Sven puts his trust in his women in the climatic conclusion of book 2!
The Rogue's Harem
Book Two: Rogue's Wicked Harem
Part Eighteen: The Rogue's Trust
Note: Thanks to WRC264 for beta reading this.
Chapter Fifty-Two: The Ogre's Passion
Zanyia – Az, Princedom of Kivoneth, The Strifelands of Zeutch
My pussy spasmed so hard on the ogre's cock, writhing about it. I whimpered and moaned, milking his dick. In the deep recesses of my mind, I knew I couldn't let him erupt in me. But my cunt didn't care. My body reveled in passion, wanting his spunk to spurt into me, craving it, my body built to please a man.
Even a brutal monster like the ogre with his huge cock.
My body trembled. The ecstasy slammed into my mind, hitting it with blows of rapture. The ogre's cock rammed into my cunt, pumping over and over into my convulsing passion. The brute bellowed. He grunted and growled, building towards his orgasm, wanting to spill his cum into me. Wanting to breed me.
“Las's spurting cock and cum!” I yowled, my tail twitching, caressing the leathery skin of the ogre.
“PUSSY!” the ogre growled.
Something blurred to my right as the ogre drew back his cock. His grip loosened on me as he slammed into my body. His heavy balls smacked into my clit. I shuddered, my pussy massaging his cock, not caring that the ogre's cum would kill me. My twat just wanted to feel him erupt in me.
The feyhound struck me, purple energy streaking around it. I gasped as the body hit me, throwing me to the right. Violet light rippled around me. The ogre grunted. His cock popped out of my cunt. Hot seed splashed across my rump and back. Thick ogre cum painted my body. The heat of it almost seared my skin. The monster bellowed as the world spun around me.
I landed on my stomach in the rubble. The thick jizz coated my body. I yowled in relief as my pleasure burned through me. My body trembled as my eyes fluttered. The ogre bellowed. The building shook.
Purple light flared bright, spilling across my skin. A shield sprang around Ava's feyhound. I blinked, struggling to think. The shield surged at the ogre, splashing violet across the ogre's bulk, sending him stumbling back.
How was she doing that?
I leaped at the ogre as Aingeal sent her magic to batter the ogre. Purple orbs streaked from my proxy, pummeling the ogre. I slammed into it, my claws scratching at the leathery hide. The ogre crashed back into another wall. Wood snapped and plaster shattered. Debris rained around us as the ogre slammed to the ground, lying amid the ruins of a bed.
I scrabbled up his broad torso, going for the throat. He bellowed, his chest rising and falling as he breathed. Aingeal streaked magic from us, slamming into his hands, knocking them back as they swung at us, trying to smash me off.
I reached the throat. My teeth latched about his neck. I bit hard. His skin was too tough to pierce with my teeth, but I squeezed. My jaws latched down hard. I would choke him out. I would strangle him and kill him.
I would protect my family.
He wheezed as he sucked in breath. I clamped down harder, feeling the air rushing through his windpipe. I had to crush it. I had to choke him out. I let out a primal snarl, the wicker body of the feyhound groaning against the strain as I squeezed down.
“Hurry,” Aingeal thought to me. We didn't so much as talk to each other as hear each other's minds. “He's shrugging off my magic.”
“I thought your magic was powerful enough to just rip him apart,” I answered.
“Apparently ogres are really tough.”
Purple light flared around me as the ogre bellowed. I squeezed my jaws tighter and tighter, choking off more and more of his air. I was doing it. I just had to keep it up. Aingeal fired light at his hands, knocking back sweeping arms. They slammed back into the floor, hitting into rubble.
The ogre gave off a final, savage roar. Then his bellow choked off. I did it. I clamped his windpipe. I just had to hold on. Even he had to breathe. His fist slammed at us again. Violet energy, almost flowing like water, and hit into the fist, battering it back.
