The Knight and the Acolyte
Book Ten: The Flaming Woman
Chapter Eight: Differing Opinions
Acolyte Sophia – Despeir Mountains
I felt like my stomach had fallen out of my body. Lady Delilah was a dragon. A dragon.
And not any dragon, but Dominari. The dragon we had set out on a Quest to kill. The dragon who'd encouraged Angela to go down this road, who'd recruited allies to aid Angela on her quest, who'd watched us for afar and given my Queen her wonderful gift.
My hand rubbed at my belly through my robe.
And she was Dominari. The monster who'd depopulated Eastern Zeutch, burned cities, towns, and villages. Refugees had flooded west five hundred years ago, fleeing in terror from her wrath. Whole armies were consumed in her fires. Scores of mages had perished attempting to fight her. She had claimed her Desolation, and only the foolish dared challenge her.
But Dominari wasn't our enemy. She had proved that. She could have killed us easily at any time. We were at her mercy. Last night, Angela and I shared her bed. We writhed in passion with Lady Delilah. She could have ripped us apart. She could have burned us and eaten us.
But she didn't. She wanted to be Angela's. She yearned to be controlled, collared, kept from marauding.
And with her, Angela would be High Queen. I could see it now. Who could stand against us when we had the most powerful and dangerous monster in the world serving us. My nervousness transformed into exhilaration. A giddy euphoria had me swaying on the back of my horse. Finally, a woman would rule. No more following in Pater's example. Yes, Angela could grow a cock, giving her a dominating rod, but she was still woman.
After all, making love to the new Angela, or other hermaphrodites, hadn't broken my vow to Saphique. I still had my connection go my goddess. She was the patron of women. She would know what sex Angela possessed.
My head shot to my Queen. She sat astride her warhorse, face stony. But I could see it in her eyes. I knew her. We had changed so much these last six months, suffered through so many trials since we set out from Secare. We had grown so close, discovered truths about ourselves.
She dominated. I submitted.
And there was a dragon in need of dominating. A dragon who needed to submit, who needed what Angela could give her.
I smiled at my Queen, giving her such an encouraging nod. She didn't have to fulfill her Quest. Dominari wouldn't be a threat to the world if she served its ruler. Its rightful ruler. She was the High King's heir. All the lands from the Despeir Mountains west were hers. Zeutch, Thosi, Thlin, Althos, Vanya, Secare, and the cities of the Nimborgoth. Hers by right of her blood.
She had to seize it.
Angela didn't respond to my look. She grit her teeth and slung down from her horse. “We need to />
I nodded, climbing down off my horse and unbelting my robe. I had spells to cast: weapons needed to be enchanted and everyone had to be warded with a divination spell. It would give at most a heartbeat's warning of danger, enough for us to react if we were paying attention to the magic.
I plunged my fingers into my pussy, groaning as I churned my flesh. Everyone dismounted around me, silent, my companions all deep in thought at the revelation. I shuddered, closing my eyes and imagining Angela as queen.
I pictured her sitting regally upon her throne, wearing a gown of sky-blue and adorned with sapphires. A silver crown set in her flaming curls glinting with her majesty. Upon her shoulders draped a purple cape trimmed in ermine. And at her side knelt Lady Delilah and myself, collars about our throats, the chains held in Angela's hands. Her slaves and concubines.
I hissed, my fingers churning my pussy to a froth. My flesh clenched down on my digits as I prepared myself for the divination spell. “It will be />
My head leaned back, my eyes still firmly shut as I lost myself to my fantasy. Before her entire court, I pressed my head between Angela's legs. Her tangy musk filled my nose as I kissed down her sleek thighs.
Worship me, she moaned in my imagination. Show the world the obedience due me.
“Yes, my Queen,” I gasped, the heel of my hand grinding on my clit. My pussy clenched about my digits, my pleasure growing swiftly.
I licked through her pussy in my imagination, reaching her clit, teasing it, coaxing out her girl-dick. It swelled over my head, growing longer and longer while I tongued her snatch. She moaned and squirmed, everyone watching gasping in shock and desire.
Witnessing the mighty prowess of their Queen.
I sucked on her cock, my fingers plunging not into my pussy, but hers. I fingered her faster and faster, sucking so hard, my tongue swirling about her dick's crown. Her salty precum filled my mouth, making me tremble with excitement.
Euphoria swelled. My toes curled in my shoes. I moaned out my pleasure as it exploded through me. My pussy spasmed about my fingers. My clit ached beneath my grinding hand. My body trembled, my voice echoing through the mountain pass.
And I almost forgot to cast the spell.
