The Knight and the Acolyte Book Eight: Labyrinth of Love Chapter Three: Forgotten Love By mypenname3000 Copyright 2016 Knight Kevin The Free City of Hargone Angela's face hardened at my pronouncement of her crimes and the declaration that her name was attainted and stricken from the rolls of the Knights Deute.
The wind from the desert whipped at her fiery hair. We stood on the outskirts of Hargone, the Halani Desert's sands only a block away. Crowded tenement buildings made of yellow-white mud loomed around us. The pedestrians on the streets hurried inside, leaving it empty. I didn't care. My focus was on Angela, studying her face for any sign of her heart breaking.
She so wanted to be a full Knight Deute. But now her Quest would not end in her gaining full rank and acceptance into the knighthood. She was a villain, an outlaw, and I was here to bring her to justice. And to save her life. My heart quickened as I stared at her. Three years I had loved her, training with her, watching her grow as both a woman and a knight. The gangliness of youth replaced by an athletic, toned body, her skill and confidence swelling along with the radiance of her personality.
My heart had sickened at how our last meeting had ended. In a fight. I had reacted badly to the news that she had been given the most dangerous Quest—to slay the Dragon Dominari. No knight in five hundred years had survived attacking the dragon. None who'd venture into her desolation returned. It was avoided. When Angela received her Quest, I tried to convince her to quit the knighthood.
I proposed marriage to her, desperate to save her life. But it offended her pride as a knight to quit. She was a true believer in the purpose of our order. She saw the Knights Deute as something pure and strong, willing to die for its honor. So I was shocked to learn the stain she brought on our order's name by her theft and assault of the Doge of Raratha, stealing a piece of the High King's sword from the Great Vault.
Now staring at her, seeing the changes the last four-and-a-half months had wrought upon her, I saw the determination. She was focused on the quest. Nothing would stop her. Her eyes hardened as they stared at me, her hand reaching for her sword. She was leaner, her flesh tanned by the sun, her eyes harder than sapphires.
Her sword sliding from her scabbard made a slow rasp, metal against leather. She hefted her kite shield. She wore her armor as she sat astride her camel, her large breasts contained by the shining breastplate, her midriff bare. I could see the chainmail loin cloth draped over the right side of her saddle, pressing on her thigh and reaching towards the greaves protecting her shins and strapped over knee-high boots.
But where was the love? The anger? She walked her camel forward, motioning to her allies to stay behind.
I gripped the reins of Blackthorn, my warhorse, searching for any emotion in her face beside determination. "I would ask that you let me pass, Sir Knight," Angela said, her voice flat, cold.
Her eyes didn't flicker with anything. "And let me and my companions be about our task. We have a dragon to slay." "Angela," I said, lowering my voice now that she was closer. "You must understand the grave nature of the offense you have given the Lord Doge of Raratha." "I have seen my wanted poster," she answered, eyes flint.
"Again, I ask you to step aside, Sir Knight. I do not have time to dawdle." "Your name is attainted." I shook my head, baffled by her remoteness. "It's me, Angela. You don't have to act like this. I want to help you avoid your execution.
You've stained our order. I thought you would care about that." "I did what I had to," she answered. "The High King's sword is the only weapon that can slay the dragon. My crimes against the Doge are less important than slaying that monster." "What happened to you, Angela?" I leaned forward, resting my gauntleted hand on the pommel of my saddle, my full suit of armor clinking around me.
I wore plate covering every inch. Female knights were trained to use their sexuality to disarm and distract. And Angela had a lush body to do just that. "Are you still this angry at me over what I said the morning you left?" Pain pricked my heart. "I am truly sorry. I should not have besmirched your honor. But I was just afraid for you. And now even more so." "You're." Angela's eyes narrowed. Her expression turned curious, studios.
It was like she had never seen me before. "I guess I can see it." "See what?" "Sir Kevin," she said. "I have no intention of stopping my quest. You can bring me to justice after the dragon is dead." She took a deep breath, and her voice broke for the first time.
"I understand the need for punishment. It was wrong what we did in Raratha, but so is letting that dragon live when I can stop it. I have four of the five sword pieces. I will finish my task. Step aside, Sir Kevin, if you truly love me. I do not want to harm any of the Knights Deute." "Dammit, Angela," I snapped. "What is wrong with you? Why are you so cold to me? I can still save your life. You don't have to die for this. You can't be a knight, but one of your companions can be the culprit.
The halfling thief you consort with or the orc." My face curdled. "You travel with an orc, Angela. How many of our order have died defending the borders of Secare from their deprecations?" "Step aside," Angela said, voice again level.
"I will not warn you again, Sir Kevin." "Do you hate me that much?" I demanded. "Are you that wroth with me over the words I said at Shesax? I have regretted them every day as I worried over you.
I volunteered to lead the company sent to arrest you so I could protect you. Please, Angela, hate me, but don't let yourself die because of it. Please." "I don't hate you," she answered, her voice softened, her eyes growing wet. "You truly love me, Kevin?" "I do." My voice was choked. Hope beat in my chest. "If you don't hate me, then what do you feel?" "Nothing. I don't remember you at all." I flinched before her words. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Knight-Errant Angela It was so strange facing the man I must have once loved.
