The town of Garginion had a wall constructed out of fieldstone. Fieldstone! At the turn of the millennium! Needless to say, its real defenses were isolation in the Alps. It was also of such a size that calling it either a town or a village became a question of semantics.
Kida had to seriously fight the urge to do a running leap over those diminutive parapets. Security was so lax that no men-at-arms would probably even notice. Instead, she transformed herself into a peasant girl, comely yet discrete. She wrapped her tails around herself, holding them close to her clothing and creating an illusion, disguising them as part of the rustic raiments. Hiding the rest of herself beneath a hooded cloak to avoid standing out, she simply walked unchallenged through the towns open gates. With the hustle and bustle of the festival, no one noticed her slipping in among the crowd.
The town was much alive. Visiting monks screamed about pagans and paynims, wishing to alert townsfolk to the horror of the woodlands. It did little to mitigate the gaiety. Her little exploits had already become the talk of the town… as Kida walked through the market with a smile on her face, she heard not merely one story of what she had done but competing tall tales, exaggerating her mischief and callousness greatly. While her most recent prank was the most discussed, more than one person seemed to link them with her other exploits.
The younger men and women, however… they had their minds on other things, though. Groups of boys sat back as a parade of beauties wound through the marketplace in their best clothing. Plenty of whistles and stares and fond touches were exchanged, kept at a low level so that parents and officials wouldn’t notice… but Kida saw it for what it was. How exciting! Human mating rituals! Come nightfall, there would be plenty of pairings finding room in a local haystack!
The nine-tailed fox knew that Marissa would soon be turning up. She was the kind of girl that attracted such attention. Kida merely had to follow the gazes of the wolves to find their prey… so she leaned back and waited.
When Marissa finally emerged, however, it made Kida frown with disappointment – her outfit was almost as conservative as a nun’s habit! She wore an all-white cloak that sheltered her feminine features, muting them, hiding them away. Even so, however, the fox-girl quickly noticed that she stood out anyway… her appearance immediately attracted masculine attention, and it wasn’t difficult to figure out why. The Descendant sported a face made to be admired, sweet and demure like a rose, yet with the serene mien of a beloved monarch. This lofty demeanor was accentuated by her flowing blonde hair coiled into two waist-long braids, the two thick tails bouncing around wherever she strode. The golden mane sparkled like the summer sun and stood out starkly against everything else in the market. Even through every boy who saw her was plainly besotted, Marissa paid them no mind… she seemed wholly intent on her own affairs. This casual aloofness somehow made her even more desirable in their wanton eyes.
“Hey! Did you hear that story about the nymph and the monk?” a tall youth whispered to his comrade.
Kida’s ears prickled, swiveling towards the conversation even while covered by her illusion. “Yeah, that one which has got the whole clergy into a frenzy? What of it?” the friend replied.
“There is a rumor going around that it wasn’t no forest-devil after all! In fact, people say that it was a girl from the region!”
“No way! Wow… she must be the most pulchritudinous maiden in the Christian world to pull off something like that!”
The nine-tailed fox couldn’t help but beam a gloating smile. Kida appreciated the compliments… she knew that she was beautiful, but to be called so divine… well, there was going to be a lot of bragging done when she returned to Cassandra and the other less strict-minded kitsunes.
A whole group of boys had gathered around to hear the tall youth speak. “Right!” he assessed. “Whoever this lass was, she effortlessly managed to seduce a man of the cloth into abandoning his vows. The monk even described her as an antique pleasure-Goddess! There is only one girl around who could accomplish something like that… and we all know who… Marissa!”
Kida almost stumbled as if having slipped on wet ice. They thought… what? Marissa, of all people, being comparable with her? Kida’s mouth hung open as she felt like her lauded reputation was being viciously stolen away.
“By the saints, you’re right!” another member of the group said. “That has to be why she pretends to be so aloof! All the other girls are smiling coyly, yet she hasn’t returned a single look! She is trying to lay low after having pulled off her wanton scheme!”
“With all the monks running about, she’s probably worried about being recognized!” a new voice injected.
“It’s the only explanation!” another concluded.
“What a succubus!” someone surmised.
Kida felt like punching every single one of them. How could something so great turn out so wrong? These clods had no idea what beauty even was!
“Look, there she is… heading for that alley,” the would-be leader of the gang said. “Let’s go ask her about it. Any girl so bold as that is going to like a man who takes charge… nudists are the adventurous type, you know?” The group scurried off with laughter and Kida found herself genuinely concerned. This could turn ugly. Perfectly wrapped in her illusion, she stalked after them.
Rounding the building, the brunette saw her ward cornered. The men stood around her in a semi-circle. There was a lot of snickering and suggestive comments. “C’mon Marissa. Just admit it. That nymph was you, wasn’t it?”
The white-clad girl looked aghast. “No!” she yelled, looking ready to push back against the encroaching boys.
