Wendel hated highborne. He despised everything about them; their arrogance, gratuitous displays of wealth, their birthright entitlement attitudes, even their smell. He might have found a way to get used to that last, as it wasn’t a bad smell, rather nice actually, just overdone… like everything else in their world.
The King’s Hall was the worst. Decadence prime. Purposely designed to flaunt the lord’s wealth and self-importance. And sitting atop it all was his majesty himself, decked in gold embroidered red and purple, with a heavy crown no doubt worth more by itself even melted down than the entire village proper below.
And he waited. Wendel hated waiting even more than the highborne. Money, power… trivialities he could reaccumulate easily enough. But time – that was lost forever. Waiting was just flushing time down the gutter. The wizard was just considering whether screaming out at the top of his lungs would change things for the better or worse, when an underling signaled that he should come forward.
“Your Highness,” he said in greeting, eager to get to the matter at hand.
“Ah, Wendel, step closer if you will. I have a task for you.”
Intrigued, he moved up until he was within easy speaking distance. “A task, my liege?” Perhaps this wasn’t simply a social call after all.
“Yes, yes. I heard an interesting story the other day about an artifact. A rune stone known as The Charding.”
Wendel paled, sighing. Apparently the king noticed his reaction.
“You know of it then?”
He choose his words carefully. “I know of its legends. It is something leftover from the Olden, before the realms of humans walked the plains. It is said to have the power to fold space… To instantly move the bearer from one place to another.”
“Do you believe these legends?” asked the king.
He tilted his head to the side. “I… believe they have possible merit. The rune stones are known to my sect… What is your interest in this stone, my liege?”
“I want you to retrieve it for me.”
He just blinked.
“I beg your pardon, milord… I must have misheard you.”
“I said, I want you to bring it to me.”
This day was not turning out in a good way.
“Majesty, the rune stones are buried in locations protected by dark magic, in dungeons meant to dissuade even the most hearty of warriors, though many have tried. They are not meant to be in the hands of humankind. Even if I wanted to accept such a quest, it is not known which of these dungeons contains that particular stone.”
“I know where it is,” said the king.
“Eh… not to doubt you, milord, but… you do? How did you come across this information?”
“That’s not your concern, and this is not a request… It’s a command. You will retrieve the Charding stone and deliver it to me here under the requirements of your sect. You can take as many as a hundred troops if you wish, as well as whatever supplies you need, but you will do this for me.”
Wendel thought hard and fast. Refusing the king wasn’t an option, so he was right and truly fucked. He was bound by serious law to answer the king’s request or be hunted down by his own people. He could quit, but that would mean basically throwing away decades of his life’s work. No, he would do what the king asked of him, the only question was, how could he profit from this disaster?
“I see. May I know the location, as it will guide the resources I require?”
“Volscork. You will find the stone there.”
“Oh dear god…”
“More so,” continued the king, “since I don’t trust you not to simply take the stone for yourself, I am sending along a representative…”
The wizard snapped his head up. “Er, what now?”
“My niece shall accompany you.” He indicated someone who had just come into the room. Wendel turned and did a double take. The young woman approaching the throne was dressed in leathers and light armor. She carried a spear and wore a large shield on her back. She was also easily the most attractive warrior he had ever seen, with ginger hair and a face that looked playful, yet somehow menacing at the same time.
“Hello, Uncle,” she said in greeting. “Is this the wizard?”
“Indeed. Don’t let him out of your sight, Taya. I don’t think his heart is in this.”
Wendel was so entranced by the other’s appearance, that he momentarily lost his train of thought. When he picked it up again, he quickly turned back to the king.
“Your Majesty! You can’t send her to Volscork! That place… It’s not safe for…”
“Enough!” said the highborne loudly. “She goes.”
“One more word from you, wizard, and I’ll have your eyes plucked out. Begone!”
He remained silent, bowing in resignation, then leaving the room. Finally, when the doors to the King’s Hall had closed behind him, he let out a string of curses that literally caused the light in the anteroom to dim for several seconds. Then he noticed the young woman standing nearby. She had a slight grin.
“Most of the time I feel the same way about him,” she said.
“Sorry about that. I didn’t realize I wasn’t alone.”
“Forget it. Just because he’s my uncle and my king, doesn’t mean I have to like the guy. I do what he says in public. As do you…” She pinned him down with a look.
He sighed, resigned.
“So,” she said, straightening up, “ready to go pick out some troops?”
“Taya was it. My name is Wendel Alcott, Grandmaster Wizard of the Fourth Order, and Lightsbringer Exemplar… And we won’t be needing any troops.”
“Bucking my uncle already? He was serious about blinding you, you know?”
“I know he was. We won’t be needing troops because they would be useless. Worse than useless in Volscork. We will need some supplies though…” He started to walk back to the inner keep. “Tell me, Taya, do you know how to use that spear, or is it just to keep bothersome suitors away?”
“Oh, I know how to use it… Though I haven’t skewered a wizard in a few weeks.”
He glanced over at her, unable to read her features. “Apologies. I did not mean to imply…”
“I’ve fought in five full campaigns, Master Wendel, two of which left me seriously injured. To the best of my knowledge, I have personally killed one hundred and fifty-eight men, a dozen or so worgs, and one troll, earning me the command rank of lieutenant, as well as two commendations for bravery. So while my spear may indeed fend off possible suitors, it cuts just as easily through pesky magic-users.”
“I deserved that… Again, I ask your forgiveness, Lieutenant. I don’t usually make such pithy comments. This whole business with the rune stone and your uncle has me flustered.”
“Forgotten. Since we’re stuck with each other, I say we focus on preparations and leave the small talk for the road, yes?”
“Excellent idea. We’ll be needing horses acclimated to lower altitude…”
Four hours later, they were on the road headed into the lowlands. The air was warm, but humid, and a storm looked to be coming in from the East.
“So why no troops?” asked the redhead trotting beside him. “You mentioned they would be useless… Why?”
Frowning, he looked at her.
“You have read the stories of the Seven Demons, yes?”
“Of course, but I don’t see how…”
“About three hundred years ago, seven greater demons were given watch over the Rune Stones, charged with keeping them out of the hands of the humans that had slowly encroached upon the Vale. To this end, each demon made a dungeon – a catacomb deep beneath the earth, filled with traps and dark magic, and tailored to the specific tastes of each demon. B’rail, for example, was exceptionally fond of complex puzzles and riddles, and so his dungeon was a maze of such conundrums. Tokar was a warrior. His caves held some of the most fearsome creatures ever seen by man. And then, of course, there was Volscork…”
“What was his specialty?” she asked.
Again he glanced at the young woman, squinting.
“Is it possible? You honestly don’t know, do you?…”
“How can that be?! You said you had read the tales.”
“Sure. But just the children’s versions when I was young…”
Again, he let out a string of curses. “Damn your Uncle! He had no right to put you into a position like this unknowing, even if he were ignorant of the dangers, which I’m not entirely sure he was!”
“What are you talking about? What’s so special about Volscork?”
He sighed. “That demon specialized in corrupting the mind! Volscork used fear, seduction, temptation, lust – destroying those fools who entered into his domain with their own thoughts. And he had a particular fondness for human females, warriors just like yourself. He even created a bogus legend that his rune stone could only be accessed by a woman, just so that it would attract foolhardy feminine treasure seekers. Few ever returned from those caves, but those that did were almost always impregnated with all manner of vile offspring.”
The Lieutenant looked suddenly mortified. “Wait… impregnated?!”
“The small number who managed to flee before it was too late, told of living walls of flesh, and traps so devious that you didn’t even know you were caught until it was far too late. The demon’s creatures in that dungeon would capture and torment a female victim’s mind with ceaseless sexual ecstasy, eventually shattering their will and leaving them trapped for the rest of their days as little more than a breeder for more dark denizens.”
“From the moment we step foot in those tunnels, the dark magic there will be a constant pressure on us. I can protect myself, certainly, which is no doubt why your uncle asked me to go in the first place. I might even be able to extend that protection to you… but an entire army?! Impossible! Let me guess, you are the youngest officer in his command, aren’t you?”
She stared at him. “How did you…”
“He knows that you probably haven’t yet heard the details of those stories. He knew that I wouldn’t take an army to assault that dungeon. And he knew right from the start that he would be putting you especially in mortal peril. You mentioned back at the keep that you didn’t like your uncle. Is the feeling perhaps mutual?”
She was silent for an uncomfortable time.
“Just after my sixteenth birthday, my uncle tried to… get me into his bed. I rebuffed him, of course, but he persisted. Finally, after coming dangerously close to being raped, I joined the guard – if only to keep me out of his reach. He never forgave me that choice.”
“Looks like he’s getting his payback.”
“Damn… Fucking bastard. I thought I was past all that crap. So… can you, protect us I mean? Both of us.”
Wendel sighed. “I honestly don’t know. Probably. It will certainly weaken me. It’s an issue that will be additive. The longer we’re in those tunnels, the harder it will be for me to block the dark magic.”
“I guess we’ll just have to hurry then,” she said with a half grin.
That evening, they made camp near the edge of the King’s Forest. It was at least another half day’s ride to the entrance of Volscork’s dungeon, but Wendel suggested that it would be better if they stayed clear of the Vale.
“It’s a little like a living entity,” he explained as they sat by the fire, enjoying a meal. Neither wanted to speak more of the horrors they might face, but some things just required background. “It knows when an invader enters. The longer we are within the borders, the greater the chance that the Vale will discern our intent and try to stop us.”
“It can read our minds?” she asked, taking a bite of rabbit.
“Sort of. It feels lifeforce, especially in someone so young…”
She snorted. “Hey, I’m no child, Master Wizard.”
He tilted his head to the side. “Really. If I may ask, how many seasons are you? Twenty?”
“Ah. And now me. How old would you guess me to be?”
Taya took a moment and looked him up and down thoroughly, paying particular attention to his hands and face.
“Not yet forty, I’d say.”
He laughed aloud, and Taya frowned.
“What? Too high?”
Grinning, he leaned forward for emphasis. “Girl, by wizard standards I’m not yet middle aged, but I swear on my mother’s grave that I am one hundred and thirty-eight seasons.”
She was incredulous. “That can’t be… Is it by magic? Some illusion perhaps?”
“It is no illusion. I am as you see me. However, you are correct that my health and youthful appearance is maintained through magic. It restores me constantly, even heals me when necessary. It gives me strength and years that can stretch well into three centuries or even more.”
She seemed lost in thought. “Why… Why don’t others use such gifts?”
“Gifts? Oh no… The use of magic is no ‘gift,’ my dear. It is paid for daily, I assure you.”
“But… to be able to live to be three hundred!…”
He met and held her eyes. “It is not a gift. It is a curse, Taya.”
“How? How can such a thing be a curse?”
“Have you loved?”
She drew back. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, have you ever fallen in love?”
“That’s a bit of a personal question…”
“Yes,” she said finally. “Once, just after my seventeenth season day.”
Her brows furrowed in remembered pain. “He was killed in battle.”
Nodding, Wendel allowed her a moment. “I’m sorry. This is the dichotomy of love. It is the sweetest, most wonderful of feelings – but, it is as equally painful when it ends.”
“Yes,” she agreed, while looking into her lap.
“Imagine then, being old enough to experience that pain over and over again for centuries. My magic keeps me youthful… not so, those I love. It is a horrible thing to have to watch someone age while you stay young… seeing them succumb to disease or the basic cruelty of our world. And the same magic that gives me so many seasons, also keeps my mind sharp… my memory clear and crisp. I do not forget with time. That is why it is a curse.”
“I understand,” she said, nodding. “It must be a difficult life, to be a wizard I mean.”
“Quite. Though more frustrating than difficult usually. We are busy folk. Despite living so long, we are almost always short on time. There is ever more to do and learn. Love and relationships tend to be very… distracting. Most wizards try to avoid them, actually.”
“But… you still have needs. Surely, you’re not celibate?”
He guffawed aloud. “Hardly. Yes, we have needs like any other human. We just find it more productive to deal with such requirements in a more… efficient way.”
“I don’t…” she started, confused.
“Usually a nice brothel, my dear.”
Morning brought with it a heavy fog that persisted through dawn. The Lieutenant noticed as the wizard stood facing west toward the Vale, that he seemed preoccupied.
“Perhaps. I’m trying to decide if the mists work for or against us.”
She looked east as well. “Won’t they hide our entrance into the Vale?”
“Certainly. But they will hide possible enemies as well.”
“But if they don’t know we’re here…”
He stopped her. “You make an assumption, Lieutenant. That can be fatal in the lands we are about to enter. There are forces beyond that do not require eyes in order to detect us, as well as foes that see a fair bit better in such weather than we do.”
“It’s also unlikely that this is just a natural phenomena.”
She was surprised. “Really? But who? Is it dark magic?”
“Most likely. As for who, well, that is a good question. I suppose we shall find out soon enough.” He clicked his horse forward, and a moment later she followed.
As they passed the border into the dark lands, Wendel was glad to have a companion that seemed to understand the advantages of quiet. The woman did not speak again until they stopped about an hour later and dismounted, and then it was only after he did.
“We’ll water the horses here while I get my bearings.”
“I’m amazed you have any idea at all where we are. I can’t see more than a dozen paces in any direction.” She turned in a circle.
“A simple compass spell, protected against any mayhem that the Vale might throw at it,” he replied, smiling. “So, can you feel it yet? The presence of the Vale…”
She frowned. “There is something. It’s almost like we’re being watched.”
“Yes. And we are. The deeper we go, the stronger that feeling will grow. Pay it mind, but do not let it bother you. Keep your focus out here.” He pointed to the green grass around them. “We have little advantage in these lands. Uh, you might want to move away from those mushrooms…”
“Huh? She looked down and saw she was standing near a small patch of cream colored caps, a few inches tall. While she tried to understand how such a fungus could be a threat, she noticed that there were a number of thin, green tendrils reaching out of the ground. Her mouth fell open as they slowly started to curl around her boots. She went to jump back, and instead fell over backwards. As soon as she hit the ground, other tendrils reached up where her hands landed, twining through her fingers and working up her arms.
“Ah! I… I can’t get loose!”
There was abruptly an arm under hers, helping to lift her. The tendrils seemed to give up and retreated back into the ground as she moved clear of the fungus.
“Catcher Morels,” said Wendel in explanation. “Very tasty if you can keep from being caught.”
Staring at the now peaceful-looking mound, she tried to quiet her pounding heart. “What… would they have done to me?”
“Oh, probably nothing… other than binding you up like a Falls Day hen. They’re not entirely sinister. They’d just hold onto you until you died of dehydration or starved. Then you would decompose as a nice fertilizer for their colony.”
“You don’t call that sinister?!”
He laughed softly. “Oh no. Not at all. As strange as it seems to you and I, those mushrooms were merely taking advantage of a passing organic to survive. No… ‘sinister’ would be if they had stripped you out of your clothes and pleasured you to death.”
