A little while later, with the sun full in the sky, your group departs down the path toward Cair. The path was a nice, sunny little patch of swampland which dangerous monsters were said to live. You question why Blake neglected to mention this during the planning. He didn’t think it would be an issue. You smacked him upside the head.
Well shit, time for swamp trip you guess. You wouldn’t quite reach the swamp until tomorrow, but you should still be on your guard as you trundle down the path today and set up camp for tonight. But hey, you had a big, cozy wagon this time with only two ladies slightly angry at you.
Tabitha was good with you though because she adored her clothing, even though she adopted her cool attitude around the others, but you could tell that she really liked the warmth. That’s what that sideways glare meant, right? Right.
So again, you’re on your way with your party in your wonderful covered wagon and plenty of time before you get attacked, because deep down you knew it was going to happen. It always fucking happens.
Like this solitary figure on the side of the road. They were just standing there, with a funny little leaf on their head and…
Fuck it’s a Danuki.
Faster than a speeding Harpy, you dash to the front of the wagon and push Hala out of the seat next to Blake, who just stares at you, bewildered.
“That.” You hiss out, pointing at the Danuki. “Do not stop for that, do not exchange words, do not LOOK at its eyes, just keep driving.”
“Wizard, she’s just a Danuki…”
“Just a Danu..?!” You blurt out before covering your face in shame. Oh these poor fucking normalfag knew nothing.
“In the immortal words of Benny, ‘Danuki slayer’ Garritine,” you say, taking a quick breath, “Around Danuki, shit gets spooky.”
“That’s surprisingly intolerant of you, Wizard.” Says Blake, before he seems to consider. “Actually no, no this is perfectly in character for you, continue.”
“Look, just keep driving, we don’t want anything to do with this, okay?”
About this point the Danuki seems to notice you and she waves her arm before standing there, adjusting a pack on her back. When you get close, you dare give her a glance and notice that she kind of looks a little worse for wear.
She was about average height and wore the traditional loose eastern style clothing of a Danuki, her furry legs and banded tail matted down in a layer of dried mud. Her leaf was intact on her head although it too had a coating of sludge upon it, as well as all over her short brown hair.In fact, mud was kind of everywhere on her, and despite her hooded eyes doing their best to keep themselves sharp and focused you could tell she was horrifically weary as she readjusted her pack.
She smiles at your wagon as it passes by and you get real close to Blake, hissing a light rendition of the [irate frog song] which sounds much like your hissing in his ear. He just glares at you as you pass by, but he still stops the cart. Your eyes go wide and you make pleading gestures before he waves towards her, forcing you to put your head in your hands.
Fucking normalfag man.
“Hail fair travelers!’ Says the Danuki cheerfully as she walks up to your cart.
“A good day to you too fair Danuki, what brings a fine merchant such as you this way?” Asks Blake, his smile shining in the midday sky.
“Harmony” you think, clutching the staff. “We may need to gas us a Danuki. I need to know you’re with me on this one.”
“Uhm.” Harmony sends, clearly confused. “What?”
“Harmony, we have to do this, for the good of everyone, I NEED you on board with me here.”
“You’re the best.” You send looking back at the monster.
“What?” Send back Harmony, still confused as hell.
The Danuki chuckles and blushes, an obvious ploy. “Oh such a charmer! Ah, alas, I am a traveling merchant who has come to some misfortune in the swamps ahead.”
You peer out from behind Blake and she looks at you oddly before continuing.
“I had lost a cargo shipment there where I was attacked by some unsealy monsters in the murk. Sadly I lost sight of the human crew I had with me as I fled.” She waves a hand at herself.
“See? Seeeeeeee?” You hiss towards Blake. “Can’t be trusted, not a single one of them. Let’s just gas her and go.”
Blake ignores you as he replies, “I see. That is unfortunate, what kind of monsters did you see?”
“Aha, well, I didn’t get a good look, but I believe they were some form of Crocodile girl? Truly, I am blessed by the gods to have survived.”
“Thank you for the warning, we will be vigilant.” Says Blake.
“Aha… Yes, yes, a warning.” The Danuki says as she brings her hands up together and begins dry rubbing, “I did however, also wonder if you were interested in a…”
She stops as you flip a copper coin sailing through the air behind her, the distinctive sound of coinage being flipped causing her raccoon ears to pinpoint the sound and track it as her eyes followed it for some distance before she shook herself and continued speaking with Blake.
“A…anyway, interested in a possible business venture? You see, I am quite interested in having those good returned, and I would be willing to pay a sum for such a feat?”
Blake seems to consider this as you whisper in his ear, “don’t do it, don’t fucking do it, I see that look on your face, don’t do it.”
Everyone is staring at you as you say this except Blake who just sighs. “I am afraid we cannot spare the time to search for these supplies, but should we see them, we can have them delivered to Cair.”
The Danuki chuckles while rubbing her hands faster. “Of course, of course. Should you recover them or my… Associates, please let the master of the Cairoline trading house in Cair know. You will be compensated for your time.”
Blake looks back to the rest of the party and shrugs, before nodding to the Danuki. “Pleasant travels.”
“Of course, of course, you as well good sir.” She pauses for a moment and smiles back again. “Ah yes, and if you do happen to find my cargo, it would be best not to open it. The damp air and all.”
Blake nods and waves before slapping the reins and driving the horses forward again. As you leave you stare at the Danuki from the back of the wagon. Once you are a sufficient enough distance away, she tears into the field, searching for your coin.
“Filthy creatures.” You mutter under your breath as she fades from sight.
Veronica just shakes her head and goes back to polishing her mace. “You’re one sad, strange little man.”
After spending the rest of the afternoon fuming about having to be near a Danuki, the sun starts to set and Blake calls a halt for the night. Your campsite is near a copse of trees in sight of a small brook, which you use to get your water for the evening meal and after you set up your wards and defensive circles, the smell of stew wafts to your nose as Blake, the chef supreme seasons it to perfection.
“Alright.” He says, waving his spoon. “We’ve been pretty lax about watch schedules, so tonight things will be different. With five people, we have more to work with, so I’d like to try and have a rotating schedule.”
He points at Hala and Veronica. “You two will be on first watch. You better remember what we talked about earlier.”
The two women grumble but shake their head. His spoon drifts to Tabitha and you.
“Wizard, Tabitha, you’re on 2nd watch. No problems, I trust?”
You look at the lizard who shrugs, looking at her blade. “Fine by me.”
“No objections.” You report as Blake nods his head.
“Very well, then I’ll be off watch tonight. We’ll rotate out someone tomorrow, agreed?”
Everyone nods their head in agreement. This was a decent plan because no one was going to try and jump Blake’s bones since someone was going to watch the other person. And every few days you’d get a break! Woooo!
You enjoy your meal as everyone talks around the campfire and you realize that this is much different than when it was just you and Blake, or even you, Blake and Hala. Two more people made this seem much more… You don’t know, like some kind of group. Huh, maybe things would be okay.
You fall asleep pretty quickly after that, in preparation for your watch as Blake shows Hala how to use her claws while Veronica watches on. Not that you cared, as long as the wolf didn’t accidentally stab you in the back, it was all okay… Sleepy sleepy…
You wake up a little while later with Tabitha rubbing your shoulder. “Wake up wizard, we’re up.” You drag yourself up and yawn, looking around as Tabitha shits upon a nearby log, cleaning her blade. Welp, guess you’re awake, might as well find something to do until it was time to move out, again begging the question of:
You yawn again and walk over to Tabitha, sitting down next to her. She glances towards you before nodding and going back to cleaning her sword. She says nothing to you and you in turn sit there and just… Make things awkward.
Feeling a little too awkward, you pull out your canteen and take a drink before looking to Tabitha, then at the ground, then back to your canteen.
“Mhm.” She hums, absent mindedly.
Tabitha looks at you now after this little exchange before sighing and sheathing her blade. “Wizard, why did you act like a fool when you saw the Danuki?”
“Fool?” You ask, aghast. “Surely, you of all people should understand the threat posed by the Danuki.”
She rolls her shoulders. “Not really, no.”
“Oh dear, dear sweet Tabitha.”
“Don’t do that.”
“Very well, but surely you’ve heard rumors about the Danuki? How they control all the trading guilds? How they secretly move information through the court? How they orchestrated the assault on Blackfire reach?”
At this, Tabitha turns her attention to you. “Blackfire Reach? Surely you aren’t suggesting that the Danuki…”
“Oh yes…” You say, pressing in. “The story they want you to believe is that a rampaging band of wurms destroyed that Lizardman city, but think about it, how many intelligent wurms have you known?”
She considers this, and thus takes the first step. “I don’t…”
“Now then, consider, what would the wurms have gained by attacking there? The stories say they wanted the warm lands to build homes, but where is the wurm city? All that’s there now is a mine owned by…” You roll you hand.
“By Sokun, the Wurm Queen, she runs the mines with her wurms and makes…”She trails off as she considers this further.
“Yes… Yes, consider: how did the wurms know there was a gold deposit there that the Lizardmen never found?”
“No….” She exhales, her breathing becoming rapid and shallow”That’s impossible….”
You lean in reaaaaaalll fucking close, because your getting pretty autistic right now. “The Danuki did it. They did all of it.”
She shudders and turns away, holding herself. It is but the way of these things. The red herb doesn’t taste the best, but it is medicine the body NEEDS. You let her shudder alone for a moment as you congratulate yourself for walking another down the path.
When she recovers she looks at you, eyes sort of darting here and there. She takes in a deep breath and steadies herself before addressing you again. “You have given me something to think about, Wizard. It… I still don’t know though…”
You reach from a pocket in your robes, one which held your deepest, darkest possession. Tabitha stares as you unfurl a piece of parchment that sags to the ground as it unrolls, and you cough into your hand.
“Let me read you the roll of transgressions, that which proves the Danuki are the evil they profess not to be, and why this is. Let us start with the Royal Crusade and the Danuki Catacylsm, said to have killed six hundred thousand Danuki. Clearly this number itself should make you think….”
Hours pass as you read from your scroll, having her rape attention. It fills your heart with joy that you were able to educate someone, even a monster, about the dangers of the Danuki! Truly, you were doing good work. Probably should have kept better watch but meh. Meeeeeh.
“And that, dear Tabitha…”
“I will cut you.”
“…. Is why the Danuki freehold, Danusreal, in the eastern kingdom is illegitimate and must be destroyed”
You slowly fold up your roll of parchment and sigh, massaging your throat. You had stalked straight on into morning, the first rays of the sun tickling your face, but you needed to get this out. For her part, Tabith had asked questions and considered what you had to say. She didn’t seem to have taken the herb totally, which was fine, but you may need to show her the communion matrix. She probably couldn’t understand the full scope of the runic matrices, but she could at least see the images. Good enough.
Anyway, you rouse the rest of your party and after morning preparations are through, you head back out on the trail. By about noon, you reach the first signs of entering the swamp, a copse of trees appearing and making everything seem dark and foreboding.
You start to sweat pretty rapidly from the humidity and you see that the rest of your party, Veronica in particular, were suffering. All except for Tabitha, who seemed very comfortable.
“A little warm with those enchantments as well wizard, but quite relaxing.”
You just nod your head wearily as you lean on the side of the cart and stare out the front. Things were starting to get very wet, and even the road seemed sloshy on the horse’s hooves. At one point,you come across a wooden bridge and cross if carefully, keeping an eye on the waters. All you see though are some run of the mill crocodiles who dive under the murky water as you approach. Hrm.
About midday you stop at a larger patch of dryish earth along the trail an obvious favorite for those traveling this path. You have a nice lunch, munching on simple travel fare as Tabitha stands at the edge of camp, sword planted firmly in the dirt as she places two hands atop it. She scans about and stops, cocking her head before looking about again.
You look between the other members of your party and even Hala nods back at you. For some reason you had felt very… Strange about here and for some reason it seems to have intensified. You perform a quick look with your [Mage Sight] and see nothing of much interest as everything seems to go quiet in the normally loud swamp. Only thing that really kept up were the flies, but you tuned them out as you listened carefully.
“It appears they are here.” Says Tabitha, drawing her sword up to a fighting stance.
Blake follows suit while Veronica unwraps her mace and Hala slips on her claws. As you train Harmony about, Hala’s ears twitch and she points at a patch of the swamp water,
“There, something is moving…”
As she says this an unearthly screech echoes from all around you and you place your hands over your ears as you try to cut down on the noise. Fucking hell, this sound was awful, it made it hard to see or do much of anything! You do your best to try and focus, but with your head pounding like this…
You look up with one eye open and see from the pool of wages that Hala had picked out, a large, black tentacle was dragging itself out of the murk. As you watch, more and more pull themselves out as a feminine looking body slowly pulls its way out of the water.
