Alassiel stalked down Killimand street in Daggerport in the noon sun, the elf’s stride revealing her anxiety and eagerness. Her face itched without the black mask upon it, the mark of a revenant having become akin to a second skin so rarely did she have cause to remove it, but here it would draw the wrong kind of attention.
The elf sighed. It had all seemed to be falling into place earlier, the road to Lahk — the road to justice — clear before here. She had arrived in the city yesterday, but was quickly growing frustrated with the lack of progress in her hunt for the high priest.
Locating the Bloody Keel had been easy, but after watching it for several impatient hours without a soul coming or going the elf sneaked aboard, finding it crewed by naught but a skeleton crew. Lahk was gone. She had next assumed he would be in the brothel, but carefully questioning patrons was getting here nowhere, and was far too slow… and she kept having to resist tearing them to pieces with her bare hands.
Besides, the elf had a better plan.
Alassiel had been coming and going from the inn room Helen had bought for her all day, making no secret of her coming and goings, and making no effort to disguise her distinctive, scarlet hair or pointed ears.
The elf stopped abruptly and wheeled about as four cloaked figures came out of an alley behind her. Hands flying to the sword beneath her own cloak, Alassiel had to pause and take a deep breath, recognizing that this group was no threat. They weren’t even paying the hooded elf any heed but were simply walking on their way back down the street in the opposite direction.
“Too anxious,” the elf quietly chided herself, easing the sword back into its sheath. With a last look at the group as they walked away, Alassiel gave a laugh and turned back down the street, towards the first of many drinking houses she plans to visit.
Three Years Ago, Daggerport
The plan was simple enough.
The brothel was the cancer eating away at Daggerport, so it had to be removed. The taint of unholy establishment was far from the only sickness the city suffered from, but it was like the dagger thrust into an open wound, the site where the infection was the more concentrated, and where other, opportunistic maladies would make their entrance into the body. If Lissa were inflicted with an injury like this on her own body, she would remove the dagger, then disinfect the wound before she could begin to let the injury heal.
If she were to remove the brothel, the single greatest source of control the church had over the people of Daggerport would be gone. If they weren’t dependent on the church for their very ability to procreate, the corrupting influence of the institution would be greatly lessened, and the disruption to the funds the church stole from the people of Daggerport would be nearly as valuable. Even more precious would be the very public and humiliating defeat the church would suffer. Shaking the people’s fear of the church and damaging its cultivated reputation of invincibility could be every bit as valuable in the long term as the women she removed from the clutches of the remorseless priests.
Removing Sanguinar’s brothel would not remove the problem, but it would disrupt the lethal concentration that made the infection so dangerous.
Maybe that would be enough. Large problems are made of smaller problems, always. Break a problem into small enough pieces, and it becomes something that can be fought. It becomes a foe that can be defeated.
She had been a part of defeating the church once. She would do it again.
“Ye’re a pretty one, ain’t ye?” the grimy old drunk said. He pushed Alassiel up against the wall, putting his smelly face right up against the elf’s. Alassiel looked past him, to the other four other other drunkards, one of which wore the shining crest of the Church of Sanguinar. All of them howled with laughter as the old fool started fiddling with the rope he used as a belt, pinning the elf’s lithe body with his own.
He stopped abruptly and slowly sank to the floor before the elf, moving his suddenly trembling hands lower to where the knee had just connected. Alassiel pushed off from the wall, sword coming from its scabbard as she rushed the soldier amid the others. The intoxicated group was slow on the uptake, and by the time they registered that the first of their number had collapsed, Alassiel was upon them.
The soldier started to draw his own blade but Alassiel struck with a sweep and turn, swinging her sword down to the side. The attack was not an attempt to slash the man — though Alassiel thought he surely deserved it — but rather to force him into an awkward, off-balance dodge. When the revenant followed with a simple duck and step maneuver she was behind the soldier. A firm shove against the man’s back had him diving forward to skid down hard to the floor. By this time the others were struggling with their own garb, trying to pull weapons, but Alassiel was finished. She tore her hood from her head, revealing her fiery hair and pointed ears to the group before turning and sprinting from the alley.
She ran two full blocks back towards the inn before she put back on the hood and vanished between two buildings into another narrow street.