Here stood the hole in my memories, the shadow that I couldn't ever make out in my thoughts. My memories danced around him. I could see the love in his handsome face. He was every inch the dashing knight, flowing hair peeking out the sides of his helmet, looking so powerful astride his black warhorse.
But there was nothing stirring in me. No hint of recognition. I didn't even realize it was the knight Sophia spoke about. And yet I could see it now.
Chaun had assumed this man's form the night he tried to seduce me. "How can you have forgotten me?" he asked, his voice broken. "I traded my memories of you for a prophecy from the Lesbius Oracle," I said. The pain in his face made me regret the callous tone in my words. But this was so surreal. He knew me, and I had no inkling who he was, what type of man he truly was.
But he must have angered me greatly if I was willing to give him up. "You." He took a deep breath. "That's how much you hated me?" "Apparently. I do not remember." My hand tightened on my sword. "I will complete my quest. If you know me as well as you appear to, then you know that you cannot stop me. I do not want to harm you, Kevin, but I will not stop." "Always stubborn," he said, his voice bitter.
"You truly won't let me save your life?" "I never asked you to." He took a deep breath, straightening. "Angela ev'Xarin, if you will not surrender, then I shall force your capitulation through main force." His voice boomed. The clattering ring of iron on paving stones answered, the steps of warhorses.
Five more knights swept out of the surrounding alleys, three from his right, two from his left. I recognized young Lisa, who was on her Quest when I left. Mary guided her roan warhorse beside Kevin, blue eyes focused on me, sword gleaming in the sun. Danielle, Richard, and Phillip joined them. Six knights. "You are outmatched, Angela," Kevin said. "You know our skill. You know our training. Do you think your companions are up to facing us?
Surrender before blood is shed. Before any are killed." "So we can be executed by the Doge of Raratha?" I demanded. Sophia was behind me. I would let no harm come to her because of my crimes. "I have already pledged to surrender once my quest is completed. You have my word." "The word of an attainted knight," sneered Mary, "has all the worth of lead leafed gold." "Surrender and face justice, Angela ev'Xarin," repeated Kevin, his face hard.
He drew his sword. I had a Quest to complete. I had sacrificed too much. I had faced obstacles and enemies. I had done things I bitterly regretted. I had paid too much in blood and sweat and tears to be stopped from my task. Faoril had lost her chance to be a Master Mage because of me. My other companions faced the gallows because of me. I would not allow any to come to harm. I gripped the reins on my camel and hoped it would not spook.
"Faoril," I called out. "Attend to them. I do not want them harmed." "Harmed," sneered Richard. "We are knights, not children." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Warlock Faoril "Your magic makes battle bloodless," Thrak said as I focused on the six knights.
"Yes, it does," I agreed. "I am glad you recognize that." Minx yawned nearby as she lounged on her camel. Six knights did not intimidate us. They may be the finest warriors in the world—Angela could certainly stand toe-to-toe with Thrak when he wasn't enraged—but they did not have any powers. No magic. They relied on martial strength to overcome their obstacles. The cum warming my stomach, drunk from a vial the moment Kevin stepped out, bubbled with energy.
I seized it, channeling it into my magic. Wind would suffice. I would hang the six in the air, and we could go about our business. They would be a nuisance. They would hound our steps for the rest of our quest, no doubt, but I understood Angela's reasoning.
They were only doing their duty. They were her brothers and sisters-in-arms. Even if she were attainted, harming them was abhorrent. "Seize her!" shouted the lead knight, his sword pointed at Angela. The air obeyed my magic. I wield it like an extension of my body.
I was the channel and the will. The wind swirled, kicking up the pervasive desert dust coating the streets in a fine, yellow film. My wind swirled around the knights and seized— Ghostly ramparts burst to life around the six knights. My wind struck the ramparts and was rebuffed. White light flared and a low gong rang through down the street as the knights heeled their mounts and galloped at us. "Now would be the best time to seize them, Faoril," Chaun said.
"I'm trying," I gasped, sending my wind in again, but the wards around them again rebuffed them. Who had enchanted them? What had enchanted them? And then Angela raised her shield and took a female knight's sword stoke on her shield. Her camel screamed in fright, bucking beneath her as she managed to parry the leader of the knight's blow. The other four charged past, racing for the party. Two charged for me. Fear tightened my chest. Their horses were huge, like Angela's Midnight, the warhorse left behind in Raratha when we fled the Doge's palace.
They hurtled towards me, moving like an avalanche. I threw fire. Heat coalesced into balls of sputtering flames. They splashed across the charging knights' shields, the flames rippling upward, deflected by ghostly shields hanging a hand's breadth before the knights.
The white light flared and the gong rang. And then Thrak was before me, bellowing as he slashed his ax into the charging knights. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Thrak The warhorse screamed as my ax planted into its chest. The female knight, her wavy, brown hair flying past her as she vaulted from the saddle as her mount died. She landed in a roll and came up, her round breasts heaving in her half-breastplate, the chainmail loincloth swinging about her hips.
She was a lovely creature, her face youthful with touches of baby fat still lingering around her cheeks. The second knight, charging after her, swung his sword in a scything arc for my head. I pivoted, letting the horse charge past me, his steel-shod hooves smashing hard on the ground.
My left hand let go of my ax and seized the bridle as it charged past. And yanked. The horse screamed in pain as I twisted its head around. I grunted as the force of its charge pulled me along with it, my fur moccasins sliding across the ground, the soles heating up.
