This is the conclusion of the first series with Charity; some questions are answered while new mysteries begin to arise, and an old enemy finally is paid in full.
Welcome to the finale of the first series on Cat-girl Charity; in this world of a dungeons and dragons theme, the final hand is played against her and the Chancellors hidden enemy. Not all is as it appears to be, and many dangers are still to come.
Just understand that when one thinks that in life you understand all there is, to know a person completely, or see that they cannot change, you will be open to new and final revelations that makes it clear; you never knew them to begin with as you suspected.
Three weeks until the Academy ball begins. Once again everything appears to be back in a state of relative order and stability; ‘relative’ of course being the key word. The last few months have seen a rash of murders, the narrow avoidance of a power struggle for control of the Academy, and finally the annihilation of the one who was behind all of these troubles. Now the major concerns focus on the unending, ever expanding, changing and contradicting list of tasks to be finished before the ball.
The rumors concerning Charity though, continue to abound like wildfire, both good and bad.
The rumors hold that, among other things:
Charity is pregnant with the baby of Chancellor Storm Dragon.
She is the daughter of Headmistress Pele and the Chancellor.
She is the daughter of over a hundred different kinds of beings.
She is some kind of angelic being in the guise of a cat-girl.
Those seeking the origins of these rumors never find the source – it is as if they are whispers in the dark itself.
Still it is peaceful, most of the staff and students are happy that the troubles are in the past.
Except for the one troubling complication: the ghostly guardians of the Academy – ancient protocols none fully understand now being obeyed – patrol the halls and rooms, silent watchmen armed for battle in coat-of-mail and weapons always at the ready.
Housed in the deepest recesses of the Academies basement levels is a series of conjuration chambers held under the iron-grip of the Master Fox-glove, or more precisely the one who is in the guise of the Master. He stands within guides one of “his” greatest Journeymen in a ritual of summoning to call forth a demon lord.
Symbols and sigils used to contain and bind such a great entity to the will of its caller mark the floor in spirals of gold and silver inlaid with precious gems reduced to powder. The burning incense fills the room with mixed scents of almonds, sweet woods and the pungency of bitter herbs and spices.
He sees that the designs are flawless – and woe becomes the caller of demons who fail to make them thus – he nods to the Journeyman. Already in a cross-legged pose, the one indicated begins to utter a most complex series of sentences; words locking one to another in power, evil pulsating and maddening whispers given life and form depart to infiltrate the nightmares of the damned. Repeatedly the young man slaps a clenched fist into his other palm; each one produces a pulsation of power, subtle at first then building one upon another as do the waters of the ocean when great storms sweep across their vastness.
Fires as red as molten metal erupt along the symbols and sigils, pulsating, swaying and building with the words being spoken. Dense clouds of smoke, rich in the odor of brimstone and death begin to gather, lights dancing in a cornucopia of fox fire, while lightning arcs between them all. Building as well is a palatable taste of darkness becoming reality – a perversion in the natural world felt by all those gathered about.
He who is not Fox-glove, a dozen Journeymen and many other monsters they have called forth stand here watching the ritual and awaiting its outcome. He looks over momentarily at some of these entities called out of darkness, ones that look like upright-walking vultures with human arms ending in 8-inch talons harder than steel. Others look like giant humanoid toads – teeth filling row after row in their vast, bulging mouths while spikes line the backs of their massive forearms to some 20 or mire inches in length.
The now belated Fox-glove had gathered only a few such entities; now though he has built an even vaster army.
Soon he will have his general, the demon lord being called now to this world. One who is powerful enough, if the old texts are right, to challenge and crush the life out of the Chancellor himself.
Even now some of his agents work among the students and staff, culling out a few here and there while engaged in hedonistic pursuits. Kept in check by his will and instructions they grudgingly go along, waiting the bloodbath promised for the grand ball.
The Hall of Ages, the great museum for the Academy in which researchers, archivists, students and beings of a hundred species come to search the histories of ten thousand worlds. Great chandeliers alight with ever-burning candles illuminate the rows upon rows of shelves, bookcases, tables and such filled with books great or small in size. Thirty such levels climb upwards for one to explore during their lifetime and not even tap the hidden levels under the school – ones with knowledge so obscure, dark and dangerous special permission is needed for those who wish access to it.
Down the winding and darkened corridors of this lowest level four beings wander, seeking one special chamber with lanterns alight – green foxfire and blue witch-lights illuminate the Headmistresses Pele and Charity, who are accompanied by the Chancellor and Dancing Tiger. In silence so still it screams they proceed. Light and shadow play across ancient rows and shelves of books and papers stacked wherever room can be found.
On occasion some of the statues they pass turn out to be much more than statues – creatures of magic and wild spirits called golems; automations of iron, stone, wood or precious gems all but impervious to physical or any magical harm. Each one in turn challenges the group, demanding the words to permit passage or commence a battle none of the party desires.
One by one they pass the sentinels; an old, rickety bridge allows them to cross a sprawling chasm so deep that echoes do not sound from the bottom hidden beyond the light they carry. Doors made of iron-bound wood and wood-bound iron open silently to ghostly hands, for if mortal being touches one with bare flesh, the deadly sequence of traps will be unleashed – designed to rend, tear, crush and shred.
At last they come to their destination – a single door, undecorated and common as anything else. Everyone sees Charity stand in front of it, eyes closed in deep concentration, and then to her unspoken will the door silently opens to allow entry for two.
All eyes watch Charity as she systematically begins to remove her clothing – a silken doublet, blouse and her undershirt; old Dancing Tigers jaw hangs agape at the sight of her firm breasts and erect nipples, gulp after gulp sounding as the raw sensuality of her being is revealed when britches and undergarments are placed aside.
