The Rogue's Harem Book 3, Chapter 8: The Princess's Resonance

Post time7-02-2021, 12:29

The Rogue's Harem

Book Three: The Rogue's Passionate Harem

Part Eight: The Princess's Resonance

By mypenname3000

Copyright 2018

Note: Thanks to WRC 264 for beta reading this.

Chapter Twenty-Two: Rebirth

Ealaín – Az, Princedom of Kivoneth, The Strifelands of Zeutch

My pussy clenched down on Sven's cock as his question echoed around me. I shivered and glanced to my left, locking onto my charge. My wife now. Kora writhed in a daisy chain with the others, lying on her side, performing such a delicious act of love as she ate Zanyia's pussy. The lamia's tail swished as she devoured Nathalie who had her face buried into Princess Ava who feasted on Greta who lapped at Aingeal, who finished off the chain by pleasuring Kora.

My heart melted at the sight of it. A pang formed in my stomach that cut through the pleasure of my orgasm. Everything was so confusing. I thought I'd done the right thing by convincing my Goddess-mother of where Kora should be. It was best for her heart, but it would hurt her.

I would hurt her.

“I don't know,” I said, a wave of hopelessness washed through me. What could be done about any of it? Sven's deal with my mother had such precise stipulations.

How did this happen to me? I shouldn't be this involved. I was never meant to fall in love with my charge. I was her muse, here to inspire her in the sexual art and her other endeavors, to protect her from the dangers of the world so she could focus on bringing beauty into the world.

“You don't know?” Sven said, his hands sliding up my body. He found my large breasts, squeezing and kneading them, his cock hard in my cum-filled pussy.

“You made a promise to my mother. You know why I can't do anything.” I looked over my shoulder at Sven, his blue eyes shot into mine. “You can't have her adventuring with you. And she's pregnant now, too. All the more reason that she has to give this up.” Saying these words hurt. I didn't want to split her up from Sven. I wanted her to be with him, but

I was wrong. Kora should be with her brother. She loved him. She was his wife now, but

“You'll be with her?” he asked, voice low.

“Always,” I breathed, shuddering beneath him. That was true. I would be with Kora for as long as I could be; her living muse.

“At least there's that,” Sven said, his hands squeezed my breasts. “I I trust you to protect her for me.”

A wave of joy washed through me. Tears tinged my eyes. I don't know why, but his faith in me It touched me. This man had pulled me into the fold of his harem. His sister wanted me to be apart of all of this, so he welcomed me, too.

For her.

I turned my head as he leaned down. I shuddered as he kissed me hard. I felt the strength of his lips on mine. His hands squeezed my breasts. I squeezed my eyes shut. Because of me, our family would be split apart soon.


Princess Ava

I still buzzed from the celebration of our nuptials. If Priest Otmar and his wife hadn't started urging us out of their temple because they had others who needed to use it, we would have made love for hours more, inspired by Kora and her brother.

Our husband.

I felt like glowing as we stepped out of the temple. The sun was past its zenith and heading towards the day's end. I stretched my back as a wave of joy washed through me. My back popped for a moment, my dress swaying around my thighs, rustling with my movement. I stared out at the people bustling down the street, mostly Zeutchian humans with blond or brown hair, their skin as pale as mine.

None of them knew we were all Sven's wives now. That I was pregnant.

A giddy thrill washed through me. Every time I thought about it, that I was pregnant with his child, not my father's. I was free of my father and his horrible spell. I no longer had my lusts twisted, inflaming my body to lie with him. I didn't feel a single urge to be with him.

I felt like a different woman. I was reborn inside the temple.

“I know,” Kora said, appearing at my side. She smiled, her face flushed. Her blonde hair, gathered in a pair of braids that fell down her back, smiled at me. Her pink priestly robes clung to her lithe body. She hooked her arm with mine. “We're both pregnant!”

“Yes!” I beamed at her. “Our children will be born at the same time. They're going to grow up, so close to each other.”

Kora nodded her head, her free hand sliding down to rub at her stomach. I hoped that her brother's child grew in her. I knew I had conceived and prayed she had, too. It was such a naughty thing if she had, the proof of their incestuous love. My lust for my father had only one good outcome: I accepted Sven and Kora's taboo relationship.

