Dark Vengeance I: Dragon's Eye

I

Feanor

“Fuck me, My Lord, fuck me harder.”

Lady Vaenetha’s voice rang out, driving Lord General Feanor, commander of all elvish forces in Xesh, to even greater efforts. His delicate but voluptuous lover sat astride his hips, and he sat up to face her, his lips against hers. Her pierced nipples, a present from her dark elven captors, pressed against his chest, pink and swollen, shining delicately with perspiration.

“Make me come, Lord. Make me come, please.”

The words excited Feanor, and he felt his own orgasm draw closer. No, he told himself. No, she must be first. Always.

This building had been the Xeshite Primarch’s palace, but since the conquest, Feanor and Vaenetha had taken it for their own. Here, they made love day and night, while Feanor oversaw the final pacification of Xesh, and planned the next stage of the elven campaign of world conquest. The humid air of this jungle realm seemed alive with sensual excitement, and Feanor found himself spending more time with Vaenetha and less with his generals with each passing day.

Vaenetha’s golden hair, sweat-soaked, flew as she threw her head back and her moans rose to a desperate crescendo.

“Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, pleeeeeeasssse…”

Vaenetha said and did things that no other elven lady would dare even imagine. Feanor knew he was her slave in all things, and would do anything for her, so long as she remained his to love.

Teeth clenched, body trembling, Vaenetha flung her arms around Feanor, nails digging into his back.

“I’m coming, darling… I’m… ohhhhhhh…”

Vaenetha’s cunt clenched around Feanor’s cock, and still he drove on, forcing himself into his lover against the rhythmic contractions of her orgasm.

“Oh! Oh! Again… Again…” Vaenetha’s nails scored his back, and Feanor felt pain, but he didn’t care. As orgasm once more racked his lover, he felt his own climax rise uncontrollably.

“Darling… I’m coming…” he hissed. “I’m coming… too…”

The explosion tore through Feanor’s body and he released an hour of pent-up passion into Vaenetha’s welcoming depths. It went on for a long time – she drew deeper and more intense lusts and greater performance from him than any woman he’d ever known.

Moments later, they lay in a sweaty tangle amid the devastated bedclothes.

“I love you, Lady,” Feanor whispered. “I love you, Vaenetha.”

“And I love you,” Vaenetha replied. “More than life itself.”

Then there was silence for a time, broken only by their breathing and by the drone of insects outside.

“Lord Feanor?” Vaenetha said, softly.

“What is it, my love?”

Her tone changed slightly. “I spoke with Iskhana and Dhruul, the eldest dragons.”

Feanor looked surprised. “You did? When?”

“Yesterday, my love. I have been speaking with them for some time now, but I wasn’t sure how to tell you. I know that the dragons normally speak only to the Princes, but Dhruul came to me in a dream, calling my name. I went to him, and he spoke to me.”

The elven lord frowned. “What did he say?”

“He and Iskhana both spoke to me. They wish to aid you in your quest to rid the world of the lesser races, and restore elven glory.”

Feanor smiled proudly. “We restore the ancient glory of the dragons, as well.”

“They say that they can summon their ancestors. The ancient, invincible dragons of the ancient world. From before the great Catastrophe that broke the lands and almost destroyed our people.”

Feanor sat up abruptly, staring.

“They said this, Vaenetha? Truly?”

Vaenetha nodded. “They require your assistance, but they know the spells to summon the Ancient Ones and the lost heroes who once rode them. With their aid, your armies will truly be invincible.”

Feanor pulled a strand of long blonde hair from his eyes. “And what sort of assistance do they need?”

“An artifact called the Dragon’s Eye is to be found in the jungles of Xesh, in an ancient temple guarded by the jarreks, who do not truly understand its significance. If you were to send your army against the temple and take the Eye, Iskhana and Dhruul will be able to cast a great summoning, and bring the Ancient Ones back to this world.”

Feanor looked away. “To summon the Ancient Ones… It’s like an old legend come to life.”

He paused then rose from the bed, wrapping himself in a green cloak.

“The legends say that the Ancient Ones scorched the land with their breath, and that all trembled before them.” He stepped out onto the balcony, and gazed across the green chaos that was Xesh.

“I must think on this, Lady. I must think on this very hard before I agree.”

“Of course, My Lord.”

Vaenetha lay back on the bed, not bothering to cover herself, a glorious animal crafted of pale flesh and golden hair, skin bright with perspiration, nipple rings glittering like gems.

He would agree. This she knew. And when he did, the schemes of her mistress, her beloved, her goddess, the Lady Thae’lynn, would draw closer to their ultimate fruition.

Wulf

I view life as a series of frustrations, all leading up to the ultimate frustration – death. None of us ever has enough time to realize – or even to properly pursue – our dreams, and when that final bell tolls and the tall thin guy with the scythe shows up, our last thought is invariably, “You mean that’s it???”

My name is Wulf, though throughout the current saga I’m known as Chuma. Presently, I looked like a tall, broad, muscular humanoid lion with a tawny gold pelt, naked save for a long loincloth and baldric, and a huge black sword strapped to my back. How I got to be Chuma is the topic of my last batch of indigestible memoirs, but here’s the short version:

It seems that my old enemy, Duchess Thae’lynn N’Quy (usually referred to as “that oft-pierced dark elf bitch” – and that’s by her friends) had seized de facto control of the dark elven realms, used her agents to goad the dark ones’ goody-goody cousins, the high Elves, into a crusade of world conquest, and was content to lie back, let her various lovers and pets pleasure her, then step in and take over once all the bloodshed was finished. To this end, she corrupted the ancient dragons, unleashed an elite corps of high elf traitors, sought throughout Thystra for various powerful magical artifacts, and recruited a huge army of mercenaries, freebooters, criminals and such.

It was to this last, uncertain fate that I was bound, disguised as an outcast n’doro – that lion man to you – named Chuma, intent on finding as much as I could about Mistress Thae’lynn’s plans, then escaping to warn the Silver Lady, goddess-empress of the high Elves, in the hope she would see the truth and call off her marshals’ war with the world.

In this I was aided – indirectly, unfortunately – by three exceptional women – Livia the insatiable sorceress, whom I had pursued for years, and finally persuaded to be my steady; our mutual lover Narisha, a demoness of considerable – ahem – charisma; and the expatriate dark elf Daedora, whose family had been exterminated by the aforementioned Duchess Thae’lynn.

Though I was on my own, making my way south, I was counting on these three, or at least their agents, to provide me with some guidance and intelligence about Thae’lynn and her plans. So far, I’d come up blank, and that simply added to life’s miscellaneous frustrations.

As I lounged on the deck of the free trader ship Clam, I reflected on life’s various injustices and misadventures, summed up by the charming philosophy which opened this chapter.

Elven forces, with the aid of the awakened dragons, had shattered the Xeshite fleet and now occupied most of Xesh. The decadent Xeshites, deprived of their slave legions, fought a dogged but ultimately futile guerilla war against the invaders, but this had so far proved more annoyance to the elven commander, Lord General Feanor. Building up their forces in Xesh, the elves could now strike anywhere, but my job was not to anticipate Feanor’s strategy.

The task at hand, as I said, was to join up with Thae’lynn’s ever-growing mercenary army to learn more of her plans. Daedora’s informants had told us that she was recruiting on a little scrap of rock called Whalebone Island, so here I was, braving high elf patrols, heading south with a ship full of misfits without a thimbleful of common sense between us.

“Give it back, reprobate! You’ve had enough for one day!”

The voice cut through the sea air with the same intensity as fingernails on a chalkboard, drawing my attention to a mismatched pair of figures standing near the railing.

They were human, at least at first glance, but they were virtual mirror-images of each other. The speaker was a thin, sprightly man with long blonde hair bound by a red headband and sparkling, mischievous blue eyes. His clothes were a motley assortment of styles — roomy white trousers, a loose red shirt and numerous bracelets and necklaces. I spied a light rapier hanging from his belt. His accent was hard to place, but he looked like a northerner.

His companion was heavier and darker, with long wavy black hair, a thick moustache and a dour expression. One eye was covered by a black patch and his remaining eye was brown, staring at the world with a weary droop. He was dressed all in black with a long cloak and a heavy cutlass at his side. In one gauntleted hand he held an earthenware bottle and continued to drink from it determinedly despite his companion’s persistent efforts to take it away.

That they were the most pleasant-looking individuals I’d seen so far said a lot about my other traveling companions. I stepped closer and caught the blonde man’s eye.

He turned, forgetting for the moment his efforts to take the bottle.

“Goodness, they’ll let anyone join this motley assemblage, won’t they, Marcus?”

Marcus nodded slowly. “They let you join, didn’t they?” His voice was as deep and laconic as the rest of him.

The blonde man shot Marcus a sour look then turned back to me.

“Pay no mind to my companion,” he said, brightly, extending a hand. “My name is Rees, swordsman and adventurer for hire. My grim-faced friend here is Marcus. Don’t judge him by his appearance — he’s actually quite a formidable opponent.”

I could believe that, I thought, taking Rees’ hand.

“Chuma,” I said. “Mercenary from the Veldt Lands.”

“So I see,” Rees observed. “I’ve never met one of your kind before, and if you don’t mind my saying, you’re quite the... ahem... impressive specimen.”

“Thank you,” I replied. “My wives all say the same thing.”

At the mention of wives, Rees’ bright expression faltered and he looked briefly disappointed.

“Pity,” he said. “I was thinking of asking you out for a drink when we made port.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment,” I said.

Gods. Everyone seemed to like my damned fraudulent n’doro body. Too bad it wasn’t really mine.

“Pay him no mind,” Marcus grunted. “He’ll roger anything with a pulse.”

“Liar,” Rees snapped, rolling his eyes. “I did that vampire in Kenth, and he didn’t have one, did he?”

“Not after I killed him,” Marcus said. “Your perverse tastes almost turned us both into vampire minions. Thanks again.”

“Marcus confines his affections to females who are as dark and grim as he is himself,” Rees explained. “Needless to say he doesn’t get laid very often.”

I thought that perhaps these two were sharing a bit more of their lives than I was comfortable with, but I let it go. Friendly faces had been few and far between on this journey.

“Well,” I said after a moment, “I’ll share a drink with both of you if you like, as long as you don’t expect anything more intimate.”

“That,” said Rees, finally giving up on taking Marcus’ bottle, “is the best offer I’ve had all day? Your berth or ours?”

Thae’lynn

“So,” said Duchess Thae’lynn N’Quy, bearing two long-stemmed flutes of purple glass, filled with dark wine, “your Furies would come fight for me?”

Colonel Sherynia Dothalos’ guest accepted a glass and sniffed the bouquet. She was a dusky-skinned woman, perhaps of mixed Veldt-lands and Vendhayan ancestry, with long straight black hair bound up in a single leather-wrapped braid. Her eyes were large, almond-shaped and brown, highlighted by thick black lashes, and her lips were full, nearly black against her swarthy flesh. She wore a black tunic, short skirt and high black leather boots. A female figure crafted of orange flames was emblazoned on her left breast, and a single eight-pointed star on her right shoulder was her only insignia of rank.

Thae’lynn, dressed far less casually in a black silk robe, regarded the mercenary with a seasoned eye. Thousands of sellswords had flocked to her banner, all claiming to be the best and most experienced. Sherynia’s Furies had quite a reputation, however, and this at least told Thae’lynn that they were everything they claimed to be.

Sherynia sipped at her drink.

“This is excellent, Lady,” she said. “What vintage?”

“Oh, pre-catastrophe, of course,” Thae’lynn replied with a smile. “I keep the millennium-old wine for special guest like yourself.”

The mercenary nodded, impressed. “It’s unique.”

“Oh, more unique than you could possibly imagine,” Thae’lynn smiled. “As I was saying, your Furies wish to serve in my mercenary army?”

“We do, Protector.” Sherynia seemed certain. “I’m afraid that the petty conflicts of the Swamp Lords and paid expeditions into Necrotia to root out bandits have begun to lose their luster for warriors such as mine.”

Thae’lynn stepped out onto her balcony. Fifty feet below, in her main courtyard, some of her warriors practiced, under the tutelage of her various female officers. Outside the main gates were the orderly tents of the Furies, nearly a thousand of the finest female warriors, sorcerers and spies in Thystra. A banner flew above the camp, bearing the same insignia as Sherynia’s tunic.

“Oh, I’ve no doubt that the Furies will make a fine addition to my forces, Colonel. I’ve taken it upon myself to make a detailed study of you and your history. I know more about you than you do yourself, I’ll hazard.”

Sherynia looked half-offended, half-flattered, and took another sip.

“Most potent drink, Lady,” she said, her words slightly slurred. “I think I’ll stop at only one glass. In any event, if you are willing to meet our price, the Furies are only too willing to fight.”

Thae’lynn turned, and laughed. “That’s just the problem, Colonel. I’m afraid your services come a bit too steep for me. I can offer two-thirds of your asking price immediately, and let you take all the plunder you desire to make up the difference.”

The mercenary woman shook her head. “Our fees are non-negotiable, Lady. I’m afraid that…” She paused, looking at the drink. “You certainly have fine taste in wine, Lady.”

“It’s more than wine, good Colonel,” Thae’lynn said, with a smirk. “It has other qualities, as well.”

Sherynia looked suddenly alarmed. “What do you mean?”

“Oh, don’t be such a baby, Colonel. I haven’t poisoned you. The wine has a special effect on those not of our species. Quite useful when negotiating, actually.”

“What are you talking about?”

“It makes the subject more… shall we say, honest? More forthright and direct. Opens up one to new possibilities, lets you express desires that have always been hidden. I think you’ll find it a pleasant experience.”

Sherynia frowned, and looked at her glass. “I’m not sure whether I find your conduct entirely…” She faltered, frowned then took another sip. “It’s really very good.”

Thae’lynn smiled, and her constellation of piercings jingled.

“Come over onto the balcony, Colonel.”

Somewhat unsteadily, the mercenary rose and joined Thae’lynn.

“I’ve found that this vintage to be extremely useful,” the dark elf said. “I share it with all my female officers. Some have discovered things about themselves that they never knew existed. Look there. See that woman with the halberd?”

Sherynia looked. A statuesque woman, easily the height of a man, was busy explaining which end of a polearm was the most useful to a number of dim-looking humans. She was crammed into a breastplate several sizes too small, and her breasts threatened to overflow at any moment. The men stared in rapt fascination, though few really seemed to be paying attention to the weapon demonstration. She sported a thick mane of blonde hair and shouted at the recruits with the voice of an experienced instructor.

“Marshal Emeralis was somewhat… inhibited when she first came here. Wrapped up in her role as officer and drill instructor. We shared some of my wine, and the change was amazing. Within weeks she was promoted to high command, though she still likes lording it over the rank-and-file from time to time. She discovered that she had a knack for strategy and logistics, thanks to my wine.” Thae’lynn looked impishly at Sherynia. “Oh, yes. She also discovered that she absolutely adores taking it up the ass. As often as possible. When I’m looking for males to amuse me, I usually let her make the initial selection.” She paused, and looked thoughtful. “Amazing what hides in the depths of your heart and soul, isn’t it? My study of Trigonic Modalities has helped me discover my own hidden desires and, well… I won’t bore you with a description of my private life, but suffice to say it is colorful.”

Sherynia looked slightly uncomfortable. “It is all fascinating, Lady, but what’s it to do with me? If you’re unwilling to meet my Furies price – “

“I never said I was unwilling, Colonel, just unable.” Thae’lynn reached out and touched Sherynia’s cheek lightly. “I thought that perhaps we could reach some sort of compromise.”

Sherynia pulled back, looking shocked. “I don’t understand what you want, Lady.”

Thae’lynn faced her guest, and with a single graceful gesture, untied the belt of her robe, letting is slip open to reveal a chasm of black flesh.

“Isn’t that obvious, Colonel? I’d like a relationship with you that is deeper and less formal than a pure business arrangement.”

“I don’t – “ Sherynia swallowed hard. “I’m not that way, Lady. You misjudge me.”

“You’re telling me you don’t like women?” Thae’lynn pulled the robe open to reveal one breast, crossed silver bars gleaming in her nipple. “Oh, come now, Colonel. With all due respect, how can you say such a thing? Surrounded each day by soft flesh and lovely hair, sweet lips and overflowing cunts? I’d not last an hour in your position.”

