Ascent 7 – The Crypts

Thank you for reading! Me and my coauthor Darinost are gradually combining forces and blogs, so the joint comment section for our stories is currently located on discord! Come on in and let us know what you thought, we don’t bite.

Jaymes fell to his knees and began to cry into his hands.

When Nira found where Ariadna had been taken, deeper into the temple complex, Leila had been guarding the entrance with weapons drawn and tears in her eyes. When she had seen it was Nira, however, she had been even more overjoyed than the rest of them to see her, rushing to the woman and taking her into her arms. It was several seconds before they realized that Nira was crying… and that Kaya wasn’t returning with her.

Jaymes hated himself. There had been, it seemed, no other threat in the ruins… the Fury had been alone. His duty was to protect Ariadna… but he could have sent her away and stayed to fight, to protect Kaya from the Fury. It didn’t really matter that two Guardians were no more a match for a Fury than one was… that perhaps all of them together would have been unable to take him down by strength of arms. All that mattered was that he wasn’t there… that he hadn’t tried. There was nothing left to do at this moment but grieve for the actions he had taken, and hate himself for their repercussions.

Jaymes wished that he could go back. That he could have died in her place… or at least died beside her… but Kaya wouldn’t have wanted that. The love of his life, his wife, the sole reason that he had able to continue in these dark times… was gone, but she had bought them time. The precious time that they would need to find the scroll and set things straight. If he let her die in vain while grieving, then her heroic deed would be for naught… and there was no bigger disservice he could do to the woman he loved.

His eyes bloodshot from his tears and mourning, Jaymes rose from the ground to look over to his companions. They had to find the scroll now or all would be lost. Jaymes ran his hand over his face to brush away the tears that covered his cheeks. His other hand clutched his sword with a death grip.

“Jaymes,” Ariadna began.

“Kaya was… the best of us” he said, trying desperately to keep his voice from cracking. “A brave soul, and a Guardian of the temple. She gave her life in that… for what she believed in.” Jaymes looked directly at Ariadna. “She believed… believes… in you. So do I. She was willing to die to see you restored to power. Let’s make sure that her death does not tip the balance in favor of the enemy. We have a scroll to find and mere minutes before the enemy descends upon us.”

The Guardian look a deep breath. “Let’s go,” he said. Jaymes gathered up the group of adventurers and had them split up into groups of two to search through the area for an entrance to the catacombs.

He could tell that Kaya’s fall weighed heavy on the others, as well… Nira seemed the most affected, besides himself. Of course, she was there when it happened. She’d seen what the monster had done. How the priestess was able to function after what occurred was beyond him. Jaymes had difficulty moving around as it were. If he stopped to think about it too much, he would not be able to continue on his mission. Still, they were an odd number now… she would have to go with Leila. Amellisan… she would go with the goddess, because Jaymes didn’t think he could bear to be comforted right now. Instead, he would follow behind them… watching them. Protecting them.

After all, that was his duty, and duty was the only thing that kept him going right now… all that kept him from falling over in grief. The urgency of the end of their long, hard journey was in sight. There would be plenty of time to grieve when the scroll was in the goddess’ hands. Ariadna could correct the wrongs of Karn. He knew that she would do everything in her power to right the atrocities of this world. He had to give her the same level of commitment.

The temple grounds were a mess of rubble and debris and so much of it had fallen. Every entrance to the catacombs they found was collapsed, and locating others took far longer than it should have if the grand temple was still intact, so they began looking for places where the floor had caved in instead. Only a few fistful of minutes had passed in their search, but to Jaymes it felt like hours before Amellisan shouted with excitement, her entire body trembling with eager anticipation. “I found it! I think I found a way down into the catacombs!”

The news had come at the right time… Jaymes had been beginning to worry they wouldn’t find it, or at least not in time. If the Fury was here, Jaras was coming… and they were running out of time. With the help of Amellisan, they were able to gather up the others and proceed back to the chasm in the floor that she had discovered… a rent in marble where the roof has collapsed… A deep hole into the darkness beneath the temple and, as far as they knew, the only way in or out.

Jaymes hated that idea. Being trapped below with only one way to escape… he wanted at least a second, but that was not a luxury they could afford right now. There was no time.

Securing a rope to a large chunk of stone that had collapsed from the temple wall, Jaymes made sure it was secure before he proceeded to descend into the dark depths. Once at the bottom, he produced his torch and lit it from his flint. The dusky smell of the catacombs assaulted his nostrils. He covered his hand over his mouth and nose to shield himself from the odor, turning and looking down the catacomb tunnels that stretched into the darkness. They would have to search for a way back to where the High Priestess had fallen, towards the center of the maze they found themselves in… and he would need the others to come search with him.  He could see around the area but nothing looking like the scroll was visible. The others would need to come down here to search with him.

“I’m going to need some help down here!,” he called. “I don’t trust that stone, so one at a time… we’ll search for the scroll!”

Jaymes placed the torch he was holding into the ground firmly. It would act as a beacon back to the rope and their freedom. A second torch would allow them to explore the catacombs.

One by one, the others came down the rope. Upon reaching the catacomb floor, Jaymes could see that Ariadna was excited about the prospect of finally finding the scroll. For the first time in a long time, he thought he saw a smile cross her lips, a bit of light to her otherwise grim expression. This would be their final journey together… for Kaya. Jaymes took out his second torch, lighting it up. The amber glow of the torch flame danced across the catacomb walls. There was no other light besides the torches they had brought with them. The catacombs had an old and rustic smell to them, a smell full of dust and ancient stone.

“I think it would be best if each of us took a torch and spread out to find the scroll,” he suggested. “That way, we’ll cut down our amount of time down here and we can get back to the surface before someone decides to bury us down here with the rest of the dead bodies.” Jaymes hated to split up again but he had to be pragmatic about the situation. Time was not on their side and every second they spent in the catacombs looking for the scroll was another moment towards Karn’s forces descending upon them.

Digging through their provisions, they were able to produce three more torches. Everyone had a torch except for Nira, but she seemed to prefer to be next to Leila anyway, so it all worked out for them. “Spread out and see if you can find the scroll. Meet back up here where the rope is if you find it and call out to the others.”

Splitting apart from one another, they rummaged through the dusty remains of the temple. Jaymes wasn’t quite sure what the scroll would look like. He assumed it would be ancient and perhaps encased in a scroll case. Would it look normal when he came across it? Would the scroll glow with some mighty magic or power that he had never seen before? He almost, more importantly, wasn’t sure what to expect to happen after they found it. All he knew was that it was the key to making this madness stop. If they could find the scroll before Jaras and his army of zealots swarmed over them like a pack of rabid wolves, that would be ideal… but worst case scenario, if Ariadna could use it to Ascend, she could escape from that even if it meant leaving the rest of them behind.

The catacombs were eerily silent with the exception of the noises that were made whenever one of them moved some rock or rubble to search or the scroll. A perfect resting place for the dead. Jaymes only prayed that it would not be theirs too. He desperately wanted to live long enough to see justice served… to avenge Kaya’s death by the hands of the monstrosities of Karn. His anguish and sadness for the loss of his recently departed wife turned to anger and rage. That anger and rage fueled his strength and determination both as he searched for the scroll.

In his determination, he almost missed it… the small flap of golden cloth sticking out from beneath a pile of rubble. Heaving, he forced several of the fallen slabs to shift enough to see the golden outfit and the crushed remnants of a mask… this could be it.

The more he uncovered, the more certain Jaymes became that here lay the late High Priestess. With increasing urgency he moved debris, shoving it to the side… and shining in the metal, he caught a glimpse of the small, shining silver clasp of a scroll case, catching the light of the torch. Turning his head in that direction, he saw it, and his breath went out. This is what they had come for. This is what Kaya had given her life for… they had it. The Scroll of Destiny was theirs.

