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Introduction:

This is the end of part 15. Things speed up after this.
Chapter Fifty-Four

ELENA

I sat at the head of the table. Mom and Huntiata sat to my left, and Feractian and Jonias sat to my right. Candles illuminated the walls and ceiling, but the light was dimmed, each aura dying into darkness before it could touch another. Shadows played along the faces of those at the table, painting dramatic contrasts about the structures of their faces, though their eyes sparkled in the flickering flame. All around each of us was darkness, and the darkness provided a sense of intimacy, concealing us from the rest of the world.

“Before we begin, I just want to say how grateful I am for your support.” I said, “Your sacrifice is far more than I deserve, and… well, thank you. Most of all, I would like to thank Lady Catherine Jonias, not only for saving my life, but also for caring for me, for being a gracious host, and for starting this movement. My lady, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

“Here, here!” everyone else echoed.

Lady Jonias just waved it off, though she blushed a little. “I did it all for money and power, you fools.”

“We all did it for money and power, Catherine!” Huntiata laughed, “It just so happened that it’s also the right thing to do.”

“I had ulterior motives.” Mom smiled, “Country, honor, tradition; these things are paramount. Money and power are simply the tools we entrust with those who should rightfully lead. This isn’t a fight for our sakes, but a battle to uphold the very foundation of Highland society.”

“Indeed.” Lady Jonias said wryly, “Because we all know that Elena is a beacon of royal propriety.”

“It’s the spirit that matters.”

“She’s certainly carrying at least one tradition from her predecessor.” Jonias smirked at Mom.

“Do your legs creak when you open them?” Mom shot back.

“I guess they’re not as well-greased as yours, Lady Straltaira.”

“Alright, so that’s the last time we ever try to be nice to Lady Jonias.” I grumbled, “Changing topic; Feractian, how many men have your barons managed to acquire?”

“Last count was over fifty.”

“That many?” I raised my brows. “That’s wonderful!”

“Sometimes quantity isn’t quality, Your Highness. These are gangsters and the like, and the price for their services will be steep.” He twiddled his mustache with an indignant huff, “But if you want to raise a riotous mob, these are the types who can get it done. At the noon bell tomorrow, they’ll make their move.”

“At the noon bell.” I echoed, “So that will be when it starts.” I looked to Huntiata, “There’s a guard change at the noon bell, right?”

“There is.”

“Where’s our in?”

Huntiata pulled out a rolled parchment, and flattened it on the table. It was a diagram of Castle Bentius. “That secret passageway to the tower bedroom you asked about? It’s sealed off, so that plan’s gone. Fortunately, the watchmen caused so much damage in the first battle, that the major defenses are all weakened. No ballistae, no drawbridge, and no wall. I paid off the right guy to make sure that the gate stays open. The only thing keeping someone from waltzing right into the castle, are two-hundred watchmen.”

“Too many.”

“Yes, but here’s the wrinkle.” Huntiata unfurled another map, this one of Bentius. “Ternias is desperate to keep the perception of law and order in the lower wards, so he’s constantly cycling watchmen down there to make it seem like their numbers are at full strength. A hundred here, a hundred there, and a hundred there; their never stationary, always on patrol. Their circuit is fifteen miles nonstop, from the finance district, to the merchant district, to the lower residential, and to the outer walls; he always keeps a hundred on the outer walls just in case of Alkandran riders. After the noon bell, a hundred of them get some rest, but the other two-hundred switch with those guarding the castle, and stand guard for another four hours. In short, they’re dead tired. They’ll be slow to react, and easy to route.”

“We just need to break their spirit fast then.” I glanced at Lady Jonias, “What’s the most intimidating spell you can cast?

She thought about it for a moment, then twirled her fingers. The table seemed suddenly twice as long, and surrounding the new half, were poorly rendered versions of me, Mom, Jonias, Huntiata and Feractian. There was no detail on any of our faces, nor our clothes. We looked more like mannequins than people.

“It’s a mirroring spell,” Jonias explained. She raised her arm, and her ethereal visage did the same, “It’s not great—it’s actually rather awful.” She stood up and walked three paces down the length of the table, and her visage did the same, walking straight through a marble column like an apparition. “But it’s very easy to cast, and doesn’t require too much energy to maintain. If I were to cast this three times on our bannermen, their numbers would appear to quadruple from a distance. A closer inspection would reveal the mirage, but exhausted and panicked watchmen won’t focus too much on the details.”

“Perfect.” I said, nodding approvingly. “So, our bannermen will filter into the Noble District throughout the morning. When the noon bell tolls, the men Feractian’s barons hired will begin riling up the mob in the lower wards. That’ll keep the fresh troops occupied while our bannermen marshal in the square. Jonias will cast her spell, and we’ll attack.”

“Where will I be in all of this?” Mom asked.

“Locked in a closet with a bottle of wine,” I replied, “you’re not going to be anywhere near this fight.”

Mom let out a sigh of relief, and smiled. “I think that’s for the best.”

“Huntiata and I will lead the vanguard,” I said, “Feractian and his bannermen will provide the missile support, and Jonias will be in the back to provide magical cover. Don’t get too caught up in tactics. This is going to be a street fight, and we all know it.”

“And that’s that?” Feractian asked.

“That’s that.” I said, “If the watchmen route, we’ll storm the castle and take Ternias’s head. If they don’t, well… then we’ve got a fight on our hands. If that happens, we’ll have to break the defenses before the watchmen in the lower wards can disengage from the riot and get back to the noble district.”

“Or we’ll be fucked from both ends.” Huntiata grumbled.

“Elena’s used to it.” Jonias mumbled.

I rolled my eyes. “Alright, you all know the plan then. We’ll meet here at nine tomorrow morning to begin preparing.”

The other five members nodded in agreement. I nodded back, and we sat there in uncomfortable silence.

“Did I forget something?” I asked.

“We’re on the eve of battle; this might be our last night alive.” Feractian said, “As our queen, should you not rouse our spirits with a charismatic speech? You were famously eloquent in the court.”

“I could use a pep-talk right about now.” Lady Jonias laughed nervously. I hadn’t noticed until that moment that she’d been fidgety the entire meeting. For that matter, so had been Lord Feractian. Huntiata was a veteran, and sat with stony calmness, but I knew he was crawling in his own skin.

“I… uh…” I started, and leaned onto the table, knitting my fingers together, “I don’t think speeches really help. I’ve fought my fair share of battles, and it doesn’t matter much what’s been said before the fight. I can only give you some advice that’s helped me get through it. Control your breathing. Focus on little things like taking slow breaths. It’ll keep you centered. Keep moving. Your cover is best when you first get behind it, and becomes worse with each passing second. Keep your head down, and your eyes up. When you’re face to face with the enemy, always strike first. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been trained for decades and your enemy’s a fresh recruit; the man who strikes first, wins.” I laughed humorlessly, “Poets and story-tellers regale you about great warriors who were nigh unbeatable, but most of those men just played the odds right. Keep breathing, keep low, strike first, and your odds will be good.”

“That’s it?” Feractian asked, “It’s all just a game of chance?”