I yanked again, and the horse stumbled, fell, throwing the knight. He did not land as gracefully as the female knight had. He wore the full armor of a male, hitting with a loud clatter that I hoped broke bones.
I didn't wait to find out. I heard the movement rushing behind me, the clink of chainmail loincloth. I spun and caught the female knight's sword stroke on the top of my ax between the two crescent blades. I kicked out my foot, and she moved her shield down, blocking it.
She stumbled back a step but kept her balance. "You alive, Richard?" she asked, heat in her voice. Despite her youth, she attacked at the same moment. "Pater's cock, yes, Lisa," the knight behind me grunted as he rose. And then he charged in, his sword hissing. I grunted, swinging my ax, parrying their strokes as the two knights pressed their attacks on me.
I had sparred with Angela, and she was an amazing fighter. The Knights Deute trained their members well. And they specialized in fighting monsters. Opponents bigger and stronger than them. Like me. "Knave, yield," Richard shouted. "Even one of your brutish race can receive justice." "For what crime should I surrender?" I demanded.
"I am not one of the wanted criminals." I kicked out, catching Richard on his shield, stumbling him back and turned to attack Lisa. Only she was lunging in, moving with such speed, reacting instantly to my blow on Richard. I swept the haft of my ax, knocking aside her blade and stepped back.
They pressed me. From behind, rocks struck the knights, but ghostly wards flared up and defeated Faoril's magic. "You are harboring fugitives," Lisa said, her voice girlish yet dangerous, her eyes hardening. She attacked again, her swings sweeping back and forth.
She had fought monsters before. These were seasoned knights. "You were no doubt complicit in their crimes," Richard answered, "just because you were not seen." "So you are both the judge and the jury determining my fate?
And executioner, seeing how you are trying to slay me unlawfully." "Unlawfully?" Richard laughed as he attacked, Lisa darting in at the same time. "Since when is it unlawful to slay an orc?" I swept both attacks aside and swung at Richard.
My ax slammed into his shield, wood splintering. "Did not the Treaty of the Forest acknowledge that all sentient beings, and not just humans, are deserving of protection under Secare's laws?" "Are orcs sentient?" Richard demanded, face twisted as his sword hammered in.
"Am I not conversing with you?" Anger bubbled through me. "Am I not engaging you with rational discourse while you only seek to maim and slay me with no regard to the justification of your actions." His face twisted in anger and he slammed his sword at me.
And so did Lisa. They reacted at the same moment. I angered and provoked Richard into attacking and somehow Lisa knew to attack at the same moment.
The pair were far more coordinated attackers than I would thought possible. As I danced back, they attacked and defended, one covering for the other, moving without any form of communication. Often, when you fought with two or more opponents, they would interfere with each other, their attacks keeping their allies from engaging.
They would stumble into each other, even hit each other with weapons. There was none of those issues of coordination. I glanced at the battlefield and realized that the other knights were still up. Angela was pressed hard. Chaun sang as Xandra used her elementals to keep the other two knights at bay. Xera's bow sang, but her arrows always missed, the knights dodging or bocking the missiles. And Minx, who attacked the knights fighting Angela from behind, never found flesh with her knife.
The knights reacted to what they could not see. What was going on? And then a chill struck me as I was driven back again.
Faoril's magic deflected by some form of wards, the knights coordination and inhuman reactions, none of our blows landing in a meaningful fashion. More magic enchanted them, giving them an advantage. We were losing. They were eroding us down. How long before one of us was cut down. Before we lost? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Xandra Fear surged through me as two of the knights, a male and female, charged past Angela, racing for the party. My camel let out a scream of fear. It bucked beneath me.
I didn't like it. I hopped off, landing light on my feet as I pulled out the first totem I could get my hands onto. My fingers shook as I traced the sinuous lines carved into it. And then Chaun began his song, sitting astride his camel behind me.
Confidence stirred through me. Fear wained in my heart. All the pain, all the guilt I felt for cheating on Chaun, for being what he wanted, vanished. It didn't matter right now how terrible a person I was, how the God Luben must despise me for making mockery of his marriage vows.
It didn't matter that I was the lowest avian ever born. My inability to fly, my adulterous ways, proved how filthy I was. But I couldn't worry about that. Not when I had to protect us. I didn't understand why Faoril's magic failed. I only hoped mine faired better. The trembling in my fingers stilled.
I held my air totem, gripping the light balsa wood carved with sinuous lines representing gusting, twisting wind. I channeled my magic into it as my fingers traced the lines. Around us, elementals danced and played, invisible and unseen. Where there was air, earth, water, and fire, they existed. They were the embodiment of the four elements. Faoril manipulated the elements directly, bypassing the spirits.
I didn't. I reached out and seized them. They responded to the spark in me, channeled through my focus. The elementals coalesced for me, the air swirling into vaguely humanoid shapes, gathering the yellow dust pervading the street.
They swooped at the charging knights. I trembled, hoping my magic could do something to them. "Please, please, stop them. Protect me." The spirits wanted to please me.
The vortices composing their bodies spun, the air howling, and they slammed at the knights. The two humans reacted in an instant, yanking on their horses' reins, changing the directions of their charge.