We had this. I kept squeezing and—
The ogre rolled over. The world spun around us. My body swung from his body as he threw himself over at his belly. I squeezed my eyes shut, flinching as the floor loomed up at us. Magic surged from Aingeal.
A bubble of violet energy rippled around us. We slammed into the floor and punched through it. Debris fell around us. We punched through into the floor and dangled into the first floor. My legs kicked as I swung, attached by the jaw. My grip slipped as he rose on his hands, shaking his body, swinging us back and for through the hole he had built. The movement was violent. He breathed again. I wasn't choking him and—
The power of his movement threw me away. I ripped off from his throat and slammed into the floor of the common room, crashing through a table. Wood splintered around us, an earthenware mug spilling ale across my flesh. The sour reek filled my nose as I scrabbled to gain my footing.
“Cernere's black cunt!” Aingeal snarled.
“Mistress!” Zanyia yowled.
“We have to get back up there,” I thought at Aingeal as I gained my footing. I scrambled for the hole.
“Jump! I'll get us up there.”
I leaped. Purple energy caught my body and hurtled me upward. I gasped at the force. The air rushed past me. I rose through the hole into the room. I caught a flash of Kora stumbling, gripping Ealaín's warhammer, struggling to swing it. The ogre lunged for her.
I landed. I wouldn't make it. I crouched and sprang anyways as the ogre's hand, open wide to grab her, hurtled at her. Kora shouted. She managed to lift the warhammer and swung it, her entire body thrown off-balance by the weight.
I wouldn't make it in time and—
A scimitar flashed, striking into the ogre's arm, knocking it to the side. The hand crashed past Kora. She gasped, stumbling backward past Sven. For a moment, everything slowed as I drank in the sight of my lover, naked and strong, protecting his sister from the ogre's brutal lusts.
The ogre snorted, thick blood oozing from the wound on its arm. His black eyes fixed on me. His cock thrust hard before him, soaked in pussy juices. Had he hurt one of my women? Zanyia crouched nearby dripping white cum.
“Sven!” Kora shouted.
“I always hated seeing you playing with other men, sister dear,” I snarled, raising Zizthithana's scimitar. “I'm going to enjoy doing something about it.”
“This isn't the time for that, brother mine!” she gasped as I swung.
The ogre's fist met my sword. The blade skipped past his knuckles, scraping off the skin to expose his bones. The weapon shuddered in my hand. I stumbled back as he grunted. He punched again, blood streaking off his hand. I slashed hard, slamming into his fist. He flinched back, more blood flowing.
I grinned and slashed and hacked. Ava's feyhound, blazing with purple energy, slammed into his side, knocking him off-balance. My heart racing, I charged in after, a grin on my face. Exhilaration pumped buzzing power through my veins.
I roared and swung.
My brother's sword slashed and hacked and swung at the ogre. The silver scimitar flared in the light. I sucked in deep breaths, letting the warhammer slip from my fingers. I watched his naked body move through the rubble, his muscles flexing.
He looked so strong, so powerful. A heat blossomed between my nethers, the womanly part of me responding to his masculine prowess. That excitement slammed into my fear twisting through my guts. The boarding house shook around us as Sven and Ava fought the monster. Purple light burst from the feyhound, shielding Sven and giving him an opening to attack the ogre.
I glanced down at the warhammer. Ealaín's warhammer. Where was my muse? What happened to her? Had she gotten buried in the rubble. The boarding house was hardly recognizable now. It shook and swayed as the ogre fought. At any moment it could collapse.
And Ealaín was missing.
Worry gnawed at me. I peered around the dust spilling around the room. My feet shifted as the floor wobbled beneath me. The ogre bellowed. Sven shouted. Ava screamed. Violet and purple eyes flared. It spilled across the rubble, painting the world.
“Mistress!” Zanyia yowled, crouching beside me. “You need get out of here now. We have this.”
“What?” I blinked, pulling out of my dread for Ealaín.
“You can't just stand here. Look!” She nodded her head to the ogre stumbling back.