“Aye,” Huntiata said, “and I’ll add another thing to the queen’s list: never fight clean. Get dirty. Go after the balls. Go for the guts. Throw dirt in their eyes and put your blade in their squishy parts. Bite their throat out if you get the chance. There’s no reward for fighting with honor, for I’ve never seen a man die with it. I’ve known some of the noblest, most refined and soldierly chaps in the world. Men I knew my whole life, but they didn’t even recognize me when they were trying to put their intestines back in their torn bellies. Just the wild look in their eyes, like how a fish looks when you yank him out of the water. And the screaming… good god, the screaming. They all shit themselves too. That moment when the sword goes in them, and their eyes bug out… that’s when they shit themselves.” Huntiata glanced up at Feractian and Jonias, who were staring slack-jawed at him. “Anyway,” he smiled sardonically, “sleep well.”

“You’re a bastard, you know that?” I snapped at him.

He winked. “The very worst.” He stood up, and wiped his hands on his pants. “I’ll see you lot in the morning then. Come this time tomorrow, we’ll be feasting in the royal hall.” He gave Jonias an impish look, “Well, some of us will, maybe.”

“Get out!” I yelled, though I couldn’t conceal my laugh. He strutted out in a mockery of military march, and waved a flamboyant farewell before leaving.

“I’ll… I’ll just be leaving then.” Feractian said, getting onto shaking feet.

“My lord,” I said, “if you wish to stay the night, I’m sure Lady Jonias could find room for you.”

“Of course.” She said, and gave me a wry look, “Will he be staying in the royal chambers then?”

“If he wishes to.” I gave Feractian a suggestive smile, “I’m sure I could think of a rousing speech then.”

He coughed uncomfortably. “I think I’d rather find my bravery in my wife’s bed, if you don’t mind.” He clicked his heels smartly, and bowed to us, “Goodnight, all.”

“Goodnight, my lord.”

We watched him walk out of the room, every step filled with dignity. “What a fine gentleman he is.” Mom mused.

“What a bore he is.” I sighed. Mom giggled like a schoolgirl behind her hand, then gave Jonias a guilty look.

Jonias just stared back at her, bemused. “I cannot believe you, Lady Straltaira. You have lost your goddamn mind; do you know that?”

“Oh, don’t be such a prude.” Mom scoffed, and proffered the wine bottle from the center of the table, “Royal Chateau, three-hundred-year vintage?!” She whipped her head toward Lady Jonias, “This is priceless!”

“And no one even bothered to drink it.” Lady Jonias sighed, gesturing to the full glasses around the table. “It’s been in the family since the Joniases sat on the throne, and since your daughter is my family’s last chance of ever reaching those heights again,” she took the glass, and brought it to her lips, “I thought now was a good time to open it.” She sipped it, then delicately placed the glass back on the table. “Like velvet on the tongue. Undoubtedly the best wine you’ll ever taste.”

I took a sip, and nodded. “I prefer cheap whisky, to be honest.”

“Cheap women prefer cheap drinks,” she replied into her glass.

I laughed. “Lady Jonias, if I were to prostitute myself in Ardeni Dreus, I would make more in one night than your family makes in a year.”

“And you’d be worth every penny.” Mom beamed proudly.

“Thanks.” I giggled, and took a deeper sip of my wine. She did the same, our gazes lingering.

Lady Jonias coughed uncomfortably between us.

Mom rolled her eyes. “Virgins.”

“You can sleep on the street if you like, Lydia.” Jonias snapped back, then turned to me with her mouth poised, and shut it.

“Yes, my lady?” I asked.

She swallowed, then pointed to my wine. “Are you going to drink that?”

I slid it over to her. “Being hungover before a battle isn’t a great idea.”

“Well, it sounds like I’m going to die shitting myself anyways, so, bottom’s up.” She grumbled, and tipped the glass back. She then took Feractian’s full glass, then Huntiata’s. Mom tried to slide her glass away, but Lady Jonias would not be denied. She snatched it, and drank the last drop of her family’s most precious wine. When she was done, she daintily blotted her lips, and glanced over at me. “How much?” She asked.

I raised my brows. “What?”

“You said that one night with you was worth more than my family’s yearly earnings. I am asking you what the specific number is.”

I raised my brows higher. “Um… what?”

“How much?”

Mom gasped. “Elena, Lady Jonias is trying to buy your services!” Her giddy smile faded, then turned to a frown, then a scowl when she looked at Lady Jonias. “Lady Jonias! The queen of the Highlands is not a whore!”

“You traded sex for favors like your body was currency.” Lady Jonias said wryly, “What does that make you then?”

“A whore.” I smiled back, raising my hand to stop my mother’s objection, “You’re right, of course. I am a whore, though it’s easy to forget sometimes. What’s that old adage? ‘If you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life.’ I guess that’s what makes me so good, Lady Jonias. Can I call you ‘Catherine’ from now on?”

She shuffled in her seat. “If we’re conducting business, I’d prefer to keep things formal. Now, let’s get down to brass tacks.”

“But the price has already been paid, my lady.”

“I haven’t paid a cent.”

“You brought me back.” I said softly, “Lady Jonias, you owned me the moment I opened my eyes again. I owe you everything.

She looked away sharply, and swallowed. “I would like to pay you for a service, Elena. Let’s keep things professional.”

“Fine then. Tonight, my rate is one gold piece.”

“I thought you were worth a fortune?” Lady Jonias asked shrewdly, some of the discomfort leaving her shoulders now that she was in her element. “I was led to believe this would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Well, my lifetime may be rather short come the morrow, and since my marriage prospects are bleak for the next twelve hours, I would like to be made a proper woman before I exit this world.” She tilted her chin imperiously, “I am a noble-born with royal blood in my veins. I deserve the very best. What is your price, Elena?”

I narrowed my eyes at her. “Tiadoanas.”

She scoffed. “I would rather die twice.”

“Ternianas.”

“That one is personal to me.”

“Droughtianas then.”

She smiled. “Ah, that would be symbolic, would it not? For all your escapades, Elena, I’m afraid your title of ‘Biggest Whore in Bentius’ was only truly yours once Sofia died.”

“Indeed.” I said, twisting my lips.

Lady Jonias tilted her head, smiling at my discomfort. “I guess even death doesn’t heal all wounds.”

“I guess not.” I said, then turned the charm back on with a lecherous grin, “Do you accept my price?”

She chewed on her lip, and in the space of her indecision, I admired her unique beauty. She was elegant like my mother, though of a slenderer build and more youthful complexion. Her neck was very long, and her face was ornamented with precise and delicate features; her sharp jaw and chin, her pointed nose, her pronounced cheekbones, her lush lips, and her big blue eyes. Her blonde hair was mostly straight, but there was volume in it that gave it waves. When it was pulled back, it exposed her high forehead and gave her face an unattractively pinched appearance, but in its relaxed state, it cascaded onto her dainty shoulders like sheets of white, and cast her features in their natural grace.

“My lady?” I asked gently.

“Yes,” she whispered, her breath tight and shuddering. She corralled herself, and offered me a genuine, vulnerable smile, “I accept your price.”

CATHERINE JONIAS

I sat upright and cross-legged in my bed. My dress was folded in the armchair, and my silken robe draped over my nudity. Elena Straltaira sat across from me, wearing only her bra and panties.

“Whenever you’re ready,” she said encouragingly.

