Kneeling near the front of Volgras’ old church, Mia’s hands were clasped together as she witnessed the holy spectacle before her. The priest that had once preached in this building was dead, slain by the woman now standing over the altar of stone covered in carved runes that glowed with an unearthly light. The woman, this high priestess, had been the priest’s daughter, yet she had showed no hesitation when plunging the knife down into her father’s chest to show her faith to her new Goddess; Morkate.
Clad in a cloak of raven black, the hood obscuring features Mia knew to be beautiful, the high priestess held her arms aloft as she spoke in a long forgotten tongue. Each word fell upon the gathered followers kneeling before her, all nude, with red paint marking runes upon their flesh, their eyes locked upon her. That she even knew the language was proof of her connection to Morkate, and all across the Coalition kings and nobles believed her long forgotten.
Aela proved them wrong as she spoke, her cloak opened to show her tattooed flesh, glistening with oils that Mia had been lucky enough to help apply before the mass, though the moisture glistening between her legs was not oil. In her hand was clutched a dagger, curved with more runes along the blade, the hilt an ornate piece of chiselled wood curled perfectly into her hand.
Laying across the altar, tied down with thick leather straps, nude like all others in the church, but the markings painted on her skin was not paint, but rather blood drawn from her own palms, and from Aela’s. Her eyes were full of fear, looking up at the dagger, and over the people that had once been neighbours and friends.
“Why are you doing this? Oan will guide us to paradise. This Pagan Goddess will only end with your suffering! Please,” she begged, an endless tirade of pleas for her freedom, and Mia felt the corner’s of her mouth curl upwards. She had once been weak, once gotten on her knees to beg for Oan’s guidance. Lillium had showed her the truth, shown her the one reason one should get on their knees. Now here she knelt, her flesh stinging from recent tattoos that marked her as a priestess of Morkate. Aela had made each marking herself, with ink mixed with the blood of Morkate’s Harbinger; Lillium.
“You cry and plead for weakness. The Cozlak are no more. Innisgar is but debris. We have risen from its ashes, molded by the lash of the Harbinger, shown the darkness, that paradise lies within our own flesh,” Aela purred, her hand running over her sleek body as she spoke.
“We are not of the Coalition to be tossed away by Elves, and our own nobles grown fat on Elvish food, their purses heavy with Elvish gold. We are not Kazdruk to be denied our own pleasure and fed to beasts of war. We are Katen, embraced within the dark gaze of Morkate, and guided by her Harbinger, Lillium, Baroness of Volgras,” Aela called.
Mia found herself shouting amongst all others in the defiled church: “Kneel before Morkate, Hail Lillium.”
“And so, you are our enemy, and to appease our lust for blood, and the dark Goddess’s hunger for souls too weak to follow in her wake, we offer your physical body to the pain of death, and your soul to the darkness,” Aela cried, and the church went silent with hungry anticipation, except for the woman’s screams.
The knife came down, and plunged between her breasts. Blood poured from the wound, running through the grooves of the altar, and spilling down the sides onto the floors. For a moment, there were only the gurgles of the woman as she died upon the holy knife, followed by a cry from the congregation that was almost orgasmic.
As blood flowed through the church, man and woman turned upon one another. There was no need to tear clothes that were folded carefully at the entrance of the temple. Aela stood watch as her flock descended into the beauty of carnal need. Mia found herself in the centre, a woman’s hands roaming over her back, down to her ass, clenching hard. A man climbed atop her, the tip of his cock sliding along her thigh before he drove it deep inside her.
She moaned hungrily as he filled her with his hard heat, her hands running through his hair as she arched her back, hard nipples grazing over his chest as he began to thrust into her with hungry grunts, his cock glistening and slick with her juices.
Lips were claimed by another woman, whose tongue thrust into Mia’s mouth. Muffled moans spilled into the kiss from both women, and the way her body pushed into and pulled from the fallen nun let her know without opening her eyes, that her newest lover had a man slamming himself into her from behind. Which entrance she could not tell.
The cries of pleasure filled the room, and flesh slapped against flesh. Old marriages were worthless in the eyes of Morkate, nor did she approve of monogamy. Prudish housewives found themselves kneeling between the legs of muscled men they had secretly dreamed of, their lips now shamelessly sliding along their pricks, some with a hand buried between their legs. Once loyal husbands now had women bent over before them, or riding atop them, bouncing upon their cocks.
Mia groaned hungrily as she felt a flood of cum gushing into her, and the still hard cock slid out, pumping spunk across the floor, further staining it. Mia’s eyes opened as she witnessed the body of the man that had fucked her, glistening with sweat, turn and be embraced by another man. She recognized the lumberjack as he pressed her lover to a wall, and thrust himself inside. Both men moaned in animal hunger as their bodies thrust against each other.