Xera's arrow hissed out, crashing into the woman's horse. It squealed in pain, stumbled. She vaulted from the saddle and then ducked my swooping air elemental. The other knight corrected his charge right at me. "Chaun," I gasped in fear, hooves thudding.
"On the field of stood the maid so bright," sang my husband, his words for me and me alone, "her courage shining with soul's pure light, and there she faced the Lord of Death and did not falter and did not fail, her faith so bright, her soul so white, too pure to stain, too strong to maim and be dragged into dark's domain." My hand shot into my bag, pulling out a second totem.
It was a hard totem carved of kapok wood. I commanded the earth elementals to rise. Paving stones buckled, bursting free before the knight's charging horse, forming into a body to house the elemental's essence.
It punched as the knight pulled on his reins, reacting so fast. But momentum could not be denied. His horse skidded, the elementals fist crashing into the roan mount's head. I flinched as the horse screamed in pain. Its body crashed into the elemental's form, the poor beasts bones snapping. The knight was thrown over beast and elemental, landing with a clatter. "Chaun," I breathed. "Thank you." "Do you understand what you are doing, girl?" the female knight shouted, charging around the earth elemental.
"Do you understand you forfeit your life by interfering?" "I will protect my companions," I said. "My husband and my friends." The song stirred me. I faced death charging at me, sword gleaming, and placed the air elemental before me. It howled with fury. The knight swung, her blade passing harmlessly through the vortex of its body. "Shaman, you will regret this," the woman spat as the air elemental punched.
She didn't even guard. The howling fist landed and struck the same magical wards that prevented Faoril's magic from touching the knights. I had no idea what form of magic could do this. I only knew the shamanistic arts. "I need a ward of earth," I shouted at the earth elemental, directing my will through the totem, puppeteering it. The words were unnecessary. I knew that, but my heart beat so fast and they just tumbled out.
"Entomb the knight." The elemental stomped away from the dying horse kicking on the ground. It swept towards the female knight as she used her shield, and the magic enchanting it, to batter the air elemental aside. The earth elemental reached her, shoving its hands into the stone of the road. Cobblestones rippled about the knight's feet. "Pater's cock," she gasped as suddenly a wall of paving stones surged up around her, the elemental merging with the ward.
"Luben's sacred vow," I sighed in relief. "Watch out," Xera shouted. An arrow buzzed past my face. The fallen knight was up, his nose broken, blood streaming down his face, as he charged at me. Without even looking at Xera, he raised his shield and caught her arrow on it. How did he see it? I stepped back.
Chaun's song surged louder. "And though foul dark around, the maiden brave from lips did sound, a note of light, a note so bright, that even Lord Death felt fright." "I need a wind curtain!" I sang.
The air elementals swooped towards me as I faced the broken-nosed knight. I was brave. I was the maiden. I would make these knights afraid of me. The air elementals crashed before me, forming a wall of howling downdrafts, cutting off the knight from me. Sand blasted from the street, swirling in dust. The knight raised his shield, blocking the grit. And then he barreled through the howling wind. White light flared and a gong rang as he broke through the warding. The two air elementals blasted away, one slamming into the ground, the other dissipating out of my control.
The balsa wood grew hot in my hand, smoldering. I dropped it in a gasp of fright. I needed something else. I summoned another earth elemental to interdict the knight. Sword rang on stone as I bent down and picked up my warm air totem. I put it away and retrieved my fire totem, the dark mahogany wood carved with triangles. "I need fire. I need to drive back the knights with heat!" A gong rang. The female knight burst out of the wall of stone, her shield held before her. My earth totem grew hot in my hand as the magic drove back the elemental spirit.
How were they doing that? What were these wards? How could I stop these knights from killing my companions? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Minx "Stop doing that," I shouted in annoyance as I darted in at Kevin as he drove Angela back with sweeping swords. The female knight's brown hair hissed behind her as she attacked from Angela's left.
The way they moved was unnatural. Angela's sword was a blur as she fought. I knew she was enhanced by a ritual of Gewin, and it showed. But how long could she defend herself from both knights coordinated attacks?
And why couldn't I land a single blow on them. I drew a sticky bomb from my pouch and flicked it at the male knight. This had to work. Kevin pivoted. The alchemical bomb caught the attack on his shield. The sticky foam expanded. I grinned in delight as it rushed around the shield. He couldn't dodge it and— "Cernere's black cunt!" I howled. In the same motion he used to block my attack, he had thrown his shield. At me.
The kite shield tumbled for me. I dived to the side, the yellow-brown alchemical foam gurgling as it expanded. The shield struck the ground by me and the expanding foam caught my right arm and side. It washed over me, holding me in its sticky mess.
I hit the ground hard, rolling over, my right side and both legs trapped. "Cernere's nimble fingers," I screeched in annoyance as I stared up at the sky. My pouch was on my right side. I stared at the knight, now swinging his sword with both hands, hammering over and over into Angela's shield. "How did you do that?" He reacted so fast. The helmet made him blind to me. He shouldn't have been able to see the attack. And then he caught it and threw his shield all in one motion.
It was like he knew exactly what the sticky bomb would have. "Faith magic," I snarled. When Angela was sent on her quest, Sophia accompanied her. The acolyte had faith magic. But Saphique wasn't the only god who had priests and priestesses. Divination, warding, these were all providence of the divine. So where were the priests or priestesses? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Warlock Faoril "Faith magic," screamed Minx as she writhed, trapped in her own alchemical attack.
