Thaden’s steps had the quiet and deliberate pace of a bandit well versed in hiding from those that did not wish him good fortunes, or those travellers who held his fortune. His feet cracked no branches of twigs fallen from the trees looming above them, casting their shadows across what appeared to be a rather bright day gauging by the streams of sunlight that managed to cut through the ceiling of leaves. Even the soft shuffle of leaves was muted by his careful placement of feet, yet Kira could hear every footfall. Knew exactly where he was even though he was a few feet behind her.
He had said little since this morning, when they had both cleaned the sex from last night off their skin in the stream they had camped beside, before dressing and striding off south. To find Lillium, though Kira was still so unsure of what to do if she found her sister, especially if what she had heard turned out to be true. She wasn’t sure if she could kill her own sister, and though she never expressed the burrowing doubts in her mind to Thaden, she feared she would simply bend the knee if Lillium was indeed this succubus out of a nightmare.
Her thoughts bounced and spiraled, from her sister supposedly rampaging across the Coalition, to the warm embrace of Thaden and the taste of his skin, to Ian who could very well be dead now. But then, she had once thought the same of Lillium.
All her thoughts came crashing violently into the present, banished from her mind as she grasped the sword at her hip, drawing it carefully free. Through the trees, she heard the sounds of walking, at least two dozen people. She could hear their voices faintly, but not what they said, only that they seemed human. She could smell them now, the wind carrying their scent to her flaring nostrils. Sweat, smoke, blood, and fear clung to them like a cloak. Kira doubted any of them could smell it on each other.
Looking over her shoulder, she saw Thaden behind a tree, long dagger laying in one palm, pressed against the body of a crossbow he’d acquired outside Driftafar. He nodded at her, and she knew the bandit was ready. Years of thievery did not make one soft.
Tucking herself in a shrub at the base of a all oak, Kira waited, wondering who these people were. She did not expect the stumbling parade of weathered humans, shambling with hopelessness in their eyes. Their clothes were torn and smeared with dirt and some with blood, and there were many without any shoes or boots on, their bare feet bleeding as they trudged along their path staring straight ahead.
A mother in the group held her young child close to her chest, the boy’s legs a tattered and bleeding mess, trails where tears had fallen cutting through the dirt smeared across his face. A man with a limp clutched at his leg, a bloodied bandage wrapped around his thigh as he leaned heavily on a thick stick. There was mud packed into his eye, and Kira could tell as he came closer that he had lost it.
Slowly, with hands raised to show she meant no threat, Kira stood and stepped out onto the path. She was aware of how she looked, for while she had the dust of the road on her, the wide brimmed hat and vibrant red and green corset made her look more bandit than traveller out here, though back in the city she might be mistaken for a whore.
The parade slowly came to a shuffling stop as the leader spotted Kira, a tired looking and aging man, who’s gray hair was flecked with looked to be blood. Still, he was well muscled and held his dented blade firmly as he pointed it towards Kira, eyes flicking only momentarily to Thaden as he came out of hiding, weapons at his side.
“Step aside. We have nothing of value to give,” the man growled, and while Kira could hear the fatigue in his voice, she knew he would still be able to give a fight, even if no one else behind him could.
“We’re not bandits,” Kira said, and heard the short snort of laughter from Thaden, so quiet only she would have heard it. “We’ve just come from Driftafay. I’m looking for Lillium,” Kira admitted, and she saw the wave of fear the name brought upon those in the column, and the aging soldier spat on the ground.
“That whore of darkness. Keep going south, to Volgras. That’s where the fucking bitch lives,” the man said, and Kira felt her heart sink. She was finding it harder and harder to deny the truth laid down before her. Love of her sister was all that kept her from truly listening.
“Where are you from?” Thaden asked as Kira mulled in her own thoughts.