“I’m their commander, no more,” Sherynia said adamantly. “I’ve never even considered…” Her voice trailed away. “Never considered…”

“Ah, but you have.” Thae’lynn stepped closer and reached out a hand again. This time, Sherynia did not flinch. “You know you have. Deep down inside, you’ve wondered what it would be like, haven’t you? To take one of those sweet women to your tent, to undress her, to kiss her, to fondle her body and make it yours? Isn’t that what you’ve wanted for years, but never dared speak of it?”

“I…” Sherynia leaned back against the arched doorway to the balcony, slumping as if exhausted. Thae’lynn stroked her face now, black fingertips against dusky human flesh. “I don’t… I don’t know, Lady…”

“Give in to your desires, Colonel. Or should I call you Sherynia?”

“Yes.” It was a sigh, barely audible. “Call me Sherynia.”

Thae’lynn let her robe slide to the floor and stood before the mercenary woman, naked save for the glittering rings and bars of her piercings.

“You want this, don’t you?”
“I… I don’t…”

“Don’t you?”

Sherynia’s eyes widened, as if seeing something for the first time, and took in Thae’lynn’s lean but alluring body hungrily.

“Yes. I want it, Lady. I want you.”

Thae’lynn’s hands moved behind Sherynia’s head, entwining her raven-black hair.

“Then you shall have me,” she said then pressed her lips against the other woman’s mouth. 

*** 

“Don’t be shy,” Thae’lynn said, voice warm and urgent. “Go ahead and play with them all you want. That’s what they’re there for.”

They had retired to her chambers, a round, domed room with rich violet marble walls and a single silver mageglobe. The air was scented with dreamsmoke and incense, and the globe provided just enough light to pick out Thae’lynn as a dim shadow, her piercings gleaming silver. She reclined on a low chaise, and Sherynia, stripped down to her white shift, knelt between her legs, looking somewhat dubious.

“I don’t know,” she whispered, gazing at Thae’lynn’s hairless pubis and its distended black outer lips, set with an array of glittering silver rings. Her clitoris, prominently swollen, bore another ring set with a single black gem. “They look so painful.”

“Ah, my dear,” Thae’lynn replied, stretching luxuriously, the rings in her mouth, nose and ears jingling softly, “pain is a part of life. The sooner you learn to embrace it the better. If you don’t fear pain, sweet Sherynia, what is to fear?” She stroked her nipples, each of which bore a straight bar with a black ball on either end. “I feel that the pain I experienced in getting my rings and bars was simply an advance payment for the pleasure they would eventually give me.”

Sherynia looked across the black expanse of Thae’lynns’ body, eyes wide and questioning. “I’m not sure I understand.”

Thae’lynn smiled. “You will, little one. You will understand everything. For now, give in to the desires you feel. They’re no longer hidden. Do what you will, I do not mind. Kiss, nibble, bite, lick, slap… It’s all the same, my dear. You want me, so now you have me and can do whatever you want.”

Sherynia breathed deeply for a moment then looked back at Thae’lynn’s naked cunt.

“Yes,” she whispered. “I want to.”

“Then do it,” Thae’lynn urged, voice taking on an edge of desire. “Do it. And when you’re done, I’ll have my way with you.”

Sherynia stepped back and stood.

“I will,” she said at last. “I’ll do it, Lady. But look at me first and tell me what you think.”

With a single motion, she lifted off her shift and let it drop to the floor.

Thae’lynn cried out involuntarily at the sight of her. Her black hair was unbound, hanging below her waist, her body a graceful collection of curves and angles, from the firm prominence of her shoulders to the flat, muscled expanse of her abdomen and the columnar perfection of her thighs to the rich flare of her hips and the welcoming curve of her breasts. Her nipples were visible as patches of darker shadow, as was the tangle of hair between her thighs. She stood motionless and confident, gazing down at Thae’lynn.

“So, Lady,” she said, voice husky with anticipation. “What do you think?”

“I love it,” Thae’lynn replied, hand creeping between her thighs. “You’re beautiful. I adore it. I had no idea, dearest woman. No idea at all.”

“Good.” She kneeled again, slipping between Thae’lynn’s legs and caressing the silver-studded outer lips. Thae’lynn reached for her clit, but Sherynia pushed her hand away.

“No,” she said. “That’s for me. Only me.”

Thae’lynn sighed again, moving her hands back to her breasts and touching her swelling nipples.

“Oh, I love a woman with authority,” she said, softly. “So long as she acknowledges mine.”

Sherynia didn’t reply, but began to stroke, sliding her fingers along the smooth hairlessness of Thae’lynn’s thighs and the softness of her cunt.

“You’ve wanted this so, haven’t you?” Thae’lynn asked, squeezing her nipples and tugging at the straight bars. “You’ve dreamed of it, haven’t you?”

Sherynia’s tongue grazed the same places her fingers had sought, moistening the soft flesh.

“You have,” Thae’lynn whispered. “I can tell.”

Using her middle finger, Sherynia stroked downward between Thae’lynn’s outer lips, feeling the heat radiating from inside the dark elf woman.

“Do you like that?” she said.

“Mmm. Of course.” Thae’lynn’s voice was tight. “What do you think?”
“I don’t know,” Sherynia replied. “I’ve never done this before.”

“You’ll find I’m different from most women,” Thae’lynn replied. “I have a higher tolerance for… Firm treatment.”

“Ah. Like this?” With that, Sherynia took a labial ring in each hand, and pulled them apart, revealing Thae’lynn’s blue-black inner lips.

“Oh!” Thae’lynn cried out in surprise, back arching, fingers digging into her nipples. “Oh, yes. Like that. Please.”

Sherynia gazed at Thae’lynn for a moment, savoring her exposure and vulnerability then with sudden resolve plunged her mouth down into the growing heat and moisture, tongue cleaving Thae’lynn’s inner lips, slipping into the sweetness beneath.

The dark elf went rigid.

“My clit, please. Play with my clit. I want it so much…”

The human woman didn’t respond immediately, lost in the intoxicating sensations of Thae’lynn’s cunt and the wetness flowing there.

Thae’lynn’s normal air of authority slipped away at the touch of the other woman’s tongue.

“Please,” she repeated. “I want it. Please, Sherynia.”

At last, Sherynia relented, moving her oral attention from Thae’lynn’s cunt lips to the black-gemmed ring in her clitoris. She seized the ring between her teeth and tugged then released it and laved at the swollen bud beneath it with sharp, pointed tongue movements.

“Gods and daemons, oh. Oh, Mother of Pleasure,” moaned Thae’lynn. She squeezed her own breasts again, pulling at her pierced nipples, then thrust two fingers into her mouth and bit down, continuing to cry out incoherently.

Sherynia uttered her own muffled cries of excitement, alternating between licking Thae’lynn’s cunt lips and suckling at her clitoris. Periodically, she took the silver ring between her teeth and pulled gently, eliciting deep, desire-filled cries. Her face was moist with Thae’lynn’s juices, and the other woman’s heat seemed to burn in her veins.

“I’m sweating, darling,” Sherynia whispered urgently. “I’m all wet for you.”

“Ohhhhh, I should hope so,” Thae’lynn replied, tightly. Now, her moistened fingers crept downward and began to play with her clitoris. “Is this all right now, darling?”

Sherynia nodded hastily. “Yes, dearest. Play with yourself for me.”

“Mmmm. You’re going to be getting as well as you’re giving in a few moments.”

These were the last coherent words Thae’lynn was to say for some time, as Sherynia slid two fingers into the tight channel between the dark woman’s wet lips. Thae’lynn continued to stroke herself, helped out periodically by Sherynia’s agile tongue, now adapting easily to her lover’s rhythms, rising and falling along with Thae’lynn’s flowing passions.

Thae’lynn reached down toward Sherynia’s long black hair and seized a handful, pulling hard, thrusting the woman’s mouth harder against her sopping mons. The human woman moaned at this, licking and stroking still harder.

Then, at long last, Sherynia’s lips encircled Thae’lynn’s clitoris, sucking, tongue manipulating its silver ring, then flicking across its swollen surface. Tension grew in the dark elf’s body, growing toward the inevitable release.

Thae’lynn’s cries grew louder, once more forming words, or at least their semblance. “Oh! Sherynia! Oh, darling human… Sweet little pet… Oh, my… I’m… I’m… Oh, gods. Mother… of…”

The tension exploded from her body and her words merged into a scream. Thae’lynn’s back arched upward, thighs tensing, and she pulled on Sherynia’s hair, prompting more cries from the human woman.

“Darling little… human…” At last, after at least a half-dozen tremors had rumbled through her body, Thae’lynn collapsed. Sherynia continued to lie between her thighs, lapping softly at her.

“I wanted this,” Sherynia whispered. “I wanted it so.”

Thae’lynn smiled weakly and stroked her head.

“Dearest little pet. Just wait until I’ve got my strength back.” 

*** 

The mageglobe glowed brighter now, illuminating the room as Sherynia sat naked in a well-padded chair, legs apart, looking expectantly as Thae’lynn entered the room. The dark elf was wearing a robe of indigo silk, and carried a tray.

“What are you up to, Lady?” Sherynia asked. “I’m willing to explore new territory with you, but we should start slowly.”

“Nothing severe, dearest,” Thae’lynn replied, kneeling in front of the human woman. “This is just something I enjoy doing with my lovers.” She set the tray down. It contained a bar of soap, a bowl of steaming water, a brush, towel and a silver straight razor. “You may have noted the complete lack of hair in my… nether regions.”

“I did,” agreed Sherynia. “I found it very stimulating.”

Thae’lynn took up the brush, dipped it in the water and rubbed it on the soap, working up a lather. “Care to see what it’s like?”

Sherynia looked hesitant for a moment then said, “Yes.”

Thae’lynn smiled again. “I knew you would. They always do.” She stroked the brush along Sherynia’s thigh. “And it’s best that it’s done by someone you love and trust.” She applied the warm white lather to Sherynia’s black public hair. “You love and trust me, don’t you my dear?”

The human woman looked down, pursing her red-black lips. “Love is a bit strong for what I feel, dear Duchess. As for trust… Well, it’s an expensive luxury.”

“Oh, so nice.” Thae’lynn looked up, adoringly. “A woman after my own heart. Our love will be bought and paid for in gold and plunder, sweet human woman. Greed will leave you filled to overflowing with desire for me, and you’ll never want to leave my side.” She stroked lather across Sherynia’s mons.

“That remains to be seen, Duchess,” Sherynia said, voice growing dreamy at the warm sensation. “But for now, you have me and that’s something no other woman has yet done.”

Thae’lynn chuckled. “I’m so talented at winning others to my point of view.”

With that, she plucked up the razor and held it against Sherynia’s thigh.

“So beautiful,” she sighed. “Naked steel against naked flesh.” Her violet eyes flashed upward, intertwining with Sherynia’s gaze. “I am quite wicked, you know.”

“Wickedness is relative,” Sherynia replied. “There are those who call me and my Furies wicked.”

With deliberate slowness, Thae’lynn began to painstakingly stroke the razor along Sherynia’s pubis, cutting hairs almost literally one at a time.

“Well then let us be wicked together,” Thae’lynn said, extending her tongue to reveal its silver bar. It grazed the soap-covered surface of Sherynia’s cunt, making the human woman tense.

“No, no,” cautioned Thae’lynn. “We can have none of that. You might cut yourself, and that would be quite tragic.”

Sherynia made an annoyed sound, and allowed Thae’lynn to continue her task. She went quicker now, cutting a narrow swath above the human’s mons then slowly moving down toward her sensitive outer labia.

“You’ll see in a moment,” Thae’lynn whispered. “I can’t wait to feel this soft flesh against my mouth.”

Sherynia moaned softly. “Please hurry,” she said.

“Feel good?” Thae’lynn asked, running a finger across the newly-hairless flesh.

The human woman nodded. “Yes.”

“Enjoy it,” Thae’lynn said, grinning. “It will itch like daemon’s claws over the next few days. There are those who favor cold water, of course…”

“Gods,” Sherynia said distastefully. “I don’t think I do.”

“Tell me in a day or so.”

Carefully, Thae’lynn excised the last traces of hair from Sherynia’s pubis then wiped the foamy remnants of the soap away. She paused to admire her handiwork.

“Lovely,” she said, and blew lightly across the naked flesh, triggering a shudder from Sherynia. “All that practice shaving on Yawesha has paid off.”

“If this is going to itch, Protector, perhaps you should give it some attention now while it still feels good,” Sherynia suggested.

Thae’lynn stood, casting aside the towel. “But of course, my dear.” 

*** 

Now it was Sherynia’s turn to lie back and accept another’s caresses. Thae’lynn took her time, at first ignoring the tingling, yearning flesh between the human’s thighs, but instead lavishing attention on her nipples, biting and sucking then breaking off to pinch and flick the swollen flesh with her fingers. Sherynia groaned at her touch, or gasped sharply at sudden bites or slaps.

“Males do obsess on this part of the body, don’t they?” Thae’lynn said, rolling a dark, swollen nipple between her lips then flicking at it with her tongue bar. “Then again, I really don’t blame them all that much.”

After long minutes of this, Thae’lynn began to kiss her way down Sherynia’s belly, pausing periodically to lick or bite lightly.

“I don’t know what it is about you, dear,” Thae’lynn said. “I’m normally so much more aggressive. Perhaps I simply have a weakness for warrior women like you.”

“You’ll have about a thousand of them at your beckon call once we’ve signed our agreement,” Sherynia reminded her. “Now, please, please lick me.” She sighed. “You’ve persuaded me that I want you, now give me what you’ve promised. Please.”

Thae’lynn laughed, mouth against Sherynia’s belly-flesh. “I waited, and so can you my dear. There are so very, very many things I want to do to you.”

At last, despite her teasing, Thae’lynn reached the shaved flesh of Sherynia’s cunt, and once more she gazed at it, face delighted.

“So very soft, so very bare,” she whispered, stroking with her fingers, eliciting more moans. “So vulnerable to my caresses. So easy to possess.”

“You want to possess it?” Sherynia asked, voice hushed but excited.

“I do. I want to possess all of you, dearest.” Thae’lynn once more spoke with her customary commanding authority.

“Take it,” Sherynia urged. “Possess it. Make it yours.”

“Truly?” Thae’lynn hissed, and flicked her tongue across Sherynia’s outer labia. “Make it mine?”
“All yours, dearest.”

“And you? Are you mine as well?”

Sherynia’s reserve filtered back into her voice. “For now, dear. I’m yours for now. As for tomorrow, we shall see.”

Thae’lynn’s face grew harsher. “You’ll be mine tomorrow and forever, human. You’ll beg to serve me and belong to me.”

“Then what will be will be,” Sherynia said, and twined her fingers in Thae’lynn’s hair. “For now, take me and give me what I just gave you.”

Then, the dark elf’s tongue was in her, lapping insistently.

You’ll be mine, Thae’lynn thought grimly as she pressed the human into the first of a long series of orgasms. You’ll belong to me, and your Furies will as well. Just wait, dear. Just wait.

When they were done, the two women lay together in a chaos of limbs and bed clothes, utterly spent.

“So do we have a deal?” Thae’lynn asked lazily.

“Oh, we do, my sweet,” Sherynia replied, gazing through her strands of sweaty hair like a tigress through a cane brake. “We do indeed.”

Thae’lynn sighed and held her close. “I knew we would. Perhaps you can join me tomorrow, and I can introduce you to some of my more exotic devices.”

“That,” the mercenary replied, feeling the urge to sleep absorbing her, “would be just lovely.”

II

Wulf

It turned out that my new friends hadn’t even been able to scrape together enough for a cabin. Feeling the kind of pity I normally reserve for kittens and small children, I let them bunk in my room, Rees sleeping in a hammock and Marcus snoring thunderously on the floor. Despite Rees’ apparent carnal intentions I didn’t feel too concerned — he didn’t seem like the type to take indecent liberties, though the first night I slept very lightly.

The next morning, crammed together like new recruits on a Xeshite slave galley, we breakfasted on hard tack and chup fruit.