Dread seized him them. Something had to go wrong. This had to be where he was ambushed… but there was no one around. Here had be when he learned it was empty and all of this was nothing, but moving as quickly as he dared Jaymes brushed aside some more rubble as he pulled the scroll out from under the rocks. He opened the case to pull out the parchment paper… and the scroll sat in his hand.

It was here.

It was here

“Goddess!” Yelling excitedly for his companions, Jaymes rushed back to the catacomb entrance. Standing by the rope he yelled out for Ariadna. “I found it! I found the scroll!” Deep down, Jaymes had feared that this might just be a legend… after everything, that it might not be real. But he held it in his hands, delicate parchment scrawled in tiny script in some unfamiliar language that made his eyes hurt to look at. “Ariadna!” he called as the goddess came back to him, wariness and eagerness warring for space on her face. “It’s all true!” he exclaimed. “It’s here! You can finally go home!”

The others came rushing back to where Jaymes stood by the rope. They looked over the scroll that Jaymes held in his hand. It was impossible to look on it and have doubts… it seemed perfectly normal but there was something utterly unthinkably alien about it. This was it. “The Scroll of Destiny…” Ariadna whispered, taking the scroll of Jaymes.

“It is what we’ve been looking for… It’s your key to getting home.” Jaymes realized that he was crying now, and he didn’t care. “End this madness, Goddess. Set everything right again.”

The blonde goddess’ eyes scanned over the parchment, reading through it. “Can you read it?” Amellisan asked.

“…mostly,” she whispered, distracted. “It’s not a language, exactly… it’s a spell. A very, very, very complex spell of binding… one that keeps things from changing. Or… or changing much, anyway, I think. It’s a… a key, in a lock… part of what can swap that lock open or closed.” Looking at it, she could see the threads of magic woven through it… but there was nothing else. There was no instruction on how to activate the scroll, where the lock was, or what to do with it. She flipped the scroll over in her hands, examining both sides. Did she miss something? Was it not there? Practically the moment the scroll had gone missing, Karn had been able to change everything… how had he done it?

“What’s the matter?” Leila asked, tilting her head.

Ariadna grabbed the scroll case from Jaymes to examine it as well. “No, no no… There has to be something here that tells us how to activate it. I don’t know how to work the scroll.” She furiously shook the scroll between her fingers, hoping something might just… become clear to her, somehow.

Amellisan chimed in at that moment. “Perhaps it is something that has to do with will. Maybe think about changing the destiny of one of the people on the scroll. See if that changes it?” The noble woman crossed her hands over her chest as she watched the proceedings. She was providing her best guess on how the scroll worked.

“I guess that might work,” Ariadna said slowly. “I can try it and see.” She unfurled the scroll to sort through the incredibly detailed scrawl of text and isolate down to a single mind. At first, she wanted to find Kaya… but finding a specific person in that mess was impossible. Maybe someone like Taelin could look at it and find an individual line of fate, or maybe once she was a goddess again she would be able to, but right now while she could follow a line she couldn’t find a specific one. Instead, Ariadna just picked one, focusing intently on the name, willing the destiny that was written there to change. The woman was poor… she was trying to make enough money at a bakery to escape her life. She just needed a bit of fortune. Something to change…

Concentrating with all of her might, she imagined the new destiny that the person would follow. A wealthy man off the street, stepping into the bakery and liking her bread could be the start of something new. She willed the line to shift… even a small change would show it was possible.

Nothing happened.

No matter how long she thought about it, the destiny was not changing. Feeling broken now, Ariadna slid down onto her knees, the scroll resting across her lap. She felt sorrow flooding through her body. Kaya had died to get her here… and this was how it ended for them? The key to their fates was in her hands and they were unable to use it to unlock the door to a new future. She had died trusting her, that she would be able to bring a new tomorrow, one that would bring back peace and happiness to everyone in the land. Ariadna felt sick at the prospect that she didn’t have the power to change the scroll. There was no more hope left for them. “I’m… I’m sorry…” she whispered. “I… I just… don’t know.”

He couldn’t lose faith. He couldn’t.

Realizing that nothing was going to happen at that moment, Jaymes had to take up the lead once more. The goddess just needed help. There would be another step, somewhere… always another step. He had to remain strong… for Kaya’s memory. They were not done yet… if he had to take another dozen steps on their journey, he would see Ariadna redeemed. Right now, they had to get out of the catacombs and try to flee from the city before Jaras showed up. It might already be too late, but hope sprang eternal for him. If they got out of the city with the scroll, they could then spend their time figuring out how it worked.

“Come on,” he said. “We can’t stay down here. Jaras is going to be here with his army soon and they are going to show no mercy. Our one hope is to get out of here with the scroll. We can change the destiny of everyone one at a time if we have to, but we can’t do it if we’re dead.”

Grasping the rope, Jaymes tugged on it to make sure that it was still secure, then he offered his hand to Amellisan and helped to boost her up the rope to give her a head start. Once she cleared the rope, he then assisted Nira and Leila in getting out of the catacombs.

Alone with Ariadna, Jaymes came over to her. He put his right hand on her shoulder and attempted to give her reassurance. “This is not the end, my goddess. This is only the beginning. We found our greatest tool against evil… we will use it to purge the land of the scourge that has blackened the air. I will be with you forever if necessary… but we can’t do it if we are stuck down here. I know it is a trying time for you right now, but I promise… there is still hope. As long as it burns within me, I hope it will burn within you, too. Now, come with me.” He held out his hand to Ariadna to help her to her feet.

Rising from the ground, Ariadna put on her best optimistic face. “Thank you for that Jaymes. Kaya would… she is truly proud of you right now. You have done so much for all of us and so much for me. I can’t thank you enough.” She hugged her arms around his neck.

He took a deep breath, and nodded. “There will be time for celebrations later, my goddess. For now, let’s get you away from this place.” He lifted her up to the rope and she ascended back to the surface, one at a time as before. As soon as she had disappeared up the crag, Jaymes grabbed on to the rope himself and climbed as quickly as he could, pulling himself up the last few feet… and finding, to his surprise, that no one was there to offer him a hand. The room was empty… no one had remained at the entrance to the catacomb. He thought it was strange that they would not stick around until they were all together.

Someone began clapping from behind him.

Slowly Jaymes turned… and why no one was waiting become more clear as his eyes adjusted to the light. Karnite soldiers waited against the wall, watching him… with an Inquisitor in the middle of them slowly clapping his hands together. Jaymes grit his teeth. They had taken too long and had been surrounded by Jaras’ army. Now they would have to fight their way out of this mess if they were going to survive at all.

Before Jaymes could call out to find the others, the glistening light of a blade caught his eye as the priest drew steel. The tall, blond man stepped into the light where Jaymes could see him fully… and to his surprise, it wasn’t Camden waiting for him. Dressed in black armor with a flowing cape of Inquisitorial Green drifting behind him, his eyes shined with a cruel, evil intelligence and raw malice.

“Not bad,” he said, shaking his head. “But not good enough, rebel. Karn owns this world… and no one, not you, and not your whore of a goddess, will ever change that. You will travel no further.” He spat on the ground as his hand gripped tight to his black sword.

Jaymes reached for his own sword to draw it out. “Snake,” he hissed. “Do your words battle for you? I hope the steel of your blade speak volumes louder than the hollow words that you spout from your mouth.” Jaymes narrowed his eyes. If this was how he died, he would make it worthwhile.  Tell me your name so that I may have the pleasure of telling Jaras I killed you when I face him… And where is that other lizard Camden?”

Swinging his sword through a quick warm-up of loops, the Inquisitor stopped to grip it in both hands, angling the sword away from him and pointed it right at Jaymes. “That traitor cannot help you now, Guardian. You face Karrus… tell that to those you failed to save in the afterlife. YAGHHH!” He screamed out as he swung out his sword to strike at Jaymes. “Scum like you doesn’t deserve to have a name, and no one will remember it.”