Large problems are always made of smaller problems. Freeing Sanguinar’s slaves was a rather large problem. Lissa broke it down.
Assaulting the brothel was a problem. She broke it down.
The soldiers were numerous, too numerous for one druid to combat, no matter how powerful. They were led by priests, who were immune to all but the mightiest magic she could throw, shielded by their Grace. The walls were stone and thick, more of a fortress than a true brothel.
The soldiers would need to be drawn from the walls. A riot in an area of the town Sanguinar had influence in. She would set fire to one of the ships that sat in port, delivering powerful narcotics to the church. By making it seem to be the work of followers of Caer she would be certain to draw out most of the priests. They would need to be a highly visible presence at the disruption to avoid the church losing face. When? There was a massive storm the druid could sense gathering over the ocean. It would hit in two days time. Lissa could channel its fury against the walls of the fortress, vast blades of lightning carving the stonework like butter.
Getting the slaves out from this town was a problem. She broke it down.
The slaves would be in cells within the brothel, she knew. They were filthy, abused, unclothed, and without shoes. The church would certainly try to recapture the women, both for revenge and to repair their image. The garrison would not be long distracted once she began her assault, so it all had to be done quickly, or their return must be delayed.
The cells were the easiest part. Lissa knew a spell to weaken the iron, and while it would take a long time to effect all of the cells in the building, she could perform it far ahead of time. When the lightning struck the structure, the weakened metal would melt away without difficulty. Afterword, the women could not travel on the streets, where they would stick out and be recaptured. She would wait for them and escort them out and into the sewers of the city, where they could travel invisibly… and then she would turn the storm’s fury on the bridges connecting the central area of the city to the port, isolating the forces of Sanguinar and greatly delaying the rate at which they could reinforce the brothel garrison.
It had taken some convincing, but at last the woman she was staying with had agreed to help. It had always been a forgone conclusion as far as the elf was concerned, but she had needed to argue her case anyway. Bellany was a good person, and she wanted better for her daughters than this cesspit of a city. The merchant had agreed to smuggle the women from the sewers up into the cellar of her vast estate, where she would hide then until she could sneak them out of town two and three at a time in her trading caravans. Once out of the city they could find shelter in one of the many small towns throughout Silas, where the church did not yet have presence or power.
Nothing could go wrong.
After several hours Alassiel entered her small room in the inn tentatively, her hand resting upon her sword. A man rested across the room, disdaining the room’s single chair and leaning simply against the wall, in the open. Her bore a sword at his hip and the shining rings of Sanguinar’s crest on his black armor.
“Do come in,” the man said in a friendly and casual manner. He held up his hands to show the elf that he currently wielded no weapon. A glance to the left and the right showed that no one was concealed in the small and sparsely furnished room, so the elf took a stride forward.
The blow came from behind her, a heavy slug that caught the unsuspecting elf in the back of her head. Only the door frame kept the staggering Alassiel from falling to the floor. The elf struggled against waves of dizziness and disorientation, fighting to find some center of balance as she turned to face the attacker behind her.
The drunk soldier from earlier, now sobered, was standing there, having come out of the room across the hall… and then the first soldier struck her from the other direction, a heavy blow to the back of her skull. She staggered forward into a punch to the gut from the drunk, blowing the air out of the stunned elf’s lungs.
Alassiel reached for her sword but a fourth punch caught her in the jaw and she went down, her eyes rolling back as she gave into the darkness.
Nothing had gone wrong.
Women were streaming into the sewers around the bodies of fried guards, toasted by the shock of lightning bolts from the sky. They thanked the druid as they poured out into the world towards Bellany’s estate, free for the first time in years for many of them. Lissa couldn’t help but feel happy.
Never mind that there had been an entire wing of the brothel that her iron spell hadn’t found, and she had needed to physically fight her way into the dungeon and open the doors to free the slaves. Never mind that the storm had spent much of its rage before it had ever reached land, giving Lissa less energy to work with than she had hoped. Never mind that she had only managed to take out a few of the bridges between here and the port with the drained storm, and the rest were only scorched by the blasts of power and not destroyed.
And the arrow through her guts was definitely not part of the plan.
Actually, on balance, a lot had gone wrong.
