“Right, now I want you to repeat that back to me so I’m sure you understand it,” their instructor demanded, pointing at the man who’d been foolish enough to choose a seat where examples could be made.
The bald beefy soldier grew nervous, glancing around as he became the center of attention. He plucked at his new accessory around his neck with unease, a slim but sturdy leather choker with a thin strip of bright pink silk along its center and a small hooked clasp. Currently a linen pouch hung from the clasp, secure from accidental release but easily removed if desired. It was impossible to miss even from a distance and his fellow human students wore similar chokers, if not all the same color.
“Um, er.. Pink means the orcs has chosen you. So you gotta do as they say, but don’t gotta listen to them other ladies except for.. them’s orders that ain’t about sexual.. entercurse?” he glanced at Jilly and Gilly, the women who’d seemed to have adopted him in particular. They leered at him possessively, proud that he was the center of attention. His face grew red, he probably wasn’t going to get much rest tonight again. The curvaceous sexfiends clung together whispering feverishly into each other’s floppy pink ears as they pinned him with their gaze. If the chokers didn’t work they would have to fabricate several dozen rape whistles for the men.
“Exactly right! It’s ‘intercourse’, but I see you’ve got the idea,” Bill praised. “And what did we learn ‘No’ means when an orc tells you it’s time to remove the pouch?”
“Err.. Sayin’ no means what we was really sayin’ were ‘Yes, but ‘arder’, sir,” he repeated back dutifully. While his world had been turned upside down, his military training had prepared him well to obey odd customs and protocol without much thought. This was not any different than learning who to salute and who he could tell to bugger off. He plucked at his pouch, mind and body at war with having his thoughts cleared of the sexual haze his life had been for some time. He wasn’t sure if it had been days, weeks, or even months. He did not find the pipeweed within to have a pleasant smell in any case.
“Bravo! You get a gold circle, I’m proud of you,” Bill cheered, flipping a gold coin into the man’s surprised but appreciative hands. He had come to the conclusion that money was completely meaningless to a man with no intention of paying for anything. The conscripted members of his burgeoning rebellion might find some use for it amongst themselves so he used his stolen currency for positive reinforcement.
“Moving on I’m going to go over the other colors again. Everyone needs to learn this so I want you attention as well, ladies,” Bill instructed, waving his hand at the assembled orcs and some of the new arrivals. He continued his lecture, pointing out the chokers and explaining their meaning to those that did not know. Asylum had become very cosmopolitan in a short amount of time.
A few women were in attendance sporting eagle legs below the knees, complete with wicked talons. Huge wings replaced forearms and hands, they used their talons for grasping and manipulating anything they couldn’t hold between their wings. The women had arrived when they spied the new conditions in the quarry town on their flights.
The harpies’ expressions did not fill him with confidence of their intelligence as they perched on their chosen man’s shoulders. He wasn’t sure if they even remembered his name. They seemed to regard him as a novel oddity to watch but not really listen to as their heads twisted to the sides with wide eyed birdbrained lack of comprehension. They seemed to have no interest in bothering any of the other men, so it likely wasn’t going to be an issue. Their husbands’ chokers were lined with their own feathers, glued to keep them secure.
Bill had found them useful in any case. While they seemed unable or unwilling to follow complex instructions, getting them to invite the mamono they spotted to join their sisters in safety at the liberated quarry town was easy. They made excellent scouts and messengers, enjoying what they believed was a game their new friends wanted to play. The towers and quarry cliffside steps made for superbly secure nesting grounds to raise their young. He would find it difficult to convince them to leave even supposing he wanted to. Their husbands were quickly losing any fear of heights they might have had and becoming experts at mountaineering, mostly to reach the tavern when their wives were away. Despite their slight frames and light weight they were able to lift a full grown man into the air for short flights, though they rarely did it unless they were capturing him for the first time.
The other women were a diverse and exotic mix of species Bill had been thrilled to meet. A few centaurs, beast type women of all sorts, and humanoids like ogres, oni, and trolls. The calm good-natured troll had been a boon, her incredible affinity for horticulture easily solved the need for the not-quite-tobacco plant which allowed the community to function. Scipio was ecstatic to learn it was easily a match for his own elven brand.
The other mamono raised their defensive and industrial capabilities by leaps and bounds.
The oni were nearly as strong as Sarah, the red one in particular carried a club that rivaled her hammer. If they could only convince her to stop drinking she might even be useful. Tabitha still remained heavyweight champion, she’d lifted with effortless ease both weapons at once when Larry had urged her to show off during the drinking contest the arrival of the oni party had triggered.
Surprisingly, Tabitha got along famously with them. Apparently they were immigrants from her mother’s homeland. They weren’t even certain how they’d ended up here, finding themselves in this strange new land after waking from a particularly raucous party. They weren’t much concerned, and for that Bill felt a kinship with the laid-back women. Tabitha and Larry spent most evenings with them now.
Luckily the blue ones were intelligent and considerate enough to abstain from drinking at all times. Unfortunately, when they did indulge they were far more of a problem than the red one. The lightweights would attempt to keep up with red’s obvious mastery to Bill’s dismay. It was like dealing with a weekly bachelorette party of particularly repressed office women who were desperately ready to lose their inhibitions. It took Sarah and Tabitha’s intervention to drag them off for a sobering dip in the ice cold water of the nearby river that was their water supply. Since the first few incidents they were forced to party outside the walls.
The pack of ogres had been a problem from the start. Their belligerent natures, greater than average strength, and confidence in their numbers made them believe they were above listening to any instructions or rules. Bill had nipped that in the bud with a series of vicious beatings handed out by his management team. It had been particularly enjoyable watching Sarah charge their formation as they’d attempted to take command. She’d scattered them like bowling pins, clearly High Orcs being designed for just such a maneuver. They towed the line now, sullenly following orders and ready to defend the community that offered the easy comfort and good eating they’d come to enjoy. They’d damn near broken into tears when Bill threatened to have them thrown out.
Once the quadruped friendly ramps to the walls were finished the centaurs would make approaching within arrow range a losing proposition. Their prickly personalities made dealing with them a bit difficult, but Bill and Scipio had won them over with polite diplomacy and easy humor. Bill had expected them to heap derision on Larry’s stupid gun, but they’d responded with guarded interest. Something to think about if times grew desperate. They treated Helena with veneration, something she found intensely uncomfortable. Bill was certain if any woman approached Felix with lustful designs she’d catch a storm of arrows before coming within twenty yards.
Bill decided to continue his instruction of the Rules of Engagement with the special case that Helena represented.
“Now I’d like you to turn your attention to Felix here. Notice the fetching and arresting outfit he’s modeling. Give us a twirl, Felix. See that there will be no mistaking him for someone else,” Bill said with cool professionalism, pointing out the details. His next words were filled with dire warning.
“No excuses will be accepted, and punishment for poaching will be absolutely legendary in the suffering you will experience before death,” Bill explained, deadly serious as Felix modeled his new outfit, mortified. He not only had a red lined choker, there was a stripe of red down both sleeves of his coat and pant legs. A large red X was displayed on his back, and two bracelets on his wrists.
“I cannot express in words how absolutely suicidal it would be for you to bring any harm to Helena by molesting this man. As far as you’re concerned he’s untouchable. Trying your luck with me would be trivial by comparison, and you’d be regretting that until your dying day.”
“If you can’t take me seriously, please give your attention to my lovely teaching assistant and designated executioner to your left,” Bill said, waving his hand towards Rekka. As one the group turned to look, most with extremely uncomfortable expressions. Except the harpies, they remained staring at Bill for a moment before they caught on, and treated her as no more curious than him.
“He ain’t said the half of it. Don’t fuckin’ try it. I ain’t gonna be quick. You’re gonna have all the time in the world to regret it,” Rekka said with uncharacteristic calm as she leaned casually against the wall. The hellfire in her eyes flaring threateningly spoke volumes. Despite her small stature the lessons she’d doled out with appalling violence had earned the respect of any troublemakers in their midst.
Not to say that they’d spent the last few weeks cracking skulls, most of the mamono got along famously, thrilled to join a community. Bill would have preferred to take it easy and rest for what he had planned next, but running his stolen town was nearly a full time job. He was pushing hard to get everything running smoothly without his direct intervention.
“Okay, I hope we’ve stressed how seriously we take all this. I really don’t like threatening everyone, I want this community to be a place of safety and joy. I know you men didn’t get a say in this but I think you’ll find your time here will not be one of misery. Thanks for taking one for the team, you’re big damn heroes. Maybe we’ll build some kind of monument for you when this is all over.”
Bill didn’t feel too bad for the men, most of them would have been quite happy to kill him and all his friends not long ago. They were having a pretty good time in any case. Maybe once this really was over he could hold a class on consent. Probably not, he’d be too busy relaxing at some beach with Rekka if he could help it.
Looking over the crowd he noticed one of the werewolves that he’d sent on close perimeter patrol was waving nervously to get his attention, likely another emergency had been delivered to their doorstep by a new flavor of mamono.
“Okay, one last thing. If a man has a yellow stripe, he’s out of the dating pool. His job is considered too essential to be dragged off at inconvenient times. Now, this doesn’t mean you fellas can’t fall in love when you find your soulmate, I’m damn certain it would end in tragedy if I even tried to stop it. Just know that you’re going to be dragged kicking and screaming back to your job as necessary. Feel blessed, you men have all the free will violence can enforce. I recommend you keep your jobs essential if you want that to remain so,” Bill finished, waving at the barkeep, labor foremen, cooks, and quartermaster.
“Right, if y’all could teach any newcomers or slow learners the way we do things here I’ll be highly appreciative. That’s all, off you go, find something useful to do or stay out of the way of someone that is,” He waved them off, reuniting with Rekka. Felix made his red faced way out of the room to find Helena, the crowd parting before him as if he carried the plague. Helena had nearly passed out from embarrassment the first time he’d held this workshop and no longer attended.
Rekka threw an arm around his waist while he lay his over her shoulder and they made their way over to the scout. Bill recognized Millie, the shy sweet one of the werewolf trio that had joined them.
She’d arrived not long ago with her packmates, one of the few groups that had come with their own husbands. Bill had nearly pulled a muscle grinning at the men, who had turned to run once recognizing him. Luckily Felix intervened and explained the situation to his old squad. Bill had traded glares with Ranius for a few moments before giving him a nasty grin and showing off his unscarred forearm. Despite the rocky start the werewolves had become indispensable as scouts, their husbands having taught them a bit of military tactics and discipline.
Felix’s old squadmates had heard of the quarry town’s new name and owners from a passing harpy. Though they had found their time camping in the woods with their new wives enjoyable, the thought of soft beds and a roof over their heads had lured them out of the wilderness. The werewolves had been easier to convince than first thought. Though they’d been domineering at first, the women soon began to see their husbands as the ones in charge. The men had no idea how this had happened and now felt intensely protective of their wives. They’d thrown in with Bill’s madness without a second thought.
Bill had asked about Tullius, wondering if Annika was going to make an appearance and bracing himself for the possibility. The men reported they had attempted to invite them along, but Tullius had refused. He did say he’d take it up with Annika once she returned from hunting, as it was ultimately her decision. The sergeant had been lazing about in a silk hammock wearing a sheer silk robe and clearly enjoying his new life as a kept husband with no responsibilities.
“Hey Millie. Another emergency?” Bill asked.
“Sir, yes, sir!” Millie replied. She awkwardly saluted, blushing as she stared over Bill’s shoulder.
Bill waited for her to continue until he remembered what she was waiting for, giving her an equally awkward salute in return. Under “Sloppy Fucking Civillian” in a very odd dictionary would be a picture of BIll giving the photographer the finger. He’d be hung for insubordination and malingering the moment he exited the bus to boot camp.
“Report, scout,” Bill ordered, humoring her.
“Yes! Um, there’s a new arrival.. she’s demanding to see who’s in charge before she enters.”
“Well, nuts to her. She can get fucked. We’re not turning people away, but I’m not about to go beg for her to join us,” Bill snorted, looking at Rekka who smirked with amusement.
“Um, Captain Dulius thought you would say that, but we think Rekka should come talk to her before things get.. messy. She’s a hellhound,” Millie explained meekly.
Bill and Rekka began jogging towards the gate immediately.
“So, should we go talk to her together? I’m real goddamn interested in meeting another of your people, you know,” Bill asked Rekka.
“Yeah! I wanna show you off! Just be careful, she ain’t gonna be too friendly,” Rekka replied.
“Really? Why not? You’re fucking awesome, why would she be any different?” Bill asked, receiving a cheerful smile.
“Well, us hellhounds is.. independent, y’know? You an me are only doin’ all this cause you got all mopey bout living in my cave. If she wants in here she probably gots a family, that’s why mama brought us to.. where we lived,” Rekka explained, regretting her last statement and looking away.
Bill watched her, worried. He was going to sit her down soon when he found a quiet moment and dig into her past. Seemed like every time it occurred to him the timing was off for a serious conversation of that type. His thoughts focused on other matters as he processed the rest of what she’d said.
“Wait, she’s got baby hellhounds? Oh damn! Let’s go!” Bill cried, sprinting ahead. He had to see this!
Rekka shook her head, smiling and jogging a bit faster to follow her husband. She wasn’t sure exactly how she thought about seeing another hellhound. She’d thought she would be thrilled, but now she was worried the newcomer would only dredge up old sorrows. Shrugging off her worries, she could at least look forward to meeting the pups. She was as excited as her husband by the prospect.
Bill burst through the gate, skidding to a stop as he spotted the newcomer waiting in the open field, well out of arrow range. She was standing with her hands on her hips glaring at the walls, ignoring his arrival. It was a shock to his system to see another ebony skinned woman with hellfire in her eyes, Rekka had been the unique center of his world for so long.
She was leaner than Rekka, the curve of her hips and breasts not as pronounced. She could have been a tight bodied yoga instructor. Her hair was styled shorter, pulled into a loose ponytail. Bill had picked up the fact that Rekka might be a bit smaller than her sisters, but now he could see she was positively petite. The woman was about his height, if not taller.
Bill jogged over to her, disappointed that there weren’t any adorable hellpups in sight. He waved to her as he closed, but she still ignored him, her eyes locking onto Rekka. Bill turned to look and saw Rekka was approaching with arrogant confidence, taking her time as though to say the new arrival was not worth rushing. She waved Bill ahead when he slowed with a questioning look on his face. Grinning at her, he kept going, never concerned with what anyone thought about him. If his rushing ahead to make friends wouldn’t affect Rekka’s reputation he was fine with ruining his own.
“Hey! Welcome to Asylum, my name’s Bill. Pleasure to meet you..?” Bill greeted her, offering his hand and waiting to hear her name.
The hellhound finally looked at him, surprised he had spoken to her or even approached so fearlessly. She snorted derisively, dismissing him and waiting for Rekka to arrive. Bill was honestly amused at this response. He shook his hand in the air, chuckling.
“Oh, no, pleasure is all mine I assure you. Yes, it is fine weather we’re having. I gotta say your resting bitch face is a thing of wonder,” Bill chatted away in an overly friendly tone.
Her head slowly swiveled to lock onto him with all the threat of a tank turret, hellfire flaring.
“Run away little man, before I swallow you whole,” the woman rumbled out, taking a menacing step forward.
“She speaks! I thought you might be a mute there for a second. No swallowing, please. You’d probably get sick and Rekka would be jealous,” Bill said amiably, not backing away as she pushed into his personal space.
The woman seemed taken aback, looking at him with a kind of pity now. The older hellhound turned to Rekka as she strolled up.
“Did you break him? He’s acting strange. You can’t be too rough with them, they’re delicate,” she chided.
“Hah! No, he was like that since I caught him,” Rekka explained. “He ain’t afraid of us, so you’ll have to put up with it.”
“Really? Maybe you’ve been too gentle then. He should be afraid. We’re hellhounds.”
“Nah, I got you guys figured out. You’re just used to everyone losing their shit cause you’re such badasses. Under that hard murderous shell is a soft gooey ball of loving protection. With a spikey core of murder, I’ll admit. I’m willing to bet you’ve never hurt anyone that didn’t threaten you in some way, am I right?” Bill broke in.
The woman’s eyes went wide as she stared at him, then turned to Rekka who just smirked and shrugged. Seemed like he’d struck a nerve with that one.
The look could also mean he was way off the mark and this woman had left a trail of bodies along her path to the town. He’d have to ask Rekka some very careful questions later.
With that he disengaged from the woman and moved beside Rekka, laying his arm across her shoulders and sharing a loving smile with her. The newcomer seemed a little saddened seeing this, twisting to look at the tree line for a moment before facing back.
“I don’t get it. How’d you train him to do that? I have to nearly tackle mine for hugs,” she asked.
“I didn’t have’ta, he was always like this. You can talk to him, y’know. It’s rude, and it’s startin’ to piss me off,” Rekka said, ending with a growl. Bill was touched, though unsurprised. He would have done much the same if the situation was reversed, and likely with far less tact.
The new hellhound didn’t seem to know how to respond to that. On the one hand they should probably be rolling in the dirt fighting right now. On the other, she was only defending her husband, which was natural and commendable. She decided to let it slide, this conversation had been more pleasant than usual for her. Normally it began with the fighting, and ended with begging apologies for disturbing her.
“Yep, I’m not just a pretty face, I can say words good too,” Bill said with a cheeky grin.
“You’re weird. I’m Kendra. Rekka, right? Obviously you’re in charge. What’s the story with that pile of rocks, enough girls in there to hold out when they send those fuckers to take it back?” Kendra asked.
“I’m only in charge’a Bill. He’s dealin’ with all the boring stuff, ask him about it,” Rekka replied with a shrug. Kendra looked at Bill then, not enthusiastic about trying to communicate with him. Bill decided to just pretend she’d asked him.
“Yeah, I’m riding herd on this clusterfuck. It was easier to capture than run the place. I need to find some sucker to put in charge so I can go back to being a lazy piece of shit,” Bill said with feeling.
Scipio had been uncharacteristically impolite, walking away laughing when Bill brought up the possibility of him taking charge. None of his other friends, as trustworthy as they were, had the necessary character for managing the town. Despite having the leadership experience Sarah’s skillset was more leant to the sacking of towns. Bill was only managing through friendly charm and very violent friends backing up any orders he made.
“To answer your question the place is pretty secure. They’d need one hell of an army to kick us out now, I’d say. Got a platoon of orcs backed up by a high orc. Some heavy hitters from out of town; a jinko and a few flavors of oni. Pack of ogres who are finally playing nice. Should have centaurs on the walls soon. Plenty of ladies with different animal parts, and a flock of harpies,” he rattled off.
“I’ve got scouts out, harpies and werewolves. We should have very early warning if a vengeful army heads our way. I can’t promise they’ll be safer than sticking to yourselves in the wilderness, but your family will be as well protected as I can possibly make them here. They’ll certainly be more comfortable. If they do send an army they’re going to regret it. I’ve got plans for those fuckers,” Bill promised.
Kendra stared hard at him for a few seconds, considering. Finally she turned away, beckoning at the tree line. Bill’s eyes widened with wonder as small figures bounded towards them at speed. A large man carrying a small child in his arms walked towards them at a safer pace.
“Look! Rekka! Look! Kids! Holy shit, they’re fucking adorable!” Bill cried, taking a knee as they closed, grinning madly.
Rekka looked between her excited husband and the beautiful pups, her breathing picking up. Her biological clock went off, triggering the sticks of dynamite attached to it. She walked up to Bill, placing a shaking paw on his shoulder, hardly able to stop herself from pushing him over and taking him right there.
The hellpups slid to a stop to stare warily at Bill, who’d spread his arms in the hopes they’d run in for a hug. There were three of them, their ages seemed to be around five to ten, though Bill had never been good at judging the age of children. They were miniature copies of the women, their paw-hands and feet oversized to grow into. They wore linen tunics and their hair was as wild as Rekka’s had been. Bill was completely charmed, if the girls set fire to the town he’d forgive them without a thought. They looked to their mother to see what they should do with the oddly fearless man.
“You sure you want to play with them? They don’t know their own strength yet, can’t promise you won’t get hurt,” Kendra said with humor, looking to Rekka to make sure she would allow it. Rekka smiled happily and nodded.
“They’re the cutest kids I’ve ever seen. Goddamn, Rekka. I can’t wait. Heyas! Call me Uncle Bill, wanna wrestle?” Bill grinned deliriously at the hellpups.
They grinned back enthusiastically, their tails whipping at the air, ready to terrorize this foolish man. Without words they split up to take him from different angles, baring their fangs and leaping onto him intending to knock him to the ground and commence with the struggle snuggles. Bill was delighted. The girls were amazed he’d taken their assault without budging. Roaring like a bear he stood up with the hellpups clinging to him tenaciously, giggling and shrieking at the new experience of not being able to overpower him as he stomped around for a bit.
“Nice try you little scamps! Prepare yourself for hugs, RAAHH!” he laughed, gathering them into his arms while they shrieked happily, trying to squirm out of his grip and push his arms away. Relenting, he let them down, laughing as they kicked ineffectually at his shins. They were letting out childish snarls and yips of frustration before breaking into giggles. The adorable killing machines smiled up at him impishly before darting over to their mother.
“He’s strong, mama! He didn’t fall over or nothin,” the oldest stated, pretending to pout.