The slamming of a cane into his gut, forcing the air out of lungs as he falls to the ground reminds him not to stare for too long.
“You two ladies proceed; I will stay out here with this one,” – the Chancellor indicated to Dancing Tiger with his cane – “and make sure he does not become a lone peeping tom.”
Laughter comes from the room beyond the door. That of the companion of Charity – Patches, her little dragon friend - and a soft, feminine voice which belongs to Charities newly selected assistant. This is the tradition of the school – for each time a new master or mistress of the school gains an assistant, they will in this most private of chambers consummate the relationship in bed.
Pele is along ostentatiously to be a witness for the consummation; in reality she is an extra level of security for Charity. With that cat-girl strange things occurring are all but assured; and often in the wildest, most dramatic and dangerous of manners. All of them hope it will not be that way tonight, yet the Chancellor, as much as he desires Charity can relax for one time, will not take any chances with the safety of his beloved.
Echoing throughout the chamber the Journeyman’s voice has quickened and deepened unto inhuman levels; words in a dozen dozens of languages combine crashing, crushing, bending and distorting one unto the next. His eyes have become two pools of glowing fox fire as he continues the calling for the entity beyond this world. All feel the growing power as reality is slowly distorted, folding and twisting in upon itself.
In a great maelstrom of energy released – arcing lightning, streams of fire, and poisonous clouds of smoke and scalding steam – the door opens to the great beyond. Cries of the damn echo into mortal ears not meant to hear such pain and despair. The demons in the room though, acknowledge grudgingly their superior has come – one who rules through absolute power and fear of what they believe it can do.
As the Journeyman collapses to the ground, smoke rising from his smoldering corpse, He who is not Fox-glove looks upon the being thus summoned – the most dreaded lord of the demons referenced in ancient lore. Such is the sheer and utter malignance it generates he steels himself to stand against it in a titanic battle of wills; ready to dare all for the chance to crush the Chancellor completely.
“Bow down to your master mortal. You who have called me are my slave not my equal in any regard. Bow down and know despair before your life comes to a complete end.”
These words of the great beast echo in his mind by a telepathic link.
Upon beholding this magnificent messenger of chaos and destruction incarnate, Dominique does the only thing he can rationally do. He nearly laughs himself to death at the sight of a “mighty” six-inch high, mushroom shape demon.
As expected, the demon attempts to dominate his will; imparting feelings via telepathy of hopelessness, despair and weakness. It seeks to enslave him – to turn him into its puppet, its slave.
Deciding enough is enough; he who is not Fox-glove extends three inch long claws on one hand.
Although the demon lord is only six-inches in height, he figures it will make a fine snack.
Misty and the young man had come to this little cubby-hole near the kitchens for some fun. Or at least he is the one currently having the fun – standing with his back to the wall, hands gripping the two storage racks to either side of him. His moans and gasps of delight carry only a short distance as his companion, down on her knees continues her work on his manhood. Never has a lady been able to make him feel so good just by pleasuring him with her mouth.
Indeed the reputation Misty has for such expertise is true. Those lips suck and pucker just right, gripping with the force of iron and her tongue teasing his member here, there and back again. Waves of bliss dance across his mind and build into a hazy mist of heat, passion and desire. Ears thunder from the blood pounding through his body, heart racing and his thoughts scream for him to get inside of her and let his seed loose deep within, to make the consummation he hopes for happen; its taken over a week of determined effort to get just this far, how long will it take to get her into bed with him?
Soft fingertips tickle him in another spot below causing him to squirm momentarily. He hears the sounds of her continuing, heady scents of spices, flour, herbs, meals cooking and her own perfume mix into a rainbow of flavors. His eyes cross as the sensations build; ever pulsating downward and making him feel as if he is floating on clouds of delight. “Oh yes, its happening, its…I uh-am-hu-hu-am-going-hu…”
His release is sudden and fierce, three, four and then a fifth time into her mouth; completely spent he collapses to the floor.
Misty stands up again, licking her lips while readjusting her gown – mainly to make sure her low cut bodice shows each breast in the best light, and minimal coverage. A little bit shifting here and there, then all is once again in place for her to entice another into the promises of carnal pleasures and knowledge. Oh so much more fun waits for her and her victims – for each time a man cums in her mouth she is able to suck the very life force of their bodies and souls out…
She smiles widely as her eyes glance down to the desiccated, smiling corpse of the young man. Striding away after other meat on the table she just thought how happy he must have been dying with a smile on his face. Tonight she and her sisters will continue to hunt; to cause terror and fear; to await the coming slaughter at the ball just three weeks out.
Her entire body shudders in great anticipation of the carnage, gore and blood to be unleashed; chaos raw and primal without restraints – that is what she has been promised; and so she shall have.
Breathing deeply in an effort to calm herself down, Charity takes in the contents of this little room.
Not much to see really, just a small feathered bed, a pair of wooden chairs and a glowing blue-white sphere of conjured light casting flickering shadows across the bare walls. She sees Pele on one of the chairs, looking as regal as she always does, unfazed and unflappable. Contrary to her usual style of keeping her hair bound in a cummerbund, she has it set in twin French braids interlaced with fine gold and silver chains. Even the red-blue lotus flower above her left ear stands out.
The young woman on the bed though clearly shows off her anxiety of their intimacy to come AND in the presence of both Headmistresses of the school. Sitting there in her birthday suit with knees drawn up under her chin, arms wrapped about them, she blushes and giggles under the gaze of Charity.
