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Introduction:

Hope you guys are liking the series.
Part Seventeen: Pyrrhic

Chapter Fifty-seven

LEVERIA

I took a deep breath, and my nostrils were filled with the smell of spent lust. Warm morning skin moistened in a dew of hormonal sweat, the subtle pungency of sexual fluids, and the tang of orifices that had not yet coalesced into their fleshy confines. Ah, what a wonderful miasma. My eyes fluttered open, and I sighed with contentment. The morning sun wasn’t yet up, but I felt no need to rise. The day would bring immeasurable bloodshed, and so I clung to the night like a stubborn child with her blanket.

I was in the middle of a pile of women. Destiny slumbered just above me, acting as my pillow, while Soraya snuggled into my left side, and Furia spooned my right. Faltia and Kiera rested about my feet while Eva and Brianna were nestled between my splayed legs. My cock was still in Eva’s mouth, and Brianna was snoring contentedly into my nuts. It had been a night to remember for certain.

Destiny had been my tutor in the brutal art of a man’s lust. She let me learn how to use my cock upon her as she directed me from the inside with her tentacles. For a few awkward minutes, I felt like a child trying to learn how to ride a bicycle. Then it all clicked together, and before either of us knew what had happened, I had Destiny bent over with my foot pressing her face into the mattress, and my cock ramming into her cunt with such force that she lurched forward with every thrust. She came in a writhe of wiggling tentacles and limbs, and screamed out her muffled orgasm before I filled her with my seed, and rolled off her. I knew I was good by the pitch of her squeals, but I didn’t realize how good I was until Destiny came crawling over to me, and deepthroated every inch of my shaft with an expression of pure gratitude upon her face.

“Do you know what mistake Yavara made with the hybrids?” Destiny asked me after she popped my cock free from her blue lips.

“What?”

“She tried to be their friend. The hybrids don’t want a friend, Leveria. The hybrids are beasts, and beasts only respond to one thing.”

“Strength.”

“A very particular kind of strength,” Destiny giggled, and ran her tongue worshipfully up my shaft. I shuddered all over, still marveling at how much I loved having this raging piece of meat between my legs. It was power distilled to its most simple, brutal, carnal form. It was a tool to burrow deep into someone, to defile them and ravage them in their most intimate places, to utterly dismantle their pride and ego, and to make them love it. I knew what kind of woman Destiny was, and she wasn’t the kind to reverently clean off her own pussy juice with her tongue after a good fucking. I had done something to her.


After that, my conquest began. I fucked Soraya in front of Eva, and made Soraya call me ‘Domina.’ She sobbed the name like a horrible confession, and Eva looked upon me with comingled hatred, admiration, and desire. The sadistic hermaphrodite tried to test me then, and I had my fat cock buried all the way up her ass a few seconds later. I choked her as I fucked her shithole, ramming so hard that she prolapsed within a minute, and I didn’t stop my jackhammering thrusts until she was so defeated that her eyes were rolled back, and a stupid smile was stretched across her face. I milked her orgasmic seed into Soraya’s awaiting mouth, then tossed her onto the bed like trash. They all looked at me differently then. Soraya was the weakest of them, but Eva was second only to Furia. When Kiera and Brianna approached me at once, they did so with trepidation. I grabbed Kiera first, turned her around, and railed into her pussy until she wept with ecstasy. I made Brianna bend over in front of her, and I used her beloved like a condom to fuck her into a screaming puddle. When I was done with Kiera, I tossed her dazed body onto the bed, opened her mouth, then dipped my cock in Brianna’s gaping hole, and slid it between Kiera’s lips with the next thrust. I did this for minutes, stretching Brianna’s malleable ass and pussy until they fit the shape of my organ, then making her beloved clean it off. When Brianna was at her breaking point, I delivered an assault of slaps to her fat ass, and fucked her until she was put to sleep in the bedding.

Faltia was a bit harder. Her hatred for me ran deep, and though we had made love before in my cell beneath the arena, this was different. This was a test of wills, and unfortunately for her, it was no test at all. After two minutes, I had her glugging on my cock with spit pouring down her chin and onto her jiggling breasts, which she squeezed with one hand as she fervently masturbated with the other. I came down her throat and made her swallow every drop, and she orgasmed right there and then, her eyes rolling back into her head as she looked up at me. After that, all I had to do was straddle her across my lap, and pound her surrendered body until she wept with euphoria, and forgave me for everything.

Furia was the hardest. It wasn’t just that she was the most masculine of the group, but that she commanded the others to her will. Like any commander worth her salt, she didn’t take on the threat alone. Eva, still looking to regain some of her lost pride, came up from behind me and shoved her cock all the way in my ass. I tried to buck her off, but the moment I felt her raging organ inside of me, I couldn’t find it in my heart to deny her. After that, it was easy for Furia to part my legs, slide her cock under my balls, and penetrate my pussy.

The two hermaphrodites ravaged me for twenty minutes, attacking my weaker side, making me blubber and beg and scream in submissive glee. Having a prostate made me vulnerable to anal in a way I never imagined, and Eva knew just how to hit it. Furia’s massive organ hollowed me out to the bottom, rubbed along all those spots upon my womanly ceiling, and pressed against her partner from the other side. They held my arms back and fish-hooked me, they yanked my hair and spanked me, the spit in my face and choked me. They did everything they could to dominate me, but I resisted. Even after orgasming in successive cascades, forcing me to endure ecstatic sensations that would make a slave of any other woman, I resisted. And when their organs quaked in release, and they cried out their climaxes, I took their seed deep into my battered holes, and made my move.

“What the fuck?!” Eva screamed. She was suspended in the air, her holes stretched gaping by invisible forces, her cock nearly turned white with pressure.

“What?” I giggled sardonically.

“You can’t use magic on me!

“And why the fuck not?”

“You want us to respect you, don’t you?” Faltia snarled, “Then you’ll never use magic on us! That’s something even Yavara—”

Faltia’s next words were cut from her by a stream of orgasmic obscenities as I telepathically tapped into the pleasure centers of her mind, and dialed them all the way up.

“You made two mistakes, Commander; the first was that you think I give a shit about your respect. I don’t care about your respect; I demand your obedience. The second mistake you made was comparing me to my sister. I am not my sister. Continuing to make that mistake will result in you becoming demoted to the public urinal for the rest of your miserable life. Do you understand?”

“Yesh!” she slurred with an ecstatic smile on her face as she writhed on the bedding.

“Good,” I grinned, then turned to Furia, “now, shall we?”


I wrestled Furia into the mattress, pinned her with telekinesis, then spread her legs wide open, and plunged into her feminine slit. The gasp she uttered when I touched her bottom was one of pure awe, and the look she gave me afterward was of a resigned understanding. She would resist me, she had to, but she knew then that it was futile. And though she performed admirably in her attempt to reclaim dominance with her clenching feminine hole, it was all for naught. She called me ‘master’ when she orgasmed, and broke down into euphoric tears in my arms.

After that, the night was a blur. Having established my place at the top of the pack, I allowed my lovers to penetrate my holes at will. Kiera, Furia and Eva occupied my ass, pussy and mouth on rotation while I buried my filthy shaft into Faltia, Brianna and Soraya. I learned the texture, shape and tightness of every single hybrid hole to the point that I could distinguish them just by sensation. When I fucked the hermaphrodites, I paid close attention to their masculine sides, and serviced each of them generously with my mouth. I suppose it wasn’t entirely selfless, for I enjoyed sucking cock nearly as much as I enjoyed having my cock sucked, and the ***********ion of penises I had for me were second to none. But of course, my mouth was the one and only of its kind. I brought Furia crashing to her knees with just my lips and tongue, then I subdued her with my throat. I made Kiera sing when I swallowed around her shaft, and I made Eva speak in tongues when I nestled her tip deep in my esophagus.

While I sucked the three hermaphrodites at once, the women spoiled my body like I was a goddess. They nursed from me, tenderly consumed my ass and pussy, and massaged me sensually. I rewarded each of them with the part of me they desired, and satisfied all of them equally. In the late hours of the night, the all descended upon me, and I turned into a mindless animal of avaricious lust.

After that, I didn’t remember much.

I looked out the window at the changing sky, and let out a melancholy sigh. My first night as the Dark Queen had been one of the best nights of my life, and now my life was likely almost over. It galled me that I had wished for death on many occasions over the past few days, and now I wished for life with every fiber of my being. But such was the nature of living. I peeled myself off the bed, and roused my new harem. We had a busy day ahead of us.

ELENA

I burst through the portal of South Fort. I was naked and covered in blood with a tattooed quadruple-amputee strapped to my chest and the king’s decapitated head in my hand. The mages gawked at me. Dog Meat wiggled her stumps and giggled. I raised my hands, held Ternias’s head aloft, and said, “Take me to Field Marshal Peter Shordian.”

I was only in holding for five minutes before the tent flap opened, and the field marshal walked in. The twenty mages that surrounded me waited on his word, the points of their glowing swords making a lethal necklace about my collar. He looked down at me, and let out a grunt.

“Lady Elena Straltaira, you look rather different than when I last saw you.”

“Is it the tan?”

“No, it’s the look in your eyes. You weren’t a killer the last time we met.”

“I was fourteen.”

“There are younger murderers.” He waved his hand, and the blades were withdrawn from my throat. He pulled up a chair, sat down across from me, and pulled out a bloody sack. “So, the despot is dead.”

“He is.”

He nodded gravely. “Ternias never gained the loyalty of the army. He tried to buy it from me with a political marriage, but I only paid lip service to his offer. As you and I sit here, the only monarch I recognize is Queen Leveria Tiadoa.”

“We are in agreement then.”

“So are they.” Shordian gestured to the mages standing behind him. “Without the loyalty of the royal mages and the army, there is no ruler of the Highlands. Ternias would never have stayed king.”

“Your loyalty and honor are admirable, Field Marshal.” I said. I studied him carefully, then turned my gaze to the mages behind him. “As are yours, gentlemen. The Highlands thanks you for not bending to those who would seize power through lies and obfuscation.”