Then he threw a hard punch. Sven ducked it. The fist slammed into rubble. Wood burst, splinters flying through the air. Zanyia hissed, her head snapped to the side to avoid a chunk of debris. I stumbled as the building shook.
“Go, Mistress,” Zanyia said. “Master will just worry about you.”
I nodded my head, clutching my belly. Sven and Ava were fighting. I couldn't do anything here. Illusions wouldn't be enough and... Ealaín. She was here because of me, sent by my Goddess to watch over me.
I turned and hurried for the stairs, praying, “Rithi, preserve the beauty of those I love.”
I turned around as Kora raced away and stared at the fight. I had to get into the distraction. The ogre could kill my Master. I wouldn't allow that. I had the reflexes to avoid his attack, usually. I wouldn't mess up again.
I shoved my fingers between my thighs, coating them with my pussy juices. As Sven charged in, ducking a battering ram punch, I leaped through the air at the ogre. I yowled, sounding as much in heat as possible. I flicked my fingers at the ogre. The drops splattered his face.
His nostrils flared.
“PUSSY!” he snarled, staring at me.
Sven's scimitar flashed and slammed into the ogre's belly. Blood spurted in a violent streak as the ogre wrenched his head from me. I grinned, purring in delight as my Master darted back, avoiding the retaliation strike. The floor smashed before the ogre, splinters flying.
“Got more pussy for you!” I laughed and flicked my fingers again.
Blood streaked the ogre's stomach, rolling down its muscled flesh. Sven leaped back, a grin on his face. Zanyia sprang by, flashing her wet cunt at the ogre, filling the air with the scent of her pussy. The ogre bellowed, shaking his head, fighting constricting lust.
“Watch this,” Aingeal said, glee in her voice. She sounded like she was having fun.
A ball of violet energy surged from us and slammed at the ogre's swinging balls. He bellowed, his cock bouncing before him. He whirled around, eyes glaring at me. His fists clenched. Sven darted in. His scimitar hissed through the air, a silver blur.
Blood spurted. The ogre snarled, wrenched away, focusing as I rushed in at the distracted ogre's side. I had a new plan. I focused on that thick cock swaying between the ogre's thigh, its real weapon. Sven retreated before the onslaught, his face tight with concentration. He dashed to the side, avoiding the body-crushing blow.
I attacked. My teeth found the ogre's cock. I sank into his flesh. Blood filled my mouth. Agony bellowed from his mouth. His entire body shook. He glared down at me, the force of his fury almost pummeling me. His fist smashed down at my body. Purple light flared around me. It rippled like waves of water as his blow collided with Aingeal's protection.
“Rip his cock off, Ava!” Aingeal shouted.
“NO! NO! NO!” howled the ogre as he hammered her shield.
Chapter Fifty-Three: Ealaín's Revelation
“Mmm, this cock is making me so hungry,” Antrevia purred, her black body dripping with my white cum. She stroked my clit-dick. I whimpered, my body burning, the silk webbing binding me feeling so good.
“Suck it,” I whimpered, lust fogging my mind. This wasn't right. I shouldn't be saying this but... But her hand felt so amazing.
“Mmm, but maybe I'm hungry for something else.” She rubbed the tip of my cock, sending pleasure shooting down to my pussy. My cunt clenched. My body whimpered, pulling on the silken strands holding me in place.
She loomed closer to me, her eyes boring into mine. Then she smiled. Her skin rippled again. Her body changing, growing grotesque. Her hand wrapped around my cock became hard, covered in spiny hairs. Mandibles burst out of her jaws while her eyes became faceted onyxes. Through the lust, revulsion swelled through me as the spider-thing loomed over me.
A part of me wanted to fuck it still. To ram my cock into her. Her mandibles opened as they surrounded my throat. I felt their sharp pricks. I shuddered, about to be penetrated in a new way. I whimpered.
I should fight.
