“Hey,” whispered Marcus by the kitchen door. Stablehands were not supposed to be in the mansion… but Elira pretended not to hear as she ate her soup; Marcus already didn’t like her and sometimes put her horse into a bad mood before Elira’s riding lessons. “Hey, Bethany!”
“What?” whispered the young scullery maid who was stationed by the door. It was an open secret that the two had been sleeping together… it wasn’t exactly permitted, but her parents weren’t really in much condition to care these days. They were both speaking low enough that the various house staff, including the head butler, could pretend to ignore them. Apart from Elira, they were the only ones in the room; her father and mother had “retired early to bed” – she knew it was to stuff that disgusting powder up their noses, the contraband crystal from down south.
Elira heard a quiet jingling sound from behind the kitchen door, and Bethany giggled and squeed, escaping into the kitchen. Apparently it was their turn tonight to abuse and torture the poor elf girl.
One of the… many… side effects of that horrid crystal was that her ‘noble’ father had felt less capable of raping the girl in the dungeon with the vigor he’d had in his younger days, before all the responsibilities of maintaining the new alliances had fallen onto his head. He still was punishing her for… something… however. Still wanted Syllia to know her place. She’d drawn up a rotation for all her household staff to take turns slaking their lusts on the poor thing. At first Elira had been including in it, but she told her mother she’d rather cut her own throat before laying a finger on poor Syllia, and she had spoken to her father, and she was left out. She, Joseph, and her half-brother Andrew were the only ones who were… and he only was because he was so young.
The thought that her own father would have made Elira, a girl barely more than twelve who hadn’t even had her first bleeding yet, force herself upon the elf just to show her dominance made her sick. The cruelty of that thought made her want to throw up her soup. It was bad enough to have to listen as each of the house staff went down into that cellar… sometimes Elira could hear the screams from her bedroom. She hated it here, and had for years… but what choice did she have?
“Did my lady have a good fencing lesson today?” Joseph asked. The head butler was the only member of staff whom Elira considered a friend… the only one who didn’t make her feel less for being a daughter of the mistress of the house rather than its Matron. He was also the only other one who didn’t seem to relish abusing the elf girl, his distant noble pedigree giving him the ability to refuse. It often felt like the tall, dark-skinned man could read Elira’s mind, piercing straight to the heart of what troubled her.
“Master Wellen says I am improving very quickly,” she said, repeating what she had been told. “I have been recommended to join the cadets… and just in time.” She gave a soft smile. They both knew that her Father was sending her away as soon as possible… he had been trying to find an excuse ever since his son was born.
“I will miss you, flower,” Joseph said in his smooth, southern accent. “But truly my lady, your magical talent is… incredible. Perhaps you should consider a career with the mage’s council, or the Inquisitors. From my understanding you could have a long and fruitful life there.”
She knew why Joseph was saying this, just as Joseph knew why Elira would refuse. Her Father was part of the noblemen who controlled the Mage’s Council and she would rather die than spend a moment under her Father’s control… and the most frequent task a new recruit in the Inquisition was given was torture.
“I shall take your kind advice into consideration,” whispered Elira, spooning the last of her soup into her mouth. “May I please be excused?”
“You may,” Joseph replied, pulling out Elira’s chair. It had just been a few months ago that Elira’s feet could not touch the floor from a seated position. Now she was about to get into a carriage and be gone from this place.
She didn’t know what possessed her in that moment when she was walking past Joseph – maybe it was just that there had been so much going on lately, with her absent parents and the constant reminders that soon she would have to be a part of her grim society – but Elira threw her arms around the butler in his fine blue uniform. Slowly, gently he returned the hug.
“I love you Joseph,” said Elira, sniffing. “I know you’re always looking out for me.”
“My lady, you already know the contents of my heart,” smiled the older man. “I shall always be here for you… no matter when you return. Cadet, Inquisitor, Mage’s Guild… come to the end of the world.”
“Who knows,” whispered Elira. “Maybe one day, with enough of that dust in his nose, my Father will finally love me too.”