Reacting quickly, Jaymes countered with his own sword to deflect the blow, the force of the impact so hard that it caused sparks to strike from his blade. Jaymes steadied himself and his weapon as he backed off, slowly circling, looking for an opening. Camden a traitor… interesting. Jaymes swung out his sword, striking at Karrus. Their swords clashed in a flurry of blows as they dueled in the desolate ruins of the former temple. Jaymes only wanted to end this quickly so he could go find the others. If someone this skilled fought him, he could only imagine who the others were facing.

Karrus wouldn’t let up with the assault to spare Jaymes a moment to think about his friends. The Inquisitor of Karn fought with a burning rage that he unleashed upon the Guardian. It wasn’t natural to face off against an opponent with that level of anger. Warriors had to remain calm on the battlefield to survive. The way that Karrus attacked him made it feel personal. It was madness that boiled over into revenge-driven levels of hatred. Defending himself from the onslaught of sword strikes, Jaymes attempted to get the upper hand, but he was on the defensive right now. There was no way to push back. Karrus was intentionally trying to back him into a corner to get the advantage.

Through sheer luck and his keen perception of his surroundings, Jaymes managed to stay one step ahead to not allow himself to get backed against a wall. Thanks to years of training with Kaya, Jaymes could hold his own against even the berserk Inquisitor. He had trained to be a guardian of the temple. To defend their priestesses and the high priestess from any threat, including murderous lots like Karrus. He would hold his ground and get the advantage. Karrus’ murderous frenzy was insane… but he had seen it in others he had fought. Before, he wouldn’t have questioned it but now, after hearing Inara’s story and seeing Camden…

He could use this.

He had to turn this into a battle of strategy, of wits and stamina. Who could hold out the longest? Who would seize the upper hand at the last minute to turn the tide in their favor?

Memories of Kaya and the reason for their quest echoed through Jaymes’ head. He would not let Karn win this battle. He would fight to his dying breath to protect the ones he still loved and cared about in the world. No one would prevent them from changing their destinies!

Reaching the top of the rope, the light on the surface was blindingly bright. Amellisan had to cover her hands over her eyes to shield them from the rays of the sun. After being in the catacombs, she desperately wanted to feel the sun on her skin again, so shielding her eyes against the glare she slowly walked away from the chasm, eager to get out of the way of the next person climbing up. If she’d stayed closer, they might have seen what happened next. It took her eyes a few moments to adjust… and then they went wide. Soldiers! Dozens of Karnite mercenaries, waiting in the ruins, looking at her with a smile on their dark faces.

Before she could scream for help or warn the others of what was about to happen, Amellisan was grabbed around the throat from behind. Her captor put a hand over her mouth to silence any noise that she might have made for her friends. The arms that held her were strong and unyielding, and they dragged her away from the entrance to the catacombs and help, into the group of soldiers and into another part of the collapsed temple. Amellisan did not even see the face of her assailant until he tossed her back against the wall. A man of middling height, with dark, greasy hair and a ratlike expression on his face, the soldier look at her with hungry and lustful eyes as he pushed Amellisan against the wall, his hand covering her throat, trapping her to the wall.

She felt the life being crushed out of her he squeezed. “I’m so glad it was you,” he said with a pleased growl. “I missed my opportunity in Vasali, but now as a proper soldier of the True God it will be my delight to repay you properly.” He smirked at her. “I am Draken… do you recognize me?”

Amellisan did. Draken was the bastard that had betrayed her rebels… who had led to her own discovery and near death at the hands of the Inquisition. This monster was responsible for the rapes of all of her servants, her handmaiden, and Kaya. She began struggling harder against him, and the soldier laughed. “I’ve always wanted to see if a Noble’s arrogant twat felt any different from a lowborn whore’s. We could just kill you right now, but then… we wouldn’t have the pleasure of letting some upper-class bitch swallow our cocks and lick our boots.” His hands reached down to her dress, ripping it right down the middle.

Amellisan gasped as she was suddenly bared to this traitorous man, her naked body revealed to his lecherous gaze. Her breasts heaved as she breathed rapidly in her heightened state of fear. His hand came down over the top of her neck again, squeezing it. “Scream and I will break your neck right now. If you obey, you may yet live to become a slave to worshipers of the True Faith.”

His hand left from her neck to push down on her shoulders, violently manhandling her down to her knees. Sinking down onto the ground before him, Amellisan looked up at him with frightened eyes. She wasn’t a warrior… she couldn’t fight these men now any more than she could have back years ago. Draken’s fingers hurriedly unfastened his trousers to have his cock spring forth to her gaze. He slapped the head against her cheeks, rubbing it across her chin. “Put it in your mouth,” he commanded, holding his dagger in his other hand. “And if I feel a tooth, I’ll drive this through your skull.” 

Unable to resist for fear of losing her life, Amellisan opened her mouth and let the bastard’s unwashed cock glide into her mouth. Her warm lips slid across the shaft, and she gagged slightly as it hit the back of her throat. Draken gripped her hair, forcing her to take more of his cock down her mouth and throat, and she despised him for that. She wanted nothing more than to bite down and spit his cock out on the ground in a bloody mess… but doing so would mean her own death. Amellisan didn’t want to die… she couldn’t die yet. Not until she had seen the new dawn they were working towards…

Draken fucked his cock past her lips to slide the length of it along her tongue. His hands gripped into her hair so he could force her to move as he saw fit, using her throat like a snug glove for his dick. The traitor slam-fucked into her mouth, abusing her like she was more of an object than a person… never in history did even the Empire’s most depraved whore allow a face fucking like this.

Her eyes were full of hate for this man, glaring up at him between gags and choking until his cock popped out of her mouth after a few minutes of fucking her throat. He jerked her head around by her hair, using it like a leash to toss her down onto the ground. Amellisan started to get up, struggling to get away, struggling to escape him. Her hands pushed against the dirty, stained marble, but she only managed to make it up to her hands and knees before she felt Draken behind her. His hands on her hips, he gripped her tightly as Amellisan struggled to get away, but he was a soldier and twice her size, his hands far too firm and unyielding.

The head of that cock slid across her pussy lips. She didn’t want this at all… She wished they had just waited in the catacombs instead, tried to hold out there until Jaras’ army had left… even if it wasn’t likely to work. Either way, that was not going to happen now. Her life rested in the hands of this lust crazed lunatic that was pushing his over-sized cock into her pussy. She gasped out loud when Draken slid into her depths, her hands clenched into frustrated fists. She hated Karn and his followers for the very acts that were being done to her and to many others through the years. That dick glided through her passage and she hated how easy it was for him, even if it was painful for her.

He started slowly, taking his time to enjoy the “upper crust twat” he was plundering, but he didn’t wait long… after he was fully impaled in her and she felt his balls against her slit he started to fuck her harder and rougher. His hand pressed her head down into the ground as he violently fucked her, and a second later she felt a boot on the back of her head, shoving her down, stepping on her as he raped her. “Not so high and mighty are you now, cunt?” Draken moaned as he forced his way in and out.

Amellisan sobbed despite herself as she was used for the sick man’s pleasure. She could feel every inch of his thick cock as it plunged into her wet depths. Her pussy clung to the cock, not in desire but in a desperate, hopeless need to force it out. She would give anything to have a dagger at this point, to be able to fight back. The only thing she could hear over the laughter of the men with her cheek pressed hard into the marble was the echo of her pussy being sloppily filled, the sound echoing in her ears and filling her mind.

Where were the others that they would let this happen to her? Surely someone else had come up the rope at this point and would come looking for her. They must be fighting by now… she had to help! She had no idea what she could do but she had to help. Through tear streaked eyes, she looked around. No one was coming to her aid, and she could see no one… She was alone in this battle.

Draken laughed loudly as he pushed his cock deeper into Amellisan, his member surging with need before it fired off a volley of his hot semen directly into her womb. She cursed the name of Karn. She had no one to rescue her and she would have to endure for however long this sex crazed soldier wanted to have her body…

And there were dozens more, besides.