Shrill screams of whistles split the night as the druid ran through the streets, her bare feet kicking up filth from the cobblestones. She was drawing strength from the earth almost continually now through eyrn eregdos, deadening the pain in her stomach as she moved frantically. Another arrow struck the ground only a foot away from her, sparking off the ground.
By Sirae that archer was good. Thirty mile per hour winds, rain so thick that it was practically a lake, and he had still managed to hit her once, and kept threatening to do so again. She needed to get out of sight. Frantically the druid ran down an alley, wincing as another arrow struck the stone just behind her. That one had been a matter of inches. Just a bit more to the left and it would have struck her throat instead.
Lissa rested briefly against the wall, her red hair plastered to her skull by the downpour. She bit her lower lip, panting painfully in the rain. At least she was out of sight of the damned archer. She tried in vain to catch her breath, but the arrow made the venture difficult.
She turned her attention to the arrow. It hadn’t pierced all the way through her, and that was a pity — the head was no doubt barbed. What followed would not be fun. The druid rested both hands on the narrow shaft, and took a deep breath. Then she closed her mouth over the leather of her tunic, drew deeply on power from beneath her tattooed feet, and shoved the arrow deeper into her with all her might.
Excruciating didn’t even begin to cover the process. The last time Lissa had suffered an arrow like this, it had been during the war and she had the liberty of being passed out while someone else could do the dirty work. This time she didn’t have the luxury, and you couldn’t tear a barbed arrowhead out back out the way it had come in without ripping yourself open. It had to go through.
The barbed arrow head emerged savagely from her back, marring her pale skin as it erupted in blood over the steel point. Lissa applied every ounce of the power she drew to trying to keep the pain from overwhelming her mind, struggling to stay conscious. To black out now was to die, certainly. With one final surge of strength, she snapped the head from the arrow, then ripped the shaft from her guts.
Lissa sagged to the stone, holding her hands over the bleeding wound and struggling to heal it. Healing an injury without the use of a priest’s ritual was only possible with druidic magic, but it was absurdly difficult and time consuming, and Lissa was not especially good at it. It was a hack job, but with an extreme expenditure of energy she managed to close the wound and stop the bleeding, and that would need to do for now. It would hurt like a demon, but at least it wouldn’t kill her.
A man rounded the corner, a blade of black steel held in his hand as he glared at her beneath the rain. Lissa rose to her feet, her eyes narrowing.
“No, please don’t do this,” she pleaded as she tried to slap the man’s hand away.
“Shut up bitch,” the man barked, slapping her as he reached out and grabbed the bound elf by the chin. “I’ll do as I please just as he’ll do as he pleases and there ain’t nothing you can say to stop us so shut your fucking hole you cunt.” His hand clasped over her mouth, gagging her with his own flesh.
When Alassiel had come to, she was being stripped with five men standing over her, toying with her helpless body. Her hands had been tied behind her back already, and the drunk she had humiliated earlier was curling his hands around the clasps of the tunic and ripping it straight down the center, turning the cheap fabric into rags. Once the shirt was ripped the other men moved in on her and began tearing at the rest of her clothing. Her shorts were shredded off of her ass, her book taken from her feet, and undergarments were torn savagely from her body. They grasped at every stitch until she lay naked before them on the room’s floor.
Alassiel never had time to recover from the assault because as soon as she was naked and vulnerable they were on her again. Their hands began an invasion of her flesh; fingers pinched her nipples, probed her cunt, poked at her asshole, were shoved in her mouth, slapped her tits, smacked her ass, pulled her hair, and devoured her flesh. She began crying hysterically and begging them to stop as they continued the onslaught of her body, running their hands over her scarred skin.
She screamed at the top of her lungs as soon as the man pulled his fingers from between her lips. That seemed to set the soldier off and he slapped her again, this time hard enough to make her see stars. Dazed from the slap, she didn’t even fight them when they picked her up off her feet and carried her over to a the cot, dragging it into the center of the room. They flung her face down onto the bench and the drunken soldier moved up near her head, where he shoved a piece of her clothing into the elf’s mouth. Once he had them wedged all the way past her lips, he wrapped a rope around her head, binding the cloth deep into Alassiel’s mouth and muffling her sobs.