I got to revel in it. Enjoy it with her.

I strolled beside her, smiling with joy, my free hand rubbing at my belly. I had Sven's baby growing inside of me. I was his bride. My joy felt so bright inside of me I was surprised I wasn't glowing as bright as the sun. It wanted to burst out of me. I wanted everyone to know how happy I was.

The other women walking with us, the other members of the harem, looked just as delighted. Zanyia had an extra zest to her scamper as she scurried at Sven's side. Greta and Nathalie giggled as they held hands, glancing at each other with such beaming joy. Aingeal's laughter floated down from above. If I could see her, I knew she would be beaming, her big tits jiggling. Even Ealaín, walking on Sven's other side in her armor, strode with such purpose.

The sun set before us, peeking through the buildings that lined the streets we strolled down. We moved through the bustle. Sven strolled at the front, moving with that swagger of his. Even he had an extra boldness to his step.

Why not? He just married a harem of women and made us all cum over and over.

I kept smiling at passing women. I couldn't help myself. I was one of Sven's women. Not them. It made me feel special. I was a part of something different. Something amazing. I didn't know what the future held. We had to destroy the amulet about Kora's neck and defeat my father.

He needed to be stopped. Peace needed to come to the Strifelands. Two hundred years of fighting wasn't accomplishing anything. No one had the strength to rule the entire country. The Empire of Zeutch would never be restored. Something else needed to take its place.

A peaceful coexistence of the various princes.

It didn't take long for us to reach the Temple of Krab. It rose before us, that squat, unassuming building almost ignored by the flow of traffic of people as they visited the more popular temples. Nearby, the priestesses of Slata lounged before their temple, wearing their skimpy robes, enticing men, and women, to visit them, to pay to homage to the Mother Goddess in their arms.

How could Krab compete with that.

Sven led the way into the temple, marching up the few steps up to its porch with boldness. The door lay open, unlike this morning, and he marched through. His boots rang on the steps inside, Ealaín's armor clinging beside him.

Master Theophil appeared out of an alcove, wiping hands off on the leather apron he wore of his bare chest. The older man, with the brawny build of a blacksmith, glanced at us, nodding his head. His eyes fell on me, considering.

I smiled at him.

“Well?” Theophil grunted.

“It worked,” I declared, lifting my head. “I am creating life inside of me.”

“We'll see,” Theophil said. “Come.”

I took a deep breath. What would be in there. I shivered beside Kora, feeling the weight of my power upon my shoulders. It was all on me to open the vault, to reveal the way forward. Once we had the amulet destroyed and stopped one problem, then we could turn to deal with my father.

I let out a sigh. What happened to him? Once, while my mother lived, he was a good man. A good parent and husband. But did this icy ambition lurk in him even then? Did that affable smile he used to have hide the mind of a man who could enslave thousands of his own people and force them to puppeteer an army of stone statues? To allow the vile nagas across the mountains to send their raiders. How many slaves didn't make it to the stocks but stayed in their lands.

Men and women my father was supposed to protect and instead he allowed to be brutalized.

My hand clenched. I had to open the vault. We needed to stop him. So, I had to do this. I had to get us into it.

Journeyman Carsina appeared, the Valyan woman's bluish cheeks smudged with black grease. Her red hair fell in messy curls about her face while her leather work grab creaked with her steps. She flicked her eyes over us, a naughty gleam in them.

“Sven's still alive,” she said, “and yet you all looked thoroughly pleasured.”

“He's a master at it,” Zanyia said.

“I'm just surprised he's still alive with all of you,” she said, glancing at my husband, a gleam dancing in her ruby eyes.

“Not for a lack of trying on our part,” Aingeal said, her voice a sultry purr.

Master Theophil grunted as he headed down the stairs to the basement. To the vault.

“I'm blessed by Slata,” Sven said, a note of pride in his voice.

“Yep, he once made a priestess of Slata cum so hard with his cunnilingus skill, she blessed him with the stamina to please all of us,” Kora said, such pride in her voice. “And you know how much whores those priestesses are.”

“Oh, yes,” nodded Carsina. “I prefer worshiping in their arms more than Saphique's.”

I blinked at that. Most women who used temple prostitutes went with Saphique. Her lesbian priestesses knew how to please women better than any. Even Kora, trained in the sexual arts, didn't know all the secrets of Saphique.