“A village southwest of here, from the Avernz clan. Our king is too mired in politics with his brother to pay much attention to the outlying villages. So far as he’s concerned, the dark whore can have us, and she nearly did. Her soldiers came in, raiding, screaming and looting. We’re the only ones that made it out, the rest dead or in chains, led back to Volgras,” the man said, and pointed back the way they had come from with his sword, though his eyes did not follow the gesture.
“Was she there?” Kira pressed.
“Listen, I don’t know what your deal is with the bitch, but drop it. You’re one woman, and she’s a fucking nightmare. Just turn around, and go back home, and hopefully our fearless leaders can pull their heads out of their ass long enough to stop the cunt. We’re going to Driftafay, find shelter there,” the man said, spitting on the ground again, his frustration and anger evident in his features.
Kira let out a low breath and reached up, slowly removing her hat, exposing her ears to the group. The soldier’s eyes went wide in surprise and there were gasps and hushed whispers amongst the refugees. What Kira did not expect however, was the sudden spark of hope that lit up in their eyes. She could practically smell it on them.
“Wolfkin,” someone whispered gently, and someone else came forward, falling to their knees and grasping at Kira’s legs like she was the daughter of Oan herself. Together they come in, a crowd of hopeful people reaching out to touch her, and the last Kira saw of Thaden’s face was a look of surprise before she lost him amidst the sea of wretches desperately clinging to their newfound saviour.
“Oan has given us a sign…”
“…will guide us…”
There were so many voices, coming together that even with her enhanced hearing, Kira was having trouble pulling out individual sentences. They needed her, to lead them to safety. She wondered if finding Lillium was worth it, if her heart could truly stand such a meeting, or if she should simply do everything in her power to save these people.
She had failed her own, talk said. Had left them to find others to help them. She could not live with more lives on her conscious for her failure to act. But, if she led them to Driftafay, Lillium could cause more heartache, more destruction.
Then she was looking into the eyes of the woman, clinging tightly to her child who looked at Kira in wonder and amazement.
“Save us Wolfkin. Deliver us from evil.”
Standing in the middle of the council chamber, Sarya looked up at the faces peering down at her, full of revulsion at the head dangling from her fist by its hair, blood dripping onto the floor with a quiet patter, a small puddle forming by her feet. They were also full of fear, because of the sword clutched in her other hand, still stained crimson, and the armour she wore, of an empire thought fallen, also spattered.
The silver guard kept their distance, not knowing how to react with their captain standing in the middle of the room, holding the head of one they were supposed to protect, but Sarya paid them no heed. Instead she looked to one Elf ambassador, of the house Wayyel, and threw the head at him. It bounced on the table before him, spattering blood, and the man’s face blanched as he looked down at a former comrade.
“All of you, are weak. My empire did not fall because of the soldiers. If it were up to the soldiers, the Kazdruk would be a footnote in history. They would be stories to tell our children. But it was people like you, always talking, always fretting, always trying to stab each other in the back for a profit, that let the Kazdruk storm my lands. Rape our people. Murder us. Enslave us,” Sarya began, noting out of the corner of her eye, shadowy figures moving just out of sight.
The ambassadors all began to talk noisily, trying to proclaim Sarya a traitor, all except the Wayyel ambassador, who looked down at the head still in his lap, in a state of shock.
“Shut your fucking mouths,” Sarya roared, and looked to one of the Silver Guard, and extended her hand. Everyone looked at her, silence filling the room, as the guard stepped forward, and gave her his spear.
“Captain. We’re with you,” the man said with a slight bow of his head, and took a few steps back. There was shock amidst the council now, and it was only punctuated when Sarya grasped the spear tightly, and threw it hard. The lead shaped blade rammed through a woman’s chest, cleaving through the flesh of her breast, the bone of her ribs, and sticking through the back of her chair, dripping her blood as she slumped in death, unable to fall pinned as she was.