“We’re bound for Whalebone Island to join up with this mercenary army,” Rees admitted, delicately sipping some of my carefully-horded ale. “At first it sounded like a fairly lucrative arrangement — fighting for some renegade dark elf, a daily stipend and all the plunder we could manage. But after looking at the other types we’re shipping out with, I’m beginning to wonder at the wisdom of the present course of action. Do you know anything about our would-be employer?”

I looked at him, endeavoring to seem grim and stoic beneath my heavy leonine brow.

“Her name is Thae’lynn N’Quy,” I said. “She’s recruiting on Whalebone Island. My understanding is that she’s a pretty hard customer, but the money’s real.  We’re likely to be hired on as foot-sloggers since all of her officers are female.” I drew a deep breath. I knew more about the dark elf bitch than I was letting on, but I didn’t necessarily want to reveal too much. “I’m not necessarily recommending her, and if the two of you just decided to stay on board when we reach Whalebone Island, I wouldn’t blame you in the least.”

Rees considered this. Beside him, Marcus just looked gloomy.

“As you may have noted,” Rees said at last, “my companion and I are a bit... shall I say... short on funds. I’m afraid we only paid for passage as far as Whalebone. We may have no choice but to join you.”

Marcus chuckled humorlessly.

“In for a copper, in for a crown,” he muttered, then raised his mug. “Here’s to the dead, here’s to the bold, and here’s to the blood that buys our gold.”

I drank with him, but I was anything but enthusiastic. 

*** 

Rees, Marcus and I, along with a small crowd of rag-tag mercenaries disembarked when Clam made port at Whalebone Island. Thae’lynn’s recruiting station wasn’t hard to find. A vast, purple banner bearing a complex knot of black snakes waved above the heights beyond Whalebone’s lone settlement. As evening settled over the tiny, windswept isle, we trudged up the hill toward a strangely ominous cluster of tents and shelters.

The tent was crowded with boisterous warriors of every conceivable race. There were grim-faced humans, gap-toothed dwarves, scarred orcs, brooding tandu, shaggy throgs, and more, all shouting and laughing, drinking and singing off-key, off-color songs in a half dozen languages.

The recruiting officer was a strapping woman with a tangle of black hair cascading from a thick strip down the middle of her head. The remainder of her pate was shaved and covered with a complex violet network of tattoos in the form of vines and thorns. She wore a utilitarian warrior’s outfit that was equal parts red leather and steel. Her appraising, golden eyes scanned us each in turn, up and down, as we approached.

I returned the gaze. She had a surprisingly delicate, pale face, an appealing, softly curved oval with a strong jaw and pointed chin. Her eyes, tawny as my own pelt, were wide spaced and gently slanted. Though they seemed cruel, I thought that under other circumstances they might actually have the capacity for kindness. Her lips were painted a dark red, almost black, and were curved into a tight, sarcastic smile.

She looked at me first, casting her eyes along my tawny-pelted body. It’s disconcerting, you know, to go from a somewhat scruffy, ordinary-looking human to a towering, muscular leonine creature who gathers appreciative stares from both men and women – I’m not sure whether she was gauging my fighting potential or undressing me with her eyes… With my luck, she was probably doing both.

“Name?” she snapped, not politely.

“Chuma,” I replied as a diminutive goblin scribe beside her scribbled with a quill in a large, leather-bound book.

“Experience?”

Gods, she cut to business too quick for comfort.

“I fought the Sholanti in the Veldt Lands for years,” I said. “Then I was recruited to fight for the Xeshites.”

“Recruited?” She looked suddenly curious.

I made a great show of reluctance. “Enslaved,” I said. “Forced to fight against my will. I took an opportunity to escape and served on a corsair for a few years. I served as a sergeant in the White Empire army, as well.”

It was mostly true, though somewhat skewed to my present purposes. I’d apparently said the magic word, however.

“Slave, eh?” The golden eyes roamed up and down my body once more. She sniffed, then pointed. “Wait there, lion-man.”

I stepped aside and watched as Rees stepped up to the table, Marcus following grimly behind.

“Name?” she asked as harshly as she’d asked me.

“Rees,” he said with what he probably hoped was a disarming grin. “What’s your name, fair lady?”

“You can call me Sergeant Tarnith,” she said. “Who’s the ogre?”

Marcus didn’t respond, but only stared intently with his one good eye.

“He’s Marcus,” Rees said. “And he’s human. He just looks like an ogre.”

Still nothing cracked the ice-queen’s composure.

“Experience?”

Rees paused. “We’ve been from one end of this world to the other, Sergeant. You name it, we’ve done it. Right, Marcus?” He smacked his companion, whose expression still didn’t change.

She glanced at Marcus a little curiously, then back at Rees.

“No, I mean military experience. Have you done any campaigning?”

Rees faltered, finally realizing what she was talking about.

“Well, um, yes... Campaigning. Well, we’ve done quite a bit. You’ve probably never heard...”

“Try me.”

“Well, there was…” Rees’s face screwed up in intense concentration. “Then, there was, uh… well…”

Tarnith was on her feet, pointing menacingly. I noted that her right index finger had been replaced by an intricate silver construct, inscribed with runes.

“We’ll see,” she snarled. “To the arena with them! All three!”

I felt myself being seized roughly from behind. I struggled, but to no avail, and was hustled forward by a massive bull jarrek.  Rees and Marcus were similarly grabbed and though it looked as if Marcus could have given the jarrek a run for his money, he accepted his captivity passively, allowing himself to be propelled along with us.

A crowd of toughs accumulated as we were shoved out of the recruiting tent and into the gathering gloom – shouting humans in every shade of the rainbow, guffawing orcs, gibbering goblins, and more. It was barely restrained chaos and when our captors shoved us toward a large white tent lit from inside by torches, a boozy, excited cheer rang out, and dozens of mercenaries piled in behind us, filling the tent to capacity almost instantly.

In the center of the tent, a pit had been dug and floored with sand. As the throng gathered around the pit, shouting and laughing like fiends, I saw brownish stains discoloring the sand and realized what was about to happen.

“Shit,” I growled. “I hope you two know how to use those weapons you’re carrying.”

Rees’s eyes widened as the jarrek shoved him toward the edge of the pit, then yelped helplessly as he was pushed in. Marcus followed and, an instant later, me.

I landed lightly in the sand, sniffing deeply. Yes, I thought. There’s death here.

Nearby, Marcus had landed squarely atop Rees, who complained bitterly as he tried to extricate himself.

“I swear, Marcus, if you do not lose weight soon I’m going to cut it off of you myself!”

Above us, Tarnith stood defiantly, arms akimbo, looking arrogant and sensual at the same time (I’m a sucker for that look, too, stupid me).

“Meet Chuma, Rees and Marcus!” she shouted, waving a hand at us. “They think they’re good enough to join us! What do you think?”

A chorus of boos and “Kill ‘em! Kill ‘em all!” erupted in response, and a shower of spittle, flung drinks and less savory material rained down upon us.

Tarnith looked even more smug, then motioned at a small group of scarred and variously armored fighters nearby. “They’re all yours.”

Three figures detached themselves from the group. Looking up, I felt a dark fist of dread constrict around my heart.

The first was a black jarrek male like the ones who’d grabbed us, but bigger, with time-blackened scales and claws like scythes. Behind him strode a scarred, snaggle-toothed orc, almost as broad as Marcus. He carried a notched cleaver in one hand and his piggy eyes regarded Rees hungrily.

Finally came a creature which may have once been human. I caught a glimpse of a smoldering, red-eyed face as a bestial visor clanged down, transforming its wearer into a crimson automaton, a being of red-enameled steel, an ugly runesword at one hip.

Shit. A chaos warrior. The Lords of Change were never even mentioned in polite company, and if they were sending their minions to aid Thae’lynn, then there was some serious shit coming down.

I looked up at Tarnith who still stood, oozing snotty pulchritude, above us.

“Is this how everyone has to audition?” I shouted. “I’m surprised anyone makes it at all!”

She laughed. “Not everyone, catboy. I just don’t like those two.”

“What about me?” I demanded.

“I don’t like you because you’re with them,” she said, and laughed nastily as the three warriors clambered down into the blood-pit.

Gee, thanks, I thought to myself, sizing up our opponents as they moved in for the kill. The orc seemed to have a vested interest in Rees, while the jarrek stalked toward Marcus, drooling and growling.

That left ol’ chaos boy for me. Though possessed of a magnificent physique (which I did absolutely nothing to earn), I was practically naked, facing a heavily armored, rune-enhanced opponent. I did, however, have an ace in the hole, and as the once-human minion of the dark gods came on, clanking like some dwarf-built steam automaton.

I reached behind me and loosed Lawgiver, the black holy blade carried a thousand years ago by Sir Goltha, a gift from my lovely crimson-skinned Narisha. Though it had been made to kill demons, it was effective against a lot of magically-enhanced creatures, and I was staking my life that the crimson-armored creature before me was one of those.

Marcus circled warily, cutlass drawn, waiting for an opening. Meanwhile, Rees dashed this way and that, ducking under a ponderous cleaver-blow by the orc, kicking the green-skinned warrior in the shin and stabbing with his rapier.

“Take that, greenskin!” he shouted. “I’ve been killing orcs since I was five!”

I wasn’t nearly so confident. The chaos warrior seemed to hesitate when he saw the sword, but then came on again. His sword was a coruscating rainbow of colors, savage runes glowing bright yellow-orange.

“Nice weapon,” I said. “Does your dad know you borrowed it?”

Taunts are useless against chaos warriors, of course, lost as they are in the worship of their mad and bloody gods, but at least it made me feel better.

He came in without preliminaries, his rainbow-hued blade slashing at my head in a decapitating blow. I dodged and leaped backward, bounding like… well, like a cat. The blade narrowly missed me, and I felt the heat of its passing.

Fortunately, he’d thrown so much energy into the blow in an attempt to end the fight quickly that he left me an opening. In the fraction of a second before he recovered, I swung Lawgiver, slamming into his shoulder with a jarring clang.

He staggered, bringing his sword to guard, and I pressed in, slashing and stabbing. Lawbringer was no chaos-blade, bright with colors and cruel runes – its magic was strictly unglamorous. But it was enough, dispelling whatever protective qualities the armor had. It dented and scratched, and I could tell he was worried.

Nearby, Rees dodged another clumsy blow from the orc, who was bleeding from a half-dozen rapier-slashes. Marcus was locked in a ferocious duel with the jarrek, each delivering massive blows, parrying and refusing to give any ground.

My chaos warrior recovered at last, parrying my blows and counterattacking. I had only Lawgiver, a heavy-bladed offensive weapon, to defend myself, and a few of his blows slipped through, scoring my flesh. One blow opened a gash in my chest, and I felt hot blood on my skin.

“That’s it,” I snarled. “Don’t damage the merchandise.”

I batted aside a blow and lurched forward. A moment later, we were chest-to-chest, and I gazed directly into the warrior’s burning red eyes.

“You will know what it’s like to be hunted for all eternity,” I growled. It came from deep inside me, from that portion of my spirit that was n’doro. “To suffer and never, never die.”

In that instant, he hesitated, and I had him. A moment later, we crashed to the ground, throwing up sand and blood, and I had Lawgiver’s point under his chin, against his steel gorget.

“Fuck chaos,” I said. “And fuck you.”

Then it was over, and the armored corpse lay, twitching in the sand. Back to serve his dark gods in some new, hideous way, I thought.

Beside him, the rainbow-hued runesword began to disintegrate, melting like wax in a hot fire. In a moment, it had vanished completely.

I hastened over to help my friends, but I needn’t have bothered. Marcus was just turning around, brushing himself, having sliced the jarrek’s head half-off.

Rees, on the other hand, had clambered onto his opponent’s back, goading the orc until he began to slash at Rees with his cleaver, then had leaped clear, leaving the orc to bisect his own skull with a savage blow.

Above us, the crowd was cheering. I guess we’re all friends now, I thought.

I leaned wearily against the dirt wall of the pit, panting, blood fouling my golden pelt. Marcus didn’t look too good either, and Rees was breathing heavily, his fresh face spotted with blood.

Tarnith looked down, her golden eyes moving from Rees, then to Marcus, before finally resting on me.

“Help them out,” she snapped, and moments later we were scrambling out of the pit, dirty and worse for the wear, but alive. Tarnith stalked up to me like an alpha wolf facing a challenger.

“Welcome to the Black Legion,” she said. “Glad you could make the cut.”

“So are we,” Rees said, still panting. “So when do we start?”

Tarnith grinned evilly. “Now.”

She pointed at me. “You. We train you as a sergeant. Consider yourself lucky – most men don’t rise that far.” A cocked eyebrow indicated that she understood her own double-meaning all too well.

“What about us?” Rees demanded. “We should be at least corporals, I think.”

She turned an icy gaze on Rees, and he suddenly didn’t look so confident.

“Privates,” she spat. “Take ‘em away, boys.”

With that, Rees and Marcus were once more overpowered – Marcus looked way too exhausted to resist in any event – and hustled away by a crowd of thugs.

“Have a care!” Rees protested. “This is a very expensive shirt! Chuma! Help!”

A cordon of soldiers separated us, and I had one last glimpse of my companions before they were swept away.

“Rees! Marcus!” I shouted over the heads of the surrounding warriors. “Stay alive, whatever occurs! I will find you!”

Rees’s voice echoed one last time.

“Get your hands off me! You smell like fish, you big brutes...”

Tarnith turned to me, lips curved into a bow of cynical amusement, golden eyes still wicked.

“Your friend talks too much,” she said.

“And you try to murder recruits,” I replied. “I think I know which one I prefer.”

She liked that. “Get to the infirmary,” she said, touching my chest with surprising familiarity. “We’ll get you patched up.” Her eyes narrowed. “Then I’ll send someone to escort you to my quarters. We need to discuss your training.”

I allowed myself to be led from the tent, all the while shooting glances back at Tarnith, who returned them coolly, then winked once and was gone. 

*** 

The Black Legion’s medics weren’t bad; within an hour a seedy-looking priest had mumbled some healing spells over me and I was, if not good as new, at least good enough to stand, talk and…

Well, to do whatever it was that Tarnith wanted. As the capering goblin scribe led me further up the heights toward an extensive red tent I experienced a slight pang of concern for Rees and Marcus. They were survivors, I reminded myself, and had probably made it through worse.

And besides, I thought, stepping past two jarrek guards and into the warm, smoky interior of Tarnith’s tent, I had problems of my own.

“Glad to see you’re feeling better, lion-man.”

The interior was lit by hanging oil lamps. Tarnith reclined on a large platform strewn with silks and pillows. She was dressed considerably more casually, in a red satin robe that clung in all the right places. The armor she’d worn had concealed a firm, warrior’s body, with well-muscled thighs, powerful shoulders and strong arms. Her breasts were about the only thing incongruous – they were large, firm and, with the red satin of her robe outlining the gentle swelling of her nipples, looked enormously inviting.

She had a strong face, with a firm chin and straight, thin nose. Her strip of thick black hair was as unkempt and alluring as before, and the deep purple tattooed vines stood out dramatically against the pale skin of her shaved scalp.

Tarnith reached for a low table where sat a complex-looking water pipe sprouting numerous tubes. A curl of smoke rose from the top, and I scented high quality dreamweed for the second time in as many weeks. She took one of the tubes and sucked on it, exhaling a cloud of smoke a few moments later.

“So this is how you relax?” I asked.

She smiled and nodded, then held a second tube out to me.

“Care to join me?”

I didn’t move. “You just tried to have me and my friends killed in the most unpleasant manner possible, then you sent my friends off to some sadistic training regimen, and now you want to be friends? I don’t know about that, Sergeant.”

She still exuded wickedness, but she seemed a little less hostile. “I’m off duty, lion-man. Call me Tarnith.” She winked again. “Actually, I prefer ‘mistress’.” Her golden eyes grew more conniving. “And I also prefer men on their knees.”

Oh, gods. I’d gone through that all before – you know, the old “lion man gets enslaved by decadent noblewoman and becomes her sexual plaything” routine. I’m sure everyone’s familiar with it.

I’d sworn I’d never be in that position again. But now…

Now, I was undercover, in magical disguise, determined to penetrate (ahem) the enemy’s organization, gather information, and figure out how to fight them…

And to that end, well…

I supposed I’d have to swallow my pride somewhat.