She blinked, incredulous. Turning back to stare at the mushrooms, Taya swallowed.
“And know this, Lieutenant… There are most definitely things here that will do that to you, especially where we are heading.”
“I’m really starting to hate the Vale,” she commented, returning to her horse.
“I’m sure the feelings are mutual,” he agreed.
Over the next hour and a half, Wendel kept them on a straight course. The fog turned from a still, heavy mist, into thick but sporadic clouds along the ground. A mild breeze blew the forms past them, sometimes parting to expose an incredible landscape of green grass and rocks that seemed endless. There were a few trees, but the wizard purposely avoided them, giving a wide berth. Finally, the man stopped and pointed down the far side of the hill they had just peaked.
“There! See it?!”
Taya squinted into the fluffy whiteness, but could see nothing.
“Wait for it… there!”
For just a moment, there was a break in the clouds. For a second or two, she saw something that looked like a pair of tall stones. Whatever it was, it wasn’t natural.
“Volscork?” she asked.
“Yes. We should turn our horses loose here, before the dungeon starts affecting them. They’ll find their way back out of the Vale… maybe.”
Taya turned to the wizard. “Turn them loose!? What are you talking about?”
He dismounted and started unpacking his animal. “We can’t leave them anywhere near the entrance… They’d go insane.”
“How are we supposed to get home?!” she asked a bit loudly, but followed his lead in jumping down.
“We can worry about that if we come back.”
“You mean WHEN we come back, right?… Right?!… Shit.”
They had just gathered the last of their gear and sent the horses on their way, when Taya picked up the sound of someone screaming.
“I hear it,” Wendel answered tersely. “Where’s it coming from?”
They both turned, trying to locate the source of the shrill cries, but the hills and cloud around them made it nearly impossible. Finally, Taya pointed.
“There! Coming over that rise!”
The wizard turned to see two small figures running down the slope of a nearby hill. Whoever they were, they were headed right for the entrance to the dungeon.
“Come on,” ordered Wendel, grabbing his pack and jogging toward the entrance. Taya hesitated only a moment before doing the same.
The passage into the Volscork catacombs was little more than a dark tunnel flanked by a pair of huge rectangular stones. They looked like they might have once been covered in carved glyphs, but the markings were much too worn to make out now. They reached the portal only a minute before the figures, who they could now see were short females.
“Children? Here?” commented Taya.
“Those aren’t younglings, they’re elves. But why are they…”
“Get inside!!” yelled one of the two females, pointing to the entrance.
Taya was about to say something else, when an arrow planted itself into the ground about two inches from her left foot.
“Orcs!” called Wendel staring at the top of the ridge. About two dozen of the large brutish humanoids were just starting down the slope. “Do as she says… GO!” The wizard reached into his pocket and snapped the small twig he found there. A blue light flashed around him for a moment. He saw Taya swing her shield around to the side while she too ran for the shelter. Arrows were zinging by all around them now, a number pinging against the invisible field of magic that he had put around himself, falling harmlessly to the ground.
“Keep going!” he commanded, before turning to face the hill. Somehow, the pair of elves had managed to avoid the rain of deadly shafts, but he knew their luck wouldn’t last long enough to reach the dungeon. He would need to intervene if they had any chance of survival. He carefully mumbled a few choice words as he raised his staff and then tilted it down toward the horde of orcs. With a final “hup”, a bright stroke of lightning completed the connection between the top of his staff and the ground in front of the orcs. A ball of light formed, and then blossomed into a mini sun for a fraction of a second. Wendel knew to close his eyes and the elves were facing the other way. Not so, the orcs, who caught the flash face on. Most were blinded, and those that weren’t were at least stunned enough that the dashing females now had enough time to reach the refuge of the tunnel. He followed them in, and with a tap of his staff, the top lit up in a dull glow bright enough to illuminate the passage forward.
“There should be an anteroom just inside to the right,” he said, encouraging the group forward.
“Shouldn’t we take battle positions?” asked the Lieutenant.
One of two elves snorted. “That’s awfully brave of you, but you need not worry, they won’t follow us in here. Orcs are dumb, but they’re not that dumb.
“I’m not certain I should be comforted by that fact…”
“Turn there,” said Wendel behind them.
The anteroom had stone benches running the length of two walls, and a quietly bubbling fountain in the very center.
“The benches are okay. Don’t touch the water,” he added.
Setting down her gear, (but not her spear) Taya took a good look at their new companions. To her surprise, the pair looked nearly identical, save for the fact that one had on a red scarf, and the other a green one. ‘Green scarf’ flopped to the ground on her back, exhausted, and the other dropped onto a bench. She had never seen elves before, but had heard enough about them. About 140 centimeters in height, they were considerably shorter than an average human, and of course, like most humanoid creatures from the Vale, their ears were pointed. They wore simple leather skirts that ended just above the knee, boots, and shirts of unremarkable quality. They did not appear armed, though she knew better than to trust that observation. After a moment’s thought, she reached over and snagged one of the water pouches off her pack and handed it to the seated elf.
The other’s eyes widened for a second, but she then took the offering, nodding thanks. She drank deeply before handing the skin to her friend. Refreshed, she turned to Wendel.
“You’re a wizard…” she acknowledged. “And lucky for us. If you hadn’t zapped those orcs as you did, I dare say we’d be supper. Many thanks.”
He nodded. “I’m not entirely sure I did you a favor. Unless I miss my guess, those were Hulik tribe orcs, yes?”
“You know your Vale folk, human. Indeed they were.”
“Hulik tribe?” asked Taya. “Why is that important?”
The elf on the floor spoke up. “They won’t leave. They won’t follow us in, but they aren’t about to give up and go away either. So long as they can still smell us in here, they’ll wait.”
Taya glanced over at Wendel. The elf on the bench caught it.
“Oh… You’re not planning on going back out any time soon, are you. You’re going in… after the rune stone. Am I right? I bet I’m right.”
“You are,” confirmed the wizard.
She shook her head. “Damn fool, humans. You know what awaits you in there…” She thumbed the passage out of the anteroom. “Especially for her,” she then indicated Taya.
“We weren’t given a choice. Royal edict.”
“Ouch. Okay, that sucks. Just out of curiousity, did you have a plan for getting back out once you had the rune stone? Maybe something we could both use?”
Wendel raised his brows, thinking. He wasn’t sure he should trust the elves, but he detected no malice or untruth in them, so he decided to take a risk.
“Perhaps. It relates to information I have on which specific stone resides in this dungeon… I have it on authority that the rune is Charding.”
The elf on the floor sat up. “The traveling stone?”
‘Red-scarf’ picked it up. “So… you don’t really need an escape plan. You just need to get to the rune stone. Then you can use its power to take you anywhere you want to go. Not bad, human. Of course, that means you have to actually get to the stone, which is no doubt at the far end of this dungeon.”
“To make matters even more interesting,” he continued, “I’m very much assuming that we can even get it to work. While I know a fair amount of the stone’s history and ritual, there could be all sorts of restrictions and requirements I am unaware of.”
“Like what?” asked Taya, feeling genuinely discouraged for the first time since they set out.
“Well, suppose it only works on a full moon? Or anyplace except this dungeon? It could require a blood sacrifice to operate, or a complex collection of specific elements in a specific quantity. Or…”
“Okay, okay,” interrupted the elf on the floor. “We get the idea. It’s a huge risk.”
“There’s one restriction that is highly likely, given that the same kind of restriction is mentioned in some of the other seven stones, and that’s how often it can be used. Only once in a lunar period.”
“Why is that important?” asked Taya.
Wendel turned to face her directly. “Because my original plan, Lieutenant, was to leave you here in this anteroom and make my way through the dungeon alone. Once I had the stone, I could use it to travel back to this room and we would be on our way. Those not-so-friendly Hulik outside have scrapped that idea since it would leave us right where we are now… trapped.”
“You would have left me here?”
The wizard rolled his eyes. “To protect you from what resides in these halls, yes! I’m bound to your uncle, the king. I must obey his command, or find a new sect. I knew what I was getting into here. Not so, you. I would never risk you to the decrepitude that awaits in this place if it were within my ability to prevent it, especially since it’s likely your uncle is merely satisfying his own cruel vendetta!”
“That’s all very touching, human,” said the elf on the bench, “but what you’re really saying is that anyone who wants to have any chance at all of getting out of this place…”
“…Needs to go with me through the dungeon,” he finished.
Wendel looked to each of the females in turn.
“Be sure you understand the stakes. The orcs are here to stay. You’re not going to outlast them, as they can send out hunting parties for food. Stay here, and you’ll likely starve to death waiting them out. If I get through the labyrinth, I’ll have forces sent out to rescue you the second I return to my keep, which would be a minimum of five days. If I fail to reach the stone, which is possible, even likely, then you die.
“And if you go with me, you take on all the same risks I’ll face, plus more. As females, you could face a whole level of unimaginable evils that are probably worse than death. I won’t sugar-coat it… If the dungeon gets you, it almost certainly won’t kill you, at least at the lower levels. It will keep you alive while it rapes your helpless body night and day until every last bit of your will to resist it has been obliterated. You’ll spend the rest of your days as a birthing host for more demonic monstrosities.”
The group was silent for a few long moments.
“Well, human,” said the elf with the red scarf, “not to lessen the seriousness of your speech, but there’ll be no quick death at the hands of the orcs either. They’re absolutely not above raping their victims before eating them living. Personally, this is an easy choice for me. Stay here and risk slow starvation, if the dungeon doesn’t drive me insane just by being here, or walk out and face certain horror and then death, or, risk an even worse end for the chance at freedom. I don’t know about you, but at least if I face the dungeon, I have a hand in my own fate. I’ll take that option any day.
“I’m with her,” said the elf on the floor.
Wendel turned to the last female.
“Taya? You can still choose to stay here. You don’t have to face this nightmare.”
She looked up at him. “I just can’t get over the fact that you were going to leave me out of the battle.”
“Taya… It’s not your bravery, or your skill that was ever in doubt. I just couldn’t bring myself to risk that a creature of such beauty and grace might be so defiled. I couldn’t bear to lose you to a place like this. I couldn’t live with that choice.”
“Then it’s a good thing that the choice isn’t yours to make. I’m going.”
A half hour later, the band of four was carefully heading out of the anteroom and into the dungeon proper. One advantage of having four instead of just two, was that the supplies could be distributed so that they wouldn’t burden anyone excessively. It was agreed that Wendel would lead, followed by the elves, and finally Taya. The wizard enchanted the Lieutenant’s shield so that it glowed like a torch. Together with his staff, they had plenty of light to see where they were going.
“We shouldn’t encounter any of the more dangerous inhabitants until we’re further in,” he explained, “but the more subtle effects of dark magic are already pressing down on us. It will get harder for me to block those effects the longer we are here.”
“Is that why my nipples are itchy?” asked the elf with the red scarf. “I’m Lawen by the way, and this is my sister Peleial.”
“Nice to meet you both… and yes, most likely. I can’t completely block the negative effects, and I’m afraid they’ll be additive to you as well.”
“So… what you’re saying is that we’re all going to get more and more horny for as long as we’re in here?” asked Peleial.
Wendel cleared his throat. It did not escape his attention that he was now traveling with three beautiful women.
“Basically, yes.” He noticed the elf eyeing him. “… And it would be a very good idea not to give in to any temptation that might suggest, since it could increase the hold the dark magic has on us considerably.”
“Party pooper,” she mentioned, smiling.
The outermost passages of the dungeon did not offer heavy resistance, nor did Wendel expect there to be any. There were simple traps, and minor spells, mostly there to weed out the casual adventurer or petty thief. He remembered an old axiom from his brief time as a bartender: You don’t waste the good stuff on drunks and riff raff. The more expensive constructions would be deeper down, waiting patiently for the serious challengers.
And so it was with some surprise that they arrived at an unusual anomaly so soon. About nine meters in diameter, the circular room was empty and featureless save for a meter wide circle etched in the floor, and a small drain. His eyes traveled to the ceiling, where there were a number of small holes, evenly spaced above the circle.
“Some kind of shower?” asked Lawen behind him.
“Maybe. It wasn’t uncommon for dark acolytes to bathe before entering the more holy spaces. Still, I can sense some powerful magic here. We should proceed with caution. Stay absolutely clear of the center circle.”
He indicated how they should stay against the wall, and all seemed to be going well until Peleial cut the arc just a bit.
“Whoop… hey?!” Suddenly, the elf was sliding toward the center of the room. Lawen reached out and snagged her arm, but was pulled a step toward the center, then she too was sliding. Wendel, and finally Taya grasped at their companions, but it was too late. All four were pulled as though sliding down a slope toward the center of the room.
“Not good… NOT good!” commented the elf with the green scarf. She was first to reach the center, where she simply stopped. A second later, her sister ran into her, followed by Taya, and finally the wizard himself.
“Ooof!” he exclaimed as he rather roughly careened into the three other member of his party. With some amount of frustration, they were all pressed together now, inside the circle on the floor.
“Well, that didn’t quite go as planned,” said the Lieutenant, trying to move so that Lawen’s face wasn’t pressing right into her breasts. “Wendel?”
He sighed. “It would seem that the pull of the ground is shifted here so that we are all pretty much laying on each other. Effectively, we are at the bottom of a cone shaped well, where ‘down’ is toward the middle of the room.”
“I didn’t see any ‘cone’ in the floor.” Peleial was squeezed between the wizard and her sister. She was facing Wendel, who looked down at her and frowned at her wiggling.
“It is purely a magical effect, not a physical one. There is nothing to see. The question is, what do we do to get out of this predicament before it gets worse…”
The circle within the floor abruptly dropped a half inch or so, and there was a click somewhere above them.
“It’s worse,” sighed Taya.
“Eww! Something just dripped on my head!” Peleial managed to get her arm up, and was wiping at a semi-clear blob of goo. A second later there was another drop, this time on Taya, then another, and another.
“Is it acid?!” asked the warrior, suddenly very frightened.
Wendel examined the thin stream that had started directly over Peleial, taking a bit of the slippery gel between his fingers.
“No, it’s not caustic…”
The elf breathed a little easier, as did they all, though only for a moment as the drips turned to multiple streams that fell on every one of them.
“Aw man, this stuff is getting everywhere,” commented Lawen.
“If it’s not to dissolve us, then what’s the point?” Taya frowned as one of the streams fell directly into her cleavage and down the front of her torso.
“Yo… Wendel, you picked a really bad time to get aroused, magic man.” Peleial was staring down.
And he suddenly realized what was happening.
“Shit…” he said. “We’re in trouble.”
“Really?!” exclaimed Taya.
“You don’t understand. This isn’t supposed to kill us, at least not right away… It’s a toxin.”