Nira found it odd that Amellisan was nowhere to be found when she reached the surface. Her eyes strained to adjust to the bright light as she sought out her friend, then she heard a muffled sound outside of the room. Heading toward what she’d heard, she did not find Amellisan but instead something far worse. She was grabbed almost immediately and dragged away from the chasm, out of line of sight.

Karnite soldiers filled her view while she watched with wide eyes, horrifically aware that they were in danger, that they were too late… and then her heart sank further. “Well what do we have here?” She was able to turn her head now and see the person that was being addressed. A man who wore a blue tunic with trousers and a similar color cape and hood. His fingers were pulling his gloves off of his hands as he regarded her with his familiar, dark eyes. “I never thought I’d be so fortunate as to see you again…”

Nira trembled at some of the worst memories of her life. Skyvus, the man who had destroyed her church. The priest who had raped her and her friends. His hand brushed through his long black hair. Already Nira was getting a sense of foreboding from this man standing in her presence. She knew that anything that he had to say would not be good and any actions that he took would definitely be in the name of evil. She swallowed. “What have you done with Amellisan? If you hurt her, I will…”

She was cut off by a slap across her face. “You will what, whore? I don’t see any weapons on you to speak of and you don’t have training like a soldier. You have no hope of hurting me… unless you mean to make my cock sore.” He smirked at her. “With the death of your goddess, Karn will rule over this land forever. You have nothing.”

Nira could feel her heart sink. Things did not look good for her friends or for her. She heard the muffled cries again, and she could now tell that it was Amellisan. A heavy burden set into her soul as she realized that her friend was being used sexually. She knew those sounds. She had heard them before… Not from Amellisan but from others, in her presence… he had done it to her. There was no way she could let that happen to Leila or Ariadna. Her mouth opened and her lungs rushed with an intake of air. She planned to yell out. To give the others a chance to react or even escape. Her last-ditch effort to warn them was cut short by the cruel priest as he held a knife against her throat. “Warn your friends and your head leaves your shoulders this instant. Then, once I’m done with you, I’ll see to it they will die a slow and painful death and your friend over there will meet her end sooner than you expected. Not only that, but I will make sure to kill the next person that comes up that rope personally. They won’t even reach the top. I will stab them through with my sword and watch their body fall into the darkness below.”

Those words sank in deeply for Nira. The next person would be Leila… she wouldn’t be willing to leave her alone up here. Her new love interest would meet an untimely end if she said anything… she never would have believed she was capable or deserving of someone like her after her time at the temple and what she had done, the way she had failed. Her desire to live combined with her love of Leila made her silence her scream. It was the last thing in the world that she wanted to do. Their fates were uncertain as long as she kept her mouth closed, but one word would end it all for them.

With a heavy heart, Nira kept her mouth closed. Her face must have shown her submission because Skyvus gave a wicked smile. He leaned in close to her, sniffing his nose through her hair. The smell of this man made her sick to her stomach. Being so close to him turned her stomach. Even thinking about him turned her stomach. She didn’t want to look at him, turning her head away from his lecherous gaze.

Nira felt the blade of a dagger hook into the top of her dress between her breasts. Her clothing had been destroyed by the Gury already, so she was really just wearing a wrapped cloak. The blade pulled the material back before slicing through it… A clean cut that bared her breasts to his eyes. Her legs closed tightly to protect her pussy from his gaze and his other advances.

Skyvus pushed his hand down across the nape of her neck and over her chest. His hand cupped her breast to squeeze against it, his finger and thumb pinching at her nipple, pulling and tugging on the small nub. “Oh how I’ve missed you,” he told her, and Nira winced slightly from the sensation. He was not as gentle as Leila. The feeling of his hands on her body made her stomach roll. She wanted her body to be only for Leila.

The cruel priest pressed his tongue against her neck, licking up her skin until his tongue touched her earlobe. The feeling of his slimy tongue on her flesh made her recoil in disgust. Her hands moved to instinctively guard her body from his advances. Her right hand covered her breasts and her left hand moved between her legs to cup against her sex. The sight make Skyvus laugh. “Don’t be like that,” he said with a sneer. “It isn’t like I haven’t already seen… and experienced… all that you have to offer.” Simply guarding herself from the priest did not stop his advances… the bastard pushed her hands away from her body, groping over her breasts. His left hand grasped her throat as he pushed her down onto the ground. Skyvus kept guiding her struggling body down even without the help of the soldiers surrounding her until she was laying on her back.

Her legs squeezed even tighter together. She knew what he wanted to do to her… again. Her last prayer was that Leila would get to the top of the rope and kill this ass before he laid another finger on her. His hands reached down to grab onto her legs, forcing them apart. Biting her bottom lip, her head turned to see if she could get a glimpse of Leila. Salvation was not to be had yet. The rustling of metal and could be heard before she felt his body slide over top of hers, his left hand keeping her pinned to the ground. “Earna fell apart soon after you left,” he said, licking her face again. “That fisherman… what was his name? His surviving son denounced him and left the town, and soon he went to drown himself. The sheer number of broken families and hatred you stirred up there was delicious… and you have no idea how hard it was not to take the proper credit with those idiots.”

He sighed, and both his words and the feeling of his cockhead sliding against her bare pussy lips sent an overwhelming sensation of despair and disgust through Nira. Her head turned to the side to imagine she was anywhere but here. Skyvus, however, wouldn’t let her pretend that this was not happening. His hand squeezed her throat and he pulled her head back toward him. This sick soul wanted to watch her torment. It wasn’t only about pleasuring himself with her body… he wanted to see her broken face of defeat.

“I can’t tell them… but you?” He said with a sneer. “Sinking that ship was the greatest idea I ever had.”

Nira’s eyes widened in shock, and at that second his cock pushed against her pussy once more. She could feel the head of his dick pierce through her entrance, skewering her, and tears flooded the corners of her eyes. “What!” she gasped, the pain of her violation secondary to what his words brought her. She had gotten those people killed because they had believed in her blessing… that was the guilt she had lived with. “You did what?”

“You really never knew?” Skyvus mocked her as his cock thrust into her hard. “Of course I made them turn on you, you stupid slut. The life of a few stupid, fish-reeking peasants was a small price to pay for a slave as gorgeous as you.”

Her world came crashing down… if possible, Nira felt more violated than she ever had. Skyvus thrust his cock into her bare pussy, pounding hard into her. Her legs squeezed against his hips and thighs in a desperate plead to slow his progress or even push him out, her fists slamming against his chest. He didn’t have the same aura of fear and helplessness that the Fury had, and that let her sorrow transition effortlessly into rage. She struggled and beat at him and it didn’t make the least bit of difference against the overbearing strength and weight of the man, but she did it anyway and she didn’t stop. “You bastard,” she hissed with tears slipping down her cheeks, her pussy filled with his cock repeatedly. She could feel that vile member slamming into her deepest parts.

Skyvus, for his part, clearly was enjoying the look of defeated rage on Nira’s face. His cold, sunken eyes had no soul to spare for humanity. He had become a parasite that fed from the living and would consume all the pleasures of life from others. No feeling of remorse or regret. No compassion laid in his dark heart. All Nira could do was endure the pain that he inflicted upon her. “Murderous bastard…” she choked out. They hadn’t died because of her. They had died because of him.

Leila preferred to operate in the cover of darkness… she had spent most of her life hiding even before she had begun hunting down the bastards. As an assassin, the shadows were an all-too-willing accomplice in her trade. Killing in broad daylight was an awful lot harder… it was easier for the monsters to get help, and there were not as many places to hide when the sun was shining down on her. She was much more at home in the dusky catacombs… it was where she would have chosen to fight, where she could easily slip into the shadows between enemies, slipping behind the next one… cutting their throats before she moved onto the next one.

But that wasn’t what being a Guardian was about… that was what Kaya had taught her. It wasn’t about killing the enemy… it was about protecting those you needed to keep alive. And for that, escaping without needing to fight was the smarter play. Besides, it was unlikely the others would be as prepared and comfortable fighting in the cramped darkness as she was.