Color exploded around us. A shimmering aura of dazzling hues assaulted my eyes. I gasped as the different colors blurred one over the other, rippling and undulating, swallowing each other and birthing new shades to spill around us.
The werespider jerked her head back.
I screamed out loud as my illusion danced around the monstrous thing. It pulled its head back as I charged forward. I swung the piece of wood I picked up and cracked it into the things head. The spidery, insectoid creature staggered beneath my blow.
Something inside of me, something ancient and visceral, snarled. The thing disgusted me. Its revolting, chitinous body had an oily gleam about it. Thick, spindly hairs thrust out from its body. I felt dirty just looking at it.
I screamed out, almost in a panic fear. I slammed the plank into it again, loving that crunching sound. The amulet bounced beneath my robe as I hammered my makeshift weapon down on the thing again and again. It raised narrow limbs. I swung with every ounce of energy I had. I had to smash this thing. It couldn't exist.
A giant spider!
It collapsed to the ground as I hit it again and again. I couldn't stop. My breasts heaved. Sweat fell off my face. Splinters bit into my palm. I battered this things head. I shattered its eye. It twitched and shuddered on the ground. My stomach churned. My throat grew hoarse from my scream. Ichor flew, smelling foul.
The plank snapped. I stumbled, off-balanced by the change in weight. Sweat ran down my body. My chest heaved as I gulped air. My heart thundered. My stomach twisted and... I had crushed it. I had shattered its head.
“Kora,” Ealaín gasped, trembling,her girl-dick thrusting out before her. Webbing like a spider surrounded her.
The world swayed around me as the ecstatic fury fled me. I shivered, stumbling against her. The webs stuck to my wrist, holding me against her. I leaned against her, shaking, needing to be held. That thing was so disgusting. And the ogre was smashing up the building above. My family was in danger.
But... but... I saved one of them. “Ealaín!”
My body shook as the emotion spilled through me.
“I'm here,” she said. “You saved me. You poured out your emotions and created something visceral.”
“W-what?” I asked.
“Nothing,” she said. “It's just... You're inspired by your family, aren't you?”
“Of course,” I said. I hugged her, not caring that the webs stuck me against her. “I love you, Ealaín. I don't want you hurt. I want you protected. I want everyone protected. I want us all safe and... and...” I couldn't speak. I pressed my face into her neck, wishing she could hug me back.
As satisfying as it was to savage the ogre's cock, it wasn't killing the monster's. Sven's scimitar cut the brute's hide, but it didn't cut deeply. It kept fighting with the same brutal strength. It took one lucky blow to crush Sven's body, to break Zanyia's back. How much longer could we do this?
Ava ripped and pulled at the ogre's cock, drawing its furry for now. Its fists hammered on my spirits shielding us. They surged around me, dancing, withstanding the blows. They were so powerful. The abjuration spirits were buckling.
Sven's sword hacked at its hide, cutting it, but not killing it. The ogre was utterly focused on us, and it wasn't enough. There was something else we needed. Something else that we had to do to defeat this brute.
Some way to pierce through its body and into its heart.
An idea came to me. “Ava!”
Chapter Fifty-Four: The Rogue's Trust
Frustration filled me. I swung the scimitar with all the force I could muster. My arms burned with the exertion. I pushed through the ache to slash into his back, leaving another ribbon of blood across his flesh. His muscles were iron. His skin tougher than boiled leather. I couldn't penetrate his hide. Ava gave me this opportunity, and I was failing.
“Las's putrid cum!” I hacked again, sweat falling down my face. I had to kill this thing. How many more attacks could I dodge? My legs felt like slagged metal. Fatigue built in me.
Ava released the ogre's cock. She darted to the side in a blaze of purple radiance, trailing wisps of violet behind her. She landed near Zanyia. The ogre whirled to follow. Ava darted behind me, the ogre facing me, seeing through me.
