against it. No use. I was stronger than any man on Tenvalia in this body, but I could not break through the five feet of stone that had rolled into place behind us. I took a deep breath, and turned around.
We were in a library. It was ancient by any means, held up by massive obsidian pillars a hundred feet tall, the cavern so large that I could not see the end of it. Only blackness. Endless rows of shelves divided the great room, each one holding millions of books. Ladders on rails were attached to each, though many of the wrought-iron ladders were rusted to nothing. The ceiling was vaulted like a cathedral, covered in tree roots and lit with red light that was not fire, but astral gemstones that would never go out. In the middle of it all, was a black figure staring at us with deep red eyes. She stepped into the light. It was obvious that she was well-fed, for her alabaster breasts looked ready to explode from her long satin dress, and her wide hips seemed to taunt us from beneath her impossibly-narrow waist. Her cheekbones were so dramatic they seemed to be carved from marble, and her lips were so full and red they looked like they dripped blood. I had seen great beauty in my life—I was a great beauty, but never had I seen such a timeless horror of lust as this. She was like an earthbound demoness, too old and too evil to be alive, yet her flesh was such a splendor that I almost felt honored to soon become nourishment for it.
“It’s magnificent, is it not?” Gloria asked, gesturing grandly to the library. “What great civilization do you think existed here ten-thousand years ago? Surely one far greater than the paltry kingdoms that exist now. You are but primordial ooze compared to what was before you, and you didn’t even know this greatness existed,” She gestured grandly, “but this is your destiny. You will rise from this primitive state, compounding knowledge upon knowledge in places like this, and using that knowledge to reach true enlightenment, and then you will destroy it all, and become barbarians once more. Civilization does not dwindle into nothing, but collapses at its peak in a beautiful catastrophe. It’s a cycle, like those of Creators and Sentients. People rise, they reach the summit, then they leap back to the bottom. Why do they not keep rising? Philosophers have many hypotheses, but I think it is this: people are never satisfied. We were born to be unhappy with the way things are, and if things are perfect, well, then we’re going to fuck it all up.” She turned back to us. “Do you like to read?”
“Yes.” I said, not knowing what else to.
“Excellent.” Gloria smiled, “This is the foremost library in all the world. When the Highland empire—does the Highland empire still exist?”
“It’s just the Highland Kingdom now.”
“Imperialism is so last millennium. When the Highland empire unearthed this place, they were going to destroy it to get to the copper beneath. Can you imagine? This treasure trove of unique knowledge that could’ve catapulted their civilization ten-thousand years forward, and they would’ve destroyed it to get to some shiny rocks beneath the earth! Well, I put a stop to that. Nothing scares away prospectors quite like a violent and gruesome death in pitch blackness. I made this place my home away from home. After spending a few hundred years running gangs, toppling kingdoms, and partying with gods, it’s nice to wind down in a good book. There are cyphers on each shelf in case you need help translating. Obviously, none of these books are written in a language you’ll understand, but if you’re bright enough, you’ll catch on. The bathroom is down the hall and to the left, and there’s a thermal reservoir a few thousand yards that way that is just heaven on the flesh. If you have any questions, just think them. Enjoy yourselves!”
“Wait!” Furia yelled.
Gloria turned around, and smiled. “Before you embarrass yourself, I’ll just tell you that there is no leaving this place. You cannot hide from me, you cannot run from me, and you cannot reason with me. I am going to eat you. I don’t care that you’re both pregnant. I don’t care that the fate of kingdoms rests on your shoulders. I don’t care that you want so badly to live that you’ll do anything I ask.”
Furia looked side-eyed at me, and I turned with her, our muscles tensing to—
“It would be a shame to do that now.” Gloria whispered in our ears. She was behind us. She had moved a hundred feet in the time it took our eyeballs to shift a degree. “Once the fangs come out, I don’t put them back.” She stroked my throat, “You’re a leader of men, I can tell that about you. I suggest you tell your hermaphroditic paramour to stand down, or I’ll tear her apart in front of you. I promised you a painless death. Don’t make a liar of me.”
“Stand down, Furia.” I said shakenly. Gloria had her hand wrapped around Furia’s neck, her long claws digging into the flesh. Furia relaxed, and Gloria let her go.