The copious amount of wine I’d drunk had given me the courage to get this far, but no further. I was stuck in the preeminent moment, frozen in my childish fear. It galled me to no end. I had never been intimidated by Elena Straltaira before; indeed, I never understood what all the fuss was about her, but now I was as shy as a maiden before her—which I suppose made sense, as I was a maiden. A thirty-five-year-old virgin. Holy Mother above, how did I let this happen? Virginity stopped being attractive after nineteen, and I’d let it delay, delay, delay until I was practically out of my maternal years. Enough was enough, damn it! I was going to do this!

“I would like to keep things professional for as long as is possible,” I said.

“Of course,” she smiled congenially, putting me slightly at ease.

I cleared my throat. “How shall I proceed?”

“However you want to.”

“I suppose… I suppose I should take off my robe then.”

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

I let out a relieved sigh. “Perhaps I will do it later then.”

Elena nodded, and continued her patient smile.

“You’ll…” I paused, and thought of how to phrase my question, “you’ll do anything I like?”

She nodded, her smile becoming a little wicked. It intimidated me seeing such overt sexual confidence, and I cringed somewhat. She quickly reverted back to her professional demeanor.

“I’m sorry,” I mumbled.

“Don’t ever be sorry.” Elena sighed, “My Lady, you’re bringing way too much baggage into this.”

“Well, that certainly helps with my anxiety, thank you.”

“What I mean is, your mindset is all wrong. You’re just doing this to get it over with.” She tapped her chin thoughtfully, “When you were with Lord Ternias, did you ever watch his dawn-elf pleasure slaves perform?”

“He offered once. I declined. I take it you saw the show then?”

“I’m more of a participant than a viewer,” she smiled wryly, “but that’s not the point. You’re a scientist. I want you to get into your scientific mindset. Think of me as nothing but a creature you’re studying. Experiment on me. Ask me questions. Gain knowledge and act upon it as you see fit.”

I frowned, and nodded slowly. Putting up the dispassionate veil of a scientist, I viewed my new subject like the alien thing she was, and felt much of my anxiety fade.

“Elena,” I said, “take off your bra.”

She reached behind her, unhooked her bra, and revealed two perfect bronze breasts shadowing her muscular belly. She presented her chest with a smile, and awaited my next command.

“Take off your panties.”

She got to her knees, and slid her panties down her thighs without any preamble. Her small rigid cock bounced from her crotch, and exposed the outline of her pink petals behind it. She sat back on her haunches, and waited once more.

I thought for a moment, then asked, “what organ do you prefer to make love with?”

“It depends on my partner. For straight women and submissive gay men, I generally like to use my penis. For lesbians and straight men, I mostly use my pussy. For dominant gay and straight men, I like to use my anus.”

“Your… anus.”

She nodded without even a hint of shame. “It can be very disarming and incredibly pleasurable.”

“I don’t think we’ll be getting anywhere near anyone’s anus tonight, Lady Straltaira.” I chuckled, “I know how full of shit you are.”

She laughed amicably, and stayed comfortably in her kneeling position before me. I knew that this was the moment to initiate intimacy, but I couldn’t find it within me to do it. For tortuous seconds, we just stared at one another until Elena finally opened her mouth.

“Would you like to watch me masturbate?” she asked.

I nodded.

Elena smiled warmly, then shifted onto her back, brought her legs out from beneath her, and opened them wide before me. She watched me from between her thighs as she grasped her stiff cock in one hand, and pushed her fingers into her pussy with the other. As she stroked and penetrated herself, she issued low murmurs of pleasure. Her blue eyes became heavily-lidded, and her face became flushed. The fingers in her pussy were soon webbed with her sticky nectar, and the hand that wrapped about her pole stroked slickly with the lube she produced from her tip. I watched her steadily, and felt a subtle change come over me. My breathing became shallow, a flush came over my face, and my nethers began to tingle. Keeping myself modest, I dared to sneak my hand into my robe, and caress myself between my legs.

“I have more questions for you, Elena.”

“Ask them,” she said breathily, not taking her eyes off me.

“What are you thinking about right now that is arousing you?”

“I’m not thinking about anything,” she gasped, “I’m just looking at you.”

I blushed all over, but I didn’t cringe away. My embarrassed reaction seemed to have quite the effect on Elena, for she bit her lip and moaned. It gave me a strange sort of thrill to know that an involuntary moment of emotion could do so much to her arousal. Here was a hybrid of Alkandra, a beast renowned across the land for her sexual prowess, and I didn’t even have to touch her to make her moan. My anxiety was slowly becoming excitement.

“Do you want to see what’s beneath my robe?” I asked with a raised brow.

“So much!” She groaned, and twisted her hips about her self-violating fingers.

“Come closer then.” I commanded softly. She got on her knees, and crawled toward me until I said, “stop!” sharply, and she halted. “Continue masturbating.” I said, and she did so while on her knees, stroking and fingering herself with a needful, supplicant expression on her slutty face.

I let my robe fall from one shoulder, then from the other. I shimmied slowly from my garment, watching Elena watch me, savoring the way her blue eyes captivatedly traveled down my revealed flesh. My robe sloped along my breasts, then hung for a teasing moment about the points of my nipples, before falling to my hips. Elena’s eyes feasted upon my bare breasts, and though I felt horribly exposed, I was not compelled to hide them with a concealing forearm. In fact, I squished them together with my biceps as I angled the fingers of both hands inside of me, giving her a show of my nipples as they rotated along the sensuous axis perpetuated by my rubbing arms.

“Do you like looking at my tits?” I asked her softly.

“Yes,” she whispered reverently.

“You want to touch them, don’t you?”

“Yes!”

I grinned, and shifted my buttocks backward, sliding myself out of my robe until I was nearly wholly exposed. I gave Elena a teasing wink, then shifted backward another inch, and let her see all of me. She stared hungrily at my virgin pussy, now occupied with two fingers from each hand as I deformed the entrance with pressing digits and rolling knuckles, splaying open the dark pink insides within. My heart beat rapidly in my chest the longer I was exposed, and my excitement turned to anxiety when I realized what was about to happen. Before I even knew it, all sensuality dwindled from me. I let out a groan, pulled out my fingers, and pulled on my robe.

“Shit,” I muttered, “I can’t do this, Elena.”

“There’s no rush,” she whispered, ceasing her masturbation to kneel before me.

“We could stay here for eternity, and I still wouldn’t work up the courage,” I sighed, “I guess I’m destined to die a virgin.”

Elena cleared her throat. “There are some women who need to be… forced.”

My gaze shot to hers. “What?!”

“Just to get over that hump. I was like that my first time. So was Yavara.” Elena shrugged with a smile, “If you want, I could do that.”

“I’m not giving you permission to rape me!” I scoffed, “Good god, Elena.”

“I have another idea.”

“I’m not sure I want to hear it now.”

“You could watch me do it with someone else.” Elena smiled crookedly.

I opened my mouth to exclaim my disgust, but then I paused, and considered the option. My fingers snuck back into my crotch, and gently prodded my erect clitoris. “Get her in here,” I said.

A minute later, a very confused Lady Lydia Straltaira was standing at the foot of the bed in her nightgown.

“I didn’t agree to this,” she grumbled, rubbing her eyes.

“Do it for me?” Elena batted her lashes up at her mother.

Lady Lydia scowled down at her daughter. “You know you’re trying to prostitute your own mother, right?”