“Guess he’s tougher than he looks. Don’t worry, once you’ve grown a bit you’ll be able to juggle a man his size,” Kendra explained, patting the girl on her head with a smile for Bill. She’d been surprised herself, clearly the two had not been together long enough to impart such strength to him, not without any children of their own. She’d have to ask Rekka about it when they had a moment. She didn’t worry too much. Even without her willing to rip his throat out, BIll was clearly no threat to her pups.
“I’m going to come down on any army they send like the fist of an angry God, no ones harming these kids,” Bill promised, gathering Rekka in his arms as he watched the giggling girls chasing each other, barking and laughing. Once he dug those dwarves out of their hole he was going to surprise the hell out of Larry with this sudden change of heart.
“You ain’t gettin’ any sleep tonight, sugar,” Rekka promised.
“I don’t doubt it,” Bill agreed.
He nodded at Kendra’s husband who’d walked up carrying another child. Bill felt like dragging Rekka to bed right then. The toddler was precious beyond words, looking at him with huge red eyes with little bursts of hellfire flaring out but not catching.
“Welcome, I’m Bill, this is Rekka. Glad to have you,” Bill greeted the man, who seemed to have a long suffering look on his face before he turned to his children, brightening into a fond smile as they ran up and hugged his legs. Bill wiggled his fingers at the child, finding out hellhounds grew fangs very early. She barely broke the skin, and he was too happy to care if she’d taken a finger.
“Julius, well met,” he replied, sounding tired as he stroked her ears.
“Let’s get you set up. We’ll kick someone out of one of the private houses, you’re bringing the first kids and get bumped up in priority. The others are working on it though, that’s for sure,” Bill said, gesturing for them to follow.
He wasn’t too worried about outraged tenants, the quarry workers that weren’t building the centaur ramps were busily making new homes. Clearing ground, carving out blocks of stone and moving them where they were needed was a speedy process with mamono assistance.
Julius looked at Bill with wide eyes after he spoke, glancing between Rekka and Kendra to see which one would call him out for trying to lead the way. He felt deeply hurt when they both simply followed him without issue. He was sure Kendra would jump all over him for doing anything near as bold.
Bill felt bad for Kendra, clearly the man was afraid of her. He’d have to knock some marriage counseling into Julius in solidarity of being with such uniquely affectionate women. Julius hadn’t seemed to realize that his wife loved him as much as she did her children. Clearly they’d been together for years, both of them were probably depressed if this had been going on so long.
As they approached the gates a small mamono waited for them meekly, loyally doing the job assigned her. She was a kobold, and not the kind Bill had known from his DnD days. Instead of being an excitable little reptile she was basically a cocker spaniel that began transforming to human and stopped halfway. Her face, shoulders and torso framed by doglike limbs and features. Adored by all, the helpful little mamono gave off the aura of a sweet tempered family pet. She was nearly the smallest mamono in the community, slight of build and shorter even than Rekka.
Pawing through the satchel at her side, she met them just outside the gate. Kendra confirmed his suspicions that she wasn’t just a ball of rage and murder by smiling fondly at the little woman.
“Melody, how are you? Thanks for your help, at least there’s one person I can count on to do their jobs around here,” Bill greeted her, restraining himself from patting her on the head. Rekka had warned him that kobolds welcomed all affection of this kind, but saw it as something to build a relationship around. He didn’t need that kind of headache, and the young woman already seemed to have bonded with Captain Dulius. The man had mellowed out to a surprising degree, spending most of his time with Scipio attempting to mold the mamono more suited for combat into a cohesive fighting force. When not doing her job at the gate Melody followed him everywhere.
“Hello Mister Bill! I’m fine, thank you, I’m so happy to see children! Though.. I worry that they’ll forget to wear these,” She replied, holding several pouches of the tobacco-like substance strung on leather straps.
“Oh shit, I didn’t even think of that! Kendra, Sarah’s got that love stank going on. God damn, I don’t even want to think about kids dealing with that,” Bill cried, dismayed, so upset he actually cursed in front of the precious little kobold. Julius’s eyes grew wide, taking a step back, holding his youngest daughter tighter.
Rekka and Kendra shared a look before bursting into laughter.
“This ain’t funny, guys. I hope to hell you can understand how bad this is gonna be if we can’t keep these necklaces on them..” Bill despaired, feeling sick.
“It’s ok, husband. Sarah’s smell don’t work on pups. It don’t work until your first heat, and they ain’t gonna see that for years an’ years,” Rekka explained through giggles, sharing a smile with Kendra.
“Thank fuck. I was about to head into the woods to build a log cabin for Sarah and Scipio,” Bill replied, letting out a relieved sigh, his knees weak. He shared a shaky smile with Julius.
“Oh! I’m relieved, I felt the same way Mister Bill. Um, here you go, please wear it at all times, if you become bothered by Missus Sarah’s..” Melody looked at Bill for a moment, a bit unsure before continuing, “Love stank? All you need to do is sniff at it. Don’t worry, most find it smells pretty nice.” She didn’t know why Bill spoke so differently when he knew she was around, and felt a naughty thrill that he’d finally swore when he knew she was listening. Bill would be horrified to learn he was such a bad influence on her.
She shyly handed a necklace to Kendra and Julius, giving everyone a smile before returning to her carpet in the shade. She then lay down and curled up, watching for any new arrivals. Bill was alway disappointed he couldn’t scratch her floppy ears and play fetch with her. He’d have to make due with Rekka’s ears. He’d quickly find himself doing the retrieving if he asked her to play fetch, he was sure of it.
As they entered the town proper Bill noticed the hellpups were practically vibrating with the need to explore. Kendra smiled at them before raising her brow at Bill.
“Hell, they’ll be safe to roam and play. If anything the rest of the people here will be the ones having to watch out. After they’ve seen Rekka at work they’ll walk through fire before bringing harm to your girls,” Bill explained.
“Go on girls, have fun. No biting! Play as long as you like, but find me before dark. Don’t make me come looking,” She lectured firmly.
The pups let out a yips of delight before streaking away to terrorize the town, headed for the stairs leading to the walls as their first destination. Bill gave a reassuring wave to the soldiers and their wives manning it currently, letting them know he didn’t have a problem with the children sight-seeing.
“I think the house next to ours will do Rekka. You can tell those lamia they can move in with the lizard ladies. They spend more time sunning on rocks than in there anyway,” Bill told her, then looking over at Julius.
“Kendra, do you mind if I have a word with Julius here? Don’t worry, just some harmless guy talk,” he requested.
“Hmm, alright. Please show my husband where we’ll be staying once you’re done,” Kendra replied, gently taking her youngest from him. “Take care, my love,” she told him softly.
Julius nodded to her, not meeting her eyes. Kendra turned to Rekka and they walked towards the housing district.
Bill looked Julius over for a bit, who seemed unsure what this could be about. Nodding towards a larger building, they moved off.
“Let’s go have a drink, Jules, you look like you could use one,” Bill said. Julius nodded enthusiastically, ignoring his new nickname.
They entered the dim cozy cavern, already filled with drunk mamono and their husbands.
“Bill!” they cried, welcoming him with raised tankards. He didn’t know how that started up, he had the feeling television signals were crossing dimensions and subliminally affecting the people here. Larry denied he’d put them up to it.
He waved at the room, nodding at Larry and Tabitha who were seated at their usual tables with the oni. The red woman seemed to live here, he wasn’t sure if she even slept. Every time he saw her she was awake and drinking away. Bill was relieved to see the blue ones only had plates of finger food and glasses of water in front of them.
“What’s your poison, Jules? Ale, mead, bourbon? Seems to be a hell of a lot of that stocked,” Bill asked.
“Ale would be most fine,” Julius replied.
“Right. Barkeep! Flagon of ale for my new friend, I’ll take the usual,” Bill called. The man quickly filled the order.
Handing the ale to Julius Bill grabbed his mead and looked around, wanting a little privacy. He drank the mead because the honeyed liquid was pretty tasty, not because of the alcoholic content. Seemed his magical bullshit constitution made getting drunk, or even a little buzzed, impossible. The red oni had been deeply impressed, but Bill was just disappointed. It was far from fun being the only sober one at a party.
Spotting an occupied table in the corner he rolled his eyes. As he stalked forwards the ladies noticed him, grinning shamelessly.
“Shouldn’t you four be hauling stone for the wall? It’s your shift, everyone needs to do their part here,” Bill scolded the diminutive women.
The adult goblins were easily mistaken for children at first glance with their small builds, but they would grow no larger. Even smaller than Melody the women were also incredibly strong. They managed the sleds full of stone with the ease of far larger mamono. He was constantly having to chase them back to work, they were better slackers than him and far more interested in mischief.
“That’s so boring! We’ll do it later, we were thirsty!” one of them said, raising her mug to him which was comically huge in her small hand.
“Clear off, get back to work or I’ll have Rekka chuck you from the walls,” Bill ordered.
The goblins moaned, chugging their drinks and hopping off their chairs to either return to work or find a new place to continue their goldbricking. Bill reminded himself to have Rekka pound some responsibility into their heads later. He motioned Julius to take a seat as he did.
“Take a load off Jules, we need to talk,” Bill said.
“Thanks.. What’s this all about?” Julius asked warily.
“Your attitude needs some adjustment, Jules. Particularly your feelings on Kendra,” Bill stated.
“What the hell do you mean?” Julius scowled. “It doesn’t matter how I feel about it, she chose me. She’ll tear me apart if I don’t do as she says.”
“Fuck that noise, you’re an idiot, Jules. You’ve got kids, you’ve been together for years. How the hell have you missed out on the obvious for so long?” Bill admonished, pointing an accusing finger at him. “I know you people fear hellhounds, but this is ridiculous.”
Julius’s face had grown darker with every word. The larger man would already be throwing punches if Bill wasn’t obviously a popular authority figure here. He knew he could pound the man flat, his hard earned strength had only grown since he’d been taken. His own lovely daughters may be able to overpower him, but another man he could break with ease.
“What do you know about it? Kendra hasn’t torn into you because you’re shielded by your wife. And she is obviously different, though I’ve no idea how,” Julius sighed, forcing himself to bite his tongue and say no more. Obviously a well learned trait for the man.
“Nope, I can tell you they’re both dangerous as hell. You should see Rekka when she’s in a mood. Every person that’s tried to throw their weight around here learned a quick violent lesson. There’s just something you’re not seeing in Kendra. I swear your skull must be thicker than your biceps,” Bill replied, draining his mead and waving for a refill for the table.
“What? She’s the strongest, fiercest woman I’ve ever met. I’ll admit she.. she doesn’t hurt me, not since she defeated me up at the front. That was galling, I was the company swordmaster. Really thought I could take her.. but I’m certain she’d tear my arm off if I put it around her like you did with your Rekka,” Julius admitted, staring into his ale.
“Fucking hell, Jules. She’d be absolutely ecstatic if you did just that, she’d rip her own arm off before hurting you,” Bill exclaimed, exasperated. “She loves you like she loves your kids, just like you obviously do. If you initiated affection I think she’d break down with tears of joy, the woman is damn near in physical pain from the way you close yourself off. She’s just too proud to beg you for affection. Hell, if I can’t convince you maybe I can knock some sense into her after this.”
“Good luck with that, I’ll attend your funeral. I want to believe you, really I do.. I don’t hate her, you know. Damn me if I don’t. It was hard at first, but the girls.. I love them, they’re innocent. Of all of this. Kendra.. I think I.. I don’t know what to think. It’s just.. she’s a hellhound,” Julius replied as if that settled the argument. He clearly couldn’t draw the connection between how wonderful his children were and how much he feared his wife.
“Look, Jules. We have a unicorn here, she can damn near cure death with her magic. I’ll make you an offer, we’ll have another round then we’ll go find Kendra. If she does rip your arm off when you hug her I’ll have Helena patch you up and you can go back to being a sorry sack of shit, how about it?” Bill asked, frustrated.
“Hah, if it shuts you up I’ll give it a try, facing her claws will be easier than listening to you,” Julius said with a laugh, reaching for the flagon the barkeep brought over. The man had felt a little like his old self merely mentioning his past as a soldier. He’d have whipped the shit out of Bill the moment he’d looked at him funny in those days.
The men spent a little more time enjoying their drinks while trading stories of their married life and children. Julius was actually smiling as they left. As they approached the house Bill pointed out as his new home he became serious. Squaring his shoulders he approached the door. Before he got there it swung open and Kendra stepped out, looking at him with concern.
“Hello, my wife,” Julius greeted her as Bill had coached. Her breath hitched, giving him an uncertain smile. Julius hesitated, then coming to a decision he stepped close and wrapped her in a hug.
“Oh, Julius, my husband,” She breathed out, clutching him with surprised delight. Julius hugged her tighter, cursing his years of stupidity. She looked over his shoulder at Bill, tears in her eyes, grateful with every bone in her body.
Bill touched his forehead before waving two fingers towards her in return, saluting her with an easy smile. He figured she’d move heaven and hell for him if he asked now. Turning he headed towards his own home, a bounce in his step.
A blur of giggling hellpups caught his attention heading for the quarry to scare the hell out of the workers there. Immediately he sprinted towards his house, unlacing the neck of the locally made shirt he now wore and loosening his belt.
Flinging open the door and stepping inside he faced his nude wife, growling her need. She wasn’t wearing her pouch of tobacco. Kicking the door closed, he met her attack. She jumped into his arms with a snarl, kissing him with a fierceness he’d not experienced before. Carrying her to the bedroom, he ripped her from him and flung her onto the bed. She landed on all fours, glaring at him with mad intensity as she growled.
She finally spoke, her snarled words filled with dark promise.
“You’re not leaving until we have one of our own.”
“You’re goddamn right I’m not, you better be ready for this,” Bill riposted, tearing off clothes.
With a roar he leapt at her. Baring her fangs she rose to meet him.
Someone was pounding at the door, shaking it in its frame. Bill snarled, peeling himself from Rekka’s back, they’d been getting in a quick nap before going another few rounds. It had only been four days and he was enraged someone had interrupted them so soon. He didn’t bother to dress, hoping his nudity would aid the screaming fury he was readying to chase them away. Snatching open his door he leaned out to tear into them.
“My roof better be on fire you fu-!” he yelled at an impressive pair of tits inches from his face.
He scowled, disliking his rant being cut short and raising his eyes to see Tabitha looking down at him, a rare smile on her face.
If it had been anyone else he would have spartan kicked them across the street. He thought of at least giving it a try, but ultimately knew it would be like kicking a bank vault.
Larry leaned around Tabby to look him over. Bill resembled the madman everyone assumed he was. His hair was sticking up in all directions, wild bloodshot eyes red with exhaustion, and his haggard face now sported several days growth of beard. The man was covered in an impressive array of scratches and bite marks, some fresh, some healing. A lesser man might have bled out, but Bill was a survivor.
“Jesus, man. How haven’t you two died of dehydration yet?” Larry asked.
“Used the washing bowl. Ran out yesterday. Figure we can go another three days before things get desperate,” Bill answered distractedly, looking into the bedroom and thinking about just slamming the door in their faces.
“Yeah, well, you’d better get dressed. The dwarves are ready to negotiate. Hell, they were ready two days ago but no one dared to interrupt you two. Kendra said it would be suicidal,” Larry explained. “We’re only here because those fuckers are threatening to set the powder off if you don’t come talk to them, something’s got them agitated and they won’t listen to me.”
Bill considered telling them the dwarves were welcome to explode themselves. If he was sure the result wouldn’t disturb his time with Rekka he would have said just that. Scowling, he nodded at Larry and shut the door.
“Rekka, I gotta go take care of those fucking dwarves. They’re gonna set off the fucking powder unless I go talk to them,” Bill snapped, furious.
“Tell em to fuckin’ do it then!” Rekka complained, sitting up in bed with her own scowl.
“I would, but it might kill everyone and that would be just as fucking irritating,” Bill explained, pulling on his clothes.
“Fine. Kill em when you’ve lied enough to get em out. Then come back to bed. Bring some water,” Rekka replied, flopping onto her pillow and crossing her arms to glare at him.
“Gonna sweet talk those stubby fuckers outta there and punt them over the damn walls,” Bill promised, stalking out of the room.
“Right, what do these assholes want?” Bill asked as he pulled his head out of the cold water in the horse trough he spotted on their way to the workshop. Smoothing back his hair he was calming down a bit as the exhaustion hit him like a freight train. Without Rekka around to keep his attention he felt like he was ready to collapse.
“Nobody knows, they refuse to speak with anyone else, they think I’m lying when I tell them I can do all the negotiating,” Larry said, frustrated he couldn’t get into the workshop.
The night they’d taken the town the dwarves had decided they needed a little insurance to keep their chastity intact. They’d hustled all the powder from the building designed to safely store it and funnel any unwanted explosions harmlessly into the air. Stuffing it in with them in their workshop, they’d refused to leave and threatened to set it off if anyone came near them. They hoped rescue would arrive before their supply of food and alcohol dried up.
No rescue had come. The food had run out a week ago, but the alcohol had finally run out and they were growing desperate, ready to negotiate.
Bill hadn’t even bothered to negotiate with them, he didn’t really care and told them it was his plan to destroy the powder anyway. It would have been a non-issue but Scipio had explained the dwarves were as fond of a good smoke as he was, and someone had let slip how the stuff could be used. He’d patiently waited for this day to end the standoff, but now he had better things to do.
Larry had been trying to talk them out the entire time, he was dying to get into that workshop. The barkeep had a dwarven made hammer and barrel tap that was of better quality than anything made of metal he’d seen so far.
“Ok, sorry if I’m too pissed to deal with this and they blow us all to hell,” Bill growled, stalking towards the workshop door.
“You can hold right there, you damned lankey,” a surprisingly mellow voice called out.
Bill rolled his eyes and kept walking until he was only a few feet away from the cracked open door and angry eyes visible at about waist level. He’d originally been terribly amused to learn the dwarves of this world did not conform to the expectations of his own. They didn’t have any accents from anywhere in Britain, or even the general area of europe. They spoke like they’d stepped out of Gone with the Wind. Antebellum gentleman dwarves. Originally he’d thought Colonel Sanders was hiding in there with them, until the barkeep had assured him that he was the dwarven supervisor.
“Well bless your heart, you’re finally ready to talk,” Bill snarled, pulling out the big guns with that greeting. Maybe he shouldn’t have gone for the throat like that, but the dwarf was lucky he hadn’t just kicked in the door to find out who was faster with the matches.
The door rattled with rage, and Bill was almost certain they were about to retaliate with an explosion. After a few seconds of outraged whispering the eyes returned to the door crack to glare death at him.
“You are no gentleman, sir. In fact I am certain you are a scoundrel,” the eyes accused.
“Yeah,” Bill agreed. “Now what do you want so I can get back to my wife? Hell, just come out, I’ll be fucking thrilled to have you out of my town. I’ll tell them to leave you alone.”
“Now, now. As you are perfectly aware, we would be violated within the hour by any passing she-devil. Despite your promise that your ladies are capable of restraining themselves long enough for my colleagues and I to extricate ourselves from this den of iniquity, we would only find ourselves in the selfsame circumstances we have so resolutely endeavored to avoid,” the dwarf elucidated.
“Sounds like a personal problem. I’m not walking you home, I just want you out of my hair,” Bill snapped.
“Well, perhaps we two can arrive at a mutually beneficial accord. As I am without doubt you have been made aware, we dwarfs are well sought after craftsmen of singular excellence. The fruits of our industry surpasses all competitors, despite what lies you may have been told by any and all disreputable elf charlatans,” the dwarf said, “I hope you’ll excuse my fervor, I do strive to refrain from besmirching those not in my presence, but the callow elven hornswogglers unfailingly arouse my ire.”
Bill rolled his eyes. “Yeah? C’mon, get to the damn point. I’m in a rush. If you continue to squander my time I will be left no other recourse but to demand satisfaction from you, sir.”
He’d decided to fight fire with fire.
“Now now, let us proceed without reckless haste. I simply desired to demonstrate how my fellows and I might be of value. If you were to guarantee some form of immunity from these voracious madams, we would be quite pleased indeed to continue our vocation for you good sir,” the dwarf explained. “Assuming, of course, we come to some arrangement pertaining to our well merited recompense, you see.”
Bill sighed. “Right, you got it,” he muttered. “You! Go get the barkeep, and fuckin’ run,” Bill yelled, pointing at a rubbernecking soldier. The man took off at speed towards the tavern.
Minutes later the confused barkeep followed the soldier back, wringing his hands with anxiety as he approached Bill.
“Alright, explain that necklace you’re wearing,” Bill ordered, waving to indicate the dwarf behind the door.
“Oh! Sure. Hello, Bjorn. Anyone who wears the yellow is considered off limits by the women so we can do our jobs without being interrupted, and I’ve been left alone this whole time,” the man explained, happy he wasn’t in trouble. Bill knew better than to abuse the man, he was almost certainly more popular than him.
Bill thanked the man and waved him away back to the tavern. He was sure the red oni had slipped behind the bar as soon as the man left. The barkeep had been given authority to chase her out with a broom, and the woman was too easygoing to take offense. She appeared to have some affection for the man that supplied her liquor in any case.
“You see? C’mon out, I don’t care what your salary was. Double it, money is meaningless to me. We’ll set you up with a yellow stripe and you can get back to your hi-ho-hi-ho’ing.”
The door rattled with anger again, but the dwarf finally let out the calming breath of someone who’d gotten a raise.