“Saphique doesn't create,” I said as it hit me a moment later. “That's why.”

“That's why,” nodded Carsina. “She's denying the purpose of her body and convincing whole swaths of women not to enjoy motherhood. It's the ultimate act of creation, and a portion of womanhood denied them. Even if they don't like men, it's a shame that they miss out on the purpose of their womb.”

“Women are more than their wombs,” Kora said even as she rubbed her bred belly.

“Definitely,” Carsina said, her voice echoing down the tunnel leading to the vault. “Just like a man is more than his cock spurting his seed, but that doesn't change what his dick was created to do.”

“I thought it was created to make women cum,” Sven said, throwing a roguish grin over his shoulder.

I giggled. “Yours is good at that.”

Carsina licked her lips.

Theophil stopped by the at vault and glanced at us. “Do you want to just fuck him now, Carsina, or can we open the vault first?”

“Oh, I can wait,” Carsina said, a bright smile on her lips.

“Hey, he's a newly married man!” exclaimed Aingeal. She grabbed Sven's arm, pressing her naked tit to him. “Luben married us, and we all have to be faithful and honor each other. His dick is only ours.”

I frowned at Aingeal, her pink butterfly wings twitching behind her.

Sven arched an eyebrow. “You didn't swear to be faithful thrice.”

Mock anger flared across Aingeal's face. “I swore to Luben, the most stuffiest and boring of gods, to only love my husband and wives. So, I can't let you enjoy any other pussy but ours.”

“Oh,” Carsina said, her head lowering.

“Don't mind Mistress Aingeal,” Zanyia said. “If you want to be Master's sex slave, it's okay. We'll let you join. He doesn't get a choice about sex slaves, and you'd make such a beautiful one with that skin.”

Carsina blinked. “Sex slave?”

“You don't want to be his sex slave?” Zanyia asked, her voice flat. “Because it's the—”

Master Theophil let out a barking throat clear that echoed down the hallway. “The vault, or did you want to just fuck him right here, right now while the rest of us waste our work time having to listen.”

Carsina cheeks blushed darker. “Sorry, Master.”

“See, you already know what to call him,” Zanyia grinned.

“Enough,” Sven said, his words flat. He placed his hand on Zanyia's head, scratching her between her ears. “Ava Let's get this over with.”

I drew a deep breath and approached the silvery, shimmering brilliance of the vault. I shuddered at the metallic diamond door. My hand shuddered as I touched it, feeling the slick surface. My soul quivered as I felt the mechanics inside begging for me to control them. I slipped into puppet the controls and unlock the vault.

Unlike last time, something quivered in my womb and the machinery responded. The mechanism didn't rebuff me this time. I slipped my control into it with ease. I turned it, my fertilized egg acting as a strange, metaphysical key that fit perfectly into the vault's lock. A loud, shuddering snap rang. The vault door rang like a bell.

“Krab's mighty hammer,” breathed Carsina.

Theophil grunted, but something sounded eager. Not even he knew what was truly in here. He must have run this temple for decades wishing to get through it, waiting for the imbuer to arrive and open it. Why had Krab built this vault? Why had he set it up where only a female imbuer could open this.

The door creaked open.

Carsina gasped.


Prince Meinard – Echur, Princedom of Kivoneth, The Strifelands of Zeutch

“Newest report from the front are not inspiring, your Highness,” Gunther said as he stood before me, his back straight. The bluff-faced man, his blond hair cut short, stared at me without flinching. “The forces of Prince Reinhold caught our men out of position fording a river. The rear guard was cut off and are pressed against the banks. We're going to lose a third of our army.”

“It doesn't matter,” I said, staring up at him, my hands folded before me. “We are about to gain new allies. The storm will break.”

“Of course, your Highness,” he said, his voice flat. “Even if you restore the Lodestone, your Highness, reports are that Prince Reinhold destroyed every statue. It would take us years for artisans to replace that many.”

“We have another source of power,” I answered, my stomach clenching. The Paragon's hideous followers were almost to Az. I glanced out my study's window. The sun sank towards the horizon. It wouldn't be much longer before—

A touch quivered my soul. My proxy needed me.

“That will be all, Gunther,” I said.