“Saphique, I pray to protect us from danger, to give us a glimpse of peril to cum,” I chanted, the magic sparking out of my pussy along with my orgasmic delight. My eyes fluttered. I glanced out at my companions, all watching me in silence. “Gather before me,” I said, shuddering through my orgasm. />
They did, pressing around me, kneeling to receive Saphique's blessing.
My milk filled my breasts when the energy reached them. My nipples ached and throbbed. I pulled my fingers from my pussy, smearing my cream across my tits. My body shuddered, the milk swelling my breasts, beading at my nipples.
It had to cum out.
I grabbed my tits, squeezing as I moaned: “Grant those foresight whom are anointed with your love and protection, my virgin />
Milk squirted from my nipples, spraying out across my friends. I groaned, rivulets running down my fingers and belly, anointing me as I coated them. It fell like white rain across their faces, Minx grinning as she held her tongue out before her, Thrak stoic as it drizzled across his swarthy and pierced features.
Angela made no reaction at all, her face stony, still wrestling with her thoughts.
it?” Chaun asked, my white milk standing out on his ebony skin. “We can see the future?”
Sophia said. “Pay attention. It'll be a tingle. You won't have much warning though. But it's better than nothing. To do more, I would need more priestesses to work a ritual.”
“It'll be enough,” Angela said, rising, my milk running down her armor.
My fingers were coated in breast milk. “Thrak, your ax.”
I hoped Angela would make the right decision as I enchanted the orc's weapon. It glowed pink with danger. If the dragon's scales were hardened by magic, then my enchantment would let his weapon bite through. Then I anointed Minx's daggers and Xera's arrows.
Angela's sword needed no such enchantment. Magic burned in the blade far stronger than anything I could cast.
A chill shivered through my flesh as Aurora let out a deep breath. “There. Warded.”
Minx giggled, flexing her fingers. “And I feel all muggy.” The halfling squirmed.
the water elemental,” Aurora said, gripping her totem. “There is a thin layer of water over each of you.”
I shifted, feeling like my boots were soggy and my armor wet. I said, my stomach twisting as I looked up the small trail Lady ridden. I still could not believe that she was the dragon. I had known her since I was a girl. She was my first crush. And last night…
And now she wanted me to stop her from being a monster.
“So,” Minx asked, flipping her enchanted dagger, the pink hue blurring as it spun in the air. She caught her blade. the choice, Angela? Kill or />
Xera said without hesitation, a fierce hatred shooting across her face. “She's a monster.”
Xera was a hunter for her people. She spent her life patrolling the Deorc Forest for any monsters that had wandered out of the Rheyn Mountains to the north. We had met her hunting a basilisk.
“Kill her!” gasped Minx in shock.
“Look at what she's done.” The elf's naked breasts, glistening with moisture, swayed as she pointed down the pass towards the brown lands of the Desolation. “She has burned everything green for miles upon miles. She has razed entire cities. She is a pestilence upon the world. The poor people of Zeutch have suffered for generations. That is why we're here. To slay her.”
“But the wealth and glory, Xera,” Minx protested, her sapphire eyes so wide. “Think about it. We'll be the High Queen's most trusted servants. Angela will reward us with gold, titles, positions of authority, whatever we want.” Minx's head shot to me. />
“I guess,” I said, my mouth dry. Did I want that? To rule? The sword hummed in its sheath at my side, almost demanding that I make that choice. But was it something I wanted? Did I want to be queen of the known world?
I could make it peaceful. No more wars between Secare or Valya, or between the Princedoms in Zeutch. I could help Althos deal with the Tribes of Ilt, and pacify the orcs and make them civilized. The desert nomads would not have to live lives of banditry. I could even free the humans enslaved by the rakshasas in the Queendom of Naith and destroy the foul Shizhuth Empire on the other side of the mountains.
“You would spare this monster, Minx?” Xera said, her aghast shock drawing me out of my thoughts. “After what she's done? It's />
Xera was right, too. But it wasn't just Dominari we'd kill. It was Lady Delilah. There was such pain in her voice. She didn't want to be a monster. She didn't want to pillage the world.
“I agree,” Faoril said. “Dominari is dangerous. Could Angela actually keep her under control? We have a chance to kill her, we />
“Of course Angela can keep Dominari under control!” Sophia exclaimed, cutting off the mage. “My Queen is strong, and Lady Delilah wants to submit.” Her hands clutched at her belly through her now closed robes. “You weren't in our tent last night. I felt it. She yearns to be Angela's submissive, like me. She wants to serve. She just needs Angela to prove she is strong enough to earn that />
“Earn it?” Xera asked.
