Chapter Fourteen: Ascension

At last, Lahk sat on the throne he coveted.

The ancient wood was warm beneath him, pulsing with raw power that flowed over and around him with each second. The high priest leaned back on the seat that accepted him at long last, bathing himself in the power as Uthielle, the thrones former steward, gave him the permission he needed, kneeling before him and worshiping him with her mouth, sliding over his hard cock as she made herself choke on the length.

Lahk closed his eyes, relaxing as the tension flowed out of him. For nearly four years now he had sought this moment, since Athuum had unknowingly given him the key to his plans — the knowledge that there was no new queen of the elven people, that there was no new goddess, and that her power was free for the taking. He had spent the last months to break the Steward Elide, molding her into the obedient girl who now knelt before him, lovingly gagging on him without him needing to put forth the smallest effort. This was his destiny, he had always believed… but there had been no guarantee that it would be possible, and as the months wore on a seed of doubt had grown in the priest…

But it had worked. The elf, kneeling on the floor between his legs submissively, clad in beautiful but transparent silks that shined in the light of the setting sun was the proof. Uthielle was his servant now, the first of his worshipers. She had, under the guidance of his hand, chosen to give up her former life and take on this new one… and to give him the right to the power he had coveted for so long.

And that power, the unbelievable power of divinity slowly soaking into the son of gods, felt glorious.

Footsteps echoed through the throne room.

Lahk opened his eyes. Who would dare! No one was to interrupt him, there was nothing important enough to chance this moment. This second, all of his carefully laid plans came to fruition, and even the thought of something going wrong now made the blood boil in the high priest’s veins. Whomever it was, he would have them flayed in his fathers, and his own, name!

Cormac stood in the open door looking at him across the vast throne room, between the elegant wooden pillars. Lahk opened his mouth to shout across the room, to demand an explanation or for the dwarf to leave, but something made him hold his tongue. It was the dwarf’s eyes, he realized suddenly… and instantly his blood stopped its furious churning and began to grow cold, freezing him. Something was wrong, something he had not expected… something he had not planned for.

The high priest stood, pushing the barely-garbed Uthielle to the side as he drew his weapons.

25 years ago
During the War of Ascension

Sanguinar could not be sure there was anything to the man other than shadow, so perfectly did he swallow the light. For the only time in the god’s life he knew fear as he looked upon the dark man, cold blue eyes glowing out of the black.

When he spoke his voice was like razorblades being dragged across sensitive flesh, and he winced away. This man was a monster, Sanguinar knew, on a scale unlike anything he had ever imagined. This man was the purest, most complete darkness the Lord of Suffering had ever witnessed, and the flawless perfection of that evil could almost obliterate even the god’s mind with its mere existence.

With all his will, with all his power he fought to shield his mind from the greatest monster to have ever stepped foot within the Veil, and for the first time Sanguinar doubted the might of his own divinity could protect from what stood before him.

“Lord Sanguinar,” were the words he spoke, but the dark god could barely understand the sound of his own name. “I come to make you an offer, a way to a final victory in your struggle for supremacy. Do you want it?”

Cold, mocking laughter filled the room as an elf girl stepped from the pillars, surrounded by others — two of his inquisitors and a young, muscled man that the high priest did not recognize. With every step that she took towards him, her mask dissolved, revealing the angelic face of a human brunette — one that the high priest knew — and then went further as horns sprouted from her temples and a pair of vast black wings erupted from her back, their dark feathers majestic as the huge wingspan filled the room.

Alissandra continued her laughter as she stepped beside Cormac, caressing the side of the dwarf’s face as he stared intently at the now-standing high priest. Slowly, with great dignity, she drew a sword from her hip and pointed it at him, her beautiful face twisted in the furious visage of a predator before the kill. “Do you recognize this sword, high priest?” Her voice was silken smooth, and not a trace of either anger or amusement filled it as the fallen angel spoke. “It was your brother’s once.”

Her eyes pulsed. “Kill him,” she snarled.