“We are in agreement, sir. We may settle the issue of our wages at a more convenient hour,” the dwarf said, “In the meantime, my associates and I will retire to the tavern, there is an appalling lack of bourbon within the premises.”
Bill shrugged, walking away to speak with Larry.
“Alright, when you get them all out of there drag them behind the shed and shoot them,” Bill ordered quietly.
“Yeah, right. I’m pulling a mutiny, captain’s gone mad. They’re going to be my assistants, I want them making tools to spec,” Larry replied, eager to explore the workshop.
“Please yourself, I’m off to please myself,” Bill said, then paused to look at Larry with a focused gaze
“Start making more guns. Arm the centaurs first. We’ll need cannons, mines, you name it. If you can knock a nuke together with hammer and anvil you have my blessing. Anything you can think of,” Bill ordered.
“What? I thought that was exactly what you wanted to avoid, what changed your mind?” Larry asked. Despite his words his mind was already going over weapons of mass destruction he might be able to cobble together with black powder and steel.
“Kids,” Bill replied, jogging away.
Larry was confused until he considered Tabby walking to meet him, understanding the man’s thoughts with sudden clarity. His mind was soon filled with the need for overwhelming firepower.
“You! Drop a barrel of water off at my door, wrap up some dried meat. Cheese and bread. Anything you can put together that will keep,” Bill snapped the order at two orcs and their current boytoys, not smart enough to make themselves scarce. They dashed off to comply, the wild look in his eyes accepting no objections.
Turning the corner towards his house Bill nearly slammed into Helena, who reared back on her hind legs in surprise. Felix patted her back reassuringly.
“Oh! I am sorry, Bill. I did not expect to see you there.”
“No problem, Helena. Felix. If you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to Rekka,” Bill replied, not able to snap at the gentle unicorn even at his worst.
“Oh, wait. Would you mind? I’ve got a bunch of bites and scratches, and I surely could use a pick me up,” Bill requested, stopping in his tracks.
“Certainly! I am more than happy to assist you,” Helena responded, pleased to be able to help a friend. There were less calls for her abilities now that most everyone had been educated by her very direct friends. She brought her hands up and held them over Bill’s shoulders, flinching back with a gasp.
“Bill! I am surprised you are able to stand! You are absolutely exhausted,” Helena cried.
Bill just shrugged it off, he was tired but duty called. She gave him a deeply concerned look before closing her eyes and singing her song of health.
“Whew, thanks Helena! See you guys in a couple weeks maybe,” Bill yelled over his shoulder, already running towards his home, pulling off and tossing his shirt away without a care.
“Um, Helena.. It might have been better for everyone if you didn’t encourage him like that..” Felix said. He was surprised to feel anything but relief that Bill was making himself scarce, but as the man was the only one with a desire to lead the town he expected things may soon begin to fall apart.
“Oh dear. I do not like to see anyone in pain, but perhaps you are right..”
Someone was knocking on their door again. Bill’s eyes flew open before narrowing with anger. It had only been just over a week, surely another emergency couldn’t have cropped up in that time. He was going to have to hurt someone to put an end to these interruptions. Then again, he and Rekka did seem to be calming down a bit. They were starting to get around three hours of solid sleep between marathon bouts of olympic level intercourse.
“I guess I’ll only kill them a little bit,” Bill muttered, holding Rekka to his chest as he pulled himself to his feet. They had ended up on the floor again. Looking at the bed he saw the reason, a thick oaken leg had lost the battle. Now the entire bed slumped to one side, making a ramp to their current position. Bill carefully laid Rekka down at an angle she wouldn’t find easy to roll off. She turned her head to look at him with one eye.
“Kill em a little for me, sugar,” she mumbled, snuggling into the blanket.
Bill nodded, pulling on his jeans and making his way to the door. Something about the knocking made him want to make an attempt at decency. Pulling open the door and leaning out he found no one in sight. His rage began filtering back in.
“If someone’s ding-dong-ditching me they’re going to find themselves in a world of hurt,” Bill snarled, looking down the street for any guilty parties.
“Um, Mister Bill?” a timorous voice asked from below him.
Bill looked down in surprise, spotting a nervous Melody gazing up at him with large soulful eyes. Quickly he stepped back so he wasn’t looming over her threateningly, scanning his vocabulary so as not to say anything he’d regret later. The sweet kobold was simply too darling to allow his default state of an asshole to take over. He found swearing at and around Helena a far easier task.
“Good morning, Melody. How are things?” Bill asked, pleased no profanities had slipped past his filters.
“Good morning Mister Bill! Things are very good today, no one has tried to take over the town at all! Ever since Missus Kendra, Tabitha, and Sarah explained the.. um.. situation to everyone, and Missus Helena put them back together,” Melody replied happily, her tail swishing at the air.
“Glad to hear it. What, uh, did you need from me?” Bill asked, thankful that Kendra was settling in nicely. Maybe he’d taught the rest of them a little responsibility by ignoring his own.
“Oh! Mister Servius asked me to get you, though I’m not sure why. He’s waiting for you right over there,” Melody replied, waving at the man.
Bill scowled at him, clearly the quartermaster had the survival instincts of a particularly tenacious rodent.
“That was a rotten trick, Cy, you couldn’t have been sure I wasn’t a complete.. bad person,” Bill yelled, his internal thesaurus failing to find any other words that might not upset the little woman. The man simply shrugged with a shameless grin, clearly he believed no one was that big an asshole.
“Thank you, Melody. You’re a good girl,” Bill said, smiling as her tail blurred.
“Thank you, Mister Bill! Oh thank you! I hope you have a wonderful day!” Melody gushed, waving as she skipped back to the sounds of Dulius roaring at clumsy mamono in the training yard. Bill waited until she was far enough away before turning and glaring death at Cyrus.
“Ok, you fucking piece of shit, what the fucking fuck did you fucking want?” Bill yelled, waving the man forward. He’d started to feel intensely uncomfortable holding back around Melody.
Bill and Cyrus normally got along very well. Bill was pleased to find there was someone who already had the job of keeping track of supplies. Cyrus was delighted to find a boss that had no interest in checking the books, and was now well on his way to an early retirement. A great deal of wealth had fallen prey to his ledger’s wily columns and his villainous abacus since the wages were no longer being paid.
“What, we run out of food? Oh shit, it’s the booze isn’t it. Has Red sobered up? Why didn’t you get me earlier?” Bill said, panicked at the thought of her facing a sober reality and going on a rampage. He’d have to put her down like ‘ol Yeller.
“No, no, no! Plenty of food if you like meat and anything the ladies can scrounge up from the forest. Not to mention Summer’s garden. At some point we will have to consider trade or larger scale agriculture, you know. That is if you’re planning this to be a long term insurrection,” the man explained, happy to turn his coat for the chance at more embezzlement. “No, it’s the opposite. We’re due for resupply any day now. I’ve been putting off bothering you for quite some time, you know,” he scolded.
“Good idea, you probably wouldn’t have survived it yesterday. Happy news with the resupply. Don’t suppose they’d be willing to drop the stuff off outside the walls and head back without taking a look inside? We might be able to fool them into keeping us well stocked for a while that way,” Bill asked, finding the idea of his enemies keeping his rebellion healthy and well fed an amusing one.
“Not a chance, I’m afraid. They’re not only bringing supplies and wages, there will be quite a few soldiers and laborers with them. Under less insane circumstances we rotate soldiers and workmen every few months, so that they can visit the brothels, spend their wages, perhaps see their families,” Cyrus replied.
“Damn. We’re going to start running out of space here,” Bill sighed, looking around. The town was bustling, there were even more mamono wandering around than he remembered before his second honeymoon had taken all his focus.
He laughed then, spotting a familiar eight legged form clinging to a huge web in one of the shadowed corners of the walls. Below her a man was smoking a pipe as he swung lazily in the wind from his silken hammock. Annika was busy helping a confused harpy extricate herself from the web. At least, he hoped that was what she was doing.
“Think I’m going to have to go sack Carcere again. I doubt the inmates will give us much trouble, they might not even be there anymore. We could move some of the less combat oriented mamono back there. Plenty of acres for farming. Summer will have a field day I bet,” Bill spoke, ever thankful for the troll’s damn near magical green thumb. “Maybe go rustle up some cattle..” he considered thoughtfully.
“Hold here a sec, if I’m not back in ten minutes explain the situation to Scipio. He’s the only one I trust to herd these cats. Larry’d be too busy drinking and tinkering. Dulius hasn’t proved himself just yet, no matter how much Melody seems to like him. Hopefully Scipio can manage without me if Rekka doesn’t let me leave. I just hope he doesn’t pack up and retreat with Sarah to avoid running the place. Not that I’d blame him.”
Cyrus nodded, taking a seat on the empty supply crate next to the door. He’d wait longer than ten minutes. Scipio might actually want a look at his deceitful books.
Bill wandered back in to see how Rekka would react to the news that he was considering returning to duty. He half hoped she’d just tackle him and resume their frenzied mating. He was feeling a little resentful towards whatever Merlin had made him strong enough to keep Rekka from doing this when they’d met. His world would have been a lot simpler, and incredibly fun.
“Rekka, love. Looks like we need to pretend we’re responsible adults again. The resupply is due soon, and I’ve got to figure out how to ruin their day. Maybe they’ll have someone who likes doing all this leadership crap and you can threaten him into taking charge,” Bill said, looking for his socks and unable to find his shirt. He began digging another out of the trunk.
“Mmph. Alright. If we ain’t done the job here we’re goin’ back to my cave, though. If you’re the only one they can put in charge this ain’t gonna work too good anyway,” Rekka replied, stretching then rolling down the mattress’s slope to her feet.
“No shit, they’re fucking mad. I break things, I don’t hold them together,” Bill agreed.
They spent a few minutes washing in the porcelain bowl of cold water and making themselves presentable. Bill yelled out to Cyrus to hold on a bit longer as he tackled Rekka’s hair, clearly the more important emergency. Summer had earned his undying support by creating a herbal conditioner of some sort. Rekka’s hair had never been more lustrous, and the kind natured troll had no idea she could start a crusade of nightmarish violence with a word in Bill’s ear. She’d never do such a thing, and mistakenly thought Bill had been joking with the offer in any case.
“You see’em down there?” Bill asked, holding the bed up so Rekka could see if her slips of fabric she called clothing had made their way under it.
“Yep! All good, husband,” Rekka replied, standing and squirming into her clothing. Bill blinked at her a moment, finding the sight of Rekka no longer nude confusing to his senses.
“Ok, I’m going to go gather up the more strategic minded members of the madhouse. If you don’t wanna deal with that snoozefest you could go have a meet and beat with some of the new arrivals. If nobody’s misbehaving you’ll be happy to know Annika’s joined us, you can’t miss her up on the walls,” Bill told her while they embraced, running his hands through her hair with delight. He found it harder to be freaked out by the spider woman now that he’d gotten used to seeing so many other women with novel forms.
“Aw, I’m so glad! I was afraid she’d be lonely out there,” Rekka cheered, her tail whipping the air as she hugged him tighter for a moment.
The couple split up as they left their home, Bill telling Cyrus he’d meet the man in the war room. The small building filled with chairs and a large desk was apparently used for writing reports before Bill had arrived and set bureaucracy back thousands of years. It would re-emerge, stronger than ever in the future, ready to once again get in the way of progress.
Bill was surprised to see Larry wasn’t in attendance at the tavern before remembering he’d have a new favorite place. Scipio and Tabitha were there, apparently on break. Bill told Scipio about the meeting and asked him to bring Sarah along, Dulius if he ran into him. He told Tabitha he would go grab Larry and she would be more than welcome to attend. He never left his close friends out of any discussion that would affect their futures. She agreed, and he asked her to round up Helena, Felix could come if the unicorn vouched for him. Unlikely the unicorn would have any input on their violence, but Bill wanted her to know she was part of the team. He’d be damned if she felt unneeded due to his neglect and decided to take off.
Bill made his way to Larry’s workshop, nodding and trading greetings with the people who knew him, gathering strange looks from the new arrivals that had not met him yet. He was sure his confident stride was the only thing keeping some of the women from attempting to scoop him up, he wore no choker or pouch to ward off Sarah’s boner bouquet. That should have been a warning to them, the only other men that didn’t have at least the choker were in charge and married to women more dangerous than them. He’d have to take a tour with Rekka at his side at some point to set them straight.
The sounds of hammering greeted him as he approached the workshop, smokestacks on the roof belching clouds steadily. Pushing open the door he found himself surrounded by chaos, men who’s heights were in range of his belt buckle and twice as wide were darting around on stubby legs doing mysterious things with tools of all sorts to metal. He was surprised how modern the workshop looked, expecting to see a CNC machine whirring away with a plastic safety hood lying in a corner gathering dust in defiance of OSHA standards.
He was delighted to see the dwarves dressed like southern dandies, with oiled mustaches and slicked back hair. Their heavy beards seemed to be the only concession to dwarven standards, apparently useful for protection against flying detritus in lieu of heavy aprons. Damn things looked like steel wool.
The walls were filled with pegboards holding a dizzying array of tools of all sizes. Most of the furniture was clearly built for dwarves, Bill would find it easier to sit on the floor to use the low workbenches. He found Larry hard at work at the only human sized bench, sketching out schematics with intense focus. Bill’s hand clamping onto his shoulder in greeting caused him to scrape his thick pencil across half the page.
“What the motherfuck! Oh, hey Bill. Don’t do that, dammit, these dwarves will put that scratch in, they’re like fucking computers,” Larry said, rubbing at his shoulder. When he handed the dwarves a new schematic they managed to hammer out his design with unerring perfection. He’d had to lose his habit for doodling and writing notes among his designs, they brought them to life with thoughtless enthusiasm.
“I hope we can capture more of them soon, I’m getting so much done. They really are like machines, I’m pretty sure they don’t even think about what they’re building. As long as we keep the blueprints safe I doubt these guys will be able to make them for anyone else,” Larry explained. Bill nodded, considering how terrible it would be for him to seal the dwarves up in their workshop and forget them once they were no longer useful. He decided he’d ease his conscience by tearing those yellow ribbons out of their beards and setting them loose. They wouldn’t be working for anyone else after that.
“Good news. Make anything useful?” Bill asked, not seeing anything beyond gun barrels that made sense to him among the processed parts piled around haphazardly.
“You’re not going to believe what I’ve done to the Mark One. These dwarfs can fabricate the hell out of springs, semi-auto is now a reality,” Larry replied. “She’s lighter, stronger, and the shit she shoots would have me dragged before a war crime tribunal before I could finish explaining how bad it’ll fuck someone up. That’s just for me, though. I can’t really hit anything outside fifty yards, so I needed something that would pretty much ruin someone no matter where I tagged them,” he explained with the enthusiasm only shared by postal workers clocking in for the last time.
“Far as other weapons go I’m not sure about full auto, maybe something for the walls. The smoke and soot build-up will probably make it more trouble than it’s worth. Maybe the dwarfs have an idea how to deal with it, until then we will have to spend a lot of time cleaning the guns. Wish I knew more about chemistry, I’d really like to make smokeless gunpowder.”
“Huh. My dad is nuts for guns, if I remember right he told me the first smokeless powder was made with nitroglycerin. I don’t know how we’ll get our hands on any, or how they turned a liquid into gunpowder. They managed that shit back before the 1911 came out, so maybe put these little bastards to work discovering that. Somewhere outside the walls preferably,” Bill mused. “Nitro, glycerin. This stuff is made from potassium nitrate, right? Maybe that’s where the nitro comes in. Fuck if I know what glycerin is, I didn’t even take chemistry. Think geology was my science elective. Slept through it in any case, so don’t ask me for details.”
“I’ll see what I can do, I barely passed chemistry myself. I think glycerin is made from plants, or animals.. One of those. Maybe Summer has an idea. I wonder what will happen if I order the dwarfs to turn the gunpowder into a liquid state, I’m worried they might crash like the computers they seem to be if they can’t do it,” Larry mused, watching the stubby workaholics whiz to and fro bringing nightmares to life with cheerful enthusiasm.
“Anyway, this is mostly finished work, I just have to put them all together. I made them way more complicated than I had to. If we have time we’re all going to sit down and put them together, those of us without paws, I don’t trust anyone else. If someone gets their hands on them hopefully they’re way too dumb to figure them out. I’ve got a few completed and locked up in the vault they used to hold the wages before Cyrus stole it all. Tabby carried it into our house and I switched out the lock for a better one these guys built for me,” Larry said, bringing Bill up to speed. “The new guns work. They work very well. Not nearly the cannon the Mark One is, but they should easily pierce through any platemail and the accuracy blows the Mark One out of the water.” He was sure the centaurs were going to lose their minds once the MK. III’s started rolling out.
“You’re a wizard, Larry. I’d name my first born after you but I’m going to try and be a good father,” Bill congratulated. Larry flipped him off good naturedly.
“That’s why you’re doing this, I’m willing to gun down anyone that threatens these kids. Mine, yours, anyone’s. If this community and any we can capture are the only ones left standing so be it,” Bill promised. “Human and mamono, if they’re not ready to end this shit, they’re going to learn real quick what war really looks like. I have no problem looking after their orphans.”
“Yeah, I get you. Those girls are like adorable buzzsaws. You’re not the only one that’s been locked up trying to have one of their own. Tabby only let me out because I explained what I was doing in here,” Larry replied, in complete agreement with Bill. The little girls had ripped the chains off his paternal instincts and set them loose on an unsuspecting world. He couldn’t wait to get back to the wizard that brought him here with a delivery of the guns he’d asked for. He did promise, after all.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got plans. The best defense is a sucker punch, then you kick them in the head until they’re ready to give peace a chance,” Bill promised. For the first time someone didn’t roll their eyes when he mentioned plans. Larry expected Bill would at the very least make these people sorry they ever met him. Much like most people he ran into.
“Okay, do whatever you need to wrap things up here, we’ve got a powwow in the war room. The poor bastards want to give us supplies and more converts,” Bill ordered, waving and walking out the door.
“Listen up! Make ten more of everything, then clean up and close shop. Lock up tight, I’ll send the guards over on my way out,” Larry called, going from desk to desk rolling up schematics.
“It would be our pleasure, my fine friend,” Bjorn called, hammering out another trigger housing with mindless ease. He didn’t know what he was building, and didn’t much care. The intricacy and skill required to make them was beyond anything requested of a dwarf before. The dwarfs were beside themselves, Larry had them doing work worthy of their skills and heaped praise on them. They weren’t sure what living CNC machines meant, but Larry sounded deeply impressed when he said it, so they took it as a well deserved compliment. He even respectfully called them dwarfs when they explained they wouldn’t stand for dwarves. The comparison to elves angered them greatly. Bill would be delighted when he learned this was a grave insult he could add to his repertoire.
“Thanks for all your help, see you tomorrow at first light,” Larry said, waving goodbye.
He waved over the two centaurs with bows strapped to their backs and their well armored sword wielding husbands to stand guard, thanking them for their service. He didn’t want anyone snooping around the workshop. He’d head to the war room as soon as he locked up the schematics in his home.
“Ok, Scippy, Cy’s told me the supplies and relieving force are due for arrival. How many people are we talking about?” Bill asked, pointing across the table at Scipio while they looked over the large map pinned to it.
“Around twenty five soldiers and thirty civilians are rotated out at a time, but there will also be mounted soldiers that escort the wagons here and back again. Should be around nineteen men, three squads and a lieutenant. I believe you’re familiar with that arrangement,” Scipio replied, dry humor lacing his last statement. “The relieving soldiers and workmen are packed into as few wagons as possible, they’re not expected to be needed for defense. They’ll be carrying their arms, though. So we’ll have to take them into account. We’ll at least have some time before they can muster out of the covered wagons.”
“Christ, damn near eighty more men. We can’t house that many right now, even if we just concentrate on throwing together a few barracks we’ll be packed in here like sardines. The bachelorettes will be thrilled, though,” Bill said, rubbing his chin in deep thought. Coming to a decision he looked around the room, meeting everyone’s gaze before jabbing a finger into the spot that marked Fort Carcere.
“Right. I can’t be in two places at once. Someone’s going to have to go run Carcere. I’ve been thinking about this, and I say we move the less combat oriented women down there. Give them a solid core of trustworthy and extremely dangerous women and half our workforce. We can send them all the stone they’ll need to make that place a real fortress. See if they can set up farms and prepare for some questionably acquired livestock. Any recommendations?” Bill asked, looking around the room.
Scipio and Sarah were the obvious choice, but Bill selfishly wanted to keep them close. Sarah was too good at handing out beatings, and he still hoped to offload his responsibilities here onto Scipio. Maybe the man had changed his mind after meeting the children.
“Hmm, Dulius. You’d be perfect. It would mean taking Melody out of danger, attacking Carcere would expose their rear and supply train to us. They would be fools to attempt it,” Scipio said, pointing his pipe at Dulius.
Bill wasn’t thrilled, despite it being sensible. It was possible the man was so protective of Melody he was now zealously supporting the insurrection. It was very possible, the little woman was nearly as precious as the children. He’d have to send down a trustworthy enforcer, though. Someone to carry out Bill’s interests with terrible violence. There was a very short list of people he’d trust to do that, and he was surprised at the name he found at the top of the list. Underlined, with stars next to it.