“Maybe one day,” Joseph whispered back, kissing the top of Elira’s head. “Truly, I wish that for you more than anything else. Now, to your carriage my lady… before you are late.”
And so, with the first smile on her face in months, Elira put on her coat and went to her carriage that would take her away from this place, to the capital and to her destiny… feeling just a little better about the state of the world.
“Aaah!” moaned Bethany, rubbing her cunt into Syllia’s dark lips as she gripped the elf’s silvery hair in one hand, riding her face for all she was worth. “Oh fuck! Aah! Oh gods!” Bethany gripped the elf’s metal collar, comforted by its ever-present warmth as she shuddered and came hard on the girl’s lips.
“Oh she feels so good,” hissed Marcus as he wrapped his hands around Syllia’s hips and thrust into her unresisting body. “Gods, it’s been so long since our last turn with this bitch… no offense Bethany, but even that sweet cunt of yours hasn’t got anything on this knife-eared bitch. I can see why they’re bred to be slaves… she’s so fucking tight! Ohh!” He punctuated his point by throwing Syllia’s legs around his shoulders and began to pound her, making the elf’s body jiggle with each thrust of his powerful hips.
“Tell me about it,’ Bethany moaned, coming down off the high of her orgasm. “God I wish we could use that Oathword on her… it would be great to really make her scream. She’s a bit… pathetic now.” The maid sighed. “No life in her at all.” She slapped the elf in the face, hard. “are you in there, you worthless piece of shit?” Bethany said, staring at Syllia’s dead eyes. She backhanded her. “Say something, you little rape doll!”
“She hasn’t said a word in five years… that’s what the cook says,” moaned Marcus, gripping Syllia’s tits and beginning to pump in earnest. “Completely gone in the head. Still tight as a button down here, though…’
“Gods, sometimes I wish I’d been born with a cock,” sighed Bethany as she pinched Syllia’s nose and mouth shut just to hear the elf gasp for breath. “Or enough magic to make one. That looks like so much fun.”
“I did bring… a little toy… for you” Marcus grinned, nodding to the bag he’d brought with him. “You want a piece of this elf ass? I promise, if you fuck them in the bum your cock doesn’t stop tingling for a week.”
The naked Bethany scrambled to the bag, pulling out the leather harness and the stiff wooden shaft. “Ooh, it’s enchanted?” She curled up against Marcus and kissed him softly. “Don’t mind if I do…”
The moment she put the harness on, the tingling sensation began. These strap-on cocks were a simple enough magical artifact, but popular and for good reason – within seconds, Bethany could feel the length of wood as if it were real flesh and blood. Within just a few more seconds, the two lovers had levered Syllia’s limp form between them, moaning in pleasure as they raped her frail little body, their naked bottoms on the cold stone as they worked their hips, pumping their shafts into her ass and cunt.
“Gods it feels amazing! It’s like my clit is on fire!” moaned Bethany as she gripped onto Syllia’s collar for balance, the warm metal sending a pleasant sussuration of sensation down her arm. “What is this thing anyway, and why is it warm? Is it magic too?”
“Bethany, please shut up,” Marcus moaned. “I’m really close…”
“Here, let me help you…” grinned the girl as she reached between Syllia’s legs and began to stroke her lover’s cock with one hand, listening to her partner groan at the added sensation.
“Oh fuck, oh yesss,” Marcus hissed, his thick hips pounding at Syllia’s thin body as Bethany masturbated him. “Oh Beth, just like that… yes, you know how I like it…”
“You mean raping elf meat?” Bethany teased, pulling hard at the collar, making it bite into Syllia’s neck. She could see the metal bruising the elf’s dark skin so she pulled even harder, her loins twitching at the choking noises the elf made. “God I wish I could afford one of these knife-eared sluts… I’d really show her the meaning of pain…”
“Maybe a more alive one,” laughed Marcus, still thrusting hard. “Still, it’s really fun to… ahh… fuck an… unconscious… little… elf girl… Oh! Oh! Oh Beth! I’m cumming! Don’t stop, girl, don’t stop!” Marcus arched his back in ecstacy, making the dark-skinned girls tits bounce as he came deep into Syllia’s cunt, spurting jet after jet of thick seed into the elf’s pussy. Bethany moaned low in her throat as she began to cum too, ramming her thin hips against Syllia’s ass, howling as she orgasmed. In the height of his pleasure, Marcus stumbled backwards, almost falling, and he reached out to steady himself… and the first thing his hand grabbed was the metal collar, already straining beneath incredible energy and Bethany’s grip. As Marcus gripped the warm metal and pulled the band the other way, there was a brief shriek of stressed metal, a tiny burst of light… and the metal snapped.