They turned her on her back and made her lay on her bound arms. Two of the men held her legs open wide while one grabbed her tits and spread them out from the center of her chest. The fourth man held her head while the drunk stepped up between her spread legs and smiled.
“Well cunt, now we can see everything you have to offer us. I always wanted one of you elf whores.” He smiled, and the others laughed. “Soon we’ll take that gag away, and you can offer us your mouth too. If you bite one of us,” he slapped her again, snarling. “I promise I will personally cut your tits off and feed them to you, piece by bloody piece.”
“Yeah, you tell her Kahn!” one of the others roared, laughing.
Tears streamed down Alassiel’s face as she lay on the bench, completely immobilized by their hands and the rope. Her expression gave clear evidence of the fear that was in her mind, the terror, and the dreadful knowledge of her fate. Her body trembled uncontrollable beneath the men as her chest heaved up and down in sheer panic.
The men that were holding Alassiel’s leg lifted her lower torso off the bench until they had her legs hiked up into the air and her ass a foot off the bench. sat down on the bench between her legs and spit directly onto her pussy. They all laughed as they watched the glob of spit run down the spread lips of her cunt and onto her asshole. He spit at her a second time, this time hitting her dead in her vulnerable hole. With his hand he reached out and screwed four fingers up into her pussy, fucking the saliva up inside of her. “Take that you cunt! What a stupid, sloppy bitch!”
Alassiel began to cry harder as he shoved practically his whole hand up inside her cunt and began fucking her with it. The men held her tightly, cheering as Kahn alternated spitting onto his crotch and fucking it up inside her with his hand. While he was feeding his hand into her cunt the other men where torturing her as they held her. The two men holding her legs pinched her inner thighs and slapped her ass as the man tugging on her breasts pinched her nipples and smacked her tits. The man who had a hold of her head, the first man she had seen upon entering, was licking her face and poking his tongue in and out of her pointed ears, whispering to her how he was going to defile her and turn her into a whore.
When Kahn decided she was sufficiently lubricated he stood up from the bench and pulled down his pants. His dick had most of a foot long and was already hard, and two men laughed as they lifted Alassiel’s legs higher so that he could fuck her cunt standing up. The only part of her that remained on the bench was her head and shoulders, so high and wide were here legs lifted.
As he stood between her legs, slapping his dick onto her spit covered pussy the man at Alassiel’s head began untying the gag from the elf’s mouth, sliding her so her head hung just off the side of the bed, lust shining in the soldier’s eyes. Kahn continued to beat his cock against Alassiel’s clit while the men holding her legs slipped their fingers up onto her lips and spread her open for him. The man at her tits had his own agenda and he pulled a pair of shiny silver nipple clamps from within his jeans pocket and went to work attaching them to her sore nipples.
Alassiel’s muffled crying grew louder as more of the gag came off. They echoed off the walls of the cheap inn room briefly, but were cut off when the man at her head straddled her face and wedged his dick between her lips. As he entered her mouth Kahn entered her pussy and they began to fuck her simultaneously. Her cunt burned at the invasion, the pressure against the scars in her thoroughly abused vagina filling her being with unearthly agony.
“Holy shit,” the soldier at her face said. “Her sobbing feels amazing, it keeps squeezing my dick.” He gasped. “It makes her mouth feel like a fucking cunt!”
Kahn spoke up as he continued to pound her cunt with is long pole, “Yeah well if she bites you Damien, Rogress will attach those clamps tight enough to rip her tits right off her chest.” he grunted, driving into the tight elf mercilessly. “That’ll give her something to bite on.”
All the men got a good laugh as Alassiel reacted to Kahn’s threats by bursting into more tears. Her sobs could be heard over their laughter, even with a dick in her mouth. The elf looked like a rag doll being fucked by a pack of wild animals, transformed from a warrior into nothing more than a hole for a hard dick to be shoved into as the men on either side of Kahn rammed her forward, shoving his cock up inside her cunt and sending her swallowing back on the dick in her mouth.
Rogress attached the clamps to her nipples while the others were violating her holes, and once the clamps were applied he began slapping her tits with his open hand, making them turn a brilliant red. While the men holding her legs watched her tits being abused they fondled the lips of her pussy and began taking turns pinching her clit in between Kahn’s thrusts.