It was….hard to describe what you were seeing here. The body was clearly humane-like in form, but the skin was a pure, inky black that seemed as if it would ooze if you touched it. From its back and arms sprouted a multitude of the tentacles, which flailed about in every direction, grabbing and stroking tree branches, logs, whatever if could find. It’s head was another enigma of black, but a mouth-like opening screamed the sound that was binding you and you could see above that were a pair of red, glowing eyes.
“A….a swamp horror? Here?” Grunts Blake as he covers his ears. “Damn things were supposed to live to the west, not here!”
As he says this, you notice two more sets of tentacles appear from the murk, and the first Swamp Horror was joined by two more as they slowly advanced upon you, screaming their horrifying song.
“Wizard! Hey, listen!”
You hold your head as a voice in your mind cuts through the cacophony and you cling to it like a log in the ocean, using it to stabilize yourself.
“Yes! Wizard, you need to cut off the sound!”
“H…how would I?”
“The [privacy barrier] you dunce, now hurry!’
Right, right that thing you know with the magic and the power and zibbidy doop bop whoop. You should probably do that. Which you do, using Harmony as a mental focus, you project the [privacy barrier] outwards to surround your party, cutting off the outside noise.
“That… Hah…. That should buy us some time.” You say, staggering to your feet. You watch nervously as the Swamp Horrors trudge ever closer, their mouths still open despite you unable to hear their screams.
The rest of your party rights themselves and gets back into battle positions. Veronica looks to Blake and nods, sweat on her brow. “Orders?”
Blake thinks furiously for a moment before looking to you. “Can you blast them with magic?”
“Can I blast them with fucking magic….” You mutter before turning back to the monsters and raising Harmony. You focus inwards and gathering your will into Harmony.
“Harmony, this time you have permission to go all out.”
“You got it!”
Pushing power through Harmony, you fire out a [lightning bolt] which flashes faster than you can believe possible into the middle of the swamp horrors, and it slams into it, sending the creature staggering backwards, its tentacles flailing wildly as it loses its balance and falls onto the ground, sparks of electricity jolting around the body as if twitched.
Fuck yeah, that worked wonders. You stare at the one on the right, gathering your will again when Tabitha calls, “Wizard, it is not dead!”
Your concentration breaks and you turn back to the first swamp horror, which was staring to rise again. You could see where your [lightning bolt] had hit there was a hole in the black ooze, where pink skin could be seen underneath, the center reddened by the energy of your magic. The creature seemed to stumble for a moment before it turned its gaze back on you and blackness filled in the gap, its tentacles flailing once again.
“Blake… What the fuck is that?” You ask, taking a step back. “Is… There is something under all that shit?”
“I… I don’t know!” Blake says, gritting his teeth. “Swamp horrors aren’t seen too often and tales of those who survive them are patchy at best!”
“Well what the fuck do you know?”
“They are abominations and must be purged!” Cries Veronica as she brandishes her mace, a soft yellow glow infusing her eyes. Guess she’s getting ready to go god mode or something.
Raising Harmony again, you swing your staff wide and cast [Vine whip], causing the multitude of vegetation around you to burst forth and hold down the monsters. They seem to squirm awkwardly under the crushing weight of the vines before they stop moving. Everyone looks around oddly before inching forward, wondering if it was safe to attack, when the vegetation holding the monster down seem to splinter, or tear, or whatever, as a barrage of tentacles and their black hands tear their bindings apart. You stare in horror as they advance again, tentacles flailing with even more abandon.
Hala howls as the first of the Swamp Horrors pierces your barrier. That horrific wail comes back again, but this time everyone is prepared and only mildly stunned by its sound. You step back and prepare a spell as Veronica runs forth and takes her mace in both hands, yellow light infusing it as she delivers a devastating blow to the midsection of the creature. It staggers, the black skin seeming to blister in reaction to the light but it turns its gaze on the aspirant and a multitude of tentacles grabs her and hauls her off her feet, writhing about her, causing her to be unable to move her arms as she tries to struggle against the power of the monster.
You watch as Hala dashes forward, awkwardly slashing apart tentacles as new ones appear, the creature’s defenses being pushed back some as wolf girl’s furious onslaught tore into the creature. She is about to pierce her claws into the chest of the horror when another set of tentacles grasps her by the ankles and pulls her feet out from under her and drags her toward the next horror, which had come close enough to threaten the party. Before she could be dragged more than a few feet, Tabitha steps in and slashes the appendages with a well placed slash of her blade, black muck flying apart, freeing the wolfgirl, who bounds to her feet and charges the new threat.
For Blake, he charges, shield first, into the last swamp horror, and with his weight, he connects into it, forcing it to step backwards before he way lays with his sword. He doesn’t seem to make much progress, but his blows are destroying tentacles well enough.
You focus your will and cut out the din of combat. Alright, electricity wasn’t going to cut it with these things, so you needed to try something else… But what was that underneath their outer layer? Was it their true body, and this was some kind of defensive mechanism? You bite your lip and stare at the monsters, scanning once more with your [Mage sight]. Once again, nothing.
You hear an odd noise come from Veronica and your head whips over to see her still held in place by the tentacles. Her yellow glow was gone, and her mace hung limply from her wrist as she stared off blankly into space. Tentacles slid all over her body, finding their way into joints in her armor, causing her to shudder and release another moan of ecstasy as they writhed about her.
You start to sweat more as you realize these things were having an effect on her mind somehow, and you see Hala suddenly be caught off guard by a pack of tentacles, and realize that these things aren’t just affecting the minds of your party, they are straight up raping them as you watch two tentacles wrap their way up Hala’s leg and into her pants, pulling them down and exposing her lewd opening. They explored the inside of her body and she screams, dropping to her knees as her ears go flat and and her face becomes slack-jawed. Your eye twitches as more tentacles slide up her leather armor, through the neck opening and into her mouth, while more slide about her anus, inserting with lewd squelching noises. God damnit.
Tabitha, now on her own was being pushed back, but you could tell it was only a matter of time before the creatures would get her too. You quickly assess the situation with Blake who surprisingly still has his pants on. He parries a pair of tentacles and thrusts, causing a wound in the side of the monster, which seems to bubble as well, and a trickle of red mixes in with the black, the creature’s screaming seeming to change pitch as it bore down on Blake.
Fuck it, these things needed to burn and burn quickly or it was game over. You prepare to let loose a [fireball] when you feel something brush against your neck. You look down in horror as a inky black the tentacle slips tight around your throat and you try to let loose a cry before everything seems to go white.
“Let loose your lust, fuck us, let us in, let go, join us, be one, give in, we love you, hold us, fuck us senseless, let it inside you, let us go, join with us, give in, feed us your semen, give us pleasure, give you pleasure, let loose.”
You hear a cascade of sound wash over your mind like a tidal wave as two voices speak in a disjointed unison, causing you to reel backwards mentally, and scrambling your emotions. You feel a wam sensation inside you, rising up from your nether regions and flaring in your chest as you feel your body react to the greedy lusts of the swamp horror. Yes… Yes let the creature explore you, let it taste your body, join in with it and let your semen explode inside it for eternity. It sounded so good, so wonderful, and your whole body aches to have your clothes ripped off and to plunge your manhood inside the darkness of the horror and feel it’s mass squirm about you, bringing you to a slimy and sensual climax. You could imagine the pleasures that would be felt as you slowly give in to the influence on your mind.
Huh, that sounded familiar somehow,
Your consciousness drifts out if the pool of inky darkness as you notice a soft light near you. Huh. Weird. You slowly reach out a hand for it as pleasurable blackness tries to pull you back in and a feathery wing takes hold of you. As you feel the softness of these feathers, your eyes widen as a beautiful face appears before you, smiling.
“Hello there Wizard.” Harmony stares at the mass of darkness that had encompassed your body and she raises her other wing.
“I’m the only one allowed in his head you black bog bitch!”
She swings her wing down and with a gust of wind, the blackness blows off you like dust and your mind feels as if it was suddenly freed from a terrible weight. Harmony smiles at you before things go white again.
You shake your head and find that you were still in the swamp. Mere moments has passed in reality and you blink, finding that the tentacle around your neck had gone limp. Gritting your teeth, you throw it off and point your staff at the monster if belonged to, shouting, “It’ll be a cold day in the hells before I stick my dick in you!” And you cast [Ice].
The creature looks at you as she is coated in a layer of ice that thickens quickly, amplified by Harmony, and it’s movements become sluggish, then stop all together as it becomes a chunk of black ice. It appears that it was the one which had Hala tied up and Tabitha quickly severs the tentacles holding the wolfgirl before whirling about and delivering a devastating kick to the creature, fracturing the ice. She whirls about again and with her tail, delivers a mighty smash that shatters the ice, spraying chunks of frozen black goo everywhere, exposing an inner core beneath, which is clearly the torso and lower body of a human woman.
Tabitha steps back and growls as you twist to the next monster, the one which had Veronica in a stupor and repeat the process, the aspirant being dropped to the ground, her breathing labored and her eyes unfocused as she lay on the damp earth.
You turn to the last one and find that it had embraced Blake, somehow sticking to his shield and a the Hero’s face seemed out of touch as he struggled with changing emotions, the creature’s face glued to his in some sick amalgamation of a kiss. Unable to cast your spell, you run up to the occupied creature and jam harmony into its side, forcing your will through her.
The creature stiffens and pulls away from Blake as ice appears all around if, climbing up its body and freezing it from the inside out. Tabitha tears back Blake before it can freeze him utterly and you sigh when everything gets quiet, pulling Harmomy out of the monster’s side before taking her in both hands and beating the ice mercilessly, causing chunks of blackness to slough off until you see the face of a young woman, her eyes unfocused, yet glowing red. Redoubling your efforts, you tear her out of her icy black cocoon as Tabitha does the same, and soon you have three naked woman, lying catatonic on the earth, their breathing at least regular.
You stagger back and sit on the ground staring at your unconscious companions and the women with their strange eyes. You shake your head and groan. Fucking hell, no wonder these things were called horrors, there was no way in hell anything could have survived that without some serious magic. You look at the one Blake had fought and see a scar where he had pierced it with his sword. Apparently these host bodies, or whatever they were could bleed, so maybe they could be killed, but shit, that was just… Ugh.
Tabitha stands next to you, wiping ooze from her jacket before readjusting her hat,
“These… Creatures. To tell the truth, I wasn’t expecting this at all.” She points at the women and you sigh.
“When one of those things touched by neck it spoke to me. It was like two voices trying to coerce me into letting down my defenses and accepting my basest emotions. I think that’s what happened to Blake, Hala, and Veronica.”
Tabitha shakes her head. “Sometimes, I wonder why Dollora created certain monsters. I do not deny my heritage from the Goddess of Monsters, but neither do I understand her at times.”
You shrug and look over as one of the women you freed seems to stir. You stand up, staff in hand, as her eyes seem to come into focus, still glowing a deep red as she seems to notice you. She looks down at her hands, inspecting them before opening her mouth and uttering in that same, disjointed voice.
“Why did you resist? Why would you deny yourself such pleasures?”
“Uh. What the fuck?” You asks, pointing your staff at her.
She makes no move but to trace her hand over her body. “We do not understand. We have such sights to show you, and you deny us. We are reverted to this weak, fleshy body.” She looks up at you, her eyes locked on you still as they glow red. “Give us your semen so we may return to our proper form. It will be very pleasurable for you.”
Your eye twitches as you notice a small amount of black goo dribble from her mouth as she starts to try and crawl towards you. It would be sensual if it wasn’t creepy as fuck.
“Uh, yeah no thanks.” You point your staff at her and she stops, staring at it. “What are you?”
“We are Sarah, and we are not Sarah. We are the human who has accepted the power of the monster and we are the monster who has granted her uncounted pleasure.”
“W..wait, you’re a monster that lives inside this girl?”
“We do not live inside, we live with. We are this girl, and we are not this girl.” The eyes flash red. “Give your seed that we may once more become whole again.”
You quickly <fast scan> the girl and find it to be true. Her humors were all stained black, not in the way of Franz Jakovitch, but as if her humors had been replaced with another living creature, her body was basically human, and yet… It was not! This wasn’t something that could just be removed, no it quite literally was a part of her now, for fuck’s sake.