“I guess that means I deserve a spanking,” Elena giggled, and wiggled her voluptuous little body in a way that sparked a fire in her mother’s eyes.

Lydia looked from her hermaphroditic daughter, to me. “You really want to watch this after all you’ve said?”

“It’s still abhorrent and disgusting, my lady,” I sneered, “but I rather find I’m in the mood for abhorrent and disgusting things.”

“C’mon, Mommy,” Elena cooed, “tell me honestly that this doesn’t excite you.”

“I’m not an exhibitionist.”

“How do you know?” Elena grinned evilly, and with a little lick of her lips, she broke her mother’s will.

Lady Lydia smiled crookedly, then pulled her nightgown off her shoulders. She was only five years my senior, but her body showed the age mine did not. Little stress lines marred her breasts and tummy, and slight blemishes colored her complexion. But that was nitpicky; Lydia Straltaira was a beautifully curvaceous woman, and her age gave her soft bows and bends a sultry elegance that could not be expressed in youth. It struck me nearly to my core to see her—the woman I had considered to be the prototype of noble propriety and grace—to be so flagrant with her sexuality, and she smirked at me when she saw me gazing at her. She rather enjoyed my reaction. She climbed upon the bed, and at her daughter’s bidding, she knelt before me as Elena did.

Elena took her mother’s hand, then turned excitedly to me. “What do you want us to do?” she asked.

I puzzled over the incestuous couple, then said, “I’m rather curious how a mother and daughter kiss.”

Lady Lydia took the lead before Elena could, and framed her daughter’s face in her hands. She opened her mouth as Elena did, then extended her tongue, and painted Elena’s awaiting lips with a swirl. Elena’s tongue slithered from her mouth to intercept, and they snaked together in a slippery embrace as their mouths came together. I hadn’t expected such a vulgar display right away, and I was taken aback when they began moaning between their smacking lips. Their hands clambered all over one another, squeezing and gripping flesh, lacing and tugging hair. They rotated their faces about the axis of their sloppy exchange, then opened their lustful eyes, and smiled against one another. When they parted, their faces were so flushed that they were nearly the same color. I didn’t realize until it was over that I’d been furiously touching myself beneath my robe.

“What now, my lady?” Lady Lydia asked.

I chewed on my lip, contemplating the pair. “Proceed as you normally would.”

Lydia turned toward her daughter, and grinned. Elena, despite all her experience and prowess, willowed beneath her mother’s leering gaze, and spread her legs with a vulnerably inviting whimper. Lydia stroked the length of her daughter’s rigid shaft, then continued past it, and penetrated Elena’s salivating pussy. Elena groaned delightedly, and curled like a babe into her mother’s embrace. She nursed from Lydia, and Lydia moaned in soft pleasure as she tenderly, but dominatingly violated her daughter to the bottom knuckles.

“Do you want Mommy to play with your ass tonight?” Lydia lovingly asked Elena.

Elena didn’t stop nursing, but simply smiled around the nipple in her mouth, and nodded. Lydia’s pinky and ring fingers slid easily into her daughter’s pink anus, which seemed to swallow them hole before clamping down tight enough that her rim tented from her pelvic floor with each of her mother’s extracting pulls. As she plundered her daughter’s sinful hole, Lydia did wonders to her pussy, stirring it until the petals were blushing like a rose, pressing against the ribbed ceiling to deliver spasmatic shots into her daughter’s belly. With her other hand, she grasped Elena’s stiff cock, and stroked it with rolling passes of her wrist, massaging the entire length until it was quivering with engorgement.

“Make her come.” I whispered so quietly, wanting to give out my command without disturbing the moment.

Lydia continued her gentle assault. She penetrated her daughter’s pussy until it was squelching, expelling viscous rivulets down the goosebumps of her taint before lubricating her anal violation. She stroked her daughter’s cock until was flexing with convulsions, and her pelvic floor was popping with the spasms of her tortured prostate. With a muffled cry and an arched back, Elena orgasmed from every part. Her anus clenched around Lydia’s fingers until the knuckles were white, her pussy expelled a steady stream of fluid, and her cock pumped thick ropes of semen onto her own belly and breasts, splattering her in frosting until she was left desecrated and quivering.

“What now?” Lydia whispered to me heatedly; her eyes wild, unable to contain their desire for my body. Why the fuck did I still have my robe on?! I unshouldered my robe, and shimmied out of it until I was naked before the two Straltaira women, my guilty hand delivering shameful little fingers to my sinful little pussy.

“Pleasure her with your mouth!” I moaned.

Elena giggled delightedly, and Lydia laid her daughter down on the mattress. Like a grooming mother lioness, she licked her cub clean, collecting all that had been expelled into her mouth and swallowing it before the doting gaze of her daughter. When she was done, she kissed Elena once more, and passed a volume of cum between their smiling lips. They indulged each other for a very long time, then Lydia descended Elena’s body. She kissed a path along Elena’s throat, collar, nipples and belly, then licked down her pelvis. Lydia’s back bowed as she did this, her thick ass protruding as she sat upon her heels, showing me all that was between her cheeks. She looked at me, smiled when she saw what I was looking at, then, keeping eye-contact with me, she wrapped her lips around her daughter’s cock, and slowly slid them down.

“Suck it, Mommy!” Elena groaned, knitting her fingers into her mother’s hair. Lydia moaned in response, and rotated her lips around Elena’s base, sounding out a symphony of slurps. She rose slowly, her cheeks going gaunt, then she stopped at Elena’s crease, rotated, and went down again. I didn’t know how long she did it for, but I was entranced for the duration. I gazed upon Elena’s throbbing organ as it was devoured and then revealed with lethargic and sensuous passes, each one creating strings of spit that stretched from their joined crotch and mouth. Elena whimpered and whined, seemingly a tortured captive to the pleasure her mother dealt her. She bowed her back vulnerably, displaying her jiggling breasts to the ceiling, twisting her athletic torso to show all the wonderful contours of her abdomen. As she writhed in torpid ecstasy, her soft calls grew higher and higher, becoming cries of delight that quaked with intensity.

I understood it now; it was all about power. One partner had to submit, and the other had to dominate. No matter how loving and tender the moment was, it was a game of power. When one woman gave power to the other, she made herself a slave to the other’s desires, but when the other accepted the power that was given, she took on the responsibility of satisfying her captive. The dynamics could change on a whim, but the action was always the same. Give and take; accept and deliver. It was something I was very familiar with as a noble. Like all things in life, sex was just a game of power, only this was distilled to its purest, most carnal form.

“Mommy, you’re making me come!” Elena moaned. Lydia subdued her daughter’s attempted thrusts by pressing down on her hips, and as Elena whined in distress, Lydia milked her. She pushed her middle finger into her daughter’s anus, which opened to accept her and closed to embrace her, and she curled the digit within to squeeze all the nectar out. Elena sobbed ecstatically, covering her face with her hands like she could not believe the sensations coursing through her, and Lydia slurped and swallowed her daughter’s second expulsion until Elena’s cock was left red and swollen, but still magically rigid. I knew enough about lust from hearsay to know that it was rare for a man to perform after one climax, but Elena was still eager for more after two. She stared lustfully at her mother, then they both looked back at me.

“What now, my lady?” Lydia asked me expectantly. Her eyes were possessed of me now, leering upon my feminine bows and curves with an avariciousness I would never have thought possible from her.