He didn't feel threatened by me at all. He rose above me. Most of the ceiling was gone, the ruins of the third floor above. The building lurched and sway. Wood groaned. How much more could this structure take?
“HOUND!” the ogre bellowed.
“Stab him in the heart!” Ava shouted behind me as the ogre tensed, preparing to spring forward in a charge that would trample right over me.
The ogre sprang forward, a lumbering step.
“Lunge!” screamed Ava.
If I didn't move, the ogre would crush me like a bug. His thick legs would knock me down, his massive feet stamping down hard on my flesh. Bones would break. Flesh rupture. It would break me. Kill me.
I trusted my princess. She had a plan. She had Aingeal's fairy magic aiding her. I put my faith into my women and sprang forward. A stop thrust. I pushed off with my left foot, my right snapping forward before me. At the same moment, my right arm thrust out before me, the sword a spear, the curved pointing part aimed high at his chest. I put my entire weight into the thrust as the ogre barreled at me.
A brilliant flare of indigo rippled about my blade. The naga's weapon hummed in my hand, resonating with a force. My skin prickled as unseen forces moved around me and then flared into a violet wall around me.
The point of my sword rammed into the ogre's chest. A jolting shock ran up my hand as the tip bit into his flesh. His momentum hurled him forward. I felt my blade bite into his iron bones. The sword flexed.
The indigo light exploded.
Instead of my sword snapping, it sheared through his rib cage. His bulk slammed into the shield. The energy surged around me, washing hot about my flesh as his form crashed over me. He engulfed me like a tidal wave slamming into the shore, driven a storm's violent winds.
But Aingeal protected me.
Gor slid over me, the shielding bowing towards me but not surrendering. The bulk toppled to my right, crashing on his side. The scimitar wrenched from my hand. I stumbled, my legs almost buckling. I caught my balance.
The purple light vanished.
Steam boiled from the ogre's wound. The scimitar's blade glowed, the weight of the handle bending the heat-softened metal. Flesh sizzled around the molten blade. The ogre gurgled, blood fountaining black from its gaping mouth, spilling over fist-sized teeth.
He gave a final grunt and went still.
“Pater's cock,” I gasped, exhaustion crashing into me. My body ached, remembering Zizthithana's coiled embrace. My limbs all felt leaden. I staggered to my knees, leaning on my left hand to steady myself.
Zanyia collided against me. Her exuberance knocked me backward. She gripped me, her tawny ears twitching, her sweat-smeared face beaming in delight. A purr rumbled from her throat. Above, her tail swished back and forth.
I hugged her tight, not caring about the stickiness of her back. I didn't care about anything but holding her, knowing she lived. Ava padded over to me, her acorn eyes looking concerned. She lay down beside me, purple dripping off her wicker body.
“Aingeal is hurt. She's unconscious somewhere. We have to find her.”
Fear galvanized my body and drove back exhaustion. “Where's Kora?”
“She's over here!” I shouted as I perched on a wall two blocks down from the ruined boarding house. I perched on a wall screening off the yard of a residence. Aingeal's body lay battered in a garden, her face covered in blood, her butterfly wings looking bent and ragged. “I think she flew into a wall. Hurry, Mistress!”
“I'm coming!” Kora shouted over the gathering cacophony of the crowd.
Sven, dressed in hasty clothes, pushed through the crowd, dragging Kora with him. She had her pink robes on. We had to cut her and Ealaín free of a spider web. She still had strands stuck to her beneath her clothing.
“Here,” Sven growled, reaching the wall. He cupped his hands.
Kora stepped into them. He lifted her up and she grabbed the top of the wall. She grunted and scrabbled over them. She let out a squeaking shriek as she moved with too much enthusiasm and fell over onto the garden side, landing in a thud on the ground.
I leaped down after her, landing with nimble grace as she coughed. I leaned over her, staring into her eyes. “You okay, Mistress?”
“Fine,” she groaned.
