The Knight and the Acolyte Book 6, Chapter 4: The Virgin Shaman

The Knight and the Acolyte
Book Six: Heart's Longing
Chapter Four: The Virgin Shaman
By mypenname3000

Note: Thanks to B0b for beta reading this.

Xandra – Black Glass Aerie, The Island of Birds

The dark, misty clouds swept across the jungle below. I crouched on the ledge, watching the rain-laden clouds rush across the island. They washed like gray surf around Mount Peritito just below the lowest part of the aerie. I peered at the clouds, trying to spot the travelers through them, my fingers playing with my air totem.

The totem was carved from light balsa wood, sinuous lines reminiscent of currents of air swirling about the mountain. The air elemental my totem controlled danced before me, magnifying my keen vision. But not even my air elemental could allow my sight to penetrate the storm clouds.

The totem focused my will, allowing me to control elemental servants. I had four totems, each carved from a different wood and with different designs. My fingers never stopped moving on the totem, tracing the lines and keeping the elemental servant on task. Greater shamans, like my mentor Farsight, could summon an elemental and give it a task to perform without needing constant supervision.

My will wasn't so strong.

The storm's edge drifted closer. Soon, I would spy the strangers traveling the path from Baraconia. They were a welcome distraction from the preparation for tomorrow night's marriage dance. I spotted the travelers by chance, idling my free time by staring at the jungle. They were a motley group. Fascinating.

An elf led them, naked like the stories claimed, walking beside a halfling. And then a woman in armor, perhaps a knight, in the company of a priestess. The last three were a mage in red robes and two men of races I could not recognize. One hulking and swarthy, his face pierced by bone. The other had skin as black as midnight with ears as pointed as the elf's. But there were no male elves. They were one of the five hermaphroditic races birthed by Matar: elves, gnomes, nixies, sylphs, and the dreadful dragons.

The storm cleared. I smiled as I scanned the trail, only visible in small patches through the dense canopy of the jungle. But I knew where to look and I spotted the knight, her red hair spilling about the shiny shoulder plates of her armor.

Why was a knight coming here? The imps residing in Mount Peritito's caldera were under control, held back by elemental wards. What other Quest would send—

Lightning arched from the jungle and struck the knight. She fell as my heart constricted. I gasped a single word: “Couatl.”


Xerathalasia – Collserola Jungle, The Island of Birds

A pleased smile covered my lips despite the rain hammering us. The heavy drops crashed through the jungle's canopy. I had never experienced such a torrential deluge. It came out of nowhere, the steamy day overwhelmed. Minx laughed beside me, the little halfling's arms thrown wide, child-like joy shining in her drenched face.

Minx and I led the party down the jungle path. Mount Peritito, at least before the sudden deluge, rose before us, a black monolith peeking through the dense canopy. I was teaching Minx how to scout. Her thieving instincts helped greatly. She knew how to move with soundless steps and the advantages of using cover. But she was clueless when it came to reading nature. I showed her tracks left by birds and beasts, pointed out disturbed brush and bent fronds, and animal spoors.

“Be aware of everything,” I had told her. “Sounds and smells are as important as vision.”

She was quick and observant. As the day went on, she spotted more and more animal signs. So it was hard not to smile at her rapid improvement. One day, I would teach my daughter these skills. She must have been born by now, looking so small in my wife's arms.

Guilt twinged my stomach.

“Oh, I missed afternoon showers,” Minx laughed again. “I loved the rains. Made it easier to sneak on roofs.”

“Yes, I can see the advantages. Masks your sounds, and no one wants to look up in such a downpour.”


“But doesn't the rain make for treacherous footing?”

Minx shrugged. “Added to the fun.”

As quickly as the rains started, they stopped. The cacophony retreated to near silence, punctuated only by water dripping from everything. The birds, which had been chirping loudly before the rains, were still silent. I frowned, my ears twitching. The muggy wind shifted.

“What was that?” Sophia gasped.

“Afternoon showers,” Minx answered.

The cold scent of reptilian scales brushed my nose.

As Minx said, “This time a year they're very—” as I said, “Something—”

Lightning arced out of the brush and struck me in the chest.


Journeyman Mage Faoril

I jumped as the lightning bolts arched out of the jungle. The hair on my arms stood up, and a stomach-turning scent of burnt air filled my nose. Thrak, Angela, and Xera all dropped, hit at near the same instant. Sparks danced around Thrak as he collapsed hard on the ground, muddy water splattering about his face.

My hand shot down into my robe's pocket, grasping the vial of Thrak's cum. I pulled it out, my thumb popping of the cork and breaking the magical seal preserving the seed's potency. I didn't have to think about grabbing it. I had done it so many times. I brought the vial to my lips and downed it, the thick cum flowing down my mouth.

As warm and as salty as drinking it from the source.

The power filled me.