Kida’s thoughts raced. Protecting the Descendant might be a little bit more complicated than she thought. Her first instinct was to clobber these idiots into submission… But that wouldn’t work very well if she was to keep up appearances as a common peasant girl. Disguising her tails and ears with an illusion was arduous enough… if she needed to change her face as well, she’d be half dead from exhaustion by the time Kitina let her leave. There was a brief bout of panic as Kida tried to figure out what to do, thoroughly unsure. Then… the kitsune decided to just do what came naturally.
“Pssh! She? A nymph? A lamia at best,” she yelled out in high consternation, every head turning so to behold her entry. “If you think that’s a nymph, then this town is much more isolated than I imagined!” Kida had thrown off her hood as she strode into the alley, revealing clearly her own features. She kept her tails and ears concealed purely with foxfire now, but even so she clearly was no mere commonborn maiden, but instead the kind of woman that people told stories about. Kida strode into the scene with hips sashay, a giddy grin on her face.
“Who are you?” one of them called out.
“I am Kida, and I am on my travels to my father’s estate… I only stopped in this town because of all this talk about a sylphlike beauty… and I have to confess, I am sorely disappointed. You boys need better standards.” With those words, she swayed her hips to one side, putting a hand on them, tilting her head and smiling. The posture thrust her breasts out, emphasized her figure and her face both. Kida knew how to put herself on display, make herself desirable… With the face of a noblewoman and the hair of the primordial wild, she was simply irresistible. Her poised hips cocked from side-to-side, her lashes made an enticing flickers, and one or two of the boys received some private smiles. This mixture of highborn dudgeon and intangible coquettish enslaved their attentions utterly. If Kida wanted, she could soon have them eating out of her hand and writing love-poems!.
“How uncouth!” Marissa said coldly. The fox-girl gulped. The Descendant hadn’t taken the bait and scuttled off. Instead, it seemed that Marissa had seen something she didn’t approve off and was going to make it known. “First of all. I would never, ever, pull a pagan prank like that. Bathing naked in a pool to seduce a monk? That’s simply… unseemly! It’s offensive to Christian morals! I can’t believe that you would suggest something like that of me!” she voiced, her honeyed voice sounding more like a beehive at the moment, filled with anger.
Kida went slackjawed. By Brighid, the Descendant was a puritanical bore…
“Secondly, the good men of the cloth have already informed us that it was some sort of forest devil who seduced the poor friar. That is who you should be looking for. Not a mere mortal! We should all be praying that these evil spirits don’t leave their woodland home!”
Kida had to fight the urge to cover her face with her hands. She was a church girl too! Oh by Inari and all gods, why had Kitina sent her on this mission?
“And thirdly!” she continued, raising her voice to previously unprecedented levels. “Mademoiselle Kida… or Chatelaine Kida… or whoever you are! Your behavior is simply… simply untoward! You cannot be so slovenly flirtatious towards Christian souls! You should be ashamed of yourself!” The girl pushed through the crowd of dumbstruck boys, confronting Kida. Just from that short physical bustle alone, the kitsune realized that Marissa never needed saving from these clods in the first place. She stood a bit taller than Kida, her sky-blue eyes narrowed with acute and directed anger. “Beside! The good monks said that the demon in question was some sort of fox spirit! You certainly have a… vulpine… profile! Maybe it was you who bathed in that pool, Chatelaine ‘mysterious traveler!’”
For a moment, Kida stood there, stunned… worried that she had been caught. Did the Descendant know of her Clan’s allegiance after all? Then… it hit her. “Hey!” she yelled in an unladylike manner. “Was that… was that just an insult?” she huffed. “Did you just call me a fox as an insult!? No one gets to do that. Why I ought…” Kida let her voice die down as she realized what she was doing. Gods, what a guardian she turned out to be. She had injected in this conversation to try to rescue the Descendant… and now, she was one breath away from descending into a fist-fight with her.
“What is going on here!” a stentorian female voice called out.
The boys and Marissa all went wide-eyed. The kitsune spun as well. An abbess was approaching them with heavy footfalls. She looked about twice as young as an Abbess should usually be, but ten-times as strict and angry. The heavy black vestments of her cloth hid every feature but that of her face as she strode quickly down the alley. The boys all scurried like cockroaches fleeing for dark crevices. Marissa stood frozen. Kida stepped aside. There was something awe-inspiring about this abbess which affected even her.
“Young lady, that was simply unforgivable! I saw you flirting with all of those young men. Don’t you know what they could do with a young girl like yourself? Especially as a group? By the Christ, I have never seen such sinfulness in my life,” she said, voice seething with venom.