Lawen groaned. “A poison? Aw fuck…”
“I think you may be half right,” he replied. “Remember what I said about not giving-in to temptations of a more sexual nature?…”
“Are you saying this stuff is an aphrodisiac?!” Taya sounded completely disgusted.
“Possibly, but more likely an infusion of the same dark magic that permeates the rest of the dungeon, only in a concentrated form. I can block most of the effects from the non-corporeal essence, but not something that is absorbed directly through the skin. I wasn’t even aware that it had affected me. Sorry.”
“It’s not the first human cock I’ve had sticking in my ribs, boss, but shouldn’t we be leaving before we start boning each other?”
Lawen made a little gasp. “Ohh… so that’s what you meant. I suppose this slime is pretty erotic.” She giggled and then rubbed her breasts against Taya’s belly.
“Ah! Stop that!” exclaimed the human woman, her face clouding over with red.
“Looks like Wendel’s not the only one getting a little stiff…”
At the elf’s words, Taya looked down and saw that the shorter female’s nipples were quite present under the cotton shirt she wore. The goo had also turned the fabric considerably less opaque. To her surprise, Taya could also feel her own nipples aching under her hard leather breastplate strapped over her cotton shift.
“Yes, we need to get away from the streams and out the other side of the room, and quickly.”
“And how do you suggest we do that, stud,” asked Peleial. “Especially when we can hardly do more than squirm against each other.” To Wendel’s continued frustration, the woman demonstrated by undulating her body, an action that caused both the wizard, and the elf’s sister to gasp in surprise.
“Ugh. I… I think we can climb out. I’m going to try to lay down on my back, with my feet in the circle. Then the rest of you can climb up my body like you are climbing a ladder.”
A stream of the goo dripped down Taya’s face and briefly into her mouth. The viscous slime tasted a little like honey, but she spit out of reflex and shook her head.
“Whatever you’re going to do, do it now! I’m starting to feel a little dizzy.”
“Okay, here we go…”
Slowly, Wendel started to crouch, which wouldn’t have been so difficult if he weren’t literally pressed up against Peleial’s body. As his face and hers passed, he noticed that her mouth was open, and her breath was coming in shorter gasps.
“Uh, let me just apologise in advance…”
She just started down at him, the lust in her obviously growing as he was forced to slide past her belly, and then her hips. He was using her bare legs as a brace to steady himself as he ‘leaned back’, when he noticed that she had started to part her thighs. In a panic, he pushed them closed with his hands and heard her gasp.
“Stay in control, Peleial,” he said, briefly looking up at her. “Fight it.”
He saw her blink several times, and then shake her head. She finally looked away, blushing heavily.
“Lieutenant, if this is going to work, I think the strongest person should go first to help ‘lift’ the others out of the well, so to say. I’m man enough to know that’s probably you.”
Taya was lost in the warm, tingly feeling that was slowly spreading out from her middle, and missed the man’s words.
“What? I’m sorry…” And then she laughed. She hadn’t meant to, it just burst out as a single snort. “I feel… I feel weird.”
“It’s the slime. It’s starting to take hold. I need you to go first. Climb up my body and help the others.”
“Okay,” she said, the warmth making her feel almost hot now. “I think I’m drunk.”
He sighed. “Yes. I know. Focus, Lieutenant. Shift around Peleial, go now.”
Wendel watched the group stumble and shift until Taya was nearest him. He silently prayed that they didn’t fall over, as he seriously doubted they would be able to right themselves again. He could also see that they were being continually covered in more and more of the slime. The runnels of the semi-clear toxin were steady and strong now, coating each of the girls in a heavy layer of the slippery substance. ‘Climbing’ up his body wasn’t going to be easy. Taya dropped down as he had, only facing outward toward the room’s exit. She then lowered herself onto his legs and straightened up, forcing her body up his until she was basically face to face with him. Abruptly, he found himself staring into her soft green eyes.
“Hello, Wendel,” she grinned.
“How come you always call me that?”
“‘Lieutenant’. You always call me, ‘lieutenant’ and not Taya. You call Lawen and P… P… Peleial by their names.” She was pouting.
“I… okay, I’ll try to call you Taya more often. You should keep going.”
Suddenly she leaned forward and kissed him. It was probably meant to be a simple peck, but her body shifted and her mouth was pressed against his firmly. He gasped, and her tongue lapped against his even as she let out a deep moan.
Everything in his being wanted to continue that kiss, which was pure heaven, but he knew if he didn’t break it, it would be the last he ever had. Not a bad way to die actually, but… there was so very much to do.
He pushed her body away with his hands. “Taya! Focus. You have to climb!”
“Huh? Oh… right. Okay…” She was in a daze as she continued the ascent up his body, but it seemed to be working. He could use his hands to help her, until she was finally over the edge and in the other hall.
“Okay… Lawen, you’re next.” He looked down and saw the two sisters just standing there. They were facing one another, slowly stroking each other as a shower of slime flowed down over them.
The elf jerked and turned to him, momentarily gaining focus.
“You’re next! Climb!”
Just as with Taya, the shorter female dropped and stretched out on top of him, quietly climbing his body. He could hear her panting, as she tried to ignore the feel of his warm body under her, as well as his very present manhood. She had reached his face, and was slowly leaning in, probably to give him a kiss just as the lieutenant had.
“Taya! Grab her!” He hooked his hands under her arms and lifted. Her crotch just cleared his face (something he thanked the stars for), but he suddenly found that she slipped back down until her buttocks were wedged against the top of his head. This wouldn’t have been a problem, except that the elf’s leather skirt fell over his face, blocking his vision.
“I’m having trouble getting a firm hold on her arms…” He heard Taya say somewhere out of view. “Just hold on!”
“It not like I can go anywhere,” he quipped, which was true. Even his arms were now pinned down by the elf’s legs. He waited patiently, trying very hard to ignore the girl’s slick thighs to either side of his face, or the way she had started to slowly rock her hips, grinding her apex against the top of his head.
“Uh… Taya? You there?”
There was no response, at least from the warrior. Lawen, on the other hand, had only increased her rhythmic motions, which he could tell were getting faster and more intense by the second. It almost seemed like she was undulating her body in a way that would take her down, not up, er, out… and to safety. With an “oh” of realization, he understood that was exactly her intent. Were it not for his quickly tiring hands holding her up, the elf girl would undulate herself right over his face. What she expected him to do when that happened, he wasn’t going to guess, but it was hard enough to pull away from Taya’s simple kiss, let alone the happy cries of an elven beauty as she trembled into orgasm at the touch of his tongue to her clit… Now why would he think that? Oh yeah, the slime.
It seemed that Lawen didn’t need help from his tongue after all, and he felt her orgasm rumble down through her body from her pelvis out. His ears were partially covered by the her trembling thighs, but even still, he could hear her gasping and crying out with pleasure. From the way her crotch spasmed and twitched, he was pretty certain that Lawen had at least two more quick moments of bliss before finally passing out from the ecstasy. At least she wasn’t struggling anymore.
Wendel’s relief was short lived though, as he felt a pair of hands settle onto his knees.
The hands were climbing up his legs.
“Hey, I need you to wait a minute for Taya to pull up your sister, okay? Paleial? Oh shit…”
Having reached his waist, the second elf girl pushed open his robes and went right for his belt. This was not good. With his arms pinned by Lawen, he couldn’t even reach down to stop the second elf as she hungrily worked the clasp. It was only the coating of slime that slowed her down.
“Hey… look, why don’t we get out of this trap, and then we can talk about how to deal with your arousal, okay? Peleial? Crap…”
The clasp open, the elf followed the actions of her sister and stretched herself over his body. He could feel what had to be liters of slime slowly oozing off of her body. She’d been standing under the full barrage of the toxic shower the longest, and so would have been exposed to far more of the devious toxins than the rest of their band of four. As her very warm body molded against his, he could feel her literally shaking with lust. Her hands snaked into his robes, pulling up his shirt, and caressing him in a way that left no doubt as to her intentions. He still couldn’t see her, awkwardly stuck as he was under the skirt of her sister, but he could hear her hard breathing and nearly constant mewing as she struggled to contain her blossoming sexual tension.
There were a few brief moments where her hands disappeared, and she seemed to pull her torso away from him. But then she was lowering herself back down, nearly hissing with pleasure as she did so. It was quickly obvious why she was reacting with so much more passion… she had pulled off her own top. Her bare breasts pressed against the flat of his chest, her nipples hard cones of heat in which he swore he could feel her very rapid pulse.
“Taya!” He called out in desperation, but there was still no response, at least from the Lieutenant. Peleial on the other hand, reached up and lifted away the skirt, pushing it up so that he got a clear look at the elvish female straddling him.
Peleial’s eyes had a drunken intensity, and her mouth hung open in breathy lust. She licked her lips, greedily swallowing the sweet nectar that completely covered her body from head to toe. The elf girl had risen up so that her bare upper body was clearly presented to him. Dazzled, he found he couldn’t look away from her pert breasts, their smooth, perfect cones hanging there glistening and slick, just begging to be touched and caressed. With his arms pinned he could do neither of course, but even as he laid there, glad for that fact, he found he couldn’t stop imagining what it would be like to lick them… to take her nipples into his mouth and suckle them until they swelled with her lust.
“Taya…Lieutenant!!” He called out again, louder.
Peleial turned her gaze to his lap, unbuttoning the fly of his pants, her eyes heavy and half-lidded with drugged arousal. Those same eyes slightly widened when she reached in and lifted him free of the garment. Wendle groaned and twitched as she slowly stroked his member, seemingly mesmerized by the feel of it slipping easily through her slick, coated fingers. She curled her digits around him, and licked her lips again. Then, in what he recognized as an almost unconscious decision, she urged her body higher on his, trying to get her hips up closer to his own. This proved difficult, and she slipped back down several times in frustration before she found she could plant the toes of her boots against the rougher stone of the floor like pitons, and then slowly inch her way higher by shifting from side to side. In this manner, the elf girl gradually positioned herself so that his shaft was directly in front of her sex. She was whimpering with need as her legs clutched at him, and her skirt had slipped up her thighs so that he had a clear view of her crotch, which, to his very great surprise, was completely bare. At some point while she was alone under the shower of slime, she must have removed her undergarments. It didn’t really matter except that there was nothing at all preventing her from bringing his member within her now, an action that he was fairly certain would be his undoing. There was no way he’d be able to resist her if she started fucking him, not that he could currently do anything to stop her. He was physically helpless, but transfixed. Already he couldn’t seem to tear his eyes from the glistening petals of her flower. He could see them swelling and opening as she pushed her warmth up against him.
“Ughnnn….” she moaned in dizzy pleasure. The wizard gritted his teeth and fought to push back the maddening arousal he himself experienced. Her lips felt hot against his shaft, and seemed to flow with both the erotic ooze, as well as what must have been her own very plentiful honey. She shifted her hips, sliding along his length, then back down, only to repeat the motion again and again. Her eyes took on an almost feral appearance, and her upper torso shook in rapidly rising passion. Groaning against the erotic onslaught, he could do nothing as the elf finally rose just a little bit higher and captured the tip of his member in her sheath. They both tensed and stopped breathing until his swollen glans popped within her, the tight tunnel of her elven sex having to stretch significantly to accept his larger human phallus.
Wendel found he could barely concentrate, even as Peleial finally exhaled and began to let her own weight gradually draw her body down over him. Her breathing was little more than a series of quick gasps, and he felt her thighs tensing and shifting to guide his mind numbing penetration. She was so small, her weight almost wasn’t enough – but she twisted and twitched and angled herself so that after what seemed an eternity, she was once again seated flush to his hips, the full length of his manhood buried in her quivering furnace.
Unlike any human lover he had taken, his member seemed to fill the elf’s sex completely, not just in girth, but in depth as well. His tip had to be hitting her cervix, and even now, Peleial found it hard to move herself atop him. It was only the coating of slippery goo that allowed her to gently slide him out an inch or so, and then ease his stiff member back to her depths. And the dark magic had done its work – she was now completely lost to the pleasure, her body obviously no longer under her will to control. Her hips rocked atop him in a deadly cadence that she too, was now powerless to stop, and he was physically unable to resist. Once the dark magic had possessed them enough, he wasn’t at all sure he could bring them back.
Her inner muscles were trembling as she neared her moment, when Wendel suddenly found his arms free. A fleeting clarity fell over him as he reached forward to pull the elf from his member, but as his hands settled on her hips, he could find no way to grip her. His fingers merely slipped away from her coated skin, and she continued her mindless fucking without pause. Desperate, he could sense his scrotum tightening as he too neared orgasm, and in one final act of rebellion, he called out.
Gripping the elf’s leather skirts, the wizard used the rush of adrenaline from his own orgasm to give him the strength to lift the female right off his member and over his head. He knew that she had come as well, both from her exuberant cry, as well as the pulsing grip of her sheath as he snapped from her depths.
He had no idea of his condition until some indeterminate time later, and was pulled sharply from a whole series of erotc dreams by a cold splash of water across his face.
“Wendel!” repeated Taya for the fourth time. “Wake up!”
She was readying to douse him with yet more water when he stopped her. “I’m awake! I’m awake!”
“About damn time. I need you. I can’t get either of the elf girls to snap out of it. Peleial looks like she may be in real trouble.”
He sat up and realized that he was seated in the hall exiting the round room. Deciding that explanations could wait, he checked himself. Astoundingly, he still had an erection, but at least he was covered. He made a mental note to thank the warrior for that dignity.
Turning to the elf in question, he could immediately see why Taya was worried. Peleial still seemed to be orgasming. Her whole body was arched and tense, her eyes wide as she trembled and gasped for air.
“My bag… please tell me we still have the gear?”
“Most of it. Here.” She handed him his shoulder bag. The wizard quickly rifled through its contents until he found the small bottle he was looking for. Opening it, he carefully smeared some of the contents onto his hands and then started chanting. As he did so, his palms began to glow. Still chanting, he stood and walked to the center of their group, and with a final verse, he loudly clapped his hands together.
There was a pop, and a brief flash, as well as a sudden sulfur smell in the air. Immediately, Peleial collapsed and was still. Taya was blinking, and Lawen groaned and sat up.
“Oh, hells and bells,” she said, rubbing her temples. “You used a clearing charm, didn’t you?”
“I did. Sorry. It was necessary.”
“Fuck. I hate those things. Removes all the wonderful effects of being drunk, but totally leaves in the hangover.”
“A ‘clearing charm’?” quired Taya.
“Cheap Vale magic, my dear. Found at any common supply shop worth it’s salt.” He was examining the unconscious elf. As an afterthought, he reached back over to his bag and extracted one of his own shirts, draping the garment across her bare chest.
“How is she?” asked the Lieutenant.
“I’m not sure. The stimulating effects of the slime have been counteracted, but her mind is still having to deal with so much pleasure. How long was she, er…”
“About ten minutes. Just out of curiosity, why didn’t the same thing happen to you, or Lawen for that matter?”