“Weakness killed my empire. But it is not weakness that will kill this Coalition. It is cowardice, as human nobles bow, and scrape the lick the toes of Elvish rulers who would use our lives to buy their own,” Sarya continued, and there was a murmur of agreement from the guards, and even some of the servants in attendance, bringing the ambassadors refreshments of silver trays. Not one of them an Elf.
“You racist bitch!” a silver guard called out, tearing his helmet from his head, revealing the pointed ears of his race. He grasped his spear, storming forward, but only got a few steps before another came behind him, ramming his own weapon through the Elf’s throat. For a moment the guard stood, eyes wide in realization, blood pouring from his open mouth. When the spear was pulled free, the Elf died quickly. Sarya hadn’t even looked.
“To save the people you proclaim to protect, I hereby invoke myself as Dictator of Driftafay, and proclaim Driftafay free of the coalition. For your acts of treason against your own people, you all, are sentenced to death. May Oan have mercy on your souls for turning your back on those your swore to lead.”
“You can’t do this,” the Wayyel ambassador finally shouted, rising to his feet, his face red with rage.
“I already have,” Sarya said, and as soon as the words left her mouth, the guards were moving forward, grabbing at the council members. Any who resisted were stabbed on the spot, their blood pooling on the floor. The Wayyel ambassador was amongst them, left slumped over the table before him, blood pattering on the floor beneath as his glassy eyes stared at nothing. Sarya watched the slaughter with no feeling.
It had to be done.
Screams howled in the streets of Driftafay, as Sarya stood on one of the palace balconies. Her sword was sheathed, her helmet tucked under her arm, as she watched the city go wild with blood lust. Years of pent up frustration released on a people that thought they were better than everyone else. Rivers of blood ran through the gutters, pouring into the sewers. Crows were already circling overhead, diving down for their meals in districts abandoned by the rampaging mobs.
The guards did nothing, even occasionally tossing Elven members out to the bloodthirsty throng. In the market square, the council members dangled by their necks from hastily erected gallows. Their bodies had been stripped and beaten, leaving them barely recognizable. Anyone who thought the Coalition was a peaceful existence between humans and elves need only look down into the streets of Driftafay to know the barbaric truth.
The Human Clans, and Elven Houses hated each other as much now, as they did before the pact was sealed. Perhaps more so. Sarya closed her eyes, but could still hear the sounds carrying through the streets.
She would not be forgiven for this. She would be heralded as a tyrant and villain. Yet she made peace with that, for she had given humanity the best chance they could against the encroaching Kazdruk. Now, it was time to prepare for war. Because for what she has done, there would be no one coming to help. The Elves would not allow it.
She turned on her heel, and strode back into the palace, leaving the orgy of violence behind.
Hungry moans filled Lillium’s chambers, the soft violet glow of Kazdruk torches throwing shadows across the mostly naked forms of the women upon the baroness’s bed, her sheets damp with sweat and mostly kicked off the edge, pooling upon the floor.
Yannifer, as always in her wraps of black leather, whip in hand, watched the scene playing out before her with hungry eyes, letting the very tip of her weapon slide teasingly across Rania’s back, down over the tight curve of her rear, and down over her glistening thighs. The woman kneeled between Lillium’s legs, her new fangs sunk into the flesh of the succubus’s thigh, thin trickle of crimson seeping from beneath the black lips pressed to pale flesh as the new born vampire greedily sucked from her mistress.
Finely made black ropes, soft to the touch, crisscrossed over her back, looping through well tied knots down her front, one at her throat, another nestled where the slope of her breasts began to curve downwards, another just beneath the gorgeous orbs of flesh peaked with a pale pink nipple. Three more ran down the centre of her belly, the last of which was tied just above her crotch. Looped over her neck, and sliding downwards between her thighs and up between her rear cheeks, the karada knots were something Lillium had found in a book from the Goldulin empire. It fit Rania so well anymore, not hiding anything from prying eyes, though Rania revelled in displaying her flesh since tasting the blood of an ancient Goddess.