“But! But!” Marissa hastily injected, looking like someone had just bludgeoned over the head with a staff. “I never flirted—”
“Silence!” the command came like a gust of wind, harsh enough that both Kida and the Descendant felt their spirits drained. “Do not interrupt me again, girl. Or I will make you regret it! This is a great sin you have produced. You will pay proper penance. Report to the town’s abbey at once,” the abbess instructed. “It has been cleared and made available solely for us nuns, as the men are all going up to the mountain-abbey to better pray away the forest-spirits. Come nightfall, I will personally see to your spiritual cleansing.”
The white-cloaked girl looked crushed. She was completely beside herself. “Yes… Mistress,” she pitifully whispered, inclining head so that she was looking down directly at her shoes. Utterly crestfallen, she staggered away back out into the town towards the abbey like the walking dead.
“And as for you—” the abbess continued, twisting her face so to behold the Kida…
But Kida was gone.
The realization made her eyes turn into deadly icicles. Those winter-grey orbs searched around for her everywhere, scanning every area with an acute eye before realizing that the missing woman was well and truly gone. Her countenance grew even graver, dark thoughts and suspicions gathering within the black-clad woman’s expression. Slowly, as if expecting an ambush, she resumed walking and headed for the abbess after Marissa.
Kida, on the roof, felt her heart thumping. The instant that the Abbess had turned around, she had transformed back to her natural form, kicking off the wall and leaping up, laying supine on the thick statching to avoid detection. Something was wrong with that abbess… Kida felt silly to think so, because she couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong, but… something was wrong. Craning her neck, she watched with horrified eyes as that mysterious Abbess and Marissa marched away from her. What was happening? Who was that person? Was she an agent of the Vatican? Kitina had warned her that her frequent ploys would attract its attention inevitably… had she been right? What was she going to do with the Descendant?
Her first thought was to run off and fetch her sister… but no. That would take too long. And the Guardian wasn’t in the village to fetch… Kitina was traveling towards the Fomorian’s tomb, away from here. Besides… she couldn’t allow the Ward out of her sight in a situation like this.
Kida’s only option was to wait until nightfall and observe what happened. Hopping between roof to roof, Kida made for the abbey herself.
Night had fallen. The stars and moon were mostly concealed by ashen-colored clouds, and still the nine-tailed fox remained at her vigil, squatting on the rocky sill of a glassless window high up in the towns modest abbey. Gazing in, she could behold Marissa kneeling in prayer before a large wooden crucifix, her figure positioned unmoving on the elevated chancel for several hours. In the distance, her fox-ears could hear the sounds of laughter, of girlish giggling and squeals of joy. The wait had electrified Kida’s nerves. She now wished that she had taken Kitina’s training more seriously. Whoever that mysterious Abbess was, she was trouble… Kida was sure of that.
The town was filled with unfamiliar sounds… things that went bump in the night. Unfortunately, not the kind of bump that Kida had been expecting, either. The kitsune girl wasn’t used to hearing so many noises that she couldn’t quite place, the environment dangerously unfamiliar to her. She was positively skittish.
After a long wait, the sound of the abbey doors opening drew Kida’s attention… and her breath caught when she saw a trio of cloaked monks enter. That was worrying… especially since that mysterious Abbess had specifically said that there would be no men around.
Rising, the girl spun, evidently experiencing the same worry which gripped Kida. “Honored fathers what are you… doing here?” she questioned.
Drifting like ghosts, the three moved towards her, robes dragging against the stony floor. The kitsune almost surged to her defense yet halted. As they drew near her, Marissa put her hands up, as if expecting an attack.
There was a swooshing sound of rushing air coming from the night behind her. Craning her head, Kida’s malachite eyes grew wide as she saw a mountainous pyre of fire consume houses by the city-walls. It’s illumination revealed dark-clad figures pouring over the wall, skittering like a horde of invasive insects. Garginion was under attack. The enigmatic woman was no Papal envoy. This was orchestrated by forces much darker.
“No!” Marissa screamed, making Kida refocus her gaze. One of those would-be monks had grabbed her forearm and was preventing her from running away. In the grip of another, she saw the flash of a blade. Heart beating quickly, she knew that the moment for intervention had come. It was time to save the Descendant.
Rising, Kida leapt from her high vantage, diving like a falcon towards the nearest assailant. Her foot smashed into the back of his skull, smashing heavily into him and hearing a crack as his neck broke. Kida used her the momentum to kick off and rebound into a safe landing. Her sole, however, hadn’t struck a skull but instead rebounded off something heavy and hard… these men were wearing armor underneath their robes!
“There!” the one holding Marissa yelled, his comrade drawing a longsword from his hilt.
Knowing that speed was off the essence, Kida dashed up to the swordsman and drove a palm into his chin. The blow was hard enough to make him lose his focus, allowing Kida to draw the blade herself from the scabbard instead. She sliced twice across the chest of that man, sending him down to the floor. Now armed, she turned towards the remaining man, whose icy eyes widened at the expertise of her attack. Yet… the looks they wore gave the kitsune pause. These were not the eyes of a frightened man. They were… animal-like, vile, cold-hearted like a serpents.