Mia stared, feeling the lips of the woman above her descend to her breast, pulling a nipple into her mouth and greedily sucking, flicking a tongue over the stiff nub, as her eyes soaked in one man fiercely fucking the other. The one against the wall had his head roughly turned, so that their lips may meet in a passionate kiss that had Mia panting with desire, just before she felt a tongue lapping between her own thighs.
A glance down showed another man, kneeling before her, his tongue soon driving up inside her, reminding her of how she had given herself but a few weeks before, kneeling before the Harbinger. The man though, had another woman beneath him, her tongue running over his balls as his cock rubbed against her skin, already smeared with the cum of other lovers. Reaching down, Mia grasped his hair, pulling him tighter into her greedy cunt, her juices smearing over his lips and chin, mingling with that of all the others already there.
She looked up again, hips bucking against the face of the man between her legs, and found herself facing yet another man, who slid his cock between her lips without pause. Mia’s mouth opened hungrily, tasting cum and pussy upon her tongue as he began to thrust, faster, harder, her body shaking from the effort, her tits bouncing each time he buried himself to her throat.
The glory of orgasm was not long coming, and her muffled moan had the man above her groaning his own pleasure, before his seed cascaded over her tongue, down her throat. Bitter and delicious it flowed, and Mia drank it down.
The fallen nun gasped as the cock was pulled from her mouth, strings of cum landing upon her chin and breast and the hair of the woman sucking her nipple, and let her eyes find Aela.
The high priestess still stood naked save her cloak as she watched the orgy unfold, and carved open the body of her sacrifice that she might serve the Harbinger a holy feast. In the dim light that managed to show just a hint under the hood, Mia could see beautiful black lips, shimmering, and curled in a smile.
The knife drove down into the thick oaken table, slicing through the map easily. Lillium slowly unwrapped her fingers from the hilt, and looked up at her war council. Lorth, and two of his chosen lieutenants clad in armour, and with a red sash to mark their rank, glanced down where the knife had driven through; Driftafay.
“You mean to take the city? We do not have the soldiers needed for an attack of this scale,” Lorth said, glancing back up to the baroness. His two lieutenants said nothing, afraid of contradicting the wishes of a Kazdruk.
“Correct. Which is why we won’t assault the walls. But instead we will set up catapults, here and here,” Lillium told her captain, pointing to two points on the map, out in the farm land.
“Harass their defences, damage the walls and towers, but more importantly, raid their farms,” Lillium said, and with those words she saw the battle lust glowing in the eyes of her council.
“If they sally from the gates, we can fight them back easily enough my lady. But the trouble comes when an army marches south to fight us back,” Lorth said, and Lillium noted that the two lieutenants nodded, but still said nothing.
“So then what are your suggestions? This is a war council, use your tongues,” Lillium said, narrowing her eyes.
One lieutenant, Kaln, nervously glanced at his companion and superior, but the other, Bazk, jabbed a finger onto the map, not far north of where the catapults would be set up.
“We have a cohort of warriors here. Acting as lookouts they’ll be able to spot an incoming army, and harass them long enough for our catapults to be taken down for a retreat into the wood line. Once there in the trees, we can use hit and run attacks to destroy the army. If there is a sally from the city, the same cohort can flank it, while leaving some scouts behind to keep watch,” he said and slowly lifted his finger. He took a breath, waiting for the lash to strike, and there was a look of surprise on his face when it never came.
“You chose your lieutenants well Lorth. Well Kaln, do you agree?” Lillium asked.
“It would leave less warriors for the raids upon the farms. Letting many escape, perhaps even with their stores to bring into the city, which would hamper the results of the harassment,” Kaln said after some thinking, and Lillium nodded.
“This attack is not about taking the city. This attack is not about weakening the city. This attack is about putting fear in their hearts. And spreading the worship of Morkate. Raid, ravage, destroy, but let many escape… along with some of our own,” Lillium said.
Kaln and Bazk cocked their heads quizzically, but Lorth grinned.
“Destroy them from within. Conversion,” he said, and Lillium’s grin matched his own.
“If Aeltha or Yuldasha learn of you being this harbinger, the results will not be good,” Bazk willed himself to say.
“When Bazk. When they learn. When that time comes, we must be ready for the reckoning, until then, we spread the will of the Kazdruk, and prepare,” Lillium said and looked between the three.
“Your people were not so different from humans long ago. Until the Kazdruk came. Now, you have a chance to regain former glory, if you stay loyal to me.”
The two lieutenants looked at each other for a moment, before joining their captain in pounding a fist to their chest in salute.