The heady mixture of scents, old smells of dust, grime, aged cloth and such intertwine with those of Pele and of the young lady; Charity takes this all in as she stretches, her sensitive ears picking up the increase of the girls heartbeat and slightly shallower breath – clear signs of the heats of passion building within her body.
Sassa almost jumped out of her skin when she realized Charity has moved to her side on the bed. So silently did she move, not a whisper of sound or a flicker of shadow and light across her smooth skin. Looking Charity over with her eyes, she sees those firm and shapely muscles bearing the faded scars of past battle. Her hour glass figure flows into sensuous proportions with the ink-brush strokes in the shape of a “W” encompass about her breasts.
Her curiosity gets the better of her and one hand slowly draws close to those soft breasts. Just short of them she hesitates, looking into the eyes of her lover for tonight. Oh those eyes, she falls into the depths of those emerald green and sapphire blue pools of wonderment. The wild and untamable passion she has seen in her Dancing Tiger pales in comparison; for Charity clearly answers to no one unless she chooses such; indomitable is that will and unbending the spirit within.
Giggles that sound like wind chimes mixed with the sounds of a mountain meadow breeze comes from Charity; who then stretches out on the bed, propping her head up on one bent arm and hand. Sassa feels the fingers of Charities other hand softly stroke and tease little twittering spasms of delight from along her arm. Slowly that teasing and caressing advances to her shoulder and then the neck, easing her bodies tension and showing where to find bliss in so many ways – a thousand feathers being used in a massage on her could not equal the feelings Charity is bringing out in her body and mind.
“Come on Sassa get on your side like me, it’s easier to talk while looking face to face.”
Doing as Charity directs she stretches out awkwardly, embarrassed that her own body is nowhere near enough to match that of her companions. Sassa feels the free hand of Charity take up her own and entwine the fingers, while slowly moving it over to one of her breasts. She just looked into her face as Charity answered with a knowing wink and impish grin. Her eyes went roaming quickly down again to those breasts of Charities; nipples erect and firm while their hands hovered an inch or less from them.
“I thought we were supposed to…I mean…” she gulped down her words in trepidation. So much tension has now returned in spades her words to Charity are becoming tied up one with the next. This sets off a wave of giggles and laughter from Charity; not one of disdain or bemusement, it is the soft and gentle laughter of one who understands what Sassa is going through.
“What do you expect?” Charity asked.
Sassa explains that she had been instructed in this matter just to lay back and let Charity do whatever she wants. “Just spread your legs apart and let her enjoy you as much as she wants; that is the main purpose of you as her assistant when off duty – to be her pleasure maid in bed. When the time does come, you will join the Chancellor and Charity in a three way.”
Charity looks casually over in Pele’s direction and via a quick telepathic conversation conclude who is having some fun at Sassa’s expense. They agree to deal with him when the time comes.
Gently Sassa’s hands are guided down upon each of them, and she feels the warm, soft, and gentle mounds of Charities with hands still trembling yet shortly begin to caress them in short, teasing strokes. One advantage she has being a woman is knowing just where and how to do so; Charity begins making soft, little gasps as she responds to her being touched just so – here, and there, and especially THERE in the one spot that sends unending sensations of rippling pleasure through her being and into her brain. “HPHHHHH….keep going just like that…oh wonderful…it feels…hmphhh…kind of like…hfph-hhh-hhoooo-oo…little tingles…yhooo…oh this is so…you…yhooo…hyooo!!!”
Body shaking and quivering like she has never experienced before, a new kind of bliss flows over Charity to the ends of her being – each nerve swamped by a Tsunami force of excitement, pleasures flowing as colors, scenes and patterns of light; the very fiber of who and what she is reaches a climax like never before, even her own beloved Chancellor or any woman has gotten her going this quick – twice, three times, and a fourth her orgasmic scream of wild, raw passion echoes out in the dark.
Pele just looks on at the pair, laughing sweetly as Charity looks at Sassa with a wide, ear-to-ear grin, steam rising from her body. “Damn, if you can do this right now just by touch I can’t wait to see what else we can do together!”
Outside the little chamber two figures stand before a floating, shimmering image of what is going on within; ostentatiously for the reasons of extra security, and in fact the thrill of seeing Charity bedding down another woman. The Chancellor just grins at his companion, the cat-folk warrior monk known as Dancing Tiger who is explaining the little bit of fun he had with the instructions to Sassa.
“You need to realize something my young friend” – declared the Chancellor while tapping him in the chest with his cane – “they have figured out what you did; their payback will be exquisite indeed.” He commenced to expound on in detail each of the endings to be found on the “List of 1200 dooms visited on men by the frantic and furious frustrated females of the cosmos.”
By the end of the first dozen or so Dancing Tigers grin of a joke well played has turned into a grin designating his mere hope for survival. Upon asking the Chancellor if these endings are embellished in the least he receives back a simple statement: “No they are not, if anything these are the least dooms possible; the truly exquisite of them is found on the ‘list of 1200 furious felines holding feathers demises demonstrated on the doomed man.’ “
Dancing Tigers massive gulp echoes across the underground halls for a considerable distance.
Sassa just moans softly as her body feels like it has fallen to pieces as Charities lips find one tender spot on top of another along her neck and cheeks. Soft kisses here, pecks there and then there; each one drawing desire and sensuality from her as she has only barely comprehended. Their bodies intertwined movements stir up the lust in one another, flesh striving on flesh, rubbing and pulsating with energy building as heat and electricity in one another; and those magical feathers Charity has created with her magic – an even dozen tickling her stomach, the sides of her abdomens and her lower legs and feet.