Damien groaned as his dick slid in and out of Alassiel’s mouth and spit ran down her cheek and onto her neck. The elf whore was giving him the blowjob of his life, and started pumping his dick down her throat at an alarming rate. “Fuck I’m gonna cum,” he shouted as he fucked down onto her face and began dumping a load of hot cum into her mouth.
Alassiel was forced to either swallow his cum or choke on it, so she gulped it down her throat as it pumped out of his throbbing cock. His dick was hammering her mouth because the men on her legs continued to drive her onto Kahn’s cock, which sent her face thrusting back onto the erupting member.
Kahn was coming close to his own climax as he slammed his hips against her, shoving his cock as far as it would go. The guys holding her legs were literally jacking his cock off with her pussy as they pulled her on and off his big pole. Kahn’s body began to jerk against her spread hole and he let out a deep, whimpering moan as Alassiel wept. Her hot, clenching cunt was driving Kahn over the edge, and he shook violently against her and shot a blast of heated cum into her womb.
At that moment Rogress pulled the clamps from Alassiel’s nipples, making her body twitch and spasm in pain as blood flowed back into the crushed nubs. She couldn’t cry out because the man still had his semi rigid dick in her mouth and was pumping it down her throat. Kahn’s hands flew out and grabbed her ass as he rubbed his body against hers and exploded his load deep within the walls of her pussy, the elf’s pained thrashing milking the last of his cum from his balls.
Once both men had their fill of Alassiel they lowered her back down onto the bench and slipped from within her holes. The two men that held her legs apart let her feet fall to either side of the bench and one moved up by her head, the other took Kahn’s place between her thighs.
“Now it’s our turn to see just what this bitch can do,” one said. The other men laughed as he grabbed her by the hair removed his belt with the other until his pants fell to his knees. Alassiel was pleading with them to let her go, sobbing and shaking as she was lifted up off the bench like a sack of potatoes. The soldier grabbed her shoulders, pulled her to her feet, and held her body against his as the other man scooted down onto the bench. He lay down in the same position she had been in and spread his legs on either side of the cold metal. Once he was ready for her he lifted her off her feet, spun her around so that she was facing the bench, and then positioned her over the other man’s cock.
Kahn and Rogress moved to help Roy and they grabbed her legs, spread them wide, and started to tie them down to the legs of the cot, forcing her to remain spread. The spread of her legs helped the soldier guide her dripping cunt over his thick shaft. All of the men worked until Alassiel was impaled on the man’s cock and her legs were dangling on either side of his hips.
“Noooooooooo,” Alassiel wailed just before her pussy completely swallowed the cock.
“Shut the fuck up cunt, before I fuck you with my whole fucking arm,” Kahn smiled as the other men all began to laugh.
“Hold her against you man, so I can get a good view of that sweet ass of hers,” the guard who had been positioning her instructed. All the men laughed as the soldier pushed Alassiel down onto the chest of the rapist beneath her and slapped her ass several times, making it turn a bright crimson.
“Yeah, give it to her Roy,” Rogress laughed, stroking his dick hard as he made his way up to her face. “Since she sucked Damian’s cock so well let’s see what she can do with a piece of meat like mine,” Rogress piped up as he moved from her side up to her head.
Roy was spreading Alassiel’s ass cheeks with his thumbs, teasing her ass with his fingers by poking them in and out of her tight hole while alternating smacking her cheeks. Then he removed his hand and positioned his cock against her spread ass cheeks, running the head of it up and down her crack. Alassiel started to plead again, and Rogress smiled, knowing he’d have the opportunity to snuff those cries in a moment. He grabbed the back of her head.
“This oughta make her feel real full inside,” Rogress boasted as he slapped his cock against her lips, “Whores love being airtight.”
Roy spit in his right hand and began sliding the saliva over his cock as he moved it up and down the crack of her ass. Once his cock was thoroughly lubricated he began to wedge the head of his cock against her tight shithole.
As Roy lunged forward Rogress cut off Alassiel’s scream by shoving his long dick into her mouth. Roy’s hands firmly gripped the elf’s ass and he spread her cheeks apart, giving himself a straight path into her strained asshole. Three hard thrusts were all it took for him to be buried deep within her ass, and at the same time Rogress had his cock buried so far down her throat that his balls rested against the druid’s lips.