“Indeed.” Shordian grunted, “Most people say things without ever meaning them; Lucas Ternias was one of these people. There are very few people in the world who say they’ll do something, and then go and do it.” He gave me a furtive look. “Thomas Adarian is one such person.”

My heart skipped a beat, but I kept my face composed. “She never told me you were involved.”

“He—or she, rather—sent me a letter carried by one of Gorlok’s eagles.” He set the sack down on the table beside him. “I should’ve known she had you on her side the whole time. Your reputation as a silver-tongued demoness precedes you, Lady Straltaira.”

I smiled back at the field marshal, keeping my face unreadable.

He eased back into his chair, and pondered the blood-stained crown that sat on his table. “And the other traitors—Huntiata, Jonias, and Feractian—have they been dealt with?”

“They’re all gone.”

He nodded solemnly. “Then the line of succession has been ended.” He glanced up at me, “I take it Adrianna has heard the news of the army’s mobilization; that is why she sent you here.”

“She had great misgivings about the army’s plan.”

“I didn’t mean to deceive her, but there was no way to contact her at the time.” He rubbed his hands together uncomfortably, “I know she has sympathies for the Alkandrans, but she need not fear me, nor should you. I know that you and Yavara were… well-acquainted.”

“The Dark Queen and I shared a past, but my eyes are for the future, Field Marshal. As you said, we are both faithful servants of Queen Tiadoa, and this attack was her last order.”

“Aye, we’re all loyal soldiers, the three of us. You, me, Adrianna. When this is over, we’ll continue to fight the good fight as loyal soldiers do.”

I nodded, and contemplated the bloody crown atop Shordian’s table. Leveria had killed her mother to get it, Ternias had killed Leveria to get it, and Shordian had killed Ternias. For all that Shordian spoke of honor and virtue, he’d inherited the crown the same way his predecessors had. In the dimly-lit tent surrounded by the royal mages, I could practically hear Leveria’s laughter.

“Adrianna won’t be joining us in the good fight, Field Marshal.” I said.

“Why?”

“Because Adrianna was a traitor who led our enemies to the walls of Bentius, so I killed her.”

Shordian’s expression became suddenly stony. He turned to the mages behind him, and snapped his fingers. “Leave us.”

“Stay.” I ordered.

The mages looked from Shordian, to me, and did nothing.

“Leave us!” He roared.

“Those are royal mages, Field Marshal.” I said softly, “They only obey royalty.”

“You’re a goddamned dark-blood!” He snapped, “A fucking race traitor!

“You dare call me a traitor?” I hissed, “When you failed to warn Bentius that an army led by an Alkandran governess would soon be attacking?!”

“It was a trap! The rebels and orcs were destroyed at the wall!”

“No, Field Marshal. They made it over the wall. They made it over every wall.”

The look of horror that cross Shordian’s face almost gave me pause. He blinked, then closed his eyes. A pair of tears streaked down his cheeks, and he exhaled slowly from his nose. “Does Bentius still stand?”

“She kneels.”

He bowed his head, and let the tears pour freely down his withered face. “I only did what I thought was best for my country.” He said to the floor.

“You did what was best for you.”

“Someone needs to lead us.” He glared at me from the tops of his eyes. “You are not a Highlander, Elena. Not anymore. No one will follow you.”

“Dog Meat!” I said, and the tattooed woman wiggled her little stumps, and cast a perception spell upon me. “Very few people who have seen me in my true flesh still live, and those that have will not betray me. Everything the people have heard are just rumors, and rumors are as transient as the wind. They’ll follow me.”

He turned to look at the mages surrounding us. “And you? Will you follow a half-breed Alkandran?”

Their silence was his answer. He looked from man to man, trying to find a sympathetic pair of eyes, but there were none. The rage slowly boiled to the surface of his face, twisting the features that had been gaunt with shame.

“Damn you all then.” He growled, “Damn you all! I will not give the throne of the Highlands to a goddamned Alkandran!”

“But I’m taking it anyway.”

“You can’t just take the army, you fool!”

“When those soldiers hear what you did, will they follow you?” I asked.

He didn’t answer. He only glared at me from the tops of his eyes.

“You were a great soldier, Peter.” I said, and stood up, “This country owes you a debt for all that you have done. Consider that debt paid today. No one will ever know of your involvement in Adrianna’s attack.” I pulled open the table drawer, and dropped a quill and parchment into Shordian’s lap. “Tender your formal resignation, and recognize my right to rule.”

“Kill me, you bitch.” He snarled.

I gave him a pitiable look. “Don’t go out like this. It’s unbefitting of a man of such honor and dignity.” I placed a bottle of ink on the table, and opened it. “You had a heart attack in your tent when you heard the news of Bentius. In your last moments, you sought to bring stability to the country that has gone through so much chaos. You reestablished the line of succession, and you consolidated the power of the military under royal rule, never allowing it to be used as a political tool again. When all is said and done, there will be a statue of you in every Highland city for the victories you achieved and the sacrifices you made.” I placed my hand on the bloody sack that contained Ternias’s head, “Or you will be forever known as the man who let the enemy rape Bentius.”

He looked from the bloody sack, to the ink well, then back to me. The hatred showed clearly in his eyes, but there was something akin to admiration mingled with it. “Leveria taught you well.”

“She did.”

He snorted, and grabbed the quill. Dipping the point of it in the ink, he began to scratch out his letter of resignation. His hands were trembling by the time he was done, and he had to fold his fingers together in his lap to keep them from rattling on the table. I read the letter thoroughly, checking for coded words and phrases. When I was satisfied there were none, I made a slight motion with my head, and the mage behind Peter Shordian burst the general’s heart. Shordian slouched, a stream of blood poured from his lower lip, and the light faded from his eyes. The mage who killed him looked up at me.

“Peter Shordian’s days were numbered when he showed us his weakness,” the mage said, “contrary to what he claimed here, he refused to even hear Queen Tiadoa’s final orders. It was General Krakis who followed them, and General Krakis who would’ve ruled after Alkandra was taken. We would have made sure of it.”

“And now?”

The mage wordlessly walked to the other side of the tent, then came back with a weapon in hand. It was a standard-issue broadsword, one of fifty-thousand that had been hastily prepared for the army.

“Seven of my friends died to make this weapon,” the mage said, “it will cleave through any arcane shield, and render any wound unhealable. Peter Shordian wanted it destroyed.”

I extended my hand, and wrapped my fingers around the handle. It didn’t feel any different than another sword; it was actually a little dull, but the knowledge of what it could do seemed to make it heavier in my hand. I looked at my reflection in the blade, the high-elf façade staring back at me, and I wondered if that woman could do what was necessary.

“What’s your name?” I asked the mage.

“I am First Mage Lucian, apprentice to Headmaster Glendian.”

“First Mage Lucian,” I said, “I will make sure that your friends’ sacrifice will not be wasted. You have my promise.”

“Then you have my loyalty. All hale Queen Elena Straltaira!” he shouted, and the others echoed, “All hale!” They knelt around me, and bowed their heads. In the corner, Dog Meat wiggled her stumps, and giggled.

I was bathed and dressed in form-fitting gilded armor. The Highland crown was washed of blood, and placed ceremoniously upon my head. This was all done in the darkness of the command tent, and besides Dog Meat and the mages, only the corpse of Peter Shordian was there to bear witness to my coronation. Then the mages sent out their messenger boys, and copies of the field marshal’s letter were delivered to every corner of the camp. One by one, the forty generals of the army came to pay tribute. They knelt at my feet, kissed the familial ring on my finger, pledged their unwavering fealty to me, then paid their final respects to Shordian, who was laying peacefully in a decorated bed. I assessed each man very carefully, wondering how I would maintain their loyalty after the coming engagement. My question was answered when Cavalry Commander Krakis came strutting into the room with a chest full of freshly-polished metals. The other generals saluted him smartly, and he returned their salutes with the confidence of a man who owns the room.

“The conquering hero kneels before me.” I mused with a smile as he bowed to kiss my ring.

“And the court’s infamous pacifist dresses herself for battle.” He said wryly, and planted his kiss, “But pacifism isn’t her only claim to infamy.”

“Careful, General. This pacifist has bloodied her sword a hundred times already.”

He made an imperceptible glance at my crotch, and muttered, “So I’ve heard.”

“What was that?”

“The queen’s hearing is excellent, I’m sure.”

I gave him an appraising smile. “You may rise, General.”

“Always for you, Your Highness.”

“You’re incorrigible.” I chuckled, “You would do well to remember how many ambitious men I’ve left as corpses to get to where I am.” I glanced over at the dead Peter Shordian, “Now go pay your final respects to the field marshal,” I pinned a medal on Krakis’s decorated chest, and smirked, “Field Marshal.”

He was much less forward after that. He accompanied me as I stepped out of the tent, and assessed the full breadth of the Highland army. It was a magnificent sight to behold. It stretched from the plateau of the Highland Rift, through the walls of South Fort, and down the great causeway that led to the fields before the marshlands. The tens of thousands of golden helms glinted in the winter sunlight, seeming to illuminate the very ground in a gilded aura. They marshalled on the old highway that banked the Knife River, the cavalry out in front, standing proudly before the pine-tree tunnel of the Great Forest.

“I will follow behind your cavalry, Field Marshal,” I said, mounting Shordian’s old horse. “You are going to suffer great casualties trying to get through the forest. Arbor won’t let you walk into it freely.”

“You know the forest spirit?”

“We have rapport, but my clout won’t count for much anymore, especially with this crown on my head.” I sighed, and watched the horizon, “There’s a lot of my history out there. I’m destroying more than just the enemy today.”

Krakis cleared his throat. “If I may be so bold…”

“Your timidity was getting dull.”

Krakis laughed uncomfortably. “There were rumors—”

“There are a thousand rumors surrounding me, and some of them are very hazardous. Be careful with your next words.”

“There… there were rumors that you didn’t come back completely yourself when you returned from your espionage mission in the Dark Queen’s court.” He gestured to the horizon line, “Rumors that there was another hybrid of Alkandra.”

I smiled dangerously at the field marshal. “Field Marshal, which way is the enemy?”

He pointed to the eastern horizon.