“We have known each other for many years, Lady Straltaira.” I said.

“We have.”

“Did you always secretly look upon me like this?”

She cocked her head, and let her smile turn crooked. “Often.”

“Is it women you desire?”

“It is.”

“I think… I think I am beginning to desire women as well.”

Lydia chuckled sultrily. “If there is one thing my daughter has taught me these past few days, it is that there is beauty in all shades and shapes, and it is only our preconceptions that limit our perception of it. I never thought I’d so cherish a penis, but…” she licked Elena vulgarly from base to tip, watching me as she did it, “…now I don’t think I can live without this. Now, what do you want me to do to her?”

“Fuck her.” I breathed.

Lydia and Elena grinned at me, then each other. Lydia crawled up her daughter’s body, sliding her hand up her daughter’s breasts, cupping one with a gentle squeeze as the other hand moved to Elena’s mouth so that Elena could suck the middle finger that had been in her ass. As she did this, Elena filled her hands with her mother’s pillowing breasts and squeezed until her digits disappeared in the succulent mammary fat. Sighing contentedly, Lydia raised herself, and lined Elena’s cock up against her pussy. She looked back at me then. In the gaze she gave me, I saw nothing of the Lydia Straltaira I had known for so long. Her elegant features were corrupted in a wicked leering gaze, so evil and carnal that she seemed a different person entirely. It intimidated me, but it also roused something dark within me, something that compelled my juices to flow between my masturbating fingers, something that made me look back at her with an expression that was likely much the same. I didn’t know what was coming over me. I had spent so much time in my higher mind that I’d forgotten my baser instincts, but they were all surging to the forefront now, those primeval emotions and thoughts filtering through my thinning façade of civility.

“Watch me, Catherine,” Lydia hissed like a serpent, “watch me fuck my daughter.”

Lydia sat back, and her netherlips stretched around Elena’s girthy head until they were wrapped tightly around the penile crease. She groaned delectably as she descended the rest of the way, consuming her daughter’s cock, consummating the incest. Her fat ass pillowed around Elena’s crotch, and they both moaned in satisfaction. Elena removed her hands from her mother’s breasts in favor of her mother’s ass, and she squeezed the plush and peeled them apart, displaying Lydia’s moist pink slit, the light color contrasted by the grotesque column of dark cock that pierced it. Lydia’s tight little anus winked at me, and she giggled over her shoulder when she saw me gaping at her. With my attention ensnared in their perverse joining, they began to move.

Lydia rocked with long lithe motions, undulating so that her back arched and her hips shot backward with one motion, then grinding so that her pelvis drove forward and her back bowed with the next. Never had I thought she was capable of such seductive movements, but they came to her naturally, and synced in with her daughter’s thrusts, she danced like a sinuous demoness.

“Oh, Catherine,” she moaned back at me, her eyes drunk with the lust being pumped into her crotch, “my little girl’s cock feels so good inside me.”

She took Elena by the head, and brought her to her breast once more. Once more, Elena closed her eyes, and nursed from her mother, nuzzling her face deep into the succulent mammary fat, and contentedly suckling from the presented nipple. It was a perversion of their relationship, a corruption of their love, and it was so darkly enticing to witness that my insides were opening with readiness. Lydia’s hands ran seductively down Elena’s undulating body, framing every slender feminine curve, holding them against her so that Elena could deliver thrust after thrust. Lydia’s dance became more impassioned, her voice became etched with intensity, and her face closed into one of single-minded concentration, her eyes clamped tightly shut, her brow furrowed, her pale lips parted to yield sonorous cries to her daughter.

They signaled wordlessly to each other, reacting upon the whims of the other’s body until they were surging together with deep and violent drives, separating and then meeting in jiggling impacts of pale and bronze flesh. Faster and faster, harder and harder; Elena thick rod pumped into her mother’s receiving vessel, and their organs throbbed and blushed until they met a final time, their bodies pressing as though trying to merge, their joined forms becoming rigid and quivering with tension. Lydia gritted her teeth, and let out a strenuous sob, and then gasped in release. Elena whined with increasing intensity until the tension was suddenly cut from her body, and she went limp in her mother’s arms. She spread her mother’s fat cheeks, and showed me the way her seed seeped from her mother’s pussy in thick gelatinous rivulets, comingling with the clear orgasmic nectar that had been expelled upon Lydia’s climax. Lydia grinded their joined pelvises, seeming to savor the way her daughter’s semen felt soaking in her birth canal. Then she dismounted, and looked right at me.

“Come closer, Catherine,” Lydia whispered, “we’ve known each other for so long; don’t be a stranger.”

Cautiously, I got onto my knees, and crawled over to the pair. I stopped a few feet from them, but when Lydia made no move to touch me, I dared to crawl to her side. Elena looked up at me, her eyes filled with such lust that she barely seemed to recognize me. She just continued suckling from her mother’s nipple as if nothing else in the world mattered.

“Such a supplicant little creature, my daughter can be,” Lydia smiled fondly, subtle groans emanating from her parted lips as she stroked Elena’s hair, “she’s one of the most dangerous women in the world, but when she’s between my legs, she’s just my little girl, and she’ll do anything I want, won’t you, baby?”

Elena quirked her lips, and nodded around her mother’s nipple.

Lydia chuckled, and looked at me. “You can touch her if you want. She’s as harmless as a newborn right now.”

I looked over the beautiful bronze creature, then back to the woman who had birthed her. “Where should I touch her?”

“Where ever you want.”

With an unsure hand, I reached out, and touched Elena Straltaira’s nipple. She smiled at me from around her mother’s nipple, and twisted to present all of her body.

“She likes it when you touch her there,” Lydia chuckled.

Emboldened, I dared to pinch the hermaphrodite’s nipple, and she opened her mouth to let out a meek cry.

“Try rolling it,” Lydia suggested.

I did, rubbing the throbbing node between my thumb and forefinger until Elena was mewling for me, her mother’s breast now forgotten. I was transfixed by the sensation of her pert nipple, but even more so by the sight of her. The breast was plump and perfect, so succulent and full that it beckoned the most basic of my instincts. Without thinking, I lowered my face, and wrapped my mouth around the nipple. Her plush mammary fat formed a comfortable seal around my muzzle, and when I sucked from her nipple, she let out a groan of pure bliss. I licked her and teethed her, experimenting and learning by her reaction until I was satisfied. I pulled back, and greedily looked upon the rest of her body. I ran my fingers over the soft rises of her muscular abdomen, then dipped them in her navel. She enjoyed me touching her there, so I prodded until I was content, then caressed her lower. Inevitably, my hand stopped just short of her trimmed pubic mound. I stared at her penis, then looked up at Lydia.

“What do I do with it?” I asked softly.

“Whatever feels right,” she whispered back, watching me touch her daughter with a strange fascination in her eyes.

I timidly hovered my hand over Elena’s shaft, then took a deep breath, and grasped it. To describe holding a penis for the first time would be to describe the most anticlimactic moment in my life. It was just… cartilage and flesh, nothing more. This had been the thing I’d avoided for my entire adulthood; THIS?! But even as I felt a wave of existential disappointment, I felt something else. I felt her throbbing in my palm. Her heartbeat sounded through the column of flesh, and her little penile muscles moved and flexed beneath my touch. It was alive, seeming to have a life of its own, and it reacted to everything I did. I squeezed, and it pulsed and frothed from the tip. I caressed it, and it flexed and wobbled from her pelvis. Everything I did warranted a reaction, and the more I played with it, the more fascinated I became.