“Guards!” Lahk roared as five attackers came onto him. With his hips he knocked Uthielle to the floor, dropping from the raised platform even as Lahk leaped away from the throne he had worked so hard to claim. Even before his roll had completely stopped Lahk had to pump his arm to block a half dozen lightning cuts of swords, and the high priest had to continuously step back, giving ground freely in order to stay alive. He saw immediately that he had only a single advantage… his attackers were not trained in fighting together. The two inquisitors, their eyes burning with inhuman rage and ferocity, were coordinated, but the others were not, and were constantly crossing each other up with their attacks, blocking or preventing strikes from their own companions. If the high priest fought intelligently, he could use his assailants to help him defend himself.

None of that would help him if they managed to surround him, however. He needed to constantly wheel while he retreated to prevent the slippery erinyes bitch from getting behind him, getting out of sight where she could slide an unseen blade through his ribs. He was forced into constant defense, unable to even think about striking back for the five blades gave him no opportunity without leaving himself defenseless. Cormac came on in a rush, his axe suddenly reversing course to strike unexpectedly at the high priest’s legs, shaft first. The trip was well done and Lahk had no chance of resisting it so rather than struggle he pushed himself in the same direction the force demanded he go, helping the flow of the attack by collapsing his own leg and throwing himself backward in a roll, and lifting his feet over the stabs that he knew would be coming from the other attackers.

A searing blast of heat struck Lahk then, dissipating mere inches away from his skin as his Grace barely shielded him from the assault. Fire flowed around the high priest as a wizard of some power entered the battle… and while he was protected against the magical assault sufficiently the guard was not perfect. As nearly as the heat had been nullified the effect was not complete, and the air Lahk breathed in still scorched his lungs and the force of the magical fire still all but stole his balance from him. If not for the Sanguinar-blessed luck, it could have turned his roll into an uncontrolled, and lethal, tumble.

He could not win this fight defensively. His guards would not reach him in time, not with the wizard guarding the door. He needed to improve the odds if he was to have any chance of survival.

He didn’t quite get all the way back to his feet before the high priest reversed his momentum, planting his feet firmly in mid roll and throwing himself forward in an attack. One of the inquisitors, his blade still extended, angled himself to put the blade in line with the charging priest, then pushed himself to the side, opening the way for a slash from his nearest companion. With precision born of desperation Lahk twisted his own body, angling it back towards the man he was charging and trusting his armor to save him even as his offhand, the dragon sword of Elide, moved to intercept the attack, and pressed forward.

Lahk had calculated perfectly. The sword, set against his charge, hit the armor at an oblique angle and slid off as the high priest rushed alongside it, Blackwand stabbing out to catch the holding arm on the wrists and open it up. He had taken out one of his attackers… but the effort had cost him. The block had locked his offhand in place for too long, and with a savage strike of his axe Cormac caught the silver steel in the notched top of his weapon and twisted, wrenching it from the high priests grasp right before his shoulder hit Lahk in the chest, throwing him backward and prone.

The smooth surface of the living wood provided little traction to the high priest as he scrabbled backwards desperately, watching as the inquisitor he had cut revealed himself to be an incubus in his agony. Blue flames raked over his form, cooking him into ashes as Lahk forced himself to his feet, barely ahead of the charge from the bare chested young boy of a fighter, his sword slashing out in tight arcs, all directed at the high priest’s legs. His assailants had come to the same conclusion that he had — his legs would be the hardest part of him to defend from his attackers — especially now that he only had a single weapon of his own — and an injury to his mobility would kill him as surely as a strike to his heart. It would just take slightly more effort on the part of his assassins to make it stick, but the result would be inevitable.

As the incubus burned and Lahk’s attackers closed on him, on the other side of the vast pillared throne room of Caladwen, an elf slave slowly crawled towards the forgotten blade that had once been hers.

Sanguinar could barely whisper, so dry was his mouth. “How…” he managed to say.

The man in the shadows smiled, the faint blue light from his eyes the only brightness that could possibly enter those deep shadows. “You can’t win now, because you are only a god among equals…”

His voice trailed off as the fey light reflected off the dark stone of the temple, standing proud atop Accida Ridge. He took a step forward, and the shadows moved with him, staying wrapped around him like a cloak… and like a cloak, he reached for his own face and pulled back the cowl of darkness to reveal dark skin, black as coal even beneath the veiling shadows. His face seemed to shift strangely with every motion, like there was liquid, or maybe insects, flowing just beneath the skin as it bulged to an alien rhythm.