“Well, I’m not sure what I have to do with Melody, she’ll do as her conscience dictates. Still, if she could be convinced to relocate I would rest easier knowing she would not be involved in a siege,” Dulius replied, fooling no one. It was obvious the two were inseparable. “Yes, managing Carcere would be effortless. We’ll have to rename it, though. The meaning is no longer appropriate.”
Bill agreed, Fort Prison was very nearly as stupid as his own list of city names. Finding the name of the quarry town was Quarry Town had filled him with resentment. These people had no flair for this sort of thing. He was afraid to ask, but he was sure the capitol was officially named Capitol City.
Still, he wouldn’t force the man to live under the flag of Felixville, his first choice when he’d considered adding it to his conquests. Most of the names he’d come up were also ridiculous nonsense in honor of his friends. Port Larrington was just waiting for him to stumble upon an ocean. He’d name the lands surrounding it Tabithia. His reign of nonsense would be short but sweet before he was torn apart by an angry mob of cartographers.
“Well, it’s yours now. You name it and let us know when you decide, we’ll put it on the map,” Bill said, tapping the fort’s label on the map.
“No need, we’ll name it Haven. For that is what I will make it. The two names compliment one another, you agree?” Dulius asked, revealing the hot-tempered soldier to have the soul of a sensitive poet.
Conversely, Bill had chosen Asylum more for its humorous connotations than anything else. That was what he told himself, anyway. The lunatics were certainly running the place.
“Hell yes that’ll work,” Bill replied, waving to Scipio to fill it in. He was still an illiterate barbarian and could not care less. He planned to force everyone to learn his own letters like any colonizing invader who knew their business. The written language was absurdly complex, making kanji look as simple as Roman numerals. He bet everyone who could write in this world was also an excellent sketch artist.
“Ok, now that we’ve counted our chickens, let’s see if we can get them hatched. What do you think, let them inside the fort and hope they give up when a hundred mamono and their husbands pop out of the woodwork? Or should we try another ambush, take them along the road instead of inviting well armed men into the town?” Bill asked, looking around the table.
Surprisingly Larry spoke up first.
“Either kind of sucks. I say we take them right outside the walls. Wait until they’re deep into the killzone. Bring out the centaurs, then move an overwhelming force up behind them from the treeline. We finished the ramps while you were screwing your brains out. Hopefully we can just talk them down then,” he said, almost speaking to himself as he sketched his complete disregard for the Geneva Conventions. They could outlaw his abhorrent weapons after they were in charge and in a position to pardon his unforgivable crimes.
“Shit, Genghis Larry here has my vote. I was thinking we try something along the lines of a huge pit, chase them into it. I like that more, doesn’t involve the horses. Don’t care much for animal abuse,” Bill said, impressed with Larry. Maybe they should stop relying on him making the plans. They could just set him loose on the enemy’s supply lines and vulnerable rear, lowering morale by sowing terror and confusion. He had plenty of his own ideas for war crimes they could waive away in the kangaroo court he would set up.
“That could work, if we don’t raise their suspicions. We always open the gate as soon as we see them, getting them within the walls was the priority. The fact our Watch Stones are only being used as lanterns now could also give us away, turning them back on would be even worse. We’ll have to be careful, it would not be unthinkable for them to believe the quarry had been taken. They would likely send fast riders to report their misgivings, and approach with extreme caution. All they would have to do is scout from the hill to see things have changed, I’m afraid,” Scipio admitted, Dulius nodding in agreement.
Bill could see that, he’d done his own scouting from there. In his own world it would have been unthinkable to build here during wartime, a mortar team would piss themselves with excitement choosing targets.
“Hmm, no, I think it’s our best bet. Go ahead and open the gate, it closes so fast you can wait until they’re almost under it. All we have to do is have very good excuses for all their suspicions, and welcome them with open arms. We’ll send them a very helpful guide,” Bill replied, an evil grin spread across his face.
The others traded looks, hoping Bill’s skill for underhanded deception and his uncanny luck would hold out. Only Sarah seemed enthusiastic.
“I can’t wait to see what you come up with, Bill!” Sarah praised, her eyes shining with villain worship.
Lieutenant Lucius was in a fine mood, the Huntstone had not given so much as a twinkle for the last day, and they would soon be within the welcoming walls of Quarry Town. The soldiers and workers in the wagons were singing a jaunty tune, their spirits high. Lucius was very pleased that his troop had been chosen to escort the wagons, it had been too long since they’d enjoyed making this milk run.
The relieving soldiers were happy to learn the post was a comfortable one, giving the same hazard pay as Fort Carcere. No one volunteered for that posting, instead dependable officers and sergeants were forced into it with promised rewards of advancement or their choice of future posts. The other enlisted men were a mix of trouble makers and green recruits in equal measure.
His only regret was the need to return after only one night’s rest. The town’s tavern was well stocked, a perk of the escort run was an unwritten rule that he and his men would drink for free. He expected half his men would be too hungover to ride come morning, but the returning soldiers were generally happy to take their place. The wagons quickly became uncomfortable and boring.
Distracted by happy thoughts and an unlit Huntstone he was surprised when his sergeant pulled his horse next to him.
“Lieutenant. Rider up ahead. Been waving since he spotted us, coming our way. Looks, well, drunk. He’s armed, wearing a helm. I don’t like the look of him at all,” the man reported.
“Really? Could be a deserter, though he’d certainly be better to avoid us if that were so. Could be he’s lost his nerve and wishes to give himself up. Perhaps one of the civilians has lost their wits, heading for home,” Lucius mused, trying to make sense of such an odd event. Deserters were rare, leaving was a surefire way to end up in bondage to a demon. Sadly, suicide was generally the option soldiers took when pushed beyond their ability to cope.
“Dunno, sir. If we were in the north I’d assume he was some fool on a joyride. Out here he’s a fool of another stripe,” the sergeant said. He disliked everything he saw of the man. His finely tuned malingering detector went wild the moment he’d seen him.
“Well, in any case we’ll soon find out. He’s nearly upon us. Be ready to restrain him, if he tries to escape I’ll have to assume he’s a deserter. We’ll bring him to Quarry Town, they’ll certainly know him. Preferably this is some sort of misunderstanding and he’ll follow us without trouble. I’ll want to confirm his story regardless,” Lucius ordered, raising his hand in greeting as the man approached.
If the man was a soldier he was likely the worst example of slovenly dereliction Lucius had ever seen. The sour stench of cheap spirits rolled in like a storm as the man pulled to the side of the road to allow Lucius to come alongside him. He nearly fell from the saddle, Lucius had seen dead men transported by horseback able to ride with more skill and grace. His kit was an eclectic mix of outdated armor, more rust than metal. He had half a polearm tied to his back, actually tied. He was sure the man would require assistance to remove it. The sword at his side was likely locked into its scabbard with rust, the leather grip had long since rotted away leaving bare metal.
“Captain! Good to see you, expected you yesserday, I did,” the man slurred, a crooked grin on his face. “Care fer a drink? It’ll fortify yer fightin’ spirit, and put hair on yer ass.”
He offered Lucius a half full bottle of spirit, recognizing it as the cheapest rotgut that could be sold without poisoning men blind. His sergeant surprised him when he rode close, taking the offered bottle. He chose not to reprimand him, the man was not known for negligence, or accepting it in any of the men. Cleaning the mouth of the bottle with a disgusted look, he then tipped the bottle back for a cautious swig. He hastily spat the liquid out, revulsion clear on his face.
“Augh! That’s the foulest stuff I’ve ever tasted,” the sergeant said, still coughing out the fumes. He nodded at the lieutenant, handing the bottle back to the man. His suspicious nature needing to confirm the man was the drunk he appeared to be.
“Ain’t it though? Keeps the flies away, just don’t you make my mistake and try to douse a fire with yer piss, you’ll soon find yer cock aflame!” the man japed, nearly falling off his horse laughing at his own joke. With that he swung the bottle up, draining it while the two men watched in horror. Lucius was sure the sergeant nearly vomited, having a clearer idea what the man had just done.
“Phwah! Mother’s milk that is!” he cried, carelessly tossing the bottle away from the road.
“Indeed. Care to explain yourself.. soldier? Who are you, and why were you waiting for us out here? Does anyone at Quarry Town know you’re here?” Lucius asked, fascinated by the man. He couldn’t be more of a drunken fool if he tried. He might believe it was an act had he not managed to finish off a large bottle of cheap liquor in one go. Lucius was sure he’d fall from the horse any moment and messily expire. He waited for the man to explain himself, but it seemed he’d fallen asleep.
“Wha? Where am I? Oh yeah. Captain! Good to see you, expected you yesserday, I did,” the man repeated himself as he snapped awake, looking supremely confused. “Damn, you ever feel like you done somethin’ twice? Gives me the shivers it does.” He shook himself and returned his attention to the lieutenant.
“Name’s Dickius, Cor’pril Dickius Captain, sir,” he mumbled, his salute nearly knocking his helm from his head. “Ey, who threw that rock?”
He was looking around accusingly, attempting to right his helm only to end up wearing it backwards.
“It’s Lieutenant Lucius.. corporal. Once again, why were you waiting for us out here, alone, and clearly unfit for duty,” Lucius asked, not quite believing a man like this could survive so far in the dangerous frontier. Perhaps the demons avoided him due to the cloud of eye watering fumes that surrounded him. He would report the incident to his superiors, perhaps this could be of some use to the war effort.
“Sorry, Captain Luscious, sir, didn’ mean to call you lieutenant, was jussa mistake, sir,” Dickius apologized, bowing in his saddle and would have fallen if the sergeant hadn’t caught him and pushed him upright.
“Watch yerself there, must’ve been a sinkhole,” he said, squinting as he twisted in the saddle.
The sergeant rolled his eyes. Lucius decided he wouldn’t bother to correct the man further, despite the snickers coming from the wagon behind them.
“Permission to ride ahead, lieutenant, sir? I’d rather not run into any surprises while you deal with this.. man,” he requested. He was serious about scouting ahead, but very happy it would mean leaving the drunken fool behind.
“Very well, stay within earshot, the Huntstone is dark, but we both know how fast the monsters can move. Return at the first sign of trouble,” Lucius replied, waving the man on. He returned his attention to the drunk, wondering if he should just have him hogtied and lashed to his horse until they reached the quarry. He’d need to be gagged as well, though he pitied any who’d have to get so close to the man’s mouth.
“Nah, Captain. Ain’t none of them beasties round here. I’s chased em all off, y’see,” Dickius replied, placing a confident hand on his shoddy sword.
“Indeed, you must be quite the champion for the garrison,” Lucius replied, beginning to enjoy himself. The man was so outrageous it was difficult to take their circumstances seriously. He was grateful the man was only his responsibility for the remaining distance to the town. Whoever was normally in charge of him very likely could have sent him in the hopes he would not come back. They would surely be disappointed to see he’d safely intercepted them and returned unscathed.
“Corporal Dickius, were you given this dangerous duty for your distinctive service?” he asked, managing not to smile.
“Aye sir! Major Dulius did send me special, he were worried you’d not make it through the beasties, and he knows how they’s affeared of me, y’see,” Dickius explained, sitting straighter in the saddle, his chin raised with pride. He quickly had to grab for the saddle horn to keep himself from falling.
“Well, we certainly appreciate your protection, it’s relieving to know we’ll not be bothered by the demons while you escort us the rest of the way,” he said, turning to grin at the soldiers who’d poked their heads out around the driver to enjoy the show.
“No problem, none at all Captain. Jus doin my duty Captain sir,” Dickius replied, his tone indicating that he deserved medals and accolades for his outstanding service, perhaps even a parade.
Lucius spent the remaining miles learning of the many great deeds Corporal Dickius had performed in his service at Quarry Town. Lucius was unsurprised to learn the man had arrived with the previous relief force, picked up at the side of the road where he’d found himself recovering from another bender. Dickius had described it as volunteering. He was sure the garrison was doing their damnedest to get rid of the man without resorting to actual murder. Lucius would generously offer to bring him back with him, as long as he was restrained from drinking tonight and tied to the back of one of the wagons.
“Looky there, lieutenant who’sit is comin’ back,” Dickius reported, pointing ahead.
Lucius was concerned the sergeant was returning at such speed. He knew for fact Quarry Town was just around the bend, they were minutes away. He hoped they were not riding into a sacked ruin.
“Sergeant, report,” he ordered as the man worked his horse alongside him.
“Somethings up, sir. One of the Watch Stones is down, and they’re doing something with the other. It looks normal otherwise. The walls are manned, I recognized Plinius and he seems relaxed enough. Asleep as usual,” the sergeant reported. “Sorry sir, I can’t explain it, something feels off. No Watch Stones would be very convenient if some of the more clever demons have taken the fort.”
“Agreed, let’s proceed with caution. There’s likely an explanation for the stones, but be ready all the same. Select some men to be ready to return and report with all haste,” Lucius ordered, reaching for the Huntstone but was distracted by Dickius’s sudden uproarius laughter.
“Ain’t no problem, captain, sir. Car.. Carshi.. The prison been having some problems down south, the beasties been hoppin’ the walls an’ stealin’ them boys away, so they packed up one of them stones an’ sent it to em,” he helpfully explained. “I tolds em I could jus’ head down there an’ show em what fer, but Major was affeared the town’d be swamped with beasties if I wasn’t there to see em off.”
“I see, some of that made sense,” Lucius said, looking at the sergeant, who nodded slowly.
“Doesn’t explain them shutting the other one down. Not sure what they’re doing with it,” the sergeant put forward, his preternatural sense for slacking and malingering had broken into hysterics as he came upon the walls.
“Course, course, that were my idea, y’see? Major Dulius was real impressed, y’see? I told em that the stone we had left, see, it’d make more sense if it was in the middle of the gates, right? Why, one of them beasties would have all the time in the world to sneak up where the missin’ one was, right? Not that they would a’course. Not with me there. Still, I figgered it’d settle their nerves all the same,” the drunk explained, clearly taking whatever credit he could stuff into his pockets and sneak out the back with.
Despite himself the sergeant began nodding, Watch Stones were always placed in a central position, or evenly spaced with two or more. Many soldiers had gained a feel for the pulses, being able to accurately guess the distance of the monster setting them off. It would be detrimental if the stone was placed off center.
“Aye, I can see it. Just.. the timing is suspicious,” the sergeant said, shrugging at Lucius.
“I agree. Still, I’ve never heard of the demon’s attempting such a complex ruse. It would take an overwhelming force to capture the town, certainly. Any force of that size this far from the front would already be attacking the towns to the north, there aren’t enough men stationed here. It is well known to be the only thing that drives them. Were they doing that we would not even be here,” Lucius declared, helpfully reasoning himself to his doom.
“Aye Cap.. Lieutenant,” the sergeant replied, disgusted with himself. Clearly the drunk was infecting him with his idiocy. The lieutenant was kind enough to pretend not to notice. The soldiers gawking from the wagon had broken into gales of laughter. They retreated to safety when he turned his glare onto them.
As they came into view of the walls Lucius relaxed. Aside from the workers moving the Watch Stone everything was perfectly in order. The sergeant meant well but perhaps he was in need of a short leave, he would hate to have the man burn himself out from stress. Lucius would sort the paperwork out when they returned, hoping it would do the man good. He had come to depend on him, and until now his judgement had never erred.
“Major! Major Dulius! Mission accom.. accomp.. I did it!” Dickius suddenly cried, waving his hand in the air. He kicked his horse into a gallop, bouncing in the saddle gracelessly. Lucius was a little concerned the man would break his neck, but clearly he was blessed by unusual luck. He’d managed to find safety with the relief force against all odds, after all.
Several soldiers on the wall noticed the man approaching, shouts of anger and dismay carrying to Lucius’s ears bringing a wry smile to his lips. They began pelting the man with half eaten rations, demanding he leave. Dulius appeared, his rage incandescent. Turning to the courtyard he barked an order, and the gate slammed shut before Dickius could ride in to claim his glory.
The soldiers in the wagon were beside themselves with hilarity, finding it difficult to breathe between gasps of laughter as the ones who could see out the front reported the drunkards actions. The driver was having trouble keeping the wagon straight, the soldiers were rocking the wagon with their almost painful laughing fits. There were questioning shouts from the wagons carrying the workmen, and a few of the mounted escorts eagerly dropped back to share.
“C’mon Major! Don’t be like that! I only done as you asked,” Dickius cried, staring up at Captain Dulius as the wagons lined up behind him, in no hurry to enter before the show ended.
“How dare you return, you scoundrel! It’s inconceivable! You can only be God’s punishment for my sins, though I know not what I’ve done to deserve you. No matter! Off with you, if you sneak your way back into my garrison I’ll hang you, and this time I mean it you drunken reprobate!” Dulius shouted down at the poor man, pounding his fists on the wall.
“What’s got into you, major, sir? I only been doin’ my duty. I’m sorry about the fire, but that rat lady beastie was surely going to cut our throats as we slept, major!” Dickius wailed, his horse dancing in circles as he pulled the reins in his distress.
“You fool! You damned criminal fool! It was a rat! Just a rat! You burned down half the tavern you menace! Don’t think I don’t know! You stole a bottle of swill while the fire was fought! Curse you, you’ve stolen my peace of mind as well! You were never supposed to return, I thought I was finally rid of you! You demon!” Dulius was nearly frothing at the mouth.
“Don’t worry, major! I’m safe and sound, jus’ as you see. You can open the gate now, these men behind me isn’t no beasties, I checked em over real good like, y’see. If’n you felt like rewardin’ me I wouldn’t say no to a drink in the tavern with ya, I got more tips for proper officerin to share, nothin’ to stop us from drinkin’ all night, hey?” Dickius replied with hopeful optimism.
Dulius closed his eyes for a moment, breathing deeply. When he opened them he looked directly at Lucius.
“Lieutenant, if you’d assist me by killing this man I would be eternally grateful. He’s poison, pure poison. I’ll raise the gate when I’m sure he’s dead,” Dulius begged, returning his glare to Dickius, who had nodded along with a smile, not listening at all.
Lucius managed to pull himself together, waving his hand back at the hysterical soldiers in a vain attempt to quiet them before yelling back to Dulius.
“Come now, Captain. Surely you don’t expect me to murder this man. It would wound my soul. Don’t worry, I plan to tie him to a wagon and bring him back with us, he’ll be out of your hair soon enough. If you would open the gates we’ll get this sorted out and soon you’ll be rid of your problem,” Lucius said, unable to keep the mocking smile from his face.
Strangely, Dulius ignored him to look down at Dickius, giving him a sharp nod. The man straightened in the saddle, no longer slumped and weaving side to side. He turned the horse, his posture, while still amateurish, was a far cry from his previous drunken leanings. Trotting over to the now confused lieutenant, Dickius appeared to have sobered with lightning speed. The sergeant cursed, placing his hand on the hilt of his sword, wishing he had listened to his instincts. Clearly things were not what they seemed.
“Sorry Lieutenant Lucius, looks like they’re not going to let us in. Could you hold this for me, please?” Dickius spoke with clarity. He offered Lucius an odd baton of some sort, painted with different stripes of color. Lucius accepted it, unsure and deeply unsettled at the man’s change.
“Hold it higher, please. Just like that. What’s your favorite color, Lieutenant?” Dickius asked, relaxed and smiling comfortingly.
“What? I don’t.. well, blue I sup-” Lucius replied, cutting off as the baton was ripped from his grasp. His head whipped around to see where it flew, only feet away and pinned to the ground by an arrow. It was dead center in the blue, the arrow’s shaft just inside the lines of the very thin stripe.
“They’re very good, aren’t they lieutenant? The centaurs, I mean,” Dickius spoke softly.
Lucius shared a look of horror with his sergeant, then turning their gazes upward. The horse women were leaning out farther than a man would be capable off, aiming down at them with steady strength. Their forelegs were planted firmly between the merlons, the quadrupeds able to hold themselves with a stillness bipeds could only dream of. Preparing himself, Lucius breathed in to shout his final order.
“No, no, while ordering your men to retreat would be very brave of you, you’re an excellent leader and I admire you, I’m afraid it would be a waste. Please direct your attention to your unfortunately exposed rear,” Dickius ordered, his tone apologetic.
Lucius turned slowly, waiting for an arrow to slide between his shoulder blades. What he saw was somehow worse. He could see how they managed it. He and his men were focused on the wall, their raucous laughter would have allowed an orchestra to sneak from behind. Absolutely nothing else was clear to him. Seeing the two hellhounds leading an unheard of menagerie of demons was so terrifying a sight that he’d moved beyond fear and could only find it darkly humorous.
This wasn’t the front. This army could not exist here. It went against his hard earned experience. He worried for the future, seeing clearly now that the war had become so predictable that the first side who tried absolutely anything different would have the advantage. Clearly the demons had done so. He’d never seen their captives cooperate so fully, he hoped they were under some sort of spell, betraying humanity in their fight for existence was a crime without equal. He looked at Dickius, the man who had led him to this doom. The man appeared cognizant of his actions, in any case.
“I hope our deaths satisfy you, traitor,” Lucius said with cold accusation.
“Nope, it’s your lives we want. Could use the manpower. Sorry, Lucius, don’t feel too bad. You couldn’t have seen this coming, despite the sergeants damn near psychic paranoia,” he explained, nodding respectfully at the man.
The sergeant even nodded back. He’d never met anyone who could evade his judgement in the slightest. He would have loved the opportunity to mold him into a proper soldier, it would be his magnum opus. Sergeants would tell of his legend for centuries to come as they terrorized men who dared to believe they could ever be soldiers.