With that in mind, Leila was only too happy to ascend the rope to the surface. They would be better off fighting in daylight. There was still the chance that they would be able to flee with the scroll of destiny before Jaras and his army of zealots showed up, and that would be for the best. Unfortunately, Leila and the others had no idea just how good of an insulator of sound the catacombs were. Being so far down, she was not able to hear anything happening on the surface unless it was right next to the hole that they had climbed down, until she arrived on the surface.

It was only when she reached the top that she realized something was wrong. That Nira and Amellisan should be here, and weren’t… but that realization came too late. There was just a brief moment of chaos and struggling, the scrape of metal scuffing against the ground, and she was hit from behind by a soldier tackling her hard enough to drive the air from her lung. Leila gave a breathless cry, and as she did she caught sight of Nira, her beloved Nira, on the ground… being raped. The sight made her heart sink just as quickly as it filled her with rage. The anger grew in her as she watched from a distance… she had sworn to protect her, and she would. Her hands reached behind her to draw her daggers from their sheaths, turning to find the soldier who had hit her…

The many soldiers.

Normally Leila was very wary of her surroundings… locating exits, places to flee. Now, however, none of that helped her… she couldn’t run. Nira was here. Ariadna was here. All her friends were here… and she couldn’t leave them behind.

One of them came at her and she tried to cry out but her voice was so weak… she had to fight her way through. Distantly, she tried not to think about the fact that Kaya had won every time they sparred, and that the woman’s skill hadn’t been enough to save her… she would just have to fight their group’s way free with Jaymes. With the daggers drawn, she flung them outward, fighting with desperation and instinct… and maybe it was skill or maybe Ariadna’s fortune had not abandoned them but she caught two of the charging guards completely unprepared. The spinning daggers buried deep into their throats quick as a lightning strike, and they dropped gurgling to the stone.

The sudden death of their compatriots only bolstered the other soldiers that were in the area, however. Leila drew her other daggers, readying them for battle with the enemy. She only had a limited supply of them so she couldn’t throw them all. The blades might get stuck in their armor and she wouldn’t be able to retrieve them. The soldiers quickly surrounded her, driving her back and away from the chasm with their swords drawn. “Jaymes!” she cried out, but again she had to wince at how weak her voice was, more of a croak than a cry. She wasn’t good enough of a fighter to survive this… she was a killer, not a warrior, and the enemy clearly had the upper hand right now. The guards started to advance at her again, and she managed to avoid one of their lunges at her by dodging to the side of the blade. Her dagger planted firmly into the neck of the Karn soldier. She leaped at the next one that was closest to her. Her tactic was to catch him off guard and stab him before he had a chance to react.

Her plan was not executed as she thought it would be. Instead of connecting with her target with the bloody dagger she had in her hand, she found herself being grappled from behind. A loud scream emitted from her lungs. She kicked back at the soldier that held onto her, trying to throw off his balance.

The other soldiers were closing in on her position. Two guards grabbed onto her legs at the ankles to keep them from kicking, and then two more grabbed her wrists to stretch them away from her body and hold her steady. Another began driving his fist into her stomach, knocking out her slowly-regaining breath again and pummeling the lithe woman as they moved past subduing the assassin and transitioned easily into brutalizing her.

Furious, the redhead tried to bite at one of the soldiers holding her, and he didn’t like that at all. He raised his hand to slap the back of it across her face, and then drew back and did it again, and again. She turned her head with each blow. The hits were dazing, but not crippling… Leila had been on the receiving end of worse abuse. The difference between most of those times and now was that she was restrained and could not could not fight back against her attacker. In fact, the only time…

One of the soldiers disappeared into the distance to speak with someone that she could not see yet from her vantage point. “Lord Rathek. We have captured another one of Ariadna’s rebels. She is quite dangerous. Before she was captured, she killed three of our men. What would you like to do with her?”

For just an instant, Leila froze. Then the sound of boots clicking on the marble came loudly behind her. “Yes…” a familiar rich voice said. “So it is her. When I heard a murderer with red hair assisted in freeing the goddess, I volunteered myself and my men for this mission… I’m glad I did. We have unfinished business, whore.”

The man had bulging biceps and a bald head, and as he came into view around her his face was covered in a sneer. His arms were muscled and strong, covered by a pair of sturdy metal bracers. Blue and gold cloth decorated the silver metal of his armor, and he loomed over her. “So where did we leave off, oh false-siren? I believe we were breaking your spirit before you face the gallows?” He chuckled as he approached her. “Though it seemed like you were beginning to take a liking to it. Maybe, if you do good enough of a job, you could serve as a slave-maiden in the temple of Karn.” He turned to the soldiers. “Prepare her for me. I will have my way with her. Once I am done, the rest of you can take the assassin as you please.”

Hearing those words, Leila struggled even more against the hands that held her down. She couldn’t get free though, and her clothes were soon discarded to the side. Rathek was right to have so many guards. She would have killed him the second he got close to her if they were not around. Her hands held down on the ground, she felt her legs being forced open. “Leave… them… alone!” she spat.

“I think not,” Rathek said as he watched while Leila’s body was laid bare to the enemy, her naked breasts heaving with every breath. He stood over her, undoing his trousers to let them drop to the ground. The man leaned down over top of her, hovering near her face. “You will make a fine servant if you give in. Convert to Karn, and perhaps you may yet live this day.” Rathek positioned his cock between her legs, and Leila winced as she felt the head pressing against her labia.

She struggled underneath him, her legs attempting to close. “Get… off… me…” She took a deep breath. “Ariadna! R-” Rathek punched her in the stomach and silenced her, her body rebelling as she retched and almost vomited. She wanted him to get off her, to keep him out. Her blood boiled with her rage and her desire to get to Nira, to warn Ariadna, to protect Amellisan. She would never convert to Karn… No matter what they did to her, she would die first. After all of the atrocities that she had witnessed, the idea of Karn and what he stood for disgusted her. “I would rather die than give you the pleasure of having my body everyday.” She hissed back in his face. She felt him thrust into her at that moment. Her pussy accepting his cock unwillingly. Her hands struggled to get free. All she needed was one so she could scratch his eyes out, or drive her fingers into his throat. Doing either would probably mean her own death, but she could take him down with her…

But neither victory nor escape was a reprieve in her reach. Rathek was all too willing to use her body while others held her down for him… his hips thrusting against her thighs. Every time his cock ground further into her Leila wanted to vomit. She hated every part of this… she hated him! If she was going to die, she wanted to take this ass with her!

Rashek could see the fire in her eyes was not dying out. He laughed a few times as he fucked her harder. “Oh, you might hate me right now, but we have an entire army to fuck the spirit right out of you. By the end of this, you will be begging me to be my slave instead…”

The fresh air of the outside world was welcome to Ariadna… the longer she spent in the mortal world, the more sharp her senses seemed, and the the dusky smell of the catacombs had started to get to her. When she looked around for her friends, however, she didn’t see them. Her heart sank in her chest when she realized that something was not right. The sound of moaning and screams greeted her ears. Ariadna’s heart sank in her chest. They were too late. Jaras’ army had arrived and they were out of time.

Ariadna grasped the scroll in her hands, gazing down at it. She shook it a few times as she willed it to work. Nothing was happening. Had the scroll her father Taelin had created after this one had gone missing robbed it of powers entirely? Was this really no longer anything more than a piece of parchment with no magical properties whatsoever?

It didn’t matter. Kaya was dead… and she was dead because Ariadna was afraid of her own powers, unable to use them properly for fear of destroying what little chance she had to return to the heavens… but if it was going to cost the lives of the people she loved, she didn’t want to keep herself intact… she wanted to save all of them. Even if that cost her her divinity, her life, or her sanity in any combination, she was never going to hesitate again. Slowly, Ariadna began to reach for her power…

And a heavy weight of power fell on her.