“There.” Gloria smiled, “We’re all friends here, if only short-term. You won’t need these,” she said, taking our food provision, “and this would’ve never done you any good with me,” she proffered the Nadi stake from Furia’s hand, touching the bare wood without a second thought. She made to grab my strongbox, but I refused.
“Didn’t I just say—”
“Oh, you primitives have finally gotten to paper money?” She mused curiously, and took the box from me anyway. “That’s one of civilization’s great filters. Can your people assign an agreed-upon value to something that is intrinsically worthless? If yes, then you move forward. If no, then it’s time to burn everything down and start over. Ah, the First Bank of Ardeni. Ardeni still exists, does it? That’s good. I quite like the place. Whose face do they have on here… oh, it’s one from the Dreus lineage. They were nothing more than human traffickers last time I was in Ardeni, but every royal family starts out as a street gang. Well, keep your intrinsically-worthless paper, distant child. I’ll add it to the archives for posterity.”
She walked away, her well-muscled white back exposed to the tailbone in her luxuriant dress, her full backside seeming to tease her retreat.
“Wait.” I said.
She turned, looking rather annoyed. “Yes?”
“Can you take this to the outlet on the west side of the Knife River?”
“It’s caved in.”
“They’ve excavated it for us. I know you don’t care about our mission, but I can’t die knowing I didn’t do everything I could to complete it.”
She shrugged. “It’s only a two-day journey for me. I suppose I could use the exercise.”
“Thank you.” I said, offering her the box.
She looked inquisitively at me. “Only after you’re dead, dear child. The sooner you accept your fate, the sooner your mission will be completed.” She grinned, “If you truly love your country, you’ll change for me right now.”
“I guess I’m not as patriotic as I thought.” I mumbled, tucking the box back under my arm.
“No one ever is.” She laughed, and disappeared into the black.
I had come to Alkandra to seek a reprieve from hardship before I began the next day’s horrors. I should’ve known that such horrors would be waiting for me there. The family that I’d made had been shattered, the ashes of Alexa Jenania still blowing from the pyre. Faltia was ensconced in her grief, Kiera was in rehab, and Brianna and Eva were helping her. They only asked me to heal any damage done to her fetus by her indulgence in heroin, then they asked me to leave her alone. For all the barriers that we’d broken since that day I first visited, I was still an outsider in the sisterhood of rangers and hybrids. I was at peace with it. Time would bring us closer, and we had all the time in world. Except for Alexa.
“Did you get a look at the assassin?” I asked Soraya.
“No. It was just an androgynous figure. It disappeared into the city.”
“There must’ve been a ship that it got on.”
“We searched the hold of every vessel down to the bilge. Nothing.”
“Shit.” I muttered. Much of the population had begun to move into the castle for the winter. Those who didn’t have houses of their own, or those whose houses couldn’t weather the cold months formed a long procession. The nymphs harvested the last crops from the fields and stored them in huge granaries, more than enough to feed the populace three times over throughout the winter. Arbor’s magic would ensure that the food could never be tarnished by an enemy’s poison, nor the winter rot.
“How did Prince Matthew look when he heard about Alexa?” I asked.
“He was beyond distraught. They were very close.” She looked at me inquisitively, “Do you think the Lowlands did this?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s even the same person who tried to have Elena killed.”
“Eva thinks it’s Leveria.”
“Leveria loves her assassins, but I don’t think it’s her.”
“She hasn’t gloated to me about it yet.” I said, “I think that bolt was meant for Adrianna, not Alexa.”
“Has Adrianna established a line of succession just in case?”
“She should.” I sighed, “God, I hate thinking about this shit. You know I haven’t gotten fucked in three days?”
“This conversation took a sudden left turn.”
“Sorry. My body is just teeming right now; it’s like background noise on all my thoughts.”
“Adrianna got that way when she was ovulating.”
“How did she fix it?”
“She got knocked up.” Soraya glanced at my belly, “You must be using some strong birth control.”
“I’m not using any birth control.”
Soraya’s brows went up. “Well then… up the butt; no baby in the gut.”
I laughed. “I guess it’s worked for me so far.” But when Soraya looked away, my smile slowly fell.