“And when we destroy her, who will be your next foe?”

He just looked at me, perplexed and unsure of himself. I smiled, and tapped him on the lips. “That mouth of yours will get you killed if you don’t learn to keep it shut. I have no use for a cocksure killer. I can find a man like that anywhere. If you want to find out how many of the rumors you’ve heard about me are true, then you’re going to have to learn discretion.” I drew my finger down his chin, let it linger there, then pulled it back. The man looked ready to melt into his own armor. God, he was easy. All soldiers were. Shordian hadn’t stood a chance against me, and Krakis was already my loyal dog. I almost missed the serpents of the Noble Court. Almost.

“Field Marshal, I won’t presume to know anything about pitched battles or sieges, so I won’t disturb the plans set in motion by Shordian and yourself, but there is one thing I want you to change.”

“Anything.”

“The hybrids of Alkandra are to be taken alive, and unharmed. Alive and unharmed, Field Marshal, do you understand?”

“After what Governess Adrianna did to Bentius?!”

“Are you questioning my orders?”

Krakis averted his gaze. “No, Your Highness.”

“Good.” I smiled, and patted his armored thigh, “Well, off you go then. God’s speed to you and your riders.”

“And to you, Your Highness.” He said, some of his bravado returning to him. He kicked his heels into his horse’s flank, and thundered out to the front. I watched him go, then pondered the eastern horizon.

Yavara, I thought, fly away. Fly far, far away before I get there.

“Your Highness?” someone called behind me. I turned around to see five of my new mages walking in formation toward me. I had to stay the instinct to draw my sword.

“Yes?” I asked.

The lead man stopped before me, and bowed. “Your assistant is asking about you.”

“Bring her out here.”

“We could probably heal those amputations if given enough time. And the mental trauma—”

“Bring her out.”

He glanced around. “Is it wise to be seen in public with such a woman?”

“Bring her out!” I snapped, and the mage bowed profusely. A moment later, Dog Meat was carried from the tent, only she was no longer naked, for the mages had dressed her little body in a burlap sack. I hoisted her up onto my horse, secured her to my lap, and nestled her fat little ass into my crotch.

“Do you think you can keep that spell up for a whole day?” I asked her quietly.

“Yeah,” she answered, “are we going to Alkandra now?”

“Yeah.” I whispered back.

Dog Meat excitedly wiggled her little stumps, and giggled.

YAVARA

I knew I was dreaming, but the dream was still vivid. It was a memory, or something like it. The sun shone high above the Highland Basin, sparkling off the blue tributaries that stretched for as far as the eye could see. My feet dangled over the top of the eastern wall, taunting the ground a hundred feet below me.

“Your dad is going to kill us if he finds out!” Elena hissed nervously. She was a a younger version of herself with fair skin and hair. I was the same age, and even then, I was beginning to notice Elena in different ways than I had before. I was much better at hiding my curiosity than she, however, whose eyes wandered. She didn’t yet understand why her gaze sought my body, but she would soon, and she would wear that shame like an albatross for the next five years. As for now, her gaze was only locked on the horizon-line, trying to avoid the vertigo of the drop just below our feet.

“Dad won’t care.” I said, “He told me school is only for stateswomen, and I am already a lost cause. Let Leveria learn about the history of different inbred noble houses; I’ll learn about shit that matters.”

“You shouldn’t say that.” Elena admonished, and though she spoke with her juvenile voice, she was her older hybrid-self now. It didn’t bother me. It made sense for some reason.

“What? Shit?” I tittered, “Shitty-fucking-cunt-whore-slut-damn-titty-dyke-faggot-skank-bitch. Oh, and also: booger-heck-darn-poop.”

“Booger-heck-darn-poop?”

“Elena!” I gasped, “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”

“I’d like to kiss your mother with that mouth.” Elena muttered, then laughed a little too forcefully.

I giggled with her, and enjoyed the view. “Can you see the Jonian Spire from here?”

“It’s a hundred miles away.” Elena responded, now back in her adolescent Highlander body.

“But it’s three-thousand feet tall.”

“So if we take the inverse tangent of five-hundred-eighty-two-thousand over three-thousand, we get zero-point-three-two-five degrees, and factoring the curvature of the earth—”

“Shut up, nerd.”

“…and factoring the curvature of the earth, we still wouldn’t be able to measure the circumference of your fat ass.”

I burst out laughing, and pitched forward. I’d forgotten where I was. My stomach lurched, and I went flailing off into the void.

I opened my eyes, the feeling of freefall still fluttering in my belly. I swore I could feel Elena’s hand in mine. She’d saved my life that day. She’d caught me in midair, and yanked me back over the wall, then she’d screamed at me for minutes while I laughed manically, the exhilaration flooding my mind and senses. I remembered that I didn’t feel fear when I went over, but I felt it now. Mortal fear suffused my limbs, leaving me petrified in the bed. Only the memory of Elena’s hand kept me from panicking, and I held onto that memory like it was physical, and let the world settle down.

Someone was knocking at my door. I groaned, and rolled out of bed. I was naked and filthy, and none-too-pleased to be rising at this ridiculous hour. Why, the sun was hardly up! A princess of the Highlands should never have to—oh… oh yeah.

“Wait a second!” I called to the door, and quickly washed myself with soap and a water from a basin. I toweled myself off, then looked through my outfits. Everything was lingerie. Even my armor was made more for fucking than fighting. I looked for a pair of panties, realized I didn’t own any, then I donned my leather one-piece with the cutout in the crotch and bosom (my “armor” as it were), tied by blonde hair back in a ponytail, and shoved my feet into a pair of tall stripper boots. I walked in front of the mirror, and struck a fighter’s pose. The outfit was not exactly intimidating, but it was at least somewhat functional. It wouldn’t stop even a butter knife, but it would stop the grazes and nicks that could pile up during a battle. A battle. I was going to fight in a goddamned battle! Was I out of my fucking mind?! I’m going to fucking die!

“Stop.” I told myself in the mirror, “Just… stop. You’ve done this before, Yavara. You single-handedly killed the orcs that ambushed your father, and you hunted Brock’s squad of Terdini down to the last man. You did that. Alkandi was only along for the ride. Deep breath in, and deep breath out. You are going to get through this.”

I settled myself, laced my boots, and walked to the door. I opened it to see the Dark Queen lounging against the wall, casually smoking a cigarette.

“Done having your little freak-out?” Leveria smirked.

“Oh, you figured out telepathy, did you?” I sneered, and made her slap herself, “How cute.”

Leveria glowered at me, attempted to make me shit myself, and then farted loudly when I counterattacked. She immediately broke off her attack.

“I was trained by Prestira Rasloraca; you’ll never beat me, Leveria.”

“We’ll see.”

I made her fart again, and she jolted upright.

“Ok, you win! Fuck!”

I grinned, and sniffed the air. “Smells like… Eva Alecia.”

Leveria raised her brows. “Impressive.”

“She always had a pungent aroma, and an even more… tropical flavor.”

“She drinks pineapple juice for that exact reason.”

“Ah,” I muttered, and looked Leveria over. She was wearing one of Eva’s outfits, a dominatrix corset and chaps that had been retrofitted with leather armor at the shoulders and chest. Though her breasts were nearly exposed to the nipples, the chest-piece covered her all the way to the chin, giving the armor a turtle-neck appearance. Her cock was proudly highlighted with a silvery codpiece in the shape of a phallic dragon, and her muscular midriff was exposed from the bottoms of her breasts to the converging lines before her pelvis. With her black hair done up in a dramatic swirling do, her black eyeliner and lipstick giving her features a menacing allure, and her platinum hooped earrings dangling from her pointed ears, she looked like the empress of hell. Pure, wonderful, evil. I had to fight the urge to prostrate and spread my cheeks for her.

“No need to fight your urges, Yavara.” Leveria smirked, her black-sheened lips pouting supplely.

“You can’t read my mind.”

“I don’t need to.” She said, and made a show of pursing her lips around her cigarette, and sucking it sensually, “Come on, baby sister; this may be our last chance.”

“Then you should probably just fuck yourself.”

She exhaled the smoke through her nostrils, and shuddered pleasurably. “Oh, Yavara; I can’t wait until your coronation night. I guess it’s a good thing your favorite hole isn’t the right one. No need to fear transforming you. I’ll fuck your tight little asshole until you’re shitting my cum.

“Promises, promises.” I sneered.

“I have six credible witnesses that can testify to my prowess,” she sneered back, “They all called me ‘Master’ before the end. Even Furia. When Adrianna gets back, I’ll—”

WHAT?!

“Oh, you didn’t know?” Leveria grinned wickedly, “Zander exiled her; he didn’t kill her. I’ll be granting her a full pardon.”

I was nearly overcome with emotion. I wiped away an impending tear, sniffled, and smiled. “That’s so good to hear.”

“D’aw, you’re just a little sweetheart now, aren’t you?” Leveria laughed, and punched out her cigarette on my door. “Anyway, the hybrids have been getting the people together on the streets outside. We’ve got quite a bit of explaining to do before you formally coronate me.” Leveria grinned, “I want it to be you who puts the crown on my head, just so you know that I own your little ass.”

“Little? It’s certainly bigger than yours,” I said, then drew my eyes down to her codpiece, and purred, “and deeper.” Leveria’s codpiece jolted, and I sneered. “So responsive; like a trained dog. My dear sister, I do believe it is I who owns your ass.”

“Just get that fat ass downstairs,” she grumbled.

The castle had been blessedly emptied before I made my journey down the steps. I led the way before Leveria, and though she tried to jostle in front of me many times, I simply moved my fat ass in front of her, and blocked her way in the narrow corridors. If this was to be a coronation ceremony, then I was still the queen. She grumbled and growled her way down the winding staircase, and finally walked hastily past me before we reached the throne room’s atrium. There were two people waiting for me there. Certiok Terdini gazed upon me with comingled loathing and satisfaction, and Drake Titus simply looked upon me with pity.

“You look so pale and sickly, Your Highness.” Titus said.

“Even after everything, you still call me ‘Your Highness?’”

“But of course. You’re still royalty, are you not?”