Closing the door to her office softly behind her, Sarya let out a long sigh. Kira had escaped the city her spies said, but she had not called off the search within the walls. This information stopped with her; it would not reach the council, and she would give them no reason to think that this Wolfkin had gotten outside the walls.
As she passed her desk, she glanced down at the map of Coalition territory, noting the blocks set upon the fabric that denoted Kazdruk incursions. They were getting closer and closer to Driftafay, the greatest city for the south of the Coalition. Now with Innisgar gone, there was no true point of defense between the Kazdruk and the city, and this Lillium would more than likely march soon.
And the council had chased away their best chance at fighting them back. Sarya was not from here, she was Goldulin, a former Centurion, who had fled when their outpost had been stormed, her commander crucified, and most of her soldiers slain. She had fled, smeared in the blood of Kazdruk, so that she might fight back another day. She could not avenge her people if she were enslaved, or nailed to a cross as most of those who had lived under the protection of the Empire had been.
So when Kira had vanished into the night, Sarya had secretly inquired about the legends of these feudal and savage clans that had allied themselves with the Elves. She had learned of the stories of the Wolfkin, had heard whispers of hope that dare not rise in pitch so long as Human kings scraped for the promise of riches and power that Elves could promise. It was the very same corruption that had led to her Empire to so easily be conquered by the demonic invaders. So here it was now, that arrogance, and power mongering nobles, would lead their own people to doom.
Sarya crossed her chambers, undoing the buckles of her fine silver armour, dropping it unceremoniously on the floor rather than hanging it carefully with pride as she had every day since being given this position. The sword, inlaid with silver, beautifully crafted, but with not a single dent of war in its edge, was the last to fall, forgotten now by the captain.
Kneeling by the chest that lay at the foot of her bed, she closed her eyes, and opened the heavy oaken lid, the edges reinforced with steel, not gold or jewels. Within lay the matte gray steel bands that made her Lorica and helm. Fine leather buckles, still well treated even after six years, showed no reflection of light, and the plume of red dyed horse hairs that sprung outwards from crest to nape of helmet showed bright, so that her soldiers might see her in the thick of chaotic battle.
She lifted the Lorica from the chest, and pulled it on, feeling the steel settle upon her form again. The weight a comfort, the dents and gouges of past battles marks of honour, and a better show than glittery silver that promoted only greed.
Beneath it all, her spatha, the sword well cared for, sharpened, but nothing fanciful. A Centurion needed no such gaudy pretense. Not like her own Emperor, or Empress, or the Senate. No, a Centurion was the definition of soldier, and that was what these people needed now. She would save them from their own masters, before the Elves led all humanity to destruction.
Buckling on her greaves and bracers, and pulling on the skirt of red wool and metal strips, Sarya glanced upwards as there was a knock at her door; she had waited long enough. She had bowed to the will of the council too long, and now she must reclaim her soul.
Elvias Winterstone lounged in his comfortable chair, padded with cushions of goose feathers wrapped in blue silk. Carefully groomed hair fell about his fine features and he stared at the goblet in his hand, within a most wonderful vintage from a vineyard far to the south. A vineyard doubtlessly in Kazdruk hands now, and burned to ashes. Which only made the wine that much rarer, and expensive.
“This is a fine gift,” Elvias said to his guest, Henry, ambassador of the ruined Cozlak clan, who held the bottle carefully in his pudgy fingers. The man had the look of desperation upon him, his jowls shook as he nodded and smiled, doubtlessly well practised and very fake. Elvias could not help but admire the man; he had done fairly well for himself despite his clan rendered to nothing, essentially making him powerless. And being human of course.
“But, I will not be bribed Henry,” Elvias continued, and there the act faltered, the smile turning into a wide ‘O’ of shock, before his tongue flicked over lips.
“Without a clan, your position on the council seems rather redundant. And seeing as it was your clan that gave the Kazdruk the newest of their lieutenants, I don’t see why I should reward you,” Elvias said with a simple shrug, and smirked as Henry’s face turned to true fear.
“No need for that expression my friend. It’s not like I’m going to have you executed,” Elvias said with a laugh, but then he saw that Henry’s eyes were not upon him, but over his shoulder. The Elf frowned, and was about to turn, when something struck him hard. Pain flared in his skull, and he sprawled across the ground. Something wet and sticky stuck in his hair and he let out a low groan of pain.
Twisting onto his back, he saw something he never thought he’d see again. A Goldulin centurion, standing above him. His heart pounded, the Empire had fallen six years ago to the Kazdruk, how was this possible? The Centurion moved, and a flicker of candle light cast light beneath the soldier’s helm.