Lydia leaned into my view, and let a long glob of spittle cascade from her lips, and onto my fondling hand. Being spit upon was one of the most egregious insults a noblewoman could endure, and yet, when I connected eyes with Lydia Straltaira above her daughter’s erect penis, there was no malice in either of our eyes. As I stroked Elena’s glans with my lubricated grip, I inched closer to Lydia’s face, and she inched closer to mine. I could taste her breath. I wanted to taste more of it.

“Stop!” I whispered, “This is too far! I’m not a homosexual!”

“Of course you’re not,” Lydia smiled affectionately, “you’re just experimenting, remember?” She moistened her lips with her tongue; so plush, so wet, shaped in a cupid’s bow and parted to reveal their fullness.

“I’ve never been kissed before.” I muttered.

“Then kiss me now, old friend,” she breathed into my mouth. I followed her breath to the source, and tasted her. I was clumsy, but she was patient. She let me smush my mouth against hers, and endured the way I tentatively smacked upon it. With the subtle motions of her lips, she settled me into something that felt natural, and then she beckoned my tongue forth with a flick of her own. My slithering appendage slid into her mouth, and she pinned it playfully against her teeth, then stroked it with the tip. I circled around, marveling at all the nerves upon my slippery member, savoring the way she glided so slickly along and upon me. I didn’t know how long I kissed her for, but by the time I was done, I had become drunk with her lust. Our lips parted with a bridge of glistening saliva between them. It drooped from our chins, and cascaded upon Elena’s throbbing cock. Lydia’s gaze followed mine down to her daughter’s organ. It looked delicious. I wasn’t thinking. I wasn’t sure if I even had the capability to think. All I knew was that I loved the way Lydia’s tongue felt in my mouth, and I loved the way Elena’s cock felt in my hand, and so I made the next obvious step. I slid my hand to Elena’s base, and wrapped my lips around her cock.

Her semen tasted sweet and salty, and for some reason, that made me moan. Her cock throbbed against the curling bed of my tongue, and for some reason, that made me purr. Elena was small enough that I could take most of her into my mouth, and when my lips sucked around her base, she let out a weak cry. For some reason, that made me excited. I hummed and moaned as I twisted and pulled, mimicking what Lydia had done earlier to the best of my ability, but also following my own instincts and desires. I watched Elena all the while, savoring the unbridled lust in her eyes, coveting the helpless little moans and whimpers that emanated from her lips. I drew the suctioning oval of my lips up and down her shaft until I felt it surging in the preeminence of orgasm, then I popped her from my mouth, and watched her come. Her fourth orgasm of the night had almost no pressure behind it, for it flowed from her tip like lava from a caldera, running in syrupy rivulets down her twitching shaft. She sputtered and groaned as she came, and I savored every sound and reaction, strangely proud in the knowledge that I had caused her such a loss of equanimity. When she ran dry, her crotch was puddled with her translucent nectar, the heat of it causing the pungent aroma to enter my nostrils, and numb my already-addled mind.

“Do you want to share it with me?” Lydia whispered, and lowered her tongue to Elena’s crotch. I drunkenly followed the noblewoman down, and began lapping the puddle up with the daintiness of a feeding kitten. My refined motions became sloppier as Lydia and I battled our tongues, and soon, I was being drunkenly led down a rivulet of dripping semen that had cascaded between Elena’s thighs, and below her cock. Lydia paused, and giggled. I looked up at her, and realized that the point of my tongue was nestled upon Elena’s outer labia. Lydia slid her tongue away from mine, and pushed the point against her daughter’s inner petals. I followed her.

“Oh, fuck!” Elena cried when our tongues began to entwine within her slit. I lathered her delicate folds, painted the creases of her puffy lips, and dipped my tip into her ovule, following Lydia to the tight entrance preceding her depths. Lydia stuck her tongue out all the way, and wiggled it teasingly. I touched noses with her, laid my tongue flat against hers, and followed her inside of Elena. The first thing I noticed about eating pussy, was that it was slightly sour. Not unpleasant, but not as sumptuous as semen. The second thing I noticed was how hot it was. Elena’s insides were a sexual furnace, and as I explored the texture of her sweltering walls and moist surfaces, I found that the heat had activated my salivary glands, causing me to secrete spit onto the pillowing flat of Lydia’s squirming tongue. Our mouths wrapped hedonistically about Elena’s entrance, creating a kiss of two tongues, but three lips. I closed my eyes, and savored the way Elena’s tight insides hugged and fluttered about my invading appendage, encasing Lydia against me, creating a strange intimacy as we wetly burrowed deeper, and deeper. I lost track of time in the squirming entanglement of appendages, and was only awoken from my trance when Elena began to sound out her feminine ascension. Lydia and I slid our tongues alongside each other until Elena was gasping and writhing, and then we exited with an impassioned kiss as Elena arched her back, and orgasmed.

Lydia framed my face in her hands, and gently broke our kiss. “Catherine,” she whispered against my mouth, “isn’t it time you let us touch you?”

“Yes,” I mouthed back.

Lydia caressed my jaw, and I bowed my neck to savor the tingling sensation she sent down it. “Tell us what you want us to do.”

“Lick me.”

I rose until I was upright on my knees, towering above the two Straltaira women. I was scared—terrified, actually—and being above them gave me the sense of control I needed. The crawled to me, took me by the hips, and ascended my body. First, Lydia kissed me briefly, then she turned my face toward her daughter. Elena stared up at me, such adoration in her eyes. How could I deny that face? I opened my lips around hers, and tasted her kiss. For a moment, my carefully-crafted illusion of control was broken, for Elena’s kiss was like nothing I’d known before. She subdued me with her lips and tongue, beckoned me further, and ensnared me in a wet oral trap that nearly turned my spine to jelly. She pulled away before I submitted to her completely, then winked up at me, and descended my body.

The Straltaira women nursed from my breasts, tonguing and suckling until my nipples were so hard, I thought they might burst with sensation. The comforting pleasure disarmed me, and allowed me to wrap my fingers in their hair without concern, and bring them deeper into my bosom. Their hands gently framed me about the hips and back as they kissed their way down my tummy, then they moved to gently grip my buttocks. I savored the sensations brought forth by their sinking fingers, and gasped when they spread my cheeks apart. Cool air wafted into my most intimate place, alerting me of my exposed state. I whimpered when Elena began kissing her way through my blonde fur, then gasped when Lydia elected to round my hips with a mischievous grin, and begin kissing her way down the small of my back.

“Good god, Lydia, what are you—” I exclaimed, then stopped abruptly when Elena kissed her way beneath me, and upended my clitoris with the point of her nose. My attention was immediately drawn to the first ever touch of my pussy by another person, and for a moment, I forgot about the middle-aged elf kissing her way down the small of my back. Elena’s body was bowed like a stretching tigress as she licked delicately through my petals. Her blue eyes captivated my gaze, their naughty twinkle summoning me to spread my legs wider. I did, and her lips opened about my womanly folds so that she could deliver sensual kisses to my external erogeneity. Tingles permeated from my crotch, unbidden sensations fluttered in my belly, and a warmth began to radiate from my center. My petals unfurled for her, opening at the beckoning of her tongue like a flower before the pollinating hummingbird. She flattened her tongue against me, then drew upward through my slit until the point of her appendage was tucked beneath my clitoris. I gasped, and she began to toy with me.