Certiok spat on the ground. “I have no problem calling you what you are, you weak white-skinned slut! This is what you always were on the inside anyway!”

I just nodded, and walked past her. There was nothing I could say to Certiok that would do either of us any good.

“Your Highness,” Titus said, taking my arm, “if you’re interested, our original agreement still stands.”

“You were so reluctant to give me that offer the first time.” I raised a questioning brow, “Now you give it freely?”

“Freely?” He laughed, “No, of course not. If all goes as planned, you will be queen of the Highlands.”

“Hedging your bets, Titus?” I smirked, and looked toward Leveria, “Or did she refuse your offer?”

His lip twitched. “Your sister is… well, she’s a much tougher negotiator than you.”

Leveria laughed at Titus. “It’s very easy to negotiate when I have all the leverage. If you don’t like it, I suggest you go back to Ardeni Dreus and see how well they receive you.”

Titus scowled. “I am having regrets about you, Leveria.”

Your Highness.” Leveria hissed, and elevated Titus from the floor with a spell, “I’m not trying to be your best buddy, Drake. I am your queen, and you are a self-serving treacherous little rat. If you want your blood in my veins, then you will have to earn it.” She dropped Titus, looked at him like he was a piece of shit, then smiled warmly to Certiok. “Certiok, would you do me the honor of announcing our procession?”

“Certainly, Your Highness.” Certiok beamed, and strolled past Leveria. Leveria gave the she-orc’s plump rump a hearty smack, and Certiok grinned approvingly over her shoulder before disappearing behind the threshold. Her voice carried loud and true when it announced, “All hail Queen Regent Yavara Tiadoa, and Princess Leveria Alkandra!”

Her voice echoed in the adjacent hall, and though there was silence in its wake, it was not an empty silence, but a pregnant one. Hundreds of beasts were in that room, and tens of thousands were on the steps and in the streets outside. They’d all been assembled, and had been expecting me to give a rousing speech the morning before the battle. So when they heard me called by my old name, and my sister called by my new one, the cheer that had been poised on their lips was torn away, and only a stunned silence remained. Leveria enjoyed the silence as much as I hated it. She took a deep breath, then another one, and let them out slowly through her nose. She turned, and extended her hand to me. I took it, our fingers interlocked, and we walked hand-in-hand through the threshold.

LEVERIA

The throne room was full. Only a thin strip of open floor divided the myriad beasts that packed around the columns and into the balconies and alcoves. When I’d first entered the expansive hall, it had been filled with raucous revelry and motion. Today, it was as if the people that lined the room were statues. Only their eyes moved as they flitted from me to Yavara, uncomprehending of what they were witnessing. The six hybrids stood in their white robes upon the steps leading to the Black Throne, their faces cast in solemn ceremony. I threw back my shoulders, tilted my chin, and walked boldly through the beasts, a vision of sex and power, an empress of debauchery and violence. Or rather, that’s what I would’ve done if the dead weight in my hand hadn’t yanked me backward, causing me to stumble awkwardly and nearly fall on my ass. I whirled my head around, and glared at my little sister.

“What?!” I hissed.

She swallowed, her eyes wide and trembling. “I can’t do this!”

“Are you fucking serious right now?!”

“Just do it yourself!”

“I need you to legitimize me, or they’ll tear me apart!” I gestured at her, “They’ll tear us both apart!”

“You’re good at explaining things, why don’t you just—”

“Yavara,” I said, clasping my other hand over our joined grip, “the people are terrified, and they’re watching us right now wondering what the fuck is going on. They are about ten seconds from deciding to just ransack the castle, and make a run for the forest, but they’re going to rape us to death before they do that. So please, for the love of god, stop being such a fucking pussy.”

Yavara nodded tentatively, and stepped forward. Though she trembled visibly, and though she moved with the stiffness of a board, she walked with me through the rows of beasts, and bore the incredible weight of their gazes. Each step felt like an eternity, and every footfall could be heard echoing through the hall. It seemed as though we made no progress to the hybrids until we were finally at the stairs. Once there, Yavara relaxed somewhat, and I allowed her to lead me up each of the stone steps toward the Black Throne. Zander stood next to the ebony chair, holding a black crown in his hand. It was different than the one Yavara had worn. This one was an elaborate and ornate piece of iron encrusted with orange gems that glowed with astral power. He must’ve made it himself. How cute. He and Yavara exchanged meaningful looks, then she reached the step before the throne, and turned around. I stopped where I was, and got on one knee. I heard the shuffle of hybrid robes when they knelt, and following their cue, the masses behind us all knelt as well.

Yavara stood in silence for a moment, looking out at the hundreds of beasts in the hall, the thousands that littered the steps beyond the open doors, and the tens of thousands that witnessed the moment from the streets below. She swallowed, took a deep breath, and held an astral gemstone against her voice-box.

“People of Alkandra, brothers and sisters, mothers and daughters, sons and fathers. I understand that you are all likely very… very confused right now.” Yavara laughed nervously, and was answered with thundering silence. I could feel the tension in the air like a physical thing, suppressing my bowed shoulders. Yavara cleared her throat. “Before I explain what has happened, I just want to say that it has been an honor and a pleasure to be your queen. You all have proven to the world that those deemed ‘beasts’ can form a great and strong society. Though Alkandra is named after one woman, it is you who are Alkandra. Long after I am gone, long after the Dark Queen is gone, Alkandra will endure and thrive, and it is you who will make that happen. Thank you.” Yavara paused, and there was a smattering of applause that was quickly silenced. She swallowed again, and knitted her fingers.

“So,” she started awkwardly, “I guess we should address the elephant in the room. I am no longer the Dark Queen. I guess… uh… I guess it was a temporary condition.” She wiped the sweat from her brow, and laughed nervously. “But I guess I’m cured of it. I… uh… I met with Alkandi yesterday… I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense because I was Alkandi incarnate, but… uh… well…” she trailed off, her cheeks flushed, the rest of her face clammy and pale.

Holy shit, you are bombing. I growled in her mind. Didn’t you practice this?!

Shut the fuck up, please. She hissed mentally back, and cleared her throat again. “The point is,” she said, her tremulous voice carrying over everything, “I am no longer the Dark Queen. I have passed that mantle to my sister… or rather, Alkandi passed the mantle to her—I didn’t really have much choice. Well, I mean, I did, but it was… Ok, restart.” She laughed again, though it sounded like a sob, “So the woman we’ve all been raping and torturing for the past four days, the woman that represented the worst of elven imperialism, the woman who hunted you down like you were animals, the woman who raised an army to commit genocide upon you, who massacred our horde down to the last man, who singlehandedly wiped out two generations of fighting men after her country had signed a peace treaty, who launched the entire Lowland fleet against us to annihilate us down to the last baby… that woman is now your queen.” She giggled, her voice carrying over the pervading silence, the deathly-still voices of the tens of thousands. I glared at her, my rage vibrating from every pore in my body, and she only giggled more, trapped in a hysterical fit. “So, anyway,” she managed to get out with a few desperate breaths, “everyone… everyone give a warm welcome to your new ruler, Dark Queen Leveria Alkandra!”

Yavara grabbed the crown from the stunned wizard at her side, and delicately placed it on my head. Then she shuffled over to the other side of the Black Throne, and stood there, failing to keep a straight face. I just knelt there for a moment, hating her with every fiber of my being before I stood up, and turned around.

“Good people of Alkandra,” I said, donning a confident smile, “I am… well, I suppose I don’t need to introduce myself; my sister did a fine enough job of that already. I had a whole speech written up, but… I think I’ll just speak from the heart. Good people of Alkandra, I am your daddy. Not your patriarchal father figure, no—I am your daddy, and you all… you’re my bitches.”

A murmur went through the crowd, then silenced.

Good people of Alkandra,” I scoffed, “there’s nothing good about any of you. You’re either societal outcasts or wild savages. I hunted you like animals because you are animals. You’re a herd of inbreeds who ***********ively fucked based on muscle-mass for centuries. You know who else does that? Cows. And you wonder why you were slaughtered.”

A chorus of anger simmered from the crowd, and the hybrids looked back at me with perplexed horror on their faces. I just smiled, basking in the outpouring of hatred, then I clapped my hands together, and a great telekinetic boom shot through the crowd. They went silent once more.

“People of Alkandra,” I sneered, masking how hard I was breathing; that spell really took it out of me, “I am not Yavara. I will not be nice to you. I will not take your feelings into consideration. I will rule you like the bunch of unruly little bitches you are, and I’ll fuck you good and hard just like a good daddy does. But also like a good daddy, I’ll protect my bitches. No one else fucks my bitches unless my bitches want to get fucked. Now there’s two fat-dicked johns coming here to double-stuff your bitch-asses. My only question is, are you going to bend over and take it?”

The crowd was silent.

“Are you?!” I snapped.

There was a dispirited ‘no.’

“No?” I laughed, “NO?! You know what that sounds like to me? That sounds like a little bitch playing hard to get. You want the Lowlanders to fuck you, don’t you?”

“No!” came a more impassioned roar.

“Oh, you don’t want it?” I laughed, “Maybe I’ve got some bad bitches here after all. Well, are you just gonna take it?”

“No!” They roared louder.

“Bullshit!”

“NO!”

“Oh yeah?!” I yelled, holding my arms out, “Well, they’re coming anyway, and somebody’s gotta get fucked! Who’s getting fucked?”

“They are!”

“I said who’s getting fucked?!”

“THEY ARE!”

“AND WHO’S GONNA FUCK ‘EM?”

WE ARE!

I SAID WHO THE FUCK IS GONNA FUCK ‘EM?!

WE ARE!