The echo of a clap filled the air… not applause for her deeds or actions, but a slow, demeaning clap. “You’ve kept me waiting for a very long time… Ariadna…” Even if she hadn’t recognized the voice, Ariadna would have known by the sheer sense of him who it was… when the figure of Karn’s high priest resolved out of the shadows. Jaras stood there in his black and silver armor, an almost barbarian look to the hulking man in his sheer size and strength. He had a sinister look on his face… A smile that should have sent a chill down Ariadna’s spine.

It didn’t. It just made her furious.

“Congratulations on making it this far, goddess. You’ve managed to evade me for years… but this is last journey you shall make in Karn’s world.” He began slowly walking towards her, and as he did his eyes began to glow with the power he was channeling from his god. Karn’s fury pressed against her… and if she didn’t quite feel as helpless beneath it as she had a decade ago, it didn’t feel like enough. She could feel his lust and hatred pressing on her, and she couldn’t tell what belonged to Jaras and what to her brother. “Feel lucky that you have lived this long. Your lies and deception kept you out of our hands for far too long. Karn has decreed that you will be mine for a time… and I look forward to breaking you. Slowly. Making you regret what you had done. The countless troubles you have caused me.”

Ariadna slowly raised her hands, fighting against the direct attention of her brother all the way. “For… what you have done… to my followers…” she choked out as her eyes began to shine and her skin began to heat up. “I am going… to kill you…”

Jaras smirked, tilting his head to the side and stretching his neck muscles. He brought his hands together in front of him and cracked his knuckles. “You will try. It’s a shame that I can’t keep you too long… a body like yours is irreplaceable, but with enough of your followers I’m sure I’ll find something to satisfy me.”

Ariadna noticed the gesture he made with his hands, summoning more power… she had to get out of here. Her friends were around… she had to be able to fight without risking their lives. She had to fight through the magic and get outside and away from them. She brought her hands up in a warding gesture, fighting against the Subjugation, fighting her brother’s will directed right at her. Jaras was far more powerful than the priests she had overcome before, much better connected to her brother and able to channel his power, and Karn’s attention was on her directly now so it was much more difficult… but she felt the grip on her mind slip, and when it did she grabbed and pulled and it slid away like an oiled skin on water. The burst of energy knocked Jaras back slightly, and for a second she was tempted to try to lunge at him, to maybe get lucky and end the fight… but no. The goddess of fortune she might be, but her luck hadn’t been that good, not in a long time. Her best bet was to get away from the others so she could fight freely. Ariadna turned and ran through broken hallways, past soldiers, watching with a heavy heart as she was forced to pass by Amellisan in the middle of being abused but needing to get distance from the woman before…

The all too familiar feeling of magic crackled in the air around her, and flame washed over her. Ariadna lifted her hands quickly to form a magical barrier, and the hot roar of flames danced around her… consuming several of Jaras’ own soldiers in Karn’s blaze. It took more than a minute before the flames died down enough that she could see, and Jaras strode towards her, seemingly amused that she was untouched. “I’m going to take you, Ariadna,” he promised, his gaze locked on her face as he put both of his hands together. A black void formed before him. Dark magic granted to him by Karn. The darkness shot forth toward her in a concentrated beam of energy.

Ariadna called on the firestorm. Control. Control. Control. Hold onto it. Channel it. Don’t let it rage. Don’t hurt anyone… Leila. Amellisan. Jaymes. Nira. They were in there. Then, after concentrating for a fraction of a second to concentrate, she unleashed her power and let it fight back. The fire, burning with the energy of light and life and raw creative power burning against the destructive darkness. It served to fight back the blackness, to keep it away from her, keep it from hurting her or anyone else.

Jaras did not looked pleased that his magic would not win him this fight. His hands went to his back, unstrapping the massive warhammer he carried… and now it was Ariadna’s chance. She could go on the offensive and wipe this monster from the face of the land. The fallen goddess launched her own attack, larger and more powerful than she had ever dared before… but focused. Focus… focus… don’t let it out of control… She cast fire up through the heavens, and the heavens answered with a mighty roar of rage, a sound that shook loose stones around the temple. Clouds seemed to boil into existence, filling the sky and darkening the landscape… and then a bolt of lightning cracked through the air to strike at Jaras.

The sound of the thunder clap as it struck her foe was deafening. A cloud of dust and smoke rose from the impact site. Ariadna stared at the column of smoke, hopeful that her attack took him down. When the haze cleared, she could see Jaras still standing there. He laughed maniacally, brushing his hands together. Not a single scratch had been bestowed on him. The high priest wasn’t even charred or burned from the lightning strike. Her brother protected him… it made their magical abilities far closer to on par with each other that she would like.

Ariadna suddenly felt unsure about herself. They could get into an extended magic battle… but at what cost? Her friends were still around the area. She would risk hurting them if she rained magical fire down on Jaras. Even then, it was no guarantee that she would win. It would be a battle of magical endurance… and she had to believe that in a question of who would get tired and run out of magical power first, it wouldn’t be the man getting his strength directly from an active god, not compared to a fallen, pathetic thing like her.

Still… she didn’t feel like she had much of a choice in the matter. It was overcome him, or everyone was dead.

Ariadna gripped her hands together in front of her and focused, and the air around her crackled with magical energy. The energy of the world around her flowed in… she felt the touch of her followers minds in it, felt their pain and suffering, and also felt the cruel, sadistic glee of the men using them. Both only made her resolve grow stronger. She wouldn’t fail them again. Ariadna gathered that energy together, more and more of it… more energy than she had ever dared to gather and use since the firestorm she had lost control of, every bit of her attention focused on keeping control of it at all costs… powerful enough to batter through his defenses, but small enough not to flatten the hilltop and hurt her friends. Control… control… control… Her hand lifted to the heavens, Ariadna more than anything else willed a ball of fire into existence and it rocketed towards Jaras from the clouds like a dropped stone, crashing directly into him. It wasn’t much bigger than a dog, but it had all the intensity of that first firestorm packed into one compact area. And when it hit it did so with a blinding flash of light and a thunderous boom. The explosion of that impact shook the ground, and for a horrible second Ariadna feared that it would do enough to further collapse the temple and bury those she cared about despite her care… but it didn’t. The mighty temple swayed, but stood as the expanding explosion sucked in air to feed the blaze toward the epicenter where Jaras had once stood.

As her hearing and vision slowly returned, Ariadna could hear the horrified commotion of people running around as they scrambled about, holding onto walls and doors as the mountain still trembled beneath them. Other of Karn’s soldiers were now gathering around her, and she felt utterly exhausted and overwhelmed by using so much magic energy. Slowly, she sagged to her knees, trying to keep breathing, trying to summon up more energy. At least they seemed reluctant to try to approach her… scared of her power. The goddess’ eyes flicked toward the distance where the smoke was slowly clearing around the huge crated she had blasted in the ground. Jaras, at least, was dead… vengefully, she hoped that that hurt her brother as much as her high priestess’ death had wounded her. In fact, maybe that was the reason the soldiers held back, just as afraid of his death as-

A disheartening look crossed Ariadna’s face as an armored hand emerged from the crater. It pushed on the ground, stirring the smoke as slowly the high priest of Karn lifted himself out of the sunken rubble. He had his hair singed off from the magical fire, and he looked furious… but he also looked unhurt. Ariadna struggled to rise back to her own feet, but her knees gave out, gasping as he strode confidently towards her before gripping her by the throat and lifting her up into the air by it so she was strangling on his fist. “All that trouble,” he growled, “just to burn my fucking hair off.” Jaras’ other hand grabbed onto the neckline of her dress and ripped, tearing the fabric down to the middle like it was paper. “Weak. Pathetic. Hard to believe you were ever a goddess… but at least you’ve finally found your place in the world as a whore.”