“But I can make you greater than any one of them.”

Lahk had never met a man stronger than he. He was faster, more powerful, than anyone else in the world, his heritage allowing him to call upon the divine power with complete control, far better than any normal priest. He had more endurance than ten men, and the might of twenty… but still, under the relentless assault of his assassins even the high priest was beginning to tire. Armed only with Blackwand now, he had to work twice as hard to keep himself alive even with one of the attackers dead. Each time he found even the slightest opportunity to strike back another of the assailants would launch a new strike, driving the priest away and keeping that lethal black sword away from them.

Lahk went back and around, moving in a slow circular path around the room as he gave ground, working frantically to keep himself from being pinned down, surrounded, and slain. The erinyes Alissandra was the greatest threat, he knew, even though she attacked the least. The sneaky, treacherous bitch was always looking for the greatest weakness, the most dangerous spot she could chose to attack. It was her that most often caused the priest to need to fly into a dive away from a position he held as she threatened his flank or back, and the strikes coming from her stolen sword at him were stronger by far than even Cormac’s mighty blows. As the fallen angel came at him yet again he fled back and to the right, flying past the attackers in a roll and dipping his head before returning to his feet with a spin in time to meet the dwarf’s charge, that powerful axe driving Blackwand back with its sheer weight.

Explosions and bursts of fire sounded loudly in the air every few seconds, but no further attacks were deflected by his Grace. The wizard was fighting another of his kind, and Lahk prayed to his father that it was Helios and the wizard would soon break through, allowing his guards to come to their high priest’s aid. Andrenaline flowed through him, and Lahk realized that as little sense as it made he was taking a primal joy in the struggle of life and death raging around him. This was his final test, he was sure — his divine parent’s final judgment of his worthiness to take their place as the gods that shaped this land.

He would be victorious. His fate was already written, and he would not falter now — not to these treasonous cretins, not to anyone!

The attackers broke off for a second, and Lahk stood panting as he stood on the smooth floor, his hobnailed boots straining for the best footing by the high priest’s unconscious instinct even as he took ragged breaths of air, attempting to sate his heaving lungs as the attackers began once again to spread out. This time, the high priest realized, he would have nowhere to go but into the sea of pillars if he attempted to escape their entrapment, and in that mobility-restricting battlefield their numbers would give them a decisive, and lethal, advantage over the lone priest. In the forgotten dimness of the other side of the ceremonial throne room the fallen incubus still burned, and to his confusion Lahk noted that the flames did not seek to return to Blackwand as they usually did. The phenomenon puzzled the high priest, but he had no time to concern himself with it now. The sounds of the wizard battle had ended, he realized… and still no one entered the room.

Alissandra laughed again then, brushing an errant lock of her rich mane from her face. The expression was haughty, assured of victory and eager for blood as any true servant of Kardas could possibly want. Along with her pets, her tool, the erinyes began to close in on the trapped high priest with wings curled tightly around her back. “Do you know me, oh son of Sanguinar?”

Lahk’s breathing was under control again. “The whore from Haven’s Ford,” he muttered, twisting Blackwand in his grip as he tried to fit both hands onto the pommel.

“That’s right…” she hissed, pulling back her lips to bear sharp fangs that shone in the setting sun. “You could have had an ally in me, high priest… but instead, you made me your enemy.” She held her hands wide, as if encompassing the entire palace. “Behold my vengeance!” she laughed, her eyes never leaving those of Lahk, brown staring into grey. “Your church is mine now. Your allies are mine now. No one is coming to save you!” she screamed out, as if daring anyone to gainsay the completeness of her revenge.

The sheer ferocity of the sudden, combined attack was enough to nearly overwhelm the high priest before the fight ever really began. He leaped back, staying up on his heels, skittering away as two swords came in hard, side by side down low, then low again, while an axe slashed high. Lahk gave ground, trying to cross the attacking weapons up as best as he could until his back hit a pillar and he had to roll to the side… and right into the driving axe that Cormac had retracted, spinning in a low twirl designed to chop through a leg and bring the priest screaming to the tree palace’s floor.