I blinked. Of course. Wards and the preternatural reaction speeds. A form of divination magic gave them such swift reflexes. I was so preoccupied with struggling to find a way around the magic—to attack it with fire, water, air, earth, and even tendrils of life magic—I hadn't put my thoughts to faith magic.
How did I undermine an abjuration spell strong enough to deflect my magic and a shaman's elemental? "Sophia," I said, glancing at the acolyte huddled nearby, her face pale. She stared at Angela, forced against a wall. She gripped her dagger, her robes already open, milk beading her nipple. She was ready to begin healing.
"Yes?" she answered, not looking towards me. Chaun's music played louder as Xandra stumbled back, an earth elemental warding her from the two knights pressing in on her. Xera's arrows hissed across the battlefield, mysteriously blocked by the two knights.
Thrak fell back farther and farther, separated from the rest of the party as he struggled to hold his own against his two opponents. "Things are not going well," I told her. "I noticed," she said, biting her lower lip. Her green eyes flashed to me. "Do you have any ideas on how to bring down the warding magic?" "It's faith magic, I hope you know more about it than me." Her eyes widened.
"Right, right, faith magic. Um. Okay. Those wardings had to be prepared in advance. And not just by one priestess. It was a ritual spell. Probably the knights enhanced reflexes are from. Yes, yes, the Ritual of the Womb, I think it's called." "Ritual of the Womb?" "Slata's spell that unites several individuals, making them like spiritual twins.
They are reborn together." Sophia grimaced. "It involved sex with a male as the focus. Slata's big on using men and cum in her rituals." "How distasteful of them," I said, trying not to laugh. Things were too serious for laughter. I downed another vial of Thrak's cum and asked, "How do we undermine the spell?" "I sorta know the theory," Sophia answered. "There's probably a way I could undermine them, but." "You're an acolyte who shouldn't even have magic and you're not properly trained," I sighed.
"Well, if I had paid better attention." She squirmed, her face flushing. "I do regret my.lax attention during training now." "How much magic will it take to undermine them?" "Probably a lot. It's really up to how much the goddess is invested in maintaining the spell. And, well, Slata doesn't like Angela, remember?" "And you're sure it's Slata behind the faith magic?" Sophia nodded. "White energy flaring. And it feels like the womb spell. It allows them all to react together, to use each other's senses.
I bet there are priestess hiding in the buildings around us, watching us. That's why the knights keep blocking Xera's arrows." "What happens if the priestesses die?" "Well, Slata couldn't channel through them any longer and their spells would fail." I spun. "Xera, did you hear that?" The elf nodded, her ears twitching as she scanned the buildings. Her bow drew back while I sent my magic to hammer into the knights, to wear down the wards, to keep Thrak from getting run through.
I was not losing my orc. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Xerathalasia I did not like missing. I hated how the knights kept blocking my arrows. The only one I landed was on the poor horse who now lay kicking and screaming on the ground, his voice so shrill, in so much pain. He was forced to suffer and fight by his human master. I didn't like hurting the beast. My arrows were meant for monsters, not for animals. Not even for humans. People watched us from the buildings, peering through cracks.
They wore turbans and veils, especially the women, hiding their flesh, leaving strips around their eyes. Most of them had dark flesh, the brown-black of the Halanian. But I spotted one with fair skin like a Secaran. Like Angela, Sophia, and the attacking knights.
My bow released. The woman ducked at the exact same moment, my arrow streaking through the window and embedding in the wall. If she was ducking, she was scouting for the knights. If I could keep them pinned and unable to scout for the knights, that might prove valuable. "Did you see where my arrow landed, Faoril?" I shouted as I pivoted, searching for another face. Three floors up, I spotted her and fired.
"Yes," Faoril answered. "I'll free Minx and send her after the priestesses." And as I drew the third arrow, I heard the clatter of metal. I whirled around. The two knights pressing on Xandra raced at me. The female led, her brown hair streaming behind her, blue eyes hard, enraged. I had attacked her priestess, and she knew it. I ducked her sword strike, drawing my dagger and then gasped as the male's blade slid smoothly into my naked stomach.
Cold pain shot through me. My ears twitched as he raised his foot and kicked me off his blade. I landed with a heavy thud on my back, blood pouring out of my stomach. "Xera," screamed Minx. The two knights pivoted and raced back towards Xandra as she regrouped, forming two new elementals. I groaned, holding my guts, trying to keep my warm blood from flooding out of my body. Just like that, they had cut me down. They attacked with such skill, such precision.
"Matar's cock," I groaned. I didn't want to die. I wanted to see my daughter. To hold her and show her to Minx. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sophia "Xera," I shouted as Minx reached the elf, the halfling freed by Faoril's magic.
The halfling fell to her knees and planted her hands over Xera's. "Hold on," Minx said, her eyes catching mine. I was already racing to them, my milk ready to be used.
I had enchanted myself the moment the battle unleashed. These knights were too good. Too strong. And the priestesses of Slata had prepared for us. They knew what we could do and had enchanted the knights to face us.
Slata. That ungrateful bitch of a goddess. I bet the whorish priestesses were eager to help the Knights Deute capture Angela. Slata had sent her demigoddess daughters, the three erinyes, to try and kill Angela already.