The brief moment of hesitation gave them time to prepared their own weapons. Jumping to the offense, Kida drove forward wildly, doing everything to distract the man form potentially turning his blade on Marissa. She hadn’t taken her training seriously, not compared to her sister… but she still had nearly seventy years of training with a blade, and kitsune were simply superior to humans when it came to physicality and fitness, matching their finest athletes. Even though the false monk was the definition of a brute, a pure speed disadvantage allowed Kida to overmaster him. She created an opening and thrust forward, impaling his torso, penetrating the ringmail underneath as blood poured from the man’s lips.
Marissa yelped with fright as he stooped over, dead. A pool of crimson soon formed underneath him. Kida couldn’t believe what she had done. She had never taken a life before. Now she had ended three, and the experience left her breathing heavily.
“What is going on?” Marissa asked with a start. “Is Garginion under attack? Who are you?” the blonde frantically questioned, somehow being more present-minded than the stunned kitsune. “And… and… Why… do you have fox-tails? And fox ears?” she added, tone turning uncertain.
Too late, Kida realized that she had let her disguise slip. Perhaps it had been during the fighting, or perhaps when she was distracted by her thoughts of death, but one way or the other, the Descendant now saw her fully for what she was. She was just relieved that her ward didn’t instantly denounce her as a demon. “Listen,” she said quickly, “You’re in danger. We need to get yo-gaahhh!” Her sentence was interrupted with an explosion of pain. Kida reeled over, clutching a crossbow bolt jutting from her ribs. The projectile was sunken so far in that only a few inches showed before the fletching. Despite that, the kitsune grasped the bolt and started agonizingly yanking it out of her flesh, going to her knees and screaming with the exertion.
Two crossbow-wielding men stood at the church entrance. Unlike their brethren, these wore no monk-cloaks but where dressed in full armor. Those earlier were a sneak attack… Whoever had elected to storm Garginion had wished to secure… or possibly kill… Marissa before the assault commenced.
And that ended all doubt that this was just an attack on the town. This was all about the Descendant.
Dropping their crossbows and unsheathing swords, the two men advanced towards the altar and the fallen Kida. These had the same inhuman eyes as the man before, pupils cold and merciless.
“Step back!” Marissa yelled, exhuming the chest-buried broadsword out of the dead man with some difficulty and holding it threateningly towards them. The girl’s posture was that of someone completely unknown to combat and the blade swayed unsteadily, but yet her visage was fierce as any wolf. The men did stop for a moment, but only to show signs of callous bemusement.
They didn’t seem to act like they wanted to see the Descendant dead. Merely captured or contained. “Marissa! Don’t!” Kida grunted, yet the girl would not obey. The blonde took a lunge at the invaders, her clumsy cleave effortlessly dodged. The distraction though was enough for Kida to grab one of the slain man’s sword at the closest one end over end like an axe, said blade rotating several laps in the air before skewering to the fuller right into his forehead. Marissa showed more shock at the move than his companion did. The remaining man charged at the kitsune with a naked blade.
The injured fox dodged and weaved away from his blows, but her injury slowed her, made it far more difficult and agonizing. “Damnit!” Kida growled, clutching her abdominal region with one hand while remaining as fleet footed as possible, dancing away from him like a lamed deer. Fighting like a berserker, the soldier came close to undoing her at several opportunities. She heard the quick scurrying of feet as Marissa ran. That was good… At least Marissa was getting away to safety.
Counter to what she had imagined, however, the blonde reappeared right beside them, carrying his dropped crossbow. She pointed the loaded device into his back from a range she couldn’t miss and fired, bolt piercing through the center of his chest hard enough that it stuck out on both sides. With a solid thud, the carcass of the man hit the church floor.
“Are you hurt? Oh my God, I can’t believe you managed to hurl a sword like that while skewered,” she said, instinctively reaching in so to address Kida’s injury. Taking a knee, Kida was stunned at how quickly and decidedly the Ward had acted. There appeared to be much more to her than just a pious lass. “The damage…” Marissa breathed as Kida took her hand away. “It’s… it’s almost healed…” she announced with loud-voiced surprise.
“We heal quick,” Kida answered softly, still taking in the unexpected actions of her ward. “Much more quickly than yours. All part of Inari’s blessing.” The kitsune gave a tiny chuckle as she finished.
“Inari?” The Descendant said with shock. “You’re… you’re a kitsune?”
Kida raised an eyebrow. “You’ve heard about us?”
“My… my grandmother used to tell me stories. Tales of Inari, and her foxes that lived in these mountains,” she replied. “I… I never thought they were true.”