THEN LET’S FUCK THOSE BITCHES!” I roared, my fists raised overhead, and all of Alkandra roared with me, screaming their stupid war-cries, dancing their stupid tribal dances, pumping their fists like a pack of fucking morons. But I didn’t hold them in contempt; no, I loved their stupid savagery, their single-minded tribal mentality, their quickness to sex and violence. It was power, oh, it was power! I could feel the magic pumping in my veins, but it was nothing compared to the waves of energy I felt from that stupid, roaring crowd. I knew these people. I knew what they wanted—what they needed. Yavara was a pretender, but I was the real fucking thing. I would be brutal. I would be cruel. I would kill with impunity, rule with an iron fist, and make this pack of beasts into a tool—a sword—and I would carve my name right into the flesh of history with it. No one would even remember Yavara after I was done. No one would even remember Alkandi. The only Dark Queen would be Leveria. The warrior males were all dead, but the warrior females still lived. I would breed the strong ones, pump out the pups one after the other, and raise a horde the likes of which had never been seen. I would smash the Lowlands, take Ardeni Dreus as my own, and then turn my eyes westward.

I glanced back at Yavara as the crowd worked itself into a frenzy. My little sister was looking at me with a strange mixture of emotions. There was fear, there was awe, and there was desire. Fear for who I’d always been, awe and desire for what I had become, and fear once again for what I would become. Oh, she knew then. She saw it, she heard it, and she felt it. The crowd had never moved like that for her, nor had they ever roared like that for her, nor had they ever shaken the ground like that for her. The only time they’d done it before was when I was on the sands of the arena, and they only did it for, yes, just for me! She knew then what the future would hold for her; not ten years down the line, but twenty. If Alkandra survived this battle, Yavara Tiadoa would be the last queen of the Highlands.

“It’s a sight to see, isn’t it?” I called back at her.

“You certainly got them riled up.”

“I wasn’t talking about them, Yavara.” I smirked.

I turned around, and beckoned to the hybrids. They all looked upon me with awe as they ascended the steps, the crowd’s roar billowing upon their white robes like a great wind. When they reached the top step, I grabbed Furia by the hair, tore her head back, and plunged my tongue in her mouth. The crowd’s roar when up a decibel when the strongest of the hybrids wilted submissively against me, writhing in a feminine dance as her cock stood rigid, her mouth humming lecherous moans as she drowned in my lust. I ripped off her robe, exposing her nudity to the tens of thousands, then I wrapped my hand around her stiff cock, trailed my other beneath it to penetrate her pussy, and I carried her onto my lap as I sat upon the Black Throne. She spread her legs out over the arms of the chair, and reached behind her to snake fingers through her ass-crack, and into my codpiece. The people gasped and cheered when she revealed my raging cock, and their cheer only became louder when she pressed it to her tight anus, and sat all the way down. She broke her kiss to scream out in delight, and all of Alkandra adulated her for taking every thick inch inside of her.

I put the gemstone to my throat, and told the people of Alkandra, “Watch me, you degenerates and whores. Watch what I’m about to do to the Lowland fleet.”

I grabbed Furia by the hips, and I fucked her. She bounced off my lap, squealing and gasping with every rebound, struggling against me to maintain some semblance of dignity and grace. It was futile. With the energy of the crowd propelling my thrusts, I pumped into the poor hybrid bitch with such violent fervency that every hard ranger muscle was turned to jelly, and all her stoic masculinity was turned into slutty faggotry. She blubbered and wailed in delight, her stiff tattooed cock bouncing off her belly with every skin-jiggling thrust, her supple breasts turned to blurred globes of motion. The people cheered her on as she was dominated, and she basked in it, reveling in a side of her sexuality that only I could unlock. I fucked through her tight clenching insides, buried my shaft deep into her delightful filth, and panted into her ear until my breaths were cries, and my cries were screams. She suddenly arched her back away from me, presenting her breasts to the world as her splayed thighs quivered in euphoria. She sustained a high, true note, and her prostate convulsed in celebration of my cock until it finally released. Hot white seed shot from her pulsating tip, and with every violent thrust I dealt into her convulsing shithole, she sprayed herself. Her belly, her breast, then her face and hair; all was splattered in her thick orgasmic seed, and she wriggled in delight of it, linking her hands behind her head, thrusting her body forth for all to see what was being done to it. I came with a final ferocious plunge into her tightest channel, and filled her to the brim. She quaked in another orgasm, this one from her feminine organ, and the crowd lauded her for spraying her clear nectar onto the Black Throne. I groaned in pleasure, and took her by the throat. She turned her face to kiss me, but I just grabbed the back of her head, wrenched her face skyward, and licked the cum that she’d sprayed on her cheeks. She wasn’t my lover; she was my toy. I had no equal in this world. I was above them all.

ZANDER

No one noticed me in the frenzy. I was an afterthought, a background character that would be painted into shadow when this moment of historical debauchery was eternalized. ‘The Conquering of Furia,’ they might call it, though Furia had already been conquered very thoroughly the night previous, just not so dramatically. As the viewer of the painting marveled at the renaissance depiction of power-driven sodomy, he or she would study the way Leveria’s fingers sunk into Furia’s pliant flesh, the way Furia was splayed out like a trophy, the expression of orgasmic surrender on Furia’s half-tattooed face, and the expression of evil on Leveria’s climaxing visage. Then, the viewer would likely see the look of solemn acceptance on Yavara’s face as she bore witness to this ravaging, a ravaging that was quite metaphorical for her. I wouldn’t be surprised if the artist was commissioned to paint another masterpiece, this one titled, ‘The Last Queen of the Highlands,’ with Yavara bearing the same blissful expression of surrender on her face as Furia now had on hers, and Yavara splayed out like a victorious prize wrapped in chains and contorted in whatever compromising position Leveria desired.

But what the viewer would likely never notice in the painting, ‘The Conquering of Furia,’ would be the expression of existential release that I felt when Leveria’s plump tan ass made contact with the ebony wood of the Black Throne. It was as if layers of clay had been peeled away from my soul, and the suffocating dampness that had caked me for so long was simply washed away, leaving me naked and free. The agelessness that had petrified me disappeared, and I felt my flesh and muscles relax into a gentle sort of decay. The lines on my face were undoubtedly clearer, and the hair on my head was undoubtedly grayer. The ravages of time that had been held back now worked on me with impunity, but the pain was so sweet. My joints eased into states of wear, my back bowed into a curve of exhaustion, and my hip ached with the twang of impingement. I was dying. I was dying very quickly. I had perhaps a few more weeks before I finally withered away to nothing, and I was fine with it. I was perfectly at peace.

A smile crawled across my lips, and I receded further into the shadows. “Thank you, my love.” I whispered to the skull that topped my staff. She grinned back at me, and I kissed her ivory brow.

ARBOR

I had lived in flesh for too long. My connection with the forest was weak, and my mind was cluttered with thoughts of sensation and emotion. When I placed my hand on the bark of the pine tree I was perched upon, I recognized it, but I did not know it as I once did. The tree did not have a way to identify itself, nor did it have a consciousness that animals could recognize, but it had an awareness. Soil, sun, water and wind; these were the things it projected out from its being. It wasn’t a centralized state of mind, but a mosaic of mindfulness that ran from its roots to its leaves. This tree was hundreds of years old, and it had a memory. The rings within its bark bespoke the seasons of plenty and the seasons of less, the cold nights and the warm days, the passage of the sun, the abundance of rain, and the flavor of the winds and air. This tree could tell me that a volcano had erupted on the other side of the world fifty years ago, for this tree could remember the way the ash filtered the sun. This tree could tell me that nine fox dens had lived beneath its roots since it was barely a sapling, and that two of those dens had succumbed to starvation during the winter. This tree could tell me about every insect that crawled upon it, every worm that slithered around its roots, and every woodpecker that had wounded it. This tree could tell me about its grand neighbors, the other pines, and though the tree could not form opinions of its kin, it was aware of which ones provided stability from the strong winds, which ones were competing for resources, and which ones had created a symbiosis with it. Simply by touching the tree’s bark, I could see the connection this tree had with every other in the forest, the network of roots that stretched for thousands and thousands of miles. That network had more connections than all the neurons in the human mind, and it created a consciousness of itself. But that consciousness was missing its soul.

Come back, it said to me. It did not speak, nor beckon, nor even request in any sense of mortal understanding. It was simply generally aware that the forest was sicker than it had been before, and it was because its mother was not tending to it. It was something Yavara could not understand. She had accused me of stunting my children, of being a slaver and not a mother. She looked at nymphs, and she saw hands and feet, breasts and buttocks, and she assumed they were like her, and had her desires. She could not comprehend that my children were of my mindfulness and spirit, that they were meant to grow and live and die within the cool soft shade of the forest canopy, never knowing the extremes of their biological functions. Serenity and bliss were things they understood intrinsically, but freedom and individuality were corrupting ideas, a rot upon their simple minds that would lead them inevitably to succubus corruption.

Come back, the Great Forest whispered, and I felt a strange horror at the prospect. Going back would mean leaving this realm of sensation and experience, and to become a transient caretaker of the woodlands once more. Going back would mean disconnecting from mortal delights; from lust, pleasure, violence, pain, exhilaration and terror, and settling into something like slumber. I would lose the mortal awareness of the present, and time would become a blur as my mind meandered about the realm of roots, gently doting upon every nook and cranny, every hovel and hole. Why did I fear it? Because it was death. I had been dead all my life.

Come back, it whispered again. I closed my eyes, and tears cascaded down my cheeks. It was so vivid, this mortal perspective. My spiritual self could know the molecules in the soil for thousands of miles, but it could not understand the coarse caress of bark on my palm, the wind whispering through my hair, nor the chill upon my flesh. It was a passive observer—compassionate, but not empathetic. There was a part of me that wanted nothing more than to place all of my soul into this prison of mortal flesh, and live a visceral mortal life from beginning to end, but that would simply be a lie, a momentary escape. I was Arbor. I was no one at all. I was the forest, and the forest was me, and we were I, and we were no one. Peace and serenity, not freedom and individuality. Peace and serenity. Peace.

“I am coming back,” I whispered to the tree, and touched my brow to its bark, “but you will not join me. I am so sorry.”