Percian Feltian was a slight boy of nineteen years. His features were soft and angular in the elven fashion, and his fair complexion almost made him pretty. He was dressed like a male model, spoke with an affected lisp, and gesticulated like his hands were autonomous. He was, without a doubt, the gayest man I’d ever met in my entire life. Were he a commoner, he would’ve been thrown into a brutal rehabilitation school, but he was a rich noble, and so the rules simply did not apply to him. Learning this made it much easier for me to accept Sofia’s deception of him, for at least he was not in love with her. That said, I was beyond bewildered when I talked to Sofia about him while he was in the washroom.
“Percian’s not gay!” She laughed like I was joking with her.
I blinked. “There is no way you’re this naïve.”
“He’s an infamous lady-killer. Half the minor noblewomen in Feltianas had to go to a mage to get their hymens repaired.”
“Uh-huh. I’m sure he worked very hard to cultivate that reputation. How many times has he pressured you to open your legs?”
“Don’t be ridiculous. I’m not a common lord’s daughter; my virginity actually means something, and he respects that.”
“The perception of my virginity, anyway.” She tittered naughtily, “I was saving it for a much larger prize than Percian Feltian.”
I narrowed my eyes at her. “Sometimes I wonder if I should be worried about you.”
She twiddled her thumbs deviously, and we both laughed.
Percian entered the room a moment later, smelling strongly of my perfume. He sat down beside Sofia, and awkwardly held her hand when she presented it to him. “Now, Lady Straltaira, you were talking about the prospects of postwar trade relations with Alkandra.”
“The Dark Queen has listened to international concern that the reestablishment of Alkandra will tilt the Tenvalian economy permanently to the east. She is proposing a trination port in the southern Midlands where our countries officially converge.”
“A fascinating idea, assuming she can conquer the southern Midlands.”
“Progress is inevitable. The wildlands can’t stay wild for long, especially with the aid of the Highland army. Having our men fight side-by-side should do wonders healing the wounds they’ve inflicted upon each other.”
“By massacring the natives?” Percian asked with raised brows.
“We call them ‘savages’ when they’re on land we want.” I grinned.
Percian looked me over appraisingly, then turned to Sofia. “Oh, I like her.” He said.
“I knew you would.” Sofia tittered, clasping his limp hand, and leaning in for a kiss. He placed a closed-lip peck on her cheeks, and it was at that moment that she realized I was one-hundred-percent right about him. A younger, more naïve Sofia might’ve tasted the curt kiss and thought nothing of it, but I had made a true woman of her, and the revelation dawned on her face the moment she parted from her betrothed.
Percian looked upon me, oblivious that his “secret” was known to all in the room. He crossed his legs, and assessed me with an interested eye. “I’ll have to talk with my advisers about this development. Perhaps you would care to meet later?”
“Later?” I smiled amusedly.
“At my estate.” He smiled back, “I’ll have a dinner prepared for us, and then you and I can come to terms.”
I sat back, letting my cock slither obviously under my dress. His eyes flitted to it, then back to me, and my grin turned wicked. “Lord Feltian, why don’t we come to terms right now?” I asked.
He shifted uncomfortably. “I would prefer to negotiate in private.”
“We’re in private right now, my lord.” I said, swirling my wine glass, “Just you, me, and your blushing bride to be.”
I shared a glance with Sofia, and she read my intentions clearly. A shade of alarm crossed her face, followed immediately by an expression of devious excitement. My little protégé; how I loved her. She leaned against her betrothed, letting her breasts pillow into his shoulder. “Yes, dearest, let’s negotiate terms now.”
His posture was as rigid as stone. “This is a Feltian matter, Sofia, and I’m afraid I must represent my family alone.”
“But our families are to be joined, so what is the issue?” She tittered.
“The issue, dearest love,” Percian growled, “is that I am my own man, and not beholden to you!”
“That’s no way to talk to your fiancé.” I chuckled.
“You’re so tense, dearest.” Sofia whispered into his ear, her hand running down his chest, “Let me be a good wife, and help you relax.”
He looked ready to crawl out of his own skin. “Not here, Sofia.” He snarled.
“Then where?” She giggled, running her hands down his belly, “And when? Why should we wait until our wedding night if we are already promised to each other?” She gnawed on his ear playfully, “It’s not like I’m a virgin anyway.”
“What?!” He exclaimed, his face aghast.
“Oh come now, dearest...” She tittered, her hand venturing down his pelvis, over his groin, and sliding between his cheeks. She curled her fingers, and whispered, “…it’s not like you are either.”