Giggles erupt between the moans and lightning like feelings flash up and down her being as little mouths, magical like the feathers, envelop her nipples with caresses, kisses and soft strokes of a phantom tongue. One particularly accurate touch on the neck by Charities own lips, mixing with the ones on her nipples sends her back arching repeatedly; her eyes become dreamy and partially close as the gates of Nirvana prepare to unleash a paradise of pleasures.
Step by teasing and caressing step Charity moves downward on Sassa, generating an ever building cycle of moans and rush of breathing; the feathers redouble their efforts in response to Charities silent command, causing even more hysterical giggles and twitches of Sassa’s body. Soon enough she looks up into Sassa’s eyes, letting her know what is about to come.
Sassa closes her eyes and clutches fists about the comforter on the bed anticipating what is to happen; her body feels like molten metal combined with the raw, primal energy of a hurricane building out at the sea and soon to be unleashed on the shores. The heady mixture of scents fills her nostrils, their shared scent of her and Charity, the bed coverings old and layered with sweat, body odors, and older scents of sexuality fulfilled many times over.
Her body arches a bit as Charities fingers parts her womanhood to expose the soft pink flesh within; along with the clear fact of her being a virgin. Between the undulating, thrashing, crashing waves of energy playing across each fiber of her very being her mind recalls the promise she made this morning to herself; before the week is out she wants to finally lose it, preferably with Dancing Tiger cumming inside her repeatedly.
“You have got to be kidding?” said Dancing Tiger. “SHE wants to actually do it with ME of all people?”
Looking at the shock and consternation upon the face of Dancing Tiger, he just chuckles with rueful mirth. Oh how much he is enjoying this. Here stands one of the legendary fighting monks of the Far East, deadly in combat armed and unarmed, skilled in poetry, etiquette, art, writing and seduction. Rarely does he wind up caught so off guard – yet the fact of Sassa want a long term relationship with him has achieved just that.
Storm Dragon chuckles at the consternation upon Dancing Tiger, the cat-folk monk who is among the finest warriors of the east he has seen in ages. Quick in wit as he is in battle, skilled in poetry, seduction and the finer arts of custom and culture he is rarely caught off guard by anything.
“So what is wrong Mr. Tiger, do not tell me that you, of all beings, have never been with a lady before?”
Quick, precise and concise explanations follow of why the union that Sassa desires may not be possible; yet this is not a surprise to the Chancellor, having dealt with many such situations of duty, honor, and love coming into conflict with one another. “So that is the crux of the matter,” said Dancing Tiger.
“Another challenge that can be solved to the benefit of all; good thing you told me up front. We will see what can be done about it in a couple of days.” With that the Chancellor returns to the matter at hand – precisely the matter of two ladies making love.
A thousand stimulating bolts of lighting shoot up and down her spine, generating waves and flowing patterns of light and energy. Her mind all but collapses in upon itself when the tongue of Charity completes that first gentle caress; her ears hear the building rumble of thunder nearby, the scent of the rain and the coming thunderstorm from the horizon, answering her impassioned call and desire.
The feelings swirl, flow, ebb and peak across the core of her very being; Nirvana beckons and opens her arms wide for one to enter paradise. Within that grasp she understands her body will hold back no more, the storm is to be unleashed and the line of restraint is crossed.
With a primal scream her release hits; and the storm comes once again as the bed bounces about from the violent shaking of her body. The winds howling mixes with the thunderous crash of lightning all about the little chamber; answered only by the ongoing primal screams of joy they all hear.
Only one set of screams comes from Sassa.
Contrary to the Chancellors hopes and desires, trouble indeed has arrived in spades.
Again and again he slams bodily into the door, then strikes it with savage intensity; blows that are capable of rending stone and steel to powder fail to even leave a mark upon the magical barrier cast upon it. He yells for the ladies beyond the door, bellowing loud enough that most can hear him over the heightening roars and winds howling like the banshees of the moors beyond.
A voice roars from behind him, clear and direct in its orders. “Get out of the way you lunk-head; this is for me to deal with!”
Leaping to the side and landing in a controlled roll he avoids the bolts of white hot lightning, each one shaped like a living-dragon, which slams into the door and the very walls. Such is the force unleashed, echoes passing into the fathomless depths of the connecting passages, they arch and flow against the magical barrier for many a moment of time. Yet all of this effort is for not, as the wall and door stand untouched and unmarked.
A second and then a third series of the searing dragon-shape lightning is sent forth, again with the same failure to cause any noticeable harm. In his mounting fury the Chancellor hurls burning meteors, cones of primordial cold and fire, sizzling spheres and arrows of acid; any one should have rent the stone and door to the most basic elements that each consists of.
Finally he decides to use one of the ultimate spells in his arsenal. One he dreads using, for a time it will leave him without the usage of his vast armory of spells. Called a disjunction, it literally annihilates all cast spells and magical barriers, suppresses most magical items for a time (hours to days), and force spell shaped creatures back to their normal forms; yet it also drains the caster, aside from denying the usage of spells, all but exhausting them mentally and physically.
So it is only in the most desperate of situations he will even contemplate its usage; one of them is now.
He shapes by force of will the gathering, pulsating, raw power of the disjunction; a glittering rainbow of lights gathers about his being, orbiting in a ever growing, ever faster flow until he is covered with them. Throwing out his arms and with a primordial roar of magical power he sends it forth to rend the world of magic about him. Out to some three hundred paces this effect flows, sending forth pulsating waves of power echoing one unto the next.