I stepped toward the edge of Tarnith’s bed, kneeled down to her approving stare and widening smile, and spoke.
“What would my mistress have of me?”

Tarnith rolled onto her side.

“Oh, my,” she whispered, raising her black maned head onto one hand. “You’ve done this before.”

Perceptive woman, I thought.

She handed me the smoking tube.

“Well first, you might want to suck on this a little for your new mistress.”

I took it and set the mouthpiece to my lips.

“There’s other things I might have you suck later, of course,” she continued. “Assuming you make the grade.”

I inhaled, held the smoke, then breathed out. I figured that since I was playing an embittered, cynical mercenary, I would at least try to live up to the part.

“I’ll make the grade,” I growled. “Just watch me.” I paused. “Mistress.”

Tarnith’s eyes widened slightly and her breath came a little faster.

“Mmm,” she said, and ran her tongue around her red-black lips. “I think I’m going to like you very much, lion-man.”

“Call me Chuma,” I said.

Her face grew harsh. “I call you lion-man. You call me mistress. Any questions?”

I shrugged. “As my mistress wishes.”

“Have your previous owners ever commented on your insolent attitude?” she asked. “I’m surprised they didn’t beat it out of you.”

“My previous owner liked me just the way I am,” I replied. “She didn’t think it was a good idea to break my spirit.”

“Mmm,” she said again, rolling onto her stomach. Her hips were pleasantly curved, I noticed, and her buttocks firm but soft-looking. “You must fuck like an animal, lion-man.”

I took another breath of dream smoke and growled again. “Try me and find out.”

Yes, Wulf is relishing playing the tough merc bastard again, isn’t he? If I’d tried to talk like that in my old human body I’d have felt like an idiot. However, now I was Chuma, and all bets were off. Hell, we all play roles every now and then, don’t we?

She looked at me, eyes narrow and sultry, then ran her metal finger around her lips.

“Where’d you get the finger, Mistress?” I asked.

“There’s that impertinence again,” she said. “Normally I’d have you beaten for talking like that.”

“You can if you wish,” I replied. “But you’d probably lose some of the overwhelming enthusiasm I’m starting to feel for you.”

“You have a point, lion-man.” She held out her hand, fingers extended. The artificial finger was a beautiful piece of work – finely crafted and articulated like the real thing. “It’s a gift from a friend. Specially made. Maybe you’ll get to see it working someday.”

The thing had the scent of magic about it; my lion-man’s instinct made me instantly wary.

“Very nice,” I said. “How does – “

“Enough, lion man,” she hissed, grabbing a handful of my mane and dragging my head close to her. She smelled lovely, like bath-salts and dreamweed smoke. I was feeling dreamy myself, and the dreams were pretty damned graphic.

“Kiss me, you fucker.” she whispered, her lips grazing mine. “Put your tongue in my mouth so I can taste you.”

“Happy to oblige,” I replied, grabbed her behind the head and thrust my mouth against hers.

“Mmmm,” she said, half protest and half encouragement. “Ahhh…”

Her tongue writhed against mine, and I felt her breath come faster.

“I wanna fuck,” she growled, and bit my lip. “I wanna fuck real hard.”

“Tell me something I don’t already know,” I replied, grabbing a thick handful of black hair. Her face was flushed, giving the purple vines and thorns on her shaven skull a new richness.

“Do it, fucker,” she hissed. Her eyes were on fire, locked on mine.

Okay, I thought, might as well play the part again. I yanked on her hair, eliciting a surprised squeal, and dragged her down onto the floor with me. With a single motion, I pulled open her robe.

“You want to fuck hard?” I said. “I’ll fuck as hard as you want.”

For a moment, Tarnith looked as if she were about to blow up, shout for the guards and have me hauled off, but then her face twisted into a wicked leer and she replied in a deep, husky voice.

“Show me what they do to slaves in Xesh, lion-man.”

I laughed, and pulled her robe off completely. Her body was hard and muscular, but her breasts were good-sized, topped with small nipples that grew hard as I watched. The tattooed purple vines on her shaved head were repeated all along the left side of her body, twining around her neck, down her shoulders, across breasts, belly, thighs and calves. Her right side was entirely unmarked, a soft and vivid white.

“You like them, don’t you?” she demanded. “Does it excite you?”

“Yes,” I replied, truthfully. “It does.”

“Well, let’s see how much it excites you, fucker.” She reached down and unfastened my belt, pulling away my breech cloth. I was well on the way to a raging hard-on, and I felt some satisfaction when she saw.

“You’re huge, you cat-bastard,” she said. “You’ve got a big fucking cock.”

And oh, how such language turns me on. I guess I’ve always liked intellectual women.

“And you’ve got a very beautiful body,” I said. “I guess that makes us even.”

“You like to use that thing on helpless women?” she said, reaching down and encircling my shaft with her hand. “Shove it in until they scream?”

“None of the women I know are helpless,” I replied. “They usually jump on me first.”

She ran her fingers up and down my cock, and I felt it rise to painful hardness.

“Oh, yes. I’m sure they love it, don’t they? Where do you like to put that big cock of yours, lion-man?”

“Anywhere they want me to,” I said.

Her black-red lips curled upward. “Then put it in my mouth,” she whispered. “Fuck my mouth.”

Well, I thought, a request is a request. I let her slide down my body, kissing and nibbling as she went. She wrapped her hands around my cock, looking at it with predatory interest.

“Want to put it in my mouth?” she whispered. “Want to see me suck it?”

Why, I wondered, did I always end up with the talkative ones?

“Yes,” I said, forcing a growl into my voice. “I want to see my cock in your mouth. Suck me.”

She gazed at me expectantly. “What’s the magic word?”

It was all I could do to keep from rolling my eyes, but I managed to choke out the expected response.

“Please,” I said. “Please suck my cock, mistress.”

She stroked me, sending tingling sensations from my loins up through my body.

“You don’t sound very sincere,” she said. “Say it again. With feeling.”

“Please,” I said once more, forcing each syllable out with as much gusto as I could muster. “Please suck my cock, mistress.”

“Hm.” She seemed unimpressed, but ran her tongue along the underside of my cock just the same.

“Sweet,” she said. “Want more?”

“Yes, please,” I said, still on the border between pleading and demanding. “Lick it some more.”

“Say you like it.”

“I like it.” I’ll be damned if I wasn’t getting into this.

Another long, wet lick. Her tongue was marvelously agile.

“Say you love it.”

“I love it,” I said. “I love how your tongue feels on my cock, mistress.”

“Oh, that’s what I like,” she said, licking again, with short, pointed strokes. “That’s what I love to hear men say. The bigger the man the more I like him to beg for it.”

Now that came as no surprise.

“Please suck it, mistress,” I said again. “I want it.”

Well, perhaps I’d lost the war for dominance, but she certainly seemed to like it, and finally fitted her lips around my cockhead, gently flicking the opening with her tongue.

“Mmmm,” she said, voice muffled. “Big, sweet cock.”

She didn’t say much more, since her mouth was full. Slowly, she slid her lips down my shaft. Each instant was an agony, as I watched another fraction of my prick slip into the hot wetness of her mouth.

I made an incoherent noise. She reached up and grabbed one of my nipples, squeezing and tugging as hard as she could.

I cried out again, sinking into a rich ocean of pleasure mixed with the sharp torment of her fingers pinching and scratching.

“Mmmm,” she repeated, letting my cock slide out again. She’d only managed to get about half of it down, but that was about all I’d expected. It’s interesting being stuck with an organ you don’t feel entitled to.

After a moment of this, a determined expression flashed in Tarnith’s eyes, and she slowly and determinedly began to swallow my cock, sliding her lips along it, regaining the half-way point and continuing on with scarcely a pause.

Now, of course, the “real” Wulf would have said something like “You don’t have to do that on my account,” but I was now Chuma, tough-talking mercenary, so I replied in kind.

“Suck it,” I growled. “Suck it all into your mouth.”

She glared up at me, my cock distending her lips, and I added, “Please.”

That seemed to do the trick, and a moment later my erection had completely disappeared between her red-black lips.

I held out against her ministrations for a few very long minutes, and just when it seemed as if she was going to finish me off, she released my cock, gave it an affectionate lick, then held it against her breast, stroking my shaft against her nipple. Her metallic finger was an odd contrast against the darkly erect flesh.

“I think I’d like that thing inside me,” she whispered. “One can only suck for so long before other needs arise.”

I couldn’t have agreed more, but I only growled assent as she crawled back onto the bed and crouched on hands and knees, her sweetly curved buttocks rising atop strong pale thighs, the moist pink expanse of her cunt lips gleaming in between them.

She turned around to fix me with a needful gaze, eyes wide, the long black hair from her scalp-strip tousled and tangled around her face.

“I sure as hell hope you know what to do, lion-man,” she said, in a voice that wasn’t all that far from my own feral growls.

As is usual with this sort of situation, I decided that actions spoke louder than words, clambering up on to the bed, cock in hand, and guided it toward the warm sweetness between her thighs. She was already utterly soaked and I slid in smoothly, her cunt-lips wrapping themselves around me, her inner recesses yielding before me.

“Ohhhhhhh,” she sighed, hair tossing. “Ohhhh, yesss…”

I thrust deep, pulled out, thrust again, receiving gratifying shudders and moans in return. Tarnith’s hair was flung forward, a strip of pure gleaming black, her back was tense, and her breath, laced with moans and cries, came faster with each stroke. The purple vines which twisted along the left side of her body were sheened with sweat.

After twenty or so thrusts, I changed angles, pressing her down, and pushing into her from above, feeling the tenseness inside her grow. Tarnith’s face was pressed into the silken sheets, but her moans were loud and plainly audible. I wondered what the guards were thinking.

“Oh! Oh! Gods! Fuck me!”

They could probably hear her down in the main camp, I thought.

I seized her waist, yanking her against me. She cried out louder at that.

“Oh! Fuck!”

“Like it?” I snarled.

“Yeah! Do it, you bastard! Fuck me harder!”

She certainly had the requisite dialog down, I reflected, pounding downward and feeling her grow tighter still. I suspected that if my career with the Black Legion was to succeed, she’d have to have at least one orgasm.

I didn’t have long to wait. Her voice rose to a familiar crescendo as she clenched against my cock.

“Ohhhh, yeah. Ohhhh, yeah…” She looked back at me, lips curled back, snarling like an animal. “You’re making me… I’m gonna…”

Then she was over, collapsing down onto the bed, screaming into the sheets once more.

“Ah! Yes! Yes! Yes! Oh, fuck! Fuck yes!”

I kept going, feeling her tense and fall over the cliff yet again, and finally a third time before she finally collapsed completely, moving weakly beneath me.

“Oh, I can still feel it,” she said, languidly, hands reaching back to stroke me, then sliding between her ass cheeks to encircle my cock where it remained buried in her, moisture matting my fur. “I can still feel that sweet, hard cock inside me.”

She looked back at me, hair plastered around her eyes, framing her expression like raven’s wings intertwined with the purple tattoos on her shaved scalp.

“You get to come now, lion man.”

“Yes, I do,” I said. “And you get to make me.”

Another glare, and I added, “Mistress.”

Again, it seemed to satisfy her, and moments later I was sitting on the edge of the bed, Tarnith kneeling before me, arms twined around my hips, her mouth again working my cock up and down. She licked her way from head to base, pausing to suck at each one of my balls, then looked up at me, whispering.

“I can taste myself on you,” she said. “I can taste my come all over your cock.”

“Mmm,” I replied, stroking her head.

“I want to taste you now,” she continued, pointing her tongue and teasing open my cock. “I want to taste your come.”

Always happy to oblige such a request, I thought, letting her again encircle my cock with her lips and slide it into her mouth. She didn’t pause this time, but took it all in a single swallow. She held it there, lightly nipping and running her tongue around, then slid me out, heaping on a generous helping of saliva. I slid in faster and more easily the next stroke, and easier still on the third.

I was doomed by this time, of course. Having been fucked and sucked in such an enthusiastic manner, I was pretty much resigned to a mind-numbing orgasm, and unsurprisingly, I was on the edge within another half-dozen swallows.

I was well beyond words by this time, but the pace of my moans told Tarnith that something was up, and she sucked faster, more urgently, golden eyes locked with mine. I felt the rush of sensations rise quickly, like an uprushing sea beast intent on its prey, and did nothing to stop it.

A strangled cry emerged from my throat, and I threw my head back, feeling the rush finally explode into orgasm, unleashing a rush of semen into Tarnith’s mouth.

“Mmmm,” Tarnith said, continuing to suck, milking my heaving cock with her mouth. She looked strangely smug as she swallowed, taking all of my come without difficulty, then releasing my softening cock and licking her lips.

“You come so much,” she said. “I almost didn’t get it all.”

“Sorry,” I said. “Can’t help it.”

Tarnith crawled atop me, breasts trailing across my belly and chest. “You fuck wonderfully, lion-man. It’s a pleasure to suck you off.”

I nodded. “Glad to be of service.” It was all I could think of.

That wasn’t all, however, since my recuperative powers as an n’doro were also exceptional. Moments later, I was atop Tarnith again, her legs wrapped around my neck, her breasts clutched firmly in my hands. I pushed her over into another three orgasms before I once more came, splashing come across the firm expanse of her belly. Once her shock had worn off, Tarnith spurred me to action one more time, ending with me coming inside her as she experienced yet another screaming orgasm.

We were all pretty much finished by that time, and as I expected, she ordered me out.

“Get dressed and leave,” she said, imperiously. “Don’t want you getting the wrong idea about our relationship.”

“What relationship?” I said, pulling on my loincloth and lacing up my sandals.

“That’s the spirit, lion-man,” she said, lying in a sweaty, pale-fleshed pile amid the disarrayed bed. “We have a relationship only when I say so.”

“Fair enough,” I replied, throwing a brief salute. “Good night, then.”

Tarnith flashed a wicked smile.

“You’ll do,” she said, cryptically.

III

Feanor

The day was won, but at a terrible cost. Lord General Feanor surveyed the carnage in the blood-red light of the setting sun. Above him rose the great pyramidal jarrek temple where lay the Dragon’s Eye.

The jarreks had fought fanatically, like the animals that they were. Too stupid to understand that their struggle was useless, the lizard-folk had forced Feanor’s warriors to fight for every inch, slowly hacking their way up the stone temple steps, soaking each in jarrek and elf blood.

At last, Feanor had summoned his elite Dragon Guard, grim and ancient elves dedicated only to the defense of the realm. Hacking through walls of jarrek flesh with their great, two-handed swords, the Guard had at last driven the lizard men from the temple.

But was it worth the cost, Feanor wondered? The bodies of twenty legendary warriors lay scattered on the temple steps, along with ten times that number of jarreks.

Twenty legends. All gone forever. Taeleritha the Fair, who had single-handedly held the gates of the Runehall against the Cold Island raiders. Rytharim Blackhand, Master of the Swooping Eagle School of martial arts, and slayer of daemons. Rhyn Starseer, whose voice was known through the realms, whether she was bellowing orders or singing an ancient ballad. Lord Dakkin, the silent, brooding commander of the Dragon Guard, who had risked his life without question for nearly a thousand years.

This last loss pained Feanor most of all, for he had numbered Dakkin among his friends, and the two of them had shared many adventures over the centuries, saving each other’s lives dozens of times. Now, at last, the great tale of friendship was at an end, and Feanor was alone.

Feanor himself was weary, covered in gore. He’d personally slain ten jarreks, taking numerous wounds in the process. Despite this, he forced himself to walk the battlefield, taking in the strewn corpses, the feasting carrion birds, the walking wounded and weary survivors. Nearby, a squad of elven spearmen stood guard over a collection of jarrek prisoners, who regarded their captors with inscrutable, alien eyes.

The sun was setting behind the temple, and a warm evening breeze bore the scent of death. A rush of wings caught Feanor’s attention as the looming forms of the two eldest dragons, Dhruul and Iskhana, swooped low and alighted near the temple steps.

Feanor felt a trace of anger at the sight, but suppressed it as best he could, walking slowly and painfully toward the great looming beasts, who regarded him without emotion.

“Why didn’t you help us, dragon brother?” Feanor asked, unable to keep a tone of anguish from his voice. “Had you fought alongside us, fewer brave warriors would have died.”