They had failed and the bitch-Goddess found another way. I fell to my knees beside Xera, lifting her head to my naked breasts. Her mouth opened.
Her lips latched on. She suckled. I groaned, my eyes fluttering, trying not to feel the pleasure ripple out of my nipple and— Angela screamed in pain. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Knight-Errant Angela I stumbled back, blood welling out of my side from Mary's sword stroke. I hit the wall as the blood soaked into my leather belt, spreading across my back and belly. The pain throbbed up my arm as I slashed again. "You're going to die, Angela," Kevin growled. "You're skilled, but you can't beat us.
We have Slata's priestesses supporting us." "Then kill me," I spat. "It is better than facing my execution. At least I'll die trying to protect the world. And you're stopping me. You're letting Dominari live." "You are delusional," Mary spat and swung in again.
She slammed into my shield. Pain flared up my side and my arm grew limp. My shield lowered. Mary drew back her sword to run me through. Kevin put his hand on her arm, stopping her from attacking as my legs buckled. I glanced at my side. The cut was deep. The blood welled up. I groaned as the strength bled out of me, and I slid down the wall to the ground.
Kevin's sword pressed into my throat. "Just kill me," I panted. "Order your companions to surrender," Kevin answered, "and we'll spare them. We only are here for you, Angela. The order doesn't care about the reward. The others are not our concern.
They can walk away." I looked out at the battlefield. We were not winning. None of the knights were down. Not even Thrak was prevailing, and he was the most martial of us. Faoril's magic failed. Xandra's elementals crumbled before the holy magic warding Richard and Lisa. Sophia's eyes caught mine as she nursed Xera, healing the elf.
What would happen to my acolyte? The knights have to realize her healing magic will only prolong the fight. How long until she was cut down. Before Faoril was dead. And innocent Xandra. Chaun's song gave me courage to keep fighting, heartening me, keeping me from wanting to surrender. But it wouldn't be long before the knights cut him down, too.
My death for their lives. I led them into this mess. I made them fugitives. I could have said no to the plan to rob the Doge's Vault. Fire burst in Xandra's hand. Her earth elementals crumbled to stone as she flinched back, dropping something burning. The knights advanced. Chaun stopped singing and charged his camel forward, racing to defend his wife as she stumbled back in pain. I could end this and save everyone. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Xerathalasia I gulped down the milk.
It spread through me, healing me. Explosions burst around us. Faoril's magic ripped down the exterior walls of the buildings. The inhabitants fleeing. As strength returned to my body, I could see the priestesses exposed, forced to stay behind, hunkering down, their warding magic protecting them from Faoril's magic as it surged at them.
Gongs rang. Fire burned. I smelled smoke. I pushed Sophia away, her nipple popping out of my mouth. "I am fine." "Good," she said, glancing up the street.
Angela lay slumped, a sword pressed to her throat, blood pooling from her body. "We have to kill the priestesses," Sophia said, tears falling down her face. "It'll break the spell." "On it," Minx shouted and darted towards the chaos of Faoril's magic.
I stood and smiled at her bravery as she charged into the rubble. Metal clinked. The male knight who cut me down charged at Faoril. I drew my arrow, fired. His shield blocked it. I fired again and again, changing my aim, trying to get lucky.
Arrows pincushioned his shield. The sound drew Faoril's attention.
She turned, seeing the knight coming at her. The mage's eyes widened. Her red robes swirled as she threw her arms up in an reflexive gesture as the knight slashed at her. The ground shook beneath my feet.
The street cracked, split. A rift yawned between the pair, pulling them apart. The knight stumbled and fell to the ground, unable to keep his balance. I pivoted, the crack racing towards me. Sophia stumbled into me as I drew again. She clung to me, impeding my aim at the vulnerable knight. "Faoril, stop," the acolyte shouted as Faoril flailed her arms, also struggling to stay upright. The rumbling stopped. A crack ten feet wide yawned down the middle of the street. The mage swayed, sweat bursting off her forehead.
She pulled out a vial of cum, downing it as I turned, glancing at the buildings where Minx lunged at the nearest priestess, the woman backing away in fear. Maybe we did have a chance.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Minx I charged at the priestess as she stumbled back. I gripped my dagger in hand, my heart thudding. I had never killed anyone before. Not a person. I killed imps when we were in the volcano, and I killed the desert tribesmen. But they were wrapped up in black and howling warriors. She was a scared woman, staring at my dagger, trembling as I rushed at her. She yanked up her robes as she trembled on the ground, baring a pair of round breasts, her hands squeezing them as I leaped at her.
"They're nice," I told her as I landed between her feet, drawing back my dagger. "But I'm not a horny guy distracted by a nice pair of tits." "Holy Mother, awaken the feminine desires the lurk in the depths of all women," the priestess prayed and squeezed her breasts.
Milk squirted from her pink nipples. And not fine lines, but thick streams. It gushed from her nipple. I already was moving, throwing myself back as she began her spell. But it was too late, the milk splashed me, washing over my face. The milk was hot and so sweet. My mouth, opened as I shouted curing my charge, caught a mouthful of the creamy— "Cernere's nimble fingers," I gasped, dropping my dagger as my pussy exploded with frothy passion.