And though I spoke the words intimately against the white pine’s trunk, I could not hear them from my own lips, for they were stolen by the thunder of hooves beneath me. Like a river of gold, the Highland cavalry flowed through the trunks of the pine trees, following the remnants of the highway they’d carved through my forest so many centuries ago. Their beasts were domesticated creatures, born in a barn and raised in irons, their ears unable to hear my call. They rode with gnashing teeth and anxious neighs, pounding their ironclad hooves into the earth, kicking soil into the air. The dust created a fog over the endless river of men, dulling their gilded shells. Orders were shouted and barked, banners were raised, and steel shone from their weapons, glinting like a warning. These creatures were so very detached from the earth they’d come from. They would kill their own mothers, and not even recognize the murder.

I looked to the other branches, and saw my daughters and sons standing in the treetops, their natural camouflage concealing them from the riders below. They needn’t have bothered; the elves didn’t even think to look up. My children looked to me, waiting. I watched the river of golden men, and wondered what I was waiting for. I realized with a smile that I was just afraid. Being mortal was such a sweet experience. I planted my hand against the tree, and requested its sacrifice. It accepted my request.

There was a groan, then a creak, then a crack. I stepped off the branch, and into the canopy of another tree as the great white pine swayed, then fell. The great cacophony of snapping branches sounded with its mighty doom, accompanied by the sudden screams of men. There was an earth-shaking boom, and the river of gold was dammed.

“Now.” I whispered, and all my children heard. The great pines fell like a collapsing cathedral upon the ranks of men below. The thick trunks punched massive lines in the elven ranks, crunching the golden men as if they were cans. Boom, boom, boom; they fell in succession, cascading dominoes of pine that killed dozens of men at a time and halted the entire cavalry, dividing them into little pockets of packed-in squads. The screams of horses carried over the echoing thunder, and the screeches of wounded men sounded almost as loudly. Such suffering, such terror, such agony. I was not as disconnected from it as I wanted to be, but the time for mercy had passed.

“Kill them all.” I said, and my children descended from the treetops with wooden daggers in hand, and began the slaughter. The pockets of elves were penned in, stuck shoulder-to-shoulder against the broken trees and broken men, unable to lift their swords when the tree people dropped from the sky. My daughters were vicious. They had been tainted by battle already, and as they fell from the treetops, they screamed with the terrible exhilaration of the kill. They dropped upon the elves, and drove their daggers down again and again, and again, not stopping even as the elves shrieked in horror and agony, not stopping even as the elves begged and pleaded, not stopping until the elves golden shells were sprayed with their own scarlet, and my daughter’s naked bodies were bathed in it. My sons were virgins to this kind of violence, and though they had been bred for soldiery, they were fatally timid. They dropped into battle, and balked, unable to deliver the killing blow when they looked into their enemy’s terrified eyes. I did not blame them for it. Murder was something that came naturally to the humanoid races, but not to my innocent children, who were born to be caretakers and healers. And so, my sons gave their foes the critical moment they needed, and the elves did not show them the same mercy. They made their swords naked, and then bathed in my son’s blood, splitting flesh and muscle to reveal entrails and organs. Our first casualties sounded their horrible death shrieks over the discordant rhythm of the chaos, and fresh tears wetted my cheeks.

I dropped to the middle of a pocket, and batted my great wings. The elves surrounding me were flung from their horses by the winds. Some were trampled by their own steeds, but others rose with swords in hand, staring disbelievingly at me. Was I a horror to them? I had made my body to be plump like a mother’s and desirable like a woman’s, but there was nothing in their gaze that belied anything but terror. I was almost compelled to tell them that I meant no harm, but of course, I did. I sank my toes into the soil, and called upon the trees once more.

The roots snaked from below the soil, and the snarling thorn-covered tendrils wrapped around the legs of the men surrounding me. They hacked at their legs desperately, opening deep wounds in the wood, but more roots just sprouted from the forest floor, and slithered up the elves flailing bodies. I did not want them to suffer, but I did not know how to kill quickly and painlessly with the tools at hand. I thought that perhaps destroying the brain would cause the least suffering, but the only path through the skull was the nose and eyes, and when I heard the pitch of their screeches rise as the whites of their eyes burst, I knew I had erred. I quickly burrowed into their sockets and stirred their brains to mush, hoping they had lost consciousness before they felt their minds leave them. I tried breaking the necks of the others, but the roots were borne of trees, and could only grow, not jerk and twist. I resolved to strangling them, but that was not a fast way to die at all. They writhed in their prisons of agony, begging me with their bulging eyes to show mercy. I had killed before, but that was only days after I’d taken mortal form, and empathy was a thing I did not have. I thought I had grown more wicked since that time, but I had only grown more alive. I understood now what I was stealing from these men; I was not simply returning them to earth; I was ending them! I wanted to scream ‘stop’ and end the bloodbath right there, but the chaos had taken on an inertia of its own, and the entire world seemed to be consumed by it.

Through the blurred filter of my weeping eyes, I saw my children become unrecognizable savages. Butterblossom, who liked to sing to the hummingbirds in the morning was screaming as she brought her wooden dagger down into a man’s spurting jugular. Willowflower, who made friends with the beetles was now plunging her blade into a man’s belly. Swallowsong, who painted with moss pigments was now biting into a man’s face. And as they did these things, the forest turned away, disengaging from the children who had once tended it. And with the forest’s solemn decision, I lost my connection with my children. In these last moments of their lives, they would know true mortal loneliness for the first time. But they knew nothing at all—nothing but the red-veiled surge of battle, nothing but the thrill of suffused terror and the glee of madness.

Come back, the forest whispered over the chaos that surrounded me, over the clash of steel and the screams of the dying.

I blinked away my tears, and stared at the elf before me. He was so wrapped in vines that he could hardly be seen, but he saw me through the snarled foliage, his bulging blue eyes filled with horror. He just wouldn’t die. I understood why. I reached to the ground, and wrapped my fingers around metal for the first time in my eternal existence. It was dead. The rock that it had been borne from was melted and bastardized, twisted with heat and cold until it became something alien. Nothing within it spoke to me. Not the minerals that had passed through the soil, nor the sediment that had deposited old life onto its surface. No, it was a creation of man, and therefore it was soulless and hard, nothing but a keen edge and a deadly weight. A thing made for death should be dead, I supposed. I picked it up, raised it overhead, and shrieked at the top of my lungs before I brought the blade down. A shock ran up my arms, a sickening crack reached my ears, and hot liquid splatted me. I opened my eyes, and stared at the cloven head before me. I had killed. I had not called upon the forest, nor sent my children to do it. I, Arbor Dawnbark, had killed.

In that moment, I felt more singularity than I ever had. This was not riding the whims of nature, nor flowing with the ebb of time. I had awoken from the slumber of wood and rock to strike a discordant note in the symphony of the universe. It clanged indefinitely through the annals of time, a discontinuity that should not have been there. This was not a thing that had happened because of the tides of earth. I had done this. It would never have happened if I had not done it. This thing, this murder, this terrible, horrible, ugly, delightful thing. Yes… delightful. It was so, so delightful. The blood surged through my veins, my heart beat behind my eyeballs, and a great swell of life flowed through me. I felt my connection with the forest fade, but it did not matter. The air was so cool on my flesh, my breath was so hot in my lungs, and the world was a motion of life being lived at the very keenest of edges. A grin formed across my lips, and I charged into the fray.

I struck a man in the shoulder, and my blade bounced right off him. He recoiled, and swung at me. I yelped, and stepped backward, feeling the whisper of the blade across my chest. He charged me, and I batted my wings, and the wind knocked him and everyone behind him over. I giggled, and ran after the felled elves. I stabbed, and stabbed, and stabbed, and delighted in my victim’s wrenching movements and squeaks. The blood came pouring out of each wound, filling the grotesque gashes that revealed cloven muscle and fat, spilling from their writhing bodies to soak into the dark soil. All around the forest, the clangs and screams of battle could be heard, and the tree branches, twigs, pinecones and needles that had been knocked loose by the trunks of their fallen brethren rained continuously on us all. It was an orgy of death, and I had broken my chastity.

My wings created a radius from which I could do battle, whirling about to send men flailing to their backs. My children pounced on the felled men, and punctured their faces and neck with sharpened wood. I grinned at them, and they grinned back, a horrible smile like a death grimace, eyes bulging and wild. I whirled around, and struck an elf squarely on the head with the blade. It clanged off his helm, stunning him. I had not made my body to be strong or quick, and I cursed myself in that moment as he stumbled back, and reestablished his guard. Oh, how I wanted to kill someone in a duel! I could see in his eyes that he was up to the challenge, but I was woefully not. I beat my wings, and sent him flying backward. His head struck a boulder, and he went still.

Seven elves clamored over the felled trees that divided our pocket. I rushed over to them with my wide manic smile; it almost seemed like a game! They charged me with their spears and swords, and I stopped abruptly, unfurled my wings, and—something hit me. A hollow thud shot through my chest cavity, and a great pain tore through me. I looked down. There was an arrow inside me, just above my left breast. Red blood leaked from the clean puncture wound, and spilled in rivulets down my nipple. The thrill left me. Coldness enveloped me. My pulse sounded in my ears. The motions of the world slowed. I saw the archer atop his horse reaching back for another arrow. I saw the seven men charging me. I saw my sons and daughters charge past me, expecting my wings to aid them, but I could not. Or rather, I did not. There was still strength enough in me to flex my mighty wings, but my mind was singularly focused on the intrusion of metal and wood stuck in my heart. I had never felt something so intimate, so visceral in all my life. Even greater than the thrill of murder, was this sensation. My body reacted violently, reversing all functions, moving every available resource to the sight of the catastrophe. Adrenaline was dumped into my mind, and shock locked my joints and muscles. It was though alarms were blaring in my head, but there was no instinct to compel me—only a paralyzing stillness. I was past the point of instinct. I was dying.

My daughters and sons charged the elves, then skidded to a halt when my wings did not aid them. They turned around and looked questioningly at me, then their gazes widened when they saw the haft protruding from me. They became as paralyzed as I was, staring at me with gazes filmed with horror. They realized then what I had known all along; we were all going to die. I watched them helplessly, my lips opening to scream my warning, but even as I formed the words, it was too late. The elves descended upon my children. Butterblossom was gored and sent toppling backwards. She screeched as she reached for the sword in her belly, then her scream became higher when the elf crudely tore it free, opening her soft tummy with a grotesque gash, freeing her entrails so that they unraveled in her hands. Willowflower jumped to her sister’s aid, and was decapitated. Swallowsong tried to run away, but the elves were too quick. They slashed across her back, and her shoulders pinned, her chest jutted, and she fell to her knees before me. A blade appeared through her belly, and another appeared through her breast, and then the top of her head was caved in by a mace. She stared at me from the tops of her eyes as blood dribbled from her nose and mouth, and though much of her brains had burst from her ears, she still had enough to recognize me before she pitched forward into the mud.