“Peleial!” shouted the other elf after seeing her sister. “What happened?!”
“She came,” replied Taya dryly.
“Is she going to be okay?”
Wendel sighed. “As I said, I don’t know. Probably, but it could take a bit. We don’t seem to be in any immediate danger, so we’ll wait here if need be. To answer your question, Liueten… Taya, Peleial was caught in the full stream of the slime, while the rest of us were only being covered for a short time. She was literally bathed in the stuff. I also think she may have ingested some. She was licking her lips in earnest while she was, uh…”
Lawen looked at the tall woman, and then at Wendel, her brows rising.
“My arms were pinned under your unconscious body, when your sister decided to start climbing out of the well. She got a little distracted at my groin…”
“Unconscious? Why was I… Oh.” She glanced at my head and blushed.
“Ughnnn…” moaned Peleial, stirring. When she finally opened her eyes, Lawen was smiling down at her.
“Ummmm… Laws, I feel like I’ve been run over by a Shetland Charger. What happened?”
“Well, magic man here says you sorta got caught in a ten minute orgasm. I think that might be a new record for you.”
“Whoa… Wait, I remember getting nearly drowned in goo, and climbing out of the trap, and…” She turned her head to the wizard, who waved his fingers at her. “I… I…” she stammered, her face turning nearly as red as Taya’s hair.
“…Were not yourself,” he finished for her, smiling. “No, you rest,” he added when she tried to sit up. “We seem to be safe for the moment.”
Leaving the two sisters, Wendel took Taya by the elbow and moved a short ways down the hall, out of earshot.
“You mentioned that we managed to salvage most of the supplies, but not all. What did we lose?”
“Some of the food. The pack that Peleial was carrying. I think it had medical supplies…”
“That’s unfortunate. There were some herbs in that bag that we might have used to help against the dark magic. No use worrying over it. Taya, I just wanted to thank you. I don’t know how you did it, but I’m pretty sure I’d be lost to this place if it weren’t for you. And the sisters as well.”
“Forget about it. Just being part of the team and all that…”
“Taya… I mean it. And for what it’s worth, I’m sorry I ever doubted you.”
She just stared at him for a few moments, considering.
“Come to think of it, how did you get us out of there?” he asked.
He enjoyed seeing her half-grin return. She fetched her spear from where it was leaning against the wall. Turning it over, he saw a ‘U’ shaped bar of metal attached to the end.
“What is that?”
“Assault hook. We use them when we need to scale walls or climb trees. It takes a few minutes to attach, but once it was on, I was able to reach you all easily.”
“Huh. Pretty clever, Lieutenant… er…”
“That’s okay. I’ll let you have that one.”
It seemed like a good time to stop for a meal, so after distributing rations, Wendel collected a few of their extra weapons and presented a selection to the sisters.
“Each of you take your pick. We’ll be getting into more dangerous territory soon, so you might as well be armed.”
Lawen choose a long dagger that nearly doubled as a sword for someone her size, and Peleial reluctantly decided on a set of three throwing knives.
“I would have preferred a bow. I’m a pretty decent shot.”
“She really is,” chimed in her sister.
“I believe you. Be judicious with your throws… we don’t have replacements.”
Armed and fed, the group continued into the deeper levels of the dungeon. Simple traps started to come less often, though Wendel never let up checking, and they started to encounter more difficult natural denizens. These were the creatures that *lived* in places like this… slimes, creepers, giant rats. Some they could just avoid, while others had to be faced. Wendel took most of them, conjuring up a flaming tar ball, or a cone of cold so intense that it froze many of their enemies solid.
Taya proved her skills with her spear, when a rat the size of a small bear charged them from a side tunnel. Wendel needed time to set up his spells, but the Lieutenant moved so quickly that the beast was dead on the ground before either of the elves even noticed it was coming.
Another change they noticed was the forward nature of the dungeon itself. There were a number of times when they encountered steep slopes covered in ooze, and natural drops that weren’t that hard to get down, but would be quite difficult to traverse in the opposite direction.
Finally, after clearing yet another room of large spiders, Wendel called a break.
“We’ll be getting into the heart of the labyrinth soon, and the creatures we find there are going to be a lot more… challenging. We’ll stop here for a bit to rest and eat. Taya, you have the first watch. I’ll make lunch.”
The warrior nodded, and checked the doorway exiting the room, setting her shield to give her illumination of anything that might try to pass through.
“Can I help?” asked Peleial quietly as he gathered food items.
He regarded her for a moment, then smiled. “Sure. Help me cut up this bread. It won’t be any good by the end of the day… not in here. So we might as well enjoy it now.” He handed her the loaf. She made use of one of her throwing knives to carve portions for each of them.
“Wendel… I… I also wanted to apologise for… forcing myself on you. Whether or not the slime was affecting me, it was still wrong. I’m… sorry.”
He sighed and patted her hand. “Forget about it. It’s not as if it was some horrible torture or anything.” They laughed.
“You’re not like most humans I have met,” she added.
“Have you met many wizards?”
“Uh… just you.”
He nodded. “We’re different all right. We spend a lot of time in your part of the world, actually.”
She looked surprised. “In the Vale? Why?”
“That’s where the magic is. The human realms have mostly given up on magic… except when it suits them politically. That why they keep people like me around.”
“Just in case they need to get their hands on a demonic rune stone…”
She frowned. “The funny thing is, I think you know more about our magic than we do.”
“Really? How so?” he asked.
“We take it for granted… the magic I mean. It’s so a part of our day to day lives, that we forget how certain things work. Sure, many of our leaders have really powerful spells and artifacts, but it’s magic they obtained from other places in the Vale, not something they created themselves. There are very few of us that still know how to create magic from the Essence up, you know? Kind of like you do.”
He considered this. “It’s true that my kind values the fundamentals more than anything else, but your people have a connection that I could never dream of matching. I am a mere practitioner of magic. You,” he placed his hand on her shoulder, “live and breathe it.”
That seemed to please the elf. Finally, she handed him the bread slices and sighed.
“You really should tell her you know.”
“Taya. You should tell her how you feel about her.”
“I don’t know…”
“Yes you do,” she stopped him. “You’re good with magic, I read people. I could tell you’re infatuated with her from the moment we gathered back in that anteroom. You should tell her. She likes you too.”
“She does? I think you’re mistaken. She scowls at me nearly every chance she gets.”
The elf grinned. “Be-cause she likes you. I think that’s her way of expressing her frustration over having to share you with Lawen and I… Your attention I mean, not the, er… other thing… um… yeah. I’m just going to go hand out the lunches now.”
He watched the elf as she delivered their meal to the others, wondering if it were true, what she had said. Was he infatuated with Taya? She had certainly commanded a lot of his private thoughts of late. If it were true, it was definitely going to complicate things.
Traveling deeper into the dungeon turned out to be more literal than figurative for the next leg of their journey, as once again the floor sloped downwards at a considerable angle.
“Is it getting hotter?” asked Taya from the back of their group.
Wendel stopped for a moment and turned. “Hotter and more humid. I expect it will only get worse for a bit.”
“Shards of Eris, I’m sweating runnels,” commented Lawen as she pulled the strings loose at the front of her shirt and fluffed the collar. The change in her garment left a pretty obvious swath of flesh visible, as well as a lot more cleavage. The mage ignored the display, or rather tried to, turning his eyes back to their progress.
They came to a level room a few minutes later, but the wizard had them stay in the hall.
“The floor’s a checkerboard…” mentioned Peleial. “That can’t be good.”
“It isn’t,” he sighed, and then crouched down rubbing his chin. “White or purple? White or purple?” he muttered.
“I hate purple,” said Lawen. “Reminds me of trolls blood.”
“Me too,” said Taya behind her, smiling. The elf turned and looked up at the woman with raised eyebrows.
“I bet that’s a good story.”
“Very good. If we make it out of this, I’ll buy you a tall glass of good wine and tell it to you.”
“Right,” commented Wendel rising again. “Stay off the purple.” He turned again and looked directly at Peleial. “Seriously.”
The elf blushed.
Moving slowly, and spread out to avoid any possibility of overlap, they carefully traversed the room until they were nearly all the way across.
“Wendel…” said Taya, sounding somewhat concerned. “There’s a purple circle where the checkerboard ends on this side.”
He was frowning. “I see it.”
“What do you suppose it means,” she asked, slowly pulling her shield off her back.
He was squinting. “It’s… not a trap. More like an illusion… to hide something.”
“Hide what?” asked Peleial.
He still couldn’t make it out. Even uttering a revealing charm did nothing but make the circle shimmer. There was definitely something there… Something big.
“Uh, maybe we should move back for a moment. I’d like to be sure that…”
A massive worm-like creature erupted out of the ground within the purple circle and reared up above them. The end of the slimy denizen split open, to reveal an even slimier maw surrounded by flailing tentacles.
“Back! Get back!” yelled Wendel as he started hopping from white tile to white tile. He had only gone two or three steps back when he heard Lawen scream. Turning, he could see that the girl elf was waist deep in a purple square, or what used to be a purple square. Now, it was a fleshy pore that sucked and twisted around her hips as though trying to draw her deeper in. Worse, the elf’s arms had already been pulled in, and she didn’t seem to be able to draw them out away from her sides. He quickly changed direction and headed for her while checking on the beast. He was shocked to see Taya standing her ground against the creature, shield in hand.
“Don’t just stand there, go help her!!” yelled the warrior. “I’ll deal with this!”
Amazed by her bravery, Wendel continued over to the trapped elf and arrived almost the same time as her sister.
“Lawen!! Wendel, do something!” she begged as she tried in vain to pull the other free. When it was obvious that she wasn’t getting her out that way, she picked up Lawen’s long dagger and was about to stab it into the fleshy surface. The wizard just caught her arm.
“NO! It has teeth! If you try to hurt it, it’ll kill her!”
Lawen struggled in vain. “Well, do SOMETHING, before it eats… m-m-me… ughnnn!”
“Lawen! What’s happening?” Her sister was starting to panic.
“Ahh! Oh god… ughmmm… It…It’s v-vibrating, ughn… inside.”
Wendel frowned. “Damn… Peleial, take her dagger and see if you can help Taya from a distance. Don’t get too close! I’ll help Lawen.”
“Anything I do for your sister will be for naught if we don’t deal with that worm! GO! Now!” He pressed the long blade into the girl’s hand. “And for goddess sake, DON’T step in a purple square.”
She shook her head and was off.
“Y-you… ughnn s-sent her away on… on… ah!… purpose, didn’t y-you?” stated the trapped elf.
The wizard was searching his shoulder bag with haste. “Yes.”
“I… I’m going to… ughnn!… ah!.. I’m going to d-die, aren’t I? UGHmmm…”
He looked her directly in the eyes, his hand coming up to cup her chin. “Not if I can help it. Listen carefully. This creature is tricky. It feeds on your sexual energy, and that’s why it’s vibrating. It’s trying to arouse you.”
“It’s doing… ughn… a r-really good, j-job, too… UGHN, oh god…”
“Lawen, I’m going to try some things, but you have to resist as much as you can. Try not to have an…”
“Oh god… I… I… ah! ahh! AHH! UGHNNN!” the elf’s head went back as her whole body spasmed in obvious ecstasy. And just as she peaked, Wendel saw her slip another inch into the mouth of the creature.
Taya was having problems of her own. For a creature as thick as an elephant, the worm was considerably more agile. It also had a half dozen tentacles spaced around its mouth that were constantly trying to snare her. It was strong, fast, and had a lot more arms than she did. About the only advantage she had was that the worm didn’t appear to be very smart. It was easily misled and tricked. She also suspected that it’s vision might be limited, its eyes being located on its flank just behind the gaping mouth, but she wasn’t about to bet her life on that hunch. Somehow, it knew how to strike her, even when she was directly in front of it.
Peleial hadn’t been much help. It wasn’t her fault. Going against an enemy the size of a house, armed with a dagger, is pretty hopeless. Taya wasn’t even sure that the beast noticed that it had swung to the side and knocked the little female right into the wall. She saw the elf slump to the floor, unconscious. As long as the worm wasn’t interested in her, she was probably safer that way.
It roared again, swinging one of its tentacles against her shield hard enough to nearly knock her over. Fortunately, it hadn’t figured out to push her back into the checkerboard traps, where her movement would be much more limited. It did, however, take advantage of her stumble, and reached in with two other tentacles from the other side. The first wrapped around her spear, nearly yanking it from her grasp, and the other meant to hit her face. She pulled her head back at the last moment, and the slime-coated pseudo-limb smacked the top of her chest, splattering her with goo and forcing her momentarily to her knee. The tentacle didn’t simply pull back for another attack, however, and curled downward into her shirt.
“Oh shit…” was all she had time to say before the limb jerked forward. Her armor popped in several places, literally ripped from the straps. She held on to her weapon, but she was pulled much closer to the creature than she was comfortable with. It also gave her a very up-close view as the beast shoved her chest plate into its mouth, which immediately closed its fleshy lips tightly around the morsel and sucked it inside. There was a slight undulation in the body of the worm as it swallowed the item whole and sent it downward toward its belly somewhere below. Wendel’s warning flashed through her thoughts, about how the creatures this deep wouldn’t kill them. She had a very bad feeling that getting swallowed by the worm would only be the beginning of a whole new hell, rather than her death.
Taya deflected another tentacle from the side with her shield, but missed one coming up under her. She kept it from twisting around her leg by doing a little dance, and she was just about to congratulated herself on the fancy footwork when that same tentacle snapped upward, knocking her shield right out of her hand. She watched it sail over to a corner of the room, where it banged loudly against the wall and was still. Turning back to the worm, she expected it to take advantage of the loss by attacking with its tentacles. Instead, she saw the monster open its mouth wide and start start to rumble. Her brows had barely furrowed in confusion before there was a loud FOOOP, and a large ball of mucus blasted out of the maw and hit her dead on.
It really didn’t have to be that accurate, since there was so much of the stuff. She managed to put up her arm, which kept the sticky mass from covering all of her face, but it still slapped over her mouth, torso, and legs, wrapping clear around her body. Gallons of the warm, slightly green goo hung from her limbs and pooled around her legs as she tried to recover from the shock of the disgusting attack, and remembering the last time she had been bathed in slime, she decided to keep her lips shut tight to avoid taking any into her mouth. That turned out to be a mistake.
Again, she expected the creature to take advantage of her position, but when she looked up, she saw it moving back out of range. The behavior confused her until she went to wipe away the mass from her face… Her arm was nearly stuck to her side. The mucus was hardening around her.
For the first time since they had entered the room, Taya felt real fear. This was bad… Really bad. She tested her feet and found her legs to be even more thoroughly cemented in place than the rest of her. She could literally sense the runny snot turning into a tough, rubber-like resin even as she stood there. In the time it had taken her to understand what was going on, her entire body had been nearly immobilized. She couldn’t even open her mouth to call for help anymore. Silenced and helpless, she could do little more than watch in terror as the worm leaned forward and reached its tentacles out to her, the glistening flaps of flesh around its mouth quivering in anticipation, almost as though it were excited to have caught such as tasty meal.