“Submission is such a huge thing to give,” Sophia said, her words heated with her passion and love for me. Her words were so touching. “It is not something to be given lightly. You have to trust your Queen implicitly. You have to know she won't hurt you. That she will give you what you need. It's so scary taking that step. But it's also amazing. />
Thrak grunted, nodding his head in agreement. He would know. He had Captain Thyrna as his submissive.
“And this is Angela's destiny,” Sophia continued. what the Lesbius Oracle told us. It never said we were here to kill Dominari. The prophecy said that the Flaming Woman would change Angela's destiny. And she is. She's giving Angela what she needs to rebuild her ancestor's empire. To restore the High Kingdom of Hamilten and bring peace to the world.”
Xera asked. “That makes it right to spare the />
Sophia and Minx said at the exact same moment.
“Think of the wealth,” Minx pleaded to her elven lover.
“Gold is dross.” Xera's ears twitched. “I know you have a fascination with it, but it has only the value we give it. There is nothing intrinsic about it. In the forest, we have no use for coins. Elves all work together to better />
“Well, the rest of us need gold,” Minx said.
“And lets not forget we're all fugitives,” Sophia continued, glancing at me. “We have bounties on our head. Killing Dominari won't change that, my Queen.”
I bit my lip, guilt swirling through me. I had led my companions to this, forced them to commit crimes to aid me in my quest. I could make everything right if I dominated Dominari. I could restore the lives stolen from my friends.
be a Master Mage, Faoril,” Sophia continued, glancing at the mage. “Isn't that />
Faoril said, her face paling. “It…would be.”
The mage bit her lip, brow furrowing in thought.
My stomach twisted. I was here on a Quest. I was given a sacred duty. But… My hand moved down, grasping the hilt of my sword, squeezing it. The power surged through me. The power to rule, to dominate, to set everything to right.
“Please, my Queen,” Sophia said, fixing her eyes back on mine. Her green depths swam with emotion. “Do this. For me. For your friends. For the world. And for her. For Lady Delilah. She wants to be yours. She hates what she is.”
I wanted to say yes. “I am here to kill her. It is my Quest.”
Anger flared through Sophia. not a knight anymore, my Queen. Your order stripped you from their ranks for doing what was right. They sent you on this mission, gave you no support, and then spit upon your methods. They sent your own brothers and sisters knights to arrest you. You don't have to do this. You do not have to finish your Quest for them, my Queen.”
“I am a knight!” The words burst from my throat. “Whether my order says so or not. I am in my heart. I swore oaths to protect the kingdoms of men.”
“Then protect them under your rule.” She fell to her knees before me. “Be their Queen. Like you're mine.”
“No,” Xera said, shaking her head. “This is not right. Your oaths aside, Angela, the crimes of Dominari are too great to ever be forgiven. They must be avenged. How many died when she razed the ground behind us? When she burned those ruined cities out there on the plain? How many innocents perished because of her?”
“That was five hundred years ago,” Sophia said, gaining her feet.
“Yeah, who cares,” Minx added.
“Crimes can be scrubbed,” Chaun said, leaning against a boulder. He held his lyre in his arms and idly plucked a note. It rang through the air, cutting through the argument. “The right tale can redeem any monster. Any story told in the right way can make any tyrant appear a saint. Sympathy is what we need, and that can be />
Aurora gasped, her face wide with horror, her sapphire eyes glistening. She shook her head at her husband, her sky-blue hair waving about her delicate features. “You can't say that. She's evil. We can't make her seem good.”
“We absolutely can,” he answered his wife. “You heard her pain. You heard the grief she suffers warring with her nature. Dominari is conflicted. She doesn't want to do the horrible things she's committed. It's something in her that drives her to do harm. That she struggles to control and A huge smile crossed his lips. “What an epic it will make. A tale that will have lords and peasants alike crying at the tragedy of her life.”
Aurora's voice faltered. “How can you make burning cities tragic for her? To make the people of Zeutch forgive her?”
“See, Angela,” Xera pressed. “We can't do this.”
“Oh, it would be easy,” Chaun said, plucking another note on his lyre. “Are you not convinced of her pain already? It is such a story.”
Aurora licked her lips. “She did />
“She's not a monster,” Sophia added. “She's just did some bad things. Like we had to in the Doge's Palace.”
“Stealing a few things and taking a man hostage is not the same thing as burning cities,” Xera objected.
“It's all a matter of Chaun continued, glancing at me. “When we set out on this Quest, we all believed Dominari was evil. That she was dangerous. That she had to be destroyed for the world's own good. None of us doubted that, right?”