My skin tingled everywhere the milk touched me. It soaked through the cloth tied around my breasts, hardening my nipples. They burned, demanding to be played with. But not as much as my cunt needed to be touched. "You bitch," I gasped as my hands shoved into my tight britches, wiggling past, pressing into my groin. It was tight, but I had to touch my pussy. "Lust? You used lust?" I groaned, my fingers rubbing at the hot folds of my pussy. I couldn't be doing this right now.
It was different than being hit with damiana. That left my mind bursting with pleasure, too, uncaring about anything but satisfaction. Her spell just made my pussy itch so bad, aching for a cum, that I had to masturbate. I shoved two fingers into my hole while the digits of my other hand danced over my clit. I glared at the priestess as she scrambled away, fleeing from me.
I hissed my frustration and rubbed harder at my pussy. "Xera, that bitch hit me with a spell," I gasped, my pussy clenching on my fingers.
"Oh, damn, I'm sorry, Xera. I wasn't quick enough." "It's fine," the elf called. She fired an arrow at the priestess, but thanks to the woman's faith magic, she threw herself to the ground before the arrow even reached her, the missile hissing over her head. "Faoril, this is going badly." "Yes, it is," I howled as my pussy spasmed on my fingers. My back arched as a wave of pleasure washed over me. I couldn't fight. Not when I had both my hands shoved into my britches.
The orgasm was intense, the pleasure strumming through me. Maybe Sophia could help me. I groaned, staggering forward, juices soaking into the crotch of my britches as they flooded my pussy.
Moans escaped my lips. It was so hard to walk and cum at the same time, to feel the pleasure shuddering through me as I trudged step-by-step. But I pressed on, grunting through my clenched teeth. Damn that priestess. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Chaun Xandra dropped her earth totem. It burned on the ground, overload by the knights' warding spell. They advanced on her. Xandra stood frozen, staring at her blazing totem. I shouldn't have stopped singing, but panic seized me seeing her defenseless.
I charged my camel forward, racing past her and putting its bulk between her and the knights. The camel spat in the face of the male knight. He couldn't react in time, and flinched. The female knight with the youthful face swung her sword hard. I pulled my leg back. My foot caught in the stirrup.
Her blade bit deep into my leg, striking bone. "Las's foul cum," I cursed as blood boiled out of my cut hose. "Out of the way, bard," the woman hissed, enraged. She drew back her sword again. I threw myself off the other side, landing heavily at Xandra's feet.
The camel squealed in pain and charged away, blood dripping down its flank. The knights advanced again, blood staining both their swords. "Chaun," Xandra said, kneeling down and hugging me. "Don't stop using your elementals," I groaned. "Please." "They burned my earth one," she gasped. "And fire doesn't work. I can't do anything." Her soft-blue hair fell down her face as the knights were over us. "Water, wind?" "Wind." Her eyes widened and she raised her fire totem, her face trembling, bursting with fear.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Xandra I had to do something. All I could think about using air elementals for were.fleeing. The knights loomed over us. They were terrifying. I gripped the fire totem in hand. My earth destroyed, too much pain inflicted on the elementals had overwhelmed the channel. It had failed spectacularly. My hand throbbed, a pink welt forming across my palm. I raised my fire totem. What could I do with fire?
It was destructive, damaging. It consumed. It broke apart. That was fire's purpose. Decay was as important as growth, and fire was decay at its most extreme. I had to do something to buy me a moment to think.
To come up with another plan than fleeing. Chaun was hurt. I had to protect him. I couldn't let him die. And.I was useless. My elementals didn't work. I lost my earth totem. There was no choice. I had to save Chaun. Tears burned in my eyes as I screamed, "Detonate!" The fire elemental I summoned, hissing through the air, slammed down between me and the knights. They raised their shields as the fire crackled loudly.
I shoved my hand into my pouch, grasping my air totem. It had cooled, coming close to being overwhelmed earlier. The fire elemental roared and then exploded in a blast of heat and flame, channeled at the knights. As they cowered, I conjured two air elementals. They swirled around us, touching Chaun and me with their whirling arms. He grunted as we lifted into the air, borne aloft by the two beings. I didn't know what else to do.
I tried to be brave, but I was so scared for Chaun. His leg bled so badly. "What are you.doing?" he said, his midnight-black face twisted in pain. "Saving us." "What about he others?" I shook my head.
"I can't do anything for them. I'm not brave. I.I.think we lost, Chaun. They beat us." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Warlock Faoril The knights turned from Xandra and Chaun, facing me.
My heart clenched. I hadn't managed to kill a single priestess. They had warded themselves, too. Minx darted out of the ruin racing towards Sophia, moaning, her face covered in milk, her hands shoved into her britches. And then I groaned at what I spotted. Angela had a sword to her throat. "Yield," the lead knight shouted at us, his voice booming as he stared at us. At me. "And leave. We are only here for Angela." "No, never," Sophia shouted.
She rushed in to save Angela, dagger in hand. The female knight beside the leader pivoted, charging to meet Sophia. "No," Angela shouted. "No, no, I surrender!" I sent out my air magic and seized Sophia. I yanked her up into the air before she could get killed.
I glanced up at Xandra flying off, taking Chaun towards the harbor. Towards the Golden Hunger. She already fled, broken, panicked and desperate to save her wounded husband. I felt the same panic. It gnawed at my guts. This had all gone so wrong. We were not prepared at all. I turned, glancing at Thrak. He stood facing the knights.