One hand reaching down over herself, Lillium’s fingers traced the cords wrapping her concubine, the succubus keeping her eyes closed as she moaned to the ceiling, her wings draped across the bed, hanging off the edges as she savoured her own depravity.
Mia, clad only in the leather head piece of a nun’s habit, ran her hands over Lillium’s body, feeling each curve as her mouth sucked upon one of the stiff nipples of the succubus’s breast. Her legs were draped over the woman, even feeling Rania’s hair on the bottom of one thigh, as her hips gently rolled, grinding her slick cunt against her mistress, moaning into her flesh. The lash of the whip broke the softness of the moans and slick sounds of mouths sucking on vein and tit. The leather cracked hard against Rania’s back, licking over her side and across Lillium’s leg. The strike drew a long line across both women, small rivulets of blood seeping from the wound, but only causing both women to moan louder, though one was muffled.
Yannifer licked her lips at the sound, a shiver running up her spine as her fingers toyed with the grip of the lash within her grasp, leather wrapped around her wrist creaking slightly with the movement, rubbing against her flesh pleasantly. Stepping forward, she ran her fingertips up Rania’s legs, and over her ass, her eyes alight with lust.
The cut on concubine and mistress healed, leaving only a smear of blood in its wake, along with the others that had been delivered since these four had shut the door to Lillium’s chambers some hours before. And through it all Niseth had been within the shadows, watching, hoping to gleam information from the succubus baroness. Instead she had been witness to hours of slow pleasure, becoming very familiar with the sound of orgasm from each four of the women as they teased each other unto the peak of bliss again and again, until their skin glistened with sweat.
Yet still they did not stop, not one looking as if she wanted to stop. Niseth herself had been unable to deny to eroticism of Lillium and her concubines, finding her own claws between her legs, gently pushing into the very wet depths of her cunt, not making a sound as she fingered herself. Her thighs and fingers would shimmer just as the lips, digits and legs of the four she watched, if not for her absolute control of the shadows even in the midst of self pleasure.
Now, watching Yannifer slide the butt of her whip into Rania’s rear, listening to her moan around her bit on Lillium’s thigh, the shadow master felt herself shudder as an orgasm slid through her, brought on by what she saw as much as her own busy fingers.
The temptation to stay and watch curled through the spy’s mind. She was patient, eventually she might learn something other than how Lillium could make someone writhe and scream in pleasure with her tongue and lips alone. The look on Yannifer’s face when she finally reached her peak as the succubus’s tongue darted and flicked, told Niseth how the sultry baroness had managed to secure such loyalty from her concubines… at least after the corruption had set in.
Shaking her head, Niseth withdrew her fingers from her cunt, and licked them clean, before vanishing into the shadows, travelling through darkness where no other could see her. Not even the mighty Yuldasha.
Moving through the castle after one final look at the four, seeing Yannifer pull roughly on Rania’s hair, while Lillium brought Mia up for a long wet kiss, Niseth soon found herself in the village itself. She knew the memories of what she had seen in the chambers above would linger warmly on her mind for many nights, and Aeltha might enjoy the descriptions, Niseth knew she had more important tasks to complete.
As she moved from shadow to shadow, unseen by the villagers walking free through the streets of the village, Niseth pondered their appearance. No fear, no slave collars, nor even the modest woolen garb these Coalition peasants favored. No instead they wore black wool dresses, slit to the hip, their torsos clad in corsets of varying quality. Skin was marked with strange designs, painted on with black, red, or purple dyes. Men and women both wore cosmetics, enhancing their looks, and passing villagers openly ogled each other. Something was very strange; this did not look like people conquered. It looked like freedom, like citizens. Some men and women even wore simply mail armour, brandishing spears as they stood guard or patrolled in small groups, they themselves painted strangely.
Niseth did not know what to make of it, so filed everything she witnessed away that she might report it to her own mistress. Aeltha would be most intrigued by these developments.