Two thousand, seven hundred, and eighty three days without hope.
Syllia had counted every one of them.
The sound of the rune collar, the band of spell-covered steel that had suppressed her magic, snapping was like the sound of the first ice cracking in spring. The breath she had been using to keep her sanity afloat for the better part of the last decade rose in her as the warm thing broke from her throat, and Syllia rose, rose, rose…
The human man with his cock inside her looked, wide eyed, as Syllia’s eyes focused for the first time in years, and her elven face twisted into a snarl.
“OH GODS!” was the last thing Marcus ever said, fear clouding her eyes. And then Syllia blew his fucking head off of his neck with a single starburst of magic, the room splattering in shards of bone, brains, and hair. A gray eyeball landed on Bethany’s face, the girl screaming as she realized what was happening. She tried to pull her wooden cock out of Syllia’s ass and get to her feet, but the elf reached behind her and grabbed Bethany’s face.
Any attempt to beg was burned from the poor girl as Syllia set her face on fire. She screamed and writhed as the flame spread, her slender body quickly being consumed by dark flames, her breasts spitting and cooking, her eyes popping as they boiled. She was dead in seconds, collapsing to the ground, and Syllia herself fell to the cold stone, her muscles weak from years of atrophy. she had been underfed – her skin clung to her ribs, her hair was stringy, falling out in clumps where her rapists had pulled at it.
But she would have the time to restore herself later. It didn’t have to be now. No more hesitation. No more waiting. No more counting. Syllia would never be a slave again.
She was still naked, but she did not care. The lock on the door posed no problem as she blasted it from its hinges and stepped out into the house, seeking her lifetime of vengeance. Her masters and their household didn’t have a chance. If she was honest, even this cursed master had not been the worst of the masters she’d had, but this was far from a generous statement. He had not done anything egregious compared to the other masters she’d had, but he hadn’t treated her any less awfully than the rest, either. It was no virtue on his part, but only the absence of a special, noteworthy cruelty that caused her to remember him thus. He had still used her and degraded her the same as the rest, and when he’d punished her, he’d never been gentle. His wife had been a dreadful woman as well, scorning Syllia and disdaining her like she was a filthy animal, treating her like she was lower than dirt. The master’s mistress had been little kinder, and the maids and servants had not been shy to vent on their only inferior all their own little frustrations and resentments, either. None of them had been kind. She had hated them all.
She killed them all.
First, she encircled the house with a ward to prevent any escape, then she walked into her master’s bedchambers and uttered a curse of decay. Aging by decades in seconds, the man had shriveled into dust before he could open his mouth to utter the Oathword, looking up at her in uncomprehending fear. Then, Syllia had gone to work on the rest of the household. She petrified the butler when he stumbled across him and shattered him with a rune of force. She cast the maids into an enchanted slumber before taking up a knife and eviscerating them, remembering all the cruelties she had suffered at the hands of maids who yearned after their masters and resented her for being favored, believing her to enjoy the loathsome ravishes of her masters, believing that she stole from them the love that they longed for, hating her also for being perpetually young and beautiful, even when dirty and ill-fed. Man and woman alike, she slew them all… striking quickly. After the first moments, everyone in the house with the right to use her Oathword was dead and she started in on the others. Every time she even thought about holding back, or tried to remember if this girl or than man had hurt her, she remembered how generations of men and woman, their many predecessors had used and abused her, resenting the girl and her forebears their dignity, and killed them just the same.