Getting back to both feet, Kida felt her injury heal completely, her pain fading. It was only then, with her pain fading, that she realized her skin was crawling… that her senses were reacting to danger. The very foxfire lurking in her soul was recoiling away from being near a great sacrilege. “Marissa, get back,” she worded, pushing the blonde away while picking the sword back up.
The enemy came like a gust of wind. Kida barely managed to get her sword up to block the initial charge. There was a metallic clang of blades, two thrusts and parries almost too quick to see, and then the assaulting figure kicked Kida in her ribs. “Gah!” the kitsune cried out as she staggered backward, almost falling over before getting her guard back up again.
The creature before her stood perfectly calm. Despite that, Kida’s heart jumped as if beset by sudden terrors. She was a kitsune as well, like her… and yet, utterly unlike her. The woman before her was somehow something she had never seen before. Her fur was as black as the night sky, as black as the void itself… far and away the darkest color of fur she had ever seen on one of her kind. Foxfire rippled over her skin occasionally, as if her body couldn’t quite keep it in… and the way it moved was unsettling, eerie… disconcerting. Something about it was dark. This woman seemed more demon than fox to Kida.
“So… you are the Descendant’s protector?” she voiced, holding her blade tip pointing towards Kida. She carried a long, curved sword, the like of which she had only seen in old pictures of the old wars. “The Guardian of Amalissa’s spawn. I have to say I’m disappointed. I sensed you earlier in the alley when you escaped… I really had expected better.”
Whoever she was, she was the Abbess who had confronted them before. This was her true appearance. It seemed the armed men then had mostly been bait to flush Kida out, to force her to show herself. The voices of murderers and victims resounded from outside. They could also hear the flames of pyre. This enemy had brought a veritable army with her… she needed to get Marissa out of here!
“Who are you!?” the young fox demanded to know.
“The only one who truly sees the world for what it is,” she replied. “When you meet Inari on the other side, you can tell her Syllana sent you.” The black-furred fox’s free hand thrust forward in Kida’s direction… and a pillar of flame snapped forward, surging quickly toward Kida. With a yelp, the brown-haired fox leaped to the side and rolled to get out of the way, the witch-fire cutting through the stone cross behind her, toppling its upper end. Kida looked at it with wide eyes, horror filling her mind. No kitsune possessed destructive magic like that! Her fear warred with her disgust… foxfire wasn’t supposed to be able to be used like that, and even an unreligious kitsune like Kida recoiled instinctively at the profane impossibility of what she had just seen.
With that kind of power, she couldn’t stand against her from range. Understanding that, Kida sprinted into the attack. Her sword flashed a dozen times, a series of blows that would have cut down any of the men she had fought earlier, but quickly it became apparent that this stranger was a far superior fencer. She turned each thrust aside with the bare minimum of effort, barely even needing to move her feet. “Pathetic,” Syllana mocked as she abruptly kicked out, booting Kida hard enough in her chest that the kitsune flew backwards onto her back.
“I cannot believe that the title of Guardian has fallen on such a weakling,” the dark-furred kitsune mocked as she strode closer. “You do not deserve the honor. I will end this right now so to be done with you,” Syllana said.
Getting back to her feet, Kida prepared for the next attack… but instead of flames, sparks of electricity started sparkling from the sorceress’ fingertips. Kida was preparing for this new danger when suddenly, she realized that Marissa was standing behind her, horrified and amazed at what was happening. “What are you doing!? Get away you fool!” Kida shouted at her.
A crackling turmoil overruled her words before the sentence was over. Brightly luminescent fulmination rippled through the air towards her, blinding the brunette’s vision before impacting upon her body. The nine-tailed fox felt herself go rigid with agony as the power filled her. Lighting dancing over her figure, the electrical discharge crackling up and down her back even as it burned her, singing her her and arcing between her tails. Kida could feel nothing but the anguish, couldn’t think, couldn’t speak, could act as her body was devastated with pain. The agony became too much for her, and quickly consciousness fled.
Kida woke slowly, head throbbing as if having been bludgeoned with a mace. Her battered brain informed her that she was positioned upright, yet bound somehow. Cloudiness muddled her eyesight at first, but as she blinked it clear, she beheld a sight that made black horror clutch at her heart.
“Excellent,” Syllana spoke, the assessment birthing a muffled shriek from a gagged Marissa. “A virgin. The Master could not be more pleased. You have been such a good little girl to keep this hymen intact for him.”
The Descendant was utterly naked and tied-down upon the church altar, her legs spread wide. The black-furred kitsune was kneeling between her legs and was leaning in towards the delta between her legs, stretching her virginal folds open with both hands. Her lips sported the smile of an assured victor, mightily pleased with what she saw. Marissa was tossing her body around with shame from being so inspected, unable to budge. Armored, grim-looking soldiers surrounded them in a silent vigil.