You gulp and raise your staff as you stare at the degloved horror, more of the blackness leaking from her mouth and ears, and you knew that she was slowly trying to reform the dark outer coating about her, although by the looks of it, it would take some time. As it stood, she and her companions were basically helpless to you. You stare at Harmony, then to Tabitha, who nodded grimly, raising her sword. You had choices to make here….
“Okay…. Okay wait. Answer me a few questions and I’ll… I’ll uh, let you have some of my uh…” You struggle with the words. “Yeah.”
The naked horror stares at you, then sinks to its knees, legs splayed out in a very unladylike manner. Her expression is trained intently upon you as she twitches abit, black drool leaking from her mouth.
“Uh… Right. Look, Sarah, was it?”
“We are Sarah, we are not Sarah.”
“How did you end up like this? With this uh…” You wave you hand. “Relationship.”
“Sarah was selected by the spider. We were scared, we did not know better. We were presented to the others, who showed us such sights.”
The girl’s eyes seem to shimmer for a moment before a black tear starts to roll down her cheek, although she makes no notice of it before continuing.
“When we had accepted and enjoyed the pleasures, we begged to be joined. We were given to us, and baptized the dark waters. When we emerged, we were no longer only Sarah. We were whole.”
She shifts towards you and you keep your staff trained on her. “Easy there. We aren’t done.” You point with yer free hand at your unconscious companions. “What about them, will they turn?”
“The male and the monster cannot be joined, but they can experience the pleasure we have to offer. The male would provide us all much pleasure, much energy. It would be very pleasurable.” She considers Veronica. “The woman had fought, but she was submitting. She is viable, but not one. She should be baptized. It will be very pleasurable.”
You breath out a sigh of relief. “So she’s still human?”
“I see… And you said, the spider… Who is that?”
“We know not. We were scared, but now we are whole. The spider brought us here however, and promised us more humans to show our sights to. She was correct, however we did not expect this. We are cold.”
You grit your teeth. “Where… Where is this spider?”
“She is here. We know not where, yet we know she is here.”
You close your eyes and stand up before walking waving over Tabitha who walks up beside you. The girl watches you carefully as more goo starts to dribble from around her mouth, sloshing over her naked breasts, coating them in a thick sludge.
“Wizard?” She asks, leaning in close.
“We can’t let these things live Tabitha, it’s far too dangerous.”
She looks back to the girl and considers. “Are you certain? Shouldn’t we ask Blake?
“I am, and he’s not conscious enough to make this call. I looked inside them and…. There’s no helping them. They are monsters now, there’s no saving them, and if what she says is true, then they’ll keep attacking people and pulling them into the swamp to make more. We barely stopped them, how would anyone else?”
Tabitha nods her head and draws her sword. The horror cocks her head head as Tabitha slowly walks forward and with one quick motion, decapitates the girl.
As the head tumbles from the body, the eyes lose their red hue and a look of confusion crosses before her face before the eyes become lifeless. The body twists and flails as black goo squirts from the neck, mixed with red blood. The headless corpse staggers towards you, before falling to the ground and flailing about.
You curse and step back before casting [Fire] and setting the corpse ablaze. With a quick gesture you do the same to the other who, who immediately awaken and start screaming in pain. Tabitha keeps guard over them until the stop trashing and the fire consumes them utterly. You put your hand to your head as the bodies burn and you groan. Damnit. Damnit damnit damnit! This would have been so much easier if they still looked like monsters, but this… This was just sick.
You hold your stomach before hobbling over to your other companions. Tabitha looks over the macabre sight and nods to you, allowing you some reprieve from the burning, despite the fact that you could still smell the burning flesh and firth. It was sickly sweet, which made it all the worse.
You do your best to drown it out as you <fast scan> your party members. You find that Hala was in fairly good condition, beyond a coating of goo in basically all of her orifices, which was fucking disgusting and you were going to tell Blake not to stick his dick in that. Her humors were fine and you felt she’d recover okay. Blake, on the other hand didn’t get violated much, but his humors seemed a little out of wack, so you realigned them for him and he slipped into a calmer sleep.
Two down… That left Veronica. Your scan of her showed that her humors had a similar taint within them that Sarah did, but it was a separate entity that was clearly defined, as if something was trying its best to work its way in, but was unable to. You probe at if with your magic and it reacts, twisting against your touch. You grit your teeth and try to [soothe] it away, but instead it reacts violently and Veronica starts to moan, her breathing becoming shallow and rapid.
Well, fuck this then. If you couldn’t heal this away, you were going to break it to your will. Summoning your power, you reach out with your plagamancy and put a vice grip on the entity, and it squirms again, causing Veronica’s eyes to pop open as her back arches. She lets out a cry of ecstasy as you wrench the damn thing free of her and tear it out, a small cloud of black goo flying from her mouth. It twists and turns before you slam it into an empty vial and you seal it with a simple spell that you used to keep your door shut back home.
>You obtain [Swamp essence]
>The soul of a swamp horror in the palm of your hand. You don’t think this can cause monsterization on its own.
You sigh and sit down as Veronica slips back into sleep. Tabitha walks over to you and crouches down before picking up your chin.
“Wizard. You do good work, do not doubt this.”
“Huh? Where’s that coming from?”
“From one warrior to another. Do not forget that your purpose is a just one.”
“I’m not really following why you’re saying this.”
“Look…” Tabitha seems to fidget for a moment and she looks to the side. You think you can see a slight blush on her face as she fumbles for words.
“Oh for goodness sake.” Sends Harmony, annoyed, “she’s trying to say thank you, wizard, you need to understand women better.”
“The stick is right, big guy.”
“Oh and now you’re awake you lazy vermin, you could have helped me during the fight.”
“Well I’m sorry if my ears were too sensitive and to those things screams, okay?”
“Ugh, this is why rats shouldn’t…”
The two argue in your head and you tune it out as you look Tabitha in the eyes and give her a weary smile. “It’s fine Tabitha, I get it.”
Her blush seems to deepen and she stands up, looking back at the a smoldering bodies before coughing.
“Yes… Of course. Let us gather up our companions and see if we cannot rouse them. We cannot afford to tarry here for long.”
You nod and the both of you gather up your companions into the wagon. As you do so, Hala awakens first, and she stretches up in the back of the wagon before coughing up a glob of goo, shrugging, and smiling.
“Oh man, I had the best dream. Beyond this voice talking to me really oddly, it felt super awesome.”
“That wasn’t a dream you bitch, you were actually being raped.” Says Tabitha as she tries to awaken Blake, his head in her lap.
“Oh.” Says Hala as she starts inspecting herself. “Huh. Still nice though.” She looks over at Blake and Veronica and huffs. “At least something finally touched the woman, but I’m mad that they went after my Blake.”
Tabitha’s jaw sets, but before she can say anything, Blake stirs and his eyes flutter open. He looks about and up into Tabitha’s eyes and he smiles weakly.
She blinks and then slowly moves him off her lap before she looks away. “About time you’re awake.”
He groans and sits up before looking around. “What happened?”
“Oh, you know, you were almost raped by horrors from the swamp.” You say, shrugging.
Blake puts a hand to his head and groans. “That explains that I guess. What happened to them?”
“I… Eliminated them.”
Blake’s face looks a little sad before he looks down. “That’s to be expected I guess. I’ve heard even seasoned Paladins won’t go near them.” He looks over at Veronica and grimaces. “Is she okay?”
You shrug. “She was affected heavily and some of those things were inside her.”
“It felt pretty good to be honest.” Says Hala, before Tabitha kicks her.
“Anyway, I took it out, but I don’t know if it did anything to her.” Everyone gets quiet at this and Blake sighs before moving shakily forward.
“We need to start moving again, let me get the reins…” He wobbles and you take his hand.
“I’ll drive, okay?”
He stares at your hand, then his, before sighing. “Very well wizard.” He leans back in the wagon and stares wearily as you climb to the front of the wagon, taking up the reins, with Mr. Ed staring at you while he chews swamp grass. Big guy is getting real sick of this shit.
You roll your shoulders and get the horses moving again through the swamp road. It’s quiet, despite the noise of the life in the swamp, and you feel uneasy as you move through the dark lands. Blake and Hala return to sleep and Tabitha looks over everyone while Veronica continues to sleep. It was a fairly I eventual time since then, but you could feel your tension as you jumped at every abnormal sound.
As the day stretched on, you caught brief glimpses of the sun and realized that it was starting to get dark, finding a campsite would be important out here and you rouse Blake to help with selection. While scanning the ground before you for a good site, you notice something odd in the road before you.
“That must be the Danuki’s wagon” says Blake as he points it out. Once he said that you realize that it was, at some point, a wagon. You stop as you get closer to to and Blake hops down to inspect the cart. You follow in turn and see that it has been viciously torn apart, no blood as far as you could see, but where multiple items seemed to stowed, there was no nothing.
“This could have been done by Jaga-Jaga…” Murmurs Blake as he turns back to you. “But something seems off about this. People have used this trade route for years and the Jaga-Jaga are generally quite friendly. They rarely attack unless they are hunting for mates but they don’t do this. It’s just strange…”
“Strange? Strange is you outsiders continuing to bring your filth into our swamp!”
You and Blake spin around to see a tall, dark skinned woman with brown-green scaly arms and legs point a spear of bone at you, a scaled and meaty tail slapping the ground angrily. Upon her head like some kind of hat sits the head of crocodile, it’s blank eyes staring off into nothingness. She calls, “There’s more of them!”
Soon, ripples appear from the water around you and more of the Jaga-Jaga appear from the murk, quickly surrounding you and forcing you and Blake to go back to back. You both tense and see Hala and Tabitha look out from the wagon, both ready to pounce into combat, but clearly waiting until the situation escalates.
The monster make no move to come to you until one last ripple shimmers in the water and the head of an albino crocodile appears in the water. As if reaches the shore, the body of another dark skinned beauty appears, her scales albino white to match her red eyes. In her hand is a staff carved with runs and festooned with fetishes and jewelry, which she wears herself.
“Well now, whata we havin ourselves here? Mor’a dem humans coma playin in our home bringin in dat filth in ya crates? Oh naw that won’t do at all. I’m afraid this time ha won’t be as lucky as that coon, ya hear?” She brings a vial of white liquid up to her lips before taking a drink and shaking her staff. You can feel magic energy gathering about her as she prepares to cast a spell.
The rest of the crocdile girls gather up their spears and halberds and inch closer, ready to close in and you gulp, holding Harmony close.
The Jaga-Jaga press in, their weapons raised as the jingling of charms and fetishes reaches a fever pitch and you feel the magic in the air start to roil over you. Blake grits his teeth and grips Lionsedge tight. You see Hala mutter under her breath as she adjusts her claws and Tabitha scan about for the best route of attack.
You, however, plant Harmony firmly into the ground and stare up at the sky.
“Wizard?…” Asks Harmony, tension in her voice. You just stare into the sky and…
You open your mouth and laugh like there’s no fucking tomorrow, which there very well might be. It was so fucking ridiculous, how could you not laugh? This situation? Oh come on, it could be seen a mile away! This was just. Come on!
As you laugh, head thrown back, Blake stares at you, horrified. “Wizard? Wizard, we need you! Don’t lose it, stand firm!”
He cuts off as he sees a Jaga-Jaga level its spear to charge, but you just stare at the monster and shake your head.
“Can’t you see that’s what we wants?”
The crocodile-girl blinks, and stumbles, her momentum lost, and she looks at you, confused. This, in turn, causes others to stop or stumble and they too get confused. You look up at the albino caster and shrug, still laughing.
“Do it, and the Danuki win.”
The magic around her seems to waver, then solidify again as she regains control over it. She stares at you, gritting her teeth as she holds the power within her. “Eh naw? Was all dis den eh? You tryin take us for a ride ‘fore ya drop to da Jaga-Jaga? Who you be talkin bout?”
“Haha… The Danuki, of course.”
“I Donna see no coon here naw, was dis all bout?”
You roll your shoulders and cross your arms, sighing. “The Danuki, she set this up, obviously. A situation where we’d fight each other and she’d get her precious cargo back, killing three birds with one stone.”
“Wizard, I swear to the gods…” Hisses Blake, but you don’t even acknowledge him.
“Tell me, great shaman, why are we fighting?”
“Because you an yours a bringin dis filth inna our swamp, ya twit. Da coon brought some with er an now we ain’t takin no chances.”