Percian’s face was an impeccable shade of white, but his cheeks were rosy, flushed with embarrassment, flushed with arousal. His tight pants could not conceal his growing manhood, and Sofia and I gawked at it as it grew, and grew, and grew.
“Oh, Percian,” Sofia muttered covetously, running her hand along the bulge, “how dare you keep this from me.”
“Sofia, I need to—”
“Shh.” She hissed, placing a finger over his lips, “I don’t care if you like having a cock inside you.” She crinkled her nose endearingly, “I like having a cock inside me too. Just because you’re not attracted to me, doesn’t mean we can’t be man and wife.” She glanced at me, and grinned, “People can change, and very soon, you might find that I’m not so undesirable after all.”
I smiled back at her, wearing my liar’s mask. To hide my momentary shame, I grabbed my dress, and pulled it over my face, and off my body. I wore nothing but a coreset beneath it, the velvet bindings holding my breasts high on my chest, the vest tapering away at my sculpted abdomen to reveal all the fun things below it. Percian stared at my rigid cock, his lips quivering. I smirked, and stepped onto the couch, towering over him with an imperious glare. I squatted down, and mounted his chest, bringing my knees around his shoulders. My leaking tip was poised inches from his mouth, my bronze thighs trapped his head in a pillowing embrace. I raked my fingers through his hair, and balled my fist in it.
“Well, my lord?” I whispered down, my eyes smoky and lidded heavily, “Shall we negotiate?”
He parted his trembling lips, and I eased myself inside. I groaned pleasurably, feeling his hot sucking lips pulling me in, his soft moist tongue curling around me, its tip caressing me like a beckoning finger to guide me deeper. His throat opened easily around me, and closed in a generous embrace of my head, swallowing the last of me into his gullet. With practiced ease, he swirled his tongue around my consumed shaft, and his hands came up to grip my ass, and push me deeper.
“Oh, my lord!” I moaned, shifting back and forth, “Oh god, suck it just like that!”
He moaned with me, wrapping his lush lips around my base, spit bubbling from the seal when I pulled out. His fingers squished into the fat of my ass, his middle and ring fingers venturing closer together, traversing the pliant flesh of my crack before finding my anus. Oh, he knew well how to touch that part of a man. He circled my puckered center, teasing the entrance expertly until it was popping and winking on its own, opening to receive him. My back curved when his digits penetrated me, and I pressed my crotch hard against his face, savoring the sensation of his muzzle indenting the pelvic base around my cock.
I looked back over my shoulder to see Sofia curiously playing with Percian’s testicles. She’d never been with a true man before, and so the organs were fascinating to her. With her dress now discarded, her bra gone, and her panties cast upon the floor, she only wore her high-heeled shoes, and they clicked together as she gently toyed with her husband’s sack. She turned a shade of pink when she caught me giggling at her, and she shed her scientific expression to don a more appropriate mask of lechery. With a coy grin, she placed Percian’s sack into her mouth, and sucked until each cheek was filled with a testicle, her tongue dividing them. Percian’s fingers shot into my ass, his grip on the fat tightening until the succulent meat protruded like dough between his fingers. I cried out in delight, thrusting as his fingertips pressed against my prostate, massaging it with a firm stroke.
“Suck my cock, you little faggot!” I gasped, and he grinned wickedly around my shaft, and slurped me into his vacuum seal. Sofia got too ambitious for her own good, and attempted to one-up her betrothed by taking his rod all the way into her throat. She got halfway down before her eyes watered, and hot spittle leaked down his thick shaft. She looked to me for guidance, but in the heat of my pleasure, and seeing her in such a pathetic state, I could only teach her in one way. I reached back, grabbed the back of her head with both hands, and shifted my weight atop it. Percian seized in reaction, his eyes rolling back, his mouth sucking harder than it ever had. Sofia gagged around a squeal, her face forced all the way down, her head the base of my bodily bridge that spanned her fiancé’s torso. Her face was purple with exertion, her eyes streamed, and her neck bulged. I held her firmly down, forcing her to acclimate to it, punishing her for her avarice, though she did not deserve it. But she wanted it. Even as she struggled to free herself, trashing and clawing at my hands, her ass wiggled delightedly behind her, strings of vaginal saliva dripping from between her legs. After a minute, the muffled screams she sounded dwindled. After another, her face returned to its flushed state, and her breath eased evenly through her nose.