Sven landed beside her in a graceful crouch. He helped Kora stand then she rushed over to Aingeal. She fell to her knees before her. I knelt by my Master, rubbing my cheek into his leather pants, breathing in the scent of him.
He killed Zizthithana. I saw her headless corpse. She could never hurt me again. She could never send her minions out to hunt me. My Master stood up to her and he triumphed. My tail swished behind me. My purr rose in my throat. My entire body shook in delight. This was so amazing.
My tail swished back and forth.
Sven rested his hand on my head right between my ears. I shivered as he scratched me while watching Kora heal Aingeal. My ears twitched. I purred even louder, my vocal chords humming as the delight surged through me.
“You're in a good mood,” Master said, his words distant.
“No one's after the amulet now!” I said. “We killed Zizthithana and all her servants. We're free of her and her meddling.”
“We still have to destroy it.”
I cocked my head, catching something in his scent. Something... tense and... Fear? I peered up at him. “Master, there's nothing standing between us and destroying it. Not unless Prince Meinard discovers we're here with his daughter. We'll find out what we need to destroy the amulet from the Priests of Krab in the morning. We'll be off to the Altar of Souls in no time at all.”
He let out a regretful sigh.
“Master? D-don't you want that?”
He stared at his sister as she helped Aingeal sit up. The pair embraced, lips meeting in a loving kiss. Master's hand tightened in my hair. “Of course I want that. We have to destroy it.”
“No questions, slave,” he growled, his entire body tense.
“Y-yes, Master.” I shrunk, shoulders hunching, my purr dying. What did I do wrong? I thought Sven liked it when I asked questions. He let me have so much independence, but... I was still his slave. I had to remember that. I lowered my head and stared at my knees.
Then Kora and Aingeal were hugging him. He scooped them close. Ava cried out from the right. A gate opened. I looked up to see the princess, Greta, and Nathalie rushing in, Ealaín striding behind them wearing a dressing gown.
“Aingeal!” Ava shouted, throwing herself into the hug.
“You're alive!” Nathalie squealed.
In moments, Greta and Nathalie were in the hug, too. Master's hand tightened in my hair. Then he pulled, lifting me up. I rose, his scent smelling... happy again. He glanced at me and smiled. I smiled back, still confused, but he was surrounded by his women.
And I was one of them.
I hugged him, my body pressed against Aingeal and Greta. I felt just a touch of Sven as we all crowded over him. Ealaín padded towards us. She paused, her citrine eyes almost glowing with a silvery hue, moonlight painting across her white hair giving it a metallic sheen.
Then she joined us. She hugged us. I smiled, glad she was a part of the harem. I breathed in deeply, inhaling the unique scent that made up every person I loved. My purr rose in my throat, my tail swishing back and forth.
The shock made me tremble as I melted into the embrace, pressing into Nathalie's back. She shifted enough, letting me move in between her and Ava. Sven shifted his arm, letting me join it, too. He nodded to me. I never thought I would do this, but...
After the fight... after this night... We had all risked together. We had all battled Zizthithana's minions before, but tonight was different. Maybe it was the fear of loss, of losing Kora, but maybe it was because Sven touched me tonight. He gave me pleasure, gave me love like he did to the rest of his women before we fought together.
I caught his gaze and... in the depths of his blue eyes, I witnessed pain. Fear. Loss. He looked away and met his sister's gaze. She beamed at him, quivering in delight. She drew such inspiration from those she loved. From me, from Ava and Aingeal, from Nathalie and Greta and Zanyia, and from her brother.
Did I give my mother the right advice?
I stared at Kora, drinking in the loveliness of her. I held all my women in my arms, feeling the warmth of their bodies. Zanyia purred, the rest talking, laughing, giggling, reveling in the euphoria of surviving tonight. Kora's blue eyes laughed. My sister had such joy in them.
I drank in her face. I would have to carry memories of her for the rest of my life. They would have to be enough. Because I have my other women to protect. As much as I wanted to tell Rithi that I wouldn't give up my sister, I couldn't allow my other loves to die.