The man blinked, his fingers flexing. I could see the objection forming on his lips. But then he bowed. “Of course, your Highness. I will deliver the rest of my report at your convenience.”

The moment Gunther withdrew, I leaned back in my chair, closed my eyes, and imbued my statue.

My soul flowed out of me and poured into my metallic body. My eyes opened. I stared up at the darkening sky, oranges and reds above my head. I sat up in the wagon and heard screams echoing around me. Men and women shouting and crying out in panic. I looked around to see people racing off the road, fleeing before the monstrosities of the Paragon, the foul creations of the Biomancer Vebrin, charging down the road.

The Colony pulled the wagon down the road at breakneck speed. The wheels bounced and a sickening crunch echoed from below. In our wake, a broken body lay sprawled on the ground, crushed by the wheels.

The Hunger hissed in delight, the centipede-like horror peered out of the back of the wagon, curled about itself. I glanced around and saw Az looming before us, the sun setting behind the city. Before the gates, the city guard formed up in their armor, readying to defend the city—my city—from the monsters with me.

A pit opened in my stomach as we hurtled towards the growing squad of soldiers. My own people.

I flexed my steel hand. I needed the Paragon's help. These men would die tomorrow defending Az from Prince Reinhold's army, or they could die today ensuring Kivoneth's survival.

Chapter Twenty-Three: The Princess Resonates

Sven Falk

The vault opened on creaking hinges. Both Theophil and Carsina stared in awe at the dark room. My own stomach swelled in knots. This was it. It wouldn't be long before we had the location of the Altar of Souls and

I glanced at Kora. She held the ruby that held Vebrin's foul soul. A look of such hope crossed my sister's face. She gazed upon salvation, freedom from the burden about her neck. She didn't know what the cost would be.

Lights flickered to life inside. Crystals set into the ceiling shone a radiance on him. Ava, with a hesitant step, entered the vault. I followed her, Zanyia heeling me, Ealaín right behind us. I frowned as I entered, looking around the room at

Suits of armor. Exotic armor. Armor made out of strange designs. Plate armor that looked made of rubies and sapphires, the way that the vault door looked made of diamond-impregnated steel. Another had a gleam of yellow, like the helidors imbued in its steel had the sun's glow trapped in them. There was a harness of leather straps and another suit of armor made of black leather that

I shook my head, the black of the leather so dark it almost swallowed the light, becoming almost a negative space that almost arrested my gaze. I could just stare at it.

Carsina gasped nearby while the rest entered the room. Greta let out a squeak and Nathalie groaned. Ealaín's armor clinked as she drifted towards the glowing suit, admiring it with her gaze. I wanted to keep looking at the black leather but but

“Where's the map?” I asked.

“Not a map, the key,” growled Theophil. Then he let out a harrumphing grump. “You don't need me for this.”

I caught his gaze, his muscular arms folded before him. “What?”

“Carsina can explain it.” A smile crossed his lips. “Unless you want me to enjoy your women.”

I frowned at that, but he strode out of the vault. Whatever excitement he felt was gone. Vanished.

“What did that mean?” Aingeal asked.

“These are Powered Armor,” Carsina said in awe. “They're forged by Krab himself. These are what he created for the gods to wear and they're here. I've dreamed of seeing them before. It is the highest goal of the Esoteric Crafts, a skill no mortal has ever mastered.”

“Why would Theophil think I'd want him to enjoy my women?” I asked, trying not to stare at the black armor.

“Because it requires the Blessing of Surrender to bond the armor with the wearer,” Carsina said. “I'd have to have sex with any who would don them. Well, any priest or priestess would. So if you want him enjoying your women. Or you.”

I gave her a hard look.

“These are so interesting, Master,” Zanyia said. She crouched before the harness, her ears twitching with such excitement.

“They are, Master,” Nathalie said. My eighteen-year-old sex slave stood before the ruby suit of armor, her hand reaching out to touch the deep-crimson surface. She traced the stylized pattern of flames worked into the armor.

“Yes,” I said, moving closer to the leather armor. It did swallow the light. It was darker than everything around it. I stood before it, looking at the dimensions of it, my critical eye studying it. I hadn't worn leather armor since training in the Fencing College of Az, but “It's a good thing you're sexy, Carsina.”