Dancing Tiger feels his magical blades grow heavy in his hands, his cloak warding him against lightning fail for a time; the barrier upon the wall dances, warping and bending as it seeks to avoid the inevitable doom rending it to pieces. With explosive force that knocks both the Chancellor and Dancing Tiger to the ground the barrier, door and the entire wall are torn asunder.
The gaping wound in the wall creaks and groans as its integrity has been undermined. Howling winds, driving rain and dark clouds illuminated by lightning and crashes of thunder flow out into the passages and beyond. In the area of the room ahead savage, primal, inhuman screams of terror and pain mix with two others – one small and one great, such is the force the vibrations shake the stones all about for a distance.
As that second great voice roars again, the Chancellor shouts to Dancing Tiger, his voice failing to be heard over the cacophony of sounds. He motions him forward as he pushes against the winds, struggling to get to his beloved who is in mortal danger ahead. The clear echoing, hollow thuds of detonating spells indicates either her, Pele or both are still engaged with whatever opponents they are faced with.
Dancing Tiger has much more fortune in pressing forward, reaching the remains of the wall ahead of the Chancellor, and in time see a gathering of six shadowy forms coming forth to greet him. Six bolts of lightning arc into him from each one – without the magic of his cloak they tear into him savagely, sending him flying back across the passage and into the wall with bone crushing force.
The sight of those six figures makes the Chancellor flinch; being unable to cast spells or use the enchanted cane he wields – it holds power equal to his own when functional, he grabs his hat off his head and searches within the extra dimensional space within for what he needs, thanking lady luck it still functions.
These beasts walk upright as a man does, with the head and wings of a great vulture, in place of hands and feet are great talons with claws 8-inches or more, capable of rending stone or steel as one tears a piece of paper. “Oh great” – mumbles the Chancellor – “demons; just what I need now, a bunch of bloody demons.”
Watching them advance towards Dancing Tiger his attention is drawn to a more immediate threat. Three great beetle shaped demon, eight great arms, sixteen feet in height, mandibles 24-inches long and wide, mashing teeth below multi-faceted eyes glowing white with infernal heat and lust to kill come forth in his direction. Once again he wishes he still could use his shape changing ability; the Storm Dragon form he favors would make short work of these buggers, yet due to the using a disjunction it will be a day or more before he can use that ability again.
“Well,” he states, “I just have to do this the hard way then.”
He pulls out two small crystal vials, pulsating with white light, pure and good to those who stand for what is right and true. Within each is the essence of the Phoenix, consuming fires that destroy anything of darkness or evil – such as the two beetle demons they hit when thrown against their hard shelled bodies. Flames whiter and hotter than the sun consume them instantly leaving nothing more than a pile of fine ashes scattered upon the winds.
A wild bolt of lightning arcs by, reminding the Chancellor he lacks most of his normal set of magical defenses; such as his vest rendering him all but impervious to electricity, cold, heat and acid. The final beetle demon roars and charges in his direction, bent on ending his life once and for all. From his hat he pulls out a flat, rounded disk of iron and prepares to hurl it at this beast; only to dodge aside at the last second as the real attack comes from his right side.
He recognized the false attack as an illusion, set up so the real beetle demon, invisible, could strike at an angle he would be acutely vulnerable from. Clacking its mandibles quickly together, the eight hands glow with green witch light – magical death being summoned to rend him to pieces.
Hurling the disk both the Chancellor and the demon watch as it curves slowly in its direction; suddenly it veers upward, cleanly missing its target. Or at least the beetle-demon assumes, laughing with its infernal voice until the disk becomes a massive, hundred-ton weight wall of iron that crushes it flat.
Turning back to where Dancing Tiger and the other demons are, he sees four of them on the ground, deceased from the crushing blows of the monks’ fists and feet. Such is the level of the monk’s spiritual enlightenment and tranquility, he can manipulate his internal source of chi and ki-power to harm creatures that normally only a enchanted weapon or spell could damage.
Focusing on the one in front of him, claws against hands and feet, the two combatants dance a dance of death faster than most can comprehend; each seeks the one moment of opening, the one mistake the other will make to deliver the finishing blow. The second remaining vulture-demon comes from behind Dancing Tiger, about to rend him to shreds until a trio of massive anchors, a giant brass bell of ten-ton mass, and a small iron boat land atop of it.
Both combatants cease their activity long enough to stare at the fallen vulture-demon, the debris that fell it and then over to the Chancellor who shrugs casually after tossing a glittering coin at the remaining demon. Caught between the unyielding stone wall and unyielding steel of a massive safe, it perishes with the snapping of bone and organs.
Looking past the Chancellor, Dancing Tiger sees a sight he will never forget – and at the moment wishes he has never seen; a large, four armed, wolf-headed demon, thirteen feet high and toms in weight being flung onto its back by a female figure slightly larger than a normal human woman. Roaring like an enraged tiger mother its tiger like ears flare back while fangs and teeth are bared. Jumping onto the wolf-demons chest it delivers three savage, bone crushing blows with such force the stone beneath it buckles and cracks into a spider web of fissures stretching ten paces to a side.
As the winds begin to die down, the clouds slowly dissipating, he sees the shadowy form emerging from the room where Pele, Sassa and Charity were; all three have to be dead, slain by this legend come to life, the true tiger-demon here before him, and whatever other monstrosity of the infernal realms coming forth as well.
The tiger-demon, known among his people as the Rashaska, stares at him with eyes glowing red as the fires of Hades itself. Clad in robes darker than night while alive with a dancing aurora borealis, it stands and looks at him, sizing up the threat he represents. White fur glistens with shimmering light among black stripes about its form.