Dhruul rumbled, his vast horned head arcing down gracefully at the end of his powerful neck. There was a strange light in the dragon’s eyes, one which Feanor had never seen before. They seemed to glow with a deep violet light, dark and somehow disturbing.

“We had to prepare ourselves,” Dhruul said. “Once we have made the summoning, your losses will seem insignificant.”

“The loss of one such as Lord Dakkin will never be insignificant,” Feanor said. “No conquest, no triumph, no glory can ever compensate for the loss of such a friend.”

“Come now, Lord General,” whistled Iskhana, in a tone that seemed to Feanor vaguely disdainful. “Is this the spirit of the race who ruled the world by sword and spell for ten thousand years? Do you think the ancient Dragon Kings mourned so? That they wept for the loss of friends when the world was at their feet?” Iskhana snorted with laughter, a very un-dragonlike noise. “Have our children fallen so far, Dhruul? What would Valaron their ancestor think?”

“Once the summoning is complete, all thoughts of vanished friends will pass,” assured Dhruul. “They will gaze down upon this world from paradise and be well pleased. Let conquest be Lord Dakkin’s legacy, Feanor. Not sorrow.”

Feanor straightened himself and pushed his concerns away.

“What would you have of us, brother dragon?” he asked. “I’ve sent a squad of warriors to retrieve the object you seek.”

Dhruul nodded (another incongruous mannerism, Feanor thought), then threw his head back, inhaling deeply.

“Yessssss,” the dragon said. “It is good. This is the perfect place for the summoning.”

Feanor gaped in astonishment. “Here? Now?”

“Of course,” said Iskhana. “The jarreks have consecrated this place with their sacrifices and crude rituals, and you, lord general, have further sanctified it with the blood of your elven warriors.”

Feanor stepped back suddenly, his pale face growing even paler.

“What are you saying?” he demanded, his customary respect for the dragons forgotten. “That my warriors were sacrifices?

“Sacrifices to the greater good, lord general,” said Dhruul. “Ah! Our collaborator approaches.”

Out of the shadows of the gloaming emerged Lady Vaenetha, her face radiant. The bloody light of the setting sun cast a red glow about her hair and the white gown she wore. She smiled to see the dragons, oblivious to the butchery around her.

“My lords,” she said, respectfully. “The time and place of summoning have arrived?”

“Indeed they have,” said Iskhana. “Now we only await the arrival of the Nexus Stone.”

“And here it is now,” said Dhruul, and once more Feanor felt he was not truly listening to a dragon.

Six elf warriors toiled on the blood-slick temple steps, carrying a huge, rough stone. It was translucent, like a gem, varying from green at one end to purple at the other. As the elves bore their burden closer to the dragons, the stone began to glow.

Dhruul, Iskhana and Vaenetha spread out in a rough circle. They stood as the elves approached. All three breathed quickly, eyes half-closed, as if in the throes of ecstasy.

“The Dragon’s Eye,” sighed Iskhana.

“The Nexus of the Ancient Ones,” said Dhruul.

Something stirred in Feanor, as the gloom grew deeper. It was something he had not felt in decades, and it took him a few minutes to realize that it was dread – terrible, soul-deep dread.

“Put it on the ground,” said Dhruul, voice suddenly harsh and commanding. As Feanor stood, unsure what to do, the elves hastened to obey, depositing the stone in the center of the circle formed by Vaenetha and the two dragons.

“Now,” breathed Iskhana. “Now we begin.”

Feanor tried to move, but found himself rooted to the spot. All around him, other elves looked alarmed, likewise frozen in place.

Dhruul began to emit a deep, bass drone, like the hum of a bagpipe. A moment later, Iskhana joined him, he higher drone combining harmoniously, until the ground itself seemed to vibrate in sympathy. Now, Vaenetha held out her arms and began to chant in archaic, incomprehensible syllables, joining with the two dragons in melodious contrast.

Feanor’s heart hammered so hard and fast that he feared it would burst as he watched the Dragon’s eye glow brighter and brighter until its brilliance was unbearable.

He looked away for an instant, fearful that the light would sear his very soul, but then it was gone, and when Feanor looked back he saw that the Dragon’s Eye was gone, too.

In its place was a shimmering column of light, and beyond it…

Feanor stared, the horrible dread growing once more. The shapes that stepped out of the light, moving with ponderous grace, seemed like dragons at first, but on closer inspection…

Feanor would have screamed had he been able.

Dragons, yes – but dragons long dead, with pale bone gaping through desiccated flesh, sightless sockets staring from decayed dragon skulls, tatters of flesh and muscle hanging off ancient sinew, claws ancient, broken and filthy, wings like torn, storm-rent sails, tails dragging lifelessly…

And that was not the worst thing.

Worst of all, each undead behemoth bore a rider – a rotting parody of the proud, ancient dragon kings, clad in rust, pitted armor, bearing weapons that shown with an evil light. Blue flames glowed where their eyes should have been, gaping from beneath millennia-old dragon helms.

Ten of the abominations emerged from the light to cries of exultation from Vaenetha, Dhruul and Iskhana. Last came a lone figure, walking humbly on foot, surrounded by a nimbus of unclean light.

Now, Feanor tore himself free of his paralysis enough to cry out in fear and despair, for he recognized the figure despite its morbid demeanor.

“Ezikhan,” he said, voice strained and weak. “Ezikhan the Traitor…”

The figure, a spindly, desiccated thing that might once have been an elf, bowed politely. It was clad in long red robes and bore a skull-topped staff.

“At your service, Lord General,” he said in a voice like sand and dry leaves. “It has been long since I walked upon Thystra. I’ve much time to make up for.”

“Bastard!” barked Feanor. “We still curse your name for what you did! You slew the high king!”

“No!” Ezikhan’s voice rattled angrily. “The high king destroyed himself! I sought to free our people from his tyranny and the oppression of an ancient ruler who no longer heard his subjects! The high king would rule still had he only listened to me! And for what I tried to do, I was exiled, sentenced to a living death.”

Feanor’s head reeled. The ancient traitor now strode Thystra once more, and his words echoed those of another usurper, the Stormking.

“I’ve returned to serve my people, Feanor,” Ezikhan rasped. “Perhaps I’m not as handsome as I once was, but you’ll find my skills are even greater.” The ancient sorcerer paused, then raised his staff. “Watch.”

Bluish radiance spread from the staff, reaching out tendrils to envelop the scattered corpses which littered the temple grounds. A chorus of random gurgles echoed in Feanor’s ears, and when the blue glow faded, he beheld a nightmare.

The dead warriors shambled to their feet, wounds still fresh, armor still rent and bloody. Elves and jarreks stirred; those without legs crawled feebly. Others jerked along like puppets.

Feanor felt profoundly sick, but there was yet one last horror to behold.

From the temple steps lurched the corpses of the twenty slain Dragon Guard. Taeleritha the Fair limped forward, even though half her head was gone. Rhytharim Blackhand held his infamous sword in clumsy claws. Rhyn Starseer crawled, dragging her body forward with ruined hands.

And at the head of the group, grinning horribly, dead eyes glowing blue, was the corpse of Lord Dakkin, Feanor’s ancient friend.

“It is so very encouraging to see old friends meet,” Ezikhan said. Behind him, the dragons made noises that might have been laughter.

“Damn you,” snarled Feanor. “I’ll see you suffer for all eternity, you foul abomination.”

“Tch, tch.” Ezikhan waved a finger. “That’s no way for an elf of your stature to talk. Watch again and I’ll show you why you should hold your tongue.”

Ezikhan gestured with his staff, and another bolt of bluish light sprang from it, enveloping the cluster of jarrek prisoners. An instant later, the light faded, revealing not living jarreks, but a crowd of nearly-dead corpses, now shuffling forward to join their comrades. The elves guarding them stared in utter horror, but still could not move.

“Hm. I’m out of practice,” Ezikhan mused. “I’ll have to do some more research.” He fixed his corpse-eyes on Feanor. “Swear allegiance to me and the dragons, Lord General. Or my research will be conducted on your beloved elf warriors.”

Feanor cast a pleading gaze on Dhruul and Iskhana, who returned it coolly.

“Dragon brother! Sister! How can you see your people treated in this way? Why have you made common cause with this… this monster?”

Iskhana did not deign to reply, but Dhruul sounded almost sympathetic.

“Your people have dark corners in their souls, lord marshal. Corners that you dare not explore, or that you pretend do not exist. You delude yourselves in the belief that you are greater, kinder, more beautiful and enlightened than the other races of this world. They are all the same to you. Humans are short-lived primitives. Dwarves are savages. Jarreks are animals. You now prosecute a war of conquest against the world, seeking to cleanse it of those inferior to yourself.” Dhruul snorted. “You have lost your way, elf. We are no longer your brothers, we dragons. We joined in your war for our own purposes. You thought to make us fight for you, but now you must fight for us. Ezikhan, at least, knows of the dark side of the elven soul and embraced it. Serve him now, and your people will be spared.”

“Please, my love,” said Vaenetha. “I did not want to participate in this terrible ceremony, but they compelled me. I beg you to submit, or… Or Ezikhan will make me like…” She pointed at the crowd of undead, now moving randomly to the terrified stares of the elves. “Like them.”

“No!” Feanor cried, involuntarily. “Don’t do this thing, Ezikhan!”

“I won’t unless you make me,” the sorcerer said. “This is your last chance, Lord General. Swear to me.”

Feanor felt the last resistance drain from him. Not his warriors. Not Vaenetha.

“I swear,” he whispered, broken. “I swear to serve you and the dragons, Lord Ezikhan.”

“Excellent decision, Lord General,” said Ezikhan. He stepped toward Iskhana and reached out a skeletal hand to touch her jaw. “Ah, my ancient friend. We fought together once, did we not?”

“We did, My Lord.”

“Shall we ride again?”

“Of course,” Iskhana replied, lowering her head, allowing Ezikhan to clamber onto her back and sit between her great wings.

Ezikhan looked out at Feanor’s army, terrified elves and shambling undead.

“A fine sight, eh, Lord General?” he asked. “Oh, yes, you can all move now. Shall we go tell the rest of your people the good news?”

Thae’lynn

Colonel Sherynia flung her head back and wailed as Thae’lynn thrust into her. The black penis-device was grafted to her now, and she pleasured her new employee with great gusto.

Our men have these things and choose not to use them most of the time, Thae’lynn thought sadly, holding Sherynia’s arms as the human’s legs wrapped around her shoulders, and she thrust downward into her tight, overflowing cunt. Damn, but our men are worthless.

“Darling Thae,” Sherynia groaned. Her black hair was again plastered to her face with sweat, her nipples were red and prominent from Thae’lynn’s attentions, and her fingers intertwined with the dark elf’s, holding them tightly as orgasm wracked her body. “Darling Mistress I’m coming…”

Yes, mistress, Thae’lynn thought. I said I’d own you, own you and your damned mercenaries. You’ll be licking milk out of a bowl for me in just a few weeks, dear sweet little human…

“Uh, Lady Protector?” said a tentative, annoyingly familiar voice.

“Wait, you irritating bastard,” she snarled. “Can’t you see I’m busy?”

Her visitor did not reply, but remained silent as Thae’lynn pounded her cock into Sherynia for a few final strokes, then withdrew, spurting semen (or whatever the damned device produced instead) across the human’s heaving belly. As Sherynia, heedless of the interruption, lay in continuing ecstasy, rubbing the hot fluid into her skin, Thae’lynn turned, knowing what she’d see.

Marshal Ta’loren, newly appointed to command rank (one of few men so honored), stood to one side, averting his eyes from the view of Thae’lynn’s bed and its occupants.

“Ta’loren, what are you doing?” she demanded.

“I’m averting my eyes, Lady Protector,” Ta’loren mumbled.

“Well, don’t!” Thae’lynn snapped. “Look at me, you damned fool! If you fucking males would just take an interest in what we females are doing we might be willing to fuck you a little more often! There’s a good reason we females prefer to fuck each other!”

“Sorry, Lady Protector,” Ta’loren said, nervously. “I bring news.”

Thae’lynn stood. No robe this time, dammit. The bastard can see me naked, she thought. If he can’t handle it I’ll find myself a new Marshal.

“Well? Out with it!”

“Mazzor says that the Dragon’s Eye has been awakened,” Ta’loren said. “He says that with the correct summonings he can reopen the gate to his home plane within the month.”

Thae’lynn could not suppress a laugh. “And what of Ezikhan and his minions? Have they come through?”
“They have, Lady. The elves have accepted them as allies, albeit reluctantly.”

“Ha! I want everything those prigs do to be reluctant!” She whirled, looking down at Sherynia, who still lay, slowly stroking her belly and thighs. “Hear that, dearest? Our bastard cousins are well on the way to total corruption. Now, they’ll move against the human kingdoms and either conquer or be destroyed.”

“You seem proud, Protector,” Sherynia said.

“I am, dearest human pet. Very proud. Soon the elves will either exterminate the humans or be exterminated themselves. Either way, nothing will stand in our way when we move against the Elven Isles and that bitch the Silver Lady.”

Thae’lynn laughed again. “Get your troops ready, my pet. They’ll be seeing action soon, I think.”

Wulf

Khordelis was a dark and grim city that served the dark elves as their single window on the outside world. Its waterfront was a filthy maze of warehouses, inns and brothels. The outsiders dwelled here – mercenaries, corsairs, criminals and those merchants brave or foolhardy enough to deal with the dark elves.

The interior of the city, where black domes and palaces sprouted tall, slender towers, or vast exotic estates rambled, was reserved for the dark elves and their guests. All around the city stretched endless slums, warrens of crime, debauchery and violence. Outcasts of two dozen races or more lurked here, living on the ragged tolerance of their dark elven masters.

Needless to say, I found myself quite at home there.

Tarnith told me that the first order of business would be organizing us into units. I requested the right to select my own squad.

“We’ll see,” she said, looking calculating. “We’re actively considering making you a lieutenant, which as I said is rare for a male. But you’ve shown so much…” She smiled slyly. “…Native ability, we may be able to commission you. If you work out, you can pick your own platoon.”

“Encouraging,” I said. “What do I need to do?”

“Not ‘what,’ Lion-Man, ‘who’,” she replied, looking rather wicked. “There’s one more person you need to… Hm… interview with before we finalize your promotion.”

Gods, I thought, does everyone want to do the lion-man?

I held my tongue and didn’t ask for details. The identity of my next “interviewer” was revealed the night after our arrival in Khordelis. 

*** 

Rain splattered down as Tarnith urged me toward the carriage. She was wrapped in a heavy woolen cloak against the weather.

“Hurry up!” she said. “The marshal doesn’t like to be kept waiting.”

“Marshal?” I said, clambering into the leather-padded depths of the carriage and slamming the door behind me. “What marshal?”
“You’ll see,” she said with a smirk. “I told her all about you. Now get yourself presentable. She’s very particular.”

I swallowed hard and tried to keep my heart from hammering. My lion-man physique seemed incapable of fear from any physical opponent. Now, however, the notion of yet another “audition” with one of Tarnith’s companions in arms terrified me.

The carriage lurched through the narrow streets of Khordelis, rocking back and forth, foiling my attempts to get my mane in order and keep my uniform unrumpled. I wondered if I’d be allowed to keep it on for long in any event.

What was happening to me, I wondered? Here I was, in impenetrable disguise, trying to gain authority in our enemy’s army. And how was I doing it? By fucking female officers.

Now my male readers may find this amusing, and wonder what the hell I was complaining about, but you’re obviously not the sensitive type. I was beginning to weary of playing the tough, dominant mercenary and pleasuring a woman who obviously held out potential promotions as a gift in exchange for services rendered. Now, I was about to be offered for a higher-ranking officer’s amusement.

But who the hell was the marshal?

I didn’t have long to wait. The carriage lurched to a halt after climbing a steep hill, and Tarnith ushered me out.

The moon Little Sister peeked out from behind a cloud, and the rain paused for a moment while I took stock of my surroundings.

We stood outside a rambling manse which crouched on a hill overlooking the sprawl of the waterfront. A large door yawned open, flanked by a pair of armored ogres.

“Come on,” said Tarnith, taking me by the hand. “We’ll be late.”