I nodded my head with the others.
Faoril said. She shifted, glancing up the trail. “She did sound so…conflicted. She begged us to come stop her. And if taming her achieves the same results as killing her…”
I closed my eyes. Why did this have to be so hard? It was so easy before. When Dominari was evil. She had to be destroyed. She wasn't supposed to be so soft and gentle. She wasn't supposed to love with such passion. She wasn't supposed to speak with such ragged horror at what she had done. What should I do? What is the right thing here? Kill her and then we spend our lives as fugitives dodging bounty hunters?
Or do I tame her and use her to conquer the world? To make it better.
“What do you think, Thrak?” Faoril asked, her voice cracking.
I glanced at the orc. He had been silent the entire time, watching from the edge. He leaned on his greataxe, the crescent-moon blades glowing pink. His face was stony, his brow furrowed, the piercings twitching in his eyebrows.
I trembled, waiting for him to speak. I respected the orc greatly. He had a piercing intellect. He was patient. He didn't make rash decisions when he wasn't consumed with his rage. He had studied philosophy, ethics. Sophia, Chaun, and Minx wanted one thing, Xera and Aurora the other. And poor Faoril had no idea what to do.
I stared at him, pleading with my eyes.
He stared back. “I trust you, Angela,” he said, his voice rumbling. He swept his gaze over the party. “She will make the right decision. And we will support her. We have come this far united. We will not fracture over this. Whether she kills or dominates the dragon, we are with her. Right?”
“Of course,” Sophia said.
Chaun strummed his lyre. “Either way, it will make a tale worth />
Aurora nodded her head and Minx sighed. “Yes, even if we don't get any />
Faoril took a deep breath, her worry falling off of her.
Xera said. “Even if you feel you must spare her, Angela.”
“Thank you,” I said to my friends as I looked around. I could see it in their faces. They trusted me to make the right decision. They would follow me up there and support me no matter what.
I had never felt more loved in my life.
And never felt more lost.
I had no idea what the right decision was.
Tears glistened in Angela's eyes as she stared at us. I plucked another note on my lyre as I studied my companions. The conflict still simmered. We all had our opinions, our reasons to spare or kill the dragon. It weighed on us. And on Angela.
So much had been put on her shoulders. What must she have felt when she stood in the Temple of the Pure, surrounded by the priestesses and acolytes of Saphique, when she received her Quest. When it had been pulled at random out of the chest, one of a hundred or more possibilities.
And one that knight-errants of all three orders had perished attempting for generations.
The fear that must have hit her. But she found the courage to do it. The courage from Lady Delilah's support, her belief. From the woman she respected. The woman who had guided her into being a knight.
The woman she now contemplated killing.
No matter her decision, she couldn't face Dominari looking so conflicted, so dejected. She needed to be heartened. She needed to have hope, to have her spirits lifted. We all did. The Minotaur almost crushed us, and what we faced today would be far deadlier.
My fingers ran along my lyre, the cords trilling through the air. Courages and victorious notes echoed through the pass as I lifted my voice in song. I sent my music out to my companions, wrapping them in stirring passion, getting their hearts racing, their blood pumping, lifting their spirits, giving them the strength to face what was coming.
Aurora lifted her head first, a smile on her lips as her sapphire eyes met mine. She understood what I was doing. This was the only way I could contribute to the group. I didn't have strength of arms or arcane knowledge to fight the dragon. I could only keep our spirits from flagging.
I would be hope as we walked into the darkness.
My other companions straightened their backs, lifting their heads. Angela's indecision fell away, replaced by determination. I focused on her, reminding her of the grit that kept her going on this Quest when all appeared lost. The strength of will to face obstacle after obstacle to reach this position.
No matter what she chose, she would make her decision with her head raised high.
Angela drew the High King's sword. I shivered from the energy radiating off the place. Power hummed in it, shining brighter than the white light wreathing the blade. She turned, pointing up the trail.
“It is time,” Angela said, confidence in her voice. Whether or not she had made her decision, she was prepared. “We are ready. Together, the eight of us have faced so much. We have overcome so many dangerous. Together. And together, we are going to march up to the cave and face Dominari.
“I am so blessed to have you all. When I set out on my Quest, I had no ideas the friends I would make.”
“How you would touch our lives and drag us out of darkness,” Thrak rumbled.
“Or boring Minx said, flipping her dagger and grinning.
“You brought us together,” Aurora said, smiling at me, her hands rubbing her stomach. “And I know together we'll walk back down this path. No matter what happens up there.”