Then they came for me. I tried to flex my wings, but I no longer had the strength. I feebly raised my sword to defend myself, and the first strike broke it from my grip. The next elf put his steel into my side, and I folded over with a cry, feeling the cold metal piecing through my soft insides until it broke through my back, lacerating my liver. A spear drove through my belly, steeling the wind from my lungs. The flesh and fat molded around the haft as the tip bored through my guts, lanced off the blade already inside me, and grinded against its brethren metal until it burst from my back. My stomach ruptured. Blood and bile vomited up my clenching esophagus, and flowed freely from my nose and mouth. Tears glazed my eyes, but I still could see the axe come down. I screamed. The heavy blade cleaved my collar, separated my shoulder, and imbedded into my left breast. My arm went limp, my cloven trapezius muscle flapped with the broken tension of sinew, and the unsupported weight of my head caused it to roll onto the unwounded side. Another blade went in me, this one from the back. It cut through my left lung, burst through my sternum, and sprayed the man before me.

“Die, bitch!” they screamed gleefully.

“Go back to hell you fucking cunt!” they laughed.

“This ain’t the first time you’ve had five men inside you, is it Miss?” they jeered, and laughed.

I quivered for a moment, every muscle spasming, every neuron and nerve firing, my synapses ablaze with agony. They moved their blades beneath my flesh, cutting me from the inside, tearing through muscles and intestines, sawing through tendons and sinew, bursting organs. I shrieked and writhed, twisting and wrenching as the connective tissue within me was stretched and snapped. They laughed all the while, their manic grins and wide eyes filled with the thrill of my torture. They were aroused. I could see their erections through there trousers, their stiff cocks rising the higher I screamed. The axe-wielder tore his blade from my collar, and hacked off one wing, striking me once, twice, three times. My shoulders pinched back with the torment, and I thrusted my face skyward, my trembling lips uttering blood-soaked pleas. The others pushed and sawed their blade through me, cutting and tearing, opening my soft body so that the soft squishy parts spilled out. My intestines hung from my split belly, my breast swung from a loose swath of flesh, and my ruptured stomach poured acid into my opened bowels. I fell, but I did not land on my knees, for gravity caught me by the blades that were inside me, tearing me further. I was shrieking. I was devoid of all language, devoid of all thought at all but the pain. I was nothing but the pain. It ripped through me, blaring its warning at every mortal carving of my body. My hair was ripped back, my throat stretched, and the axe was raised over me. There was an arc of metal, and then I was suddenly on the ground. Wait. What was I? I was… there was… my body… my body was up there. My beautiful smooth purple flesh hand been gashed, shredded, and painted with blood, my profile had been mutilated, and… and it was headless. Where was my… oh.

Oh dear, was my last mortal thought. My vision blurred, then faded, and my mind slowly drifted to nothing.

Come back, the forest whispered, and I answered. I settled easily into the familiar place I had once occupied. The roots were my feet, the trunks were my limbs, the canopy was my hair, and… but these sensory metaphors were born from a smaller, more savage mind. No, the roots were simply the roots, the trunks were simply the trunks, and the canopy was simply thus. I was a part of it, but I was not it. I was the spirit to occupy the mind, I was the thought and the voice, I was the shepherd and the cultivator, I was the tender and the caregiver. I was the mother. Passion left me, ebbing away like dwindling coals. I grasped for it, and I kept just a little for myself. I had kept too much last time; I had let the succubus part of me take too much control of my decisions. I would not make that mistake again, nor would I make the mistake again of jettisoning her completely. She was flesh and blood, and I needed to be mindful of that side of life, for neglecting it was what had led me to this moment. Energy, serenity, peace; these were the tenants of nature, but so were fear, desire, and anger. Balance was the key, but it was obvious that one ethos was denser than the other. I had let myself be ruled in half by my passions, and my passions had taken me over. I only needed a small amount to stay connected with the fauna I shepherded.

As I adjusted myself once more to my place in the forest, I looked upon the battle that had tainted the Northern Pines. The elves had cornered the last of my children. Daisyfountain held out admirably against three men, and though she slew two of them, the third put his sword through her chest, and pinned her to the tree behind her. They were locked for a moment in an intimate embrace, and I could sense his arousal comingled with her agony. It was strange, was it not? I had felt something similar when I killed a man. When the thrill of life was at its peak, all instincts were brought to the forefront. The desire for sex overlapped with the need to kill and the fear of death, and even when I was dying in the throes of agony, so helpless and so terrified, I felt some womanly part of me open for the men taking me. And as I watched my killers laugh and toss my decapitated head amongst themselves, I did not feel a pang of rage; simply an understanding. They were terrible, but I had been terrible too. I wished them all good health and joy in their lives. As for my children… I would mourn them, yes, I would, but I would not raise another hatch for quite some time. This generation had been tainted—I had been tainted—and I would need time to reflect upon myself, and grow wiser. Perhaps Yavara had been right about me; perhaps I had let pride dull my mind. I used to think that mortal humanoids had nothing to offer me, but perhaps there was much wisdom to be gleaned from them. That being said, there was no wisdom to be found in the carnage I was witnessing. I was done with this war.

I turned my gaze away from the Northern Pines, and looked to the south. In the Maples, Rose walked beneath the autumn canopy, filling her nostrils with the sweet sap of the trees as she sought the muskier sap of a man. What wisdom could I glean from this creature that had been my daughter? I watched her saunter down the old paths, then perk her ears up, and whip her head around. Ah, she’d caught the scent of a ranging centaur. He would make a fine meal for her indeed. I smiled to myself (as much as a spirit could smile), and I found that I was oddly proud of the predatory prowess of the woman who had been my daughter. She was not an abomination like I once thought—no, she was a lioness, a tigress, a huntress of nature as graceful and spectacular as the deadliest of jungle cats. I would watch her for a long time, a silent witness to her life. She would never know me ever again, and though it was heartbreaking, it was OK. She was with me.

I felt another familiar presence, and turned my gaze northward. What I found there filled me with joy. Tulip (or Crystal as she was now known), my other lost daughter, had escaped the carnage the returning orc horde as suffered. Her daughters followed behind her, all of them accounted for, though poor Sapphire had lost an arm just below the shoulder. They struggled through the thick brush, devoid of all nymph arboreal dexterity. I chuckled to myself (as much as a spirt could chuckle), and I made their path easier by receding the bushes. They looked at each other, then looked at the sky, and smiled. Somehow, I knew they were smiling at me.

Another soul caught my attention. The presence of this creature awoke such a violent reaction within my succubus-self that I almost felt mortal again. Though she wore an illusion spell upon her flesh cast by the amputee riding in her arms, I knew her immediately for who she was. Master—or Elena, rather—was on horseback, staring out at the wreckage I’d made of my forest. She surveyed the bodies of my children, then looked up.

Arbor? she asked telepathically. How could she speak telepathically if she—ah, there was a predator within her. The vampire beneath her flesh was obvious to me now, and I could detect Adrianna’s blood within it. That was certainly a mystery, but not one that I cared to solve. Elena Straltaira was a good woman, a compelling woman, a temptress and a warrior, and she was the single reason for everything that had transpired today. History would balance Yavara and Leveria, but the fulcrum of the two was Elena, who brought chaos with her where ever she went. It did not actually surprise me that she was alive. In fact, it made perfect sense, for chaos had preceded her.

Arbor? she asked again.

I did not answer. Of all the mortals in the world, Elena Straltaira was perhaps the most interesting, but I could glean no wisdom from talking with her. She was too dangerous. I turned my gaze away from her, and looked east. There was only one other mortal who was worth my undivided attention, but I would have to wait. I would not have to wait long.

YAVARA

Leveria and I were on a secluded balcony overlooking the bay. The fog precluding the Lowland navy hadn’t yet crept into the waters, but we knew it was a matter of minutes, not hours. With what time we had before the fighting started, I set myself to training Leveria’s magic. Zander had offered his assistance, but my unique experience with Alkandi’s powers made me a more natural teacher for my sister. The old wizard just sat on a stool, and watched us. And he did look old. He looked like he’d aged a decade in a matter of hours, and though his skin hung looser on his face, he seemed to radiate with contentedness. I was almost worried for the treacherous bastard.

Leveria had a natural proclivity for telepathy, which made sense for her. She constantly tested my mind’s defenses, and delighted in every counterattack I used against her. For her, getting punched in the face by her own fist was a small price to pay to unlock the secrets of mental dominance. I made sure to teach her only the basics. She was decent enough at telekinesis, though she didn’t seem too interested in it. She only really wanted to learn how to fly, and since I couldn’t teach her that in the short amount of time we had, she was content with being able to catch and throw objects with her mind. Inferno was something she picked up frighteningly quickly, and she was soon making advanced patterns of flame with just a twirl of her fingertips. With her transforming ability already unlocked upon her metamorphosis, she only had healing left to learn, and there was nothing—and I mean nothing—about healing that came naturally to Leveria. It seemed to be against her very nature.

“I’m starting to think you’re just looking for an excuse to cut me,” Leveria growled as I drew my blade across her palm.

“The fastest way to learn healing is on yourself,” I said, pressing the blade harder than I needed to, “only you can feel your pain, so only you will know the true extent of the damage.”

“That sounds like a load of bullshit.”

“I don’t have time to play games with you now!” I snapped at her, and she shut her mouth.

You’re so fucking sexy when you’re mad, she purred into my mind.

Holy shit, what did we just talk about?!

I can’t read your mind, but I can glimpse it. You keep calling upon the way Prestira taught you magic. There’s this reoccurring memory you’re having of her… you’re bound to the mast of a ship, and she’s teaching you telekinesis by magically shoving dildos up your cunt. Why can’t we learn like that?