Dickius shrugged, looking around at what he had wrought before continuing, “We shouldn’t be here. We shouldn’t have taken the town. We shouldn’t be working together. We damn well shouldn’t have put me in charge. Unfortunately for you, we are and we did. I’d like to introduce you to the third faction in this stupid fucking war. You can at least take comfort that you’re not joining the enemy you know. I think you’ll find us good company, eventually.”
“Anyway, welcome to Asylum, glad to have you,” Bill cheerfully welcomed his new recruits.
“I’m honestly surprised I’m unsurprised that worked,” Scipio admitted, watching as Sarah’s ability went to work on the gathered men in the courtyard. Already women without partners were weaving between them as they made their choices. The men were in no condition to refuse, and gladly followed them to any available privacy.
“Yeah, we’re getting good at this. Maybe I can just go con your king out of his crown, cut out the middleman,” Bill replied, holding Rekka to his side while he watched the men join the rebellion with delirious enthusiasm. “Unless that sergeant’s got a brother working in the palace, that is.”
“Put that guy to work as soon as he’s joined the team and able to think straight. He’ll damn well see trouble coming before it even starts. His paranoia is almost physical, he wields it like a sword. Fucker knew I was bullshitting him, he just couldn’t prove it. Took one damn look at the town and knew it was a trap. If he’d been in charge this would have failed miserably,” Bill explained, impressed. The man’s natural suspicion was clearly a match for his suspicious nature.
“We’ll start moving people to Haven as soon as these boys figure out this isn’t just some nightmare they’re having. Kendra’s agreed to play Sheriff for us, she’ll keep them in line. I’m gonna miss her girls, but keeping them safe is the only important thing. Dulius shouldn’t have any problems, and if he’s fooled us all she’ll rip him to pieces and send for a new leader. He’s shown us all he’s a damned fine actor.”
“Very well. I think everyone will be happier for the extra room. As I recall the first time we managed this the men were up and following orders within the week. We’ll be able to hold together for that long without problems,” Scipio replied.
“Cool. Alright, I’m going to go throw up. I’m never drinking again, maybe even water. If you could send Helena to my home when you find her I’d appreciate it. I think I’m bleeding internally,” Bill explained, leaning on Rekka’s shoulders, his legs beginning to shake.
Someone was pounding on his door again. Bill’s eyes flew open filled with rage. Rekka snarled, pushing her head into his neck and trying to ignore the sound. They hadn’t spent the last few weeks fucking eachother unconcious, but still he hated to be woken up early. He’d literally become a warlord to avoid rising early for work. Just as he was about to shout threats of death and worse at the knocker, a panicked yell carried through the door.
“Fucking A, guys, wake up! Get to the wall, I don’t know what’s up but all the girls here are losing their shit!” Larry shouted. He stopped hammering the door so likely he was headed with all speed for the walls.
“Well, shit. Can’t be an army, those stupid fucking harpies wouldn’t miss one of those, right?” Bill asked, sitting up and looking for his clothes scattered around the room. He never found an article of clothing in the same place twice. Once he and Rekka decided to go to bed there simply was no time to think about this sort of thing. He gave up looking for his shirt, finding only his boots and jeans. Sighing, he opened the chest and pulled out the silk shirt, socks, and boxers Annika had made for him. They were beautifully made and looked comfortable.. but he was intensely uncomfortable knowing where and how they were made.
“C’mon, they’re nice,” Rekka said, pulling her own silken tank top and booty shorts on. Bill had to admit the clingy white material and exposed midriff was intensely appealing. He’d wear the clothing if only to thank Annika for Rekka’s new outfit.
“Jesus, hot damn!” Bill cried, shivering with pleasure. “Silk boxers are fucking awesome,” he said, grinning at Rekka.
“Right?” she replied, wiggling her own skin tight shorts.
“Ok, let’s go, sounds like today is gonna be a long one,” Bill said, finished lacing up his boots.
He pulled open their door, looking around as mamono ran every which way in some kind of panic. He shared a surprised look with Rekka, then both turned and sprinted for the walls. All the more aggressive mamono were already there, the orcs had fallen into ranks with their husbands, weapons at the ready while staring grimly at the closed gate. Even the ogres were subdued. Hell, they were relieved to see him for once. Red and her blue sisters were here, he’d never seen her out of the tavern. Obviously this was serious as all hell.
Bill flew up the stairs, slamming into a merlon in his haste to reach the top. He looked over at Scipio and Sarah, seeing them stare grimly over the walls. Taking a look for himself he immediately scoffed.
“The fuck is this all about? There’s two of em,” Bill complained. They’d woken him for this?
“Fuck. That’s a hero, husband,” Rekka answered him, then pointing at the heavily armored winged woman floating a few stories above the armored figure. “That’s his valkyrie. The heroes that might be able to take the Demon Lord always gets one of them, they’re about as tough as he is.”
“Huh. What’s he doing here? Tell him we’re fresh out of Demon Lords,” Bill muttered before looking at Scipio. “He say anything?”
“No. We only noticed him standing there a short time ago, I ordered the gate shut and everyone able to fight to the walls. You’ll not be able to con your way out of this one, Bill,” Scipio answered, his tone hopeless as he rubbed Sarah’s back.
“Bullshit. This asshole might be a hero but he ain’t never seen anything like me,” Bill scoffed.
“Larry, you bring em?” Bill asked, looking at the man standing next to Tabitha, his words breaking his fixation on the floating woman.
“Oh, yeah. Do we.. Do we just shoot him? The way these people are talking I’m not even sure that would work,” Larry replied, unrolling the padded sheet revealing several rifles.
The long rifles were beautiful, and hideously complex. All angled metal and smooth wood. Clearly he’d turned his weapons into jigsaw puzzles that hopefully would confuse anyone that attempted to recreate them. They worked though, the centaurs could drive a nail in with them at six hundred yards, without fail. Larry passed them out to the centaurs, then unslung the beast that was the Mark One.
“Nah, that’s plan B. It would be pretty handy having our own hero, if only for the novelty. Don’t see many of them around these parts,” Bill replied. “Your stupid gun looks less steampunky. I’ll miss that dumbass crosshair.”
Larry didn’t respond, moving over to Tabitha. She was spooked, and that made him scared as hell.
Bill was starting to get angry. His people were the dangerous ones, and he aimed to prove it.
He decided to poke the bear.
“Hey! Can I help you? What’s with the floating chick?” Bill called out.
The valkyrie seemed taken aback, clearly no one had dared treat her with such disrespect. Bill saw that look about three times a day anymore. The supposed hero turned his head up to meet her eyes, seemingly as surprised as she. Seeming to remember what he was here for he turned back to the walls.
“Prepare yourselves! Send out your champions, I’ll drive your evil from these lands!” the hero yelled, something akin to confidence in his voice.
“Huh, sounds young, guess he’s new at this. Oughta be easy if he doesn’t butcher me,” Bill muttered, regretting it as Rekka swung her head to look at him.
“You ain’t goin’ out there,” she growled, laying down the gospel.
“Might have to. Don’t worry, even if the new guns don’t kill them, the centaurs ought to give those two something to think about while I beat feet back to the walls,” Bill replied, patting her back soothingly. He turned back to fuck with the guy who felt comfortable calling himself a hero.
“No thank you! Is there anything else we can help you with?” Bill called.
“What?” the hero shouted in shocked disbelief.
“Yeah! Fresh outta champions! Could send over some sandwiches if you like,” Bill called back.
“What?” the hero repeated, over his shock and now filled with pure disbelief.
“Quartermaster says we got a shipment of champions due next week, could you come back then?” Bill yelled, enjoying himself more than he should.
“What.” he yelled a bit quieter. This was not how this was supposed to go. An exasperated growl floated down from above him.
“Ah shit, everyone duck,” Bill said, realizing the woman was the more dangerous of the two.
The winged and heavily armored woman lowered her shield and pointed her sword at the walls, its blade glowing. A heartbeat later a torrent of light scored a line from the bottom of the wall and upwards directly towards Bill in particular. He’d seen it coming, pushing Rekka down and throwing himself on top of her. He waited a few moments before climbing to his feet, pulling Rekka to hers and looking over the walls. A deep gash had been burned through the wall. Bill gave the merlon in front of him a slight push. It split, half of it falling away giving him a better view.
“I suppose I can see why y’all might be concerned,” Bill said to himself, rubbing his chin while watching the two nuisances outside his town.
The valkyrie was having a heated conversation with the hero, who’s body language was like a child scolded by his mother. He hung his head, his sword and shield lowered to his sides while he kicked at the dust. Bill would have laughed if the fuckers weren’t so obviously dangerous. The hero finally nodded, raising his sword and shield as he looked back at the walls.
“You! Come forth! Bring your monster if you wish, she won’t save you,” the hero demanded.
“You heard him, I’m comin with,” Rekka said.
“Sorry babe, I’m gonna pull the fuckin’ rug out from under him, and I can only do it if he thinks I’m not a threat. That’s you all over. He’d probably just attack us as soon as we walked outside,” Bill explained, hoping Rekka had come to trust him enough to let him do this.
She looked into his eyes for a moment, then pulled him down for a fierce kiss that became gentle as she let go. Bill smiled at her, his heart swelling with love as his mind filled with furious thoughts of torment for this supposed hero that had come to kill her and his friends.
“Ok, be right down! Tell that lightning bug to calm her tits, I’m not made of walls you know,” Bill yelled, enjoying the shaking fury his taunt had triggered in the floating woman. The hero stared at her, not sure what to do and too afraid to ask.
“Ok, someone bring some rope. I’m not opening the gates,” Bill ordered. One of the orcs was on it, running up the steps with a large coil of rope.
“Thanks Jilly, head on back down now, there’s already enough of us in the line of fire,” Bill said, waving her back. “Ok, Tabitha. We’ve done this before. If you could hold on while I climb on down,” Bill requested, throwing the rope over the walls and handing the end to Tabitha.
“Be careful, Bill,” Tabitha said, her mask slipping revealing her concern.
“No problem Tabitha! I know it looks bad, but he’s the one in trouble,” Bill replied, looking back at Rekka.
“See you in a bit, babe. This won’t take long,” Bill said, giving her a confident smile.
“I dunno what yer thinkin, but he’s stronger than you, y’know. Hero’s armor gots magic on it, it’s real hard to get a claw through even if the armor ain’t coverin’ it. It’s got some stupid mamono repellin’ magic,” Rekka said, clearly distressed. “An you ain’t even wearin your stupid chain! Do you even know where yer sword is?”
“Hell, wearing that shit would just make this harder. Don’t you worry a bit, Rekka. Remember, he’s a hero,” Bill said, a villainous grin on his face.
With a cheerful wave he stepped off the wall. Quickly he repelled to the ground, giving one last smile to the concerned faces looking down at him.
Bill ambled his way over to the hero, in no rush. He waved up at the valkyrie when he was close enough to make out details. The woman sneered at him, turning back to watch the walls. Bill laughed to himself, walking over to the hero and nodding his head.
With all of his willpower he pushed the cold fury rising through him down and out of the way, if only long enough to end this.
The young man sure looked the part, about Felix’s age with a strong jaw, perfect hair, and striking blue eyes. Bill felt oafish and ugly in comparison, making his plans for this idiot all the sweeter. The hero looked him over in confusion, sheathing his sword on his back and hanging his shield over it.
“Hi, what’s up?” Bill asked.
“Where the devil is your sword, man?” the hero asked, ignoring his question.
Bill turned to look back at the wall, his brow furrowed.
“You know, I really can’t remember. I’m pretty sure it’s not in my house. I can’t remember the last time I had it on me,” Bill explained, shrugging as he turned back to the hero.
“What? How do you expect us to duel if you don’t have a sword?” the hero asked, clearly disappointed in Bill’s lack of preparation.
“Don’t ask me, I’ve never been in a duel before. If I needed a sword you should have said something before I walked all the way over here,” Bill answered.
“Are you perhaps some sort of martial artist?” the hero asked hopefully.
“Not that I know of. You know, I don’t think I’ve actually punched anyone at all now that you mention it,” Bill replied, thinking back, surprised.
“Teresa! What do I do? He’s unarmed!” the hero called up at the valkyrie.
“I don’t know! This has never happened before. I.. I don’t think we can just stab him, it wouldn’t be sporting. Even then, I think there’s something wrong with him, he may have lost his mind in some way,” Teresa replied, looking pensive.
“No, I just lost my sword. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t stab me. Kind of prefer no one got stabbed. We haven’t killed anyone, we’re pacifists,” Bill replied, mixing truth with the lies.
“Are you really in charge?” the hero asked with awe.
“Unfortunately. I can’t trick anyone into taking the job, that’s for sure,” Bill replied, glaring back at the walls.
“Open the gates. Assist me in clearing the demons, I will liberate you and your comrades,” the hero ordered, trying a new approach.
“No thank you, we’ve got enough liberation back there, some of them are downright exibitionist. We’re all pretty happy with the state of things, I doubt anyone would appreciate you butting in,” Bill countered.
“Just gut him, damn you!” a sharp voice rang out from behind the hero.
Bill leaned around him to check for any tiny assholes, seeing nothing.
“What was that?” he asked.
“Shut up, damn you, I can handle this,” the hero hissed, reaching back to slap the pommel of his sword.
“He’s playing you for a fool, fool! Gut him and slaughter the fiends behind that wall!” the voice demanded. Bill realized it was coming from the sword as the hero grabbed the hilt and shoved it harder into the sheath, quieting it’s calls for blood.
“S-sorry, he’s excitable,” the hero said sheepishly.
“Holy shit, a talking sword. Nice,” Bill replied, wondering if it would match his purse.
“Not as much as you’d think. Sure he can cut through steel like butter, but then he complains about scratching his finish, I never get a break,” the hero whined.
“Proper care for your weapons and armor is an important part of defeating evil,” Teresa lectured.
“I know, I know.. but sometimes I’d like to rest first after training with him for hours,” he replied with a heaving sigh.
“Sounds like you got it tough. Well, I guess we should get this over with. I suppose I’ll try to punch you, and you can do your thing with that sword, yeah?” Bill asked, raising his fists and looking at them doubtfully.
“Well, I suppose that is the proper thing to do,” the hero responded without enthusiasm. “I’m not going to enjoy this you know, nothing about this is going like I expected.”
“I don’t know, seems to be going fairly smoothly on my end,” Bill replied, lowering his fists and smiling innocently.
“Really? That’s a relief, I thought I may have bungled this.. It’s my first time, you know. She finally decided I was ready,” he confessed, brightening up. He began reaching for his sword.
This revelation almost certainly saved the idiot’s life.
“Hey, I didn’t catch your name? Be a shame to die without knowing who killed you,” Bill replied, holding out his hand.
“Oh, sorry. I completely forgot. They won’t be able to sing songs about me if nobody knows my name, or so Teresa keeps telling me,” he replied, leaving his sword sheathed and grasping Bill’s hand in his own. Muffled curses and warnings from the sword fell on deaf ears.
“Marcus Atillius Octavius, nice to meet you. Sorry I have to kill you, you know.”
“I wouldn’t worry about it, Marky Mark. Name’s Dickius. Biggius Dickius Primus, pleasure is all mine,” Bill replied, dazzling the man with his grin. Or perhaps he was baring his teeth.
The valkyrie snorted in amusement at the introduction, her focus slipping for a mere moment. It was all BIll needed.
Bill viciously pulled the man’s arm toward him, nearly dislocating it while thrusting his forehead into the hero’s confused expression with every ounce of his bolstered strength, tearing muscles in his own arm with his furious effort.
Bill only appeared to pay no attention to those around him, more interested in trading barbs and making jokes. Sometimes it was even true. He always listened to his wife, though. Rekka had very specifically stated the hero’s magical armor was enchanted to repel mamono attack. As he’d been hoping, it did not slow him down one bit.
Moving with purpose, Bill kept the body in motion, flipping it around and holding it to his chest to shield him from the rushing valkyrie. He reached around the man’s neck, flipping the sword on his back forward as he smoothly unsheathed half the blade and pressed the razor sharp edge to the man’s neck.
“Stop!” Bill roared at the furious valkyrie screeching her fury, diving at him sword first. At the same time he slid the sword lightly along the man’s neck, drawing a bead of blood. ”I’ll give your boyfriend here another smile,” he promised, all too ready to make it his last act in this world.
“No! Please! Marcus!” she cried, flapping her wings furiously to halt her diving thrust towards Bill’s heart.
“Lose the fucking sword, the armor, too. I thought killing someone would be hard, but keeping him alive is taking every ounce of willpower I’ve got, so hurry the fuck up!” Bill ordered.
“Get your vile hand off me, oaf! By the steel, your hands are soft as a child’s!” the sword screeched, vibrating with indignation.
“Shut the fuck up, butterknife. I’ll stick you in a rock and leave you there,” Bill hissed with dark promise.
“No!” the sword wailed, “Not again!”
That seemed to shut it up.
The woman was hesitating, Bill jerked the sword menacingly. WIth a cry she dropped her sword and shield, fading into a cloud of light before they hit the ground. Similarly her armor faded away, leaving her in a simple white toga. Long tresses of golden hair fell free no longer constrained by her helmet. Bill didn’t trust than one bit, she could likely dress herself quicker than it took her to perform that neat trick.
“Promise me you’ll do as I say, in return I promise I will not harm him,” Bill shouted at her.
“I promise! Please!” Teresa cried, tears welling in her eyes.
“Give me your word!” Bill demanded.
“You have my word, just please don’t hurt Marcus!”
“Swear to me!” he snarled.
“I swear it, I swear to you I will follow your commands!”
“Swear to God.” Bill ordered, knowing an angel when he saw one.
“What? I.. I cannot, please, you have my oath!” She pleaded, clutching at her hair as tears began to fall.
“Do it, or I’ll toss you your boyfriend’s head and take my chances. I swear to fucking God.”
The color drained from her face, a terrible certainty the man was speaking absolute truth. She looked into the heavens, a ray of sunlight piercing through the soft clouds and falling on her upturned face, her tears golden jewels in its radiance. She clasped her hands in supplication.
“Forgive me, Lord, for I am not strong enough..” she called with forlorn apology.
Turning to look into his eyes with dread filled clarity she spoke, her words conveying a far deeper surrender than even the one he had expected, “I swear, I swear upon my God that I will do as you say if you do not harm Marcus.”
Bill felt a strange heat between his shoulder blades as she finished her oath, his heart skipping a beat.
As she uttered the last word the magic that allowed her to levitate without the use of her wings seemed to cut out and she fell from the air, landing on her knees with a thump. She knelt there unmoving, hands and wings lying forlornly in the dirt, the edges of her pure white feathers now stained with the dust disturbed by her landing.
“Good choice. Stand up,” he ordered, pulling the sword in its sheath from the hero’s back. The woman jerked to her feet like he’d pulled her puppet strings.
“Yes,” She replied with hollow despair, her eyes locked to the face of the unconscious Marcus. He was looking a little less pretty with that broken nose of his. Or maybe not, gave him a rakish rogue kind of look. Fucking heroes.
Shaking his head, Bill was almost disappointed he had pulled this off with minimal bloodshed. He felt no animosity towards the soldiers he’d defeated, they fought for good and honest reasons. Money, lack of any other trade, defense of family, xenophobia, love of country, and perhaps a morbid curiosity of what it would be like to kill. He could forgive any of that once he had his boot firmly on their necks to keep them on the straight and narrow.
Anyone who self applied the title of hero needed to be put down for the good of society. These two didn’t care about the world. If peace broke out tomorrow they’d drink poison. You can’t build a legend of heroic daring-do without any enemies to murder and prove how amazing you are. Meeting them was probably the most disgusting thing he’d found in this world.
Heroes weren’t born. They weren’t made, not with a purpose. Sometimes you would recognize them after everything was said and done, posthumously more often than not. It had been hard not to cut the young fool’s throat, harder than he would ever admit.
If this stupid fucking “hero” hadn’t revealed he’d chosen Asylum for his debut of murder-for-fame Bill would have found out real quick whether or not Larry’s rifles could pierce an angel’s hide. The thought of one of these monsters killing children for a little prestige made him feel almost insane, the disgust and anger so great it was too alien to express with words.
He’d made light on the wall, but a fury had been building as he understood their little game they played at. If this punk was really a hero he’d be hip deep in the front lines pushing for wherever the equally stupid Demon Lord was hiding. Somewhere between saying goodbye to Rekka and greeting the hero Bill had decided he really was capable of murder. Hell, he might even have a hidden talent for it.
Bill breathed out slowly, reining in his anger. He didn’t enjoy it, or the way it made him feel. Turning towards the wall to call the all clear he had a moment to take in the rushing wave of mamono resilient enough to leap from the walls safely, the gate rising and packed with impatient reinforcements. Then he was off his feet, tackled by an ebony and fire streaked blur that took his breath away.
They rolled through the grass for several yards until he landed on his back, staring up into a face he barely recognized, but loved all the same. Rekka’s teeth were bared, stretching her sweet kissable mouth into a bestial rictus. Her eyes were wide, red pupils dilated, the black sclera nearly hidden. She crouched over him protectively, her posture threatening anyone that might come near. Her eyes were darting in every direction while her hitching and over excited growls shook her body.