Faoril said, taking a deep breath.
breathed Sophia, her face shining as she stared at Angela.
A tear fell down Angela's cheek as she smiled. It was radiant.
I added my voice to my husband's song as Angela turned and marched up the path, her chainmail loincloth swaying as it dangled between her thighs. Her boots rang and her armor clinked. Thrak joined her then Sophia. Chaun and I came next, Faoril and Minx behind us. Xera took the rear, her bow out and drawn, an enchanted arrow knocked and ready to fly.
I gripped my water and wind totems. My body buzzed. I felt the eight water elementals warding my companions and me. I summoned a pair of air elementals and water elementals each to fight with us. The air elementals danced in the air, vaguely in the shape of women, their forms rough outlines of swirling wind. The water elementals were larger and didn't so much as walk as flow up the trail on either side of me.
We were ready to face her. I kept singing with Chaun, my heart beating with hope and courage. We could kill Dominari, or we could help Angela dominate her. Either way, I knew we would triumph. No fear beat in my heart because of my husband.
He thought he didn't add much to the group, but his music was remarkable. To stir such passions in us with his voice and lyre. Before, I was terrified. I didn't feel equal to the task, but now I did. And that change of outlook felt so important.
The difference between us living and dying.
“Maybe we'll still get treasure if we kill her,” I said. Chaun and Aurora's music was so stirring I'd be skipping if we weren't climbing a steep trail. “I mean, dragons hoard gold, right, Faoril?”
“So legends say,” Faoril said. “Of course, dragons have been all but extinct for a thousands of years. Their lust for gold being their />
“And the ones that survive must just get stronger and stronger,” I mused, flipping my dagger. “Imagine all the gold Dominari must have collected. She pillaged the desolation. There must be whole cities worth of treasure in that cave.”
“More gold than you can carry,” Xera said.
“But I'll know where it is. I can come back for it.” I turned and grinned at my elf. not still mad?”
“Of course not,” Xera smiled. “I do not begrudge your fascination with gold and wealth. It is, in fact, an endearing thing about you. Your passion for />
I shivered. “Oh, Xera, either way, we'll have a harem of hermaphrodites and live in a huge palace. And your wife can be a part of it, too. I won't be jealous. There's room for her in our life.”
“How magnanimous of you,” the elf said, amusement in her tone.
“I know you care for her,” I continued. I knew Xera didn't love her wife like she loved me, but maintaining her marriage was important to my elf. I could be accommodating for her desires. “Imagine the fun you can have with Atha and me.”
“I can't say Atharileeesia… blegh. It's too much. I can barely say Xerathalasia without biting my tongue. So Atha.”
is a beautiful name,” Xera said, amusement in her voice. “She would be so crushed if you couldn't say it.”
“Fine, I'll practice,” I told her, rubbing my hands together. Either way, we would all be so rich after today. And I would get to share it with my Xera.
I stared at Angela as she led us up the path. I kept wanting to rush forward and demand that she dominate Dominari. It was so unlike me. I already went so far earlier, practically telling her what to do.. I couldn't press it any longer. But she had to do this. Dominating the dragon was the right decision to make.
She just had to believe it.
But it was so hard not rushing forward and arguing with Angela to make the right decision. She deserved to be a real queen. She had suffered so much to get the sword. We all had. It was only right that we used it to claim her birthright.
But I was her concubine. She was my Queen and I couldn't make demands on her. I had to let it be Angela's decision. Thrak was right. She would make the right one, and I had to respect it. Even if she made the wrong decision.
“Please, Saphique,” I whispered, “help my Queen make the right />
I trembled as I walked beside Minx, ignoring the halfling as she plotted how to spend a treasure she didn't even possess. I stared down at my red robes. Could I finally trade these in for the black? I had the skill to be a Master Mage.
I proved it when I reforged the sword.
And the only way I could achieve my dreams was for Angela to subjugate the Magery of Thosi. If she ruled my order, then she could demand they reinstate me. Wipe away my crime of assaulting Master Mage Yolun back in Raratha. I wouldn't have a bounty on my head.
I wouldn't be a warlock any longer.
So as horrible as it felt to let the monster who had sacked Weakot, Cheyvn, and Pethnol live, I wanted Angela to make that decision. I had dreamed of becoming a Master Mage for so long. If that bitch who claimed to be my friend could do it, then why not me? I was far better than Saoria. Angela could undo my stupid mistake in botching the preservation spell on the lemures' cum vials.