The old matron of the house, the mother of the master who quietly lived out her autumn years in the care of the household’s servants, she constrained with an ethereal binding before invoking blasts of lightning to rack and blacken the withered old crone, thunder shaking the walls repeatedly even long after the woman was dead and the smoking ruin of her corpse filled the room with a black, burning stench. The master’s guests of the household she fell upon unaware as they ran in useless panic from the estate’s unknown attacker, unable to escape and not realizing who it was that besieged the manor… realizing far too late that something was terribly wrong but not yet aware of the cause. A friend of the master she gutted with scything winds, thinking of how many such men had borrowed her and dirtied her in the past.
Then, last of all, Syllia found the wife of the master and his mistress hiding in the room of the young son of the house. They were pale and shaking and begging for mercy. The Master’s Wife was a threat… so Syllia made her clutch her throat and uselessly gurgle, tears spilling from bulging eyes as Syllia conjured brackish water in her throat to drown her on dry land and stop her from speaking that hated word.
“Please!” the mistress shrieked, wailing while the other woman drowned. “Please, stop! You monster… Aren’t you satisfied?! What have we done to you?! We’ve fed you! We’ve given you a home! We own you!”
Even in her efforts to appeal to some kindly sentiment and beg for mercy, the woman had betrayed how she really saw the elf, too entrenched in her contempt for Syllia to be truly sorry for anything. She saw nothing wrong with how the elf had been treated. Syllia could only laugh softly. And why should she? That had been the way of things for longer than anyone now alive could remember, the simple and unquestioned order of society for half a millennium. She could not have conceived of the idea that it was wrong to treat Syllia as she had been treated, and it never entered the realm of possibility that enslaving and raping and murdering an ancient sapient race to the point of genocide could be anything but natural and just. That was the way of things she had always known them, the law of the land into which she had been born. Nobody had questioned it, and nobody had wanted to change it. She was as content as the rest, and felt not pity nor the least compassion for her people’s elven thralls.
It infuriated her.
Hardened by her own hatred, Syllia struck the woman with the cruelest fate she could imagine. Her extensive studies had taught her that there was no way to remove an existing Oathmark… but she could create a new one. With a touch of her finger and a growled command, Syllia branded the pale-skinned human’s brow, winding the magics into her soul until the word of command was at one with her essence. The magic’s integration was a spiritual rape, a torment as horrible as the flames of perdition, yet this agonizing defilement was only the prelude. Syllia met the mistress’ eyes, watching with numb pleasure as she watched the woman shake and weep, curled upon the floor in agony, in despair… and then she intoned the word and loosed the hellish power of the Oathmark upon the woman’s brow, watching coldly and dispassionately as her victim screamed and writhed and clawed at herself, kicking and thrashing in horrible seizures of agony. The woman rent her clothes and tore them from her frame as if in grief, but the only thing in her eyes was a madness of pain, and Syllia had stood there and watched, regretting nothing and feeling nothing as she waited for the woman to die from the pain.
It was only right. This was how her mother had perished – her Oathmark invoked and left to rack her beyond mortal endurance until she expired in the dark, neither noticed nor missed. It was justice to watch that pain be returned to a deserving woman.
Her mother had lasted more than a day. This woman was weak, but it still took a while before her screaming stopped… hours, probably. For once, Syllia didn’t count.
When she finally was silent, Syllia perceived with a ringing in her ears that the house was finally, deathly silent. All but one had been slain. Just one more, and she would be free of these people forever…
She saw the last member of the house, barely more than a babe. His eyes were wide and innocent, understanding nothing of what had happened, of what had been done hitherto. He was merely a toddler, lacking comprehension, lacking culpability as he knelt over his drowned mother, bumping her face gently with his tiny hands.
Syllia had felt hatred, looking at him, and she had raised her knife when he clutched at his mother’s unmoving form, ready to strike him down and free herself forever.
Something held her back.
Pity? Fear? Exhaustion?
Her heart was heavy, and she was tired. She had done much that night, and it left her drained both magically and emotionally. The feeling of triumph and vindication… the catharsis of revenge… it didn’t feel like she hoped it would. Something tasted bitter in the back of her throat as she looked at that weeping toddler.