Bill’s head was still ringing from the state champion linebacker’s tackle his love had packed into her petite form. He wasn’t quite sure if he was seeing things clearly, but Rekka’s hellfire blazing from her eyes like the wings of a particularly pyromaniacal phoenix also seemed to be flaring from between her fangs as she heaved out each breath. He was certain he’d hit his head on a rock when the light waned and malevolent fires danced in his peripheral vision, wailing screams echoing all around.
Coming to his senses he whipped his head towards where Rekka was glaring, seeing his friends staring at him with shock. The angel was recovering from her own shock already, stepping hesitantly towards the unconscious hero.
“Sit!” Bill ordered the angel. She sat.
“Back the fuck up, the rest of you! Don’t touch either of them! I’ll handle this!” Bill shouted at the rest, forgetting them and turning towards what really mattered to him.
“Rekka, love. It’s ok. I’m ok, it’s all over. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry I worried you,” Bill whispered soothingly, placing his hands on either side of her face, gently pulling her to look at him. She didn’t fight him, her angry growls split by distressed whimpers. Her eyes flashed between his and those that could be a threat to him. As he continued to whisper his love for her she began to shake, pressing her body to his, covering him defensively to keep him safe, shaking with her fury. Her body heat was worryingly intense.
“I love you, Rekka. Shh, now. I’m safe. We’re safe. No one can hurt me. No one can hurt us. We won. They’re beaten, we’re the baddest motherfuckers this world has ever seen, and we’re going to prove it to them if we’ve got to kick every ass from here to heaven and hell. Now calm down and kiss me, damn it!” Bill shouted out the last, pulling her face to his.
She kissed him with the same feral need that had driven her to defend him with every ounce of fury she could bring to bear. Her snarls and whimpers quieted as they comforted each other, the fire in her eyes beginning to dampen. Finally she dropped onto him completely, her paw hands holding onto the sides of his face desperately as their kiss went on. Bill felt hot tears landing on his face. He wished he had killed the pair now, but he could only hold her tight, kissing her back until she was satisfied. Heaven help any future “heroes” he ran into, because Hell was on his side and far better company.
Finally Rekka pulled away, looking into his eyes with a more controlled anger.
“I’m so stupid! I love you so much! I’ve never been more angry! I shoulda just grabbed you an’ run. I’m so happy you’re ok! I can’t believe I let you go out here! If you ever do anythin’ like this again I’m gonna hurt you! I’m so sorry I didn’t stop you.. I’ma hurt myself if I let you do somethin’ so stupid again.. Oh Bill, I can’t believe you’re ok. I know you’re doin all this for me, for us.. For everyone. I don’t care about the world. I just care about you. I’m not letting you do anything like this again. Not without me there to keep you safe. You don’t get a say anymore. Oh, I love you so much, husband.. I can’t believe you beat a hero, an his stupid feathered bitch, not by yourself. It ain’t ever been done, an’ you done somethin’ to my head, I shouldn’ta let you do this,” Rekka raved and ranted, her words quieting into relieved disbelief. She pushed her head under his chin and breathed in his scent, hardly able to believe he was still with her.
“I love you, Rekka. I’m so sorry I made you worry. You’re right. Next time I do something stupid, I’m going to have you at my side,” Bill promised, trying to figure out how he’d do anything stupid again when his priority was to keep Rekka completely safe. Maybe he’d have to start playing it smart, if only for the sheer novelty of it.
He knew Rekka felt the same way, she only wanted to keep him safe. She’d fight all comers with her fearless, beautiful ferocity. That kind of honest and straightforward violence just didn’t always get the job done.
Sometimes a shameless cheat had to slither in and do the dirty jobs nobody knew about, and sure as hell never saw coming.
“I’m sorry I put you through this, babe. I know I seem pretty crazy sometimes, but I do almost know what I’m doing. It wasn’t anything special beating those idiots. Almost everything we managed before this took more effort. Only difference is I got the satisfaction of beating him with words and a sweet sucker punch. You don’t send a hero after a morally flexible opportunist defending his love and friends. Quickest way to run out of heroes,” Bill explained, only half joking.
“He fucked himself just running into someone like me. He had so much honor shoved up his ass he couldn’t touch me unless I let him. I damn well wasn’t going to allow that. He may as well have marched up to the walls and surrendered. After he was out I had everything I needed to take down that oversized seagull. I’m no hero, you know I wouldn’t do anything brave. Walking out here was one of the easiest things I’ve ever had to do,” Bill told her, rubbing her back and hoping his honest words were comforting her. He’d read those decent, honorable, morally superior fools like an open book, and their story fucking sucked.
“Lot’sa heroes have killed whole armies a us before they got killed. A few of em get together an’ they can cut their way to Demon Lords an win. Even the shitty new ones like him are so tough it woulda taken all a us to rip him apart. That flying fuck woulda been almost as bad. Lotta our friends woulda died. You ain’t normal, husband, but I’m glad you ain’t. I’m so glad,” Rekka told him, nuzzling into his neck. He patted her soothingly for a few moments until he felt her relax.
“Ok, beautiful. Let’s go live up to their expectations. Let’s go be bad guys,” Bill said, struggling to his feet while holding her. She was reluctant to release her hold on him, but finally let go so she could turn her ire onto the fallen angel and equally fallen hero.
“Ok, everyone. Thanks for your concern, but as you can see I had everything in hand. Go ahead and head back now. Not you, Scipio, Sarah, Larry. I’ll need you in a sec. No matter what they do, stand back. I can handle it,” Bill said, rubbing Rekka’s back and making sure everyone understood him. He nodded respectfully at Tabitha, who had of course chosen to stay by Larry’s side.
The antagonist stalked towards the hero and the angel, ready to bring more suffering their way. Stopping next to the hero he saw the man was beginning to come to, hardly surprising if he was as tough as Rekka explained. He was glad, he needed him awake to explain his situation fully. Bill knelt down, gently prodding the man in the cheek until he slapped his fingers away. He hit his own broken nose at the same time, the pain waking him nicely. Bill rose and backed up well out of range of an angry hero.
“What?” he asked again.
“Explain it to him, angelface,” Bill commanded.
“He knocked you unconscious, I was forced to surrender to him so he would not kill you,” she said quietly.
“What? No!” he leapt to his feet, easily shaking off what should have been a career ending concussion.
“Come, with or without a sword we can take them! There is no surrender before evil!” he shouted, raising his fists like an old-timey boxer.
“I can’t, I swore. I swore to my God I would do as he says if he did not harm you,” she responded miserably. Then her eyes grew wide, the idea coming to her as Bill hoped it would.
“If he harms you, I would no longer follow his command,” she said, meeting the eyes of the hero, knowing this was the moment evil was undone by its own hand.
“Of course! Then fight me if you dare, devil!” he crowed, moving in for the kill.
Holding Rekka back gently, Bill smiled at the angel.
With a cry of horror she moved, flinging herself forward to surprise Marcus. He lowered his hands, unsure what to do without her guidance. With a cry of warning she twirled, a beautifully executed spinning roundhouse kick landed with jarring force on the man’s chin. She was far stronger than she looked, the man’s neck nearly broke as he spun away to land moaning in the dirt.
“Marcus! I’m sorry! Please be alright!” she cried, horrified. Turning to Bill she screeched, “If that wasn’t harming him I don’t know what is, taste my righteous wrath, villain!”
As she flew towards him with glorious retribution giving her strength, Bill never lost his smile as he patted Rekka comfortingly on the shoulder.
Leaning forward as she closed, he turned and exposed his chin to her. Her eyes lit with zealous ecstasy as she performed the same kick, an eye for an eye.
She squeaked as she jerked to halt, her perfect form keeping her standing on one leg with her foot inches away from Bill’s exposed chin.
“Man, being evil feels really good,” Bill chuckled, standing straight while he scratched at Rekka’s ears and leered at the perplexed angel. Rekka was giggling now, filled with pride for her angel tormenting husband. He reached forward and gave the foot a slight push, watching her fall onto her wings, her eyes wide with shock.
“You can explain it to yourself. Repeat back to me your oath, and really think about it,” Bill commanded.
“I swear upon my God that I will do as you say if you do not harm Marcus,” she dutifully repeated. Realization hit her like a punch to the gut, her eyes narrowing with hatred. “If you do not.. No!”
“Yes. I’d make a hell of genie, right? Anyone here could stomp a mudhole in his ass while you defended them to the death. Except me. That’s no problem, though. It’s good to have friends. And lady, you’re fresh out of those.”
“Let’s set some ground rules. Follow these orders: If Marcus attacks anyone I don’t order him to, you will defend that person with excessive force. You will not allow Marcus to leave this town unless I order it, you will enforce this order with excessive force. If anyone here, except Marcus of course, gives you an order you will follow it as though it came from me and if any require violence you will use excessive force. You will defend this town and those who reside here with all the power you possess, of course with excessive force. If any of these orders conflict, you will inform me of the problem and await further instructions. If I, or anyone else I have authorized to do so gives you an order you could use to harm me, my wife, my friends, or my allies you will explain the issue and await further instruction. Harm would include anything that I would find objectionable or upset me in any way.” With every command the angel’s expression grew less focused as she saw the cage forming around her life.
Bill seemed to be thinking, nodding to himself for a moment before looking back at the angel.
“That ought to do it, if I think of any other fucked up genie loopholes I’ll be sure to let you know. Now stand up,” Bill ordered.
“Holy fuck, you should be a lawyer,” Larry said, impressed.
“Nah, I’ve just spent a lot of time hoping I’d find a magic lamp,” Bill explained.
“Ok, now go strip Marcus out of that armor and anything else he’s wearing except what would expose his dick to us, don’t wanna see that. It’s probably fucking heroic, too,” Bill ordered.
The angel hopped to it, gently removing the man’s armor as he dazedly attempted to help her, his concussion confusing him as to what was happening but very used to following her orders. He wobbled after she removed his chestplate, flopping to the dirt and losing consciousness. Bill had been impressed he’d lasted so long. He might have to let Helena take a look at him, but only if he didn’t wake up later. Hopefully he was brain damaged, that would be almost helpful.
Bill smirked when she seemed almost eager to remove his padded shirt and leggings under the armor, exposing his action hero pecs and washboard stomach. Now only in his medieval tighty-whitey’s she stopped and waited, gazing at his body with something akin to lust.
Bill had been counting on that, always appreciative of Sarah’s help in just this sort of situation.
“Now pick him up, carry him to within twenty feet of the gates, where you will keep him there through any violence you can bring to bear until you receive further orders,” Bill commanded, waving her off. She jumped to comply, almost eager to follow this command as she held him to her. He and Rekka must have looked a bit like that when she carried him. Teresa was barely taller than her, though her waifish body made her look even smaller. Looked like a seagull running off with some tourist’s lunch from the back.
“Well alright. Let’s all take a moment to relax, you guys are way too stressed out. We’re not really the bad guys, you know. We stand in that morally grey area where you can do pretty much whatever you want. Good and Evil are going to have to be on their toes to even stand a chance. People like them? Once we’re done with all this they’ll be the ones shaking in their boots when we come knocking,” Bill said, desperate to lighten the mood.
Sarah was the first to break the silence, rushing over to him to shake his hand in both of hers.
“Bill! Hells! That was amazing! You’re like some sort of.. Double villain! No one’s ever done that.. no one! My mommy once fought one before I was born. She regretted the whole thing, she lost so many friends before they managed to tear him apart. She told me I should just run and run if I ever saw a hero,” Sarah gushed like a groupie.
She’d eagerly follow the man into hell just to see if he could trick the Devil out of his horns.
“That’s good advice. If we’d had that choice I would have taken it. Never back a rat into a corner, you’re in for a fight then,” Bill said with feeling.
“Sarah is not wrong, Bill. The ones we label heroes.. they’re blessed by gods from birth. They’re stronger, far stronger than ordinary men. If they attract a valkyrie her training and presence will eventually raise that strength to, well, monstrous levels. They’ve held off armies on their own, beaten them even. They’re the only reason we stood a chance against the Demon Lords,” Scipio explained. He shared a look with Sarah, clearly relieved they were alive, and surprised it was so.
“They’re pretty dumb though, huh?” Larry spoke, looking at the pile of armor with interest.
“Yeah, I think it’s a requisite to being a hero, honestly. A smart man would have had that girl strafing everything that moves with that lightshow of hers while he stood outside the gates and killed anyone trying to leave,” Bill said, “But then he wouldn’t be a hero. Gotta give the people you can always beat in a fair fight their fair fight.”
“What a bunch of assholes,” Larry remarked, squatting by the armor and poking it.
“That’s an understatement,” Bill replied, wandering over to Larry to look down at the armor.
“I want you to take that chest armor and mount it on a mannequin. Then I want you to build something that will put a fist sized hole in the front, and a larger hole as it exits the backplate, and at a fair distance. Make sure it’s something we can aim at anything that flies, too. Mount about ten of them on the walls, and if you can make it man-portable, have those dwarves make them until we’re tripping over the damn things,” Bill ordered.
“Great minds think alike. How’d you come up with it? I’ll see if I can melt down the rest of it for something useful,” Larry replied, trying to imagine how much force per square inch was required to pierce magical bullshit armor.
“Ok, let’s head back. We’ll carry the armor, ladies. I don’t want it doing anything weird to you,” Bill said, before he remembered something, “Oh, wait, I just remembered. Did anyone see a sword go flying when Rekka hit me? I want that, the fucking thing talks.”
“I believe that is it sticking out of that stone, Bill,” Scipio said, pointing.
“That’s the one, wait here a second. Time to see if I’m King of England,” Bill said, amazed with how far it flew. He’d have to have Helena check Rekka over, his ribs were making it painful to breathe, it worried him she might be in pain as well.
He spotted the sheath on his way over and snagged it up, laughing as he closed in on the trembling sword.
“Well, what do you have to say for yourself?” Bill asked.
“Please sir! Pull me out, you don’t know how this feels! Chuck me into a lake if you like, just get me out of here!” the sword begged in its sharp voice.
“Well, alright. Only because I’ve always wanted a talking sword,” Bill complied, jerking the sword free, a few sparks shooting out with it.
“Hah! You’re lucky, England. If I had plans to return you’d be in a hell of a lot of trouble,” Bill said, grinning at the sword.
“Thank you, sir! May the steel bless you, sir! Those damn wizards and their damn rocks, it’s criminal!” the sword cried, relief strumming through it.
“Well, don’t thank me yet. I’m probably not going to use you for combat. I lost my last sword, but I mostly used it for cutting firewood and scaring unicorns,” Bill explained.
“That explains the lack of calluses. It’s honestly kind of nice, I’ve never been wielded by a woman, I imagine it would be something like this,” the sword replied.
“Proper skin care is an important part of being a good husband,” Bill explained. “You’re a hell of a lot smarter than the guy who had you last, feel free to warn me if anyone tries to pull something like that on me, I won’t ignore you.”
“Yes, seems to be a required trait for those able to wield me,” the sword muttered.
“How do you get your hands on a talking sword, anyway?” Bill asked, intrigued by the whole stupid hero process.
“Some god or wizard gets ahold of me when one of those useless gits dies and then puts me in a stone until someone worthy pulls me free. It’s horrible. Imbue a piece of metal with intelligence and then trap it in stone for years and years until some farm boy comes along and discovers he’s been blessed by some god. It’s not right at all,” the sword complained.
“I didn’t have to be made intelligent and talk, you know, it’s not as though it makes me sharper. They just did it because they believed it would be a neat thing for a sword to do. Rotten bastards, I never asked for this,” the sword muttered, frustrated at his life’s circumstances.
“Shit, you really do have it rough. Well, I’ll probably forget you on a mantle somewhere, so you’ll be safe from wizards and stones if I get killed doing something very unheroic,” Bill said while walking back to the group.
“That doesn’t sound so bad. Try and forget me near a window, unsheathed a bit so I can see. That’s the worst part of the stones. Can’t see a bloody thing,” the sword requested.
“You got it, buddy,” Bill replied, slinging him over his shoulder as he jogged back over to Rekka.
They gathered up the armor and shield, amazed at its lightness, then returned to the walls. They stopped before Teresa while Bill considered the best way to finish this.
“Scipio, I’ll take that plate. Would you mind running to the closest private house and kicking out whoever’s in there? These two are going to need it,” Bill requested. The man nodded, jogging off to see it done.
He’d have been happier tossing them into the brig, but they’d tried putting the ogres in there and they’d immediately ripped all the bars and doors out. They didn’t leave, they just wanted to break something. Bill should probably have been more specific about giving them a time out. “Stay in here until I decide to let you out.” had a lot of leeway for someone that really didn’t want to do as they were told. Bill was almost impressed. Hell, they used the place as a clubhouse now. If there was a highschool bathroom around here they’d be smoking in it.
“Alright, stand up, keep a hold of him. We’re going to set you two up in a nice cozy cottage. Follow,” Bill ordered.
As they entered the gate Bill tossed all the plate down and ordered a few of the orcs and their communal husbands to guard it, warning the orcs not to touch it just in case. Larry kept the chestplate, nodding and running off to secure it in his vault, Tabitha following. Bill, Rekka, and Sarah continued with the angel following along.
Scipio was standing outside the house, Menius and his werewolf wife next to him with their few personal belongings at their feet. Bill felt bad, but this was important.
“Sorry Menius, Nadia. I’ll make sure you get the next available. It’s a bit of an emergency,” Bill said, shrugging.
“No worries, Bill, happy to help. Good job keepin’ us all alive, hey? Damn, look at him. Big fella for such a little lady, eh?” Menius joked, elbowing his wife in the ribs while she laughed.
“Yes, not a problem, Bill. We’ll stay with Millie until something comes up. Thank you. I thought.. I thought everything was over,” Nadia said, pulling closer to Menius.
“Don’t worry, once again Evil lives another day to hold their loved ones and try to make their way in the world. Good has been thwarted from killing a town full of, who’d have believed it, actual people with hopes and dreams. It’s a crying shame, isn’t it?” Bill asked, looking at Teresa.
The angel seemed to be out of sorts. This place was supposed to be a den of evil. It looked like a happy community, men and demons working together, or simply strolling hand in hand. There were no cries of terror, no sobbing and beaten slaves. Everyone seemed happy, content. Everyone that wasn’t looking at her. She did not enjoy the looks of fear and hatred sent her way, the way monsters and men would draw together for comfort as if she was the demon. Worst of all, they looked at the vile man responsible for this great evil as if he were the hero.
“It’s a damn shame, hey? Look at all this glory slipping through your fingers. All this fame. Look at that woman over there, the little harmless unicorn. How much acclaim do you think Marky there would have gained by cutting her throat?” Bill asked.
“Answer me,” Bill ordered.
“A unicorn is a rare prize, the horns can be used in any manner of magical accessories. Healing potions can be made with their blood,” Teresa responded, ashamed that she was feeling shame for defeating the vile enemies of mankind. The unicorn had been too far to hear her speak, and gave her a worried smile of comfort. Teresa felt ill.
“Good to know that my friends are so valued for their body parts after you slaughter them. That’s useful knowledge for us evil monsters. Weird that we’d never heard this before, huh?” Bill asked, not expecting an answer. Sighing, he looked at Teresa.
“We killed no one when we took this place. It’s true, the mamono don’t give these men a choice, but they don’t have much of a choice themselves. This was done to them. If you were real heroes you’d be looking for a way to help everyone. Clearly I’m no hero, but that is exactly what I aim to do. Don’t throw the end of the world at me, there’s always an end of the world coming around. You’ve had a lot of time to sort this out, apparently. You failed. Now it’s my turn. If deep down you really want peace and a future for everyone, you would join me,” Bill said, wondering if the woman could even be reached in this way. She only stared at him with sullen anger, though she’d had the decency to look ashamed when Helena had smiled at her.
“The Demon Lord isn’t here, isn’t that his goal? Why did you come here?” Bill asked her directly.
“Marcus needs to acquire experience with less organized monsters. He’s not ready to face a Demon Lord. He needs to prove himself and gather allies that hear of his name. If we simply tried to cut our way to the Demon Lord now we would be brought down by sheer numbers,” she explained.
“Yeah. That’s probably true. It would be pretty heroic if he tried, though. Not taking the easy way out and killing a bunch of people that are pretty much the equivalent of average civilians, not soldiers, just to prove yourself. What do I know, though. I’m just the bad guy,” Bill replied, shaking his head.
“Anyway, I order you to go in there and all that, take him and put him on the bed,” Bill ordered, waving his hand. He watched as she did, waiting for her to turn and look at him.
“I order you to keep him in here. The only thing you cannot do to enforce this order is harm him. If he makes it out of this building, I order you to do everything you can to defend us and assist those returning him here with excessive gratuitous violence. Other than that, have a good time. Enjoy yourselves. You won’t be disturbed unless you disturb us,” Bill said, slamming the door.
He turned around, knowing what he’d just done to the angel had almost certainly damned him. It was unlikely they’d let Rekka through the pearly gates, so he didn’t much care.
Larry had arrived while he spoke to her, shaking his head at what he’d heard.
“Damn, dude. Maybe we are the bad guys. You know what she’s probably going to do if he decides he wants a chance at killing you so she can be free, right?” Larry asked, not entirely comfortable with forcing her. The mamono doing it wasn’t quite the same. Clearly they had very little control over their urges as well, spurred on by whatever magic bullshit the Demon Lord had wrought.