She handed her cloak to one of the ogres. Underneath she wore a black leather halter and skirt, with sandals laced up almost to her knees. Ready for action, I thought.

I followed her meekly, entering the warm, dark wood-paneled hallway, lined with stone columns and hung with tapestries. The lighting was dim, and I wondered about the marshal. Another dark elf? Or even Thae’lynn herself? Now that would be a coup, I thought.

When we reached out destination, I didn’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed.

“Marshal, may I present Sergeant Chuma?” Tarnith said, saluting.

The room was set for dinner, with a linen-covered table and tall black tapers burning. A male human servant stood in the shadows.

“Good evening, Sergeant. Tarnith has told me a great deal about you.”

Her voice was rich and full. She sat at the table, a wine goblet in her hand. Warm green cats-eyes gazed at me from a black, feline face. A cascade of rich black hair tumbled down over her shoulders. She wore a low-cut tunic with a tight bodice that presented two substantial, black-furred breasts, and below the table invisible to me, I knew a black tail swished and twitched nervously.

The marshal was a tandu – leopard-folk who lived in the jungle highlands beyond the Veldt where the n’doro dwelled. I’d seen a few tandu in the past, but I’d never actually met one.

And now, if Tarnith’s suggestions meant anything, not only was I to meet a Tandu, but I was to become a very close acquaintance. She was also a black tandu, or tandu-ri as they were called. They tended to be priests and sorcerers, if I remembered correctly.

“I’m Marshal Herula,” she said. “Come, join me. We’ll discuss the particulars of your promotion.” 

*** 

We all sat for dinner, and I admit it was the best meal I’d had since leaving the Skate. We enjoyed some deep red wine which I suspected was of dark elven vintage, but didn’t say anything. Herula proved to be a gracious hostess, asking me about my experience, and what I might bring to the Black Legion should I be promoted. I responded as best I could, keeping my false heritage in mind.

“So tell me about your people,” Herula said, and her green eyes reflected candlelight in a most alluring manner. “Who are your gods? Who are your heroes? Tell me one of your legends.”

Gods, she caught me short, and I struggled to come up with something.

“Well, we… that is…” I swallowed. “Our greatest hero is the… uh… The Lord… Uh… Simba, whose father was… Was betrayed, yes…” I tried to keep my eyes from darting. “Betrayed and, well, murdered by his evil brother Scar, but Simba escaped and… After wandering for many years… Uh, returned… Yes, he returned to take vengeance on his uncle and once more ruled his people… Wisely and fairly, that is…”

Herula looked indulgent. “I can see you’re no storyteller, Chuma.”

“No, actually. I left that to the priests.” I once more tried to look noble. “I prefer honest battle to spinning tales around the fire.”

“Hm.” I was starting to get suspicious of that sound, especially when women made it. She shot another burning gaze in my direction, then looked over at Tarnith.

“Leave us,” she said, curtly. “And my thanks.”

Tarnith favored us with a thin smile, rose, saluted and left.

“Have fun, Marshal,” her voice echoed from the hall as she walked away.

Herula returned her gaze to me.

“It’s been so long,” she sighed, lounging and stretching, muscles cording. “So long since I’ve been with one even vaguely close to my own species. I mean, these humans are all right, but, well, I’ve really missed the sensation of, well…” She stroked one breast. “Well, fur.”

“I’d be happy to help your recall better days,” I said.

The green eyes fixed me with a fierce gaze. “Well, Chuma, you’re not necessarily the right species, but you’re close enough. Mind you, I expect instant obedience from my subordinates.”

I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. Gods and daemons, not another one…

“Yes, marshal,” I replied, keeping any trace of sarcasm out of my voice. “What would you have of me?”

“No,” Herula purred, standing and beckoning. “What would you have of me?”

Intrigued, I rose and followed. She sashayed alluringly through the beaded curtain at the back of the dining room, tail swishing to and fro as she did so. Even as a human I’d have found her damnably attractive (don’t forget my dear tiger-woman Li), from the corded strength of her shoulders to the voluptuous swell of her breasts and the flare of her hips.

She led me down a short hallway and through double doors into what was obviously a bedchamber, dimly lit and warm, hung with tapestries and paintings. One wall, however, was bare and hung with…

Oh, Gods. I was back in Xesh.

A wooden frame, perhaps eight feet high stood near the wall, and from the top beam dangled short chains ending in leather manacles. I noted with some small relief that the manacles were padded, then saw a similar pair attached to the bottom of the frame. Beside the frame a series of interesting-looking implements hung from the wall, including miscellaneous floggers and crops, and a number of variously-equipped cylindrical objects whose purpose I could glean quite easily.

Inwardly, I cringed. I’d put up with this sort of treatment with dear Countess Xylara, and was determined never to do so again. But, I thought, steeling myself for the inevitable barked orders and stinging rebukes, I was on a mission, and I would serve faithfully, even if it meant…

“So, are you going to tell me what to do now, master?” Herula said, slyly, loosening the laces of her bodice. “I do very much like being told what to do.”

I almost jumped in alarm, but managed to only look more stoic and noble. However, inwardly I was a gibbering wreck.

Godsgodsgodsgods, I thought, she wants me to tie her up…. Godsgodsgods…

“You look as if you’d make a good master,” Herula whispered, sliding out of her bodice and beginning to undo her gown. Her eyes seemed even more luminously green than before. “A commander needs to be commanded sometimes, you know. It’s good for the soul.”

Godsgodsgodsgods… What do I do? Phaedra’s loins…

I frantically struggled to remember Xylara and Narisha and their favored brand of dominant loveplay.

Think, you cat-brained idiot… Okay, she’s asking you, so you’re not forcing her to do anything… If she likes it, then it’s okay… She’ll tell you if you go too far… It’s just a way that some people deal with the pain and stress of everyday living… Remember Professor Fimbagel… Keep an open mind, Wulf… Keep an open mind…

My mind was distressingly open, I simply couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do.

Thankfully, none of this showed. All dear Herula saw was her strong and handsome would-be master lion-man standing there looking at her with dark brown, masterful eyes.

She let her gown slide to the floor, and stood before me in all her black-furred naked glory.

I remembered Li Shu. She was similar, though taller and leaner. The sleek black pelt covered her entire body, and at some angles I could see darker leopard-like spots. Her face was a truly ethereal combination of human and feline features, panther crossed with ebony Veldt-woman. Her breasts were of modest size, nipples dark and unfurred, her belly a glossy expanse gleaming in the lamplight. She was built more for speed than agility than Li, her legs firm and slender, unlike Li’s powerfully corded columnar limbs.

“What would my master have of me?” she whispered.

And, dammit, she wanted me. I felt a stirring between my thighs, despite my conflicted feelings.

The calm center of my mind struggled for control, while the rest of me urged swift and unequivocal flight from the room and a life as an Idrianic cenobite in some gods-forsaken corner of the world. Memories of that last night with Xylara came back to me, when she had taken from me what she’d so often given to others. Dialog suggested itself, and I spoke, but felt like a passive observer, rather than a willing participant.

“Kneel,” I said. “Kneel down for me.”

She nodded, eyes going wide and vulnerable, and slipped to her knees.

I walked toward her, then reached down and stroked her cheek. She pressed her face against my palm.

“You want to be told what to do?” I asked. At least I had the presence of mind to keep asking questions, while I continued to frantically improvise a script for what I was about to do.

“Yes,” she replied, looking up at me. Her eyes were even wider now, so soft and yielding that I felt a sudden urge to melt into a large furry puddle. “Tell me what to do, master. Please.”

“Touch yourself,” I said, beginning to warm to my new role, and feeling an alternately pleasurable and maddening sensation in my loins. “Touch yourself while I watch.”

“Mmm, master,” she said, huskily, and her hands began to slide up and down her sides. “Shall I touch my breasts?”

I nodded. “Play with them for me.”

“Oh, yes,” she replied, a trace of excitement in her voice, and her hands encircled her breasts, squeezing and stroking.

I watched. My cock was definitely showing signs of life, and a brief, wicked green-eyed glance from Herula told me that she noticed it, too.

It didn’t distract her, however. She squeezed with evident pleasure, and moaned softly, licking her lips and looking back at my face.

“My nipples, master? Should I play with my nipples now? Squeeze them? Pinch them? You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”

“I would,” I said, feeling my basso rumble echo. “I would like that.”

“Mmmm.” She did what she’d said, squeezing her black, hairless nipples, then extending a single claw and softly pricking one. “Oh, I like that, master. I like that very much.”

I did, too, I thought, fumbling at my belt to free my now painfully-stiff organ.

“No, master,” Herula said, urgently. “Let me do that. Please.”

Gods, so this was what it was like being on the receiving end, I thought, stepping forward.

“Do it,” I said. “Take out my cock and rub it with your hands.”

“Oh, yes, master,” Herula said, breathlessly. Her eager-eyed face was framed by her cascades of black hair, now dangling down to cover her breasts. She loosened my belt expertly and pulled down my breeches. I sighed with relief, as she looked at my erect member with obvious interest.

“So big,” she said. “I love it, master. Let me play with it. Please?”

“Play with it, then,” I told her. “Stroke it. Rub it against you.”

“I will, master. Thank you.”

Apparently, I thought, the Black Legion was a place of extremes, what with my going in quick succession from a woman who demanded I call her “mistress” to one who insisted on calling me “master.”

I really didn’t mind that much.

She encircled my cock with both hands, sliding up and down its length, squeezing, first gently, then hard, then rubbing it against her two breasts, stroking her swelling black nipples.

I suppressed a groan, feeling the exquisite sensation of warm fur against my stiff, and now enormously sensitive, cock. I reached down and stroked her hair.

“Feel good in your hands?” I asked.

“Mm-hm.” She nodded. “Feel good against my breasts?”

“I don’t know,” I replied. “Do it some more.”

She liked that, stroking my rigid member against her nipples, then engulfing it between her breasts.

Gods, the sensations. I bit back a moan, knowing that I had to keep playing my part.

“I suppose that will do,” I said, stroking her head. She responded with a rich throaty growl, took my cock in her hands and placed it close to her slightly open mouth. She looked back up at me. “May I? Please?”

“Please what?” At least I remembered that much of the routine from Xylara.

“Suck you? Can I suck you, master?”

“Ask nicely,” I said. “Ask nicely and maybe I’ll let you.”

She looked up at me once more, holding my cock against her breasts, eyes wide, voice high and pleading. I tried to imagine this same female ordering warriors into battle.

“Please,” she said, softly. “Please let me suck you. Please let me put your prick in my mouth. I’d love it so much. I’d do anything for you if you just let me suck you.”

Though a part of me wanted to yell, “Enough already! You can suck me, okay?” I kept to my chosen assignment, however.

“Anything?” I asked. It was, of course, what she wanted me to say.

She nodded, eagerly, black cat-face wide-eyed and submissive. “Anything. Tell me what to do and I’ll do it, master. Just let me suck you.”

“Very well then,” I replied. “Suck me.”

Before you start laughing too hard, I should remind you that this was actually kind of enjoyable, in a rather twisted fashion. More so, I suppose, because Herula truly wanted me to order her to suck me, and now, as she slid her tongue along my cock, its rough surface abrading slightly (but not too much), she seemed utterly content.

“So big,” she sighed. “Oh, so big. Watch me while I suck it, master.”

Then she slid the thick organ into her mouth. Her eyes widened slightly, and she slid it out.

“I’ve never had one this big before,” she whispered. “Let me try again.”

Gods, doesn’t every man love to hear that kind of nonsense, even if it isn’t true? In my case, it probably was, but as I said before, I didn’t feel truly entitled to this particular organ, since I was normally a quite average human with quite average endowment. When you’ve got it, however, I suppose you really should use it, so I wasn’t going to complain.

Herula started again, and this time she managed to down most of my cock before sliding it out again, her prickly tongue scoring its underside. I growled at that.

“Master likes it, doesn’t he?” she asked, flicking her tongue across my glans. “He likes the way I suck him, doesn’t he?”

“You’ll do,” I said, consciously echoing Tarnith from several weeks before. “Keep doing that and I’ll like it even more.”

I was apparently saying all the right things, since Herula began to suck at me with greater enthusiasm, gazing up at me with wide-eyed devotion, tongue lapping with increasing force against me, my hot skin shining with her saliva.

“Mmmmm, yes,” I said. “Yes, your master likes that.”

She released me and stroked at her breasts, squeezing her nipples.

“What do you want me to do now, master?”

I thought about that. I wouldn’t mind letting her fellate me for a while longer, but I got the impression she wanted to move up a level or two, so I relented.

“Stand up,” I said, and instantly she obeyed, springing to her feet with lithe, dark-furred grace, tail lashing.

I motioned toward the wooden frame.

“Stand there,” I said. “Hands on the bar.”

“Oh, yes,” Herula replied with enthusiasm and swayed toward the frame, a lithe, naked ebon statue. When she got there, back to me, the turned her head and she cast a burning glance at me.

“And exactly what did my master want of me again?” she asked.

“Hands on the bar,” I replied. “Now.”

“Oh, yes. Sorry, master.” There was a touch of irony in the words, but she obeyed, raising her arms and taking hold of the bar.

I reached up, taking one of the leather restraints, wrapping it around one wrist and buckling it. The action wasn’t without some difficulty, but at least she was looking away from me when I did it. Wordlessly, I secured the other wrist.

I glanced at the leather manacles near the floor.

“Legs apart,” I said, simply and once more Herula obeyed, moving her slender legs closer to the restraints. I buckled these as well – closer to the ground they were a little less awkward.

Now I took a moment to admire her once more. Maybe it was my new feline physiology, but then again I’d probably have admired her as a human, as well. Her back rippled with powerful muscles, tensing in anticipation of what was to come. Her waist narrowed slightly, then flared dramatically at her hips. Her ass was wonderfully soft-looking, her tail still twitching spasmodically above it. From behind, she looked for all the world like a human woman in a skin-tight fur coat.

“Oh, master,” she sighed. “Do with me what you wish. I’m your slave.”

Now I was truly in unfamiliar territory. Though I’d certainly played enough strange games with Xylara and Narisha, I’d almost never indulged in the kind of heavy-duty discipline that Herula plainly wanted. Spanking, maybe, but never…

I cast a nervous glance at her wall o’ whips and swallowed hard.

Okay, Wulf. Start with what you know…

“So sweet,” I said, softly, stroking the soft curves of her buttocks. She made a soft sound of acquiescence. Swiftly, I drew back and brought my hand down sharply, slapping with a loud crack. Her pelt deadened some of the blow, but she felt it nonetheless, recoiling as far as the restraints allowed.

“Oh, yes,” she gasped. “Yes, give it to me.”

I did, slapping away on one buttock, then the other. She writhed in her restraints, crying out with a yowling, catlike sound that reminded me desperately of Li.

“Ohhh… Rrrwww… Yesssss….” She looked back at me, her hair in disarray, framing wild eyes. “The flogger. Please, master.”

Hm. Flogger, I thought, mind racing. That was the long, straight one? No – the one that looked like a rag-mop. That one. I took it up carefully.

What had Xylara advised? Start slow, and build up speed and force. Yes. That’s it.

I hesitated, then figured I should get started before Herula started to suspect that I was playing this by ear. I stroked her back and buttocks with the trailing leather fringes of the flogger.

“Yes, master, that’s it,” she whispered, and the odd thought occurred to me that she was actually talking to herself. Perhaps I was totally unimportant – just a cog in her machine of self-indulgence. After all, she couldn’t exactly tie herself up.

Who is the real slave here? The words drifted back to me from a lazy afternoon beside the Moonpool in Xesh.

Alrynna and Xylara… Mistress and slave. Mistress and mistress? Slave and slave? The comparison had often occurred to me over the years, and now it came back full force.

I started to slap lightly across the black softness of Herula’s buttocks and thighs. She sighed delightedly, and shuddered, her flesh quivering.

Harder now, I slapped the long, flat leather strips against her with greater force. Her moans and delicate shivers grew proportionally, and she leaned forward, straining against her ankle and wrist bands. I struck harder, faster, and her moans grew still more enthusiastic. At last, she went rigid, trembling slightly.