“Oh yeah, nothing like a whore sandwich,” Kahn bellowed and started to bring his belt down on the elf’s back. Damien did the same, and Alassiel started screaming around the cock in her mouth anew. She was servicing all five men in one way or another, either through their pleasure of her pain. The elf was making the strangest noises around Rogress’s cock, half-choking and half-moaning sounds as she was beaten and raped. Each time he thrust his cock into her mouth she could feel her neck bulge as his long member slid into her throat. Each time Kahn withdrew his cock from within her throat Roy and Edward thrusts theirs into her pussy and ass.
“Holy shit this slut is hot,” the man below her moaned. “Fucking whore must love this to have a cunt this tight,” Alassiel continued to make lewd moaning sounds, mingling with the obscene wet noises coming from her ass and pussy. She had no control over her own movements, being beaten back and forth between her rapists. Each time the belts landed on her skin she tried to scream but her voice was cut off by the huge cock being rammed down her throat.
They held off for what seemed to be an eternity before all exploding at virtually the same time in her. They were pumping cum down her throat, in her ass, in her pussy. The room was filled with grunts and groans, screams of ecstasy, and moans of sheer animalistic pleasure. They pumped and pumped her orifices until she had milked them of their sticky cum.
“Please, please no!” the elf begged as soon as Rogress pulled from her mouth, leaving her to gasp for air. “Please, just let me go! Lahk will kill me! Please just let me go!”
Kahn laughed at the pitiful slut on the cot, still impaled on two softening cocks. “Your lucky day then, whore. Lahk’s headed north to get a bunch more elven cunts like you. He won’t be back for a long time, if ever,” he sneered. “You get to play with us instead.”
Alassiel’s pitiful mewling and sobbing stopped so abruptly that it couldn’t have been genuine. Her eyes turned hard as she looked at the man above her. “Thank you, that’s what I needed to know.”
The man rushed her, and Lissa did not hesitate for an instant. The sky above roiled and spun as a thunderous burst of light and sound crashed down on the man, turning him instantly into a silhouette against the furious power. Without pause the druid called for a second blast, not remotely surprised when the man emerged from the destructive lightning strike, his priestly Grace shielding him from the thunderblow.
The priest opened his mouth to mock her when a second bolt struck, impacting not against him but at the stone right before him. His words turned to a howl of rage as the force blew him backwards to slam to his back in the street, his armor smoking but otherwise unharmed, and furious beyond words. The druid drew her slender sword.
The priest pushed himself to his feet, the steel of his dark blade sizzling as the rain touched it. “You little bitch,” he snarled, the voice a damnation. “Do you have any idea who I am!”
Lissa sneered, drawing power from her contact with the stones of the earth below to augment her strength and speed. “Do I care?” She charged, her sword leading.
The man met it in a easy parry, drawing a second sword with his left hand and spinning in a retaliatory stroke that forced the druid to withdraw a pace. He was faster than she had anticipated. “I am high priest Lahk,” he roared, the bellow animalistic. “I will make you suffer for what you’ve done!” He advanced, his blade forming a whirling wall of steel before him that even her most ingenious blows had no chance to penetrate.
Lissa quickly worked through her collection of feints and tricks, never coming even close to drawing blood against the dangerous priest. He was her superior with the blade, she was sure, and would probably slay her in a fair fight, sword to sword.
The elf was glad she didn’t need to fight fairly then.
Sending power coursing through eyrn eregdos, Lissa hurled power at the ground beneath his feet, asking the stone to soften and melt, and the priest staggered as the rock beneath his feet became mud. He staggered, slipping, and Lissa moved in for a killing thrust.
The priest was not quite as off balance as she had thought. He revealed the feint with a spin of the black steel sword, striking her own slender blade solidly a few inches above the crosspiece and hacking through it. Lissa stared at her destroyed weapon as his foot caught the druid in the chest with a powerful kick, driving her into a short flight that crashed her through the rotten wood of a nearby house.
The destruction of her tattoos had cost Alassiel her identity as a druid, but it had only done so by removing her ability to draw on the earth for power. The discipline and talent necessary to use magic was still ingrained in the elf, and she could still use her own internal energy for magic. No one bothered to use magic this way because, as she explained to her apprentice long ago, it was both inefficient and slow. Taking the life energy of your own body and transforming it to serve another purpose, that of a spell, was a tiring process that could take many minutes, making it useless in combat unless your opponent was willing to wait patiently.