“Good girl.” I smiled at her proudly, and she winked back. I released her head, and she slurped her way up her husband’s shaft, revealing the full length of him. He popped from her lush lips, and she stared rapturously at the meat she had just consumed.
“I can’t wait any longer, dearest.” She whispered, and climbed up, “I need this inside of me.”
Percian didn’t care at all. He was content to simply suck my cock, his eyes possessed of me. I rode his face, plunging my member into his mouth, and he took me with relish, ignoring the woman preparing to mount his rigid shaft. Sofia got into a wide squat, her slender legs quivering as she aimed the tip against her petals. It was thicker and longer than mine by a goodly amount, and so she eased herself down it slowly. She whimpered, her eyes closed in concentration, her soft belly flexing in strain, making room inside of her. Inch after inch, she slid down, her pussy stretching, her little clit engorging, her nectar dribbling down her legs. She whined in pain, then dropped the last inch, and stayed there. Percian sucked me contentedly, closing his eyes to savor the sensations of his loins, undoubtedly painting a much different picture in his mind than what was currently happening to him. Sofia shuddered from head to toe, staying static in her straddling position, afraid to move. I reached back, and touched her chin. Her eyes opened, revealing them to be watery and filled with pain. I smiled to see it, and took her hand gently. With a slight pull, I guided her forward, and she moved her pelvis in kind. With a slight push, I guided her backward, and she followed the motion of my hand with her hips to complete the gyration.
Like a father teaching his daughter how to dance, I taught Sofia how to ride a large cock, and like the adoring student she was, she learned quickly from my instruction. Soon, she was hissing in pleasure. Then, she was moaning. I let go of her hand, and she rested it upon her husband’s belly, centering herself so that she could reached back with the other, and penetrate his anus with her fingers. He thrusted reactively, and she gasped, her eyes bulging. She penetrated him again, and again he thrusted, carrying her off the couch, sending a squeal from her peeled-back lips. She shoved her finger in again, and this time she cried out when her fiancé responded, her eyes still wide with the revelation of it, her face now void of the concentrative lines that had etched it, now smooth and open in wonder. As I rode Percian’s face, she rode his cock, and Percian played the willing mule, pleasuring us both until we were writhing in ecstasy.
“Do you want me to fuck your ass?” I gasped, my complexion glistening with the exertion of loving his mouth. He nodded enthusiastically, and I laughed, and pulled my spit-sheened cock from his mouth. I arranged Sofia beneath him, facing away so that he would not have to see her feminine assets, and then I bent him over atop her, pried open his cheeks, and nestled my shaft into his hairless crack. His anus was bleached and clean, good enough to eat, and I let a glob of spit pool into it before pressing my tip against it, and pushing myself inside.
“Yessss.” He hissed.
“Oh god!” Sofia whined beneath him, his cock growing ever harder inside her. I growled in delight as my shaft was consumed by his smooth bore, the fleshy prison holding me deep, milking me with his clenches. I grabbed him by his narrow hips, pulled back, and thrusted again, and again, and again. His bubble-shaped ass rippled with impacts, his prostate churned as it was punched by my tip, and he seized around me, his boyish body arching lasciviously, nearly feminine in its grace. A twink in every sense of the word, practically a woman from behind, and I treated him like the faggot he was, pounding, plunging, pumping into his little pink shithole, forcing his fat cock deep into his blubbering fiancé. Poor Sofia couldn’t handle his size now that I was dealing the thrusts, and she wailed ceaselessly, her little pussy stretched wide around his girth as it rammed into her. Our impacts sounded throughout the room, the brutal slaps of flesh, the squelching of wetness being forced from Sofia’s dripping cunt, the sucking sound of cocks being pumped into tight holes. I took two grips of Percian’s hair, and I railed into him with a vengeance, needing for some reason to dominate him, needing to hear his pathetic croaks and surrendered whines. He sang a duet with Sofia, their harmonized voices finally rising in a crescendo, their bodies dancing to the writhing samba of orgasm. They came together, his prostate quaking as it pumped thick loads of cum into her womb, her pussy ruining the couch with her fervent release. But I had not come; not yet.