Movement slithered out of the jungle. A thick-bodied serpent, vibrant-green scales and a collar of purple feathers about its neck. Its mouth opened. It hissed. Lightning danced along its fangs. As I stared at the monster slithering closer, knowledge danced through my head. Couatl. Feathered serpents thought to have been bred by avian shamans to guard their aeries. Many have escaped into the wild. Feral. Dangerous. Use lightning to stun prey.

It flicked its tongue at me, coming closer and closer.

Couatl have been known to mate with women. Netavias in his “Travels across the Nimborgoth” speculated that avian females would use the monsters for sex, skirting the rigid monogamy laws and customs of their race while their males were out hunting or on war parties. Of course, Ventaries ridiculed Netavias in his “Treaties on the Avians of Roc Isle.” According to him, no avian woman would even think about violating her marriage oaths with man or monster. It went against their very nature.

Why was I just standing here recalling what I learned? I should act.

I trembled. I had to do something. Its tongue flicked again. It tasted the air, smelling with its tongue instead of with its nostrils. Couatls were thought to be created by merging rocs with serpents. Often shamanistic creations were created in that fashion, using elementals to create the effect. Kobolds created warg in a similar manner, merging kobold and wolf, making intelligent, deadly predators.

No, focus. What was wrong with me?

I seized the power within me. I would wrap the serpent in air then open a hole in the ground and bury it. Two more of the foul couatls slithered out. Sophia screeched as one crawled over Angela's unconscious form.

I sent out the power of elemental air, seized the wind and

Nothing happened.

Nothing flowed out of me.

I gasped, trembling. Relaria's yowl echoed through my mind. My palms grew clammy. My stomach roiled. I tried to seize my magic. I grasped the power, and it spilled through my metaphysical fingers. I shivered. It was so dangerous. What if I lost control again? My breaths came faster and faster. The world spun about me.

I pictured Thrak hurtling from me, almost killed.

It was too much. To powerful. I couldn't be trusted with it.

The couatl lunged at me.



As the couatl crashed into Faoril, I fell to my knees. I slung my lyre's case off my back. I did not want to expose the strings or the wood of the instrument to such humidity. After the deluge, the air swam with moisture. If the damp warped my instrument or weakened the strings, the music would not be perfect.

But I had little choice. Whatever magic Faoril tried to use had not been effective. She screamed as the couatl wrapped its sinuous body about her. At the Bardic College of Az, I had taken classes on bewitching monsters. Different beasts required different techniques to placate them. Lullabies worked well on ogres while trolls were susceptible to befuddlement. Griffins could be befriended and hippogriffs scared. But many monsters were primal, responding to only the most basic of drives.

And none were more basic than lust.

My fingers strummed across the strings, chords of low, throbbing notes pulsed through the air. The couatl, crushing Faoril's body and bringing strangled screams from her mouth, paused. It lifted its head and looked at me. A pink tongue flicked out. Another hissed. The one coiling about Angela's unconscious body bobbed its head, its crimson feathers undulating.

The couatl wrapped about Faoril's body pulsed color down its scales, a rippling mottle of violets and blues. Its body flexed, coiled loops sliding about Faoril's body. Electricity danced about its scales, bringing gasps from Faoril.

Not gasps of pain, but pleasure.

Being fucked by the couatl was better than being eaten until a more combatant member of our party recovered from the stunning lightning.



The dull-brown scales of the couatl glistened in the sunlight streaming through the canopy as it rushed for the unconscious Xera. A flash of anger surged through me. The couatl were a problem for the halflings who settled on the Island of the Birds, and one the avians refused to accept responsibility for creating and letting escape into the jungle.

I pulled my knife from my sheath and stabbed the couatl as it reached Xera's twitching leg. “No, she's mine to play with.”

My knife scored along the thick scales of the serpentine monster. It hissed, a thin line of oozing blood trickling down its body and reaching its crimson feathers. The collar of feathers expanded around the head, forming a hood. The couatl opened its mouth. Lightning danced on sharp fangs dripping with saliva.

“Cernere's nimble fingers,” I gasped as I dived behind a thick tree.

Lightning crackled. Smoke burst, rolling about the tree trunk. Sap sputtered and boiled. The couatl hissed again, and another flash of lightning scored the tree I hid behind. The thing slithered across the mud, making a squelching sound as it circled me.

I ran deeper into the jungle.

Lightning exploded behind me. I yelped, the hairs on my arms standing up as another bolt arced past me and struck a tree in front of me. Sparks danced on the wood, and flames sputtered for a moment then snuffed out, leaving curling, gray smoke behind.

I dodged to the right. Bushes rustled behind me. Twigs snapped and wet leaves squished. I splashed through a puddle and jumped over a root. I ducked vines as lightning shot over my head. Fire flared to my right.

My heart hammered.

“You think you can eat me?” I laughed. I had to lead it away from Xera and the others. I couldn't let any of them die.

How could I steal the sword from them then?

Fear twisted in my stomach. If any of them died, the quest might fail. Especially if Xera perished. She was necessary. Her keen senses and wisdom were vital to get the other sword pieces. One was lost in the Mirage Gardens. A place even harder to get into than the Doge's Great Vault.