And then a sword erupted from the red bearded dwarf’s chest, cutting down through his belly and then out his groin as the shining silver sword all but cut the attacker in half.

Lahk did not question the turn of events. He threw himself to the right, through the newly created opening left by Cormac’s abrupt death. He jumped back once, twice, thrice, then managed to bat his sword across that of the demoness that pursued him before he caught sight of his savior…

Uthielle stood facing the remaining inquisitor and the bare chested boy, her silken clothing soaked crimson by the dwarf’s blood even as it stained her face and skin. Grasping her ancient sword in both hands she stood motionless, hair swaying slightly with the remaining violence of her earlier attack. She was a blood soaked goddess of war above a battlefield, her eyes following the movements of her foes effortlessly as she remained perfectly still…

“It is possible…” the shadow continued, the voice like the screams of a dying world in his ears, “for you to steal the power of another of the gods.”

The shadow took another step forward, and by sheer reflex Sanguinar took a step backwards to maintain his distance from that nihilistic being of darkness, a monster among monsters like himself. “With a child of the appropriate divine heritage, taking the power of his parents would be easy… he would have a right to the power of both mother and father. Then you would simply take the boy for your own, crush his will beneath yours and make him a vassal for your power…”

He smiled beneath the shimmering darkness, the blue light of his eyes pulsing as he did. “And you would be the strongest of the gods — the power of both you and the mother, concentrated into a single being… a single being you would then become.”

Sanguinar growled. “I have no child of a goddess-”

“Then make one.”

And he was gone.

Uthielle’s fight was a mixture of pure chaos and lightning fast, violent motion. The woman crouched and dropped, sprang up hard, and rushed side to side, avoiding slash after slash of her two attacker’s blades even as she worked her own, and the ring of steel striking steel echoed through the room, the crash of a half dozen impacts filling the air in a single moment as the elf warrior drove her weapons into first one sword and then the next, over and over. Always she deflected the attacks by the smallest possible margin, the lethal edge of metal grazing by her never more than a mere breath away… but she was never closer than that, either.

The men she was fighting were good. The bare shirted man was both strong and fast, and fought with an intelligence that did him credit, thinking through her feints and answering only the movements of her sword that needed to be addressed. The other man, his eyes gleaming with a demonic fire that betrayed his nature to the elven veteran, had many more years of experience than the human boy did, but for all that he fought with a single minded determination a simplicity that made his attacks easy to anticipate even has his complete lack of interest in self preservation made them dangerous. They were skilled fighters…

But the elf was a warrior, something else altogether, and the longer the fight went on the more the difference penetrated Dorn’s mind even through the addling fog the erinyes had left him in. Uthielle had spent hundreds of years turning her body into a perfect weapon, and she fought with a level of deadly intensity that the man had never seen before, not even in the fire haired elf he had sparred with as best he could. This woman outmatched him even more thoroughly as Alassiel had those many months ago, and here she was outnumbered a mere two blades to one.

It was not enough to overcome a warrior.

Eventually the pair made a mistake. Their attacks were too close together, and her entire body snapped across with vicious speed like a spring uncoiling, moving with a sudden violence that was impossible to anticipate. Her single sword drove the incubus’s sword into Dorn’s, and then, freed momentary of the need to parry or move, she sprung forward and drove the flat of her hand into the demon’s throat.

As Dorn retreated back from the advancing woman, he heard the gurgling of his companion as he collapsed to the ground, the demon’s throat too crushed to bring in anymore air, and he knew he was alone.

Across the way Alissandra pressed in on the high priest, seeking to overwhelm the exhausted fighter with her sheer ferocity. Lahk, however, kept to his discipline as he drove the erinyes’s blade low with each parry, forcing her to make only awkward attacks as she pressed him. She had equal strength to the priest and far more speed by merit of her relative freshness, compared against the exertions the high priest had been forced into to stay alive. Their blades locked together, Alissanda pressed forward before rotating the blade in a quick circle, flinging Blackwand to the side even as her own sword came up and over hard. At the last second Lahk rolled his hand over, reversing the momentum of the blade in time to hook the attacking blade and knock it harmlessly high, even as his own blade was taken out of play identically.