I pulled Percian off his betrothed, and devoured his mouth, dominatingly moving atop his face, watching Sofia from the corner of my eye. Ah, now I realized why I desired to own him so. It was to see the awed look on her face when I conquered yet another man. I rotated sensually atop him, keeping my mouth connected with his as I moved my back to his front. Reaching between my legs, I grasped his wilting cock, and with just a touch, I brought it back to aching hardness. He groaned with need into my mouth, his hands moving along my athletic abdomen, sliding between my thighs to stroke something he was familiar with. I shifted my pelvis down, and pressed his thick head to my readied anus. He was slick with Sofia’s orgasmic nectar, but his girth was great enough to give me the pain I loved so much with anal. I growled into his mouth as the tension built against my aperture, my pelvic floor indenting into my body until it popped free, my resistance breaking, my pulsating rim sliding down his shaft. I shimmied sensually down it, moaning into his mouth as he moaned into mine, savoring every meaty inch of him that speared my tender channel, pressing the pliant inner flesh against the walls of muscle until I was packed with cock to my colon. There, with him all the way inside me, I relaxed on his lap, my pussy drooling on his balls.
“Come, Sofia.” I whispered hoarsely, not even looking at her. She crawled up my legs, gave my cock one suck, and hummed as she drew her lips up, tasting Percian’s anal tang on her tongue. She licked her way reverently up my body, worshipping my navel, my nipples, my collar, then my mouth. She straddled atop me, her pussy loose after Percian had done his damage, but still blushing and leaking for me, the fleshy curtains ripe, the clit engorged and throbbing. I took her by the ass, and guided her all the way down. Her breathing increased as we kissed, then eased into a sigh when I was nestled fully inside her wet sheath. Then, Percian began to fuck us.
He was gentler than I was, but not by much. He pounded into my clenching asshole with long thrusts, bouncing my ass off his crotch, sending the momentum right through me, and into poor Sofia once more. She panted atop me, holding on for dear life as we bucked and heaved, helpless to the raging thrusts being dealt into her abused cunt. One of my hands balled into her blonde hair, and I pulled her head back to hear her sonorous wails of delight, to see the pathetic expression strewn across her face. I sounded my own feminine tones, each one becoming weaker, more subservient as my submissive side was sated to perfection. My legs spread into a wide squat, my back arched against Percian’s chest, and I tried my best to regain my feminine dominance with a deep undulation of my spine, but oh, the faggot in me loved so much to be taken by a big cock! I could do nothing but become that person, that pathetic twink whore who wanted only to have my shit pounded in, to be reamed and defiled and abused until I was nothing but a leaking mess.
My grip in Sofia’s hair loosened, and her head shot forward, her eyes narrowing. She sung her ecstasy through her parted lips as we bounced to Percian’s rhythm, but she was studying me with acute interest, a dangerous glint in her eyes. Cautiously, she took my breasts in her hands, and pinched each of my nipples. I pouted my lip like a blubbering slut, and nodded with a whimper. She twisted her wrists, and my breasts were turned into torqued shadows of mammary fat, the sweet pain sinking into me. I cried out in masochistic glee, and arched my back toward her.
She chewed on her lip, indecision in her eyes. Then she opened her mouth, and whispered, “Tell me you’re a whore.”
“I’m a whore!” I whimpered.
She smiled a small smile. “Tell me you’re my whore.”
My head fell back, my neck bowing to her. “I’m you’re whore.” I croaked in subservient ecstasy.
She gave a delighted squeal, and clamped her thighs around my driving hips, keeping our pelvises locked as Percian ruined my shithole. “Who’s your mistress, whore?”
She twisted harder, the birth of sadism showing behind her blue eyes. “And you’ll do anything I ask?” She sneered.
She laughed, and loomed her face over mine. She hocked a glob into her mouth, and let a stream of saliva cascade upon my nose and cheeks. Then she dipped her head down, and licked me from my chin to my eye, drawing her tongue slowly across my upturned face. “All mine,” she hissed covetously, “my little Alkandran whore who will do anything I want.”