Knowing the hopeless battle he expected to wind up in some day is now at hand, he assumes a stance to do battle, determined to give the Chancellor a chance at escape.
And that is all the Chancellor will have is a slender chance; for one on one, even with all his reputed magical might, the Rashaska is nigh impervious to magic save for a few spells only a true master of the craft can cast. Only the most powerful of holy weapons may harm one, though he has heard that a crossbow bolt, blessed by a priest can kill one outright.
“Chancellor, get ready to run, I’ll hold this demon off for as long as I can, just run and do not stop for anything at all…”
Suddenly the wild and frantic thrashing of Patches on his body snaps him about to the great form before him. More precisely the massive, staring emerald green and sapphire blue eye looking upon him; larger than a full sized serving tray he sees his own reflection staring back in its depths. Mind crushing fear seizes his brain and causes muscles to slacken; no amount of discipline enables him to overcome the stark terror of yet another legend alive before him.
“Raise a hand again at her or anyone else right now and I will bite you clean in half,” says the great creature before him.
From the tip of its nose to the end of its tail it stretches the length of two great warhorses; wings of crystal and feet larger than a wrestler’s chest in length, the great dragon looks like living amethyst gems. Each movement in the light sends an ever changing pattern of shadow, fires and reflections across its surface and into the depths of its body.
Dancing Tiger looks from it to the Chancellor, his expression showing how utterly freaked out he has become, one hand indicating the dragon with a “what do we do now” message. The Chancellors casual chuckle does nothing to set him at ease, especially as the Rashaska, escorting an unharmed; though soot covered Sassa comes over to the dragons’ side.
Again he looks to the Chancellor, beyond the ability to speak or even give rational thought to his situation; he points to the dragon again, then the Rashaska, and finally to Sassa.
The Chancellor turns to face Sassa, asking a simple question Dancing Tiger is unable to comprehend. “Yes my girl, this is the common expression one has when unexpectedly confronting a dragon – storm dragon in my case, or amethyst dragon, and a absolute beauty of one at that, as in the case of Charity here.”
The Chancellor just looks down with the others at the unconscious form of Dancing Tiger, who has fainted dead away from the overwhelming events he has been through. Looking over at the Rashaska, he lifts one hand, as if to blast her to pieces, or so Charity assumes, her dragon form interposing between him and it.
“Charity” – the Rashaska says softly, one great pawed hand touching her form gently – “the Chancellor already knows of me, and what I am.” Briefly the two enter into the mind-to-mind communication of telepathy Charity has mastery of; questions and answers flowing fast as thought; so quick does the discussion occur that only a hand count of seconds pass in the normal world.
In an amethyst flow of light Charity again resumes her natural cat-girl form; though her hair now is a flowing, shimmering amethyst coloration. “It figures, I wonder if I will ever get that right.”
“Will someone please tell me what is going on here,” calls out Sassa, sitting next to her fallen love, moving him to rest his head upon her lap. She looks at him, clearly concerned some damage has just separated him from her when she finally finds happiness in her life. Tears start to well up in her eyes, and a sob slowly builds.
Now clad in the large vest of the Chancellor, Charity sits down next to her. Arms encompass Sassa’s shoulders, comforting support to one in need, and in grief. “Sassa listen, your Dancing Tiger is fine, he just fainted from too much going on at one time. He is one of the bravest and honorable souls you will ever know of; his love for you and you for him is the same as me and the Chancellor share.”
“Now listen well, the one here with us, the Rashaska is Pele in her natural form; something I suspected for a time as we share a common heritage. Though in my case, I am only a half-blood; the rest of me is true cat-folk. The short version of the story is this; she no longer serves the forces of darkness, having walked the road unto redemption for the last two hundred years. She serves the Chancellor as a special agent and guardian. What matters now is this, you can trust her, and now that you and Dancing Tiger are part of our own circle you need to get used to it.”
“Charity” – Sassa just shakes her head as if in denial of the now obvious – “the storm; every time I have been intimate in some form first with my love, and now with you its come forth. Why? Honestly, why does it happen?”
For that question, Charity has no easy answers.
Moving into the room where the union of Charity and Sassa took place, the Chancellor along with Pele sees the uttermost carnage within. Unbelievable as it is, the proof stands just a arms length away. The walls are gouged with inch deep claw marks over three or so feet in length. Spots of melted, bubbled stone show where intense flames struck home, while hoarfrost lingers about in misty clouds – so utter is the cold that all heat in three feet renders the life from any living being.
Even more telling are the gouged and torn remains of three dozen demons of all kinds imaginable, and the parts of another twenty or so scattered about. Clearly he sees the recognizable injuries inflicted by claw and fang of a dragon.
Pele explains step by step the battle, from the demons showing up suddenly from a magical doorway to the instant when Charity changed into her dragon shape. “No thanks to your disjunction I had to fight them the old fashion way, claw to claw” – Pele thumps him in the chest, standing with one hand on her hip in mock anger – “yet somehow Charity did this, she remained in dragon shape even after I was forced back into my natural form.”
“Pele, you should already have guessed the reason why.” Seeing her confused look he continues to provide for her edification. “Like you and me, Charity has been stripped for a time of her magical abilities; except that her mental skills” – he taps his forehead with a finger – “the psionic’s she commands, is unaffected. When she did solve the nine mysteries to become a Headmaster of the Academy, she gained the gift of shape changing as I do, only based on her mental powers, not magical like mine. The amethyst dragon form is a natural for her to chose, as those dragons – called gem dragons by some – have the same Psionic abilities as Charity.”