The Ward had been captured. Indescribable dread chilled Kida’s bones. Even as the least devoted and devout of her clan, the sight was like poison to her soul.
Unlike the mere rope which immobilized Marissa, Kida’s bondage was of much more ingenious design. She stood posted against a pillar, several of her very own tails encircling the column and tied together in a knot that held her painfully immobile. Her hands were likewise suspended behind her and another tail looped around their palms. Additional furry appendages circled her legs by the knees as they were bound to the column, forcing her to stand bow-legged.
With chin held high, Syllana trod up before her, beholding Kida as one would a bug. Skin-crawling fear gripped the youth. She exuded a sense of baleful power that made Kida’s blood run cold. “Since you’ve proved such a pathetic Guardian, I shall not waste my words on you,” she said, whipping away a few stray strands of hair from the kitsune’s visage. “I shall be blunt… you know what I want. I know that your people have placed a magical ward on the Descendant to protect her from my patron, and only one of you can revoke it. Within the hour, you will betray her, and remove the seal for me. Understood?”
Kida looked over at Marissa, who was gazing back at her, blue eyes bulging with fear as the gag stuffed her mouth. That was… undoable! “Never!” Kida couldn’t do that under any circumstances! It was forbidden!
The witch’s hands moved towards Kida’s breasts, fingertips and nipples almost connecting as she smirked. “So you do have some spirit, at least. I shall enjoy breaking you,” she voiced, a sparkle emerging between her digit and the nipple.
“Eeiiiih!” Kida shrieked, her whole body tensing at the sudden outburst. It was as if every muscle in her body contracted at the same time whenever the energy shot through her.
“Such a scream from so little? Where is your pain-resistance, girl? Forget an hour, I give you ten minutes,” the sadist voiced, tone sultry as if taking great enjoyment. “Your body can be used to entertain my cultists afterward. kitsune always make such useful sex slaves,”
More high voltage was scorched through Kida’s nipples. The kinetic force made her bound body flop around upright like a fish. It was impossibly more painful that anything she had previously experienced. Smoke vapor started oozing from her searing flesh. Her sensitive beasts became nothing more than conduits through which agony was delivered into her body as Syllana’s torturous magic cooked them. When the sorceress stopped, a full minute later, she was left a shivering mess as her breasts began to slowly heal.
“Unseal the spell,” she gravely commanded.
“Never!” Kida bellowed, receiving a fresh wad of anguish for her torments. The electricity beamed argent lightning throughout the church, making Kida its epicenter like the core of a storm, crackled and rippled with voltaic discharge. Syllana didn’t halt the immaterial assault until the kitsune thought she was going to die.
Then she stopped and waited at once again, her scorched body began to heal with smoke still rising from her burned hairs and seared skin. The fiend chuckled. “Automatic regeneration… kitsune make such perfect torture victims. You can beat one of us within an inch of our lives and and long as you stop short of an immediately lethal wound, I can just start over again a minute or two later.” She held up her hand again. “We can do this all night. Now little girl, are you willing to do as I say?”
Panting heavily and fighting tears, Kida refused to respond. Somehow she hoped that it would prolong the next torment. It didn’t. Marissa bellowed into her gag on behalf of Kida as the third charge came, the kitsune barely heard it. When it ended, Kida’s head hung limply forward and she wet herself, piss splattering into the stony flooring underneath. Already, she felt zapped of all life.
Syllana’s face came alight with sudden amusement. “Maybe you prefer a different torment?” she said, stroking those abused nipple-buds with the plump end of her fingers. The sore digits stung terribly as she caressed them with snug circular rubs. “They’re rock hard, like little pebbles! Tell me, girl… Are you getting off from this? Your body certainly seems to enjoy the attention!”
The tone was utterly mocking, and it bit into Kida like spider venom. Not worried about passing her self-selected timelimit, the kitsune sorceress’ fingertips enclosed around those protruding milk-ducts and pulled outward, indulging in seeing the brunette’s perky breasts extend outward as she tugged. With a practiced touch, she started spinning those teats around, rotating them until the young kitsune unleashed another pitiful whimper from the creeping twinging. Kida felt manipulated erogenous sensation simmer within them, the breasts rebounding as soon as she unleashed her hold.
“Yep. A born pleasure-slave. You have a body made to be fucked, little fox.” Syllana chuckled. “What were you intending to do with the Descendant, anyhow? Steal her away from the boys? Or, perhaps, were you planning to steal the boys away from her, instead? Let’s have a look at that sex of yours,” she said, going down on her knees so that her head was level with Kida’s crotch.
The vulpine’s knees trembled so badly that they would collapse if the tails didn’t keep them affixed. Reaching out, Syllana parted those vaginal folds just like she had Marissa’s. “So pristine!” she taunted. “Not even regenerated, unless I miss my guess. I think I’m going to have a taste.”