I closed my eyes, Chaun and Aurora's music working through me. I couldn't focus on this right now. We were about dangerous business. I needed to focus on what I was about to do. I had a belly full of Thrak's and Chaun's cum, sucked straight from their cocks, and plenty more vials clinking around in my pockets.
Fire magic would be useless against a dragon. And I doubt I could bind a creature as large as Dominari in air. Water magic was a possibility, but I would focus on life magic to disrupt her ability to move while using earth magic as lances to pierce through her thick hide.
Technically, I wasn't a Master Mage, but I had the skills, and I would prove it today.
Chaun's music made me eager for the fight. My rage seethed, ready to be unleashed upon Dominari. Today would be a contest unlike any other we had faced. It would be a battle to dwarf our fight with the Minotaur, and that had been exhilarating.
Every step brought us closer and closer. I stared up the winding trail, spotting a dark opening in the rocks, the entrance to her lair. I took deep breaths, gripping my greataxe in my right hand. I was ready for this fight no matter what Angela chose.
I had my preference, but it was Angela's Quest. Angela's destiny. Angela's decision. I was just here to help her see it through.
I glanced at my ax, grimaced. Why did Sophia's enchantment have to glow pink?
I let Minx's deion of the palace she wanted us to live in wash over me. She was indulging in her excitement. I knew she would come with me to my forest. Maybe she would build her palace on the edge in the lands of Thosi, Secare, or Valya. But I would dwell in the woods with my wife and daughter.
I didn't even know my daughter's name. I could only imagine what she'd look like, what it'd feel to hold her in my arms. Would it feel like cradling the bulb from the poor elf mutilated into that plant monstrosity by Vebrin? Would my daughter give me that same joy and hope for a better future?
I hoped so.
So I listened to Chaun's song. I let the hope fill me that I would live to see my daughter. That I would live to fulfill my promise and plant the bulb in the forest. I left her in a small hole, just in case. If I died, she could grow here in the mountains. It wouldn't be the same as planting her in the Deorc Forest among my fellow elves, but she would have a chance.
A chance. We had that. I had to embrace the hope that we'd survive. That I would have a life with Minx, my wife, and my daughter. Whether Angela made the right or wrong choice today, I had to believe there were better days to come.
I hoped to make my decision by the time we reached the cave.
As I faced the wide cave opening, a yawning mouth of darkness easily big enough for Dominari to fly in and out of in her dragon form, I took a deep breath. The unknown lay in there. Two different paths to walk. The noble path, fulfilling my Quest and spending my life as an outlaw. Or the selfish path, becoming High Queen, sparing Lady Delilah, giving my friends rewards instead of life of being hunted. Faoril a Master Mage, Chaun again a Court Bard, Sophia the luxurious life she'd always known, Minx all the wealth she could revel in, Aurora a safe place to live with her husband hatch her egg. Only Thrak and Xera didn't need me to make that choice. They had their people to return to, people who didn't care about what they did in Raratha.
Power. Wealth. Peace.
I turned around, staring down at the world. We were so high. The trail had led us up a peak that overlooked the pass. To my left, I could see the Desolation, a brown smear on the horizon that slowly grew green the farther west it went. To my left, the dark lands of the Shizhuthian Empire. I shuddered. So many humans and other races enslaved by the cruel nagas.
What to do?
Chaun's music stirred through me and I knew I would make the choice when I needed to. When it mattered. They all believed in me. And I had to believe in myself. I would make the right decision. I took a deep breath.
Like in the Labyrinth, Faoril sent a ball of light surging into the cave, reaching into the gloomy depths were sunlight could never reach. The tunnel ran maybe thirty feet before widening into a large gallery beneath the peak.
Minx groaned, almost feverish.
Gold glittered around the edge of the cave, great mounds of coins and stacks of bars. Other piles held gems and jewelry. The wealth of cities lay in the cave. My heart raced faster and faster. It made the Doge's Vault appear to hold only a few coppers and the Mirage Gardens loose change.
And standing in the middle of the cave was the Lady Delilah. She was naked and gorgeous, her beauty mature and lush, her fiery hair cascading about the face that had sparked my first orgasm. Memories of last night surged through me. My clit tingled, wanting to transform into a cock.
A cock given to me by this woman. This dragon.
How could I kill her? She waited for me to stop her from being a monster. She didn't want to kill and pillage. She warred against her very nature. I just had to seize her, make her my slave like I made Sophia, and the world would be protected.
And if I killed her, it would also be defended.
I marched forward with resolution I didn't feel. It was artificial, stirred by Chaun's song, but it gave me the courage to face the unknown, to give Lady Delilah one last chance to persuade me. Maybe she would tip me towards either dominating her or killing her. I was balanced so precariously.
