One Hundred and Forty Seven Years After the Death of Hope

Some days, Gregor cursed Bren eyes.

The Grandmaster of the Order of Flame leaned heavily on his cane as he walked down the hallways, feeling every one of his eighty years after the end of the council meeting. The endless arguments… he could have sworn it was easier when he was younger. It had been easier for the last Grandmaster, hadn’t it?

He opened the door to his chambers and closed it behind him, leaning on the door and sighing. Grandmaster. It was a grand title with little meaning these days. Once, from what he understood, the Order of Flame had been respected. It had had hundreds of Knights and thousands of support troops and ancilliaries, during the age of Laika. If those tales weren’t exaggerations, they were long past, now. Their order was a quaint thing, nearly forgotten. They had only a dozen knights, and perhaps a hundred other soldiers… and the last of their mythic Dawnsteel had stopped functioning with the death of Laika before he had been born.

It was unfair to blame Bren for their problems. The scholarly knight almost certainly hadn’t meant to cause trouble for a boy he had barely met as an old man, when Gregor had been a squire here… but his philosophies had proved persuasive to many. His belief that the Darkstone should be studied, that the myths of demons were not what they thought, were as anathma to some as they were seductive to others. It had attracted a cult of followers that had persisted long past his death… and Karsus was only the most recent of the thorns in his side, the current leader of the faction. The knight had been arguing… forcefully… for Laika’s Dawnblade… to try to use their last remaining weapon of the legendary steel to try to rescue Esperiel from the Darkstone. Others had started screaming about what an insane idea that was…

It had all gone down hill from there.

“What troubles you, my lord?”

Gregor looked up and smiled at the beautiful blonde woman sitting on the railing of his balcony… her pristine white wings glittering in the sunset. Seeing the matron of their order never ceased to brighten his day. “Jezriel!” he said with a smile. “I didn’t know you would be coming today!” He forced himself to stand straight despite his age, and the Archon rushed forward, supporting him with her arms.

“None of that,” she chided, helping him to his chair. “You would make a poor servant if you tripped and fell, my lord. I sensed you were troubled… can I provide you with guidance?”

Gregor sighed. “They want to try to find a way into the Darkstone.”

Jezriel hissed breath out between her teeth. “That again?” she said with a sigh. Their order probably wouldn’t exist at all without Jezriel. After Esperiel’s imprisonment, she had been sent from Lord Stasis himself to preserve them, to guide them. “It would be nice to see my sister again,” she admitted, “…but it is risky. I am not certain it is wise.”

He looked up, surprised. “You don’t forbid it?”

“I don’t forbid things,” Jezriel said with a smile. “You know that. I am here to help you make choices, not to make them for you.”

Gregor nodded. “Karsus fears our order’s decline. That within a generation, we will be forgotten, and there will be no one left to try to get her out.”

Jezriel frowned… then sighed. “He might not be wrong. I am eternal… time is little to me. Mortals have a far greater grasp of it. Perhaps it is time for the order to pick a new direction.”

Gregor let out a breath of relief. He had… been hoping for something like that. Permission. “Maybe it is time for a new direction, then. I could open up the position of Grandmaster to a vote… and let that decide the direction.”

Jezriel nodded solemnly. “Perhaps that is for the best… you deserve your rest.”


Karsus was waiting in his chambers when the pretty blonde Archon crawled through the window. “He will do it,” she announced.

“Take that face off,” he ordered, stroking his already erect cock. “It doesn’t suit you.”

“You mean you don’t want to get your dick in an archon?” ‘Jezriel’ said as she fell to her knees before him, opening her mouth eagerly and beginning to swallow him… but it didn’t stop her from trying to speak. “Dnt… mmmm… wnt to fuckkk nn arc-kn’s prtttty lil mouf?” Kiana licked around the length of his shaft, and as she did, her wings seemed to melt away, her hair parting to reveal her horns as the illusion concealing the succubus fell away. He slapped her tit, and she gasps, pulling off his dick just long enough to give him a wicked smile before she began licking at his balls. “He… is going to… call a vote…” she moaned while she served him. “A vote to take his place.”

“About time, old man,” Karsus growled. “Who’s votes do I have?”

“Not enough…” she moaned as she slid her head down around the head of his cock, swirling her tongue around it for a few seconds before Kiana pulled back to speak further. “Lady Danielle is… fiercely… opposed to you. She will rally enough votes behind her. She might not be the next grandmaster… but she will decide who else is, and it won’t be you.”

“Then something needs to happen to Lady Danielle,” he growled as he grabbed onto the succubus’ horns and began to fuck her face with hard strokes. “Bitch… needs… to… go… away…”

He fucked Kiana’s face for a solid minute, long enough that a human would have difficulty breathing with the pace and roughness, but the succubus seemed utterly unbothered as he let her up. She took only a single breath to refill her lungs before smiling and continuing talking as though he hadn’t just raped her face for long enough to make her pass out. “Would you like me to handle her, my lord?”

Karsus pushed the succubus down on the bed, and Kiana gave a happy squeal as he jumped between her spread legs. “No… I’ll take care of her, and her supporters. I’m going to enjoy this…”


Three days later, Lady Danielle disappeared… as did two of her most influential backers. Her sister, the squire Elise, accused Karsus of foul play… but when the election came around, it wasn’t Karsus who won. It was a compromise candidate, a weak candidate, that everyone could agree to. One that didn’t have the ability to deny anyone a chance to pursue their own agenda.

Two days after that, Laika’s sword disappeared.

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