But the multiple arms of the beast did not simply grasp her and toss her into the maw as it had with her armor, instead, they curled around her form and began to stroke her, feeling her shape and encircling her slowly, almost sensually. Three of the six tentacles continued their now obviously erotic exploration of her, while two more limbs took a more aggressive approach. The first she saw slither under her and out of view, but the second slid right down her bare belly and into the top of her pants. The hardened mucus seemed to melt back into softness wherever it touched, and with a gasp, she felt it press past her belt and drop into her undergarments. With her heart rate increasing rapidly, there was nothing she could do to stop the creature as it reached the fleshy limb over her sex… and then slowly into her.
She wanted to scream, but the hard excreta covering her mouth made it impossible. She strained and pulled at her bonds, but the goo had done its job well, completely locking her in place so that the beast would be free to move on to more sinister intentions. Taya knew her time was short when the tentacle that had gone under her dropped into her pants from the back. It slid easily down the space between her buttocks, and settled against the puckered hole of her anus.
“NNNNMMMM!!” she pleaded vainly as the tendril patiently worked itself against the opening until it was able to slide a smaller extension of itself beyond the sphincter. Once it had lubricated her, she found she could no longer hold it back, and with a rush of deep pleasure, it joined the other limb within her body.
Completely distracted by what was happening at her hips, the warrior failed to see the last of the worms tentacles drop down in front of her face. Before she had a chance to react, it darted forward and pressed right through the hard shell of mucus and into her mouth. She tasted its salty sweet flesh as it undulated down her throat just shy of gagging her, and then was still. Penetrated completely, Taya wondered what it was up to, when there was a sudden rush of warmth in her mouth. A thick, honey-like liquid erupted from the end of the tentacle and ran down her throat. She was forced to swallow the substance, or choke, and more and more seemed to come forth even as she did. Knowing that taking the nectar into herself was surely a very bad thing, she was suddenly even more concerned to feel a similar rush of warmth filling her rectum. A second later, the tentacle in her sex completed the tripple ejaculation, pumping her deepest reaches with the hot liquid, forcing it into her in pulsing waves until it overflowed out and down her trapped legs.
The orgasm that slipped over her was devastating. Bound within the mucus, she couldn’t pull away. She couldn’t even move. It was all she could manage to just tremble in ecstasy.
And having done their work, the tentacles slipped out of her body, giving her a second briefer orgasm before disappearing. Moaning, she forced her eyes up and again saw the creature pull back as if it were simply watching her… waiting. And then she knew why…
Taya suddenly felt dizzy and weak, a powerful euphoria spreading over her mind as the worm’s toxins settled fully into her bloodstream. Like the paralyzing sting of a wasp, it had injected its venom into her body and was merely waiting for it to seal her fate. When she could no longer offer any resistance, it would suck her down its long gullet just like it had her armor. Her control started fading at her fingertips first, then her toes, gradually working inward up her arms and legs. She realized in profound horror, that it wasn’t a numbness. It was just paralysis. The worm wanted her to be fully aware of what it was about to do to her…
Wendel cursed again. Nothing seemed to be working against the damned creature that was quickly pushing Lawen towards yet another orgasm. He had tried dispelling any magical hold, even stunning it. It was incredibly resistant to magical attacks (it had a constant source of energy in Lawen), and he couldn’t use physical attacks against it because it would chew her to ribbons. Meanwhile, the poor elf was really starting to lose it. She had come about four more times, and was sunk into the creature almost to the bottoms of her breasts. He knew that the next few orgasms would undoubtedly start her into a cycle that would have her completely consumed in mere minutes.
“Stay with me, Lawen… Talk to me. Tell me what’s going on.”
She was twitching and gasping, but her eyes refocused a little, and she looked up at him with a terrible desperation.
“I… I c-c-can’t resist it any… ughnnn!… more… AH! AH!… m-m-make it stop-p! Ah, god… n-no…”
“You’ve got to keep trying. Don’t lose hope! I’m going to get you out of this…”
He wasn’t at all sure how he was going to manage that, but he wouldn’t give up. “Keep talking. It helps you to focus.” He continued to look through his meager supplies for something he might have missed.
She shook her head back and forth, trying to throw off the constant mind-numbing pleasure that surrounded her entire lower half.
“It… ughn… I think.. it’s g-got my b-belt… oh god… ughn… UGHN!…”
“Fight it, Lawen!”
She was whimpering. “Oh! Ughmm… It… <puff puff>… oh no… ughn… m-my skirt! Please, n-nooo… ahhh! It’s p-pulling my sk-sk-skirt down! AHH! AHH! It’s s-so much worse bare!… AHH! UGHNN!”
“Hold on!…” He tried a poison anti-toxin… to no avail.
Shaking, her eyes were pleading as she struggled to hold off her moment. He could see she was losing fast.
“Ohgodohgod…. no please… ughnn! It’s… It’s… noooo… it’s pushing my th-thighs apaaaaartohgodAHH! AHH! UGHNNN!!”
Suddenly, her whole body undulated and arched within the living pocket of flesh that squeezed around her. Her eyes closed tight as her mouth fell open in impossible pleasure, the shock of release after holding back for so long nearly dislocating her own shoulders. Helplessly, Wendel watched as her form was sucked downward with a wet slurping sound. Her shirt had been gradually pushed up her torso, so that her breasts now slipped naked into the slick mouth of the demonic trap. The creature seemed to shudder with glee at the new sensual bits to torment, and the wizard saw Lawen’s body start to bob up and down in a repeating pattern. It was a pattern he had seen before… in her sister Peleial, as she had pistoned up and down on his shaft, fucking him back in the round slime room. Only he was pretty sure it was the creature pistoning in and out of her depths now that it had open access to her apex… It was a good ten seconds before Wendel realized he had been just sitting there watching the girl, mesmerized by the erotic sight. The dark magic had tricked him into losing even more of what little time he had left to save Lawen.
The elf girl continued to shudder, never quite coming down from her ecstasy. Once it had her clothes, there was nothing to stop it from reaching in and taking her much more intimately. With her body so hyperstimulated, the elvish maiden was now unable to shake the overpowering pleasure even enough to catch her breath. He could see that she was now slowly sliding down without pause.
“NO! I will not let you be food for this monstrosity! I… I… Wait! That’s it!” Quickly, he reached for Lawen’s bag, specifically her food rations. It took him a second or two, but he found the jar he was looking for and turned back to the girl. The fleshy lips were sliding over her shoulders, even as her eyes stared up at the ceiling in glassy ecstasy, her mouth a frozen “O” of passion. He could hear her quick gasps as her body fought to draw enough breath to stay conscious.
“You like it spicy? Try this, you slimy fuck!” He then dumped a huge handful of red powder into his hand and shoved it right into the opening along the elf girl’s body. He reached in as far down as his arm would allow, clear past her belly, until he realized he was just below the apex of her spread thighs. There, he could feel a thick, tongue-like muscle thrusting rhythmically into her bared quim with long, deep strokes. Opening his hand, he did his best to spread the spice on as much of that sinewy muscle as he could.
It was a very risky procedure. If things didn’t work out like he hoped, he’d be unlikely to get his arm back out of the creature’s mouth. It would suck him on in just as it was doing to Lawen, who was right up to her neck in the foul trap. His face was just pressing against the slippery folds that would lead to his end, when there was a different kind of shudder from the creature. With a jerk, it squeezed him and the elf hard, but then almost immediately backed away again. There was a deep, rumbling sort of burbling from somewhere below, and then he and Lawen were both ejected from the mouth in a geyser of phlegm and slime.
Pulling her safely away from the monster, he rolled her onto her back and rapidly patted her cheeks.
“Come on, Lawen… Fight your way back… That’s it…”
With a few violent heaves of her chest, the elf coughed and then groaned loudly.
“Shiiiit… <cough> I… oww, my pussy burns… It stings!”
“Well of course it does. I shoved enough hot banus pepper down there to choke a Letharian fire dragon. Hold on…”
Lawen was moaning with her hands between her legs when he returned with a different jar. He opened the container and scooped a large handful of the thick, white cream onto his fingers. Then, he pushed her resisting thighs open and plopped his palm right onto her sex, smearing the cooling balm through her petals and directly into her very slick center.
“Ohhh… yessssAHHH!!” she cried out, and launched directly into a tense, but thankfully brief orgasm around his fingers. When she was finally still, he gently removed his digits and collapsed onto his own back, exhausted. He was also so painfully aroused that his penis felt like it was going to burst apart.
Taya wanted to run. She would have run, if she were able. Despite all her training, all the skilled foes she had faced on the battlefield, nothing could have prepared her for this. She saw how easily she had been tricked by the demonic worm, lured into thinking that it could be defeated as any large mindless beast. She saw how all its actions had been designed to bring her in close enough so that it could launch its real attack… pinning her in place with a sticky ball of mucus. Once she was unable to escape, it had moved in for the kill, quickly filling her every hole with its debilitating toxins, and rendering her utterly helpless.
Alone, beaten, and now drugged into silent paralysis, she could only watch in terror as the evil creature seemed to quiver with anticipation. With an almost gleeful hunger, it slowly drew its mouth closer to her, testing to be sure its prey wasn’t somehow deceiving it. She just wanted it to be over. She just wanted it to kill her and be done with, but she knew that wasn’t going to happen either. Even if it ate her whole, which she fully expected it to, it wouldn’t be her end. Wendel was clear about that. She would be taken down into the literal bowels of the dungeon where she would be continually sexually tormented and impregnated over and over again… Kept alive as a birthing host for an endless stream of foul creatures to inhabit Volscork’s labyrinth. Even the vile worm that had so easily beaten her, could have been born from the womb of some other previous adventurer. The idea that she would be used in such a foul way was what distressed Taya the most about her current situation, though she doubted that she would care much about anything in a few short minutes. Very soon, the beast would start it’s slow rape of her mind, body, and soul, and there was unlikely to be anything left but her physical flesh by day’s end.
So it wasn’t unexpected to see the tentacles gently winding around her body, but it was a bit of a surprise to feel them caressing her curves instead of just throwing her inside its gaping maw. She inwardly despaired, realizing that it planned to play with its food first.
The hardened mucus prison turned to a slick goo all around her, and she heard her spear fall with a plop to the ground. The worm held her up almost lovingly, gently positioning her body. She didn’t understand what it was doing until it peeled her shift over her shoulders. She felt another pair of the sinister hands at her belly and she suddenly wanted to scream again. It wasn’t just playing with her, it was stripping her bare.
The remnants of her shift vanished into the maw with little effort, since it had basically ripped it open from front to bottom when it took her chest armor. Her pants were another matter, but the creature’s intelligence seemed well to the task, easily working her belt and shifting the garment and her panties over her hips. Her boots slid away, and then the leather guarded trousers and undergarments, leaving her completely naked.
The limbs then returned to the task of arousing her, gently teasing her held body all at once. It slipped one tentacle between her legs, letting it slide back and forth over her until she was nearly on the brink of orgasm again. Then, with a final bit of mocking evil, it seemed to take great delight in positioning her so that she would be forced to watch the great mouth as it came closer and closer even as it pleasured her body into equally inescapable bliss.
Peleial woke to a terrible headache, her ears ringing in time to her own beating heart. Her vision was slowly waving in and out of focus, and her memory was just as fuzzy. She remembered a dungeon, a fight of some kind… her sister in trouble, Taya… a really fucking huge worm…
The room finally snapped into focus, but the elf still had trouble understanding what she was seeing. The worm was still there, but it wasn’t waving all over the place anymore. Now it seemed focussed on the ground. It had its tentacles wrapped around something… a woman… A nude woman.
Taya’s red hair was the give away. The rest of her was being fondled all over by the creature, and she didn’t seem to be fighting back at all. Either she was dead, or unconscious, or drugged. Regardless, it seriously looked like the creature was about to finish her as a nice snack.
She checked her weapons. Short sword or throwing knives? The long dagger had already gotten her tossed into the wall once. And if Taya and her spear couldn’t handle that beast, her toothpick of a blade wouldn’t be saving the day. Okay, knives…
That option didn’t seem much better. At most, she was likely to just piss it off unless she hit it someplace sensitive. It didn’t look to have genitalia… the whole thing was genitalia, or so it appeared in Taya’s case. She saw that the worm was lifting her, slowly drawing her naked body toward the mouth while it rubbed between her legs. That the human wasn’t even responding was probably a really bad thing.
She needed to act now. There were three visible diamond-shaped bulges on its side behind the mouth that might be eyes… or glowing scales… or just random decorations. Whatever the case, they were different. She withdrew the thin blades from her pouch and carefully calculated the spin.
“Aim, throw, repeat… Aim, throw, repeat…” she started saying to herself. On the third repetition she raised her arm and let the shim fly. it was a direct hit in the center ‘eye’.
Whatever the worm was about to do to Taya, it abruptly changed its mind, uncoiling its tentacles from the woman and dropping her to the ground with a splat. It then rose up, roaring in anger. The second blade also hit its mark, and the beast visibly jerked as the metal splinter lodged in the lower glowing diamond. Her third throw hit the tougher hide of the beast and quite literally bounced off, but the now flailing creature shook back and forth several times before finally voicing one more loud cry of anguish, and then dropped down into its hole.
“YES!” she screamed, and remembered Taya.
Running to her side, the woman was a real mess. She was covered in heavy slime, something she herself could relate to, but she wasn’t moving. Peleial checked for a pulse, and sighed in relief when she found one.
“Taya… er, wake up Lieutenant!” She saw the woman’s eyes were open, but unmoving. “Fuck. This is out of my league… Wendel! Taya’s in trouble! I think…”
She looked over and saw both the male and her sister lying on their backs.
“Lawen! Oh no nonono…” Carefully, she hopped over to their side of the room and dropped next to the she-elf.
“Lawen! By the goddess, are you okay??!”
The girl was still breathing hard.
“Just… tired. Wendel got me out of the trap, just in time. It was… stimulating, but not something I would recommend. Is the worm dead?”
“No! Oh crap, Wendel! You have to help Taya! The worm did something to her, and I can’t get her to snap out of it!”
Together, the trio made it to the far side of the room without incident. Once there, Wendel swallowed and dropped down next to the warrior, while trying not to notice that she was a glistening effigy to eroticism. He felt her neck, then looked in her eyes, frowning.
“Do you know what happened?” he asked Peleial.
“No, damnit. I was knocked unconscious. I woke up and put a couple of throwing knives in the worm’s eyes and it went away. It was… rubbing her, there… you know. She wasn’t reacting.”
The elf just shook her head.
Sighing, Wendel considered what to do. Finally, he started gathering up his bag.