Her horse neighed as we marched by, tethered outside the cave. And then we passed through the mammoth entrance, leaving daylight behind. It grew cooler as we moved inward, but not damp. It was a dry cave. Not surprising with a dragon living it it. Nor did it smell musty or unpleasant. There was no reek of rotting flesh or must of dry bones.
It had a fresh scent tinged with smoke.
Lady Delilah awaited us unconcerned. It was hard thinking about her as Dominari. Hard to join up the image of this beautiful, refined woman with the marauding monster who had burned Prince Gruber's army in a heartbeat.
“Have you made your decision?” Lady Delilah asked as we reached her.
I didn't answer, studying her. My companions spread out, Thrak going to the right, Xera to the left. Chaun, Faoril, and Aurora hanging back while Minx padded in Xera's direction, her knife in hand, her eyes fixed on the treasure.
Lady Delilah's eyes flicked across my companions as they moved to flank her. She did not appear concerned.
“Will you save me, Angela?” she asked, the pain rising in her voice.
“How? Will you kill me or dominate me?”
“I don't know.”
Lady Delilah nodded. “This is all King Edward's fault, isn't it? He gave that amulet to Fireeyes and made you doubt me. Even now, it eats at you.”
I shook my head. “I am on a Quest to slay you.”
“No, you're on a Quest to protect the world from me.”
“Not much of a I said.
“But enough of one that you can dominate her, my Queen,” Sophia said, standing a pace behind me and to my right.
She shouldn't be there. She should back up. But I didn't have the heart to tell her. She was next to me. Ready to support me.
Lady Delilah said, smiling and inclining her head at Sophia. “A distinction that should satisfy your oath. By dominating me, you are protecting the world from me. I won't burn any more cities.”
“Why did you?” I asked. “Why did you create the desolation? Why did you raze those cities?”
“I lost control,” she answered. “I meant to drive the people from the passes, to create a legend of a dangerous dragon so that one day the High King's descendant would quest to slay me. But it wasn't supposed to go so far. People weren't supposed to die. Not like they did. Not whole cities slain.” Tears spilled down her cheeks like diamonds. She held out her hands. “But then I breathed fire. I remembered the pleasure of flame. Of killing and marauding. Of eating bodies freshly cooked. Five centuries of repression, of self-denial, evaporated. I burned and burned and burned before I stopped myself.”
She shook as my stomach twisted.
“I managed to keep myself from burning the hordes of refugees fleeing from the cities I razed. Just.” More tears fell. “And, Gods, I almost lost control when I rescued you from Prince Gruber's army. But I had no choice. He had interfered, and you would not have prevailed. I ate all the soldiers. Their armor ran like honey through my jaws as I feasted.” She hugged herself, shaking more and more. “I need someone to control me, Angela. To unleash me when it is necessary. I can't stand hearing all their screams any longer. Please.” She took a step towards me. “Save me. Dominate me.”
“Then fall to your knees,” I told her, my stomach twisting. stopping you?”
“Me!” she raged, passion crossing her face for a moment, the rage that spit fire and roasted Prince Gruber's army twisted her beauty into something monstrous and ugly. “I will not serve someone weak. Only my oath to my husband has kept me from burning the world, Angela. And that oath grows weaker and weaker. You have arrived. I have waited for you, fought so hard to hold onto the control he gave me.
“For you. I have readied everything. For you. Please, Angela.” Such pain filled her eyes, the monstrous rage lost. “Please, dominate me. Subdue me to your will.”
I took a deep breath. What was better for the world? A single nation bringing peace or this monster forever destroyed?
“And is that the gold from those towns?” Xera asked, her voice ringing with disapproval. “Did you loot them after butchering their />
Lady Delilah took a deep breath. “No. What you see behind me is the Treasury of the High Kingdom of Hamilten, Angela's birthright. I preserved it when all collapsed. When my husband's vassals fell to warring to claim what should have passed to Lily but couldn't because of the human's stupid belief in the order of the universe. That silly notion that only a man can rule because the Father of All, Pater, is a man.” Delilah spat. “Lily could have kept her father's kingdom alive.
“And Angela is even as strong.” Lady Delilah pointed behind her. “Here is the wealth to finance your claim, to hirer the armies and win lords and ladies to your cause. Here is the might that will make you High Queen. The world is ready. The rulers are weak. And you are powerful.
“Make your choice, Angela!” she howled. “Will you accept your />
The Prophecy of the Lesbius Oracle rang in my head.
“Daughter of Lilies, beset by betrayals
Duty compels your darkness
A sword is needed. A sword reforged.