The couatl hissed in frustration as it slithered after me. I threw looks over my shoulder as I dodged through the jungle. It crashed through the underbrush, head raised. Lightning danced across its skin. When it splashed through puddles, the current arced in blue-white lines from its body, like the wiggling legs of a centipede. When it crashed through plants, they shriveled from the electricity, smoking and almost catching fire.

They would burn if the jungle wasn't soaked in water.

“Is that really the best you can do?” I laughed, flashing a grin. Despite my fear for my companions well-being, exhilaration ran through me. It was a chase. I was the best at escaping. Only Xera had ever caught me.

But I needed to do more than escape it. If it lost me, it would double-back, go for Xera while she still lay stunned. Halflings were known to be knocked out for a half-hour or longer. Maybe elves, who were even bigger, would recover faster, but I wasn't sure.

So what could I do? I had my alchemical bombs.

I shoved my hand into my pouch, shifting through the supplies. I brushed the clay balls. I had my alchemist mark each one with a different symbol. I brushed one with a spiral, a damiana bomb. I didn't need to drive the creature mad with lust. How would that help? The next ball also had a spiral. I dug deeper, ducking a low-hanging vine.

I brushed a one with an X carved onto the side. Chamomile. My sleep bomb.

I laughed, “Oh, you're going to love this.”

I whipped out the sleep bomb and spun as I jumped. The couatl burst out of a brush, feathers spreading wide, mouth opening to discharge lightning. I hucked my bomb with a sideway throw, snapping my arm around.

My aim was true. The bomb struck the couatl right in the mouth. Purple smoke erupted, covering its face for a moment. I hit the ground, one foot in a muddy puddle. I almost fell as my foot sank into the mud, throwing me off balance as it gripped me.

The couatl emerged from the smoke, hissing in anger.

“Vedr's queef,” I groaned. The creature was not asleep. Sleeping bombs worked great on humans and halflings. I assumed they would work perfectly on everything else.

The couatl lunged at me. Its body coiled into a spring and launched through the air so swift. I gasped and dived to the side. Every hair on my body stood up as it surged past me. I felt the electricity humming around it. A hands breadth closer, and it would have stunned me. I would have made a small meal, an appetizer.

My heart racing, I scrambled to my feet as it whipped around and hissed. I had one other type of bomb in my pouch. Lightning crackled. I threw myself to the ground. I rolled on muddy leaves as the bolt arched over my head.

I shoved a hand into my pouch, searching for a bomb marked with the chevron.


The couatl slithered closer, tongue flicking.

Another spiral than an X.

It coiled to strike.

X. X. Spiral. Come on. I had four of each type. Where was the—


I smiled as I grasped the acacia bomb and ripped it out. I threw it as the serpent lunged. The bomb struck its belly right below the collar of feathers. A white-brown gunk expanded when the clay shattered, reacting with the air.

I rolled to the side

The serpent landed next to me, the foam expanding, tangling it up with fallen branches, bushes, and the side of a tree. Its muscular tail thrashed as its head jerked, trying to break free. It hissed as the foam spread down its body, immobilizing more and more of it.

I loved sticky bombs.

I stood, pivoted, and jammed my knife through its eye, punching into the monster's brain. It stiffened. Its tail thrashed a final time, then it fell limp.

“I am the best,” I chortled as I tried to wrench my knife out.

But it was stuck.

“Vedr's queef,” I groaned as I tugged again. “Don't be stuck. You're ruining the moment. Stupid knife.”



My armor groaned and rattled as I came swimming back to consciousness, propelled by the blessing of Gewin sunk into my skin. Chaun sung a passionate melody. Memories of the lightning bolt arching out of the trees shot adrenaline through my body and—

Something was wrapped about me.

Scaly and warm.

The serpentine monster had me trapped. Its tongue flickered in my face. A collar of feathers spread out around its neck. A couatl? Electricity coursed over its skin. I gasped as the current rippled through my body. It wasn't the stunning bolt, but something different.

Something that tingled my nipples and clit. I gasped, my pussy flushing wet. The electricity coursed through me, awakening all the pleasure centers of my body. I moaned and convulsed, my eyes widening in bliss.

“Angela!” Sophia shouted, brandishing her glowing, enchanted dagger. She drew it back to stab the monster.

“No,” I gasped, my mind flooding with a rush of sensations. “No, no. Not yet.”

“What?” she gasped.

The serpentine monster's shifted its body, a coil pressing between my thighs. The electricity raced up and down my legs, curling my toes and caressing my pussy. My cunt clenched, and I bucked against it, squeezing my thighs about its muscular torso. It slid up my thighs, the scales caressing me almost as deliciously as its electricity.

It pressed against my pussy, pushing my chainmail loincloth to the side. I humped against it, loving the direct, electrical current caressing my clit and labia. My sex burst with pleasure. My back arched and I moaned in bliss.

“So good!”

“Its trying to rape you,” Sophia gasped.