“Lawen, check her pack and see if there’s any clothes you could throw on yourself, then grab her shield. Peleial, you take her spear and your own pack. We’ll worry about covering her up later. Right now, we need to get out of here in case the worm comes back.”
“You’re not going to leave her!” started Lawen.
He counted to three in his head. “No, I’m going to carry her. But despite her fair frame…”
“Not compared to me,” commented the other elf.
“… she will be heavy. I won’t be able to set her down quickly, so we’ll just go far enough to get to a safe place where I can get a better look at her.”
It took a bit to get her up on his shoulder, but he managed to hold her up with one hand, so that his other could tend his staff. They traveled a few hundred meters down the hall past the checkerboard room, and he called them to a halt. Carefully, he set the woman down against the wall and made a more thorough examination. After being distracted by her breasts for the third time, he finally pulled off his outer robes and draped them over her. Her mouth was partially open, and he happened to notice a slightly different colored ooze dripping from the corner of her lips. Coming closer, he reached a finger into her mouth and then smelled the thicker residue.
“Uh oh…” he said, frowning.
“What is it?” asked Lawen.
“Toxin. In the mouth. Probably right down her throat.” He leaned the woman over so that she was on her side.
“Sorry, Lieutenant…” he said, and checked her other two cavities. When he had seen what he needed, he righted her. “It filled her with a paralytic. My guess is she’s aware, but unable to move.”
“So… how do we fix her?” Peleial was leaning against the woman’s spear.
He sighed. “I don’t know if I can. The toxin might wear off in a few minutes, or hours… or days… or her state could be permanent. She has the dark magic working on her as well, which could also keep the toxin active. The safest thing would be for us to find a place to wait it out.”
“I could certainly use a rest,” admitted Lawen.
“We all could, I think. I don’t like spending any more time in this place as necessary, but at this point I don’t see an alternative. I won’t leave anyone behind while I still have breath.”
Wendel scouted ahead and was back a very short time later.
“I found a storage room just ahead. I wouldn’t touch any of whatever they’re storing, but it had a door we could rig to block from the inside. Let’s move her.”
Fifteen minutes later, Taya was laid out on a makeshift table composed of a couple of large boxes, and Lawen was curled up on the floor. Her sister sat on a small barrel eating a stick of venison jerky, watching Wendel secure the portal with both magic, and Taya’s spear.
“There. That should keep us safe for the moment. I don’t like being boxed in, but nearly anywhere in the dungeon is going to be that way at this point.” He pulled out a couple of low crates so that he could lean against the wall with his feet up.
“So…” started Peleial. “How long have you known the Lieutenant?”
“Taya? We met when we started this little excursion. I was told that she had to accompany me… To be sure I wouldn’t steal the rune stone for myself. As if I would want such an infernal thing…”
“Oh hell’s no.”
She frowned. “But it’s a powerful artifact. I would think that’s right up your alley.”
Wendel snorted. “Some things aren’t meant to be messed around with, my dear.. especially by humans. Demonic relics, while predictable, are also quite prone to corrupting the bearer. Have you ever heard of The Glaver stone?”
“Sure. Uh, makes the wielder impervious to edged weapons, right?”
He touched his nose. “That’s the one. Did you know that King Lucas the Deldrite had it for nearly a year?”
“You’re kidding? But he doesn’t now? What happened to it?”
“He’s dead, killed by his own people.”
“The stone didn’t protect him?”
“Sure it did. No one could touch him with a blade… So they burned him at the stake. The rune corrupted him. He went on a mad rampage, going out with his army for a hundred leagues to kill anyone who opposed him, and a lot who didn’t, including women and children.”
“He wasn’t limited to using it once in a lunar cycle?” she asked.
“The imperviousness to blades was just a side benefit. It’s real power was crushing armies, literally.”
“You don’t fuck with relics.”
She was thoughtful for a few minutes, then asked, “Do you think The Charding has a ‘side benefit’?”
Wendel was just starting to nod off, when he popped open his eyes and fixed them on her.
“Don’t get any ideas, Peleial. The stones were not meant to be wielded by mortals, and Taya’s uncle is a fool. The rune stones get their secondary benefits from the demons charged with hiding them away. The Glaver was under the protection of Malchildress the Sharp, known for weapons so fine that they could cut through plate armor as easily as flesh. His weakness was magic. The Charding’s demon is Volscork, whose handiwork we have all been intimate with… It’s likely that the secondary effect on the rune stone would be something related to his speciality.”
“What, like making you really amazing in bed?”
He closed his eyes again. “Something like that.”
“That wouldn’t be so bad. A little redundant though…”
He opened one eye. She was grinning at him.
Some time later, he was awakened out of a dream in which both he and Peleial were being consumed by one of the floor traps as they fucked just below the surface. He was trying to tell her to stay still, but it wasn’t working. She was saying his name, over and over… Wendel… Wendel…
“Wendel!” Taya’s voice came to him in a loud whisper.
Shaking his head to clear the erotic vision, he immediately got up and went to her side.
“By the shards, it’s good to see you awake… Taya.”
She smiled. “And it’s good to be awake, though I wish I didn’t have to wake up still here in this accursed dungeon.”
“How do you feel?” he asked.
She sighed. “I can’t move my legs yet, but my arms are fine.” She wriggled her fingers above her. “That worm really… er, messed with me.”
“Yes it did. I‘m sorry. I didn’t even know you were in trouble. I was helping Lawen, who almost didn’t make it.”
“Forget it. You were trusting my skills, which, it turns out, were crap against that thing.”
“Peleial took it out, didn’t she?”
He put a hand on her shoulder.
“She drove it away while it was distracted with you. Your skills are fine.”
“Wendel, that thing was seconds from sucking me down its gullet. It had me dead to rights.”
“But you are here. Stop tormenting yourself.”
“Just out of curiosity… my spear?”
He moved aside so she could see it holding the door closed.
With a sigh of relief, she let her head fall back. “I thought for sure the worm had eaten it with my armor.”
“Speaking of which, I’m afraid we’re a little shy on clothes. Lawen took your last shirt, otherwise she would be as naked as you are. You can try my spare pants. Probably a little big for you, but wearable. Do you think you can fight in my robes?”
“I fought a battle completely naked once. You’d be surprised what a difference a little distraction makes.”
“I bet I wouldn’t…”
She looked at the garment that was draped over her.
“It’s kinda baggy.”
“Did I mention it’s warded? With the hood up, it’s like wearing full chainmail.”
“Seriously? Nice! Okay, I’ll keep it on.”
“My libido thanks you.”
She looked around the room.
“Where are we?”
“Storage closet, I’d guess. Not the most comfortable of rooms I’ve slept in, but for this place, it’s downright luxury.”
“And Lawen? She okay?”
He looked to the elf, who was still curled up in the corner.
“Sleeping. She had a close call too, but I think she’ll be alright. Elves are pretty resilient mentally. If the Vale teaches you anything, it’s to roll with weirdness. You might as well try to get a little more rest until you have your legs back. I doubt we’re going to have another opportunity.”
Wendel had a much more difficult time letting go of his dream when his sleep was disrupted yet again. This cycle it was Taya who was kneeling before him, naked and glistening, her skin slick with erotic dark essence. She had just reached out and was stroking his member to hardness, when his eyes opened to the dim light of the storage closet. He groaned and blinked, trying to push back the sexual haze in his mind, but realized after a moment that the sensations from his groin had not faded with his waking.
When his vision cleared, he saw Peleial standing next to him, her mouth open as she breathlessly rubbed her hand up and down the very present bulge in his trousers. Her own eyes were heavy with lust.
Taking her fingers from his lap, he swung his legs down from the crates and tried to rouse her from her dream-like state. After repeating her name a few times, her eyes rolled, and her focus returned.
“What are you… oh. Damn…” she said, her face blushing deep red.
Wendel took a deep breath. “Right. Time to move. He gave the elf her hand back, and then turned to the warrior, who seemed to be groaning. With a start, he saw her sit up and gasp, her face almost as flushed as Peleial’s.
“Taya? You okay?”
She took a moment to answer. “Yeah… “
Next he checked on Lawen, and saw her still lying on her side, her eyes closed. But now, her pelvis was slowly undulating back and forth.
“I’ve got it,” said her sister. “Best if I pull her out of that…”
He let her.
“Legs?” he asked simply of the Lieutenant.
“Good. We’re leaving,” he explained to the group as a whole. “The dark magic is obviously starting to get to us now, so we’re going to have to go for the stone before we’re all too distracted to remember why we’re here.”
He listened carefully at the door before handing Taya her spear, then cracked the door to peer out. The hall was empty. When everyone signaled they were ready, they continued their quest.
After a few minutes of thankfully uneventful travel, they noticed a change in the appearance of the walls. Instead of the normal rough stone, these were polished and inlaid with colored mosaics in places. There were also lights. They weren’t torches, but rather glowing amber stones that cast a very strange warm light around the already steamy tunnels. Wendel detected dark magic, but it was passive.
“Hey, did it just get quiet in here?” asked Lawen directly behind him.
Her voice sounded muffled, even far away, and he turned to look at the elf girl. As he did, he noticed it too. There was a heaviness in the air that seemed to suck away all sound. He could barely make out their own footsteps. Alert, he returned his attention forward as they came to another odd change in the hall. The passage grew less and less wide until it was no more than shoulder width across. There was also a wall of stone from the ceiling that blocked a little more than the top half of the passage. Wendel crouched down and could see another short wall just past the other, but from the floor up. There wasn’t much room, probably not more than enough for one of them at a time.
“Is it a trap?” quired the elf behind him.
He sighed, passing his staff in front of the structures. “If it is, there’s no detectable mechanism. There’s definitely strong magic though.”
“What do we do?” He found he had a hard time even hearing the female, as though his ears were stuffed with cotton.
“I suppose we go through. I don’t know what choice we have. Stay close, and be ready for anything.”
With that, he ducked under the wall and scooted forward until he was just inside the space between the walls. Standing, he could see another wall from the ceiling, just over the top of the inner short wall. It wasn’t hard to scale the wall in front of him, and he needed to make room for Lawen, so he scrambled over the blockade and then crouched into the next space, only to find a repeat of what he had just done. This whole serpentine-like configuration recurred three more times, before opening into an empty room with a wide dias in the center.
Turning and crouching, he called back through the strange passage.
“It opens up just ahead. Come on through.”
There was no response.
Something wasn’t right. Wendel moved quickly, navigating the short walls until he came out on the other end, surprised that he did not meet anyone on the return trip. He was even more surprised to find that the other end was no longer the simple passage with the amber glowing stones. Now the end opened to a blue-walled chamber half full of water.
Peleial was a little panicked. When she climbed under the last wall barrier, she saw a wider open passage, but no Wendel. Surely he couldn’t have gotten that far ahead of her, could he?
“Yo! Magic man,” she called out. “You there? Slow down.”
When there was no answer, she followed the amber lights, hoping that the human was just up ahead, but the further she went, the less she was convinced of that.
It was hotter here than anywhere else they had been, and she started to feel drips of water or slime or something foul hitting her head. Barefoot, she was vividly aware of the slippery floor, that had started to feel almost squishy between her toes. The amber lights grew fainter and fainter until it was nearly dark, and she fervently wished for Taya’s shield to guide her, or Taya herself for that matter.
Finally, she came to a doorway off the main hall, out of which flowed a somewhat brighter light. Carefully sneaking a peek into the room, Peleial blinked in confusion and she risked a second look just to be sure about what she was seeing. A fully made bedroom in the middle of a dungeon? One that looked like it belonged to a human girl? But it was. Such a thing felt terribly out of place, but a slow drip of slime down her forehead convinced her to check it out.
Cautiously, she entered, wary for the owner, but the room was indeed unoccupied. Aside from the decorative wall coverings, there was a standing carved rosewood armoire and a changing table and bench. Spaced in the center of the room was a medium-sized bed with a white down comforter and a number of fluffy pillows. At the sight of the extravagant sleeper, Peleial noticed that her mouth was hanging open, and she snapped it shut.
Quietly, she stepped up to the changing table and spied a number of little bottles along the edge, as well as a silver hair bush. Picking up a blue bottle, she sniffed at the top. A fruity rose perfume filled her nostrils. Whoever she was, she had nice stuff, thought the elf setting the bottle back where she found it.
She tried the armoire, but the door was locked. It was something she might have been able to pick, but that just didn’t seem right somehow. It would be better to leave things alone. The bed, however, beckoned to her.
Smiling, she ran her fingers over the cool, clean comforter until she was standing at the foot of the raised sleeper, amazed that something so fine could stay dry and unsoiled in such a place. With a mischievous grin, she sat down and sighed. It must have had a full feather mattress to feel so soft and wonderful under her tired ass. Humans always had such ridiculous tastes in furnishings, but Peleial did like their beds.
Enjoying the brief respite, she took a more detailed look at the room. In retrospect, the wall hangings did carry a certain eroticism about them that definitely fit with the demon Volscork. She could make out embroidered figures, mostly unclothed, frolicking and embracing in happy dancing. A few were pairing off, as though preparing for more lascivious activities.
Directly across from the bed, was a large, round hanging mirror with an ornate frame. Peleial realized that it was positioned so that someone laying in the bed would have a perfect view of themselves.
“Whoever you are, you’re one kinky minx,” she said to the non-present owner of the room. She could see herself in the mirror, sitting there at the end of the bed, her bare feet just touching the carpeted floor. It felt so wonderful to simply rest there, watching herself breathe. She was tired, physically exhausted. In fact, until that very moment, she hadn’t realized just how drained she had become. Sleeping in the storage room had been terrible. Painful even. But here… she could really sleep here.
She leaned back onto her elbows, still watching herself. She looked tiny on the human-sized bed, but that just meant she had room to spread out. She noticed the slow rise and fall of her chest, her nipples somewhat present under the light fabric of her shirt… Wendel’s shirt.
Thinking of the wizard, she couldn’t help but remember how she had climbed up onto his lap in a drugged haze and fucked him (and herself) unconscious. She’d basically raped him… He was a sport about it though, joking with her while they were recovering. Laughing. It sure had felt good to come with him. Really good… She groaned, feeling the ever-present dark lust playing at her.
She flopped back on the bed with a deep sigh. She’d had other human lovers, but none quite so… well endowed. Wendel had surprised her. In size, yes, but also in his tenderness for her. Her other human lovers hadn’t shown that. Taya said he hadn’t hesitated to cover her when he was awake. Ever a gentleman.
She stared at the big round mirror… watching her chest rise and fall… slowing as she gradually relaxed. The covers felt amazingly soft, her body seemed surrounded by the comforter as though it were hugging her… Cuddling.