Lydia parted my buttocks, and eyed what was between them.

“What are you…” I groaned, my mind fading in and out as Elena delivered wet pleasure to my bead, “what are you doing, Lydia?”

“Nothing,” she lied with a coy smile, “just… checking something out.”

“What in the world could you be…” I murmured, then watched as Lydia lowered her face, and planted her muzzle between my cheeks. I felt something hot against my… my… my asshole. Something hot, and wet. Something with a soft little point that painted my anal spokes with spittle. A strange lassitude emanated from my anus, accompanying a pleasure so perverse that I couldn’t believe I felt it. I simultaneously wanted to scream in disgust and purr in decadence, but the more I felt her slimy little member slobbering my vile entrance, the more I favored the latter impulse.

“Why the fuck would you ever do that?” I moaned.

Lydia just winked at me, and pushed the point of her hot little tongue harder and harder until it broke through. I gasped. My sphincter hugged Lydia tightly as she slithered into my rectum, the coiled fleshy cuff tingling with such perverse sensation that it popped and winked on its own accord. Lydia’s muzzle sank deeper into my depraved crevasse until her lips wrapped around my entrance. She hummed a moan, and as she burrowed her tongue into my filthy tight channel, she began to suck from my external rim.

“Oh… god why does that feel so good?!” I cried in comingled exultance and dismay, then withered so easily into the corrupting pleasure, and accepted wholly that I enjoyed having my shithole orally pleasured by posh noblewomen. As I enjoyed such grotesque delights, I drew my attention to the woman servicing my more traditional needs. Elena was circling my taut entrance with her tongue, creating a tortuous rim of tingles that stretched more and more with each of her swirls. When I was mewling like a beast for her to enter me, she did. Her tongue flowed through my gripping lover’s lips, and into my virgin depths. My breath caught. She explored my sanctum channel, lathered my fluttering walls, and slid deeper and deeper until her lips sealed around mine. With her nose upending my engorged clit, she tested me until she found… until she found… oh, god!

An evil smile formed across her lips and twinkled from her eyes. She curled her tongue against my ceiling, pressed it to that soft spot, and began drawing patterns against me. Each motion caused my hips to sway this way and that, my belly to clench and unclench, and my pelvis to flex against the spasms that rocked it. She turned me into her little tongue-puppet with just the minute shifts of her violating appendage, and I gripped her and her mother’s heads, and pressed their faces deeper into me.

Their wet mouths leaked spittle that flowed down my taint and mingled with my juices. They smacked and slurped as they gluttonously consumed me, tasting my insides, churning them until my overstimulated nerves couldn’t differentiate between my channels, and everything between my legs became one sweltering hole of aching pleasure. I rocked back and forth, favoring one woman, then the other, moving to the whim of my sensations until I was paralyzed between them, and a great ecstatic swell began to emanate from my center. I gasped and whined, struggling to find my breath, struggling to find my voice. The only thing I could do was spread my legs wider to give them more access, and the wider I spread, the more they defiled me, and the more helpless I became. I turned my head to the ceiling, and closed my eyes. A hot flush went through me, making my flesh glisten, making my heart race as the feeling built and built inside of me. Soon, I was just croaking out meaningless sounds to the heavens, spurred on by the expanding euphoria that grew, and grew, and grew, and then crashed! I let out an ardent cry, and orgasmed violently. Though I writhed in the throes of ecstasy, Elena and her mother pinned me between their consuming mouths, and only increased their impassioned devouring of my holes. I was sent cascading over the edge over and over until I finally broke down, and fell to my side.

“Fuck me,” I moaned desperately, “fuck me, fuck me, fuck me! Oh god, Elena, I need it so bad!”

Elena withdrew her mouth, and kissed her way up my body until our lips connected. I tasted myself on her tongue, and enjoyed it. She smiled around our joining, then rotated until I was straddled atop her. Lydia continued feasting from my anus, apparently too in love with my flavor to stop. I didn’t mind in the least. I felt Elena’s stiff rod running through my petals, and reached between my legs to grasp her.

“Are you ready?” she whispered against my lips.

I just smiled back, and took her in. She slipped easily inside me, only stretching me slightly upon entry. I groaned as my virginity was finally taken, and once again marveled at how inconsequential the moment truly was. It was pleasurable, yes, but it was far from the earth-shattering experience many a young woman tittered about during my days of teenage gossip. But I knew enough about lust now to understand that a single moment meant very little; it was the momentum to that moment, the building of compounding sensations that brought the world around me crashing down in a blaze of euphoria. And so, I enjoyed the little inconsequential moment when a penis first entered my vagina, and I kissed the woman who had given it to me. As our tongues entwined, she began to thrust, I began to drive back against her, and together, the three of us built upon that moment, and carried it deep into the night.

LUCAS TERNIAS

I adjusted myself on the throne, and looked over the poster. It was a by-the-numbers propaganda piece; it denounced me as a despot, denied my right to rule, implied that I was a homosexual, and called me a traitor and puppet of the Dark Queen. I expected it. It had been pertinent for Leveria to keep the city from becoming a mob, and so she kept the urbanites fat and happy at the expense of the agrarian peoples. As a result, the city-slickers reveled in the idea of war, and the country-folk formed a rebellion. Now I had ended the war, made peace with the Dark Queen, and sent the very-popular Queen Leveria to suffer the worst of fates. Displaying her defeat in such a visceral way had scared the populous enough to buy me a few days before a mob ousted me, which was why it was critical that I gain the loyalty of the army. Marrying Field Marshal Shordian’s granddaughter gave me that loyalty, but the clock was ticking. I didn’t have nearly enough men left in the watch to suppress a full-scale riot. If the uprising happened before the army arrived, I would lose control of the city. I would be forced to barricade myself in the castle, and if I lasted long enough, Shordian would then be forced to besiege his own city to save me. He would never do that. He would wait for me to die, then take the mantle for himself. The only thing that stopped him from doing it now was his juvenile sense of honor.

“Give me the other poster.” I said, snapping my fingers at my squire. He handed me the other one, and I inspected it carefully. It was a painting of a handsome young high-elf woman, but I recognized her immediately as the dark-fleshed demoness of the court. “Why in God’s name are they calling for Elena Straltaira?

“She was next in line behind you.”

I looked plainly at the boy. “She’s dead.”

“She only died recently. With all the headline news that came out in the last few days, is it any wonder people haven’t noticed? It takes time for information to percolate to the masses.”

I pondered the poster with a frown. “I may have inadvertently created an enemy that cannot be beaten.”

“What’s that, Your Highness?”

“Elena Straltaira rarely left the Noble District. She was never seen by anyone but those of the greatest importance. None of the commoners saw her dark skin, nor her… more masculine features. As such, the only information the people got of her were rumors. I made sure the rumors were slanderous, of course, though they were mostly true—just too outlandish to believe. All anyone truly knew about Elena, was that I was her enemy. Rumors become myths, and myths become legend.” I laughed at myself, “And now a dead woman is the symbol of liberation against a traitorous king. If only they knew…”

My squire cocked his head. “Knew what, Your Highness?”