“I am?” she said, moving up alongside me. She pushed up her glasses on her nose. “And why is that?”

My dick swelling hard, I said, “Because I need—”

“This is it!” Ava said, standing over a hammer made of diamond. Scintillating light reflected off of it. “This is what I need.”

She grabbed it.

The brilliance inside the hammer flared to life. I flinched before it as the air hummed and vibrated. I felt something shift around us, like the foundations of reality had changed ever so slightly for me. Ava groaned from the light as it flooded through the room.

It grew brighter and brighter. I raised my arm to ward my eyes. The light surged with such intensity. It shone through my skin, my bones dark lines around cherry-red flesh. I flinched away, closing my eyes. But it shone through my skull. It radiated through my mind.

“This is it!” Ava cried out as the room quaked.


Prince Meinard

Soldiers died.

Blood sprayed through the air as the monstrous horrors of Vebrin surged into Az's militia. I strolled in the wake, making myself cold, beating down any queasiness. I had strode through battlefields before in this very body. I witnessed men hacked down to fall in expanding puddles of crimson, twitching and moaning as their life poured out of them.

But this

The Hunger slithered into a squad of men. The segmented body dripped tar that coated the ground in its wake. Its mandibles ripped through steel plate and into the flesh of Az's defenders with ease. Men screamed as it ripped off legs. It scuttled through their midst as they hacked at it with ineffective strokes of swords or thrust with spears, points skittering off the chitinous thing.

It wrapped around one man, pouring its oily tar across shining armor. The man screamed as the Hunger's mandibles pierced into his skull. I clenched my iron fist and made myself colder than winter. Colder than death. These men had to die for Kivoneth to survive.

Flames burst around the Hunger. It became a blazing, undulating bonfire. The fire raced down its oily trail, burning around the feet of the squad. Men fell to the ground, the tar coating their armor blazing. Smoke rose out of joints of their armor as they cooked alive inside.

I was grateful I couldn't smell.

Masonry crashed to the ground to my left. Men screamed as a building collapsed onto them, burying another group of soldiers in heavy stone. A cloud of dust burst from it, rolling across the ground. The Formless oozed out of the rubble, the beige, viscous thing moving along by thrusting out flowing appendages to seize the ground and pull it, moving towards more carnage.

The Colony dissolved into a cloud of brown, buzzing insects, sweeping into another group of Soldiers. They screamed. One guardsman burst out of the roil, his face covered in swelling bites dotting his face. He collapsed after two steps, gurgling, foam frothing at his mouth.

I shook my head. Why did they need me? Why hadn't they gone after Sven and his women before? Why did they bother using the naga to retrieve the amulet when they could do this? A hundred soldiers already dead and more dying in moments. The Hunter ripped through more soldiers, the emaciated, bear-like thing drenched in viscera.

Why did they need me here at all?

They could depopulate a city on their own and—

Chords of music filled the air. Zithers and lyres, mandolins and flutes. Voices sang as the bards from the College of Az appeared, a motley group of men and women playing their instruments, forming a concert of reverberating power. Their harmony assaulted the monsters.

The Formless contracted in on itself. The buzzing insects of the Colony fell out of the air to quiver on the ground around the groaning, spasming, dying men stung over and over by their venomous bite. The flames wreathing the Hunger snuffed out while the Hunter bellowed and thrashed.

The bards music filled the town while the fencers flowed in around them, the deadliest fighters.



My womb quivered as the hammer blazed with light. I shuddered, feeling my soul bond with the arcane device. Such joy burst inside of me as I felt the power sweeping through the diamond. It stored this energy in its matrix, awaiting my arrival.

Power flowed through the room. It resonated with the armor. As the light faded so I could see again, I witnessed my family standing before them. Greta swayed in front of the sapphire-impregnated plate, one hand touching the banded skirt, the segments shaped like undulating waves. Ealaín shook her head before the suit that glowed with its own warmth. My husband stood strong beside the umbral leather.

“These armor were placed here for us,” I said in realization, my eyes sweeping around the room. I could feel each and every suit of armor through the hammer. Felt them quivering, waiting to be donned by those I love.

“What?” Carsina asked as she rose from the ground. She pushed up her glasses. “What do you mean by that, your Highness? These were forged by Krab. They are for gods, or at least demigods.”