“What?” Kida yelped with surprised, jaw falling ajar as the she-wizard’s head buried itself in-between her hips. Mouth soon interlocked with that defenseless clit, greedily plundering its riches. Kida had never been a girl to deny herself of pleasures and the kitsune’s tongue was absolutely magical, displaying skill and technique of an unparalleled professional. Despite vying with her extreme mortification, erogenous pulses started flaring up and overtaking the heat of her pussy. It didn’t take long for Kida’s thighs to start quaking with another sensation entirely.
“No. Stop. Please!” she futilely whimpered, feeling her libido approach a point of no return. She was as helpless to resist the sorceress oral ministrations as she had been in battle, muscles tensing from her teasing attack. The woman’s ability to gauge arousal proved to be as proficient as her capacity for measuring pain. That tongue ceased stroking the moment before pushing her over the edge.
“Perfect,” Syllana spoke, Kida’s juices glazing her pert chin. “Such a lovely, big, sensitive, defenseless clit you have… I must say that I am quite fond of it. And now it is right on the border of erupting. I have to wonder what would happen if…”
Holding one finger outstretched, she made its tip approach the clitoris at snail-speed. Magical electricity sparkled around its end. Kida’s entire figure started vibrating with terror upon seeing its approach, utterly losing self-control. Being zapped down there would probably not kill her… but she fervently wished it would. The witch wore the grin of a sadist.
She did not want to experience blinding agony at that erogenous hotspot. Despite herself, the kitsune wavered between betraying the Ward…
A flying dagger swooshed in and dug right through Syllana’s forearm. The black-furred fox went wide-eyed and bellowed a screech half of rage and pain. An airborne swordswoman leapt into their vicinity to deliver a deathstroke which was barely dodged by the injured kitsune, yet Syllana was unable to avoid the following spin-kick which crashed straight onto her face. She was blown backwards with such force that she impacted against the church wall, crashing down through a wooden shelf covered in candles.
Kida’s heart jumped at seeing her rescuer. “Kitina!” she screamed, verbalizing her dumbstruck surprise. For several seconds the amazing rescue didn’t dawn on her. Her sister had come with all the glamour of a proper heroine. Flinging her hand, Kitina unleashed throwing daggers that skewered the gaps in three of the cultist’s armor. Even before those three went down Kitina was among the rest, dancing between panicked screams and awkward attacks with a slim-bladed sword in one hand. The Guardian moved so swiftly that her motions were like a blur. It awed Kida to watch. She had seen her sister on the sparring field before, even against other skilled opponents, but she was always the teacher, the one providing guidance… never had the young kitsune witnessed her sister’s unmitigated prowess in combat before. Syllana could shoot thunderbolts, yet Kitina could move like one!
Kida heard a muted grunting. Twisting her neck, she saw that Syllana had not only pulled the dagger out of her forearm, but also risen and was pointing one outstretched palm towards Kitina, her eyes blazing with the red lust of murder. “Sis! Look out!” she yelled right as the column of fel fire flew for her.
Kitina launched herself straight up in a flip that just barely cleared that blazing eruption, an explosion wrecking the other end of the abbey as she rushed towards the dark kitsune. Syllana drew her own curved blade again as they met, and the two descended into a high-paced duel. Kida’s eyes boggled, her pupils flashing back and forth helplessly as she tried, and fail, to follow the fight. In her brief fight against Syllana, she had found that the gap between their swordplay was vast, but she had had no idea of the depth of that chasm. It quickly became apparent that Syllana was also a swordswoman of legendary proficiency. Despite her primary arm still healing and leaking blood, she held her own versus the Guardian. Tails flashed between them like striking snakes, trying to entangle feet or grab onto a trailing arm, bind the other in place for a minute for a sword to find. Cleaves, parries, and advantageous-seeking footwork was exchanged between them, the swords striking and moving so fast that Kida’s eyes were unable to keep up. They contended not only for the Descendant’s life, but Kida’s as well. Occasional bursts of destructive sorcery lashed out from Syllana, and Kitina countered with illusions of her own, far more elaborate that the best thing that Kida could manage… half the time, it seemed to Kida that the sorceress was attacking the wrong space altogether, the illusion too perfect to be questioned at the pace the fight moved… but always she made it back to defend from any opening.
Then the two swords ended up in a bind and the fight slowed down to almost nothing for a moment, eighteen tails grappling with each other as they pressed swords against one another, their scowling visages just inches from one another. Syllana was outraged that anyone could challenge her so. “You worthless, insolent slut!” she hissed. “I am older than your entire family tree! Your precious Goddess will not be able to save you from my wrath!” she spat, frothy saliva spilling from her mouth like a venomous serpent.
Trepidation gripped Kida as it became apparent that Syllana was attaining the upper-edge. The grinding was forcing Kitina to stoop backwards. Even while straining her every muscle, she could not hold back.