Pele just grins widely as behind the Chancellor Patches mimics each and every movement of the lecture going on; only his pantomime is accompanied by the usual swirl of colors and patterns indicating he is having fun.
Finally after what seems an eternity of time passes, the Chancellor ends his lecturing. “Now lets look at this doorway and deal with the problem. We have enough demons loose right now, and who knows how many others that already escaped the area.”
Looking upon it carefully, he discerns its nature fairly well. All but invisible is the pattern of a carved archway, one that allows beings to move in an instant from one location to another. Digging into his hat yet again he draws out a pair of brass tubes about two inches long and a small, gem studded ring. Tossing the ring to Pele he instructs her to use it to communicate with Masters Sheo and Aden concerning any other demons loose; they are to be hunted down and exterminated without mercy.
Turning back to the doorway, he senses the magic asleep within is again building; once more it prepares to open and allow all manner of beasts to come forth. A utterly wicked smile crosses his face as he holds up the two tubes, the magical power contained within begins to awaken, “No more demons in my school. This threat ends now once and for all.”
Casually he tosses them through the doorway as it briefly flares in a swirling pattern of stars indicating it has activated. A moment later, the pattern dissipates and the stone wall shatters, spider webbing of lines crossing from top to bottom. “I would have loved to see the look of those on the other side when the tubes went off.”
Figuring the threat is now concluded he turns back to Charity and the others, determined to get them all to a place of safety.
Pele comes over to the trio of Charity, Sassa and a now awakened Dancing Tiger. All three just look her over, still surprised by her true form. Casually she dismisses their stares with a wave of a paw.
“In a day or so I will be back in the human form I normally wear; so needless to say what you have seen and heard needs to be held in the strictest of confidence. At the least we know Dominique is dead, and Fox-glove has been tamed.” Looking at Dancing Tiger she instructs him clearly, “I need you to scout out his activities lately, and make sure he is not behind this, once we all get back to the Masters Hall.”
“Also, you and Sassa will be given quarters next to mine; as Charities assistant Sassa needs to be near her, and you near Sassa” – she looks at Charity with a wry grin – “just try not to destroy the furniture in your love making as she and the Chancellor routinely do.”
“Charity I want to talk more about our past experiences, yet now I need to know something. Are you pregnant or not?”
Suddenly becoming as bashful as a schoolgirl before her first kiss, blush extending up her cheeks and neck, a simple nod confirms it for all of them. Hugs and congratulations follow from the entire group, followed by the loudest, raunchiest, earth shattering whoop of joy from the Chancellor as he lifts her up in a bear hug and spins her about.
The Journeymen standing by the portal room entrance behold a scene of absolute devastation and carnage; for the roof and two of the six walls have collapsed. Among those stones – some weighing tons – jut a limb here or a clawed hand or foot there. The grating and groaning sounds of stone moving on stone indicate there is yet one more collapse preparing to happen at any moment. One shouts and points to a glove and piece of a cape, that of their Master and mentor – Fox-glove.
Then comes the moment dreaded, the final shifting of stone upon stone; they flee for their very lives, with only a handful making it before all the area collapses with such force that its vibrations are felt not only in the greater Academy, the region around Stars Rift shakes as well.
Of those who survived among Fox-gloves Journeymen all quickly decide that the wrath of the Chancellor and the Academy are about to come down on their heads, and that scattering across the cosmos may be their best move for survival. One at a time they recover what can be found of their gear, and depart, never to return.
Over an hour later, as the party comes to the edge of the great chasm, the rickety bridge crossing the incredible and incalculable abyss of darkness; finally unwinding from the massive battle earlier, they begin joking and re-telling the stories of their particular part of the fight. Even Pele is in an incredibly joyful and playful mood, telling ribald tales so scandalous Charity swears the stone walls are blushing.
- Twang -
Pele roars in surprise and shock, clutching her forearm with one tiger like paw over the sleeve of her robe. The Chancellor, Dancing Tiger and Patches move to cover her, as Charity and Sassa rush to give what aid they can. Laughter, insane and diabolic comes from the shadows next to the bridge supporting archway.
Emerging from the same shadows they see another tiger-demon, a second Rashaska, armored in coat-of-mail and a scarlet robe. Twin Katana’s – the legendary swords of the eastern warrior elite – are sheathed upon his back. In his one upraised hand, he holds a small hand crossbow, loaded with a bolt pulsating with destructive power.
“Too late, the Queen is dead, and now her kin will be as well. And I shall sweep the King from the board ahead of the Ball.”
Looking upon the matted, blood spattered and torn portions of his fur; the utter insanity filling his eyes, there is now no doubt for the Chancellor who stands before them. Pulling his hat down in a formal bow of introduction, he slips a single glass sphere from the dimensional space within. “Dominique I assume.”
“Yes Chancellor, or should I say, soon to be dead Chancellor; I will rule the Academy through whatever puppet I take – although I may just keep your form and rule in your stead. After all that will save so many - ARGH!!!”
A harsh, glaring, blinding light flares in the hall, blinding most of the group. Amidst the screams from most of the party the Chancellor Bull rushes Dominique, hoping to buy time for the others. For all the speed he is able to muster, Dominique is that much faster, delivering three bone shattering blows followed up by a roundhouse kick to the head that renders him unconscious.
Dancing Tiger and Patches meet the same fate a moment later, pummeled into incoherency by one who is of supernatural origins.
Hearing the howls of the other two women, one of denial, the other of pure rage, he hurls a trio of small brass spheres taken from a pocket in his robes. The spheres detonate with a great concussive force, sending Sassa and Charity flying in different directions; the impact of her head against a protrusion of stone knocks Charity out cold.