“OhhhHHHH, yes!” she cried, and a seismic tremor raced through her. Her tail lashed furiously, and I could see her muscles bunch and release, bunch and release.

I looked down at the flogger as if it had suddenly turned into a mage’s fireball staff.

I’d made her come just by flogging? Gods, I’d forgotten that was possible.

“Please, master. Please don’t stop.”

I swallowed. Time to improvise some more.

I selected a rather impressive-looking cylindrical dildo from the wall. It was finely crafted of hardwood, and carved with an impressive orgy scene in which a number of species were busy pleasuring each other. I approved.

I reached up and loosened one wrist, then handed Herula the device.

“Put this in you,” I said. “Play with yourself while I spank you.”

Her voice was rich, full of anticipation and excitement.

“Oh, yes, master. Yes, I will.”

With that, I selected a flat paddle and applied it to Herula’s buttocks as she stroked herself with her free hand, then slid the dildo inside her. She cried out when she did so, and I suspected she had another orgasm.

“Again,” I said, slapping one ass cheek, then the other. “Faster.”

Gods, this was starting to get tiring. My shoulder began to protest, but Herula still seemed quite content to keep going, so I obliged.

“Oh, master, I’m coming. I’m coming for you.”

Master, my furry ass, I thought to myself. I’m still working for her…

I kept up for a few more minutes like this, until I noticed that I was panting heavily. Oddly enough, so was Herula. I reached up and freed her other wrist, then her ankles.

She turned, eyes still wide, pink tongue lolling, breath coming swiftly, then slipped into a predator’s crouch.

“What would my master have of me, now?” she demanded, a trace of a snarl in her voice.

Her eyes were fixed on my still-prominent erection, and I sincerely hoped that I was about to offer her what she wanted.

“On your knees,” I said. “Get on your knees and let me fuck you.”

“Oh, yes!” she gushed with new enthusiasm, dropping to the ground, obligingly presenting me with her lusciously curved buttocks and the hairless dark pink flesh beneath it.

“Fuck me, master. Fuck me now.”

Okay, okay. I’ve been told that before, and it always seems to get to me. I moved behind her and fitted my cockhead against her.

“Want it?” I said. “Want it inside you?”

“Yes, master. Please fuck me with that big cock. I want it so badly.”

Again, the words moved me. I thrust into her, feeling her open up sweetly before me, and listening to her groan and yowl.

“Oh, such a sweet cock. Oh, such a sweet, sweet master. Oh, fuck me. Fuck me.”

And so on.

I held her buttocks tightly and pulled her to me, heedless of the long black tail which periodically swished in my face, and within another few moments, Herula was in the throes of another numbing orgasm, pounding against me of her own accord, without my urging.

Finally, I pushed her down, and rolled her onto her back.

“I want to see you,” I growled. “I want to look you in the face.”

“Look at me,” she hissed. “Look at me while I come for you, master.”

I crushed my lips against hers, and for long moments our bristly tongues met and intertwined. I realized that this was the first time I’d actually kissed her.

Holding her beneath me, I nibbled and licked at her ears, the side of her face, and her neck, moving finally to her breasts.

“Suck them, please, master. Suck my nipples. Bite them hard.”

I obliged, rasping her swelling nubs with my tongue, again eliciting loud groans and howls, then encircling a nipple with my lips, licking and biting gently.

“Fuck me, master. Put your cock in me, please.”

Instead of obliging immediately, I reached over for the discarded dildo, which lay near the foot of the bondage frame. It was still moist with her, and when I stroked it across her mons she stiffened.

“You’ll have to take this first,” I said. “Get you properly prepared.”

“Ohhhh, master…” Her voice sounded almost desperate.

I reached between her thighs to touch the soft, wet flesh of her pubis, and spread her outer lips apart. Her clitoris was large and prominently swollen. I touched it with the tip of the dildo.

“Yesssss,” she whispered. “Oh, yesssss…”

Then I slid its bluntly pointed head between her cunt lips, feeling the overwhelming wetness there. It slipped inside her without difficulty.

“OHHHHHH, Rrrrwwwwwllll,” Hera cried, and her hands gripped her breasts, squeezing at her nipples. “That’s it, master. That’s it…”

I slid the dildo all the way in, feeling all resistance melt before it. When I slid it out, it was slick with her, and it penetrated her again even faster.

“Fuck me with it, master. Fuck me hard.”

I moved faster, thrusting in and out, in and out, feeling her strain and grow rigid.

“Yes, master. Just like your cock. It’s just like your cock. I’m going to…” Her voice trailed off. “I’m going to… Oh, like I’m going to come all over your cock… I’m… I’m…”

Her hips rose up off the floor, meeting my thrusts.

“Com... Com... Coming…. OHHHHHHHH…”

I kept thrusting, though her cunt clenched and tightened, making each thrust harder.

At length, her throes subsided and she lay, panting. I pulled the dildo out.

“I want you in me now,” she growled, grabbing my mane and pulling. “Now!”

Then her legs were over my shoulders, and I was again thrusting into her, feeling her rise up to surround me, then let me go, and once more return, a wet, hot blanket for my cock, tightening and growing hotter with each thrust.

“Are you going to come, master?” Herula asked, feverishly, as her own orgasm began to creep up on her again. “Are you going to come for me?
I nodded, feeling my own heat rising as her hot, tight cunt gripped me. “Yes.”

“Come then. Come in me, master.”

“You first,” I grunted, and a moment later she did, throwing her head backwards, howling, claws sliding from their sheathes and raking my back.

I guess the shock did it, because I came instantly, feeling my cock contract and explode, accompanied by the sensation that a siege engineer probably feels when a stone wall falls on him.

The weariness of endless days swept over me at last, and I felt myself slip to the floor. I mumbled some endearments to Herula, who purred sweetly and curled against me. We were both exhausted, I thought. She won’t mind my simply falling asleep… 

*** 

When I awoke, I was draped in a coverlet, and Herula was standing nearby, dressing. I watched silently as she retied her bodice.

“Tarnith didn’t exaggerate,” she said, flashing white teeth at me. “You’re officer material, all right, Chuma.” She bowed slightly. “You’ve made your commander quite happy.”

“Any time,” I replied, weakly, reaching for my discarded breech cloth and belt. “Always happy to oblige a superior officer.”

“Ah.” She still looked happy, but now she bore an air of authority and decisiveness rather than eager submission. “A good officer understands the chain of command. Perhaps I’ll have you come over some night when I’m entertaining. Some of my fellow marshals might enjoy your talents.”

Gods, I thought, please let me be far away by that time.

“Of course, Marshal,” was all I said.

“Very obliging, Sergeant.” She turned and began to leave, then turned back and looked at me. “Your promotion will be finalized in a few days. You’re quite lovely, Chuma. Please let yourself out.”

Then she was gone, and I was left to find my way home in the driving rain.

IV

Wulf

So, having presumably negotiated the final hurdle to becoming one of Thae’lynn’s few male officers, I had a little time to myself. Laugh if you wish (I don’t care), but I was left cold, sopping and drained, as well as feeling empty and lonely. As I sat glumly in a dim waterfront tavern, drinking what was either fermented bat piss or very bad beer, I found myself desperately missing my bed on board the “Skate,” with Livia sleeping on one side of me, Narisha snoring on the other. If I’d been human, I’d have ended up blubbering my guts out, but in my present incarnation, I was able to at least look noble, leonine and stoic.

I was being used, of that there was no question. Traded back and forth, made to perform like a trained pony, exploited for others’ amusement…

It wasn’t all that different from how most of the women I knew felt. I swore I’d be nicer from this point forward.

A couple of nymen were busy annoying a throg in the corner, and within moments it had turned into a full-scale fistfight. I sighed and looked down, brushing away a tear that had started despite my best efforts.

“You poor dear.” The words cut through the crowd noise, and seemed at least marginally sympathetic. I looked up to behold a very warm and pleasant sight.

A young woman in serving wench garb leaned over my table, revealing two enormous and very inviting looking breasts overflowing from a low-cut bodice. I forced myself to look at the rest of her, and liked what I saw — golden-brown hair (braided and not as long), sultry hazel eyes and a pleasant face with a soft jawline and gently curved chin. Combined with her bodice’s fulsome cargo, the woman was everything that Thae’lynn and her vicious officer corps were not.

“Uh, hello?” I said. I held up my mug. “I think I’ve got enough to last me – “

“I’m not asking if you want more beer, silly,” she said, brightly. Her voice was pleasant, welcoming. “I just thought you looked… well, introspective.”

I smiled. “I am that, and for all the wrong reasons.”

She smiled at that and I’d swear that the room grew a shade brighter.

“Tell me all about it.”

I looked around, partly for the owner, and partly for a vengeful husband with castrating tools (I still remembered dear Khaera and her berserk mate).

“Are you sure no one minds?” I asked.

She settled down beside me, and I noted that she had a full, lushly endowed body – not a muscle-bound Cold Islands Valkyrie, but then again I never went for that type very much anyway.

She wrinkled her nose in disdain. “Not at all. Not for what that skinflint pays.” She scanned me up and down, though less cold-bloodedly than Tarnith had. “Don’t see your kind much here.”

I looked into my mug. “Well, with the beer you serve, I’m not surprised,” I said.

“You’re funny,” she replied, though I noted that she didn’t specify whether I was funny “ha-ha” or funny “peculiar.”

“No, I’m Chuma,” I said. “What brought you to my table, anyway?”

“I’m Tatiana,” she said. “You just looked sad.”

I grunted. “Is it that obvious?”

She nodded. “I’ve got a talent for noticing such things. It’s a great skill for a barmaid.”

“For which I’m grateful,” I told her. “You’re the first really friendly face I’ve seen in weeks.”

She looked over to where the throg was trying some improvised remodeling – attempting to take down one of the interior walls with the head of a nyman. Fortunately for the nyman, his head was, for the moment, still attached.

“Not many friendly faces to be had,” she agreed. “You’re a sailor?”

I shook my head. “Soldier. Recruited into the glorious Black Lesion – excuse me – I mean ‘Legion’ – and waiting for my promotion to come through.”

“Then?”

“Then we ship to the interior to serve the ever-victorious Zhalha’sarr’im.” Wary of the hostile stares of a table of dark elves nearby, I used the politically-correct term for their race. “Gods only know where we go then.”

This seemed oddly satisfying to Tatiana. “Let me get you a drink,” she said. “The good stuff this time.”

She vanished into the crowd, reappearing a moment later bearing a dirty black bottle.

“Best brandy in the house,” she said, unceremoniously dumping out my “beer,” wiping out my mug with her apron and refilling it with some of the contents of the bottle. “Two swallows of this and you’ll think I’m the most beautiful woman on Thystra.”

I chuckled. “Tatiana,” I said. “I already think that.”

She looked down, cheeks coloring. Gods, sometimes I knew just what to say.

Besides, it was true. I’ve always thought the kindest souls were always the most beautiful, regardless of what they truly looked like.

No one seemed to care too much that Tatiana was spending time with me. I suspected that due to the crowd and the constant threat of violence (the nymen and the throg took their dispute outside to a loud but inconclusive finish), no one even noticed.

She was charming, of course – bright, witty, sympathetic, and as the evening passed, even more attractive to a lonely lion-man in need of comfort. Eventually, I ended up confessing why I was so depressed (part of it, anyway), and telling her about the “promotion” process.

“I feel like some kind of performing animal,” I said. “It’s as if their attitude is – ‘Wow, look at the lion man! Look how well he…” I faltered. “Well, you know.”

“No, I don’t,” she said, looking both intrigued and sympathetic. “You don’t feel like a real individual? Just like an object or a pet?”

“Worse,” I said. “I’ve got to play a role – pretend to be the tough, aggressive mercenary, be crude and rough and… well, I’m not really like that.”

“I can tell,” she said, and her eyes met mine. “I really can.”

As with most tender moments in my life, this one didn’t last long.

Out of the crowd, a body fell, crashing across our table. Tatiana showed her serving skills by dexterously plucking the vintage brandy out of the way as the inert form plummeted down.

I was about to berate the drunken bastard for his ineptitude when I noticed he was dead, sliced open by a single sword-blow. Looking up in alarm, I saw what had killed him.

A burly human, eyes glowing smoky red, advanced through the crowd, clutching a chromatically brilliant sword inscribed with glowing runes.

Shit… The same sword the chaos warrior had carried…

“Get out of the way!” I bellowed, unsheathing Lawgiver. The red-eyed human grinned fiercely.

“Ah, my opposite number,” he rasped, and I was sure they weren’t his words.

Then, he was on me, sword aimed for a straight-ahead decapitation blow – just like the red armored chaos warrior had done.

I barely had time to parry as the glowing blade descended. The runesword struck hot sparks and rang with a shriek that was almost human.

It’s not the man, I thought, warding off another blow. He’s just a body. It’s the sword I’m fighting.

Not that it mattered – the possessed body swung its parasitic sword with skill, and I was forced back, the crowd scattering before me.

I defended desperately, feeling my opponent’s blows hammer me. As I fell back, my foot skidded in spilled beer and I struggled to stay on my feet.

Too late – the glowing runesword descended, slicing down in a killing blow…

I felt, rather than saw, someone step behind me, then a cascade of foul-smelling liquid doused the possessed human’s face, blinding him for an instant. Enchanted chaos-blade or no, the thing needed a body to see, and I seized the instant, gutting the host-body with a single slash.

As the man fell messily to the floor, I turned to see the identity of my benefactor.

Tatiana stood there, grinning a dripping beer mug in her hand.

“I knew that stuff was toxic,” I said. “Thanks, Ma’am.”

“My pleasure,” she replied.

I tuned back just in time to see an orc reaching for the fallen runesword.

“Don’t!” I barked, pushing him back. “It’ll eat your brain!”

The orc looked nonplussed – probably lacking a brain to begin with – but stayed back.

As before, the sword’s outlines began to soften and again it melted away like wax. Moments later, it was gone, a couple of toughs were removing the body, and the tavern was returning to its normal, dismal, noisy, smelly state. None of the patrons had any idea what had just happened.

“What was that thing?” Tatiana asked as we retook our seats.

“Some kind of chaos weapon,” I said. “Maybe a daemon in the form of a sword. Intelligent, evil, using living hosts to kill. I guess that one’s got it in for me now.”
“I’m glad you’re all right.”

“I am, thanks to you,” I said. “If there’s anything I can do…?”

“Take me upstairs?” she asked without preamble.

I stopped short. “Uhhh, would ‘I’ve only just met you’ dampen your enthusiasm at all?”
Tatiana shook he head. “Hundreds of ugly, crude, violent bastards come through this tavern every week. Some of them make passes at me, and some of them even offer money. Sometimes I’m even tempted, if they’re good-looking. But ‘til now I haven’t met anyone like you.” Her expression changed from sweetly pleasant to lustful and predatory in an instant. “Come on, Chuma. Unless you’ve some kind of taboo?”

“Well, I…”

Her face fell. “I’m just using you, too, aren’t I? Wanting to bed the big handsome lion-man?”

“No!” I almost shouted, and she jumped. “No, not at all. You’re nothing like those women. Nothing at all.”

She looked less distressed. “I’m sorry, Chuma. I didn’t mean to…”

“No,” I repeated. “I just wonder whether a woman like you should be involved with someone like me. You know – violence, enemies, the overall instability of the mercenary lifestyle, and so on.”

She wrinkled her nose again. “Silly. I need some excitement in my life.” She held out her hand. “Now, I’m going up to my room. Care to come with me.”

I took her hand and rose, shrugging mentally. The memory of Herula was still fresh in my mind, but the amazing recuperative powers of my n’doro body were already prodding at me, firing my enthusiasm anew. “I hope you know what you’re getting into, my dear.”

“Oh, I know,” she said happily. “I know far more than you can imagine.”

She led me from the common room, and the crowd closed in behind us. 

*** 

Tatiana’s room was small, but well-furnished and warm, far more welcoming than any woman’s chamber I’d been in since leaving the Skate. We sat on the edge of the bed for a few moments, gazing at each other, and I felt a profound sense of ease and contentment creep over me. I reached out and stroked her cheek. She sighed, closing her eyes and tilting her head back. I stroked both cheeks, then her ears, and she sighed again.

“Kiss me,” she whispered. I slid my hand behind her head and drew her to me, crushing her mouth to mine. She groaned and I felt her tongue against mine.