“Let it,” I panted, not caring. “So good. The electricity You have to feel this, Sophia.”

“It's a boy monster,” she huffed. “No.”

Beyond Chaun strumming his lyre, Faoril moaned in equal ecstasy. The mage humped against the coiled loops of her couatl lover. Her robe was open, her breasts pressed against its serpentine body as electricity arced across its scales.

I wished my breastplate was off.

I kept grinding my clit and pussy against its belly scales, loving the smooth plates and the dipping valleys between each segment My clit ached as it slid over and over the joint. Stars burst before my eyes as the pleasure swelled in my pussy.

I came so hard.

My thighs tightened about the boils. I hugged the monster's serpent-like body. Its tongue flicked my face. I kissed the snout, tasting the dry scales. Its tongue penetrated my mouth. I didn't care. It was so hot.

Pleasure raced up my body, as intense as the electricity. My nipples throbbed against my breastplate. I humped harder, faster, smearing my juices as the monster's body moved. Its muscles clenched, squeezing me for a moment as it shifted.

“Yes!” I gasped when something hard emerged from a hole and prodded my pussy. A cock. “Yes, yes, fuck me!”

“Chaun!” Sophia shouted. “Stop playing your lust song. It's affecting Angela, too.”

“No, no, don't stop,” I gasped as the couatl's dick entered my pussy.

Spines covered its shaft, massaging the insides of my pussy. The creature's electricity arched from its cock into the depths of my cunt. My orgasm intensified. The pleasure coursed through me. I spasmed and shuddered, bucking in its embrace.

“So good! Pater's cock, yes!”

“Chaun, stop playing.”

“But they'll attack,” Chaun answered.

Sophia raced to Chaun. I didn't care. The dick pumped deep into my pussy. The monster's body tightened about me with each thrust. Its muscles undulated down its body. It hissed and caressed my face with its tongue.

I stroked its scales down to the feather collar. My hands tingled numb from the electricity while my body heaved. My orgasm never stopped. The electricity kept it alive. It was wonderful I bucked into the thrusts, my pussy spasming on the cock, milking it.

“Cum in me. Oh, yes.”

The music died.

“Ram that dick in me. Keep up the electricity.”

Beyond Chaun and Sophia, Faoril gasped, “Oh, gods, yes. That's it. Fuck my pussy. Pater's cock, this is amazing.”

“Why are they still fucking?” Sophia demanded.

“So good,” I answered, my head lolling.

My brain swam with delight. Nothing could compare to the wonder of the electricity shooting through me. I kissed its snout again, my lips numbing and fuzzing. My pussy ached. My muscles spasmed so fast, so hard.

And his cock Such powerful thrusts lancing into my depths.

The rippling bliss washed over me. I didn't care about anything. Sophia shouted. Chaun spoke. Faoril screamed her bliss. My world shrank to my electric lover. I hugged the monster, drinking in the ecstasy of the lightning arcing off his cock directly into my cunt.

The couatl hissed louder. Its strokes grew faster, driving his cock deeper and deeper into me. Its body clenched and relaxed on me, squeezing me tight with its passion until it almost hurt. I bucked and spasmed in its coiled embraced.

“Cum in me,” I begged.

The monster listened. It drove its cock into my depths. It hissed.

Electric cum splashed into me. I bucked hard into the creature. My hands gripped its hard scales while my pussy's spasming milked out more and more jizz from its spiny cock. My back arched, grinding my clit against its belly scales, my orgasm intensifying.

“So good. It came in me, Sophia. It's the best.”

The dick slid out of my pussy. A hot flood of cum escaped. I smiled as the electric current died. My head lolled. My orgasm finally reached its peak and withdrew, leaving me buzzing with pleasure. I smiled, blinking my eyes, finding Sophia's gaze.

She shook her head.v

“It was amazing,” I grinned at her. “Just the—”

The couatl's entire body clenched about me. The air drove from my lungs. My eyes bugged. My armor bit into my flesh. I bucked, struggling to breathe, but it was coiled so tight about me I couldn't expand my lungs.

“Angela!” Sophia shrieked, then she lunged in with her knife.

The sleeves of Sophia's robes billowed as she stabbed her knife, holding the hilt with both hands, into the side of the creature's head. Her blade, enchanted by Saphique, sliced through the monster's scales and skull like it was cheesecloth.

The couatl spasmed. I gasped as it squeezed even harder. I thought it would kill me. But then it went limp, dead. I groaned, pushing on the heavy coils, heaving them off of me. I sucked in wonderful breaths of air as I rolled out of its embrace and lay on my back, not caring I was in a muddy puddle.

“Angela,” Sophia said, shaking her head, “you really have to stop indulging your monster fetish. They always try to kill you after you've fucked them.”

“That's half the fun,” I grinned at her.

Sophia rolled her eyes.



The couatl came in me.

My pussy spasmed harder as the surge of electrified cum spilled into my body. I bucked and heaved, gasping in delight as my pussy milked out every drop of the monster's cum. More energy swelled inside of me, two distinct reserves of power—orc cum and couatl jizz.