“They wanted a Demon Lord, well they got one. Those two need a change of perspective, and if all it takes is my own personal damnation I’m more than ready to pay the price. It’s time they understood exactly what they’re fighting,” Bill stated, shrugging at Larry.
“Besides, she has plenty of other ways to keep him in there. If what I’ve been taught about angels is true, she’ll have no problem doing so without sacrificing her morals or his trust in her. Something tells me she’ll take the selfish way out,” Bill explained. He looked his friends in the eyes a moment before speaking again.
“I don’t know if we’re the bad guys. All I know for certain is they’re not the good guys.”
Looking through the window he laughed.
“Well, we’re a little bad. Sarah, post up by the door if you would, do your thing. Gambling is fun, but it’s more fun with weighted dice. I’m going to take a seat on that barrel over there. Marcus will have a real clear view of me from the window. If the rest of you will move away, I think I’ll make a pretty inviting target.”
Teresa watched Marcus sleep, praying he would stay that way. She could just kneel here, watching over him. Watching his perfect body. She had never noticed before how good he smelled, for some reason it excited her. Her toga was making her uncomfortable, scraping against her nipples which were pointing out as if she were cold. She could not understand it, the room was warm, almost uncomfortably so. A funny, fluttery feeling was coming from her belly, or somewhere lower. His smell was making her feel things she didn’t understand.
She spied a bead of perspiration on his forehead, it would soon roll into his eyes. She had better wipe it from him, or it could cause him pain and wake him. She reached for it, delicately brushing it away. For some reason she could not remove her hand, and she began running her fingers through his hair. She should stop, this was not proper, she was his guide, his teacher. No, she was his partner, his protector. She was comforting him, he would sleep easier if she calmed him in this way.
These feelings were not entirely new to her, but she had always been able to ignore them, push them away. It seemed impossible now. Watching over Marcus as he trained had always filled her with a feeling of.. need. It had been easy to suppress it, she did not know what it meant but somehow she knew it was improper. She found nothing easy now. Her eyes fell on Marcus’s abs, spotting a drop of perspiration forming. She was trying to convince herself that it would be no different than touching his forehead when Marcus shifted and moaned.
“..resa? What? Where are we?” he asked, looking around with a pained expression that quickly brightened. “You beat them! I knew they were no match for you! What inn is this?”
“I’m sorry Marcus. That man.. he’s some kind of demon himself. We’re beaten. I can do nothing, and I cannot allow you to leave this room. Forgive me,” she whispered, touching his shoulder.
“What? No.. Teresa, no one can beat you. No one. What’s happened? Just tell me what I must do! I’m ready, you said so!” he begged, covering her small delicate hand in his large callused one. He’d never really been this close to her without attempting to hold her sword or fists at bay, and found she smelled simply divine. He realized she wasn’t wearing her armor. Her sheer toga left very little to the imagination. A very natural reaction to this made him aware that he was similarly unarmored.
“Where is my armor? Where.. where is yours?” he asked, sitting up with his hands on his lap. He wished he had not, he now had a very clear view down Teresa’s toga. The curve of her small pert breasts were making it very.. difficult to see her as the untouchable guardian figure he had taken great pains to view her as. He was certain if she knew how beautiful he found her it would not go well for him. Gods, she smelled good.
“He ordered me to remove my armor.. yours as well. I cannot summon it again unless he orders it,” she replied. Marcus was covering himself for some reason as she kneeled directly in front of him. She hoped he was not injured. Looking into his eyes, his beautiful blue eyes, she tried to make him understand.
“There is nothing we can do, Marcus. I can only obey him. If you try to fight, I will be forced to defend him. Perhaps in time we will find a way to free ourselves. While there is life, there is hope,” she said, placing her hands just above his knees, trying to reach him.
“If I could just reach him, I could end this. Can you not fight this? Only if for a moment. Surely he’ll come by soon to gloat,” he begged, forcing himself to look at her eyes and nowhere else. They were a pleasing gold tinged green, he had always loved her eyes.
“No. The moment you move to attack him I would throw myself at you with everything I have.. I could not hold back if I wished, I would even.. hurt you more than would be necessary. He has ordered it so. If you were to leave this room I would be forced to hurt you terribly, and defend them from you until we managed to return you. That man has been very thorough in his orders,” Teresa explained, feeling depressed. She was shocked to see that she had been caressing him above his knees. He had not objected, so perhaps this was not something improper, though she felt it might be. Marcus was holding his hands between his legs with much pressure now, worrying her.
“I-I see,” he replied, shivering at her touch. She had never put her hands on him without trying to hurt him before. Her hands were cool and incredibly soft. He hoped she wouldn’t notice how she was affecting him. Turning away he looked out the window, his eyes widening.
“He’s right there! Damn him. He’s smiling at me, the fiend! He has my sword!” he leapt to his feet, forgetting she was kneeling before him until he.. bumped her face.
“Oh! What is that, you’re all swollen!” she said, rubbing at her cheek.
“Um, nothing, do not worry, it does that sometimes,” Marcus replied, surprised she did not know about such things. “Teresa, look! He’s right there! If I could reach him I could crush his skull, I’d have my sword! We could cleanse this evil place!”
She managed to rip her eyes from the unexpected and very interesting thing before her with some difficulty and speak, “No, you must not, please. Marcus, you are very strong.. but you are not yet faster than I. I’m sorry, I failed you. I did not focus on unarmed combat, I never expected we would find ourselves in this situation. You.. you would not be able reach him before I could defeat you.”
She was so ashamed, she now knew it had been her pride. Her skill with martial arts had impressed her own teachers, she was able to defeat all her sisters with ease. She had felt such happiness when Marcus praised her. She had wanted him to praise her more. He might not when his superior physical abilities allowed him to defeat her.
Suddenly she knew! She knew exactly how he could defeat that man, save himself, save them both!
“Marcus! He ordered me to keep you in here, but clearly he did not wish it so! He ordered that I could not harm you to keep you within! He wants to see me torture you. His cruel nature will be his undoing! Quickly, you must disable me, knock me unconscious or break my bones! Yes! We can do this!” she cried, thankful she had seen the evil man’s mistake.
“What? No! I could.. I could never hurt you, Teresa! Please, there must be another way!” Marcus replied, backing away from her as she hobbled forward on her knees, hands clasped in supplication, eager for him to beat her.
“It’s ok, Marcus. You would be saving us both, I would heal in time. Come, let us begin!” she said, turning her cheek. Still, she was touched by his feelings. She was also a little frustrated he was resisting her commands. She had agreed he was ready to attempt his first act of heroism, but he was still under her training!
“Teresa, no! I cannot! I could not hit you, not you! I would rather try to reach him, and take what pain will come my way. I could never ruin your beauty..” he said, bumping into the wall as she herded him. She placed her hands on his thighs, looking up to him with wonder on her face.
“What? No, you must, Marcus! Listen to me, I am your guide! This is the way we will.. You think I’m beautiful?” she asked, losing the track of the conversation. “I’m not beautiful. I’m.. I’m just.. I only exist to train you, to aid humanity in its fight against evil. It would serve no purpose to be.. beautiful.”
She looked down, unable to understand why he would say that. Beauty was for love, she knew this. Men and women, forming bonds that would result in children to ensure a future for all humanity. Valkyries had no such function, they trained heroes, aided them in their fight. If they failed they would guide the hero’s soul to heaven. There they would.. she was not sure. It was said they remained by their hero’s side for all eternity. She liked the idea very much, but why would she be needed there? Her purpose would be meaningless.
“What? Teresa, you are the most beautiful woman I have ever met. How can you not see yourself as anything but beautiful? You’re.. I see, this is more training. I am not supposed to have these feelings for you, am I? I’m sorry, Teresa, this is one lesson I cannot learn. You are beautiful, I have always thought so. I.. I like you very much, you know,” Marcus said, surprised at his courage. If he had said this at any other time he was sure she would demand he meet her in the ring for more training. He was a little glad she could not harm him now.
“Marcus, I think I see your mistake now. I am not a woman,” Teresa explained. Her heart was hammering in her chest, she felt warm and shivery at the same time. His words had been wonderful to hear, but she understood his mistake at last. Perhaps he believed women could grow wings, or that she was some sort of sorceress. She was saddened to figure it out, terribly so. It was for the best, once she explained it to him he could disable her and continue his quest.
“What? Of.. of course you are. Just, just look at you. You.. your face, your eyes are like jewels. Your lips, gods your lips.. they drive me mad. Surely you cannot expect me to believe a man can have a body such as yours!” Felix demanded, sure she was jesting.
“A man? Of course not. I am a valkyrie, Marcus. You see, you cannot find me beautiful. It would serve no purpose, it is ridiculous. Women have no wings, my abilities are miracles of the Chief God, my Lord. I am sorry I did not explain myself properly to you when we met, please forgive me,” she explained, her heart heavy. “Now you see. You may disable me now, I am ready.”
“Teresa.. I know what you are. I’m not simple, you know. You are beautiful, you are not your purpose. You.. you’re a woman with your own thoughts, dreams, hopes! You are not just some thing sent to train me. I will not believe that. I.. I have loved you for some time. I will always love you. Now, you see? I could never hurt you, please stop this. I don’t require you love me back, I am certain you don’t, but please understand, we will have to find another way,” he said, a weight lifting from him now that he had finally told her. He knew she would not be pleased, but at least he had the courage to tell her.
“Oh, Marcus!” she cried, turning red, covering her face with her hands and wrapping her wings around her to hide her embarrassment. She could not help herself, he had given voice to the feelings she had not understood. This was so very inappropriate, but felt so wonderful. Every part of her body ached to ignore her purpose, to.. to do something with him, though she knew not what.
Marcus was surprised by her reaction, he had never seen her blush before, or hide herself in such a way. She was so cute, something he would never have guessed he would see from her. He wanted to keep watching her, but he saw the opportunity. While she was distracted he would save her from this evil. Turning, he readied himself to charge through the very walls straight at the man grinning at him, raising a hand with some gesture he did not understand. Before he could take a step he found himself thrown off his feet to land bouncing on the bed.
“What?” he gasped. Teresa must have recovered, reacting in time. He began to sit up but was thrown back down as she landed on him, right upon his manhood as she placed her hands on his chest.
“I won’t let you, Marcus. I cannot bear to hurt you. I finally understand. I love you, Marcus. I have loved you for a very long time now. Please, please do not make me hurt you,” she begged, rubbing at his chest.
“R-really? Teresa, gods! I am almost happy this happened, I love you so much! We must escape somehow, we cannot meet our end here, not now,” he said with passion.
“Yes, you see! We will wait, he will make a mistake, and we will be free of him! Oh Marcus, I don’t know if this is forbidden, none of my sisters have ever spoken of it.. but I will face any punishment! I love you!” she cried, bouncing on him with her joy. Marcus gasped, looking at her with wide eyes.
“What is it, Marcus? Am I hurting you? I am sorry, I did not realize I was so heavy,” she said, disappointed. Sitting on him was somehow pleasurable, and she was not eager to remove herself.
“No! You’re light as a feather, I assure you! It is.. Your dress. It’s slipped down.. I’m sorry I’ve looked,” Marcus replied. He may have apologized but he could not tear his eyes away, her small perfect breasts were literally divine.
“Oh? Oh, my nipples! No, don’t worry, though I’m not sure why they’re doing this. I’m not cold at all but they feel very nice. You’re not wearing a shirt. Should.. should I not be looking at you? I quite like it,” she explained, making no attempt to pull her toga into place.
“Um, no, you can look all you like,” he replied. He was beginning to feel unsure about this, she knew so much about fighting but clearly she was completely innocent when it came to matters of.. procreation. The right thing to do would be to sit her down and explain matters before this got out of hand. Yet, she was so beautiful. He was beginning to realize she was not wearing anything under that toga, if the warmth upon his member was any indication.
“Oh! What was that? It felt so nice! How did you do that?” she asked, looking down and lifting her toga to see what had nearly lifted her.
It would seem every part of Marcus was stronger than normal.
“That.. that is.. it’s my penis, Teresa. Do you.. Do you know how babies are made?” he asked, desperately uncomfortable, and not liking himself very much for enjoying this so much. He had begun to think she might not have.. all her bits. Very clearly she did, it was as perfect as the rest of her. The V shaped feathers in lieu of hair melted his heart as it hardened.. other things. He very nearly whimpered when she dropped the toga.
“Your penis? Oh! Your cock! Remember those mercenaries we met at that tavern? The ones I was having such an interesting conversation with before you beat them so terribly? You still haven’t explained that, they weren’t bothering me, you know. I was learning a lot,” she said. They had taught her many new words for human anatomy, it had been fascinating.
“Of course I know how babies are made. A man and a woman who love each other marry, and then they spend the night together sharing a bed and their prayers. Some time later the gods send them a baby. It is so wonderful, aren’t babies so cute?” she asked, hopping on him again, doing wonderful things to her breasts.
“That’s.. ah! That’s not exactly it, I’m afraid. And those mercenaries were not teaching you proper things, they deserved their thrashing and more. In any case, babies are not sent by the gods, not exactly.. Teresa, you are not jesting, are you? Do you really not know these things?” he asked, hoping she was making the first joke she’d ever told him. She was very clearly older than him, though he did not care about that.
“What? But.. That is what I was told. It was explained to my sisters and I so we would understand why it was wrong for men to marry the demons. They don’t really get married, you know. I don’t understand why they never birth a man, though. One would think they would, surely the man could pray for one. Perhaps the demons do not allow this,” she replied. Perhaps Marcus had never had this explained to him. “Oh! You don’t think the demons.. kill the male babies, do you? How horrid!” Tears sparkled in her eyes at the thought.
“No, no, do not worry Teresa. No male babies are.. delivered to demons, I assure you,” he replied. He was disappointed she had stopped hopping on him, and in himself for thinking it.
“You see, it was explained to me by my father when I.. became a man. It is not quite a requirement that you be married, though that is the preferred way to go about things. Um, ok. Here we go. The man will put his penis..” he said, before he was cut off by Teresa.
“His cock you mean, I prefer that. It sounds better to me,” she broke in, enjoying speaking of these things again.
“Y-yes.. his cock. He, um, places it inside the woman’s um.. vagina, you see-,” he began, once again interrupted.
“Her cunt! That’s what it is! What a funny word, yes? I like the sound of it, it made me laugh when that man explained it to me, right before you threw him out the window,” she said. As if to emphasize owning such a thing she drew herself across his member. She gasped, enjoying the feeling and began to repeat it until Marcus grabbed her hips to hold her in place.
“Um, please don’t do that, I may have an accident. Any, anyway.. you see, a man places his cock in the womans.. c-cunt, gods. He does this, moving it back and forth until he releases his seed, you see. Um, once this is done a baby will grow inside the mother’s belly until she delivers it herself some time later. This is widely known by any adult you will ask, so please do not doubt me,” he begged.
“Truly? How strange. Doesn’t it.. hurt? I have not checked but I do not believe your cock would fit very well inside me, if there is a hole it must be very small. Your cock might not be comfortable, it is very large you know. Do you suppose if we tried it I could.. I could have a baby? Oh, I love babies.. I always wished I could simply pray for one myself, but valkyrie are not women and do not marry in any case,” she replied, looking wistfully at him.
“Well.. I.. I do not know, Teresa, truly. Perhaps at some other time..” he said. This was going in a direction he felt they could not continue. He dearly wished she was not so innocent. Only a monster could take advantage of her ignorance.
“Oh. I understand, Marcus. Do not worry. Of course you would not wish to place your cock within my cunt. You’ll marry a woman and make babies with her. Forgive me for suggesting it, please,” she begged. Her crestfallen look nearly broke his heart.
“Teresa! No! I would have no other, please believe me. It’s just, I would not be comfortable doing this with you until you understood what we were about. This act has a very deep meaning. I would.. I would dearly like if someone else explained this to you, another woman preferably. I would not want to take advantage of your, um, innocence,” he explained.
“Oh, Marcus, I so love you! Please, I have been your guide for so long, I trust you. In this you could guide me!” she exclaimed, bouncing again.
“Ah! Oh, erm. I don’t know, Teresa. This act.. It is, gods I’m not sure I have the words. People would believe I have taken your chastity because I simply wanted the pleasure it would bring, you see? Scoundrels have been known to take their pleasure with a woman and leave her, it is not right and I would not wish to be compared to them,” he desperately explained. He wasn’t sure whether he should allow her to bounce or try to hold her still. She’d begun to grind onto him when he applied pressure.
“Oh, Marcus. You would do no such thing, I know it to be true. So do you, you are no scoundrel, you’re a hero! This is a pleasurable act? How wonderful! Does it feel better than this? When I rub my cunt on your cock it is very stimulating,” she said, grinding harder.
“Gods, please, oh gods, Teresa! Of course I wouldn’t, I simply wouldn’t want your honor to be impugned, you see..” he began, gasping as she moved off his member and shimmied between his legs.
“Don’t worry about such things, I have told you. Honor is not something others can give or take from you. Your honor is your own, as long as you are ever valorous you will be a man of honor. My honor is no different. Now please, allow me to remove this interesting piece of clothing, I would see your cock,” she said, tugging loose the drawstrings. She had it undone and pulled it from him before he could react. Tossing it to the side her eyes sparkled as she beheld his cock at last.
“Teresa, please! I’m not sure I’m comfortable with this.. oh! Oh gods!” he was interrupted as she grabbed him in her soft hand, sending shivers through his body.
“Oh, am I hurting you, are my hands cold? I’m sorry, I did not realize your cock was so delicate,” she said. She did not remove her hand though, seemingly unable to do so. She shimmied down until she was lying flat, her face inches away looking at it intently.
“Teresa, ah! No, you are not hurting me, it feels very good.. we should not be doing this,” he begged, ashamed he did not simply remove himself from this situation. He had never been touched by a woman, much less the woman he loved and desired.
“Nonsense, we love each other. I’m not certain if we’re allowed to marry, but the demons do this without marriage, and if they can I don’t see why we cannot. Why would we be denied such things they are allowed? That would not make any sense. We deserve happiness more than they, surely. Now tell me why it pulses so?” she asked, running her fingers around it, delighted with its softness and heat.
“Ah! That is, that is because it feels so good when you touch it, gods! Teresa, please move away! I-I cannot hold it!” he cried. What he had hoped to avoid was happening, and with great vigor. He shook, tearing the blanket with his clutching hands.
Great pulses erupted from him, his seed drenching himself and unfortunately Teresa’s surprised face. She didn’t flinch, simply watching in wonder while continuing to caress him. Marcus eventually came to his senses, amazed at the sight of her. She was absolutely dripping with his seed, the sight so arousing that he did not have the chance to soften.
“Amazing! What was that? Oh, it smells so wonderful. It’s so warm, it looks nothing like urine. Look how slick it made you! How interesting,” she gushed, now sliding her fist up and down his length, Marcus shuddered and writhed. He was beyond sensitive.
“Please! Oh gods, please stop Teresa, it is too much! Ah..! Thank you, please wait. I’m so sorry I.. spilled my seed upon your face. Please forgive me,” he gasped. He was enraptured at the obscene sight before his eyes. An angel covered in his seed, surely he had done something terrible. He had stained her, it was so filthy. It was heavenly.
“Don’t apologize, I liked it! It really does smell nice..” she replied. Some had landed on her lips, she found herself unable to stop herself from tasting, it had such a pleasant smell. Her eyes lit up with pleasure.
“Oh! Your seed tastes so good! Thank you, Marcus!” she cried, beginning to lick what she could reach with her tongue. She began to use her free hand to scoop up the remaining on her face, swallowing with obvious relish.
“Gods forgive me. Teresa, I love you,” Marcus said quietly. The obscene sight thrilled him for some reason, and he knew he would be unable to stop her from doing anything else. For once he found his strength lacking.
“I love you too, Marcus! Here, let me clean you up,” she said with enthusiasm, eager to do so for her own reasons.
“Thank you, oh thank you so much Teresa, oh gods, I love you, you’re so wonderful,” Marcus babbled. Her tongue upon his cock was beyond his expectations. The sight of her licking up his seed nearly as pleasurable as her tongue.
“You’re very welcome! I love you too! Are you able to make more?” she asked. She was now licking her hand, quickly placing her other around his cock. She did not want to be without it.
“Um, very likely if you continue to lick it, I’m afraid,” he replied. He knew this was wrong, but he never wanted it to stop.
“I see! I hope we can do this a lot, you seem to like it and I enjoy the flavor so much,” she said, shimmying closer to make it easier to explore him with her mouth.
“F-fuck, Teresa, yes! Just like that! Oh, that spot is so good,” he cried. She had licked just below the head, sending a jolt of pleasure through him. He regretted his outburst immediately, seeing the same gleam in her eyes she’d had when speaking with the rude mercenaries.
“Fuck! They said that quite a bit! Even that.. evil man, he used it a lot. Does it have something to do with this?” she asked as she resumed her explorations, tentatively sucking at the spot he’d liked so much.
“Fuck! Oh fuck, yes! Gods, yes.. It, forgive me, it’s a crude way to say we are making love, for, for creating babies,” he explained, unable to think straight as she was now giving sucking kisses to his cock.
“How interesting! Though, why was he saying fuck when fighting us? Oh, are we making a baby now? I do hope I can receive one! I would.. I would dearly love to have a baby with you, if it is allowed,” she said, a funny feeling welling up inside her. It made her happy, and a little sad. She dearly wished it to be true. Marcus was a little disappointed she had stopped while waiting for him to explain.