With a shrill metallic sound, the blade-bind came undone, Kitina’s swordarm flung to the side by Syllana’s power to leave her torso unguarded. Kill-crazed, the cruel fox launched a side-swipe that intended to decapitate her opponent. There was no way Kitina would be able to block in time.
And she didn’t. Instead, the Guardian leaped straight upwards into the air, but the altitude was by no means enough. Then three of her tails grasped onto a low-hanging beam in the church, hauling her body upwards and spinning her laterally to just barely avoid the vicious murder-stroke. Syllana gave off an utterly shocked and galled expression at being so tricked… in the instant before Kitina’s own blade slashed down and took her head from her shoulders.
“Shut up, you old hag,” Kitina snarled as the kitsune’s head rolled a few feet, to land facing Kida… with a smile on its face. The evil woman’s body fell flat against the ground like fallen timber, her weapon rattling to the floor. Kida’s expression wore the astonishment of a wonder-struck child. The impossible had been done! She had triumphed!
Taking not a second for either rest or jubilation, the Guardian dashed to Kida’s side, fingers flying through her bound tails, loosening them enough to Kida to finish the process of freeing herself. Once she had done so, she scurried over to Marissa, slicing through the rope which immobilized her.
As Kida straightened out her aching tails, her bosom felt pressured by unidentifiable emotions. Her all-serious, all-business sister had just rescued them both. Kida, meanwhile, had been beaten and captured. Her lifetime of trickery and indulgences had ill-prepared prepared her for this fateful moment. It was as if in these very seconds, the gravity of it all came crashing down upon her. The joy of survival mixed with the shame of having been proved inadequate. How could she ever face her sister after this?
“Kida! Kida, are you alright!?” Kitina barked harshly, suddenly at her side again, shaking the youth’s shoulder as if trying to whip her out of her stupor.
With pupils that were haggard yet lucid, Kida gazed directly at her. No words needed to be spoken. She saw the emotions happening within Kitina’s eyes as she realized that her younger sister was alright. It was as if an immense heaviness was lifted off them, a relaxation of vast tensions. The Protector exhaled a relieved pant.
“Yes… I am,” Kida replied, more soft-voiced than she ever had been, the confirmation purely summary.
Promptly upon the confirmation, Kitina’s bout of hyperactivity resumed. The Guardian shepherded Marissa and Kida together like a herding-dog, the blonde being the most stunned one of all three. With rapid words, she spoke about what had happened and what needed to be done. “The Archfoe has escaped,” she warned. “We need to get to th…”
“Behind you!” Marissa screamed.
Kitina and Kida whirled to see Syllana rising to her feet again, holding her head against her neck while some of the fel, unnatural foxfire burned over her in the gap between them. She still had the same smile plastered on her face. “Now that’s more like it…” Syllana chuckled as she picked her sword back up. “That’s a Guardian worth the name.”
That… was well beyond what their regeneration was supposed to be capable of.
“Behind me,” Kitina growled. With sword in-hand, she strode off to slay the abomination for good. Midway between them, however, her steps slowed… and then stopped, standing still as if having been frozen in time. Syllana’s smile grew wider.
Kida couldn’t understand it. “What are—?” she began before it hit her. An aura of balefulness had permeated the abbey. It was like the one exuded by Syllana, only magnified immensely. The dread-energy fell upon them like the rays of a malignant sun.
Through the arched pathway of the church’s main entrance, there emerged a vile and foreboding figure. Ash-clouds enshrouded its flesh and raging fires backlit its musclebound body. He held the stature of a giant. Kida wide, horrified eyes perceived the horns and glowing eyes of the Fomorian who’s art had always terrified her as a child. Marissa grew so frightened that she clutched onto the kitsune’s body like a startled feline. The sight of the Archfoe awoken could have terrified a demigod.
“Narghai!” Kida voiced.
“The Fomorian…” Kitina whispered.
Heavy footsteps brought him towards them, stepping up behind the smiling Syllana.
Kitina readied her blade in a fighting-stance. “Kida!” she yelled. “Flee! Bring the Descendant to safety! Run to the Clan-Home!”
At this moment the young kitsune held her sister in greater esteem than she ever had. Abandoning her seemed impossible. Her raging soul wanted to fight the Great Enemy yet her flesh was too afraid to even approach it.
“Go!” the Protector continued to scream. “Only the Descendant can reseal the Fomorian! I’ll hold him off. I’ll be right behind you, I promise!”
“What is that thing!?” Marissa yelled.
His being desecrated the church itself. The periphery of a black, antemundane void assailed their souls. As Kitina readied to charge him, Kida found the courage for decision. She grabbed onto the blonde girl and hoisted her over her shoulders as effortlessly as a pack and ran for the hole in the wall Syllana’s fire had made, leaving her sister to face the Archfoe and the dark fox alone.