The monster hissed out its pleasure. The electricity stopped coursing through me. Then it strangled me.

I tried to gasp as I squirmed, but the creature had driven all the air out of my body. I had to stop it. Fear had driven away the pleasure from my mind. I reached into the reservoir of power, tried to seize it and—

Cold sweat broke across my body. I recoiled from the power. Fear held me. I was about to die. I had to use it. I had to—

A wild scream preceded Minx bursting out of the jungle, a bloody dagger in hand. She landed before the monster. It raised its head as Minx thrust her dagger right into the monster's eyes. The couatl spasmed about me, its body loosening its hold on me.

I sucked in a deep breath.

“Thanks,” I coughed, my voice hoarse.

“No problem,” Minx said then tried to jerk her knife from the creature's eye. She groaned, “Not again.”

I crawled out of the monster's coiled body and moved to Thrak. His chest rose and fell. I sighed in relief. I fell across his chest, holding him while my thoughts raced. Why couldn't I use my magic? I reached for it again and—

I shuddered. The cold sweat raced about my body. My stomach twisted. It was too dangerous. What if I lost control again?

Tears beaded in my eyes. Thrak groaned. I lifted my head as his eyes opened. For a moment, they were unfocused. Then he groaned and found my gaze. “What hit me?”

“Couatl lightning,” I answered, hoping he didn't notice my welling tears. “Stunned you for about a quarter hour.” I looked away to wipe my eyes.

“You must have made short work of it,” he grinned. “Bet the monster didn't know what hit him.”

“Nope, I killed two,” Minx said. “Sophia got the third.” She had one foot planted on the dead couatl's head as she strained to rip out her dagger from its skull.

“Itgot to me too fast,” I said. “Then it”

“Fucked her.” Minx grinned. “I could hear her and Angela screaming their heads off as they enjoyed the monsters.”

“The electricity was amazing,” a pleased Angela moaned, her voice drowsy. “Ooh, I came so hard and so often.”

“Why didn't your magic work on it?” Chaun asked as he packed away his lyre. “You drank your vial of cum and stared at it, but nothing happened. Did it rebuff your wind somehow?”

Thrak caught my eyes. I looked away. “Yes. And then it struck me and sent electricity coursing through my body. It wasoverwhelming.”

I realized my robe was open. Couatl cum slicked my thighs, mixed with my juices. I closed my robe and belted it. Thrak put his arm around me and pulled me to him. I hugged him for a moment, my thoughts whirling.

I was scared of my magic. How did that happen?

“What happened?” he whispered.

“It rebuffed my magic,” I whispered.

I couldn't be scared of my magic. I was a mage. Well, a warlock. It was all I had now. If I couldn't use my magic, I would be useless to the Quest. Angela needed me to perform the Ritual of Reclamation.

I took a deep breath. There was nothing to be afraid of. I had used magic for years and years. There were few practitioners more skilled than I was. I dueled a Master Mage and won

By killing Relaria.

I closed my eyes. No, no. I couldn't fall into that trap again.

I needed to cast a simple spell. Something that couldn't go wrong. I was filthy. I needed to be cleaned. A simple mix of air and water. I touched the source of power from Thrak's jizz and—

A violent shudder went through me. My stomach heaved. I twisted my head and groaned as I emptied its contents onto the ground.

“Faoril?” Thrak gasped.

“I'm fine,” I panted. I spat out a bit of vomit. What was wrong with me? I had nothing to fear from my magic. I was in control.

But the memory of Thrak flying away from me twisted my stomach. I clenched my clammy palms and closed my eyes. I wanted to cry, but everyone was looking at me. They couldn't know the truth. I took a deep breath, trying to stop my trembles.

“Sorry, justreacting to what happened.”

“I don't blame you for throwing up,” Sophia said, pressing her shoe against the couatl she killed. She pushed its head to the side. “These things are icky.” She shuddered. “Snake monsters are the worse.”

“Worse than spider monsters?” Angela asked.

Sophia blushed. “Sliyth wasn't that bad, even if she did lay eggs in me.” Sophia grinned. “And it was hot when she cocooned me. I was trapped and helpless.”

I blinked, almost forgetting my problem. What was she talking about?

But it didn't matter. Nothing did. As we gathered ourselves and trudged onto Mount Peritito, the inescapable thought clutched at my mind—I was useless. It wouldn't leave me. It gripped me as we made camp at the base of the mountain. I didn't forget it as I made love to Thrak, pretending everything was normal, forcing myself to gasp and moan.

But I could see it in his eyes. He knew something was wrong with me. As I lay in his arms, trying to sleep, I hated myself more and more. Hated myself for fearing my magic. For killing Relaria. I hated myself for the simple mistake that cost me my chance to be a Master Mage.

I would have been happy if I had passed the test, if I had preserved the lemures cum properly. I would have been back at the Collegiate Tower, researching magic, making discoveries, having the life that bitch Saoria had because I was a failure as a mage.