“No, they were put here for us.” I focused on her. “You said it yourself, this vault awaited my arrival. I'm the imbuer to open it. Look at them. They all drifted to the suit of armor that was meant for them.”

“It calls to me,” Ealaín whispered, her hands reaching for the buckles of her mundane armor.

“Then I guess we should get started,” Carsina said, her hands reaching for the ties of her leather jerkin. “Sven, you can go first. I've been waiting for this all day.”

“It's not necessary,” I said in realization. “The armor has already surrendered to them and merely awaits their donning.”

“That's not possible,” Carsina said. “The armors need the ritual to attune them.”

“Well, it is possible because they've all had sex with me.” I held up the hammer, feeling the armor through them. “Don yours, Sven.”

He touched his dark suit.

Chapter Twenty-Four: The Biomancer's Creations

Prince Meinard

The Hunter thrashed as duelist surged around him. Acrobats flowed in too, men and women trained by the College of Az to gain complete mastery over the movements of their bodies, bending and swaying them in ways impossible for others. It gave them such dexterous precision with the knives they threw. Blades glanced off the thrashing Hunger's chitinous hide.

The bards music grew louder, the monsters quivering. Duelist and fencers, holding their rapiers and epees, their narrow swords gleaming in the dying sun, swarmed at the thrashing Hunter. It snarled, clawed paws covering ears as it collapsed on its back. The Bards of Az knew how to use music to bewilder, enchant, daze, stupefy, or lull into peace. They were taught the perfection of music, how to turn it into a true magic.

They would kill the Paragon's followers. He would lose his chance for allies. His armies would retreat back. He would be lucky to hold onto his original princedom, let alone the half-dozen he conquered over the last five years.

“No!” I snarled and charged at the bards. I had to kill them. “You won't—”

A complex melody arouse out of the cacophony. The sound resonated with my metallic body. A quartet of bards stared at me, a windy-haired sylph leading them, her fingers dancing on the flute she held to her lips, her eyes hard on me.

My metallic body shook with the music. It vibrated my soul controlling my proxy. I growled, stumbling to my knees. My body grew stiffer, harder to move. It resisted me as the music reached my soul, quivering me and—

My conscious was thrown out of my proxy.

I screamed out in the wordless void between bodies. I hung there, reaching for my proxy, fighting the music hurtling me back to my body and The music vanished. I was in the void. I was beyond the mortal world. Their song didn't wrap around my soul, didn't chain it with precise musical notes, pitched to perfection.

I struggled, still reaching out to my metal body and

I could touch it. It still vibrated from the song, the buzzing keeping my soul from inhabiting it right now. But that didn't stop me from grabbing the limbs. From making it rise again. If I had flesh, I'd furrow my brow in shock.

I was puppeteering it. I was controlling it without inhabiting it. I could see it standing in a shadowy world, witness the fencers attacking the monsters. Helpless, they would finish off my allies. I couldn't let that happen.

I marched my proxy forward. I controlled its every step. I couldn't see through its eyes. I couldn't move it with skill, but it still responded. It still gripped its iron sword, ready to swing it, to cut down my enemies.

To kill the bards.

No sound reached me as my sword scythed through the air. The bards died, hacked down by my brutal strikes. From all directions, the fencers came. They stabbed and swung their blades, They struck my solid, iron puppet. Their attacks rebounded leaving only small nicks and mars. A sword snapped against my proxy.

I swept the proxy's blade before it, killing more as I controlled the puppet towards the bards. If I could smile, I would. I was untouchable. Their musical magic couldn't harm me. I was beyond them. I charged at another group. They scattered, their music faltering, their symphony ended. The iron puppet crushed any defenders in my proxy's path.

The resonating stopped attacking my body. I flowed into it once more.

Sounds burst into my ears. Men groaned and screamed around me. The bards fled, leaving behind their dead or dying companions. Broken instruments lay in spreading pools of blood. Now my smile came. They thought to stop me.

I was their prince. I ruled this city. They sought to defy me!

I cut down an acrobat, his body collapsing into two pieces of meat. I opened my mouth to shout and gather the monsters around me when the light burst up into the sky.