But lying between her rapists with nothing else meaningful to occupy the revenant’s mind, she had had the time.
The wood of the cot reacted to Alassiel’s will, weakening to the point of uselessness as the revenant gave a savage tug with her legs, shattering the rearmost two legs to splinters and sending the cot crashing to the ground on the feet of Roy behind her. He cried out and she flexed her body like a striking snake, rising off the impaling cock in her crotch as her legs straightened in a savage kick that met Roy’s chin with the sick snap of his neck.
While Roy dropped boneless to the ground the revenant writhed, squirming off the cot and to the floor as she tucked her legs tightly to her abdomen. She swung her arms around her body and then kicked her legs out beneath them, moving the binding on her wrists from behind her to the front.
By now the soldiers were beginning to realize that their fun had gone badly wrong and reach for weapons, trying to pull their pants from around their ankles and knees. A swing of those powerful legs knocked Damien to the ground and she brought her wrists down savagely on the dagger he had been drawing, cutting the ropes.
Alassiel picked up the dagger and smiled at the men, now the predator. “My turn,” she whispered, and launched herself at the struggling soldiers.
Lissa rose sluggishly to her feet amid the screams of the family of the house, dizzy from the vast force of the blow. ‘By Sirae he’s strong,’ she thought. She felt the rotten wood beneath her bare feet and knew that the separation from the stones of the earth it would greatly reduce her ability to draw on any more power from her druidic abilities, leaving her only with the energy she had already summoned. With that rather disturbing thought in mind, Lissa wasn’t surprised Lahk followed her silently through the gap in the wall, slipping into the new arena for their fight.
The high priest swiped his black blade through the neck of one of the family members that had gotten too close to him in his entrance, the casual murder sending the rest of the family fleeing for their lives through the door. The family member’s body burst into blue flame that matched the new hue of the blade, and Lissa’s eyes widened.
Blackwand, the personal sword of Sanguinar himself. The druid knew the blade well, for Lissa had watched two decades earlier as that same blue fire had consumed her Goddess after she had fallen in the fight that had also slain the dark god. Any wound, any scratch from the devastating blade was likely to prove lethal.
Large problems are made of small problems.
Lahk would likely kill her if he inflicted any injury.
She was alone, and the high priest doubtless had reinforcements on the way.
She was separated from the earth, and unable to draw on its strength for a protracted battle.
And finally, in battle, she would rapidly run through the energy she had stored.
She had no choice but to end the fight as quickly as possible, by any means necessary. The longer the fight lasted, the worse her odds of survival grew.
With surprising quickness the wood of the room’s shattered table and chairs seemed to melt and flow into the druid, her skin taking on the consistency of grainy bark as a staff grew in her left hand, a sacred Shillelagh every bit as hard as steel. In her right, sparks flickered and soon a fire danced, clearly highlighting the brand she wore of Caer’s sigil on her palm.
“High Priest Lahk,” she spoke loudly, her voice a clarion call through the noise of the storm. “For crimes against the people of Daggerport, violations of realm laws of slavery, and the murder of innocents,” said as the blue flames danced around his black armor. “By authority of Sirae and Caer, I sentence you to execution. Face your fate.”
Alassiel wiped the blood from her face and breasts with Roy’s shirt as she dropped the dagger to the floor, embedding it in the wood with a thunk. The warm blood on her skin didn’t stop her own blood from running cold.
North, to get more elves. North.
He knew where Caladwen was.
Alassiel tried to see an alternative, but none presented itself. After months of sailing in fruitless search for the fabled Isle of Caladwen, Lahk had put into shore and marched north, abandoning his ship and walking straight for her homeland on land. The only conclusion the revenant could draw was he was aware that Caladwen was not an island at all, but a sheltered crater within the frozen mountains towards the northern tip of the Veil that surrounded Silas.
How he had learned was not important. What mattered was that suddenly her quest had grown even more urgent.
Alassiel dragged the bloody rag between her legs, removing the draining filth from herself before pressing the rag into the mouth of Kahn’s severed head. She kissed him gently atop his hair.