“Mm, I see, I see. But think for a moment, why would we come through this swamp with more of this cargo if we knew we’d be attacked? It makes no sense. A Danuki would never risk their profits without reason, and there are other trade routes, so why would we be carrying cargo for her?”
The shaman seems to consider. Good. Good, let’s step this up.”
“Yes, think about it. We are all victims here of the Danuki. She told us she was attacked and she looked so pitifully helpless… All a ruse! Her true aim was to have us wipe each other out! With the mighty Jaga-Jaga weakened and us gone, who would know when she rolled in here and claimed the swamp and turned it into some trading outpost?”
You point to Tabitha. “Just like the Danuki did to Blackfire Reach!” You point to Blake, “just like the Danuki did to the reputation of the Order!”
“Uh, the Danuki didn’t…” Mumbles Blake, but you talk over him.
“Look upon us and see the damage such desires can bring!” You shout, autism levels reaching critical mass as you raise your arms into the sky.
“The wolf! Look upon the wolf! She too had her home raped and abused by the whims of the powerful! And look at her now! What a pitiful sight!”
“Hey, fuck you!” Shouts Hala, fuming.
You wheel back upon the shaman. “Good, I can feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your magic. Strike me down with all your hatred and your journey into the Danuki’s paws will be complete.”
The shaman grits her snagged teeth as she considers. The rest of the Jaga-Jaga mill about, looking between each other nervously as they consider what they have been told.
You just keep staring at the shaman, who looks about nervously, and you feel her magic start to waver and she staggers, losing control of it. With a cry of frustration, she points to you, then she shakes and yells, tossing the magic into the swamp, causing an explosion of dirty water and swamp critters, leaving the shaman panting, each breath causing the charms and bones on her breasts to clack and shudder.
“Ya betta not be shakin ma leg ya hear? I ain’t be thinkin I be nice twice.”
You bow to her and take up Harmony again, who is fuming in your head. Eh. Meh.
“You are quite wise. If you would wish to inspect our cart you may, you will find none of this… Filth, was it?”
She nods and points to the wagon, and two Jaga-Jaga move in and inspect the cargo before shaking their head to the shaman, who sighs.
“Looksa like you weren’t yankin me. I gunna have to express ma sorrow at ma mistake, ya hear?”
You nod to her. “Indeed. All we wish is to pass quietly through the swamp to Cair.” You rub your cheek. “However, I will admit, I am curious as to what the Danuki was carrying.”
The shaman considers and then shrugs, “We no destroy it yet ya see, but we gunna do so soon. You can see it afore we let you go, eh?” She waves her arm and one of the Warriors jumps into the swamp to fetch something.
You stretch and look to Blake who’s eye is twitching. “You’re kidding me.”
“The Danuki are a true, and realistic threat to this world.”
“How in the name of the gods did you give a speech that diffused a potentially deadly situation without fumbling or dropping your words?”
“Sauce covered noodles my dear normie, but it is merely because I feel so strongly about this.”
He puts his hand to his face and turns about, taking a deep breath before breathing out. “Okay, sure, fine.” He looks about and nods. “I think I’m going to go and speak with the Jaga-Jaga, maybe see what they know about the swamp horrors.”
You put a hand to your mouth and chuckle, “Oh but Blakey-poo, your dear wolfy is watching.”
He looks at you over his shoulder, utterly devoid of emotion, and your spine shivers before he turns back around and speaks with a nearby pack of Jaga-Jaga who immediately start checking him out. They can’t really help it you guess. As long as he keeps his pants on.
“Big mista man needs to be careful der eh? Not many men coma down this way.”
You turn about to find the shaman standing next to you, smiling as she leans on her staff. Now that she’s close, you can’t help but admire her uh… Assets as they rise and fall, barely covered by her tribal tattoos and fetishes. Ahem.
“Oh, he’ll be fine. That wolfgirl will probably keep him in line at least.”
“An whatabout you mista? You got onadem ladies keepin you meat warm?”
You blink at her, trying to comprehend… Ohhhh, she means your penis in their vagina! Clever!
“Oh! Oh no, I uh, not one of them but uh…” You fumble for a moment, realizing what you were about to say. Dear gods were you about to say something about Selene? You did wonder what she was up to though…
“Oh I seein, I seein.” She presses in a little close, patting your groin, which may have been a little hard, so what, and winks, “You let me know ifin you wan a little Rollin and tumblin, ya hear what I say? Madam Rapodaie gun give you a good time ya hear?”
“Uh, sure, yeah, okay.” You cough into your hand and pull away. “Hey uh, Rapodaie huh? Do you know another Jaga-Jaga named Madam Apolline?”
Her eyes shine as she smiles a jagged toothed grin. “Well naw! Lookin like ya met ma bigga sista eh? How she been since she move to da cita eh?”
“Good! Good, she’s uh… Good.” You lift up your [Sack of holding+1]. “I bought some things from her, good selection.”
Rapodaie holds her head back andlaughs a snaggle toothed laugh before she slaps your shoulder, which hurts like hell despite your enchantments. “Well thassa be everytin den! Gooda on her. Still mad she left da swamp but I glad to hear she doin good.”
She blinks as she spots something and then stands straight. You turn to see the warrior from before lugging a crate in both hands, and you both walk over as she sets if down. Rapodaie grits her teeth before nodding to you and opening up the crate with little effort. Inside sat multiple vials of a green liquid packed in straw. You blink and cautiously go to pick one up when Rapodaie slaps your hand.
“Aww now, I wouldn be sayin I gon let you be touchin dis eh? You get look before I dispose of naw.”
You nod and open your. [Mage Sight]. The bottle before bursts alive in a plethora of colors, all green, brown, and black. Just looking at it makes your stomach roil and you quickly see that this is an alchemicaly prepared formulae. And it reacts strongly to palagmancy.
You turn your head as you shut off your [Mage sight]. Ugh, that… Whatever is in those bottles is pure… Filth. If it got out, you’re certain that it would be a very potent plague. What was a Danuki doing with this?
You turn to look at the shaman when another warrior swims up. “Madam! Onea de prisoners is gone and so is da contents of a crate naw.”
Rapodaie’s eyes widen. “Wassa dis? Why he no be guarded?”
“He wassa, but when I check, there be nothin but spida webs and a dead guard.”
You and Blake look between yourselves, eyes wide. Oh shit.
“Eh? Wassa dis, whatchu be know der?”
“I think…”You say, gritting your teeth, “I think I know who hired our little Danuki problem….”
You tell Rapodaie about Victoria, the Danuki, and what you saw when you looked at the vial. You make it kind of clear that you’d have to study it to fully appreciate what’s in their though, and if she tries to destroy it without proper containment, things could get really bad. She frowns and crosses her arms under her breasts as she considers.
“I thought I be sensing da bad juju from these tings, but thisa more than I bargain for. Temple guard? Sheet, we Jaga-Jaga went south to get away from da Monsta Ladies and naw dey in our swamp? Oh naw naw naw.”
She looks about her warriors and nods her head pointing in various directions. Teams of Jaga-Jaga jump into the swamp and start to swim away into the murky swamp. You watch as they go and look to Blake, who nods back.
“Madam, please allow us to be of assistance in this matter.” Asks Blake as he puts a hand to his chest.
The shaman looks over at Blake and raises an eyebrow. “Eh? Thisa thing for da Jaga-Jaga, we dunna need outsidas helpin here eh?”
“Perhaps, but if this event involves a Temple Guardian, then I must insist we help you track her down. I am also quite keen on stopping her from leaving with these… Solutions.”
She sighs, “Oh very well, very well. Wassa you want?”
“Let us examine the scene where the prisoner escaped and the body of the guard. Our little doggie,”
“Fuck you again Wizard!”
“Will pick up the scent and follow if while we study the rest and continue after her.”
Rapodaie rubs her chin. “Thassa might work, aight aight lessa go den.” She starts running down a muddy trail, and you and Blake trade glances.
“Wagon won’t fit down there. Someone has to stay to watch Veronica.”
“I’ll do it,” says Blake as he rolls his shoulders. “Take Tabitha and Hala, but be careful. I’ll drive this down the road some and keep my eyes open.”
“Fair enough.” You look back to the wagon. “Come on girls, field trip time!”
“Fucking magic piece of shit and his… Robes…” Grumbles Hala as she vaults from the wagon. She meanders over to you, stopping along the way to grab Blake behind his head and pull him down for a long, sloppy kiss. You feel really awkward watching it and Blake seemed real fucking confused at first before reciprocating enough to have Hala let him go.
He pants, a little out of breath, “Some… Ha.. Some warning next time would be appreciated.”
She winks at him, slaps his ass and then heads over to you. Tabitha merely jogged calmly and the four of you headed down the muddy side trails. It wasn’t that far of a journey into dense, insect infested swampland that you found a series of wooden structures in the water, suspended on stilts and connected with a series of little boardwalks. Crude candles burned at intervals, atop what looked to be monster skulls, along with other various bones. It sent a mild shiver down your spine seeing it again and you have to admit, Madame Apolline did a great job capturing the feel of this place back in Feldergrod.
Rapodaie leads you to a larger structure which appeared relatively unadorned. As you enter however, you see a series of doors with wooden bars inscribed with glowing runes. You see two doors with faded enchantments hanging open. Looking about, you can also see what they were talking about with the webs. In the corners and atop the ceiling, many large, sticky webs were stretched about the place, as if some giant spider had claimed the place as its nest. Which, it kind of was a giant spider so whatever.
In the corner lay a corpse with a shroud atop it, but it didn’t fully cover the head, where you saw massive necrosis, which was still seeming to spread. Fairly obvious it’s an envenomation, but you’d need a better look.
As you enter you notice two Jaga-Jaga fussing over something and you look to find them tearing open a large sac of the webbing and pulling out a man who seems half crazed, crying as they tear him out.
“Oh, oh gods, oh gods, oh gods.” The man keeps repeating as they haul him out and sit him down.
You walk up to him and crouch down. His eyes trace to you and he takes in a sharp breath. “A…another human? Here? No, no you shouldn’t be here!”
You slap the man. “Calm down faggot, what happened.”
He blinks and puts a hand to his cheek. “I uh… I don’t…” He takes in a deep breath. “Look, I was just hired by this Danuki to help transport some crates to Cair, alright? I didn’t know what was in them.” He points his finger at the Jaga-Jaga. “Then these monsters came and attacked us on the path, and threw us in those cells.” He gets really quiet.
“They… They raped us.”
One of the guards shrugs. “He was an okay lay.” The other guard nods in confirmation.
“Yeah well, maybe that’s what you get for trusting a Danuki. Now then, what about the spider.”
“Th…the spider. Sh… Look, we were just resting in our cage, waiting for our next session after one of the guards left with a crate when all of a sudden we saw her…she… Just drifted down the ceilings not a strand of silk and put a finger to her lips before crawling to the guard and biting her in the neck. The guard just dropped to the floor, dead. After that the spider she… She uh…” He gulps. “She took some key charm and opened the door, grabbing a crate. Before she left though, she opened our cage and took Chuck, ‘for later’ before she wrapped me up in this cocoon.”
He shudders, “She ah… She said that I should ah… Should let them know that she’ll be back to settle the score with these uhm…” He looks at his captors. “Fine ladies”
“Wha she really say?” Asks Rapodaie.
“Ah ha, uh, ‘Cold vagina scale whores.'”
“Ey naw!” Shouts one of the guards. “Our vag ain’t cold, id it?”
“NO MA’AM!” He shouts back, clearly afraid. She just ruffles his hair, smiling. Aww, they’ll have cute babies.
You look about and nod to Hala. “Can you get a scent?”
She fumes but still sniffs the air, pointing to the north west. “Yeah I think I can follow it, sort of. A little hard in the swamp, but we’ll see.”
“Good. Tabitha, go with her and take some Jaga-Jaga. If you see Victoria, be very, very careful. She’s dangerous as can be.”
The Lizardman nods and pushes on the wolf girl’s shoulder, and she huffs, going outside. You think for a moment after they leave and pull Bubs out of your pocket.
“Hey hey hey Big Guy! What gives?”
“Go with them and report if you see anything. I….”
“Ufufufufufu, so the big guy doesn’t want to see his lady friends get hurt by the big bad spider huh? Aww, that’s cute.”
“You know, let’s see if that exploding thing is real, shall we?”
“Yeesh.” Bubs jumps from your hand and scurries up Hala’s shoulder, which causes the wolf to yelp and glare at you, but you just smile and wave. She grumbles and runs off into the swamp, Tabitha and two Jaga-Jaga trailing after her.