Of course, that observation paled when she found the barracks. Where the helots made their home. Whatever building it had been before, human and helot alike had expanded it, until it was a small compound with its own blacksmith and armourer, both in use as workers glistened with sweat as they laboured over steel, crafting weapons and armour for those currently standing on a square of flat slabs.
Lorth, their leader, stood at one end, watching the training. Niseth was most interested in the sash he wore, even as his eyes danced from one drilling set of Helot warriors to another. Shouts of instructors echoed within the compound, and the Helots listened as their wooden weapons clashed and struck against posts and each other. There were blood stains upon the ground from failure and wounds suffered, and Niseth shook her head at the discipline of these warriors. To make matters more interesting for the spy, she noted more than one that had not originally belonged to this warband.
Her memory rushed and clicked, and she realized she recognized some that were deserters from other Kazdruk armies. Helots were flocking here, to further the conquests of their demonic masters under a new set of heels. Niseth let her eyes flick up to the tower where Lillium was doubtless still entwined with the nude forms of her concubines.
Slipping away once again, Niseth decided to examine one last place before making the return to the Spire. The old church, obvious in its defilement from outside, the once pristine stone now had strange runes carved into it, and filled with red paint. The stained glass windows had been smashed out, though there was one that had been replaced. The images on the new window were certainly not ones that Oan would approve of. It showed a succubus kneeling naked beneath a tree, decapitated corpses spilling their blood upon her. Reds, and blacks, and flesh tones were all used, rather than the soft greens and yellows and blues of before.
More mist than solid, Niseth drifted up the stairs leading to the front doors, and peered within. There was a woman, naked, her body tattooed, her hair wild. Niseth struggled for a moment before the woman’s name returned to her mind; Aela. Now some depraved priestess for whatever religion Lillium had raised here in Volgras.
Aela though was not alone, for while she kneeled upon the stone altar at the head of the temple, beneath a dead man staked to the back wall and stripped naked, there was a Helot beneath her. She held a chalice of onyx in her hands as she chanted, the words slipping from her mouth, and tempting the spy to slip fingers between thighs once more. The words sounded familiar, as if from a different life, and as she thought of them, Aela slowly descended. The Helot’s cock sank into her depths, and Aela let out a moan of pure pleasure, before her hips began to roll. Her breasts bounced as she rode the beast beneath her, strong hands grasping her hips as she continued to speak her strange words.
The chalice tilted forwards, and blood flowed over its brim, splashing upon the Helot’s face. Not much spilled, and holding the chalice up again with one hand, Aela used her free fingers to draw something on the Helot’s forehead.
“Baptized by the blood of sacrifice, and the cunt of a woman blessed, be welcomed to the embrace of Morkate, rise a Blood Guard of her Harbinger,” Aela called out in her husky voice, and the Helot grunted. Cum seeped around his cock, still buried in her depths, dripping onto the stone of the altar. Aela grinned, and ran her fingers down the warrior’s chest.
Having seen enough, Niseth turned, and vanished into the wilderness.
Heels clicked on cobblestone as Lillium emerged from the gates of her castle, sliding out of the shadows into the light of the sun. The breeze had her long hardened leather skirts billowing around her legs, showing glimpses of black steel and mail beneath. Just behind her stood Yannifer, whip coiled around her forearm.
Standing now in the courtyard she looked upon the gathered Helots, Lorth standing before them, proud. He pounded a fist hard to his chest, the gauntlet cracking against his breast plate in salute. A smile curled Lillium’s lips as her gaze flicked over the start of her army.
“Are you ready for war? Are you ready to feast on the flesh of our enemies, and take the spoils of victory?” she called out, her voice loud, clear, and edged with iron. The responding cry from the gathered Helots was deafening. A roar of bloodlust that echoed through the town, and the surrounding forest.
Even deep within the dungeons of Volgras, Ian looked up with tired eyes towards the bars filling the high and narrow window of his cell. The roaring shout outside sent a shiver of despair down his spine.