I had to settle. My heart beat through the pain. So I had to take every moment I could to drink in memories with Kora because... Tomorrow, we would visit the Temple of Krab. We might be traveling to the Altar of the Souls soon.
Maybe in a week or two, I'd have to give her up forever. She could return to Az, to the temple, and enrich the world with her talent. Her paintings would inspire. They would do more good than following a restless rogue like me around. Than losing her life in pointless fight with a naga and her ogre.
“I love you, sister dear,” I said. “I love you all.”
“Brother mine,” Kora sighed. She leaned in and kissed me.
I closed my eyes, capturing the feel of her lips, the taste of her, the excitement surging through me. I recorded it all. I seared this instant into my brain, branding it across my thoughts. I would never forget her.
Prince Meinard – Echur, Princedom of Kivoneth, The Strifelands of Zeutch
I stared down at the map with the border of the Princedom of Anaopeth. Prince Reinhold armies had entered my border. Without my proxy soldiers, I didn't have the strength to hold so much territory. My forces were retreating towards Qina. My enemies smelled the blood in the water.
I was so close. I could feel the High King's crown upon my temple. I had the strength to restore Peter's realm and bring order back to the world. Put an end to all the fighting, unite the Strifelands and the rest of the Human Realms.
A knock rapped the door.
My hands squeezed tight behind my back. My head throbbed. I pushed down the impulse to snarl in frustration. To tell the messenger to throw themselves off the battlement. I didn't need any more unpleasant news.
A ruler didn't react with emotion. A ruler buried his heart in ice and made decisions rationally.
Only with his queen, could a ruler lay down that burden and my queen... my daughter... Betrayal squeezed about my heart. How could she escape. The spell... She was supposed to love me. I saw it in her blue eyes.
Ava was out of my reach. She would be with my rivals in Thlin. She sought refuge, perhaps thinking to make herself King Hoagathen's queen. Was she in contact with him this entire time? Was she plotting to overthrow my rule and deliver my lands to my southern enemies?
The rap came again, softer. I could feel the fear bleeding through the door. A ruler should yearn to be loved and admired by those he ruled, including by his queen. But fear... If you couldn't have love, then you settled for fear. For dominance.
“Enter,” I said, my voice calm.
The study door opened. A page stood there, the boy's face pale, his blond hair spilling in a disorderly mop about his face, his crimson doublet rumpled, hastily donned. I bit back a reprimand, his father a powerful earl whose men-at-arms I would need to hold back the tide.
“My Prince, a messenger has arrived w-with word about your daughter.”
“That she reached Thlin? Is this King Hoagathen trying to leverage my abdication?”
The page shook his head. “T-the messenger isn't human. She...” The page swallowed, his face blanching. “She says Ava is still in your lands. She wishes to... to speak to you about an alliance.”
I let out a snort. I almost dismissed the boy, but... not human. What did that mean? Was this a messenger from Zizthithana? She hadn't answered any of the missives I sent her since the Lodestone's destruction.
“I'll see this... messenger in my audience hall,” I growled. “Fetch Shevoin.”
“Y-yes, my Prince.” The page darted away.
I smoothed my gray doublet, feeling the velvet beneath my hands, the pattern bringing comfort. An alliance... Could I say no to any allies at this point? Especially an Ally that could return my queen to me. If my daughter wouldn't love me, she could fear me. So long as she delivered me a son, a union of our imbuing bloodlines.
My boots thudded through the slumbering halls of my castle. I marched back straight, projecting confidence. Fatigue melted away from me as a curious exhilaration tingled through me. An eagerness to discover Ava's whereabouts. Her delicious, nubile body filled my mind, the memory of her incestuous activities animating my extremities. Fingers twitched and my cock swelled.
Such a sweet delight to enjoy.