“Anything you want, Mistress.” I panted, the quaking in my rectum resonating through my body, the precursors of orgasm surging into my vacant pussy, its ruby back wall deformed rigorously by the cock pumping through my ass. Sofia released my breasts, and wrapped her little fingers around my throat. She moaned with my cock deep inside her, pounding, pounding, pounding to the rhythm of Percian’s thrusts, the forgotten man in our trio. In that moment, there was only me and her, and her hands around my neck, squeezing. Her innocent face was cast in a dark expression, her blue eyes nearly unrecognizable. The pressure built in my face as it built in my nethers, my suffocation begetting my climax, my complexion darkening with the need to breathe. She panted excitedly atop me, her wild gaze possessed of me, merciless and cold. I squeaked out through my closed windpipe, riding the building wave within me, staring back at her through my blurred vision. My suffocated exclamations rose higher and higher, my body undulated with deep, violent oscillations, and with Sofia choking the life out of me with her little hands, I came in an explosion of sensation.
Ecstasy lanced from my ass to my cock, my prostate boiling as it shot loads deep into Sofia’s cunt. She screamed atop me, her knuckles whitening in their grasp around my neck, her gaze still filled with the killer’s thrill. Percian burst into my ruined anus, pumping through his orgasm until thick rivulets of spunk leaked from my swollen ring. We descended back into sanity, our bodies heaving with the post-catharsis dopamine rush. I had to peel Sofia’s fingers from my throat, and it took her a moment to shake herself from her character. The sadism dwindled from her expression, replaced with something akin to mortification.
“Oh my god, Elena…” She said, caressing my throat, “…I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to—”
I interrupted her with a heated kiss, and she reciprocated it with her newfound brand of lust, her teeth playing dangerously on my lips and tongue. She parted with my lower-lip between her teeth, and I had to give her a firm smack on the ass to prompt her to release me.
“Don’t ever apologize.” I smiled at her.
She grinned back. “So you like it when I’m bad?”
“I love it.”
“I like it too.” She mused, tracing the marks she’d made on my neck, “It makes me feel powerful. It gives me a rush.” She elevated her eyes to mine, “But you were letting me do it to you.”
“It’s not genuine.” She said, “I was just acting out a role to fill a fantasy of yours. Some submissive shade of you.”
“We all have shades. Sometimes I’m a bad girl, sometimes I’m good.” I crinkled my nose at her, “Sometimes I’m both. You’ve seen that before. Just because I let you do something to me, doesn’t mean it’s not real.”
She shifted atop me, her tight little pussy stirring around my shaft, cum leaking from her abused netherlips. She groaned, laying her body atop mine, pinning me against Percian’s chest. “Someday, I will decide how we make love, Elena. I will dominate you despite your objection, and I will make you love the things I force upon you.”
“Someday, Sofia,” I grinned against her lips, “but that day is a very long time from now.”
“Thank you, Lord Xantian, for coming on such short notice.” I said to the little fat man.
He watched me from his suspicious beady eyes. “It’s my pleasure, Your Highness.”
There was a tense silence between us, and it seemed to last for a long time. Finally, I broke it.
“I promised you before the war that I would subsidize your losses and guarantee your contracts with the dwarves.”
“You did indeed!” He snapped.
“I intended to, but the person I trusted to facilitate it was… untrustworthy. The message was not relayed to you, and it was negligent of me not to come to you personally.”
“You have ignored my every call!” He yelled, “I stayed loyal! I never once went to Ternias even as my family’s wealth fell to pieces!”
“I know.” I said softly, “I couldn’t see what was happening until it was too late.” I looked up at him, “Huntiata has pursued a contract on your lands.”
“He has, for an old copper mine that was filled in centuries ago because of vampires.”
“That mine is part of a network of tunnels that goes from the Spearheads to Alkandra, and spans the entire breadth of the Great Forest. He wants it because he’s funneling money in from Alkandra. I thought as much. I sent a killer there to take out their master of coin, but she got the wrong one.” I steepled my fingers as I watched the fire, “It was probably too late anyway. I’ve been one move behind the whole time.”
“Why not just kill the governess?”
“I have use for her. But the plans I’ve put into motion… everything needs to happen perfectly, and I’m afraid I missed my turn.”
“What now then?”
“Now we wait and see how things put in motion collide. I will rely on you hard, Lord Xantian. The Noble Court could turn on me in a second, and those that act against me are expecting you to turn with them. If that happens, you must hold your ground.”
“What of Lady Straltaira?”
I watched the flames slowly eating away at the dry log, the embers glowing with searing heat. “I have never prayed before, you know. I pray now that Lady Straltaira is ignorant of this. I pray with all my heart that I have not been so betrayed.”