Blood streaked my orc's body, small cuts, new scars for him to wear with pride. But he had not landed a single blow on his two opponents.
The priestesses prepared the trap too well. His swarthy chest heaved, lathered in sweat. Our eyes met. He nodded. The communication was instantaneous. So far, our group had weathered every attack, even the ones that caught us by surprise. But the priestesses of Slata were ready for us. Their Goddess must have been making sure all their divination spells fired perfectly.
The combined attacks, the neutralizing of my magic, their swift reflexes, overwhelming Minx with lust. We would die if we didn't flee. Thrak recognized it. We were defeated. And it was up to me to get us to safety. I downed another vial of cum, taking in a deep breath as the knight who had gone for Sophia now dashed for me, her blue eyes fixed and fierce. She was out for blood. She wanted us put down fast before this spilled out of control. I couldn't stop her? Everything I tried had failed.
How much damage to the city had I already caused? Buildings ruined, the street permanently fissured. So pointless. I summoned the wind. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Knight Kevin "You made the right decision," I said. "Your companions are already fleeing. They realized it, too. You've." The loud, howling wind caught my attention. I lifted my head, glancing at the mage. Mary bore down on her.
The wind swirled around the mage, sparking white wards around Mary and my other knights in the field. It was a mighty storm, and the winds howled straight at me. "What is she doing?" I asked. "I don't know," Angela groaned. "Faoril, I yielded. It's over." The wind reached us and exploded around Angela. Dust whipped into my face. The wards from the priestesses sparked around me, blinding me for a moment, but I understood, seeing what Priestess Esmerelda saw as she crouched in the ruins of a nearby building.
Faoril's magic yanked Angela into the air. The howling wind, the mighty tempest summoned by the mage had scooped up all of Angela's companions save for the two already fleeing.
I blinked back the grit, glancing up to see the howling vortex surging over my head, Angela and her companions held aloft in the center, borne with utmost care. "No," Esmerelda shouted from the building. "Stop her!" "How?" I asked, lowering my sword, sweat trickling down my brow. "They're fleeing to the harbor." The priestess swept out of the ruins of the building, her golden nose ring flashing in the setting sun.
"We have to pursue." "Our horses are dead or dying," I answered, sheathing my sword. "We have to attend to our mounts." "But. She can't escape. She has to be brought to justice." "She will." My heart ached. Angela had given up all her memories of me. It hurt worse than her hatred. It was apathy. How could I save her life if I couldn't connect to her on an emotional level.
"Have your priestesses heal our horses if they still live." "But—" I raised a gauntleted hand. "We know where they're heading. Grahata. They have to kill the Minotaur. That is what your Goddess said, yes?" She nodded. "Fine." Her tone softened. "Are you injured?" "You would have felt it." I touched her cheek. I felt my touch. She was a part of me thanks to the womb spell.
"But I feel.pain from you." She touched my breastplate over my heart. "It is nothing you can heal." I took a deep breath. "Let's attend to our wounded mounts and then find passage to Grahata. Will be waiting for them. The Labyrinth has only one entrance." I grit my teeth. "If they survive the Minotaur, we shall take them into custody and bring them to justice." How can I save Angela now?
I grit my hand, fighting back the despair crushing my heart. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Knight-Errant Angela I took a deep breath as Faoril's winds set us down on the deck of the Golden Hunger.
Blood still stained my side, but the sweet, creamy flavor of Sophia's healing milk lingered on my lips. She had nursed me as we flew. Xandra knelt nearby, her hands pressed on Chaun's bleeding leg. He was badly wounded. Sophia broke away, heading to aid him. Xandra had broken and abandoned us. I could hardly blame her. It was a disaster. "We do not have Thyrna's money," Thrak grunted as he stepped up beside me.
Faoril hadn't grabbed any of the saddlebags with the treasure we liberated from the Mirage Gardens. "She won't be happy." "Then you'll have to make her happy," I snapped, bitter gall choking my mouth. We lost. "She hardly matters when we have six Knights Deute and as many priestesses of Slata hunting us.
What do we do when they catch up to us? They have to know where we're bound." "We will overcome them," Thrak grunted.
"We know about them now. They had their chance, their element of surprise. And failed. We have the voyage to Grahata to plot our countermeasures, to come up with ideas to neutralize their faith magic and eliminate their powers." I nodded my head, grinding my teeth. Thrak's expression softened, looking only moderately savage, "He's the one you forgot?" "Yeah." I sighed. "He wanted to protect me. I could tell he loved me and I felt absolutely nothing for him.
He's a hole in my mind, like a tapestry with a burn in it obscuring one part. You can figure out what it shows by the rest of it, but you keep noticing the hole and you wonder what was there. Why did I give up my love for him?" "Because you are driven." He clapped his hand on my pauldron.
"That is why we shall prevail." I grunted again as Thyrna's purring voice called, "Thrak, we need to talk." What would happen in Grahata? We had to face the Minotaur. Kevin and the other knights would follow. They had to know our destination.
How could we possibly defeat six priestesses working ritual faith magic? But Thrak was right. I wouldn't give up. We would find a way to defeat them. The sailors scurried on the deck, putting us out into the Elba River. We had to figure it out before we reached Grahata. I would kill the Dragon Dominari.
After that, nothing mattered but protecting Sophia and my friends. To be continued.