“Hmm.” You turn about to look at the corpse of the guard from before. By the gods, was the necrosis even worse? You begin to walk over to her when Rapodaie grabs your arm.
“Wassa you up to now? We dun take kindly to thosa who meddle with our dead, hear?”
You blink and look back over at the corpse. “I was just going to check her for whatever Victoria did. I’m thinking it was venom, but…”
Rapodaie looks at the corpse as well and grimaces. “Very well, but you donta be messin with tings eh?”
You nod and walk over, kneeling down to remove the sheet. Your stomach turns a little at what you see. Starting at her neck you could see a concentric area of necrosis spreading from the initial site. Blackened flesh left a large, deep hole in her neck where it exposed the bone. This was much faster than it should be and it terrified you to know that Victoria’s bite was that potent. For a monster that was really kind of insane, she had to be really, really careful with blowjob…
Damnit. Anyway, death was probably swift but very, very painful. There really wasn’t much to glean from a quick <fast scan> and you sigh, rubbing at your head as you look back up at Rapodaie. “It’s a mess, and she might continue to decompose quickly but… At least it was fairly quick.” You leave out the painful part.
Rapodaie nods and grits her teeth, slamming her staff on the floor, causing the charms to jingle and clatter. She utters no words but you can feel her fury warp the air around her as she struggles to keep her magic in check. You sort of, kind of, do that thing where you put your hand on her shoulder and she blinks, looking at you.
“Look, uh, it’s going to be fine. We’ll find her and… Well, we’ll find her.”
She smirks and chuckles before quickly wrapping you in a tight hug, crushing your chest and causing you to gasp for breath as she squeezed you into her strong, muscular body. You do your best to try and push her away but it was futile. You just sort of sag and accept it, and right before you think your ribs are to collapse, she lets go of you and you stagger backward, only able to stand up due to the balance gained by planting Harmony firmly down.
“Hahaha, I tinkin I needin tha eh? Eh, you’ll be fine missa Wizard, you’ll be fine.”
“Guh… Y…yeah.” You take a few moments to catch your breath and get the pain out of your chest and you look back at her as she nods, smiling her toothy smile at you. “Maybe next time, a little less death hug, huh?”
You rub at your back and look over to the room the crates were being stored. “I do wish I knew what she was doing with that concoction though. I’m afraid if she manages to unleash it, we might end up being in trouble without studying it. Having a sample on hand would be good as well.”
Rapodaie considers you sadly before looking at the room. She shakes her head. “Is bad juju. Very bad juju, I donna think I have da powa to contain it ifin it open.”
You puff out your chest and thump it with your fist. “Well, I just so happen to be a master of plagamancy. I’m sure working together we could contain and eliminate if while the other chase down Victoria.”
“Liar. Big, fat, liar.” Send Harmony. You just uh, ignore her. Yes. She doesn’t enjoy that and starts mumbling in your head.
Rapodaie thinks about it for a moment. “Mm… I tinkin by yo aura dis be true eh? But…” She opens a pouch and shows it, the various little slots for vials empty.
“I be outta de juju juice eh? I be needin more ifin I gunna let you do dis ting eh?” She looks back to you, eyebrow raised as she waits for some kind of answer.
Harmony escalates from mumbling to yelling in your head.
“Uh, ha… What?”
You stare at Rapodaie as she shifts her weight onto her other leg, hips rising in sync. You know Harmony is blathering in your head but you just can’t seem to focus on the words, because you’re taken aback by the sudden request for your sticky white goo.
“Well? Wassa you waitin fo?” Asks the Jaga-Jaga, a wide, toothy grin splits her face. “Oh I seein, you wan a little help there eh?”
You hold your hands up and take a step back. “Oh, uh, no, no thank you, I have this ah… Under control.”
She chuckles and crosses her arms under the breasts. “Oh izzat so? Well well well, you bes get started, we ain’t got all day missa.”
“Right… Right I’ll just…” You start fumbling at your belt for a moment before you look up at Rapodaie and the guards still in the room. All of them are looking at your pants with predatory stares and you start to sweat a little. By the gods, if you had dropped trout here then you might as well just be asking to be raped, even by these relatively civil looking savages.
You slowly take your hand off your belt and lick your lips. “I’ll just… Go over somewhere… Private.”
Rapodaie seems somewhat disheartened and the guards mutter between themselves angrily as you declare this. The shaman sighs and picks up a bucket, tossing it at your feet. You stoop down and pick it up, staring at the wooden pail. It was… Quite large. You raise an eyebrow and Rapodaie shrugs.
“I expectin good things eh?”
You grumble and then take the bucket into a little side room in the structure, one that was fully enclosed and you sigh, leaning against the closed door.
“HEY LISTEN GODS DAMNIT!”
You jump, startled by the noise in the head and you look about before you remember that it was Harmony, who had been trying to get your attention all this time.
“Oh don’t you just ‘Hey’ me mister!” She spits, clearly fuming. If… Staves could… Fume… This was still very strange to you.
“Sorry, sorry! I was just kind of… Taken aback you know?”
“Oh I know all about it. Ugh, you aren’t going to do it, are you?”
You scratch your chin and look away, not that it matters since she’s in your head. “Well, I mean… I mean! Yeah? I guess?”
She huffs. “That’s so dangerous! What if you lose some of your powers! What if they smell your spunk and suddenly jump you for more?”
“Did…did you just say spunk?”
“Maybe. Look, there’s tons of things you can do with someone’s semen if you’re a monster witch and none of them are all that good!”
“Like… Using as mana?”
“Like, tracking you wherever you go, finding your magical signatures, etc etc.” she sort of mumbles off as she says this last part.
“…. Harmony, what’s the real reason?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You’re the imprint of thunderbird powering a magical staff, what in the world could you possibly be upset about?”
She seems to fidget as she something mumbles in your head.
“I don’t want you to…”
“I don’t want you to, okay!
You both become incredibly silent after this and it gets really awkward. You weren’t uh, weren’t really certain what to say to that. What was going on through this staff’s wooden head? It.. It was slightly concerning.
“I’m sorry…” Harmony sends a moment after this thought of yours. Right, right she was in your head. Then that means she should know…
“Ugh, yes… I… Just do it if it’s so important to you.”
You sigh and place Harmony over in the corner and you shake your head. “We need that vial, and if all it takes is a little jizz, then… Well then I guess I’ll give it a yank.”
She is silent as you turn about and undue your pants, revealing your member, which was flaccid and uninterested in your wishes. You take in a deep breath and retreat within yourself, focusing on the task at hand. Slowly, you begin to come to attention and you begin to process of release that you had practiced so many times before. It was more difficult this time, as the pressures of the world pervaded onto you and you didn’t really feel like it, especially since you knew this would be consumed. It just felt… Wrong?
You huff, exasperated as you stroke with no real success until you hear a loud banging on the other side of the door, causing you to jump.
“Ey der mista magic man, wha you doin in der? Sound like you ain’t jackin it! ifin you dun hurry up in der I gunna have to come in an get it meself eh?”
“I’m fine! Just a minute! Don’t come in or I’ll blast you!” You shout and return to concentrating as she laughs. Shit shit shit, she probably would and just straight up ignore your magic. Or something. You didn’t want to find out.
Okay, back to it then. Alright, just… Ugh, no, it was no use. You needed to picture something good, something that made you happy like… Like selene’s fluffy tails! Yeah, that would work, soft and delicate, making your whole body feel warm and soft.
Your hand starts to stoke slowly as you delve further into this thought. Just being wrapped in those tails again while you rubbed her soft hair, your hand going through her locks with no resistance as its sheen glinted in the reflection of the firelight. You could feel as she placed her warm hand on yours, squeezing it gently while one of her tails slowly traced down your arm, another caressing your cheek.
You take in a deep, shuddering breath as she smiles and kisses your hand, the light touch of her lips on your skin sending shivers up your spine. You feel the weight of the world start to melt off your shoulders as you bask in the warmth pervading you, and you feel another fluffy tail begin to travel across your chest and down your robes where it caresses the interior of your thighs.
You shudder in reality and your strokes increase in intensity as the scene plays before you in your mind, unable or unwilling to appreciate fully anything but your imagination. You see yourself shudder again as the tail slides along your thigh, and gently wraps around your stiff, thick manhood, and begin to gently apply pressure through your pants. You keep playing with her hair, a little more forcefully now and she mewls softly at the tension.
Her free hand rests upon your other leg and she starts rubbing it slowly as she guides your other hand to her shoulder, slipping her top slowly down as she has you rub her bare shoulder, allowing the smoothness of her skin to tingle your fingertips. She sighs and nuzzles her head into your hand stroking her hair and ears and she lets out a low purr before smiling at you mischievously.
The pressure on your cock increases and you shiver again as deeper sensation leaks through your clothing and into your erect flesh. At the same time, she directs your hand down toward her chest, your hand resting upon a soft mound of flesh. She squeezes your hand on her breast lets out a low moan before increasing the intensity, the smooth, fatty tissue feeling like a piece of heaven in your hand. Before you know it, she lets go of your hand and without being bidder, you explore her breast, gliding under, over and around her. Your fingers stop upon her erect nipple and you unconsciously pinch it, causing her to gasp in surprise and look at you, whispering, “Ara Ara…”
In retaliation, she squeezes your cock, and you grunt as a wave of pleasure washes through you. She continues this intense pressure as you tease her back, scratching at the back of her ears and fondling her breast with your other hand. She starts to squirm a little as you do the same, feeling yourself pulse in her grip. As you start to feel a familiar sensation wash up through you, the pressure on your member vanishes and you gasp, looking down at Selene as she smiles wickedly before flipping around, placing her face before your penis.
You can see her bare chest hanging in front of you and she gently reveals your girth to the sky and takes you in one of her soft hands, before bringing her face to your lap. She breathes gently on the head, and you twitch violently at the pulse of warm air. Slowly, she pushes back one strand of hair in front of her face behind her ear and she looks up a you, a gentle blush on her face before she opens her mouth and lowers it to cover your…
You feel a powerful sensation take hold of you and a massive feeling of release pulses out from you, shocking you back into reality as cum fires like from you in jets, smattering the bucket before you in strings of white goo. You fire out more than you could believe possible and you grab the bucket when you come fully to your senses and direct the stream into it, and it soon forms about a two inch deep pool of your steamy jizz.
You shakily set down the bucket and fumble at your pants, trying to stuff your manhood back into hiding. It resists, as if it were a prisoner being freed from isolation and stood firm, waiting to be taken by life and shaken until it couldn’t be shaken no more.
This didn’t sit well with you, but you were so full of conflicted emotions that you couldn’t figure things out enough to bother finishing the task. You just… Just masturbated to… And such a vivid dream that felt so…
You sink down against a wall and put your face in your hands. This was so very wrong. You’ve masturbated so many times before but it was never like this. It was never as good as this either, and it disturbed you. Was it because of your repression for so long or was it because of your…material?
You didn’t want to dwell on his fact as you glare down at your rebellious penis, which throbs gently, as if to mock you. You rarely had it stay hard for multiple sessions, not that you needed it to, and you weren’t quite certain how to resolve your current situation. You could probably rub out another one, but your head was in such a tizzy that you were utterly afraid to do so.
You hear another knocking at the door. “Imma comin on in ifin you ain’t done missa.”
You look at the bucket and panic, scooping it up before waddling with your pants around your legs to the door. You open it up a crack and peek out, handing over the bucket.
“H…here you go! Freshly uh… Squeezed.”
She looks at you flatly, then raises an eyebrow at the bucket. “Little sloppy der but is good amount eh? Mussa been thinkin bout someone mighty fine, eh? Or was it jus little ol’ me?”
“Aha… Uh, no. Anyway I just need a moment here…”
“Oh? You needin help cleanin up der? I won be opposed…”
“NO THANK YOU!” And you slam the door in her face as she breaks out into laughter. Your heart pounds against your chest and you realize your boner is going strong. Fucking fear man. You think about some disgusting things to try and make it go away and it helps, at least enough where you can shove your pants back on and hide it with your robes. You grumble and grab Harmony before going back to the door.
You pause and look at the staff. “What was that?”
You blink and then shrug. She’s clearly upset, but… You’ll have to deal with that later, as you open the door again, you see Rapodaie filling vials up with your semen. She licks a stray strand off one of the vials and she shivers and shakes.