Using magic that is innate to his heritage he dispels the blindness affecting his vision. “Now, now Sassa, you will have the honor of being a fine meal for one of my demon playmates…”
Ducking under the fist coming his way he hears the stone shatter. Three more combinations of fist and foot he blocks, barely keeping pace with the sheer skill and utter savagery of his opponent. Dancing Tiger must have recovered faster than he expected.
He catches his opponent’s arms, then locks them in place with his own; then delivers a one-two-three head bash powerful enough to end the fight. Yet bruised and bloodied as he is, that blasted warrior monk refuses to fall!
Shifting balance quickly from one foot to the other, the monk flips over backwards, dragging Dominique along as well.
Landing hard enough to audibly crack bone, Dominique still musters enough energy to quickly flip himself up into a guarded stance, ready to meet the monk…who is not a monk?
“Yes Dominique it’s me,” said Pele, holding the pilfered crossbow in her extended hand; one of those darts made to kill beings such as a Rashaska laid out upon it.
- Twang -
“I warned you Dominique, never stand against a mother when her daughter is endangered. Especially now that I will be a grandmother in a couple of years; our game is finally ended, and I will guard my growing family all the fiercer.”
Reaching down the sleeve of her robe, she plucks out the crossbow bolt that was caught in the armored mesh beneath; so fine is its craftsmanship that normal clothing can hide its existence. Combined with the magic warding bound within, designed to stop any arrows or bolts striking the wearer, she survived with no more than a major bruise.
Picking the body of Dominique up, she carries it with the same regard one does their daily trash to the edge of the great abyss ahead. “Goodbye Dominique.” With that she flings the remains out into the darkness, watching them plunge past sight into the jaws of things she alone knows lives down at its bottom; things that must never be unleashed in the cosmos.
She heads back to tend to the rest of the party, where Sassa is already at work, giving the matter no more thought.
Later on the group meets to discuss the matter of Sassa’s bizarre abilities. Theories and ideas abound among Pele, Charity, Dancing Tiger and Sassa’ while the Chancellor sits in quiet contemplation. Questions are asked of her background and family-tree; if there have been any unusual ancestors – fiendish, angelic, Genii or such. She cannot be sure and even inquiries’ by divination spells fail to bring more than the vaguest of answers, often contradictions one with the other.
“Sorry to interrupt the conversation,” Storm Dragon said. “Masters Sheo and Aden plus their Journeymen are hunting the remaining demons loose here on the grounds. They feel it is a hand count at most of these ones who drain a person completely and leave a desiccated shell behind. With the doorway now sealed this should be the end of the matter once and for all.”
They see in his hand a small crystal sphere, a device which mages can use for communications; within its depth is the fading image of the two Masters, and a single demon held in a shimmering cage of force, Sassa recalls the face as one of the serving ladies called Misty.
“Now as for your new assistant here,” he points over to Sassa while looking at Charity, “she is a very rare being who is called a Sex-magus; a very rare type we seldom encounter, their ability to practice the craft of magic is linked to their skill and experience in intimacy – not just rutting, but also of seduction, massage, teasing and so forth.”
Looking back over to Sassa, he continues to explain. “Now, the storms you keep summoning at climax, the little jolts of electricity that sent Charity into the wildest of orgasms are manifestations of this magic. And because someone will ask; no, it does not matter of you staying a virgin or not, as you choose, to work this magic. All that matters is the skill you practice in intimate moments. The more practice the better command you will soon be able to achieve.”
“Just one suggestion though, be careful in picking your locations to do such practice; I don’t need many more storms going off inside the school.” He sits back down and remains still, silently going over the revelation of Charity being pregnant – this time it is not a joke.
Once again this cat-girl he loves, just like Felicity of old, turns his world upside down.
Finally the time comes for the Grand Ball of the Academy, and as planned it turns out to be the greatest of them in the living memory of the community. The threat to everyone has come to an end, and relative peace and order return; such as can be said of that in Stars Rift.
From one high balcony Pele watches Charity and Chancellor dance to many songs their eyes only for one another. Nearby she spies Sassa and Dancing Tiger entering the crowds of dancers as well. Master Aden even joins in with a trio of lady genii’s he has escorted, nobles of their land – a city that floats high in the clouds of a far distant world.
Of Master Sheo though, he stands alone. People go out of their way to avoid him, those black orbs that had once been his eyes looking into eternity, intimidating any who draw near. “Not tonight, everyone needs to have their day in the sun.”
Heading down to him, Pele asks if Sheo would honor her with a dance. Giving her a formal bow, he takes her hand and the two of them move to join the others on the dance floor.
The older Journeyman known as Chara examines the small crystal vials he has gained possession of; one of the few who stayed to plunder what was left of the belated Dominique and Fox-gloves goods, he alone full understands what waits within them.
Like Charity and the Fox-brothers he too possesses the talents of the mind, Psionic’s, and can hear the voices of those that call to him now – their four voices echo into his mind, begging, pleading and whining to be set free for their hunts to commence.
“In due time my new pets, in due time.” He understands all too well the power of these creatures, beings of pure mental energy and existence. They were the pets of Dominique, the ones who ‘whisper in the darkness’ to cause madness in their prey, and make their hunt all the more enjoyable.
“Right now we bide our time. I will take you and the remaining demons out of here; the opposition is still far too strong for conquest. In time we shall return and defeat them.”
With that Chara, his new pets, and the surviving demons of Dominique’s old army vanish in a chain of flashing lights, bound for points unknown in the cosmos.