She was wiser than her masters, and even if that wisdom had been clouded by hundreds of years of hatred… maybe there was something inside her that could still feel compassion, something in her that could still see how senseless it would be to slay this child, who alone of all in the manor bore no guilt upon his shoulders, none at all save that of being descended from her hated masters. And maybe, after suffering so much with the alleged crimes of her ancestors as the only justification given, Syllia wondered if it was right to punish those who had no association with guilt but by bloodline’s descent. Maybe she had spared him out of an atrophied compassion – the last act of pity she would ever show a human. Maybe she had turned away because she was tired and wanted to leave. Maybe she was afraid of becoming no better than her masters, or maybe she felt that leaving the boy to starve with nobody to care for him would be sure enough to kill him, the only punishment he needed.
Syllia didn’t know. She only knew that she had dropped the knife and walked away, leaving the boy to sob.
“Mama… Mama…” the voice behind her repeated, over and over… but Syllia never looked back at that accursed, detestable household. She abandoned him to his fate and strode forward, thinking of greater vengeance still to come… vengeance that would finally provide the comfort she needed. She would not be satisfied with just killing her masters. She would not be satisfied with just her own freedom. She hated humanity, and she would not stop until she had punished them all. They had tried to wipe out her people… she would succeed in eliminating theirs.
Syllia had left behind the tattered house of Tarn and its last surviving heir, the infant Andrew. The Oathmark on her brow would be all the reminder she needed of why she did this, and it would give her the resolve she needed to carry out her campaign.
But it would also be her downfall, the source of her only weakness… and her greatest fear.
The next evening was the beginning of her campaign. The town of Dunloch ten miles from the Tarn manor was emptied of life in a single night, its human inhabitants slaughtered and their elf slaves set free. The humans were slain and the town was laid waste, reduced to ruins. They could not resist — Syllia’s magic was too powerful for them to fight back against, the greatest mages in the town mere children compared to her.
With their master’s dead, she turned her attention to the human’s branded thralls, elves of all kinds. Her people greeted her at first with dismay and horror, fearing punishment… it took a surprisingly long time for them to fully understand that they were free… and their their Masters could not defeat Syllia. That freedom was theirs.
At first, they lauded the slim, malnourished Dark Elf as a hero… but when she used her magic to mend their bodies, and spoken with fire in her voice to awaken their slumbering souls, they acclaimed her as a goddess… one of the long-forgotten Goddesses of the elves returned to them to save them from their dark fates. Their worship was… uncomfortable… to Syllia, but it brought them hope and she did not dissuade them. Still, Syllia was careful over the following years… taking revenge on humanity only one town at a time, choosing always remote centers of population. There were plenty of those… the human empire was truly sprawling and agrarian. It took years before she realized with boiling blood that most of the fields the humans were farming now were clear cut forests… the destroyed kingdoms that had once belonged to her people. She made no public declaration, and she kept her existence as secret as she could while she liberated her elven kin and armed those who were willing to fight. To her pleasure, this was nearly all who beheld her… the freed slaves were only too happy to deify the dark elf as their savior and worship her without reservation. Gradually, she tested humanity’s strength… and as she built up a force of her own to fight them, she found it wanting.
For the first time in centuries, elves could meet and mate of their own free will. Elf men, when freed and mended, revered Syllia supremely and pledged her their service, and elf maidens honored her, either learning from her what they could of magic or coupling with the few free elf men, thinking to rebuild their race and culture from these scraps. All adored Syllia, but she would take no lover from among her freed brethren — at least, she could not endure a male’s touch. She did allow a few handmaidens to touch her during periods of hiding and rest and integration between attacks, and when she annointed one of her apprentices as a priestess it was always with a kiss and an embrace, but she was unwilling to take a lover of her own. Still, however, she bade all those in her following who could stand to be touched, man and woman, to be fruitful.