“Mmm mmm mmmm mmmm MM! Tha is prime right there missa, you better watch yoself or I swear you Otha monstas gunna eat you right up.” She smiles wickedly before slurping down another morsel. Some would find this very hot. You found this very disturbing and you kind of wish you followed Harmony’s warning a little better…
As she finishes filling the vials, she takes in a deep breath and nods to one of the guards who fetches a crate from the storeroom. You look over and see the other guard currently giving the poor prisoner a blowjob, apparently unable to take the smell of semen in the air without doing something about it. The man looks terrified, yet ecstatic. Poor bastard.
The guard places the crate in front of you and then delicately takes out one vial before placing it on the floor. You nod to Rapodaie and draw a circle with your [Wizard’s chalk] and reinforce it with multiple anchor points. The shaman watches you intently and nods as you channel power into the circle. She affixes a few charms of her own to the outside and you can feel a deep magic pervade the area, synergizing with your circle. With a slow breath, you nod to her and she holds out a scaled hand which you take hesitantly.
She nods resolutely and then slams her staff on the ground, channeling magic as you gathered your will. You open your magic sight and see the same visions you did beforehand. Vile, sick stuff, but not as bad now that you’d seen it before. You and Rapodaie channel magic into the circle and the vial breaks apart, releasing a contained cloud of vapors that seems to swirl within the magical cage.
“What do you see Rapodaie?”
“Hrm… Issa strange. Is like a Monsta in a way, the magic signitua, but is not quite that. Is like…. Is like it some kinda Monsta plague? Thassa makin any sense?”
You scratch your head. “Not… Not really, no.”
She points, manipulating some magics and you see with your sight subtle changes. You can tell where this might end up attacking the humors but what exactly would it?…
You feel a shift in the miasma as you probe it with your plagamancy and you almost reel back as if reacts forcefully. You look at Rapodaie, face going pale. “Is… Is this alive?”
“I thinka so. I thinka this not jusa plague, but a plague Issa Monsta livin an a breathin.”
You inhale sharply. “Victoria’s going to release this in Cair, and when it reaches the people there…”
“Issa probably gunna kill mossa dem, but Othas, the ones dat live? They may not be human no mo. The women anyways, I no know wassa happen to da mens.”
You stare at the vial concoction and take in a deep breath. This was far worse than you could have anticipated. If she manages to get even a vial of this out there, there could be tons of people killed, or worse. This was way more insidious than Tolosh’s plan, infact it was even short sighted. Victoria was truly a monster among monsters, and if the Lady herself was worse…
“Big guy” you hear faintly in your head from Bubs “Big guy, I think… I think we may be close to her. Something’s not right out here though, there’s all these faces in the trees but…I dunno, the wolf says she smells her but we don’t see anything. I think we might need some help.”
You look to Rapodaie. “They found her. Let’s destroy this..”
“You still wanna keep some? Deal is a deal but…” She says, hesitating.
You lean back and take a deep breath looking at the ceiling. For fucks sake this was not something you wanted to deal with right now, but by the gods you were going to have to deal with it. You bet Jackor was behind this. Is this divine punishment for not pranking Hala back?
“Alright, don’t engage until I get there.” You send to Bubs. “I’d like if Blake could be here, maybe one of the Jaga-Jaga can fetch him.”
Bubs thinks back quickly, “yeah okay, but what am I supposed to do to get these two to stop? Because I’ve been nibbling on the wolf’s ears for fun and she doesn’t respond anymore. Kind of boring.”
You internally sigh, “Look just cause a ruckus, draw something in the dirt, whatever.”
“I’m not really sure what I’d draw there big guy..”
“You know what? I’m assuming direct control.”
“H…hey wait!” Bubs shouts before you connect with him and see through his eyes.
Once again, it’s a disorienting process at first and Tabitha looks over at Bubs, concerned. You have the rat shake his head which concerns the Lizardman even more. Rolling his rat eyes, you have him stare at a nearby tree, and with precise casting of [fire] you burn the words, “Wait for the wizard.”
By about the point of “the” Bub’s eyes were watering but you finished it anyway, and Tabitha nodded her head at the message. You didn’t actually if she could read, but you guessed correct apparently. The next message would have probably been an intricate picture of an angry spider but you didn’t think Bubs would appreciate that, and indeed he did not.
Pulling back to your own body, you shake your head and look at Rapodaie before sighing out, “Alright, we’re ready to hunt her down and… I guess I should take a vial. If this gets loose, then we’d need something to analyze to try and stop it.”
She nods. “Deal made deal kept missa man.” She motions to the circle. “An da rest of it?”
“We torch it throughly. No traces left.”
“I wouldn have it any Otha way.”
You both concentrate your magic on the plague in the circle and it reacts violently before succumbing to your arcane might and seeming to just… Stop, as if it had died or something. Which would fit with what Rapodaie has said earlier and it really, really creeped you out. Who developed this or… Has this always been present? Deep questions, deep questions.
You direct the Jaga-jaga guard to fetch Blake from down the road and see if he can group with the rest of the party before you and Rapodaie go and destroy the rest of the vials. During the process Bubs kept you updated, growing increasingly nervous. Hala was on edge, like an animal in a cage and Bubs had the sneaking suspicion that Victoria was up to something, but you couldn’t figure out what. You sped up the process of destroying vials accordingly.
When you come to the last vial, Rapodaie hands it to you and you carefully seal it and put it into your [Sack of Holding +1]. You sigh in relief when it’s all taken care of, and the shaman puts a hand on your back.
“Is all good missa man, we gun go out der an exterminate eh?”
You roll your eyes. “Oh like it’s that easy.” You look back at the body of the dead guard and mull something over.
“Actually… We might be able to make this a little easier. I know you won’t like what I’m going to ask but… I need some of the venom.”
Rapodaie traces your eyes to the corpse and then stiffens. “Ey der missa man, is bad juju to go rootin in da bodies of de Jaga-Jaga.” She shakes her head. “I canno do dat.”
You frown. “Look, I understand it’s part of your culture but this could keep us alive.”
She narrows her eyes, “I be understandin, but you need to be understandin too. We don do dis ting. We consign the bodies to da swamp, to defile dem is…” She shakes her head.
“I can’t force you to do anything. I’ve already asked you too much as it is, but damnit, do you want her to get out with that plague?” You stare intently at Rapodaie who’s lip curls up as she looks to the side. You just press your advantage. “That’s going to be some seriously bad juju there. And those horrors you saw before? They’ll be back if she escapes.” You point to the corpse, “Just a little bit of venom is all I need and we can stop her, here and now.”
Rapodaie growls and closes her eyes. She stays this way for a few moments before pointing to the corpse, not opening her eyes. She hisses through her teeth, “do it quickly missa man. Before I dun change my mindin.”
You nod and move swiftly to the corpse, removing your [Hakurai Homing Needles]. Gently, you coax some of the venom, which was still eating away flesh, into your needles and you can feel them hum gently as they react to a biological signature.
“Alright. Let’s do this.” You say as you pick up Harmony and head to the door.
Rapodaie opens her eyes and nods at you before following you out. As you cross the threshold, the prisoner from before yells, “H…hey! What about me?!”
You look back at him, then the guard who is glaring at you. You sigh and shake your head, “Such is the price of working with Danuki. I’m sure you’ll be happy together though.”
You turn back around as you hear terrified squealing followed by deep chuckles from the guard. Yeah, you didn’t like it but that wasn’t really your business. You has other shit to do. Like squash a spider. With magic.
Rapodaie picks up two more guards and you quickly move through the swamp. Bubs informs you that Blake has met up with the rest of the group and that a Jaga-Jaga is guarding the cart and the unconscious Veronica. This was great news, especially since Bubs believed that Victoria was still present.
Which was not great news, because why would she still be there? There was plenty of opportunity to run away, why stay around? This was feeling all sorts of wrong and as you slog through the murk you begin to feel very, very nervous. You pass into a section of swamp which was thick with vegetation, blocking out most of the light. The trees here began to have strange twisting shapes to their bark, some looking almost like faces. This must be the Dark Forest that they spoke of before, and a temple guard could be anywhere…
“Rapodaie, do you feel anything?” You ask, after carefully doing a sweep around with your [Mage sight]
She sniffs the air and then jingles her staff. “Mmm not ting missa man.” She looks at the guard with her. “Anyting?”
The guard shakes her head, “Naw, nutin Madam.” She sweeps around again as you keep walking. Something feels weird though, like… You don’t know, something is missing? It’s strange.
A few moments later it hits you and you wheel around at the guard before cursing. “Rapodaie, where is the other guard?”
The two Jaga-Jaga look at each other before quickly looking around and becoming extremely cautious, looking every which way. You curse again and flip about, almost shitting yourself when you come face to face with the corpse of the guard, freshly killed and hanging from a net of spider silk.
“Fuck me, she’s here!” You shout, and hold up your staff. You send to Bubs your condition and he freaks out,doing his best to get the others to follow him, and quickly.
While this is happening you step backwards towards Rapodaie and listen carefully. You hear a slight rustling in the trees and you slowly take the [Hakurai homing needles] into your hand. As you begin to ready them to throw, you hear a sickeningly sweet voice start to recite from all around you,
“Darling Hunter, I hope this letter finds you well, because I am coming for you. The whore and the stalker are the sun and moon but I have only eyes for the stars. I am caught in the waves without a paddle, but as the world turns I seek dry land. The land is changing and the mountains will crumble, but know this, my eyes are on the prize and if the deer still run in the woods, then magic still remains.”
Your heart starts to beat faster and your hands grow sweaty. Oh hell, that was the letter you sent to Selene. The only way someone would have it was if…
You hear a creaking noise and spin around to see another body fall from the trees, suspended by more webs. You start to breathe heavily as you see the dark elf you freed, her eyes blank and dead, staring at you with nothing. On her chest painted in blood were the words, “the price of failure.”
You grip Harmony. “She’s here!” You hiss at Rapodaie who slowly brings a vial of your semen to her lips and drinks, looking about cautiously. Your hands start to sweat even more as the heat of the swamp mixed with your anxiety. At least you weren’t that other guard who was starting to hyperventilate as she gripped her halberd.
“I be knowin. Wha was dat before?” The shaman asks, as a faint glow of magic appears around her.
“Don’t worry about it right now.” You say quickly before sliding the needles to throw, let’s see if she could hide from this…
“Oh, she has every right to worry about it.”
You both spin about to see the source of the voice and you drop the [Hakurai Homing Needles] into the muck in your panic. You curse and look down seeing them clearly, but when you look up, you see hanging in front of you an upside down face, smiling heavily as six eyes blink at once,
You jump back, cursing profusely and fire off snap shot of [fire] but Victoria dodges it easily as she rights herself, laughing. You are breathing very heavily but you see the temple guardian for what she is fully.
Victoria’s torso was that of a mature human female, with slender abs and large, firm breasts. Her hands and arms were a curious creation of brown chitin and when you looked at her face you saw short, black hair and three sets of blinking pure black eyes that followed you wherever you went. She was wearing a strange outfit of black cloth that covered her arms and neck, but utterly exposed her breasts, to which she did not seem to care. At about the point of her hips however, she had no human legs, but a set of pedipalps that twitched slightly as the structure of her abdomen took on the form of a spider’s with eight, multi-jointed brown legs and a slender brown abdomen. It made sense to you now how her venom worked, she was clearly related to a brown recluse.
Victoria cocks her head and smiles. “Oh, a little closer next time wizard, you might even make me sweat some.” Her legs twitch as she taps her cheek with her knuckles. “Hmmm. I wonder how long it will take for your friends to arrive. Truly, they are quite the fools for thinking I wouldn’t know how to leave a false scent trail.” She shrugs, “Amateurs will be amateurs.”
“W…what do you want?” You asks, still a little shaken.
“Oh why to see an expression like that, of course!” She says, delighted. “Oh but I suppose I would like to know why one of my little failures her has something like this? I don’t really take kindly to my pawns being used.” She huffs, “Only I can use them!”
Rapodaie starts to gather magic, “Why you be bringin dis mess inna our swamp? You lookin fo a fight?”
“Oh, a local, how charming.” Victoria shrugs, “I don’t need to explain myself to you or yours since I’m going to kill you anyway, I just wanted to ask something of the wizard.” She smiles wider, “Of course, if he wants to just submit to me then his interrogation will be much…more pleasurable.”
The guard with you is really freaking out by this point, and when Victoria starts gloating, she screams and levels her halberd before charging the spider. Victoria merely looks at her and rolls her eyes, tugging on something. The guard keeps running, then seems to suddenly trip on something and go crashing into the murk, dropping her halberd. Victoria moves to her with little import, grabs the halberd as it falls, twirls it, and plants it into the neck of the Jaga-Jaga with little apparent effort before leaning on the haft and smiling at you.