No, I wasn't a mage. I was a warlock now. The most useless warlock in the world.


Acolyte Sophia – Black Glass Aerie, The Island of Birds

Climbing the mountain was the worst. The trail was so steep, and often we had to climb up rickety ladders made from thin trees lashed together with vines. They were crooked and uneven. No one had shaped the boards into straight planks.

And the ladders wobbled.

As we climbed, birds flew about us, watching us. The avians transformed. They were the only duel-sexed race that could change into another form naturally. No human, halfling, dwarf, goblin, or orcs could. But the avians were gifted the ability to change on adulthood. From what I could recall from my boring tutors, it was a rite of passage into adulthood for them. They earned a new name and became full members of the tribe.

But it was annoying hearing them sing, like they were mocking us for having to climb up the mountain while they flew on the wind currents.

It took most of the day to reach their aerie. We could see it high above us once we left the jungle covered shoulders of the volcano behind and worked our way up the cliffs of black basalt. The higher we climbed, the further I could see across the jungle until Baraconia appeared as a smudge on the horizon, the sea a haze beyond.

And still we had to go higher.

The last ladder we had to climb was the worse. It was over a hundred feet tall. The wind gusted around my robes as I climbed. My hands gripped for dear life. The old me, the one who lived the soft life in the temple, never would have made it to the top. She would have taken one look up the ladder and thrown a tantrum like a child.

It was hard to remember it was only four months ago that Angela and I left Shesax. I had lived a lifetime in those four months, seen so many things. And even forced myself to climb a giant, rickety ladder so I could reach an aerie of avians.

I groaned when I reached the ledge jutting out from the volcanic rock. I rolled off it, my legs jelly. I staggered as I stood straight, leaning against Angela. She didn't seem winded at all. Xera and Minx already waited as the avian delegation arrived.

Avians looked like delicate humans when not birds, their skin even lighter than mine. Their hair was colorful, pale blues and bright reds and vibrant purples. They wore simple clothing, wrap around skirts and loose tops for the women, short kilts or loincloths for the men. They were often stitched with colorful beads in exotic patterns.

Their leader had a white kilt. For an Avian, he was broad-chested, his shoulders as wide as mine. He was compactly muscled. Though delicate, like the others, there was no denying his strength. He marched forward and inclined his head slightly.

Angela inclined hers. “I'm Knight-Errant Angela of the Order Deute. I am here pursuing a Quest.”

“I am Flint,” the avian answered, his voice had a sing-song quality about it, “Chief of Black Glass Aerie and guardian of the Flame of Peritito. What cause has a Knight among our peaceful aerie?”

“I am here for the piece of the High King's sword kept in the mountain's heart,” Angela answered.

The chief's face clouded. Another avian strode forward, old, his skin dry and transparent, revealing the blue lines of his veins spider-webbing across his skin. He paused by the chief, his eyes studying Angela.

“No one can enter the mountain's sacred heart without a shaman's permission,” Flint declared, glancing at the old man.

My heart sped up. Shaman. The Lesbius Oracle's prophecy echoed in my head: The Nameless Shaman who shall find her heart. Would we meet her here? Then we only had one more to find—the flaming woman.

“Too dangerous,” the old man declared. “No shaman of Black Glass Aerie is foolish enough to drop the wards choking off the imps who plague the heart.” He waved his hand. “Go back, crawlers. There is nothing for you here.”

Angela and the shaman, named Farsight, spoke heatedly for a half hour as the sun sank towards the horizon, but the old avian would not budge.



I perched above, watching the strangers. Their posture was stiff. They spoke together as Chief Flint and Shaman Farsight transformed into birds and launched from the ledge. The Knight and her companions had come here for a reason. Why?

I studied each of them. They were all so amazing, the petite halfling bouncing on the balls of her feet, the naked elf standing unashamed at exposing her flesh, the brawny hulk looming over all, the heroic knight, the reserved mage, the youthful priestess, and the ebony man.

He was so delicate, almost Avian, but with ears like an elf. I did not recognize him from any of my lessons. Not human with those ears, but there were no male elves. He strummed a lyre as he spoke with the group, his voice singing.

With beauty.

My heart beat faster. My fingers gripped the edge of the ledge. I brushed back my light-blue hair out of my face as I studied him. Every avian knew we sung with the voice of birds and that no other could sing with our beauty.

And there he was, melodic, his harmony rising on the wind, complex and relaxing. How? How could he make such wonderful music? The traders who ventured to Baraconia always mocked the singers and troubadours they heard performing in the halfling's city.

And then he came.

A name rose on the wind. “Chaun, it's hard to think when you're playing,” Sophia said. “Why didn't you use that music when we were meeting with the chief?”

“I can next time,” the ebony man answered.

“Chaun,” I smiled.

Wings fluttered behind me. I bolted in surprise, spinning around, my cheeks crimson, flushing like I had done something wrong. Farsight stood before me blurring from snowy roc into his avian form. His eyes narrowed.