I reached my audience chamber. I hated the theatrics of it, the throne carved of garnet and set with the griffon of my house, wings spread side over my head, the beak opened in a snarl of power and authority. But the trappings were important. Perception important.
If people believed you ruled them, it became their reality.
A page rushed out with the gold circlet of Kivoneth on a crimson pillow. He knelt before me, thrusting it up. I took it and settled the band on my forehead. It pinched my temples. I hated wearing it. A throb pulsed through my skull, the start of the headache.
Shevoin swept in wearing his black robes, his face pale. I nodded to the master mage. He took his place at my side, a shiver racing through him. Since Ava's disappearance and the misfortune befalling the war to the east, he looked so wan. Sickly bags drooped beneath his eyes.
“P-princess Ava has been found?” he asked, voice taut.
“Maybe,” I answered and signaled with my hand.
At the far end of the audience hall, before the double doors, a pair of soldiers stood, the only others in the room. They opened the door onto the singular most unpleasant thing I had ever seen. Superficially, the creature resembled a human, but a strange amalgamation, a monstrosity stitched together from the parts of both male and female. Its flesh bled from one unwieldly part to another, standing tall, muscles strong, tits swinging before it. The thing marched forward with a confidence. It shouldn't move with such grace, it should stumble and limp, its body warring against its mismatched parts instead of moving with such harmony.
“What is this... creature, Shevoin?” I said beneath my breath.
“I... I know not, Your Highness.”
“I am the Paragon of Vebrin,” the thing answered. Despite our low words, it had heard us across the audience room.
“Your Highness, no,” gasped the master mage. His bony hand clenched my shoulder as he staggered. “It's one of the Biomancer's creations.”
My eyes widened. Biomancer Vebrin, dead for centuries, had inflicted the world with his monstrous progeny. My eyes flicked to this thing, realizing it was created out of a dozen different humans, male and female, its face a mix of mannish strength and feminine wiles, lips sensual, brow brooding, cheeks delicate, chin chiseled. A cock swung between its thighs but it lacked balls. Did it have...
I swallowed, a strange lust kindling in my groin.
“I am the Biomancer's goal,” the creature said. “His Paragon.”
I shook my head. Focus. “I do not care about that.”
“You should, Your Highness,” Shevoin hissed. “Give me the word, and I shall incinerate—”
I raised my hand and he bit back his words. I stared at the Paragon. “You claim you know where my daughter is.”
“That is one of the things I bring, Your Highness.”
“What else do you have?”
The shadows in the room undulated. Something spindly and deformed spilled out, its skin waxy and inky, a jaw full of sharp teeth. From between stones oozed something vicious, forming into the shape of a human, its flesh rippling. I recoiled as through a window slithered something serpentine and oily.
“The Biomancer's creations serve me,” she said. “I will give you what I promised Zizthithana. She failed to deliver. I hope you won't.”
“What?” I blinked as a chill wind gusted through the throne, something swirling and resolving out of particles of sand that had blown in through the window, forming into a four-legged beast.
“I will give you access to creatures that shall terrify your enemies. That shall rout their armies. I just need the amulet.”
“Amulet?” I frowned.
“I don't care about anything else,” the Paragon said, her eyes burning with something inhuman, a passion that felt older than the bricks of my castle. “You can deal with those who possess it however you want. Gain me the amulet, and you shall attain the High King's crown, Your Highness.”
“What amulet?” I demanded again.
“That one that's with your daughter,” the Paragon said. “One of her lovers has it.”
“Lovers?” I growled, my stomach clenching.
“The sister of Sven Falk has the amulet. Your daughter fled to her betrothed.” The Paragon loomed before me. “She's in Az. Rip the amulet from Kora Falk's throat, do with your daughter's lovers however you wish, and deliver my price to me. Then you shall have all you need.” She looked around at the creatures in the room. “As a token, you may have these. They will serve you as if you were the Biomancer.”
Sven Falk... Heat boiled through me. My daughter fled back to him! “We have a deal, Paragon.”