I gaped at the brilliance as it shone, a beam blazing into the darkening sky. It drove back impending night for a moment as the ground shook. I shifted my body as buildings quivered around me. Then the beam of light snuffed out like it never existed.

An owl hooted.

“They're at the temple,” buzzed the Colony as it loped past, once again in the strange shape of the spindly hound. “We must hurry. They can unmake it!”


Sven Falk

I ripped off my leather jerkin. I had to don the armor. With Ava holding the hammer, I could feel it beckoning me. It was mine, made for me by a god a thousand or more years ago. I shook my head at that thought.

I grabbed the cuirass, touching the light-drinking leather. I felt it quiver beneath my touch and whisper a name. I repeated it, “Frozenshadows.”

Carsina gasped. “Are these the lost armors?” Her head cast around as I pulled the boiled cuirass over my head, the stiff leather sliding over my torso like a shirt open at the sides. “Yes, yes, that must be Silence and Sunburst. Rubyforged and Tidewalker. Why are they here? Why did my god make them?”

“I don't know,” I said as I found the buckles of the cuirass. They were on both sides near my hip. I pulled them tight, the armor fitting around my chest, back, and shoulders with such perfection. It fit the shape of my torso and the contours of my muscles.

Nathalie, naked, pulled on the half-breastplate of her armor. It cupped her small breasts, lifting them into a nice bit of cleavage. The red metal hugged about her torso with the fit only found in tailored cloth. It left her lower stomach bare. Her fingers buckled the straps with a skill that she shouldn't possess. The girl had never worn armor in her life, but she looked so comfortable in it.

“Wow, Greta,” Ava said. “You look delicious in Tidewalker.”

“Thank you, Mistress,” the busty blonde said as she adjusted the banded skirt of wave-like metal that hugged her upper thighs, descending from her waist. The half-breastplate cupped her breasts into a generous cleavage and also left her belly bare.

“You should see Zanyia,” Kora said. “Hers hardly covers anything.”

“I know,” my lamia said as she wore the leather harness. It was just bands of narrow leather that wrapped about her body, one strip across her breasts, just hiding her nipples. “It even fits around my tail and—” She thrust her arms forward. From the bands of leather wrapped around her wrists came a pair of triangular punching blades that filled her hands.

“What are those?” Kora asked.

“Katars,” I said, buckling on the leather greaves over my boots and black trousers. “They like them to the east in the naga lands.”

“Yes,” Zanyia said, rising up on her two legs to stand like the rest of us. She thrust her hands forward. I didn't hear a sound. Not a rush of air, not her bare feet shifting on the ground, not even the grunt of exertion.

Zanyia's ears twitched. Her mouth moved, but I didn't hear a word. Then she cocked her head to the side and blinked her golden, cat-slitted eyes. “Oh, wow, Master, it can make me silent. Ooh, no one will hear me coming now.”

I nodded, buckling the last strap and I felt the armor around me. It became an awareness in the back of my mind, something I could control. Suddenly, my hands and arms became shadows. My entire body blurred and fuzzed and faded away.

“Sven!” Aingeal gasped. “Oh, wow, that's an impressive illusion.”

“That's not an illusion,” Zanyia said. “It's like shadowmancing. I saw them rush at Master.”

I grinned as I held out my hand. Shadows rippled down my blurry, almost hidden arm and formed into a long, narrow blade.

I held a rapier of shadows in my hand.

“This armor” Ealaín glowed, her yellow armor pulsing with light. Like Greta and Nathalie's, it was a half-breastplate, cut low to show off her midnight-black tits, her dark flesh at odds with her radiance. A skirt of mail fell down past her rump and glowing greaves adorned her lower legs.

“It's beautiful,” I said, my eyes flicking to all four of my women in their armor.

“I guess none for us,” Kora said, glancing at Ava and Aingeal.

“Well, we have our magics, don't we?” Aingeal said, her wings fluttering. “Besides, I'm already so fantastic, I don't need armor to make myself special.”

I smiled at Aingeal while Zanyia scampered around behind her, leaping and bounding about without making a sound.

Ava, however, trembled. She held up the hammer then turned in a slow circle until she pointed the diamond hammer at the wall. “There.”

“What?” I asked.

“It's to the east by the Despeir Mountains,” Ava answered. “Where we can destroy the phylactery.”