“For a follower of Sanguinar, you were unusually helpful.” She smiled before spitting on his face. “Caer sing you to oblivion, rapist.” She wrapped the black mask across her face. She was back on the hunt.
“Perish!” the druid roared, stretching her arms wide and throwing flame against the rotten walls of the hut before her hands again lashed forward. Lahk had already dove into a roll forward as the lightning blazed in from inside, rapidly putting himself out of harm’s way.
“Well done!” she congratulated, laughing, stalling. Despite her need for haste, she needed to wait until the flames had ignited more of the pitiful hovel. “But you should really consider standing still and letting this end quickly.”
She stopped her taunting as Lahk charged at her, Blackwand glinting blue in the light. Lissa made no move to dodge or to move her club into the way of the attack, calmly preparing her next spell as Lahk drove the murderous blade for her throat.
The blade stopped as surely as if it had struck a stone wall as it impacted her augmented skin. By the way Lahk immediately drew back the sword for a second attack it was clear he was not surprised by the effectiveness of the defense. The look on his face showed clearly that she had expected the woman to flinch, however — but Lissa was no novice. She was the veteran of a decade of the most savage war Silas had ever seen, and had stood against priests and warrior of this man’s quality before. She had faith in herself and in the power of the earth to protect her, and her discipline was iron hard even in the face of Blackwand’s approach.
Lahk staggered to the side as Lissa completed her spell, throwing magical fire from her blazing hand into his chest. The flames were immediately snuffed by his Grace, but the force of the impact drove Lahk backward and, as he impacted against the wooden wall, he knew the pain of the fire’s kiss.
Lissa yelled as he lunged forward, shillelagh swinging in an overhead blow that drove Lahk’s offhand sword from his grip, accepting another impact from Blackwand in the process. The impact of the charge again drove the priest against the flaming wall and he shouted in agony. “The fire may have started magically,” she mocked, “but once ignited, its fire like any other.” She lifted the magical club and swung again, forcing him to slide sideways along the fiery wall and singe himself further. “Magic may roll off you but you’re as flammable as anything else!” She smiled, aiming her next swing at his head.
Most lesser warriors, burned by the flames and driven back by a foe they were unable to hurt, would have broken under Lissa’ relentless attack, taking the druid’s advice and surrendering to the inevitable, but not Lahk. His lethargy fell away as rage took its place, driving him to kill this interloping elf for her interference with his god’s aims.
Lissa continued her savage assault, driving Lahk again and again into retreat around the burning room as the scorching air seared his lungs, and the smoke nearly blinded him. The druid suffered no such problems as her pursued him, noting with satisfaction that he was growing slower, his arm numb beneath the shock of repeatedly parrying that devastating club.
The druid knew that soon Lahk would come to the same conclusion of his chances of victory as she had, and when he decided that his only chance was to take down the druid’s bark skin and kill her before she wore him down the assault would come like lightning. Desperate and hurt, the high priest drove at Lissa hard, Blackwand slashing. “How long can your defenses last?” he roared, launching into a blow that would chop a bear in two.
The druid’s answer came in the form of a green glow that surrounded her form, a shroud of dancing light that covered the entire frame as Lissa unleashed the final spell she’d been preparing. As Blackwand went through the curtain of light and bounced harmlessly from the barkskin, the motes of light changed from leaf green to the red of the sunset.
Balance in all things. The spell reflected the power of his blow against the attacker. As the motes changed color, they reflected the energy of Lahk’s desperate swing against him, knocking the man from his feet as he landed against the burning wall with his leg twisted at an unnatural angle. The effort of the spell had consumed the last of Lissa’s stored energy and the bark vanished from the druid’s skin, the club in her hand no longer any more special than any other length of wood, but the fight was gone from the high priest.
He struggled to breath as the druid stood above him, the wheeze in his breath from either smoke or wounded ribs, Lissa knew not. Blackwand rested uselessly on the floor paces away, and she kicked it from his prone form. “So are you served in Silas, murderer,” she spoke, raising the club above her head — when a dwarf hit her from behind, his shield driving hard into the back of Lissa’s head.
“Don’t kill her!” Lahk wheezed, and after a pause, a second impact against her drove her skull into the floor, and the world faded from the elf.
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