None of them knew what kinds of marriage rites and arrangements, if any, the elves of old had practiced. They were rebuilding a culture from whispers, guesses, and lies… but mostly from necessity. They saw the situation with their numbers. In Dunloch, the first town conquered, there had been but two elf males compared with a four dozen elf maidens, from among the latter of whom less than a third showed significant magical or martial talents. Those who would be fit to fight alongside Syllia, with enough training, were taken under her wing as her priestesses and her honor guard, and she instructed these elect talents as a promethean patroness, cultivating them into spellswords and battlemages and knights and archers good enough to aid her. Of the remainder, seeing what else was the need of their race and being given the blessing by their savior — who by condoning their proposition consecrated it as new tradition — most decided to serve as the partners and protectors of the precious elven men that remained. Those who were fit to ride and hunt were the guards of the males, and those who lacked such potential dedicated themselves to them as wives.
If these men died out, so would their race. With the numerical disparity between the sexes, to couple in ostensible monogamy as humans did would cripple any chance for recovery. Those elf maidens who could not serve their people with either sinews or spells instead gave the service of their wombs, and with their understanding of love having been inevitably warped by the situations in which they had lived, they committed themselves to their chosen males as they had once been forced to commit themselves to their masters. The difference was that these were their chosen males… they were under no compulsion but that of their own affection, gratitude, and sense of duty. They cherished the men, loved them, devoted themselves to them, and when a new male came into Syllia’s following he would be likewise inducted, protected, and entrusted with siring the future of their race, provided immediately with plenty of willing, caring flesh. They did not differentiate between the various kinds of elves, having no remaining sense of particular elven identities any longer and being too few altogether to be picky, besides. They mated freely… almost promiscuously, reveling in their freedom for the first time in generations.
In this way, her growing nation of freed slaves forged their new traditions and their new identity, shaping practices to suit the needs of their time so that they could survive and bring forth future generations. This was, Syllia guessed, the origin and purpose of all culture. From the deeds of Syllia and her priestesses the Sacred Sisters, they wove new myths and tales of glory, creating what would become the foundations of a new elven pantheon from stories of the greatest among them that would be passed down for generations. Out of necessity they lived as nomads, traveling in the wilderness and taking what they could from human settlements. Few among them had any knowledge of hunting or foraging, but they learned what they could, and they adapted to the best of their ability. When a new town was destroyed, they would take from it spoils to feed their hungry and clothe their naked, and they would integrate the freed elf slaves into this warlike, nomadic, theocratic, and polygamous society, all owing their liberty and their lives to the Savior, Syllia, revering her as their goddess and following her as their queen.
In time, in this way, Syllia came to have an army, her following swollen into a great tribe of Amazonian nomads. She gave them freedom, and she gave them order, and she gave them duty, and she gave them knowledge, and in return they gave her their unquestioning loyalty, love, and worship. Slowly she gathered them and nurtured them… slowly by human reckoning, anyway. To the elves, it was blisteringly quickly… Within two decades after her escape, she had grown her following into an army, a nation of freed slaves ready to conquer their oppressors and reverse history’s wrongs. They would call it justice, even if the motive in their hearts was nearer to bloody vengeance. Still, they grew into a formidable force, and only much too late did the rulers of the human empire come to realize that was what happening on their boards was no mere raids by bandits. By the time the whispers of rebellion had become something the corrupt aristocracy of the bloated corpse of an empire could no longer ignore, Syllia had already grown too long and too strong. They organized their forces and mustered their armies to try and crush this rebellion, and the elves butchered their army like children. Syllia’s new rebels, fueled by hatred and rage and desperate brutality, had cut down all that opposed them, and every mage, every group of mages, that tried to stand against Syllia died in fire and ice and lightning, ripped asunder or their minds cast screaming into the void with their bodies left hollow… and once the mages had been dealt with, the rest of any human army was little but fodder for the dark elf’s might.
Throughout the Empire, terror began to spread. The elves had grown too strong — Syllia had grown too strong — and even the self-important rulership had begun to realize that they could not hope to defeat them in open battle. Everyone began to realize that their empire might be doomed, the wealth and privilege and power their ancestors had secured for them frittered away on hedonism and infighting, and that there was no strength left to oppose vengeance come for them.
Everyone, that was, but the Inquisition, and their new Mistress.