She stretched out, her arms reaching up high above her head, and she still couldn’t feel the headboard. In the mirror, her breasts were flattened out erotically, the cones of her nipples much more visible now under the taut fabric. She giggled, imagining what Wendel would think of her in this position. This would be a really nice bed to have sex in… She could almost picture him, standing at the end, his hands on her knees. She started to pant as her arousal rekindled and grew the lust she was feeling. Caught between her sexual need, and her physical exhaustion, her eyes grew heavy and half-lidded. The mirror…
She imagined she could see Wendel in the mirror. He was sliding his hands up her thighs, slowly reaching up her body until his fingers started to move over the bottom of her leather skirt, to the ties on the side.
“Oh gods…” she moaned, unable to stop the fantasy. She imagined him pulling the strings and slowly unhooking the garment until it was completely undone and loose. She saw him smile softly as he pulled open her skirt, exposing her nakedness. Her panties were somewhere back in the round room…
“Ughmmm… Wendel…” she moaned. What was happening to her? Why couldn’t she shake the daydreaming? She was so tired… Her eyelids drooped further as the image of Wendel moved his hands back to her knees, which he very patiently began to push apart.
She just stared, fascinated, growing quickly wet and hot with lust. Her heart rate climbed dangerously fast, and her breath was no longer relaxed. Instead, it came in short little gasps as the man moved up between her thighs, watching her quickening reaction. She knew where he was headed… where she so badly wanted him to be…
His hands smoothed up her belly, pushing up the shirt, even as his head dropped down into the “V” of her thighs.
“Goddess yes… please…” she begged.
And the image of the man in the mirror complied to her request, his lips alighting to the top of her sex with a gentle kiss.
“AHH!! Ahhh… Oh god! What’s happening to MEEEE!? AHH!!”
The kisses turned more determined, and were joined by his tongue as it flicked out and found her jewel. It felt incredible. Impossibly good… But some deep part of her will understood that she shouldn’t be feeling anything. It was just her imagination, right? The wet muscle lapped right into her petals, causing her to cry out softly. It was so good, so damned good… but it shouldn’t have been. It was wrong. Wendel warned them not to do this… not to give in to the lust.
“Ughnn… W-Wendel… you have to… mmm… s-stop. We c-c-can’t!”
He continued to work her without pause.
“Ahhhh! No, ughnnn… Goddess help me… Wendel! Ughhhnn!”
Realizing that something strange was happening, she went to bring her arms down to push his head away from her center, but found them tangled in the comforter somehow. She pulled harder, but they were trapped. Feeling herself nearing her moment, she started to struggle in a panic, but her ankles were equally tangled.
“N-nooo… AHH! Oh god ohgodohgodUGHNN! AHHH! AHHH!!”
Her orgasm lifted her pelvis right off the bed, and went on and on for longer than she ever thought it could without passing out. Her whole body trembled and spasmed until she finally collapsed back to the covers, her energy utterly sapped. And she opened her eyes… and screamed.
The room was gone. In its place was a horror of flesh and dripping slime. All of it, the wall decorations, the rug, the fucking armoire… They were all gone, replaced by twisted blobs of red flesh. And what was the mirror, was now a single massive eye that was fixed on her.
She screamed until she was out of breath, and had just started to draw in for another round, when she felt something moving up her face. Stringy bundles of pale sinew stretched up each side of her head and then inward to cover her mouth and neck. Her cries of terror were muffled under the knot of flesh that formed over the lower half of her face.
Her hands were entangled by more of the stringy pale flesh, and even the bed itself was nothing but a pulsing mound of red tissues into which she was half submerged. She could feel it moving all around her, sucking at her body and reaching more of itself around her all the time as though it meant to consume her. But the fingers of slippery muscle only held her, caressing and teasing her already excited nerves. She looked to her lap, and saw that what she had seen in her mind as Wendel’s loving hands, were nothing more than thick, flat tentacles of the red flesh, and his tongue yet another with a long smooth tip that continued to tease and lap at her gates.
And over it all was the eye, staring down at her in a way that made her want to hide herself. It was as though it were looking right into her, violating her with only its gaze. And for the first time, she heard it.
<such a delicious treat!> said a deep, gravely voice in her head. <so easily captured. surprising for an elf, you are usually more cunning.>
Tendrils of the lighter flesh curved in over her chest and swirled around her nipples, teasing and stroking them. Peleial groaned in rebellion under her mask of meat as she strained and twisted in her bonds against the rising sexual arousal.
<oh no, you can’t get away. you are mine to feast on, little elf. but don’t worry… i won’t damage your body in a literal sense. no… it’s your mind that i’m going to consume… your pleasure.>
She felt it pressing at her thoughts, snaking through her memories and emotions. It was pushing itself into her psyche, violating her in a way that left her feeling far more dirtied than had it merely raped her flesh. It was exposing her private inner self, wrapping it up in lust and lasciviousness.
<yes. that’s it… you feel me inside you. give in to it, elf. you can not resist…>
The long tongue slipped through her petals and slithered into her tunnel, undulating and pulsing in a way that was more like a large slug than a penis. It was also driving her quickly toward another orgasm.
<just as i penetrate your body, i also ravage your soul. i’m going to make you come she-elf, you are helpless to stop it. Over and over, and each time you will lose a little more of yourself to me…>
“Ughmmnn!! UGHN! UGHN! Nmmmm… UGHNNNNN!!” The demonic creature was right about making her come. With her body bound by the cords of sinew, there was nothing at all she could do to escape the building pressure of ecstasy that finally released in a great heaving wave from her lower torso. She bucked her hips uncontrollably for almost a full minute before the shock of the orgasm finally settled down, only to rekindle anew all over again as the tongue continued to slide slowly in and out of her tunnel.
<there, see. and the next one will be even easier… and stronger.>
She was so tired. Her body was shaking with overuse and stimulation. The orgasms were draining her, and not just physically. She found she couldn’t concentrate. Her thoughts kept slipping back into the erotic. She couldn’t stop picturing herself with various lovers, recent and long past.
<its taking you, elf. soon you will be nothing but desire and lust and pleasure. you will want nothing more than to come for me day and night. and i will keep you conscious and aware of your demise.>
<still you resist? you wish to speak? so be it…>
The cords of flesh at her mouth parted and slipped away.
“FUCK YOU! I’m not ever going to give in to you! Ughhn…AHH!”
<your body betrays you, even now. i can make it much harder you know…>
Suddenly, there was a pressure at her rear.
She couldn’t hold back the smaller tendril that gradually penetrated her sphincter and continued to move itself within her body until she felt it coiling through her innards. The sensations were strange and terribly arousing on their own, but when the whole length of the new appendage grew warm within her, and then released a thick slime all along its length… her body simply shifted directly into yet another powerful moment of bliss.
It was harder to come back to the present this time, and when she did, her whole body was soaked in sweat and slime. There were thin runnels of the dark essence cascading down on her from the fleshy ceiling above, and she was instantly reminded of her time under the same kind of evil shower back in the round room. In despair she realized that the creature had just filled her bowels with that same essence. Even as she was slowly covered from head to toe, she could already feel it working on her libido, breaking her from the inside out.
“Nooo… no no no… ughnn… AHH! mmmm… goddess h-help me!”
<there is no one to help you, little elf. you are alone, and it’s too late now. too late to save you. the essence is inside you… it’s only a matter of time.>
“…ahhh… no… I won’t… ughnn… give in!… UGHNN!”
<you continue to fight me… perhaps something more permanent will change your mind…>
“Wha… what are… ugmmm… you talking about?”
The tentacle that slowly pistoned in and out of hers sex lifted, and she could see that it actually originated in the ceiling above her. Even as she watched, a bulge appeared in the tentacle, slowly making its way downward. Peleial’s eyes widened and she shook her head back and forth in denial when she realized what it was.
<yes. it is my seed. in a few moments it will be inserted into your womb, and your days as a surface dweller will be over.>
“NOO!! HELP!! Ughnnn!! AHH! Stop, p-please!…”
The bulge came ever closer, and the elf pulled frantically at her hands and feet, which seemed completely covered in the red flesh now. She could not escape. She was about to be impregnated, and all she could do was lay there and watch. Whimpering, she felt a pressure at her sex, and in a panic, clenched her pelvic muscles hard. The seed, for the moment, moved no further, though she could feel the constant pressure increasing.
<let it in… let it take you… come for me, little elf…>
Suddenly there was a new touch at her apex, as a dozen thin tendrils of pale flesh reached up and added to her stimulation. Some teased her vulva and pubic mound, while still others swirled in around her clit. It was going to make her orgasm again, and when it did, her muscles would never be able to hold back the seed, which would slip inside and into her womb.
“AHHH!! NOO!! AHHH! UGHNN! I… I… Nooo.. AHHH!”
She could feel the tension building in her middle, the queasy sensation right before her moment, and her hips started to rock on their own. She was losing control. She was going to come…
Pain lanced through her head, stunning her. But it wasn’t enough to quell her ecstasy, and she arched her back up while the monumental pleasure gripped her and pushed her right into unconsciousness.
When she awakened, her body was still shaking. At first, she saw the robes and thought that it was Wendel, but it was Taya kneeling over her.
“Just ride it out, girl…” she said, smiling. “Fight it. I know you can do it.”
She gasped and clutched at the woman until the worst of her trembling finally slowed several minutes later. Panting, she understood that her hands and feet were free again.
“The seed!” she gasped.
“Destroyed. It didn’t go inside,” she replied.
Peleial visibly relaxed.
“See for yourself,” answered the Lieutenant, moving aside. The elf didn’t want to look up at that terrible eye, but she no longer felt the other’s presence in her mind. Screwing up her courage, she saw the eye was dark and motionless. It also had Taya’s spear sticking out of it.
She giggled in relief.
“Go for the eyes, right?” Taya smiled knowingly at her. “Learned that trick from a friend. Let’s grab your skirt and my weapon, and get the hell out of here, shall we?”
Peleial reached over and hugged the human female, wrapping her arms around the woman.
“Thank you,” she said, tears rolling down her face.
Taya didn’t know how to respond. “Uh, hey, I owed you, and then some, right? I’m just glad I got here in time.”
The elf sniffed and nodded, aware of just how close she had come to her end. She was also suddenly aware of Taya herself. With her arms wrapped around her waist under the robes, she was acutely cognizant of the human’s well toned curves. Almost unconsciously, she slid her hands up the woman’s back.
The warrior felt so safe… so warm. She moved her hands around to the Lieutenant’s belly, stroking her softly. To her surprise, she felt the woman shudder.
“Peleial! Snap out of it!” she said a bit louder than was necessary. She also pushed her hands away and stood.
Blinking, the elf blushed.
“Oh god… I’m so sorry, Taya. I… I still feel so aroused. That thing… injected something in my ass. More of the essence I think. It’s really messing with my head.”
A look of recognition crossed Taya’s also very flushed face. “Yeah, I know how that feels. Sorry. I think we better find Wendel before it drives you out of control.”
Wendel actually found them a short time later. It started with Peleial noticing a note of paper affixed to a wall.
If you find this, STAY THERE for as long as you can. I will come to you.
Right on cue, ten minutes later, the wizard stepped around the corner with Lawen right behind him.
“Outstanding,” he commented, and then saw that Peleial was shaking.
“She had a run-in with a rather nasty illusionist,” explained Taya. “Nearly got impregnated. It’s dead, but it filled her bum with more of that dark essence stuff I think.”
He nodded and rummaged through his bag. Finding the small bottle, he performed the quick ritual and clapped again. The elf gasped, and then let out all her breath in a great heave of relief.
“Better?” he asked.
“Not exactly how I wanted to scratch that itch,” she replied, looking up at him, “but miles better. Thanks.”
Taya was smiling. “The note was a good idea, but how did it work?”
“That hall we found with all those low walls… That’s a clever little trap to separate us. It worked too. It’s designed to somewhat randomly dump you into one of eight different passages. I knew if I kept going back through it, I would eventually get the right one, but I had to find you all first. The easiest way was to come to you, thus the note.”
“Damn,” commented Lawen.
“Indeed. I believe that I can beat it now, but I will need the rope.”
A short time later, they had all passed successfully through the tricky pass, and were standing in the blue-walled chamber.
Taya was the last out of the maze. “So what’s this then? More puzzles?”
Wendel was crouched down at the edge of what looked like a pool of water. He was staring at the far side of the pool, about ten meters away.
“There’s a puzzle here for sure, but the prize is in sight, look.” He pointed across the pool to a large flat dais that was dimly illuminated by more of the amber lights. Sitting in the middle of the platform, was what was unmistakably a large marble penis covered in carved writing.
Peleial laughed. “THAT’S the rune stone?! Well of course it is… It’s perfect!”
Lawen wasn’t so humored. “Just like Volscork to make the Charding look like a massive dildo.”
“Uh…” began Wendel. “I’m afraid it’s not just for looks.”
All three of the females looked at him like he was insane.
“I understood the full meaning of the rituals I studied as soon as I caught a glimpse of it,” continued the wizard. “I also realized why the rumors about it only being obtainable by a female were actually true.”
“Wait…” said Peleial. “Are you saying that in order to activate the Charding stone, you have to… use that thing?!”
“That is correct, or more specifically, have an orgasm while the stone is within you.”
Lawen just guffawed. “Well, it looks like I’m fuck out of luck. There’s no way I could take that monster.”
“I like ‘em big, but that’s a touch out of my league,” said Peleial, who glanced at Wendel and blushed.
All three turned and looked at Taya.
“What? Wait… no… NO! You can’t be serious?!” she stated loudly.
“The effect will apply to anyone that is in direct contact with the operator, but…I do believe you’re the only one who can do this, Taya. I’m am sorry. I didn’t know.”
“Couldn’t we just get the damn thing and take it back out the way we came?” asked the warrior, looking a little nervious.
“Volscork specifically designed this place to be difficult to leave. He knew that others would figure out that they could use the Charding stone to escape, so he put a limitation on it making it only applicable to females. Then, he purposely filled his dungeon with creatures bred to foil those females. It’s quite the effective defense, actually.”
“Well, fuck,” she exclaimed, resigned. “So all we have to do is get it and… and we can get the hell out of here?”
“Uh, that would entail the other problem I discovered.” He then lifted his fist and leaned over the liquid a few feet.
Lawen caught on first. “There’s a wall there. An invisible wall!”
“Yup. More than a wall, he confirmed. “The ceiling is lower almost all the way across. It comes down to just a foot or so above the surface.”
“So, we have to go through the water…” picked up Peleial. “That doesn’t sound good.”
“Water would be easy. Unfortunately, that’s not water.”
“What is it?” asked the warrior.
Wendel sighed. “It’s the source of the dark essence.”
Peleial was the first to speak again. “We can’t get through that! How are we going to get through that? I’ve been covered in that stuff twice now, and both times it nearly drove me insane! If we have to literally swim through a whole pool of that shit, we’ll never make it!”
“She’s right, Wendel,” said Taya, frowning. “I… I don’t know that I could stay in control of myself through another exposure.”