“Where were we?”
Rapodaie’s eyes grow wide and she screams, throwing a bolt of green magic at the Arachnae who narrows her eyes before dodging quickly to the left, then straight upwards and out of sight. She starts to chuckle but you can’t make out where she is.
“Bubs…how’s it coming man?” You send, a little fearful.
“Big guy, we’ve been webbed! We’re doing our best to get to you, but the bitch left a path of silk on the way here. It’s slow going!”
You grit your teeth as Victoria says, softly, “Well if you won’t talk, then I guess we’ll just have to have a little fun.”
Your first instinct was to run. It was the force that would cause you to grab your pants and run so fast you’d skip on the water. But you knew this was wrong, because the second you started turning tail, she’d be on you like predator and you’d be her prey.
It would be over in an instant.
Instead you calm yourself and assess the situation. There was a high level monster hunting you and Rapodaie and you couldn’t see her or hear her. Your party was trapped in her webs and would be delayed. You couldn’t run or you’d be massacred.
That meant the only open course of action was to find the spider and delay her, or take her out. And the easiest way to do that…
You look back down at the water, but as you do, you hear Rapodaie scream, “Where ya be lookin ya fool!” As she pushes you aside.
You feel a whooshing sound come from above you and you turn to see Victoria’s abdomen disappear into the treetops again. You grit your teeth and nod to Rapodaie, “Thanks for the save.”
“Is nutin, but you need be lookin ahead missa man.” She twirls and fires a bolt of green energy that smashes into a tree, causing it to splinter about as a crater do force digs into it. You hear a cackling laugh about you after the explosion, followed by a sing-song melody.
“The itsy-bitsy spider stalked the stupid lout. Down came his flame to flush the spider out. Now he panics in his tiny brain, and the itsy bitsy spider will laugh at him again.”
And she does laugh again. This… Is is really fucking unnerving. Your calm began to slip and despite knowing that she was doing this to ruse you, it was kind of really working. Like, you were legit rused! Perhaps if you dug into your [Sack of shit] you could form a miasma? No, that would only work if you could affect her humors, and Damnit, you couldn’t even see…
You jump as a rustling noise causes you to fire a [Lightning Bolt] into the brush, and a vibrant cloud of water to explode into the air as power discharged in arcs.
“Really, this is just too much fun.”
You whirl about to see Victoria hanging upside down again and you reflexively raise your arm, but not in time to stop her from landing a punch square in your face, causing you to fly backwards into a tree, forcing the air out of your lungs in a gasp. You blink as stars dance in front of your eyes and you feel a wave of nausea hit you. You stagger on your feet, and rub blood from your nose, which was dripping profusely into the murky water, and then you remember to check your surroundings.
Your eyes go wide as you see Victoria backhand Rapodaie and take her staff from her, tossing it into the swamp before embracing the bulkier monster. You cry out as the Arachnae grins wickedly, then sinks her fangs into the neck of the shaman before slowly releasing her and giggling, the shaman looking on in horror, then staggering, falling to her side in a twitching motion.
Weakly, you raise Harmony again and channel your rage into her casting a full force [Lightning Bolt]. Victoria nimbly dodges to the side and stares at you like you’re some kind of idiot. She starts pacing towards you and you quickly throw up a [shield of thorns] to protect you. Roots form the mighty swamp tree to come up and form a domed wall in front of you, blocking her from your view.
Everything goes quiet beyond the normal sounds of the swamp and the pulsing of your heart. Fucking hell, this wasn’t supposed to be like this. But she was so damn fast and powerful, you just… You didn’t expect it so go south this fast. Taking the time, you quickly fix your damaged nose and listen carefully. Nothing… Not a damn thing. You could drop the shield, but she’d be on you in a heartbeat. And if you tried to randomly cast magic out there you’d just tire yourself out.
“Bubs, ETA, now.”
“Sorry big guy, we’re clearing the last of these webs, but it’s going to be at least another few minutes.”
You growl. Damnit, that was going to be too long! If only you could reach the damned homing needles, you’d have this in the bag. In desperation you cast an amplified [Cold Blooded] through Harmony, but nothing really happens. It’s so, so very quiet, and your breath steams out in front of you despite being in a swamp.
Chirp chirp, thump thump. The mundane sounds almost become deafening in your ears as you start to breathe faster. This was panic on a primal level and you felt another wave of nausea come through you.
As you consider trying to leave your fort and dash out to grab the [Hakurai Homing Needles] which sounded like suicide in its own right, you suddenly hear a faint noise, like something heavy being dragged on the ground.
You strain to listen from where the sound is coming from. It sounded like it was getting closer and closer… And then it stops. Your heart hammers in your chest as you slowly put your ear to your wall.
The blade of the halberd suddenly spears through the shield of roots, splintering it apart. You scream as the sudden surprise causes you to stagger backwards and fall on your ass as the blade wriggles free, exposing a hole in which Victoria’s frosty and smiling face appears.
“Heeeerrrreeee’s Vicky!” She cackles.
You reflexively cast to try and catch her but she’s already gone and you can hear her hacking at your wall. It would only be moments before she’d be through. Dam it, there was no time,you had to get out of here, you couldn’t just wait!
“Wizard, stop!” Screams Harmony in your head, but you don’t heed her warning and drop your shield and scramble towards the homing needles. You barely make it 5 feet before you feel a huge weight slam down upon you, forcing your face into the muck. You raise your head, gasping for breath but you feel a pair of soft globes press into your back as your arms as forced outwards by powerful hands, causing you to drop Harmony and pinning you in place.
You struggle vainly to be released, but it’s no use, you’re pinned. You shiver as warm breath plays on your neck and a warm, wet tongue slides gently up to your ear, where it caresses your lobe tenderly before you hear a soft whisper,
“Caught like a fly in a web are we? Oh dear, dear wizard, you really didn’t think you could beat me, did you? You’re but a simple little man, and I, a Temple Guardian.”
You feel the tickle of her breathing in your ear again as she chuckles, “So strong and muscular though, how rare for your kind I’m told. But your smell is absolutely divine. Such a waste it would be to just end you, I suppose.” You feel the pressure against your back intensify as her breasts splay put across your back.
“Just tell me about your relationship with that bitch Selene and I’ll make sure to reward you. Your life will be nothing but constant bliss as you are warmly wrapped in my soft silk.” She purrs into your ear before chuckling, “And that is a double entendre.”
She starts nibbling on your ear and despite yourself you feel a growing tightening down there. It was no use, if you tried to cast something she’d bite you and it would be all over. You could try to lie to her, but she’d just rape you anyway, make you one of her little semen factories or whatever Selene had said.
“Don’t try and stall for time, your friends will only find a corpse if you do. You have 10 seconds to answer me.”
You think furiously. No spells, no party, no time. Your best course of action was…. Was to…
Submit. That was all that was left to you. You close your eyes and hang your head.
“I…” You begin before you hear a mighty roar and the light around you flashes a brilliant shade of green. Victoria screams in agony as she is bodily pushed into you, forcing your head once more into the murk before the pressure upon you is quickly lifted and you hear a faint skittering noise.
You push yourself up out of the swampy water and flip about to see one of Victoria’s legs blasted off into the murk and standing a distance from you was the battered form of Rapodaie. She was breathing heavily as she sagged to her knees, holding her neck before screaming in pain.
“Missa man! Hurry!”
You blink and nod, understanding. Quickly, you pick yourself up and dash forward, using your [Mage Sight] to locate your homing needles and to propel them out of the water and into your hand.
Victoria screams in rage in the trees, hidden but for her fury. You concentrate your power into the needles, activating them and then, with all your strength, you toss them into the air.
The pieces of metal fly into the air in a lazy arc before suddenly stopping, as if held in place by some force. They twirl about in odd circles and then, in unison, point in one direction and fire off into the trees. You hear a muffled cry of alarm before Victoria outright screams and comes crashing down from the tree tops onto her back, legs flailing as she cries in pain.
The homing needles has pierced her abdomen in some places, but a few of the needles had slammed into her torso, two puncturing her breasts, one into her stomach and another straight into one of her eyes. She writhes upon the ground, beating in panic, causing muck and water to go everywhere. You quickly scoop up Harmony and channel your might to force a to grab and hold her down, with multiple roots holding her arms and all her legs.
Victoria struggles vainly staring at you with outright fury as she struggles to be let go.
“WORTHLESS MAGGOT!” She cries, “I offer your pleasures unimaginable and you do this? I will devour your organs!” She screams again and trashes about, but causes little in the way of escape.
You lean onto Harmony, catching your breath as you stare at the Temple Guard. One of the four strongest monsters, caught like… Well, a fly in a web. The irony made you start to chuckle, and Victoria looks at you, aghast.
“What’s so damn funny you faggot?”
You just shake your head and keep laughing before turning your back on the spider and walking towards Rapodaie. You hear Victoria scream furiously at bring ignored and her trashing increases proportionally. You whirl about and point Harmomh at her and another root appears around her neck and slams her head into the ground as it constricts her. You narrow your eyes and keep walking.
Rapodaie was on her knees, breathing heavily as you approach her and you can see her holding her neck, a slowly spreading area of necrosis held under her fingers. It’s obvious that she’s using her magic to stem the flow of the venom, but you can’t be certain as to how effective it was in the long run at keeping her alive. You grit your teeth and kneel down next to her and she turns to you, eyes sunken and pleading.
“Shhh, it’s alright.” You dig into your [Sack of Holding +1] and pull out a [Health potion]. You open the stopper and put it to her lips, urging her to drink. She does, but coughs as the thick solution pours down her throat. She spasms for a moment and then sighs before her eyes flutter closed and she collapses in your arms.
Quickly, you <fast scan> her to see she’s alive and the potion was rapidly rebalancing her humors. The venom was fighting hard against it and the two seemed to be in a stalemate. With some effort, you manage to pull out the venom with your plagamancy and throw the vile poison into the swamp. Rapodaie’a unconscious form shudders and her breathing normalizes.
You sigh yourself and then turn back to Victoria to find she’s no longer struggling. Infact, she merely looks at you with hate filled eyes as you pick yourself up and walk back over near her. You just stare at her before casually waving your hand pulling the [Hakurai Homing Needles] from her and then, with an audible snapping noise, one of your vines breaks a leg.
Victoria lets out a choked cry before her torso tenses up and her eyes go wide. She struggles slowly, before setting down and breathing heavily, her eyes staring up at the sky.
“What’s with the plague Vicky?”
She pants some more before looking at you and licking her lips. “Fuck off.”
You raise your hand again and she grits her teeth. You oblige her and snap off another leg. She writhes again before her eyes go wide and she starts laughing a little.
” This the best you have Wizard? This is what you call torture? Hahaha, my most worthless Dark Elf could torture better than this.”
You pinch between your eyes, “I don’t want to torture you. I’d rather just kill you and be done with it, but you’re not giving me much of a choice. It’s a simple question, what is the plague, and why did you hire the Danuki?”
“Heh..haha… The Danuki? That garbage? She was just supposed to transport the crates without drawing undue attention, but no, the coon couldn’t even get that right.” She hisses, “fucking overgrown lizards had to stop the wagon, so I stepped in”
“You haven’t answered the whole question.”
“Why should I?”
You point Harmony at another leg and manipulate her humors, which were surprisingly malleable now. Then, you easily cast [cancer].
The leg seems to ripple for a moment before slowly, it begins to swell as it grows larger and larger. Victoria stares in mute horror as her leg becomes one large tumor and she screams in terror and pain.
“Not a good feeling, is it?”
“W..what have you done?” She demands, trying to break free again.
“Just answer the question and I’ll end it.”
“Th…the plague…” She seems genuinely terrified now as her leg becomes more and more grotesque. “It’s meant to be a bio-weapon, kill the humans and spare the worthy, make them malleable and ready for their ascension.”
She stares at you with a strange fervor in her eyes, “That is the true word of Dollora! The true will of the Lady, not the bullshit that Tolosh’s preaches! Everyone becoming a monster? Preposterous! Only the worthy should live in this new era!”
You rub your head and wave a hand, and the cancerous leg snaps off, eliciting another cry of pain.
“You… You fucking bastard, you promised!”
“I said I’d end it, and I did.”
Victoria stares at you, searching your expression before a small smile cracks the corner of her lips. “You… Your a sick monster just like me.”