“The outsiders will be staying the night,” he answered. “They have been invited to the marriage feast to enjoy the festivities. In the morning, they are leaving. You will, under no circumstances, agree to take them past the wards into the caldera.”

“She's here to slay the imps?” I asked.

Farsight shook his head. “Far worse foolishness. She seeks the piece of the High King's sword our ancestors placed into the caldera. We were entrusted to guard it. We shall not fail the flaming woman's trust in us. Understand?”

“Iyes” I swallowed. “I wouldn't.” I took a deep breath. “The strangerswill be at the wedding dance. Watching us”

“Does the thought of strange men seeing you dance naked excite your body?” Heat burned in his eyes. He loomed over me. “Do you wish to tempt them with your whorish body? Do you wish to drive them to ecstatic fervors like you do me?”

“III'm unwed, so of course I shall dance.”

“Like any would accept a bride without her adult name.” He blurred into a roc and flew off as tears burned in my eyes.



I sat cross-legged in the circle with the rest of the members of Black Glass Aerie, my hands clapping to the drumming beat. Older avians, males and females, played large, hide drums. The beat was frantic and lustful, making my heart race. Everyone in the circle sang, their voices all lovely, beautiful.

Sophia, sitting beside me as she cuddled up to Angela, had tears of joy in her eyes, moved by the song.

It was perfect. An entire village worth of voices all singing in perfect harmony. No one was off-pitch. No one sang their note too early or too late. I had trained for years at the Bardic College to sing what came naturally to the avians.

A rhythmic clapping entered the circle. Only the young men made it by slapping their bare thighs. Each wore only simple loin clothes, their bodies painted with strange designs in various colors of paint, no one's pattern exactly alike. The rhythmic thigh-slaps grew faster and faster, building to a crescendo.

“Oh, wow,” Sophia groaned.

“Oooohhh,” Minx cooed as she sat on Xera's lap, bouncing and squirming like an excited child.

The young avian females entered the circle in a line, each naked, their body painted in swirling designs. I had always heard the avians were a privative race, monogamous to a fault. I had been eager to seduce a married avian tonight, to take on the form of her husband and cuckold him, breaking their monogamy.

My dick had been hard all evening, hoping the festivity tonight would include plenty of alcohol to lure a husband into an early sleep so I could enjoy his wife. Everywhere I looked in the circle was a married female, their white auras shining so bright, committed to their husbands in a way I had never seen among humans, dwarves, or halflings.

These women would never stray from their husbands.

And the thought of bedding one ached at the root of my cock.

And now their unmarried women were dancing naked before us. Each one stopped before a young male, dancing, strutting, letting their bodies move to the music, small breasts jiggling, thighs glistening with feminine excitement.

Maybe the avians were more open about sex then I had heard.

One of the young males looked up at his dancer. He leaned back on his hands, thrusting his chest out forward, his loin cloth tenting. The young avian, her hair the color of ripe strawberry, straddled him. Before all the witnesses, she slammed her pussy down on his cock, her back arching and moaning as she rode the man.

Other young males looked up at their women. Those that didn't, the female moved on to another.

Sophia let out a disappointed moan. “Won't any of them dance before a woman? Or me? They are so delicious.”

Angela giggled and then kissed her lover.

“Wow, I had heard of this ritual, but I never thought it was so sensual,” Faoril said as she sat beside Thrak. She had the first smile I had seen on her face since the couatl attack.

“I can make your cock sprout if you want to attract one,” Minx giggled as she looked over her shoulder at Xera.

A sky-blue-haired avian maiden stopped before me, her hips dancing, undulating her ass at me. It was slim and pert, curving gently from her supple back before leading down to her thin thighs. My dick hardened.

Seducing a married woman could wait. If one of their unmarried women wanted to enjoy my cock, I would enjoy her cunt. I looked up.



I danced before the ebony man. Chaun. Three other avian males had rejected me. None wanted a nameless bride. They wanted a woman who could transform into a majestic bird, someone with whom they could dance with through the sky.

They wanted a woman, not someone cursed to permanent adolescence.

I danced with my ass to the stranger, shaking my butt and working my feet in the soft sand while the pounding drums shook through me. Despite the hurt of being rejected once again, the excitement of the music, the clapping, the moans of the other virgins losing their maidenheads and mating with their males slicked my thighs and ached my nipples.

I turned, my hands running over my body painted with swirling designs to inflame a male's lust. I had painted myself salacious this year, vibrant purples and reds swirling about my breasts and leading down to my pelvis. I sculpted my pubic hair into a thin strip leading down to my pussy.

Anything to entice a—

Chaun looked up at me.

His ears twitched above his silvery hair. His handsome face stared up at me with such desire. A male wanted me for his bride. Tears beaded in my eyes. My heart beat faster. An outsider. I would have to leave Black Glass Aerie, but was there even a place for me here?

My place was with my mate.

And I finally had one.