“The Altar of Souls?” I asked, my heart clenching.

She nodded her head.

From above, a loud crash resounded. A rumble shuddered through the building.


Prince Meinard

Blood and gore dripped off my iron body. The streets of Az bled. The Paragon's monsters attacked more than the soldiers and bards, they killed any who stood in our way or blundered into our progress. Men, women, even children lay broken in our wake, their lives dripping from all our forms.

The price was worth it. Had to be worth it. My people had sacrificed so much to see me ruling all of Zeutch. All of the world. I had enslaved so many, killed more in my conquests. What were a few more pittance in compared to that. If I didn't press on, if I didn't pay the price, it would mean all those died for nothing.

My ambition needed fulfilling.

We reached the temple. It was so unassuming. Nothing about it proclaimed it was the heart of Krab's power in Az. That this was a place dedicated to any god, let alone one as important and powerful as Krab. My own divine ancestor.

The Hunter snarled and charged forward. Shadows dripped off of its emaciated body. It set its shoulders, the bear-like thing passing by the square pillars holding up the roof of the temple's porch. Its claws scratched on marble. It crashed into the door.

With a loud boom, it burst through it. I charged after, the Hunger scuttling beside me. Behind us, the Colony chittered and buzzed with excitement. In moments, I leaped over the rubble of the door and entered Krab's temple.

An old man stood waiting for us. He wore leather pants, scarred and burned, stained by hours upon hours of labor. Despite his age, the man's body was all hard muscle, sinew cording across his powerful build. He wore gauntlets made of clear crystal, of diamonds, that sparkled with a fiery brilliance. They flexed into fists as he faced us.

The Hunter dove forward, half-concealed by shadows, rushing at the old man.

He punched hard, not caught off-guard by the blurring attack. His gauntlet struck the Hunter in the snarling muzzle. Ice burst from the diamonds. They spilled over the Hunter's bestial face. The force of the blow threw the monster down. It crashed to the ground, rolling, spasming, jaw frozen shut.

“This is Krab's temple,” the old man said, his words simple. “Vebrin's creations do not belong here. Leave, your Highness.”

I marched forward as the Hunger slithered forward, dripping its foul tar.


Sven Falk

“Is the temple under attack?” I asked, whirling around.

Kora grasped her pendant as she turned. The light caught it, the ruby flaring with scarlet brilliance for a moment as she looked up above us. Something walked across the ceiling, something heavy. A metallic thud echoed.

“Let's go!” I snarled and charged out of the vault, shadows flowing around me.


Prince Meinard

The old man's diamond-clad fists battered the Hunter to the ground. The writhing things undulated its body, breaking the sheets of ice forming across its chitin and spindly legs. Its tar grew hard, freezing on its body as the old man attacked with the steady rhythm of a blacksmith hammering at the forge.

I rushed in, raising my sword high.

The old man thrust a hand at me, fingers splayed wide. A blast of arctic fury surged out of him and struck me in the chest. The cold assaulted my iron body. It grew stiff, brittle as the chill spread through me. My attack faltered as I fought to keep my balance. Frost spread over my iron flesh, reaching to encase me.

The old man shook his head then drew back his fist. The Hunger quivered on the ground. The Colony edged to the right, looking almost fearful. Cold air swirled around the old man, a winter fury ready to be unleashed.

“Gods dammit!” I snarled, struggling to move my body. The frost immobilized me now, gripping all my joints, making me into a statute. “Las's putrid cum.”

The old man's fist crashed into the Hunter's head. Chitin cracked. The thing's body spasmed. The old man raised his fist again.

The Formless dropped from the ceiling.

The oozing thing engulfed the old man in moments. Through the viscous monster flesh, I could see the old man thrashing, his body moving slow as As the Formless devoured him.

Footsteps echoed from my right. I wrenched my half-frozen head around. The frost slowed its spread, melting away. Brittle cracks echoed as I wrenched my joints into motion, turning to face the charging footsteps.

Sven appeared in the doorway, wielding a rapier made of darkness.

The coldness melted inside of me. A great, bubbling anger surged through me as I stared at the man who stole my daughter. She was mine. I had her love, her passion. She would have borne my heir if it wasn't for this Las-damned bastard before me.

“You!” I snarled and charged.

To be continued

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