He took a deep breath. “I have an idea so that you might not have to. Lawen, could you hand me my bag please?”
Near the bottom of his pack, he found the small, round metal device and held it up so they could see.”
“Is that a clock?” asked Taya.
“In a way, yes. It is built the same as a timepiece, with many of the same functions. When I was told by your uncle where we were going, I knew right away that… distraction was going to be an issue. I had this little gizmo made for a previous expedition where it was crucial that I not fall asleep, and it seemed like a good fit for Volscork, so I brought it along.”
Peleial took it from his hand and played with the long straps. “What does it do?”
“You wind it up, and every twenty seconds or so, four tiny needles will poke from the bottom and… keep you focused.”
She handed it back to him. “How will this help us? Have you got more?”
“Only the one I’m afraid, but I have an idea for that too. He reached into his bag and withdrew a coiled rope.
“Oh no…” started Taya. “Seriously?!”
“I’ll need your spear as well. I assume you don’t want to leave it behind?”
“I’d rather leave you behind.” She grinned.
“Ouch. Okay, here’s how it will work…”
The plan was simple enough. Wendel would be the mule, carrying the others along through the pit while wearing the “focuser” like a belt around his waist with the device at his back. Everyone else would be tied up so that they couldn’t go crazy and do something that would likely end up with them all drowning in the goo. He originally thought of tying the girls to the spear trailing behind him, with Taya in the back, but such a configuration would be much too unstable. He needed them close so he could deal with any problems. Unfortunately, that meant tying them directly to his own body. He would put Taya behind him, to support most of her weight on his back. Lawen would be tied to Taya’s back, in the hope that she could help lift them out when they reached the far side. Peleial would be strapped to his front, facing him.
It wasn’t perfect, but a quick test before they hopped into the slime showed that they could move as a unit. The spear and his staff would be tied across Wendel’s back and serve as a good base to attach Taya’s and Peleial’s hands. Lawen’s were also tied on, but with her arms over top of Taya’s shoulders so that she couldn’t slip off and drown.
The only other complication was Wendel’s robes. It was quickly obvious that they would create far too much drag in the essence. He agreed to leave them behind with Taya’s shield, but that meant that Taya had to go topless, a feature that wasn’t lost on the Wizard. Getting sandwiched between Peleial and the half naked warrior was going to be distraction enough even without the thick evil amber.
“We leave everything else but the small bag I’m bringing with the constituents for a clearing charm. This either works, or we die trying. We won’t be coming back. Once we get to the other side, our main goal will be to cancel the effects of the essence, and then get Taya onto that rune stone. Does everyone understand?”
They all nodded.
“Taya, when you eh… I mean, when you use the stone to, um… get us out of here, just picture where you want us to go in your head. Think of someplace you know well and can see clearly. I have one more spell that I’m going to cast on myself, which is a standard short-term one for strength. I’ll pay for it for weeks physically, but that beats being dead by a long shot. Stand back.”
He made the appropriate configuration marks on the ground and then let the spell fly. It was an exhilarating experience. He knew he was stronger, but he was still the same visually. He then had them all tie in and made sure they were secure and couldn’t get out on their own. Everyone needed physical contact with Taya. Her breasts were pressed into his back, so he was certainly good (very good), and Lawen was draped over her. But he had to tie Paleial’s arms right on top of the Lieutenant’s to be sure she didn’t lose contact. He wasn’t about to leave anyone behind…
He was stuck in a devilish daydream where he simply decided to take advantage of the girl’s bound state and ravage them one by one, when his focuser activated for the first time. A sharp jab of pain hit him in the lower back, and he yelped and snapped back to reality.
“YIKES! Holy crap, I’d forgotten how much that thing hurts. Ready? Let’s go!”
Holding Peleial up under her rear, they made short steps toward the edge of the pool. The elf gasped sharply as her buttocks passed into the slippery clear essence, and behind him he could hear Taya softly cursing under her breath. He got a hard-on the moment his balls hit the surface.
“Whoa, Wendel… Down boy!” said the elf strapped to his chest.
“Shut up and hold still…” he grumbled. The wizard then had to crouch to keep her from hitting her head on the lower ceiling until he was deeper. When they were finally all up to their necks in the goo, he took a quick inventory to be sure everyone still had their head above the surface. Behind him, he heard Taya moan and then shudder. Her trembling pleasure was translated right to him through her breasts, and specifically her nipples, which he felt quite clearly now.
“Ughnn… Oh god, Wendel… please hurry… It’s much worse than b-before… ahhh!”
He could feel it too. As the source, the essence was at its purest, and strongest here. He had only taken a few slow steps before he realized their first problem. The evil gel wasn’t like water. It was actually closer to the consistency of honey, which meant walking through it was not only much more tiring, but far slower as well. The focuser hit him again.
Checking on Peleial, he saw that the elf was staring at him with her mouth open, panting.
“Um… Pel? You okay?”
He saw her eyelids flutter. Her thighs, which were basically wrapped around his hips, started to move against him.
“Oh shit…” Behind him, he could also feel Taya pulling at her bonds. This was not good. They had only gone a few meters and the dark essence was already pushing them into uncontrolled behavior. He trudged on, very much trying not to notice that Peleial was rubbing erotically against the bulge in his pants. He couldn’t see Lawen, but he doubted she was unaffected. A moment later he heard her panting as well, so at least her head was still above the surface.
They were about halfway across when Taya had her first orgasm. It had snuck up on her, and then hit hard enough to cause her to jerk her whole body, almost causing them all to fall over, an action that Wendel was pretty sure would be their end. She didn’t pass out, which was curious, but he reached back and gave her leg a pinch anyway, hoping that the pain might snap her back to reality. To his surprise, he found her thigh bare. What had happened to her pants? Lawen’s foot brushed his hand and he understood. The elf on her back must have used her own legs to push the trousers right off her hips. He gave her leg another pinch, but she only shivered against him. The sound of her gasping into ecstasy had been contagious, unfortunately, and just behind her, Lawen must have come as well, and a few seconds later it was Peleial’s turn. She was staring right at him when she peaked and cried out, a vision that probably would have made him lose his own load had the focuser not chosen that exact second to jab him in the back.
Peleial’s eyes widened, and he realized his poor choice of words too late. Suddenly, her thighs were clutching at him quite differently, and when he understood what she was trying to do, he redoubled his efforts to move through the slime. By shifting back and forth, she was slowly working his trousers off, just as Lawen had done to Taya.
He had only gone a few more steps when the warrior undulated her body against his back and then launched into a second orgasm. This time, unfortunately, she lifted her feet right off the ground in shocked ecstasy. The effect not only stopped his forward motion cold, but almost tipped them over backwards. At the last second, he managed to get his hands up out of the slime and wedged onto the invisible ceiling. He wasn’t tilting backwards any further, but when he didn’t hear either Taya or Lawen moaning anymore, he realized that their faces were under the surface. With a sudden sense of clarifying panic, he arched over forward. Behind him, the human and elf gasped for air, while each shivered almost constantly in arousal. When he glanced forward, he saw Peleial’s face just under a layer of slime.
He straightened and pushed up as far as he could to lift them all. Peleial came up orgasming, her pelvis trembling against his cock in a way that was seriously threatening to put him over the edge… where was that focuser?
He pushed on, watching as the elf in front of him lapped at the goo around her face, swallowing it as fast as she could. Like a drug, it had taken control of her, so that all she wanted was more. Her legs continued to work his pants off, and to his dismay, she succeeded. He had to keep his hands on the ceiling or risk them falling backwards again, so he was powerless to stop the garment from getting in the way and tangling his progress. Rather than fight it, he kicked them off and continued. Unfortunately, Peleial now had access to his manhood more directly.
It was actually watching the elf climb his body that he realized she was clear of the low ceiling. They were so close! If he could just get Taya to the dais, they had a real chance to escape the dungeon. He found the stairs leading up out of the pit, and leaned forward in order to keep the weight balanced… just as Peleial angled her pelvis to capture the tip of his penis.
He reached for her, but it was too late. She clutched her body against his, and the slippery ooze combined with the sudden weight out of the pool, drew her right down over him. The feel of his shaft pressing up into the very warm she-elf would have been more than enough to set him off, if his focuser had not gone off again at that very moment.
“YAAAAH!” he screamed in pain and pleasure. He rushed up the steps in a wave of adrenalin, his balls starting to tense under him.
“TAYA, TAKE US HOME!” he yelled to her as he turned around, took aim, and set the woman down right on top of the phallic rune stone.
He wasn’t even sure she was conscious when her thighs parted around the hard dildo, but she woke up real fast when it moved into her tunnel, slowly stretching her as their combined weight drove the massive dildo into her slick body. He felt her start to squirm and struggle on his back, torn between panic and absolute ecstasy.
Meanwhile, Peleial was bucking atop his member with all her strength. Her voice became a series of loud cries, as she, Taya, and Lawen all seemed to reach orgasm at the exact same time. And to his surprise, and unbounded relief, so did he.
The four adventurers hit the floor of the King’s Hall with a wet rush of slime, their bodies all still trembling in bliss. Wendel was the first to regain his composure, and started laughing as soon as he looked around. He reached up and pulled the loop in the rope that released the females attached to him, and then rolled onto his back, still panting. All around them were about a hundred people, all dressed in their finery. Taya had taken them back to the keep in the middle of a wedding.
When he had enough strength, he checked on the Lieutenant first. The Charding stone had slipped out of her, and was laying on the floor nearby. He carefully picked it up, and noted that it was still warm from her body.
“HOLY HELL!!” he yelped, and then ripped the focuser from his back, tossing it clear across the hall over the heads of stunned guests..
“Wendel?” called the king, tentatively, as he recognized the man who was standing naked in the middle of his cousin’s wedding ceremony.
“Your Majesty! Good news! I have brought you the item you requested. I present to you, the Charding rune stone…” He placed the still dripping dildo into the king’s hands with a wet plop and turned to walk away, then stopped. Turning back to the highborne, he said, “Oh, and I quit. Good luck with your new toy.”
Stunned, the king stared at the item in his hands in disbelief. “HA! You did it! I honestly didn’t think you would!… So, er, how does it work?”
Wendel grinned. “You figure it out. That wasn’t part of the deal. I have legally fulfilled my obligation to you and to my sect. I owe you nothing, and I certainly don’t want anything else from you.” He made a halfhearted bow, and went to check on the rest of his group.
Wendel knocked softly on the door to Taya’s room, the sounds of drunken mayhem downstairs still raging. The night was young, and the inn was happily crowded.
The door opened and the warrior stood there in a towel. Her hair was still wet from her bath.
“Hello, Taya. How are you feeling?”
She smiled. “Much better, thank you. I have never wanted to take a bath so much in my entire life.”
He laughed. “I… I was wondering if you considered my offer.”
Her face took on a somewhat pained expression. “I did, and I have decided that… I’m just not ready for a relationship with a wizard right now. I like you, and I think you’re an amazing friend, but…”
“But,” he accepted, sadly. “Perhaps it is for the best.”
“I’m sorry.” She leaned out the door and gave him a soft kiss on the forehead. “See you in the morning?”
“Yes of course. Good night… Taya. I hope you dream peacefully.”
“It might be a while before any of us get that,” she replied, her face frowning slightly. “Good night, Wendel.”
And she closed the door.
With a deep sigh, he let it go. Maybe it really was for the best.
“Red refused you, didn’t she?” said a familiar voice from just down the hall. Turning, he saw Peleial leaning out of her room. She too wore a towel, but she had yet to take her well earned bath.
“Age differences,” he said as means of an explanation.
She laughed. “Is that what she said? Well, you can believe that if you want, but that’s not why she didn’t want you in her bed.”
He was genuinely curious. “It’s not?”
“Nope. You never even had a chance, magic man.”
“Really, and why’s that?”
He blinked. “What? But…” He looked at her closed door, frowning. “How could you possibly know that?”
“Just after she rescued me from that room with the giant eye-ball, I gave her a hug. I was still pretty strongly under the influence of the dark essence, and I sort of gave her a little more than was friendly.”
“That doesn’t prove…”
“She reacted, Wendel. It wasn’t just that place, or the constant sexual arousal… She genuinely reacted to my touch. I felt it. I’m not often wrong about people, but in her case, I misconstrued her frustration about having to share you, with having to share us.”
He looked back to the door. “I’ll be dipped.”
“So… what are you going to do now?”
He turned back to the elf. “I have no idea. I really thought she and I… The innkeeper only had the two rooms.”
“I thought as much. Look, Lawen is downstairs getting completely plastered. If I know her, she’ll drink herself silly and pass out on one of the tables. Hell, I wouldn’t even be surprised if she ended up in Taya’s bed tonight. I know my sister is attracted to her, even if she doesn’t quite want to admit it yet. She’s done it before… I’ll end up sleeping by myself in this huge room, and frankly, I hate sleeping alone.”
He regarded her. “Is that so?”
“It is. So, why don’t you forget about the Lieutenant, come in here, and spend the night with me instead.” She put on a big grin.
Forty minutes later, he was relaxing in a warm bath, Peleial leaning against his chest.
“I still can’t believe her uncle is the fucking king,” said the elf. “Do you think he’ll come after you?”
“I doubt it,” he replied, enjoying the feel of her supple body under his hands. “He won’t risk pissing off the wizard’s guild.”
“I thought you quit your sect?”
He grinned at the thought. “Oh, I did. But quit or no, they don’t like people picking on their own, especially highborne. I fully filled my obligations to him. He has no legitimate grievance.”
“And so now you’re… free?”
He tweaked her nipple, enjoying the way she shivered.
“What are you getting at, vixen.”
“Why don’t you come to the Vale with Law and I? We pretty much lost everything when the Orcs attacked our caravan, so we’d be starting over, but you could certainly make a living there. Always good money for magic users.”
“Hmmm. Interesting idea…”
“Hell, bring Taya along. She resigned her commission, yes?”
He thought of the woman and what Peleial had said about her. “She did. She said she didn’t want to be around her uncle anymore. Can’t say I blame her.”
“So she has nowhere to go either. Let’s all go. We’ll find a place and piece out jobs for hire. She can be the muscle.”
He laughed. “And you? What’s your job?”
“I told you, I’m good with a bow. Really. Every group needs an archer. But I wouldn’t mind learning some magic as well. You could teach me.”
“Fascinating. I like it. I could use a good starting over… I’ll talk to Taya in the morning. I’m sure she’ll want to…”
“Not so fast, magic-man,” said Peleial, turning over. “You got these rooms for three days, yes?”
“Then we shouldn’t waste them.” She sat up and let her thighs slip to either side of his, her upper body displayed nicely before him.
“Money is the one resource I have aplenty,” he commented, pulling her closer. Even as his manhood slid sensuously through the folds of her sex, he let himself freely feel her desire. He knew it wasn’t dark magic that drew them together now. Just good clean lust.