His cock tented the front of his strange pants. I moved to him, straddling his waist, my hips still undulating. He licked his lips as his hands fumbled at the lacings. He pushed his pants down, his ebony cock thrusting up thick and hard.

Was it bigger than an avian's? Would it hurt?

I didn't care. A male wanted me. Chaun didn't care that I didn't have my adult name, that I couldn't become a bird. He couldn't become a bird either, so why would he care that I couldn't? He saw me as a female, desirable, fertile, the mother to hatch him strong sons and beautiful daughters.

I sank down to him. His hand seized my hips. They slid around and grasped my butt, squeezing. His touch was soft and arousing. His fingers left burning excitement in their wake. He guided me to his cock. The tip brushed the wet folds of my virgin pussy.

“Yes,” I moaned. “Yes, yes, Chaun.”

He smiled as I ground on his cock. “What's your name?”

“Xandra.” I flushed, fearing his rejection when he heard an adolescent's name instead of an adult's. But I was of age, nineteen. More than old enough to be mated.

“Beautiful,” he groaned and pulled me down his cock.

Joyful tears beaded in my eyes as his cock pressed on his hymen. My maidenhead resisted for a heartbeat then tore beneath his girth. I sank down his cock, embracing him with my virgin flesh. I shuddered as such delight rippled through my body while his cock reached so deep into me. I stretched around him, engulfing every inch of my mate.

“Chaun,” I moaned. “You are so beautiful, too.”

He grinned at me, his fingers tightening. He gripped my ass and guided my hips, showing me how to make love to him. My eyes danced as every inch of my pussy sliding over his dick sent pleasure racing through me.

And then his face leaned forward and he sucked my small, red nipple into his mouth. I gasped. My fingers tightened on his shoulders through his strange shirt. The fabric was so smooth. My eyes closed as the pleasure of his sucking mouth rippled down to my pussy.

“Chaun.” I loved moaning his name. “My Chaun.”

My clit brushed into his groin when I slid down his cock. My pussy clenched each time the pleasure surged from my nub. I loved it. My hips undulated when I bottomed out, grinding my clit into his flesh before I rose again.

His fingers kneaded my ass as he nibbled on my right nipple. Then he switched to my left, teasing it. My arms moved, hugging his head. I kissed his silvery hair as the pleasure swelled more and more in my depths. Masturbation paled.

This was heaven.

And the music kept playing, my tribe singing, welcoming the new mated pairs to the aerie as they sang their wordless praise to Luben, God of Love and Marriage. Chaun lifted his lips from my nipple, staring up at me. I kissed him hard, my passion bursting out of me. This was my mate. Once he came in me, we would be united forever.

I moaned into his lips. His tongue brushed my lips. I gasped in shock at his tongue's pressure. I opened my mouth, inviting him in. My tongue caressed his. It was such an intimate moment. I rode him harder and faster.

I came.

I screamed into our kiss as my pussy spasmed about his cock. The pleasure raced through my body. I came on my husband's dick. I slammed down on him, squirming and writhing. Star danced through my mind. I breathed through my nose, inhaling his spicy musk. I hugged his neck tight, holding him.

I never wanted to let him go.

His hands tightened on my ass. Then he lifted me. He slid my spasming pussy up and down his cock. More pleasure burst through me. When I masturbated, I stopped when I came. I never knew I could continue the delight.

But Chaun knew.

It was wonderful. Amazing. Another orgasm rushed through me, following in the wake of the first. I broke the kiss with Chaun, my head tossing back. I moaned his name again while my small nipples rubbed against his chest. They ached and added to my delight.

“I'm going to cum so hard,” Chaun groaned.

“Yes,” I moaned as his fingers dug into my ass. “Yes, yes, yes. Cum in me, my husband.”

“Husband?” He grunted as I slammed down his cock.

And then his seed erupted into me. Hot and thick, splashing into my fertile depths. I hoped he fertilized my egg. That would be so wonderful. I quivered, a third orgasm bursting with powerful ecstasy through my body, drowning out everything but him.

My Chaun.



Xandra's pussy milked my cumming cock as my mind reeled. Husband? How could I be her husband?

The ritual. I glanced around the circle. The other couples had finished, the females collapsed on the males. And now the former maidens had the same shining, white auras about them as the married women. Maidens no longer. They were wives. The coupling was a marriage rite, performed before their entire tribe.

The pleasure pumped out of my cock and raced through my body. I moaned, turning to face Xandra's shining face. The white aura sprang about her body. She was married.

To me.

In my mind, an image rose like it did when I looked at any married woman. The image of her husband. My eyes widened. It was an image I had never witnessed from a woman, not even Princess Adelaide. No changeling ever had.

It was myself. I burned in Xandra's thoughts. I was the man she loved, the man she was married to, the man whose form I would have to assume to seduce her and cuckold her husband.

To cuckold myself.

“I love you so much,” Xandra gasped, nuzzling into my ear. “My husband. You chose me before Luben and the tribe.”

My world swam.

To be continued

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