“Impressive,” she said. “I’ll bet you can tear skin off bones with that.”

“I’ll be gentle,” I said. “Promise.”

I encircled her shoulders with my arms and pulled her close to me, lips still locked together, tongues thrusting. I lay back on the bed and pulled her atop me.

“Oh,” she gasped briefly, then pressed her body against me and continued to kiss me, holding my head in her hands, running her fingers through my mane.

She was soft, her flesh warm beneath the fabric of her tunic. Her breasts were great, soft pillows against my chest. I felt her breath grow quicker and hotter as she writhed against me, and I slid my hands up and down her body, feeling the taut flesh of her back and the softness of her thighs. My hand found bare flesh, and slid beneath her skirts, caressing the bare flesh of her buttocks.

“Touch me,” she whispered.

I slid my other hand down, beneath her skirts, and cupped one soft ass cheek in each hand, pressing her down. My cock was already well on its way to another erection, and she felt it against her.

“Getting excited?” she asked, eyes bright, lips parted.

“Is that a trick question?” I replied, then took her by the shoulders and rolled atop her.

“Oh, yes,” she said, grinning enthusiastically, now stroking my back and buttocks with equal enthusiasm.

I rose up slightly, tugging down her tunic, freeing her large, pale, pink-capped breasts. They were as lovely as I’d imagined. I kissed my way down her neck and shoulders, then buried my face between them, feeling their softness envelop me.

“Ahhhhh,” she sighed, and moved a hand behind my head, pressing me down. “That feels lovely.”

“They look lovely,” I said. “And so do you.”

Tatiana sighed again. “Do you know how long it’s been since someone’s said anything like that to me?”

I stopped, looking at her with sympathy.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “It’s been a pretty hard past few weeks for me. I’m just glad to be with someone who…” I paused. “Someone who really seems to care.”

She smiled sweetly. “I think I do, Chuma. I really think I do.”

I returned her smile, then returned to my work, and pleasant work it was. I kissed my way along the rich curve of one breast, while stroking the other with my hand, biting lightly, moving in a circle around her rapidly-swelling nipple, listening to her groan and sigh with each stroke. At last I reached her nipple, flicking my tongue across it, and she gasped loudly.

“Oh! Yes!”

She writhed beneath me, and I felt heat begin to spread out from her loins. With my hand, I reached to take her other nipple, only to find her hand already there, stroking and squeezing. I moved my mouth to that nipple, supplementing her own caresses with long laps of my tongue.

“Ohhhhhh…” She writhed faster now, hips grinding against me. “Oh, don’t stop.”

I bit and licked harder, holding her breast in both hands, pointing her nipple to my mouth. Beside me, she squeezed her breast upward, flicking her tongue across her own nipple, then taking it between her teeth and sucking.

“Mmmmm…”

With her other hand Tatiana grabbed the back of my head, urging me onward.

“Oh, I’m coming,” she gasped. “I’m coming…”

She grimaced, growling, biting down still harder.

“Ahhhhhhhh….” She released her breast and threw her head back, teeth clenched, eyes screwed shut. “Yessssssss…”

She writhed again, then lay still, panting heavily.

I released her and looked down to her flushed face, staring up at me, lips open and moist, faint pearl-white teeth showing.

“You came?” I asked.

She nodded. “Yes. I did.”

I felt my own eyes widen. “Very impressive.”

“Thanks,” she replied, wrapping her arms around my neck and drawing me closer. “Want to see me do it again?” 

*** 

She wasn’t kidding – Tatiana proved to be the most enthusiastically multiorgasmic woman I’d met in ages. Gods, maybe ever…

I was now enthusiastically busy myself, my face buried between her thighs, hands on her breasts, squeezing and stroking. She was copiously wet, and I felt a flood of sweet juices every time my tongue clove her soft inner lips. She’d already come three times just from the attentions of my tongue, and now she seemed well on the way to a fourth climax.

“Oh! Oh!” Again, she clenched her teeth, eyes shut, head whipping back and forth against her pillow, brown hair in disarray. “Oh, again, darling… I’m com…ing… again… Nnnnnnnngggggg…”

Her thighs caged my head, closing on it spasmodically as her hips rose up, driving against my open mouth. Gods, she was sweet. I was drunk on the taste of her, licking and sucking at her swollen clit even as waves of orgasm passed through her.

“Oh, gods…” she gasped, clutching at her breasts. “Put your fingers in me. Fuck me with your fingers.”

“Mmmf,” I replied, leaving off her breasts and moving my hands to the delicate flesh of her thighs and the sweet pink flower between them. I slid one finger inside, feeling the rigid tension of her cunt around me. She was soaking. I pulled my finger out, licked it, savoring her.

“You taste so good,” I whispered, and she looked down between the mountainous swellings of her breasts and smiled.

“You lick me so well,” she said. “I love coming for you.”

“I love making you come,” I said, and returned to tonguing her clit and lips. I slid my finger back inside, presently adding a second, and then a third, feeling her stretch around me.

“Ohhhh, that’s so… Oh, darling…” Tatiana’s words came out in a rush, and moments later she was over the brink yet again, grinding her wet cunt against my mouth.

Enough, I thought. Herula had been nothing – playacting for someone who demanded it, someone who had something I needed. Now, I thought. This is real.

I moved up, feeling Tatiana’s legs slide up my shoulders, and pressed my cock against her cunt lips.

“Oh, yes, darling, sweet darling,” she said, gaze turning suddenly fierce and demanding. “Fuck me with that big cock. Fuck me!” The last two words were spat out like oaths, and when I thrust into her, they transformed into a howl of ecstasy.

“Fuck me! Fuckmesweetdarlingfuckme.” Her words ran together in a mindless babble as her innermost reaches enfolded me, swathing my cock in sweet, dark wetness. I thrust all the way in and she tensed, then pulled out and thrust in once more.

“Hold me,” she said, words hurried and feverish. She held her hands palm open on either side of her head, and I reached for them, intertwining my fingers with hers, pressing down, faster now, feeling her cunt melt around me.

“Yes, sweetheart,” I whispered. “Oh, you feel so good.”

“Tell me,” she pleaded, lips moist, eyes glazed. “Tell me how good I feel.”

“Your cunt is so sweet,” I said. “I loved to lick it. I loved to taste it. I want to drown in it. I never want to stop.”

And after the travails of Tarnith and Herula, I meant it. Beneath me was a real woman, desiring only love and passion. I was no puppet to her, no object. Her words truly meant something now, and they filled me with my own desire.

“I’m coming again,” she said, her tone filled with barely repressed longing. “I’m gonna come for you… Coming…” Again, she clenched her teeth, throwing her head back. “I’m… com… ing…”

Through her orgasm I continued to press on, and yet another orgasm followed on the heels of the first. It was as if once Tatiana had reached a certain plateau, there was no way for her to get down again.

Well, maybe I could have some fun with this, I thought, pulling out, my cock slick with her copious juices.

“No, don’t…” she pleaded, then her protests died as I turned my tongue’s attentions back to her mons and the impossibly wet and slick lips beneath. She stroked her own clit now, fingering her nipples with her other hand, as I stiffened my tongue and thrust it into her, feeling her shake as I did so.

“Darling…” Another orgasm, and another. She didn’t seem to know how to stop.

“Roll over,” I hissed, and she instantly obeyed, thrusting her hips up at me. Gods, there’s nothing like a woman with broad hips and well-curved buttocks… I took a moment to admire her, feeling my own desire swell before I took her hips in my hands and pressed my cock against her.

“Want it now?” I asked, rhetorically.

“Yessssss,” she replied. “Fuck me from behind, darling. Make me come some more.”

I pulled her toward me, my cock slipping into her almost of its own accord. She slammed into me, hips quivering with each thrust. In a moment, I had no need to urge her on. I released her and let her pound into me, faster and faster, moaning louder each time.

“Ohhhhhh…” Tatiana gasped. “OHHHHHHHH!” She collapsed forward and I went with her, cock still thrusting. She buried her face in the bedclothes, still crying out.

“OHHHH… Coming… Coming… Y… essssssss….”

I kept on, and, yes, she came yet again, flat against the bed, my hips grinding against hers. Again. Again.

Gods, how long could she keep this up? 

*** 

A damned sight longer than I could, apparently. The sun paled the sky outside, my lion-man physique was pretty much worn out, and Tatiana sat astride my hips, riding up and down, cupping her breasts, squeezing them together, and presenting them to me while I lay, as close to death’s door as I’d been since the fight with the chaos blade in the tavern.

“Again, darling… Again… I’m coming again…”

I’d lost count by this time, but I was willing to bet we were well over thirty. Perhaps tomorrow, I could be proud of myself, but now…

Now, I wanted to show her the depths of my devotion and gratitude.

I sat up abruptly, facing her, then, lifting her hips, I wordlessly rolled atop her, setting her ankles on either side of my head, thrusting downward into her, feeling another orgasm rising inside her.

“I want to come,” I whispered. “I want to come for you now.”

“Oh, come,” Tatiana replied, still excited, though her face was soaked with sweat, her hair a tangled mess. “Come inside me. Fill my cunt up with your sweet come, darling.”

Well, she had the lead on me, 30 to 0, but I was about to score one of my own. Hours of endless fucking had built an enormous reservoir of desire inside me, and I was ready to release it.

“I’m coming,” I said. “I’m coming for you. Just for you. Just for you, darling.”

“Oh, yes,” Tatiana said through clenched teeth. “Come with me. Fill me up…”

And then – you guessed it – she came again, cunt clenching around me.

I couldn’t take it anymore. My own passions finally overflowed, and I convulsed, feeling cock contract and hot come gush inside her.

“Ahhhhh,” I gasped. “Oh, Tatiana. Oh, darling.”

“That’s it,” she whispered, hotly. “That’s it, sweet man. Come in me. Come for me.”

“Oh, gods…” I panted, collapsing atop her, feeling the lovely, sated softness of her body. “Is it too early to suggest I might be in love with you.”

Tatiana smiled, stroking my face.

“No, darling. Not at all.”

The sun was well above the horizon when we said fond goodbyes, and I finally staggered back to the barracks. I collapsed in my quarters, and slept the entire day and night beyond.

Images haunted my dreams. Livia, angry and passionate, disinterested and loving; Narisha, a demon of lust and endless desire; Tarnith and Herula, keepers of my fate, cruel mistresses who still wished to call me master; other distant desires smiling radiantly from crystalline depths and across endless leagues – Ushandra, lost love; Shu Li, questing warrior; Sarra, passed on to greater glory; Theanna, elvish princess...

Was I truly lost, I thought, wandering in a haze of dreamed images?

Or, if not, who would lead me home? 

*** 

The next day dawned with what Tarnith probably considered good news. I awoke to see her smiling face as she brandished an official-looking parchment.

“Congratulations, lion-man,” she said. “Marshal Herula has approved your commission based upon,” she read from the parchment, “your ‘skilled performance, aggressive professionalism, potent swordsmanship, and can-do attitude’.”

“I’m flattered,” I grumbled, painfully moving to a sitting position. “When do I start?”

“As soon as you fuck me senseless,” she said, sitting down beside me and caressing my chest. “A congratulatory rogering, eh, lion-man?”

I suppressed a sigh.

“Then,” she said, twining a finger in my mane, “you get to select five squads of ten troopers from the training battalion.”

My ears pricked up at this.

“Anyone I want?”

“Yes, including your two troublesome friends, if you want. Assuming they’re still alive, of course.”

I nodded. “Good.”

“Then get ‘em ready, sport, because we ship out for Darkoak Hill tomorrow morning.”

“So let me see,” I said. “You want me to give you a good hard shagging…”

“In every possible orifice,” Tarnith said, helpfully.

“Yes, then find fifty troops, get them equipped and organized, then march 200 leagues overland at the crack of dawn tomorrow?”

“That’s the plan, lion-man.” She smiled, and it was as if she’d grown fangs. “Now shall we get started with phase one?”

I pleasured her as best I could, obliging her requests. She crawled atop me and we sucked at each other, I fucked her on her back, and from behind, and at last slid my cock into her ass, fucking her as she screamed in what (for her anyway) passed for ecstasy. And I do say “fucking,” since nothing I’d done with her or Herula came even close to the notion of “making love.” Tatiana, on the other hand, was a different matter altogether, and even as I brought Tarnith to screaming orgasm, I found myself missing the curvy barmaid.

It was going to be a long day, I thought. But the moment I got a chance I knew exactly who I was going to choose for my platoon.

Feanor

A strange fatalism had overtaken the Lord General and his warriors. Initially repulsed by Ezikhan and his shambling undead legions, they now almost welcomed the necromancer. Perhaps he was a monster, but as victory piled upon victory, and his undead ranks swelled in size, the shambling zombie dragons at their head, the once-reluctant elves were forced to admit that at least Ezikhan was their monster.

If a monster led the elven race to victory, so their reasoning went, then so be it. The world had made the elves monsters, so monsters they would be.

Soon, all save a few pockets of Jarrek and Xeshite resistance, deep in the jungle, had been stamped out. Others came, swelling the elves’ ranks – vampires, daemons, sorcerers and lesser necromancers eager to learn from the legendary master Ezikhan. So long as the undead contingent kept to itself, most elves did not think about Ezikhan, preferring to consider their own role in the glorious war of purification. The presence of their once-brothers and sisters – Taeleritha, Rytharim, Rhyn, Dakkin and the other Dragon Guards – in the shambling host was largely ignored, though the fact continued to fester, deep in the elven psyche.

Feanor and Vaenetha’s coupling grew more frequent, frenzied, tempered by the imminence of true death and the distant awareness, repugnant though it was that, in their quest for victory, they had turned their backs on all that was sacred to their race. She sucked him with desperate intensity, or lay atop him, fitting his cock inside her and riding him up and down, or toying with him until he came, splattering his seed across her breasts or face. She cried out obscenities and urged him onward. She begged him to strike her, to leave red marks across her buttocks, to bind her and take her as roughly as he desired.

Feanor did things that he would never have considered doing, driving himself to whatever extent Vaenetha desired. He knew that something of himself was being left behind, but now, with his best friend a shambling undead monster serving his race’s greatest traitor, he did not care.

And so it was, five months after the armada had destroyed the Xeshite fleet, that Lord General Feanor met his marshals and allies in solemn council at his vast white command tent.

Vaenetha was there as always, but those in attendance felt she looked strange – her golden hair was in disarray, and her eyes were wild, feral, those of an animal. She lounged casually, heedless of the stares she gathered. She wore a full black skirt and low-cut bodice, breasts exposed almost to her nipples, hair tousled and unkempt, eyes glazed from excessive dreamweed and other narcotics.

Feanor had changed, too. Though he spoke with the same determination and vigor, his face was hollow, his eyes haunted. His officers were no better, mere shells of their former selves, all broken by the terrible things they had been forced to witness, and the still more terrible things which lay ahead.

Ezikhan was there, standing beside the proud, horned visage of Iskhana, who had thrust her head into the tent to attend the council. The necromancer wore fine mage’s robes, and carried a sacred dragon-staff, as if endeavoring to be a normal elf sorcerer and not the desiccated undead thing that he was.

“Brothers and sisters,” Feanor said, voice filling the council tent, “the pacification of Xesh is complete – both human and Jarrek now bow down to us.”

There were nods of approval throughout the tent, even though a few frowned in discomfort.

“Today, I propose we continue our glorious crusade in the name of our sacred Silver Lady!”

The hollow-eyed officers raised a cheer at this, some of their old passion returning.

“The humans and their allies are the chief agents of our misery,” Feanor continued. “And now we control a base from which we can strike at the heart of the foul human sickness that infests our beloved Thystra! I propose we sail for the land of Litharna, where the humans and their machines pollute our world with their foul stench and wickedness!”

The elves cheered again, ancient fires sparking in weary, tired faces.

“Let the humans fear us now! We shall march on their cities and destroy them one by one, cleansing our realm, making this world once more safe for our kind to walk in peace and beauty! Let all who see us tremble and submit! Submit or die!”

The cheers came once more, even louder this time.

A deep rumbling rolled from Iskhana’s belly and it took Feanor a few seconds to realize that the old dragon was laughing.

-- END --