A loud gasp escaped from Ariadna when her naked body came into view, and her breasts heaved with each struggled breath, each thrash as she fought for air as she dangled from his grip. Her legs kicked against him, but it felt like kicking a mountain… like she was the mortal one, and he the god. In the moment, Jaras felt as much a proxy for her brother, his patron, as he ever had as he casually undid his greaves and slipped out of them, freeing his cock to stand at attention towards the gorgeous, mostly-nude goddess. She drove her foot into the shaft and his balls, and to her disgust she found it just as hard and unyielding as the rest of him… she felt so weak. Ariadna tried to squirm away from him, but one hand grabbed onto her legs and pulled her back in, the head of his cock piercing past her pussy lips as he rested just barely inside her, sneering into her eyes. Then, using his grip on her neck like a handle, he slammed her down and she gave a breathless scream as she dropped all the way onto him, him cock invading deep into her body.

“Finally!” he grunted, squeezing his hand harder on her neck even as he lifted her back up by it before both hands worked together to bounce her on his dick again. “Do you have any idea how long I’ve waited for this?” Jaras growled through his gritted teeth. “I will take everything from you. Everything you love. Everything you hold dear. I will rend it from your grasp and crush it to powder!” His cock punched into her cervix like a battering ram. “Your friends will die! Your temples will fall! Everyone who ever worshiped you will either forget you or be burned alive! You will be nothing when this is over… I will personally erase you from the memory of this world! Karn will rule over everything and you will be nothing at all but a silent whisper in the wind!”

Relentless in her rape, Jaras showed no mercy to her body. His cock hammered into her pussy hard and fast, thrusting deep into her. She could feel his blunt tip slamming into the back of her pussy with each stroke, painful as being stabbed by a sword. She gritted her teeth at the sexual abuse that she had to endure, still feeling the scroll trapped to her legs, ignoring both the priest’s thrusts and her own desperate attempt to use it. Jaras showed no signs of letting up as he plowed her tight pussy, stretching it wide around his length while her legs flailed out from either side of his pounding hips. Her pussy clinging to his invading shaft, the tight muscles squeezing in a desperate, hopeless attempt to slow his relentless fucking or push him back out of her. It was her body’s only method of defense against such an onslaught, and it was as ineffective as her kicks and punches.

The way her pussy gripped tighter on Jaras’ cock felt like enthusiasm to the priest and made him grin. “Oh, you like this, do you?” he mocked her. “Remind you of old times, does it? I can feel your pussy tightening up around me. It wants this. The rest of you might be stupid, but your cunt know what you are, what you were meant for… you were fated to be a slave to the cocks of Karn’s servants. You love it. All you have to do is admit it and become a good slave to your betters, and you might live through the day, you perfect blonde fucktoy.” He squeezed her throat hard enough that only her divine toughness kept it from being crushed. “Getting your divine pussy raped and filled every day by the armies of Karn’s followers is your place in this world, and the sooner you admit it the sooner you’ll be happy again. Our numbers grow every day… I promise you, there will never be a lack of cock for your hungry pussy.”

The very idea of succumbing to Jaras, to Karn or to any of their followers turned Ariadna’s stomach. She didn’t even want the rape that was happening to her right now. Death seemed a far better outcome then letting her mind, will, and body be corrupted by the man’s boundless evil. She wouldn’t have given him the satisfaction of saying anything even if he wasn’t choking the air out of her… Her eyes burned with defiance as she stared down at the priest, silent in her response. He had her body… he could rape her, but she would never yield to him, never submit, never enjoy it. He wanted that… He wanted her to break. He wanted her brother to let him keep her, wanted her mind and morals and body to break.

She wouldn’t. She would not become a mindless puppet. She would not become some sex mad slave for the use of Karn.

Jaras did not like the look of defiance in her eyes, the proof of spirit. His hatred and disdain for her only grew, his face twisting into a darker mask when he looked into her eyes. The priest understood that she was not going to give in to his demands. That fat cock lunged inside of her. A hot flood of his cum burst out from his cock tip to soak into her insides as he glared hateful daggers into her soul, holding there while his dick twitched inside of her and splashed her cervix with seed.

Finally pulling her off his length, Jaras watched as his seed spilled out of her stretched hole. His cum dribbled own from her pussy lips to soak the ground beneath them. The bitch was never going to yield. He could just kill her now, perhaps… that might send her to Karn or it might send her to Passage, but he didn’t really care… he didn’t want either yet. He wanted her to be completely humiliated and ruined before he let her shed the mortal coil Taelin had made for her. If she would not submit to Karn, she would know the depravity of his madness.

Dropping Ariadna heavily to the floor, he kicked her in the side hard enough that she rose up and flew before tumbling, landing on her stomach as Jaras fell in behind her, grabbing onto her by the hips. His cock, no softer now than it had been in the seconds before he had exploded, nudged between her legs once more… but this time it didn’t brush against her pussy. Jaras’ cock inched higher to slide between her ass cheeks. The wet, slippery head of his cock nudged against her puckered hole, and he groaned in triumph as he pushed his cock head against her asshole.

Ariadna screamed out when that thick cock head stretched open her bottom. Her hands clenched into fists to beat on the ground… it felt like he had shoved his warhammer into her instead of his dick, and it was just the head. In pain, she hit the ground hard enough that she sank her hand a bit of the way into the stone, using it as handholds to try and pull herself away from him, and Jaras yanked back on her hips so he could keep her from moving away, holding her effortlessly in place… and then his hips lunged forward with purpose. His cock violated every inch of her guts in a second, his hips slapping against her ass a half second later despite the best resistance her body could muster.

Sobbing from the pain and humiliation, Ariadna bowed her head toward the ground. Her left hand pushed toward her mouth and she bit down on her knuckle, willing herself not to scream. Her pain was what the priest wanted, what drove him forward. It fueled his rage for her, the need to claim her body completely overpowered him. She needed to stop screaming, but it hurt so badly… Ariadna prayed with every passing moment that someone could come to rescue her from this madman… it was like being raped by the overpowering force of her brother again, but now as a mortal with none of the strength and toughness she had had then.

No one was coming for her. There was no one to come and offer her relief… her friends were all too busy fighting their own battles. They couldn’t come help Ariadna… they were counting on her to help them! Not one of them was a match of Jaras… Ariadna was the only one capable of withstanding his magic… the others would easily fall to his magic prowess or his unstoppable strength. She needed to do this herself, somehow, she needed to be stronger, she needed to- Jaras slammed his cock deep into her ass, unloading a torrential flood of cum inside her, and she screamed again. She could feel every pulse of his cock as he emptied his vile, disgusting seed, feel every single bump and vein and ridge and swell… and the priest still wasn’t through with her.

Rolling her back into her back, Jaras slammed his cock back into her pussy. Already lubricated from the previous time he had fucked her, his cock easily slid back into her pink depths. His hands gripped back onto her throat, choking her. “You’ll break before you die,” he snarled at her. “You’ll die hollow and hopeless and even more pathetic than you are now, goddess… the biggest disgrace in the history of the Empire.”

He wasn’t satisfied with her body’s responses to him. She wasn’t like the other temple maidens and priestesses that they had captured in the past… most of whom had given up quickly beneath his power, the moment they realized how utterly outmatched they were. Ariadna, however, was different. While she might feel just as beaten, she had a truly inhuman will and strength of purpose… Her willpower, her desperate need not to lose and to save her friends, pushed against his own to dominate her, and it infuriated Jaras. He wanted nothing more than to hear her begging like a whore before she died. His cock stretched her pussy wide, letting it glide deep into her. He could feel the cock head pushing against the back wall of her pussy, scraping his cock clean of her filth on the pristine wall of her divine cunt. The priest would enjoy nothing more than using her body every day, but if she would not break, then she would die. His hands drew tighter, choking her throat. Ariadna could feel herself starting to black out.