To embrace your destiny, the shattered blade must be whole,
Seek out the five holy shards scattered and lost.
Companions shall aid you, Daughter of Lilies
The Virgin Whore touched by no man,
The Quiet Stalker who moves unseen,
The Grieving Mage who commands the elements,
The Raging Warrior who mourns lost love,
The Seducing Bard who shall lose his heart,
The Silent Thief who steals more than gold,
The Nameless Shaman who shall find her heart,
The Flaming Woman who changes your destiny,
Wield the Hero's Blade, Daughter of Lilies.
In the Dragon's lair,
Truth shall slay Betrayal's Lies.”
The Lesbius Oracle told me to reforge the sword for my destiny. And that the Flaming Woman would change it. I had followed the Oracle's words this far, gathering my companions, and as I reflected on the words, I realized that nothing in them said I would kill the dragon. Only that I would find my destiny.
And was my destiny to be an outlaw? A knave? To wander hunted with Sophia? What life was that for my concubine? She didn't deserve that. She was only here because her church ordered her. She didn't volunteer like all my other companions.
The woman I loved was chained to my Quest. What did I owe that sacrifice?
I owed it much.
My spine tingled and my stomach roiled as I took my breath. And made my choice. I would trust the Lesbius Oracle's words. I would have faith that my destiny was to be High Queen. For Sophia and for the world.
I opened my mouth to speak when Sophia screamed in warning.
I trembled beside my Queen, watching her spine stiffened. She had made her decision. And I knew it was the right one. I knew my Queen would dominate the dragon. Such joy suffused me even as my spine tingled and my stomach roiled and…
My eyes widened. Danger. My Goddess's spell reacting.
I screamed and leaped at her, my head snapping to my left, staring at the entrance of the cave mouth.
Through the sunlight spilling in the entrance, a shadow soared. Feathered wings beat. A pegasus rushed down the tunnel impossibly fast. A man rode upon it, a crown upon his brow, his face twisted in anger as he swung his sword.
Everything moved so slow. I floated to Angela, my heart thudding in terror.
An arrow hissed, flaring pink as it streaked from Xera's bow. It hit the pegasus in the neck. The beast screamed in pain. But the momentum was too great. Even as it crashed to the ground, it carried its rider towards Angela.
I slammed into her armored back. My Queen gasped, stumbling forward as the sword hissed down at her back.
And bit into my side.
A cold chill filled me as the force of the blow swept me off my feet. The blade buried deep into my side, cutting almost to my navel. I hit the ground, rolling, crimson soaking my robes as I came to a rest on my back.
The pegasus crashed to the ground beyond her, the man leaping off with a nimble dexterity he shouldn't possess. He landed, his sword stained with my blood. I tried to speak, but a cold gripped me, radiating from my wound.
Angela screamed my name.
My anguish cry burst from my throat as Sophia's life bled out of her. It pooled across the stony ground. Her robes soaked up her blood like dry ground soaked up fresh rain. Her eyes fluttered closed as a cold rage filled me.
I turned to her attacker. Too much anger consumed me to be shocked by the sight of King Edward of Secare standing before me, his blood-stained blade raised high to slash down and kill me.
Everything vanished from my awareness but the man before me. I swung the High King's sword and screamed my vengeance. I would butcher this man. He killed her.
He killed my Sophia!
The High King sword exploded with blinding radiance. Edward faltered, flinching before the cold light of vengeance. The power of my blade crashed into his puny weapon. Metal shattered. Shards of the bastard's blade tumbled through the air as the High King's sword slashed down.
And cut him in half from his shoulder to his hip.
A bird alighted by Sophia's bleeding corpse. Aurora appeared out of a shimmer of feathers as King Edward's body fell backward in two halves, shock frozen in his eyes. And horror. Then his halves hit the stony ground with two meaty thunks.
Aurora cried, pouring a healing potion into Sophia's mouth as I stood over the dead king.
“Just like the Sekar Oracle promised him,” Lady Delilah said. “Vengeance compelled his death. He died on the High King's sword.”
Her words passed through me as I stared at Sophia. Maybe she wasn't dead. Maybe there was hope that she would—
a feminine voice spoke as white fire burned from the puddle of the dead king's blood. The fire crackled, burning bright, driving me back with its brilliance.
A figure arouse in the flames, curvy and busty, the perfection of motherhood and womanly wiles. I trembled as Lady Delilah hissed, />
“Witness the truth of your betrayal, Angela the Goddess Slata said, her voice reverberating through the cave.
Through my soul.
To be continued…
story by: mypenname3000
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