You clench your fist as a wave of revulsion washes through you. Dimly, you can feel a presence in your mind drawing closer, but you can’t seem to focus on it as you stare into Victoria’s inhuman eyes. “What are you talking about?”
“Look at yourself. You have me caught in your little trap, taking me apart leg by leg, making me scream! I bet you enjoy it, I bet your dick is hard as diamonds now. Watching me squirm just gets you off so badly that you want to take me right now and fuck my brains out as you tear into my flesh.”
She starts panting as she continues. “Yes, yes you want to demean me, make me unable to escape, where I’m nothing but your delicate little fuck toy, hmm? Well then, break me, rend my flesh from my bones! BREAK ME! TAKE ME!”
She starts to struggle even more than before, desperately reading towards you. Her words were those of a sick mind, someone who’s rationality had left them ages ago. You wonder if this was some kind of ruse or if she truly wished to be violated in ways that transcended the physical, but honestly, the worst part of it was she was kind of right. The thought of dominating this murderous little whore was appealing and as that thought came to you, your felt sick to your stomach.
“Wizard….” Sends Harmony through your link and she seems to… Stare at you in revulsion.
“I..” You begin, searching for words, “I’m not like that.” You didn’t know who exactly you were trying to convince.
“Oh yes you are! I bet that’s why you are searching for Selene, hmm? Because you use pain for your pleasure!” She strains even further, her grin manic, “Did you know she gets off to being whipped with her own tails? What a sick little slut!”
You stare mutely at the Arachnae before you pick yourself up. “Don’t.”
“Hmm? Don’t what? Talk about the Lady’s prim little toy? I bet she had you wrapped all around her finger, doesn’t she?”
“I said, don’t.” You say, raising Harmony up towards the spider. You feel a pulse of panic inside you as Harmony tries to get your attention. Behind you, you hear the sound of footsteps in the mud but you can’t seem to care.
“Hells, I bet deep down inside you think you love her, don’t you? Oh that’s so very cute. They say that I am the monster, but I am nothing, NOTHING compared to her!”
Your eyes grow wide and you summon your will within you, a raging hot torrent of fire that you channel into Harmony. You feel her try and stop your magic, to keep it from bursting out from her and you snarl, raising your other hand and using it to channel your magic.
“Wizard! No!” You hear Blake shout from behind you.
You cast [Firebomb] anyway.
The glowing orb of fire lands into her torso and she stares down at it, laughing manically. “You gods damned fool. You should have kept me alive. But I go now to meet Dollora, and you are left with nothing.”
She smirks one last time, “Oh, and that man I stole should be out of the swamp by now. I wonder how far he’ll carry the infection?”
The firebomb detonates with a roar and you are pushed back by the force of it, staggering into the muck behind you as flames roar. You shake your head as you try to clear your senses, and you feel strong hands take your arm. You jerk free and turn around, raising your staff at… Blake.
You blink and concentrate on the man before you. His expression is… Horrified. Like he just saw something fundamentally terrible. But why was he looking at you like that? That’s silly, you didn’t…
You turn around and look at the scene playing behind you. Moss was burning on the swamp trees as their damp bark smoldered in a few places. Some grass was burning softly, but mostly where Victoria lay was nothing but a crater littered with severed limbs and smoking flesh. Your eyes are drawn to something and you see it’s her head, burned on one side, expression twisted into a sick little smile. Even in death, she still mocks you it seems.
“Wizard…” Blake says, putting a hand on your shoulder. “Wizard, stop. She’s dead.”
You stare down at the head still, her multitude of eyes and shrug free from Blake before walking over and picking up the head. You stare into her lifeless eyes and then turn to your party. All of them, the Jaga-Jaga included look away from you, except for Tabitha who stares you straight in the eyes, no emotion playing in her icy stare. You just… Wave your hand over the head and use <bio availability> to pull out some venom before bottling it up.
>You gain [Arachnae venom]
>Incredibly potent venom from the Temple Guardian Victoria
You sigh and tuck the head under your shoulder before taking in a deep breath and scanning the crowd. No one speaks.
“What?” You say, your voice flat and emotionless. “She’s dead. We have other things to worry about.”
You start to trudge forward through the muck and when you hear no other sounds behind you, you whirl about and scream, “YOU FUCKING HEARD HER! We have to stop the plaguebearer!” Everyone continues to stand still.
You start to breathe a little heavy. “Oh, oh I see, you think I went a little overboard huh?” You raise her head up and point at it, “This, this was a monster who preyed on the weak, terrorizing them in the dark, making them her little playthings. She deserved her fate, and I will not apologize.” You look to Blake, “This is a war we are fighting and I just ended one of their generals! I’m a fucking hero!”
Blake looks aside, eyes narrowed. “This isn’t what being a hero is about.”
“Then what is it about? Huh? Tell me, is it about dragging wizards from their homes and going on merry little adventures, never really accomplishing the big things huh? If you don’t have the stomach to do what needs to be done, then I will.”
You begin panting as you try to recover your breath after your little speech there. You look everyone in the eyes, and they all look away, except Tabitha still. She grips her sword in her hands and walks towards you deliberately. You tense up in response and she comes to stand face to face with you, barely an inch away. You both stare each other in the eyes and her emotionless expression is the utter opposite of your hot fury. Her lips part slowly and she says, with conviction.
You blink in surprise at her words, utterly taken aback. Tabitha just shakes her head and starts walking down the road. You notice Bubs riding on her shoulder and the little rat looks at you, sadness in his ratty eyes before he looks away. Slowly, the rest of the party begins to move, the Jaga-Jaga carrying Rapodaie between them, all of them walking slowly past you. You just stare at them as they trudge onwards.
“Harmony…” You whisper. “I’m… I’m not a monster… am I?”
Your staff doesn’t respond.
The rest of the party trudges on into the swamp, quickly leaving you alone with Harmony and your thoughts. Now that it was over, you had time to catch your breath and think everything through. The events of merely moments before played in your mind in slow motion and you clearly saw that Victoria, despite being your captive always has clear control of the situation.
You grit your teeth and grip Harmony hard as you realize that you were played at the end like a damn fiddle. She knew that she had lost and instead of having you continue to torture her, she goaded you into ending her and her wealth of information in a remarkably spectacular fashion.
You look down at the head in your other hand and stare into the dead eyes. Even in death she still mocked you and you close your eyes, taking in a deep breath. She needed to die, no one could argue that fact, and you were damn certain that even Blake would agree if pressed, but maybe you did go a little overboard… It’s not like you didn’t have a burnt head in your hand or anything.
You groan and lean your head on Harmony, opening your thoughts to the staff. You sense a feeling of unease, a certain tension which made your heart lurch as you gently sent out to the spirit of the staff.
“Harmony… Are you there?”
You feel the tension shift, as if someone was uncomfortably trying to ignore you. You close your eyes and breathe out slowly.
“Harmony I’m sorry… I… I should have listened to your warning. I wasn’t thinking and let my emotions get the better of me.” You shake your head, “Harmony please, just say something. I’m not asking you to forgive me, but this silence it… It’s just too much right now.”
The uncomfortable feeling increases and you hear a faint mumbling in your mind. You don’t press her on what she said, but you get a general impression that maybe she was relenting some. It gave you a great sense of relief, but at the same time revulsion. What must you have looked like to make her act this way? Your emotions must have been a tangled train wreck to force back onto the staff like that. It was scary, in a way.
Leaving well enough alone, you start moving to catch up with the party. There would be time enough to fix everything with them, they’d understand. They’d have to or… Or this party wouldn’t survive this world. You felt that maybe Tabitha understood this, but the others didn’t seem to fully comprehend the world of shit they were part of. This wasn’t a game and you were starting to get sick of playing clean up.
You look down at the head again and find if growing heavy in your hand. Stopping, you open your [Sack of Holding +1] and place the head inside. As you do, you feel an odd sensation, like what oil would feel like as it slid over water. Your spine shivered slightly as you felt a slightly familiar presence. It wasn’t a bad feeling, not really, just… Wrong? You quickly close your bag and put it out of your mind. Probably just your nerves, you had some freaky shit in the bag as it stood.
Your quickly brings you back to the rear of the group, having to support Rapodaie as it is and you keep your distance, which seemed to suit everyone fine. Blake looks back at you every so often but says nothing, while Tabitha pointedly just trudges onward. It’s a very uncomfortable silence and when you finally reach your wagon, it feels as if you has spent eternity is a warm, humid purgatory.
As you approach, you notice that Veronica is awake, leaning next to the cart, supported by one of the Jaga-Jaga, which she seems none too keen about. She seems a little pale, her hair plastered to her head, although it may be more because of the heat than anything else. She smiles wanly before her expression becomes more serious as she studies the faces of the party.
“Hey… What’s wrong?” She looks at Rapodaie and the Jaga-Jaga holding her up. “What happened while I was out.”
Blake, Tabitha, and Hala look between each other and glance back towards you. You roll your eyes and sigh. “Victoria, the Temple Guardian, is dead.”
Veronica’s eyes go wide as she whispers a prayer to Solos. “By Solos, that’s… That’s wonderful!” She studies the expressions of the others before asking cautiously, “But.. Something happened?”
“They didn’t agree with that needed to be done.” You answer, walking up to the wagon and hoisting yourself up to sit on one of the seats. You lean your head back and stare at the covering, feeling exhausted. “The end result is that the monster is dead, but not before she released a plague carrier. We need to hunt him down and…”
You turn your head, looking Blake in the eyes, “quarantine him.”
Blake narrows his eyes in response before shaking his head and pointing for the others to load up. Hala and Tabitha do so quietly and you watch as Bubs tepidly crawls down from Tabitha’s shoulder to crawl up your leg and sit on your knee, looking at you on his hindlegs, sniffing the air.
” Uhm… Hey big guy.” He sends.
“Hey…” You return, tired.
“Yeah…uhm.” He seems to fish for words. “You going to be okay?”
You look down at the rat and he sort of shudders. Shit, you must have looked really angry or something. “I don’t know, are you?”
Bubs pauses and seems to hesitate before answering. “I think you did what needed to happen Big guy. I guess it was just a little shocking, you know? You kind of got really intense and… And if something gets that bird brain so worked up, maybe it’s with good reason. I don’t know, I’m just a rat.”
You snort, “A magic rat.”
“Yeah, heh, I guess so.” He circles on your lap before crawling into your pocket and the familiar warmth makes you feel worlds more comfortable. You sigh and look over at Blake who is helping situate Rapodaie with the Jaga-Jaga. You see her slowly open her eyes and look around, her attendants doing their best to keep her calm, not that she seems to really panic or anything.
The shaman looks around at the people about her, before her eyes lock onto you. She smiles and a rasping chuckle escapes her lips. “Hehehe, eh der missa man… You lookin a lil pale eh?”
You blink and then close your eyes before snorting, “I don’t want to hear that from some albino crocodile.”
Rapodaie closes her eyes and chuckles again, before going into coughing fits. She raises a hand weakly when one of her attendants tries to calm her down. She stops soon enough and looks back at you, and you can see her eyes are sunken some, but she’s not in any danger. Nothing some rest and fluids wouldn’t cure. Or when the potion fully kicked in, that too.
“Ista bitsa spida deadin, eh?”
You nod your head and she sets her jaw. “An the plague?”
“She… Infected the captive and set him free. He’s somewhere outside the swamp.”
Rapodaie growls and tries to stand, but is kept in place by a gentle hand from Blake. “Madame, you’re not in a fit state to go anywhere right now. While we would appreciate your help on this quest, I’m afraid the best thing you could do is recover. It’s a miracle you survived.”
She guffaws, coughing some, “Is no miracle, is dis missa man. He good one eh?”
Blake looks back at you and sets his jaw before slowly answering, “He does what needs to be done.”
You feel a flash of anger at Blake’s thinly veiled criticism, but you say nothing. Idealistic bastard, he’d be fucking dead without you and he knew it. But, you let the charade continue as Rapodaie shakily comes to her feet, placing a hand on her head.
“Aight… Aight… I feels ya. Dese bones is creakin eh? We gunna return home den, but de swamp always be welcomin ya, ye hear?”
Blake nods and bows to Rapodaie. “Thank you for your kindness, Madame.”
She shakes her head, “Is not kindness, is respect. Now den, go stop dis plaguebearer, eh?”
She nods and watches as Blake and Veronica load up onto the wagon, setting off with a gentle slap of the reins on horseflesh. You watch as the Jaga-Jaga slowly recede into the swamp’s embrace as you trundle down the path that could be called a road.