As Lahk pressed into her, the erinyes hesitated an instant, trying to think of any way to bring her blade back down for a killing stroke against the exposed high priest. Lahk, guided by instinct, did not. Even as the beautiful brunette began, too late, to bring up her own arm, the high priest’s fist struck her face with crushing force. He had thrown the punch with every last iota of strength in his exhausted body, and the impact rocked the demoness back like an speeding horse. Her eyes rolled back in her head even as she was flung across the room and to the floor.

There was a flash, and suddenly a wizard stood in the room, his eyes blazing with fire as he cast his gaze towards Lahk. Instantly Uthielle broke off her attack on the young warrior and moved between the two, her sword ready as the wizard followed her, their eyes staring into each other unbroken. Lahk could see the calculation in the wizard’s eyes… did he have sufficient strength to finish the fight, in the face of Lahk’s Grace and the deadly elf warrior?

With another flash the high priest had his answer, as the wizard disappeared with the remaining attacker.

Goddess. He needed a goddess.

He needed to take a goddess and make her bear his child, by any means necessary. The thought was not repellent to him — far from it — but there was only one goddess within the Veil, one that he could strike at and rip a brat from her loins.

The goddess he was already at war with, the fire maned God Queen of the Elven people, with whom he had fought for years already.

‘Sirae.’ Sanguinar thought, his eyes flashing with a lust rather than the hatred he had so often felt when he thought of the elf queen, his foe. ‘Sirae, you are mine…’

Immediately Uthielle spun on Lahk, sword still in hand as she looked at the high priest, leaning exhausted against the pillar behind her. Her grip on the sword was so tight that her dark skin was almost turned white by the tension on the hilt as her eyes widened and dilated. Then, with abruptness that Lahk could hardly believe she dropped the sword and fell to her knees like an obedient dog, her eyes falling to the blood-slicked floor of the throne room.

“My lord,” she whispered, her voice steady.

Betrayed, Lahk had been betrayed. No guards had come to his call, not even now that the violence had ended, that the wizard was no longer protecting the door to the sacred hall.

Staggering slightly, the high priest walked up to his new worshiper, and Uthielle whimpered slightly as his hand touched her black hair… but rather than strike the woman he slowly ran his hands through the dark mane, straightening the tangles that had formed in violent struggle, that she had suffered in the defense of her god. With surprising gentleness he bent down and grasped the sword that contained Ther’ta’trax and pressed the enchanted blade back into his new priestesses hands.

Uthielle’s eyes opened wide as the cold steel touched her, and fist reflexively closed around the familiar hilt, bringing back thousands of memories that she instantly rejected, banishing them from her mind like unwanted rats in a cellar.

Betrayed, Lahk had been betrayed. Helios had not come to him… and for the wizard’s sake he had best be dead, or the high priest would soon make the cretin wish that he was.

His eyes focused on the prone erinyes across the room, unconscious on the ground. Filled suddenly with the energy born of rage he strode over to her and pulled her legs, flipping her completely onto her belly as he tore at her flimsy clothing. His cock was rock hard from seeing the submissive slut so devoted to him, and the fallen angel’s absolutely perfect ass was not making matters better.

Betrayed, Lahk had been betrayed… and here before him was the architect of the treachery.

“Uthielle,” he said, and the new priestess rose to her feet quickly, coming to Lahk’s side. “Hold her hands,” he instructed, and she did so. The high priest loved the look on the abused elf’s face… she was terrified, but at the same time almost rapturously captivated by the woman before her — glad it wasn’t her, terrified it may be again soon, and accepting that fate. He grew even harder at the look on his slave’s face as he pushed the ass cheeks of the unconscious demoness apart and, without bothering to lube his dick at all, he shoved it into her.