“Sarya?” Elvias breathed, unable to believe it. She’d come, wanting vengeance for her people, had been so very loyal, as soldiers of her caliber always were. But here she stood, her sword at the throat of Henry.
“You betray your people, to suck at the cock of Elves. I hope there is more than enough to stuff your gob, and your ass, in the pits of Hell,” Sarya growled at Henry, before her sword went clear through his throat. As blood sprayed from the wound when the blade came free, splashing over Sarya’s face and chest, Elvias now truly understood why they had never been able to defeat the empire.
In this, what he imagined to be his last moments, he saw how wrong he had been about humans. Before him was not weakness, it was ruthlessness perfected. As Henry’s body fell lifelessly to the floor, Sarya stormed to the fallen Elf, still dazed from the strike to his skull. She had the blade to his throat, the edge sharp and already drawing a ruby of blood.
“Mercy,” he whispered.
“You held none for us,” she said in reply, and there was a whisper of steel and parting flesh, and another flare of pain.
Elvias felt his head hit the floor, tried to speak but could only gurgle desperately. Blood flowed from his opened throat, and he died at the feet of a human. Who watched him bleed, without mercy, only cold, ruthless calculation.
Driftafay no longer bent to Elven sway. The humans were once more on the rise.
Aeltha held up the vial and peered into it. It was exactly the same serum she had given to Lillium, and the succubus had chosen to use it to make a new concubine. The results had been fascinating. These humans were able to be molded in such ways she’d not heard of since the Neigin. The creatures who had become the Helots, the final product chosen as the most efficient of all the experiments her own teacher and master had performed on those creatures.
She had created her share of Succubi, but Succubi had been made from many races. They were not overly difficult to create. Glancing over her shoulder at Niseth, much of her beauty torn to grotesque stature, the sorceress had to admit that learning the anatomy of the humans had taken some time.
But she had it now. And the secrets held within the personal library of the Goldulin Empress herself had foretold so much more. Vampires, ancient creatures thought to be the minions of an old Goddess named Morkate. Eternal, beautiful, sexual, blood drinkers. Not so different from a succubus in hindsight.
But this world had expunged the worship of Morkate, and all the vampires were slain. The religious fervour of the followers of this new god, Oan, had ensured that the beautiful darkness of Morkate would never be seen again. Perhaps it was for the best, humans worshiping dark things would be able to stand taller against the Kazdruk, rather than the whimpering they did now.
The royal lines of the Empire however, had kept hidden stashes of vampiric blood. They used it to keep themselves young, and beautiful. Never enough to change themselves, that would betray their secret to the church. Aeltha smiled at the thought, that a small droplet of the blood held in the vial currently clenched between her fingers could stretch human life.
She wanted vampires of her own, the prospect seemed delightful. This concubine of Lillium’s was a breakthrough. The humans could become something more unique than succubi after all. But none would surpass Lillium herself. The woman’s dark heart, hidden from even herself for so long, had let Aeltha bond her with Kazdruk magics easily enough, to change her into a succubus.
But, just a simple succubus would not have done, and at the time, Aeltha was still unsure of just how frail humans were. Lillium had been her first subject of vampirism testing. A vampire succubus, even now, even after the experiment had been such a success, the idea sent shivers up her spine.
“Mistress,” Niseth finally said, and Aeltha smirked. The first succubus born of human flesh, so very loyal, yet she was impatient. She wanted to be back in the shadows, lurking that she may feast upon yet more knowledge.
“What news do you bring my dear?” she asked.
“I… no longer hear the whispers of whores in Volgras. They no longer seek me out. But my contacts in Driftafay whisper, of coming war to the city,” the spy whispered in her harsh voice that still somehow managed to sound as if on the wind.
“Why would those in Volgras no longer seek your protection?” Aeltha asked, turning on her heel, carefully setting the vial in its place. She ignored what was said about Driftafay, of course war was coming, and the foolish Elves would just throw more humans as the Kazdruk in an attempt to stop them, inadvertently feeding the very war machine that would crush them.
“I do not know. But I believe Lillium has swayed their favour. To herself,” Niseth said, and Aeltha pondered a moment.
“Then you must go. Discover what you can,” Aeltha said, but before she could say any more, there was a heavy knock at her chamber door. Without further word, Niseth vanished into shadow, witness to all that would take place over the next few minutes. Aeltha let out a frustrated sigh, and barked for whoever it was to enter.
Two figures stepped in, a large well muscled Kazdruk man, and a woman, armoured, would have been called an Elf once, but Aeltha wondered if she still could be called as such.
“Neicul, I must admit it’s rather perplexing, yet amusing finding you at my chamber door.”