“Nothing.” I sighed, “Nothing at all.”

“Should we arrest the artisans?”

“Arrest them? Hell, help them put more posters up!” I laughed, “I could not wish for a better outcome than this. If the people had put their support behind, say, Huntiata or Feractian, then I would’ve had a problem. Instead, they call for a savior that will never come.” I plucked a cherry from the bowl beside me, and smiled, “I seem like a tolerant ruler, and I risk nothing in doing so.”

“Some would say it makes you look weak.”

“Morons would say that, Jonathan.” I said, “Only a weak ruler beats his people into submission. A strong ruler takes their side. Elena is an enemy that cannot be beaten, because Elena is now a symbol. I will coopt that symbol, make it part of my identity, and strip it of all power.”

“Very wise, Your Highness.”

“Wisdom is for old men, Jonathan. Calculation is what matters for those with a mind for the future.” I plucked another cherry, and smiled. “Rumor has it that Lady Lydia Straltaira is in town. Invite her to the palace.”

“Forcefully?”

“She would never deny a royal summons, but… make it clear that the request is urgent. There are likely others who would use her daughter’s legend to their own end, and she controls the narrative.”

“We’ll be gentle with her.”

“Yes, make sure to flatter her and offer condolences. It’s very important that…” I frowned, “Jonathan, it just occurred to me that Elena’s claim to the throne has now passed to her mother.”

“Lady Lydia Straltaira relinquished her right when she retired from court.”

“Semantics, Jonathan. Once you break the rules as I did, breaking the rules just becomes part of the game.”

“So we should… deal with her?”

I sucked on the cherry pit, then spat it into the metal bowl with a ping. “No, no; not yet, anyway.” I picked at my teeth, my frown deepening. “I was almost careless there, Jonathan. Almost. I might be losing my edge now that the ultimate goal has been realized.” I pulled out the red cherry skin from behind my incisor, and flicked it. “These posters aren’t being put up by starry-eyed dissidents. There’s calculation here. Is Lydia the kind of woman to use her own daughter’s legend to prop herself up? No, but there are others who would do it for her.”

“A conspiracy.”

“What do our spies say about Lord Huntiata?”

“Not much, Your Highness. He never leaves his home.”

“Lord Feractian?”

“Never leaves his home.”

“Lady Jonias?”

“Never… leaves… her… home.”

“Quite the lot of introverts, these infamously-gregarious nobles are, aren’t they?!” I snapped, “Damn it, Jonathan, I lean on you for these kinds of things!”

“I’m sorry, Your Highness!”

“Don’t apologize; fix it! Knock on every door! Find out where they are meeting, and burn the rats out!” I plucked another cherry, and split it between my teeth, “They’ll strike soon. They know they don’t have much time.”

YAVARA

I flew over Alkandra in the dead of night. Even the bitter winter cold didn’t cease the revelry of beasts, who churned through the streets below like insects upon a carcass. I didn’t know why I thought of them like that, but I did. The entire city looked like an ant hill, and Castle Alkandra sat atop it all, a gothic shadow that towered above the dark skyscrapers. The stairs leading to it were higher than the roof of any building, and the main doors let out an ominous crimson glow that bathed the city below it in infernal reds.

Instead of flying directly to my tower window, I decided to enter the castle through the main doors. The steps were festooned with the drunk and the drugged, many of whom were in some stage of mindless intercourse. When they saw me, they smiled, but their gaze didn’t show any kind of affection; only a glossy awareness of me, and a dark desire. The dim moonlight reflected off their eyes and teeth, giving their grins a demonic glow from their shadowed faces. I could become one with the darkness. Maybe then I would feel some kind of belonging.

I slept with the lowlifes on the steps of the castle. They passed my body around and penetrated me in every hole. I could see their silhouettes against the pale moon, and I could make out the shine of their eyes, but they were otherwise featureless to me. Just darkness, like the night itself was defiling me. I moaned and cried, trapped between muscular bodies, pinned by overbearing weight, pierced by hard organs. Their drunk stink infected my nostrils and coated my flesh, sullying me until I was as filthy as they were. I tasted their delicious foulness, swallowed their meat in my throat, and bucked and heaved in a sinuous dance as my rectum and pussy were filled violently. My flesh was coated with fluids, my hair was matted with it, and the space between my thighs oozed decadently. I descended so far into the primal and carnal void that language left me, and my cries of delight were wordless pleas that all could understand. I almost lost myself in that abyss. For a beautiful moment, I was almost gone. Then the sun rose.

The dawn light crested the eastern horizon. It illuminated the tops of the towers and the entire face of the castle, revealing all the creatures that sinned upon its steps. Like roaches exposed from beneath an upturned rock, the beasts of the night scurried back into the shadows below. I felt no compunction to follow them. I stayed in the light, and endured the sobering reality. It wasn’t that I was ashamed of what I’d done, for there was nothing wrong with indulging in animalistic sex with strangers, but it was a very poor substitute for love.

In moments like these, when high emotions and sensations faded from the mind and flesh, the soul counterbalanced the peaks with a depression. I felt it now, a hollowness that ate at me. I felt it quite a lot lately. It was in these moments that two souls could reach out to each other and span the valley of depression, allowing them to cross to the plateau on the other side. I looked beside me. The steps were newly made and uncracked, built of intricately-cut flagstone that made a maze between the pieces. It wasn’t the craftsmanship that I was noticing, but what was missing there. Who was missing there. I imagined Elena lying next to me, her body as besmirched as mine was. She was shielding her eyes from the sun and groaning in discontent. Then her eyes connected with mine, and we shared a tired little smile. She would reach out, and I would take her hand, and we would walk exhaustedly up the steps together, and find a soft surface in the dark to replenish ourselves in.

I stared at the empty spot. It didn’t have to be Elena. Though I missed her and ached for her every waking moment, this numbness wasn’t the void she left in me. It was something else. That person who was missing could’ve been anyone. It could’ve been Prestira, Brock or Patricia, but they were where Elena was. Where were Zander, Certiok and the hybrids? Weren’t they supposed to be with me? Why was it that they seemed to avoid me at every turn? It was as if I was perpetually behind them in a candlelit hallway. The illumination showed their shadows around the corner, and the stones echoed with their laughter, but when I rounded the corner to join them, there was nothing there.

The hollowness within me grew, caverning out pieces of me until I felt it just beneath my flesh. It was strange; though the emptiness consumed me, it weighed so, so much. I could hardly bring myself to sit upright, but I did. I stood up, turned toward the castle, and walked through the doors alone. I needed to rest. The victorious horde would arrive today, and it would be unbefitting for them to be greeted by a queen who was so defeated. Before I could walk through the threshold, something in my periphery stopped me. In the early morning light, I saw a lone figure racing down the causeway. He was a centaur, a scout by the looks of it. He was galloping at full-tilt.

End of Part Fifteen.
3 comments

White WallsReport

2020-05-22 21:38:07
Book Five will be published on smashwords tonight. Thanks for reading!

ThepostReport

2020-05-22 15:11:19
By the way, I've been looking for book 5 on Smashwords but can't find it. Have you uploaded it yet?

ThepostReport

2020-05-22 15:10:21
Excellent as always.

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