She came to consciousness screaming as she was pinned to the floor, her nipples scratching painfully against the wood beneath her as the victor pumped his cock into her ass, invading it completely dry. Her strength had abandoned her in exhaustion and injury, and the combined strength of Lahk and his elven priestess was enough to hold her firmly to the ground. Alissandra could only whine in pain, beating her wings helplessly, unable to do anything to protect her violated body. The nails on her held hands scratched desperately against the grain on the floor while she was raped. The girl screamed anew as Lahk tugged hard on her hair, lifting her upper torso off the ground before slamming her back down into the living floor with an echoing impact, and then seconds later lifted her again to repeat the process over and over while his cock invading her impossibly tight hole, ripping the unprepared ass to pieces with the unbelievable brutality of the assault.

Outside, the last ray of sunlight flickered over the crater walls of Caladwen as the sun went down completely, and the only light in the throne room now was the flicking torchlight that shined on sweat covered flesh and the pools of blood. Once the erinyes was too dazed from the repeated scrambling of her head against the hard floor, Lahk grinned a sadistic little smile and grabbed her black wings, restraining them from their futile beating and using them to pull himself deeper into the fallen angel, raping Alissandra all the harder. The was screaming almost continuously now, venting her rage and frustration, her helplessness and pain, and it made Lahk want to punish her ever worse, to make the bitch truly suffer for her assault on him.

There was no smile, no enjoyment on Lahk’s face now as he raped the perfect woman’s unwilling hole. This was not pleasure… this was his divine duty as the new Lord of Suffering. This was punishment. Her pointless struggles beneath him as he drove into her harder and harder just brought on additional violence against her immortal form. Her own leaking blood the only lubrication the god would allow as her ass was used as savagely as he could think of a way to use it, a slapping sound almost covered by her screaming as his hips struck her ass over and over again. Sadistically the high priest leaned further backwards, pulling the outstretched wings back with him, using them as the ideal method of dragging his perfect rape toy back into him… and to his pleasure a horrific new set of screams filled the room as he could feel the wings start to give beneath his strength.

“NO!” she screams, the sound echoing among the dark pillars. “MERCY!”

Still not making a sound the high priest ignored her desperately screaming as he felt his cock begin to swell in the tight hole, the muscles of her wings stretching and tearing as they suffered a strain they were never meant to. With a savage twist the right wing turned. A sharp distinctive crack of bone filled the air, and Alissandra’s screams broke into a hoarse silence. The high priest’s cock started throbbing as his cum shot into the girl’s ass, even while he twisted her second wing to feel it break the same same. Rammed as deep in her rectum as possible, the thick shaft of the intruding weapon spread her tight hole while she was flooded… and Lahk leaded back savagely, feeling the last of the muscle and tissue give away and leave a pair of ragged, bloody stumps on her shoulders.

As soon as the wings came off, Lahk could feel another flood of power, and he gripped the twin black wings possessively as he pulled his cock from the wrecked girl. With hardly a second thought the high priest left her to sob helplessly on the floor, leaving her to die.

After so long, the war was finally going to end.

Silas would be his. No one would be able to stop him.

Gleefully, Sanguinar wrote the missive that would summon Sirae to him under the flag of a truce the dark god had no intention of honoring, to discuss a peaceful end to a war that the dark god had no intention of ending — not until he was, at long last supreme as he deserved to be.

And the entire time the Lord of Suffering was filled with his joy, filled with the promise of victory…

Such was his arrogance that it never once occurred to him to wonder what the mysterious man got out of this plan, for no one did anything at all…

For free.

As Uthielle began to lovingly cleanse his cock of the foul demoness’s blood and filth, while he sat on the throne and felt the power surround him, Lahk could feel his father’s presence.

Dead though the god was, the Lord of Suffering still existed… in the remains of his power. The power Lahk had a filial right to. The high priest was not a fool — he knew that his father had intended to kill him, to drive him from his body and take it for his own so that he could be the supreme one — but it was difficult indeed for Lahk to blame his father for it. In his place, he would have done the same.

So even as he swallowed every last drop of Sirae’s remaining power within the veil, he called to this power and, rather than his consciousness joining into his fathers, he felt what little was left of his father join to him.

As the ground beneath the palace began to tremble, as the long ago druidic bindings on the volcano began to die, Lahk felt himself change, and when next he opened his eyes, it was no longer as a man.

It was as the most powerful being within the Veil, the god to end all gods.

The ruler of all he surveyed.

The Lord of Suffering.

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