“Well, you see.. The word is considered a rude way to add emphasis to a statement. Or simply for fun. Honestly it seems to have many meanings depending on how you use it, I’m not sure why it is so myself. Erm, as far as babies go I do not know. I’ve never heard about a man and a valkyrie having a child. I.. I would very much like to have a baby with you too, Teresa, I think it would make me the happiest man alive,” he confessed. The thought caused his heart to swell, he could think of nothing more wonderful than to raise a family with this woman.
“Oh Marcus! I fucking love you! I fucking love you so much! If we can, we should fucking have so many fucking babies! Oh, fuck! I cannot wait! Please, please fuck me, Marcus!” she cried as she untied her toga and flung it to the floor.
“Teresa, I love you too.. I.. I fucking love you so much, but.. The first time will be painful, so I am told. Perhaps we should wait, I would not want to distress you.. and I am not sure we should even be doing this here. I believe that man is watching us,” he replied. Craning his head he saw it was true. The.. fucker.. was saying something to his sword, apparently holding it up for a better view. The sword’s sharp laughter was easily heard despite the distance, the traitor.
“He can fucking fuck off! Oh, I love this word! Please, Marcus, I would bear any pain for the chance we could have a baby, show me please!” she cried, her wings spreading with her excitement. She’d begun sliding herself up and down his member.
“Oh Teresa, I cannot deny you, though I’m sure this isn’t right. I love you, I have wanted this for so long,” he cried, sitting up to hug her to him, careful not to hurt her wings.
“Marcus! Oh! We’re hugging! We’re fucking hugging! This is so wonderful, I never thought I would have the opportunity! Please, hug me fucking more!” she requested, squeezing him tighter as he did as ordered. He was beginning to wish he had not explained the use of that word. At a later time he would have to explain it was improper for such a delicate lady to use it so much. After he kissed her, he decided. He brought his lips to her, his heart racing. She froze for a moment, before pulling her face back to look at him.
“Oh, what was that. It was very nice. Was.. was that kissing? Oh Marcus, how fucking wonderful! Kiss me more, oh please!” she cried, bringing her face back to him. She bumped his broken nose, shooting pain through him, but he didn’t care. He was too happy. He had never kissed a woman either, he was sure they were making a mess of it. It was a wonderful mess in any case. He gasped as she pulled away, pushing him flat on the bed.
“Fuck! I can’t wait, we have to fuck now! How does this fucking work, where is the hole?” she asked, twisting around as she held his cock and prodded at her cunt.
“I don’t know, ah! I’ve never done this either! Fuck! There, I think, oh gods. Try that again,” he said, gasping and jerking his head from side to side.
She prodded experimentally, finding he was right. The head of his cock slipped in, drawing a gasp from her. It hurt, he was very large, but it hurt in a good way. She was surprised to find she was very wet, and wasn’t sure if she had urinated a bit. Still, it did seem to be helping matters. Slowly she applied pressure, sliding him into her.
“Fuck fuck fuck, of fuck Marcus, you’re filling me, I never felt so full,” she hissed, twisting her hips to force more of him into her. She couldn’t wait any longer, she needed him within her. She decided to just drop herself onto him and see what happened.
“Fuuuuck! Oh, fuck! Marcus, it hurt! But I’m so full! Fuck fuck fuck!” she cried, her wings spreading and filling the room.
Marcus had lifted himself to a nearly sitting position, the smooth walls of her grasping cunt was incredible. Sometimes he forgot how strong she was, her body was so small. Clearly this translated to the strength of her muscles there as well. He was concerned for her pain, but he was unable to speak.
“Ooh, oh wow. It’s.. It’s not hurting so much. Oh fuck! I can feel you flexing in me, do that some more!” she ordered, grinding herself on him. He did as commanded, not being able to stop himself in any case.
“Gods, Teresa, you feel so good. I never knew it could be so good. You’re so beautiful, I love your breasts,” he said. He cupped her breasts then, delighting in their springy softness.
“Oh, please, do that more! Your calluses feel so good on my nipples! Oh, fuck I love when you touch my breasts!” she cried, arching her back. She opened her eyes and looked at him with delight.
“Tits! They called them tits! Oh, fuck! I like that word! Play with my tits, Marcus, oh please do!” she begged him, grinding herself on his cock. She recalled the evil man telling her to calm her tits, nearly laughing now that she understood it in some way.
“Fuck! Oh fuck! Of course, Teresa, I love your tits! I never want to stop!” he cried, enjoying the word as well. It was beginning to thrill him to hear such obscenities from her. It felt so dirty coming from such a pure and beautiful creature, but thrilled him nonetheless.
“We-we’re fucking now, right? My cunt feels so good! Is there more we can do? Oh fuck Marcus!” she cried, arching her back again as he pleasured her tits and nipples with his rough sword callused hands.
“Fuck, fuck, yes, there’s more! If you are ready, I can thrust, it should feel even better, but I do not want to hurt you,” he said, grimacing and doing all he could to hold himself back.
“I see! Fuck! Like this? Oh, fuuuuuck! Oh fuck! This is.. Fucking incredible!” she cried. She hadn’t waited for him to show her, eagerly she flung herself up and down on his cock, pleasure crashing through her body.
Marcus could only hold on, watching this beautiful petite creature, her face and body looking so pure as she wantonly thrust her hips down upon him. Her pace was murderous, slamming down upon him with the strength he’d only experienced while sparring with her. He hoped she would come soon, he did not want to shame himself by not being able to satisfy her before he lost himself to the pleasure.
“Oh! Oh fuck! Something.. What is this? Oh Marcus, I.. I don’t know! Something! Fuck! Fuuuuuuuck! Marcus!” she screamed, shuddering down on him, holding onto his wrists. He was glad for his gods given strength, he was sure a lesser man would be broken by this. He gasped, losing himself, lifting her in the air as he erupted within her.
“Teresa! I love you! Coming!” he shouted. Her wings were flung wide, her back arched in ecstasy. His eruption was intense, putting his previous climax to shame, his vision nearly failing him. The light flooding through the window framed her in a glorious light. She looked so beautiful to him then, he wanted to protect her with everything he had. He fervently hoped she would get her wish. It would be a miracle worth having.
“Oh, oh fuck Marcus.. What was that? Oh! I felt you! You.. you came? You came inside me! Oh, it felt so good, your cock was flexing so much. It feels so right. I pray we’ll get a baby now, surely we deserve such a thing. Oh, I love you Marcus.. I fucking love you so much,” she mumbled, lying on top of him with her head on his chest. Her wings flapping a bit as aftershocks rippled through her.
“Teresa, oh my Teresa.. I love you, I don’t have words. Yes. coming is what happens when you climax, it is what happens to me when my seed erupts. It is beyond pleasurable, and I hope to always achieve that with you,” he explained as he rubbed around her wings, enjoying the downy softness where they joined her back. “I am not sure if we made a baby, or if it is possible between us, I dearly hope it is so. Still, even between a man and woman it does not always take with one try. We.. we may have to do this more to find out.”
“Oh. Oh good. Let us keep going until we’re sure!” she said, cheering up. She would fuck him until a baby showed up. It felt so good anyway, why not?
“Ah! Maybe.. Maybe give me a moment, please? I.. my cock.. it is very sensitive right now, and may need some time for me to.. prepare more seed,” he explained. He was amazed to see she was so eager to continue. He was certain she would feel somewhat sore after her first time.
“Let’s find out! Oh, I can’t fucking wait, Marcus! We need to keep fucking, it feels so good, and I want a baby! Oh fucking please, Marcus! I fucking love you!” she cried, not waiting for his answer as she began to slam herself back down on him with the pace she had decided was the proper way to do things.
Marcus could only grin and bear it, he could not let her down. He would persevere, he was a hero after all.
“He’s well and truly fucked now,” Bill joked, listening to the moans and gasps coming from the small building. He nodded at Sarah and Scipio as they moved off, Sarah’s job done. It had taken longer and hadn’t been as thoroughly effective on them, but it got the job done. Rekka was crouched down out of view with Tabitha, ready to beat the shit out of Marcus if he made it out of the building.
“I hear that. Other than some kind of weird poetic justice thing, why’d you want those two to hook up so bad?” Larry asked, sitting off to the side of Bill, careful to not be between him and any charging heroes. He was carefully disassembling the Mark One to check for corrosion and soot build up.
“Needed to make sure he wasn’t the hero he hoped he was,” Bill replied. Seeing Larry’s eye roll and motion to explain he continued, “He’s stronger than her, if not as skilled. She would have told him she couldn’t harm him inside the room. If he was a good man he’d have knocked her the fuck out and ripped me to pieces.”
“Fuck, man. That’s pretty cold. You think you could do that to Rekka?” Larry asked, looking up from his task, continuing its disassembly by feel alone.
“To keep some scumbag like me from holding her captive as long as he breathes? She’d be out like a light the second I knew what was up. Hell, if I was in the angel’s place I’d have been hanging from the rafter before she could wake up and stop me. One way or another, she’d be free and the hypothetical scumbag fucked enough to do it to us would be splattered all over the wall behind me,” Bill replied, watching as huge wings blocked his view for a moment.
“The fuck were you going to do if he was a cold blooded bastard like you?” Larry asked, quickly re-assembling his gun. He was a little angry Bill had let him hang out knowing there was the possibility of an angry superman bursting out of that window and killing them all.
“You think I’d be sitting here if he was capable of that? Give me some credit, please. Even if I was dead wrong, without that armor and sword I’m pretty sure Rekka and Tabitha would rip his throat out before he could do too much damage. Larry, those two.. it was very hard not to kill them. The only reason they’re alive is I don’t believe they’ve committed the crimes they very dearly wanted to. Not yet. So please excuse me while I take whatever sick satisfaction I can in seeing them fall from grace,” Bill explained.
“Shit. I guess I understand. As fucked up as it is, I’m glad you’re the one everyone’s forcing to make the decisions around here. I’m pretty sure your messed up head is the only reason they’re in there fucking each other instead of cutting bits off of our friends to make potions and fucking necklaces with,” Larry replied, his disgust plain. Hearing about how they considered sweet little Helena as no more than a valuable resource to be harvested had lost them any sympathy he might have had. He took a moment to aim down the sights through the window.
“Wonder what this would do to them at this range. Pretty sure you’d be a pair of smoking boots and a cloud of pink mist. Should at least ruin their day,” Larry said. He put the gun down and started to polish it.
“Despite how offensive I find them, maybe there’s some hope for them. I’m more angry at what they represent than who they are. If we can make them understand, make them see that all this fighting was stupid even before the current Demon Lord changed it up. Maybe I can stop hating them, then. If not, you’ll get your chance. Even leashed they’re too fucking dangerous. I’m good at reading these people, but I’m not going to even pretend I’ve thought everything out. They see a way out of this, they’ll take it and could kill everyone here. They’ll look back at this as the start of their glorious legend,” Bill snarled out the last.
“Yeah, if the Mark One doesn’t do the trick, I’ll find something. Been thinking about the nitroglycerin. You might be onto something with the nitrate. I need to talk to an alchemist. Bjorn, the chief dwarf, mentioned a girl had been real interested in those matches they put together. She was hanging out with them in the tavern. He was surprised she understood it was a chemical reaction and not magic, said she wasn’t too bright. He handed her one and she, get this, ate the damn thing. You ever see that weird slimy red girl?” He asked, looking at Bill.
Bill tried to remember, but nothing came to him. He’d been a bit distracted with Rekka for a while, though. All the women he’d met were humanoids or had extra animal bits. He hadn’t seen any slimy women, unless Larry was under the mistaken impression the lamia’s snake parts were slimy. A few of them were red.
“Not that I know of. You don’t think snakes are actually slimy, do you? They’re dry and smooth, just shiny,” Bill explained.
“Nah, you’d know what I meant if you saw her. She’s walking cherry pie filling. Anyway, after that she was lighting pipes with a little flame on her finger. Said she had a hobby for alchemy. He doesn’t remember where she went, no surprise there. Fuckers drink themselves to sleep every night and wake up chipper and ready to work the next morning. They’re the worst people to be around when you’re hung over. Anyway, I can’t find her around. She might have gone with the others to Haven. I sent a harpy with a letter, hopefully we can get her back here so I can pick her mind. Maybe just feed her saltpeter until she shits out nitroglycerine,” he explained.
“Sounds like a plan. Wish we didn’t need to do this, though. Doubt we’ll be able to keep the lid on this forever. Hopefully that will be a problem for future generations, poor bastards,” Bill said, shaking his head.
“Yeah, I’m having fun making this stuff, but I get you. We’d probably have hot showers by now if I wasn’t developing new and interesting ways to move hot lead around,” Larry said, frustrated he was forced to bathe with a bowl of cold water most days. Sometimes he and Tabby would spend a couple hours boiling water and hauling it to a huge wooden tub so they could enjoy a hot bath. Took too damn long to do more than once in a blue moon.
“Fuck. That’d be nice. At least I can just sit Rekka on my lap in one of those tubs. Warms up pretty good then,” Bill replied.
Abruptly a sharp voice rang out to Bill’s left, “I say.. You there, with the oil and polishing rag. You wouldn’t mind giving me a little service, would you?” Bill had left the sword half unsheathed so it could watch the show.
“What? Was that your sword? Lemme see that thing,” Larry asked, holding out his hands.
Bill shrugged, taking it out of the sheath and laying it carefully in Larry’s hands.
“Greetings, If you could buff out a few of these scrapes I received from that cursed rock I would forever be in your debt, sir. Worry not, I won’t cut you,” the sword asked, his voice ringing.
“Holy shit. You’re way cooler than that lame Huntstone,” Larry stated. He dipped a clean rag into his gun oil and began to work it into the blade. The sword began to groan with pleasure. Larry wasn’t sure if he was giving the sword equivalent of a back massage or a handjob.
“Won’t cut him? You can control that?” Bill asked, watching Larry diligently give the sword a happy ending.
“Mmm.. Yes, right there, by the steel your fingers are simply divine. Never have I been polished with such mastery. Oh? Yes, part of the magic. Whoever holds me I cannot cut unless they will it. Might have to lop off an arm to survive poison, for instance. Oh, yes, you’re a miracle worker! So good.. Where was I? Right, you can even keep me from cutting other things when you wish. One of the less stupid men to wield me used this to pretend to kill an ally when ordered to by a woman that believed she had charmed him. Can’t bloody well do that to the man wielding me, I tell you. If you ever tire of me, Bill.. Give me to this man,” the sword requested, in obvious bliss.
“You got it. He’ll probably turn you into a magic gun, though. You might like it, be a real trick sticking that into a stone,” Bill replied. “You stop mind control?”
“Mm.. Ah! Y-yes, I have some resistance to other forms of magic, but no one can affect the mind of my owner. With enough strength from my wielder I can pierce magical barriers and armor. I’d like to see a regular sword manage that! Ah, yes, a little to the left, please,” the sword gasped.
“No shit? I wonder if that would work, turning him into a gun. Would it kill you if I bent you into a gun barrel? Be neat if bullets fired from you were full of magical bullshit, or the rest of your stuff working on me,” Larry asked, approaching the tip of the sword with some trepidation.
“Oh, your fingers.. so good.. What? Hammer me into something else? I.. I’m not sure. No one has ever tried it. I’m not sure if I want to find out.. Besides, it’s very unlikely you could manage it. I’m so full of “magical bullshit” that I don’t even get dull. No, don’t stop, please,” the sword moaned.
“Erm, ok.. but if you jizz on me I’m never touching you again. I bet those dwarfs could figure something out. Bill’s got all that magical bullshit strength, all I get is superior firepower. I deserve magical bullshit superior firepower. You’d get a lot more polishing if I could strap you to the Mark One, you know,” Larry replied, not sure how he felt about it but willing if doing so if it would let him turn heroes into swiss cheese. At the very least if he never wore down he wouldn’t have to worry about changing out the barrel from wear and tear. He looked at Bill.
“It’s his decision, he’s a sword but he’s also a person. He’s cool to have, but it’s not like I do any actual fighting,” Bill replied.
“By the steel yes! Oh thank you, I’ve never been so.. shiny. I so wish you were a swordsman, Larry,” the sword breathed, sounding like he needed a cigarette. “Very well, if you can do so without.. killing me, I have no objections. Even then, maybe it would not be so bad. I’ll admit my life has not been very pleasant. I’d like to avoid the alternative if possible, in any case.”
“You have a deal. I wouldn’t force you anyway, Bill’s right. You’re a person. I’ll ask the dwarfs, and maybe we’ll test out what we can do. If it hurts we’ll stop. Even if I manage to, y’know.. Bend you out of shape or whatever, we’ll figure something out. Won’t just chuck you in the trash, you know,” Larry promised. He wondered what kind of heartless bastard would put a mind into an object.
“Thank you, both of you. I’m quite glad to have fallen into the hands of people who have some understanding of what I am. Don’t get me wrong, I quite like being used and useful. It’s just, most people see me as some sort of novelty. It has been frustrating, no one has even considered me a person before,” the sword replied, shivering as Larry gave his pommel a quick cleaning.
“Don’t worry, you’ve fallen in with people that are definitely not heroes. If you have the ability to believe you’re a person, you’re a person. We don’t discriminate here,” Bill explained. “You can stick with Larry, I’ll probably dig my old sword up somewhere. I just liked having it on so people were more friendly. Usually are if they think you might shove two feet of steel in them.”
“What? Your sword is sitting on your windowsill, thought you had it there so you could grab it on the way to any emergencies. If you’ve just been leaving it out it’s probably more rust than steel now,” Larry replied, shaking his head.
“Really? Wow, yeah, that thing’s probably been sitting there for a month. Guess I’ll just steal one of the soldier’s swords when they’re not looking,” Bill said, pleased to know where that thing had gone.
“If you can’t turn me into a “gun,”, please just hang me somewhere with a nice view, Larry. Preferably somewhere dry,” the sword requested.
Bill was sure if it had eyes it would be giving him that worried look everyone else gave him.
“No problem. You’d be comfortable over the big fireplace in the tavern, I think,” Larry promised.
They spent a while discussing upgrading Larry’s slightly less stupid gun with magical bullshit, possibly using a bit of the hero’s armor if hammering it into different shapes kept its magical bullshit strength. The sword believed it would, he’d seen heroes’ armor rent by powerful mamono and the whole of the armor piece hadn’t lost any resilience. They stopped as the angel began screaming obscenities again, impressed with how quickly she’d picked those up.
“Damn, it’s so weird hearing her let loose like that. Gotta keep her away from Helena, I’m not sure I could deal with that,” Bill said.
“No shit. When she and Felix finally hook up I’m not sure how I’m going to look her in the eye. I can’t even imagine them going at it. No matter what side of her he picks,” Larry replied, shaking his head with disbelief.
“He’s not going to so much as hit second base If I can help it, fuck. I mean, shit, I wish them the best and all the happiness they can get.. but I worry like hell anything changing Helena like that. It’d be worse than her dying, and that would be fucking devastating. That Demon Lord is gonna answer for that fucking trick, that’s for sure,” Bill growled, fists clenching in his anger.
“Yeah, that’s pretty fucked up. Though, I kinda thought we were on her side, all our friends are sorta her people, right?” Larry asked.
“Fuck that. She’s the biggest part of this problem. Why the fuck hasn’t she tried to fix this? These girls are victims, even they admit it. I’m going to get answers. Maybe you can throw a tank together with those dwarves. We’ll drive it right up to her castle or whatever, right up to her damn throne room and say hello.”
“Goddamn man, I’m not a real wizard. I’m performing miracles at this rate already. It’s dwarfs, you know. They don’t like dwarves, it’s insulting to them. Say it compares them to elves,” Larry explained.
“Really? That’s good to know. I can’t wait to call them dwarves now,” Bill said, rubbing his hands together.
“Fuck, if they try to kill you don’t hurt them too much, it’ll take me years to get a shop together that could replace them. Probably a lot longer. They’re.. They’re unreal. It’s like metal just does what they want, like all the hammering is just for show or something,” Larry complained.
“Well, alright. I don’t really run into them much anyway. Don’t expect me to hold back if they piss me off, though,” Bill conceded. He was still pissed for that interruption.
A harpy landed in front of them, scaring the hell out of both of them. She was clearly upset, eyes wide, her talons dancing around while flapping her wings in distress. Bill had never seen one act like this, they either had that dumb look on their faces or a cheerful smile. The feathers at the end of one of her wings were singed.
“Fuck! Are you ok?” Bill asked standing and stepping quickly over to her.
“Order! The Order! They’re coming!” she squawked, launching herself into the air and heading to her nest to be with her husband now that her warning had been delivered.
“The fuck is the Order?” Bill asked, sharing a look with Larry.2770 Views
3 thoughts on “Adventure of Rekka – Ch. 09”
Keep it up man. I plan on reading the story until its finished. Good job!
Thanks for the encouragement! I’m trying my best to keep finding the time to write, I’ve dropped all my other hobbies for this. It’s too much fun. About 30%ish through chapter 10? Not sure, yet another character has decided they don’t care what I think and are forcing their way into the story. Not sure where the stopping point of this chapter will be. I’m trying to keep them long enough to be worth reading, now that I’ve gotten some kind of handle on this storytelling thing. Hopefully I’ll wrap this up within a week, but no promises!
Thanks again, feedback really makes my day!
Reading your stories is always great, and I’m glad to hear you have writing these!