That cock pounded into her over and over again, making her feel helpless. Her pussy squeezed on that cock, attempting to force it out of her body. Her eyes closed, summoning up all her courage to fight through this. Her thoughts went to her friends. Jaymes. Amellisan. Nira. Leila. Kaya. They fought so hard to get to this point. With every drop of energy left in her body, she pleaded for help. Anybody. Someone. Anyone at all. Please help. Give her the strength to end this, somehow… give her the strength to save them all…

Ariadna wasn’t sure what she was looking at at first. In the dull and darkened landscape of the ruined temple, the overcast clouds that had been summoned by her power parted, and a beam of bright light shone down directly on Ariadna. This wasn’t the soft rays of the sun, though… it was brighter, somehow more radiant still. Something shining was plummeting from those clouds, falling like a shining star, blindingly bright and overpowering. Soldiers covered their faces, crying out. Even Jaras stopped in his rape of Ariadna to pull off of her and shield his eyes from the light, looking up into it as the glow grew brighter and brighter and brighter and…

And then, like a comet, Kaya struck the ground.

The woman glowed a shimmering gold, a radiant light shining within her that welled up from her heart to flow through the rest of her, from the tips of her toes to the hair that waved wildly in the breeze of the explosion she had caused. Wings grew from her arms, a thick mane of feathers flowing from her abdomen all the way to her wrists.

A siren. Kaya was a siren.

“Get away from her,” the woman snarled, her voice like the furious screeching of an angry harpy as she stared at the sprawling army and the high priest, his arms crossed before his chest in a warding gesture. Joy leaped into Ariadna’s heart as the winged woman rose among the dust and ash and scorched earth where she had landed, the holy protector and servant striding towards Jaras.

His face was locked in between disbelief and confusion for several seconds before settling on fury. “What is the meaning of this!” he spat, closing his pants even though he wore no armor anymore, but even so he took up that massive hammer again, rising to meet the siren in battle…

In a surprising twist, it was not Kaya that delivered the first attack. Somewhere in the dust, someone screamed. A second later, Jaras staggered forward, and Ariadna could see a pair of daggers embedded in the high priest’s back, and Ariadna could feel Leila’s sense of triumph. Jaymes was gaining the upper hand in his own battle, and all around her she could feel rapists abandoning their individual groups to come to the aid of their high priest, his army coming to him.

She could feel it.

She could feel it.

Kaya charged. The woman carried no weapon, but a siren was never unarmed… her feathers turned hard as steel and just as sharp as they sliced across his body. The high priest cursed, trying to ward her off and get his hammer into position just as Leila emerged from the smoke, naked and bruised but her eyes determined as she came to the assistance of her mentor, driving a knife into a gap in the high priest’s armor, and blood dripped down as he tried to grapple with Kaya and keep her strength away from him.

Still dazed, Ariadna looked up and noted the ripples in the sky with horror. Furies. Dozens of Furies were coming… Karn sending all of his immortal servants to join the fight. She could feel them, too… feel their hatred and rage and lust and…

And this was impossible.

“Kill him!” Kaya yelled, holding onto both of his hands and trying to keep them apart as he slowly gathered magical power, his hammer dropping heavily to the floor. “Kill him!”

She was about to be overborne when Leila slipped past two soldiers and jumped onto Jaras’ back, grabbing onto his scorched scalp as she slashed a knife across his throat. Jaras’ furious shout trailed off in a disgusting gurgle as blood poured from his wound, and he tried to bring his hands up, no doubt trying to conjure some kind of healing magic. A soldier drove a sword into Kaya’s back from behind and she lashed out with one winged arm, sending his arm flying separately from his body as Ariadna witnessed the wound be barely a scratch, and she never once stopped holding back Jaras, staring into his eyes as he bled out through his throat, no matter how many soldiers clustered around her, resisting her efforts to push them back as she ensured the high priest died.

Furies were descending everywhere. She didn’t understand how this was possible. Tears of joy streamed down Ariadna’s face, but she was almost as confused as happy, and despair warred with her elation… Kaya’s return changed nothing. The number of Furies that had come to fight her was simply overwhelming. And yet… it changed everything. How was this possible? This was a miracle beyond miracles. She couldn’t create a new siren… she wasn’t a goddess anymore. Taelin had stripped that power and position from her.

Hadn’t he?

She had always had power. She had always been stronger, tougher, faster than mortals, even after her power was stolen and she was cast down. She had still had her magic. She had still could look into her worshipers’ souls and see the men and women they were. Was it possible… was it possible that this was just…

She stared at the scroll. Was it possible this was just how drained she was after Karn had stolen what he did? Was it possible Taelin hadn’t actually taken anything from her at all? Was it possible she could still-

It was her power that had summoned Kaya back from the veil of death. She knew that. She knew it as clearly as she had known her name and place for centuries. She knew it like she knew the feel of rain on her face and dirt beneath her boots now. That power… it was still hers. Whether or not she was in the heavens, whether or not Karn currently held it… that power was hers.

“Hold on!” she cried out to her friends. “Stay alive!”

And just like that, Ariadna vanished from the fallen world.

One thought on “Ascent 7 – The Crypts

  1. Well, we definitely started this chapter really feeling the emotion, with Jaymes crying and then trying to pull it together for everyone else. I was right there with him.

    The Scroll of Destiny itself is an interesting thing. I had kind of wondered what it would look like, and I like the idea that if you can read the scroll it’s kind of like reading the Matrix code: you can see everyone and their own fates. That’s a really neat idea.

    Back to sad when Ariadna’s first thought is if she can use the scroll to change Kaya’s fate, but I do appreciate that the goddess was thinking about her.

    And then of course there’s the capture scene, with everyone being confronted by their opposite numbers…well, kinda. Karrus isn’t really one for Jaymes, and Draken’s rather secondhand for Lady Amelissan, but as Camden is both semi-redeemed and dead, substitutes were needed. I do wonder where Eve is, though. Probably going to make an appearance next chapter.

    Ariadna finally decides to cut loose with her divine magic, and the fight between her and Jaras was really cool, in particular…

    Her hand lifted to the heavens, Ariadna more than anything else willed a ball of fire into existence and it rocketed towards Jaras from the clouds like a dropped stone, crashing directly into him. It wasn’t much bigger than a dog, but it had all the intensity of that first firestorm packed into one compact area. And when it hit it did so with a blinding flash of light and a thunderous boom. The explosion of that impact shook the ground, and for a horrible second Ariadna feared that it would do enough to further collapse the temple and bury those she cared about despite her care… but it didn’t. The mighty temple swayed, but stood as the expanding explosion sucked in air to feed the blaze toward the epicenter where Jaras had once stood.


    For all that he’s a monster, Jaras crawling up out of the crater afterward was kind of cool too. I also really love Ariadna’s defiance even as she’s being raped; it’s been her greatest strength throughout this story.

    Of course, it doesn’t really create a way out for her. She and the others are still…

    In the dull and darkened landscape of the ruined temple, the overcast clouds that had been summoned by her power parted, and a beam of bright light shone down directly on Ariadna. This wasn’t the soft rays of the sun, though… it was brighter, somehow more radiant still. Something shining was plummeting from those clouds, falling like a shining star, blindingly bright and overpowering.


    And then, like a comet, Kaya struck the ground.


    The woman glowed a shimmering gold, a radiant light shining within her that welled up from her heart to flow through the rest of her, from the tips of her toes to the hair that waved wildly in the breeze of the explosion she had caused. Wings grew from her arms, a thick mane of feathers flowing from her abdomen all the way to her wrists.

    A siren. Kaya was a siren.



    Oh my God I actually said something like this would be an honor for Kaya and this is only the second time anything I’ve ever thought like that has actually happened. I have some questions about what this means for her future, but that’ll be for the epilogue. The bit where she and Leila work together to beat the crap out of Jaras (not to mention that bit where Kaya slices a soldier’s arm off with one of her wings) was intensely satisfying!

    Ok, well, Ariadna’s realized that she’s been a goddess this whole time, just a weaker goddess, so she’s headed back home, presumably to show Taelin the scroll and confront Karn, and meanwhile Kaya, Leila, Jaymes and anyone else who can pick up a weapon are going to have to hold off a freaking army of furies, and this is one hell of a setup for the final chapter!


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