Because we don’t have time, stupid!

We have time enough, little sister. It could be all the time we have left. She wiggled her eyebrows.

You really thought that line would work on me, didn’t you?

I can see that it had the intended effect. You can’t help yourself.

“Is that so?” I asked, and put the knife against her codpiece. She became so violently aroused that the force of her erection broke the strap of her codpiece, and the silvery dragon flopped on her belly in the wake of her ballooning cock. I blinked. “That is one hell of a magic trick, Leveria.”

“Oh… fuck!” She growled, her jaw grinding, “Can’t you just… can’t you just give me a handjob or something?”

“No.”

“Then… then…” she took my wrist gingerly in her hand, guided the edge of the blade to her shaft, and gave me a coy smile.

I gave her a questioning look. “You want me to cut it off?”

“NO! I just… I just want you to cut it a little. Just a little. It’ll… it’ll help me learn healing.”

“I can’t believe you’re into this shit.”

“Alkandi didn’t give me my kinks, Yavara.” Leveria said, pulling out a cigarette, and lighting it with her thumb, “I was born fucked up. Now cut me.”

I narrowed my eyes at her, then looked down at the blade shining against her shaft. God, she had a good-looking penis. It was somehow pretty. A little pink bow around its neck would look lovely.

I can give it lipstick too if that means you’ll kiss it.

Get out of my head!

Your thoughts are so much easier for me to read now. I know I’m good, but I’m not nearly so powerful that I can breach your defenses. You’re letting your guard down.

You’re just not worth the trouble.

Leveria’s hand moved from my wrist, slid up my bicep, and rested on my shoulder. She left goosebumps all along my arm in her wake, and I shivered when her fingers stopped just short of my neck. We don’t have to keep playing these children’s games.

I tried to narrow my eyes at her, but I only barely managed to avoid gazing longingly into her cruel orange irises. I’m not playing any games at all.

Leveria slid her fingers around my throat. I didn’t stop her. I could choke you, she cooed huskily in my mind, I could rip your hair back, pin you down, and hurt you until you begged me to stop.

I shuddered from head to toe.

Her eyes flashed dangerously. Alkandi’s greatest crime was hiding your submissiveness. She thought your coyness and masochism were weaknesses, but she was so wrong. It’s your allure. It’s your power. Leveria’s fingers slid up to my cheek, and she touched my lips with her thumb. She was the wedge between us. She made us hate each other so that you would stay far away from me, lest we find the truth. Leveria pushed her thumb into my mouth. I sucked it, and moaned. What a duo we would’ve made together. My cunning and ruthlessness, your meekness and charm; we would’ve had the world in our hands.

Though I was spellbound by her silky words, and the way she gently dominated me, I maintained my autonomy. I bit tenderly on her thumb, and grinned. The world in our hands, Leveria? You would never have shared power with me.

But you would’ve known just how to steal it from me. She smirked, It’s obvious that I can’t resist you. It’s not just your magnetic masochism; it’s you, Yavara. You are my greatest opponent. We stole each other’s toys when we were children, we flaunted our beauty against each other as adolescents, then we waged war as queens, fought over the same woman, slaughtered each other’s armies, took each other’s lives, exchanged each other’s identities, and now… now we stand as partners.

I pulled her thumb out, and laughed. “Partners? You’re already plotting your next ten moves against me.”

Leveria winked. “But of course I am. It’s the game we play, but to what end do we now play the game? War and death? No, we’ve done that. We’re past that.”

“We’re not.” I hissed, “I know what you’re planning. I don’t need to read your mind to see it. I saw it when you raised your fists before the people. I once raised my fists and prophesized conquest, but it was a lie! You weren’t lying!”

“Ah yes, because you were so merciful to my soldiers.”

“I could’ve rolled your nation over in a day, and you know it!”

“Of course I knew it. I kept waiting for you to finally do it, but you never did, and I realized in the end that Elena was always right about you.” Leveria’s fingers played with the hair on the back of my neck. “Yes, you were violent and brutal, but you didn’t really mean it. You were a pretender, and I wasn’t. That’s why I destroyed you.” She sighed, and dropped her head, touching our brows, “I am a conqueror. When I want something, I take it. When you want something, you give it. That is the difference between us.”

“If all goes as planned, what’s to stop me from ordering Peter Shordian to level Alkandra to dust?”

Leveria grinned. “Nothing at all, except you.”

“You really think I won’t?”

“No,” she whispered, her black-sheened lips inches from my own, “because this is your home, and one day, you will come back to it.”

“I will be the queen of the Highlands!”

“The last queen of the Highlands.” She said, her breath in my mouth, in my nostrils, so sweet, “I crippled that nation with debt. Once the army is disbanded, you’ll smelt their armor for the worth of the metal, dismantle siege engines for the lumber, and sell the horses for meat, and even then, you will not have covered a fraction of what you owe Balamora and the Bearded Peaks. You won’t be able to raise more than ten-thousand men for the next fifty years.”

“Then I should destroy you while I still have the chance.” I whispered against her lips; so plump and moist.

She smiled, flicked the ash from her cigarette, and sucked from it, teasing me with those black-sheened lips of hers. The embers glowed hot from the end of the square when she pulled it from her mouth, and blew smoke into my eyes. “Alkandi may not be with you, Yavara, but you are still Alkandran.” She whispered, and lowered the cigarette between us, “When you go back to the Highlands and squat on Peter Shordian’s limp cock, you’ll close your eyes and remember how you used to get fucked.” Her face illuminated from beneath, the orange embers complimenting the captivating glow of her evil eyes. “You’ll have a couple of children, settle into your role as queen and mother, and let the time roll by. But there will always be something. An itch you can’t scratch. A hunger you can’t satiate.” Leveria opened my leather cutout, and pulled out my breast. I hardly noticed. I was entranced by her mouth as it formed her evil, delicious words. “One day, you will come to me all dressed in modest royal garb, and you’ll present yourself with the nobility and propriety expected of you. Perhaps you’ll say it is a diplomatic mission, or maybe a show of strength in the Dark Queen’s own court, but you and I will know why you really came to me.” She pinched my nipple, and rolled it between her thumb and finger until I was purring like a kitten for her. “And you’ll know, Yavara, when I reveal the apparatus that I prepared for you, that I have not spent my time idly.” Leveria laughed to herself. “It’s strange, when I was queen of the Highlands, I often fantasized about how I would torture you. I suppose this will be different.” Her smirk turned wicked. “But not much different.”

She pressed the hot embers to my nipple, and I cried out, flinging my head skyward. The pain lanced through my breast like a searing blade, and drew a line through my chest, my core, my pelvis, and into my pulsing nethers. My eyes welled with tears, my throat constricted with tension, and my pussy salivated with desire. My clit thrummed and ached with such need that the brush of fabric against it was such exquisite torture, and I rubbed my thighs together to make that torture worse. Leveria held me close, embracing me with such affection as she twisted the cigarette against my abused nipple. Her breath was rapid and hot against me, and her cock was bulging into my pelvis, throbbing wildly. My cry sputtered out into a whimper, and then a moan of pure lust crawled straight from my chest. Leveria was there to intercept the moan with her mouth, and her tongue slipped past my lips to paint saliva into my mouth. I kissed her back, moaning mindlessly, wilting into her arms, melting into her breasts. Her hard cock slipped between my leather-bound legs, and I felt it bare against the cutout in my crotch, the tantalizing hard heat of it sliding along my drooling slit. She could have me. She could have all of me. She could play out her darkest desires upon my flesh, and I would weep with joy to be so degraded. My thighs pillowed around her seeking shaft, and she thrusted as though fucking them, sliding her cock back and forth through my petals, smearing her juices with mine. I was ready. I was beyond ready. My pride didn’t mean shit, my autonomy was worth trash. I would be her slave! I would crawl like a dog at her heel and wallow endlessly in masochistic pleasure!

“No!” I gasped, and pushed her away.

Leveria looked perplexed. She took a step toward me, and I sent her sprawling on her ass with a telekinetic blast.

“Stay back!” I yelled.

She raised her head from the stones, and rubbed at her battered elbows. Behind her, Zander’s staff glowed a threatening shade of red.

“It’s your damn succubus-incubus-whatever-the-fuck magic; that’s all it is!” I snarled, pointing an accusing finger at her, “I’m not immune to it anymore. I am not Alkandran! I never fucking was! Stay back, Fredeon, or I’ll fucking crisp you!”

Zander stopped in his tracks. Leveria got to her feet, and splayed her hands out defensively. “Yavara, you need to—”

“I don’t need to do a fucking thing you say, Leveria!” I growled, and leveled my finger at her, “I won’t be one of your tools. When all this is over, we are through, you understand? I will leave with the army, and you will stay behind, and I will never see your face again.”

“What about our deal?”

“Fuck our deal! Any deal with you is a fucking trap, but you… oh you, arrogant bitch; you tried to spring your trap early on me! You thought you could seduce me like I’m some desperate virgin slut? You thought I would just give in to you?! YOU?!” I spat on the stones between us, “You said we were square yesterday. Fine, we’re square. We’re done. We don’t owe each other shit, not a year from now, not ten years from now.”

Leveria’s face drew gaunt with impending tears. Lies, all lies with her. “Yavara,” she said softly, “don’t make us enemies again.”



“You shameless cunt.” I laughed disbelievingly, “I never wanted to be your enemy! It wasn’t Alkandi that made us enemies! It was you! It was always YOU! I spent my whole life trying to get away from you, but you wouldn’t fucking let me go! Well, Leveria, guess what? I’m fucking leaving! I’m not coming back! And if I even get a whiff that you’re raising an army against me, then you’ll see how much of a ‘pretender’ I fucking am!”



Leveria raised her hand, then faltered. Her gaze drew from me, to the place over my shoulder. I felt the wrath leave me, and the residual arousal filtered away with it. A chill crawled up my spine. I turned around. Out over the Alkandran Bay, before the spiny outline of the Alkandran Horn, a dense fog was rolling steadily towards us.
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