A Harem Fantasy Ch. 18bymadam_noe©
It's been a long time, folks! Here we are, at the conclusion of the story of Virtal the Just, a young woman caught in a power play in a world similar to ancient Egypt filled with dominant women, old religions, and magic. I hope you've enjoyed the tale, as always I welcome feedback and ratings, and yes this is a bit short, but it wraps up the story nicely. Enjoy!
Just when I felt death yawn a greeting deep inside me, it stopped. I still could not see, all was black, but the scrabbling fingers, nails digging into me, fetid breath and sharp teeth all paused.
And then they began to convulse, shaking, moaning. When enough were off me I struggled up and found them all on the floor, a writhing mass. Antal was gone.
I picked my way through them to find Fisine pinned by the dead, nearly whole priestesses who had been guarding the door. On her knees on the cobblestones, Morganna chanted, blood welling from self-inflicted wounds to help call her magic.
She looked at me, her black hair swirling in unseen wind, her eyes bled to black. "Kill her, Virtal."
Weak, panting, trembling, I moved to Fisine, held aloft by the mummies now under Morganna's control.
She laughed. "The mummies are mine! Your sorceress bitch can control only a few, not all. Kill me and Antal lives. She will live until her purpose is fulfilled, and so will all the mummies!"
"And what is her purpose? Killing me?" I raised my sword like an axe over my shoulder.
Fisine spit a bloody wad from her mouth and grinned wider. "Silly girl! Bringing these lands to their knees!"
She laughed until I cut her head off. It flew to land at the base of a torch, smiling still, even as it knocked the flaming tower over, coals falling to burn her flesh. The mummies shrieked and ran, and Morganna stood.
"I need her blood now. It will take time."
"Where did Antal go?"
Morganna, calm and terrifying in her power, turned to the Palace. I saw a lone blur rushing towards it, moving impossibly fast without a horse. "No!"
"Go now, the mummies may follow before I can wrest control. Go now and stop her!"
I ran to my terrified horse and jumped onto her back, kicking her to gallop. We rode on and behind us I glanced and saw the mummies surge out. Morganna's blood soaked form disappeared amongst the walking dead.
They moved fast but my horse was faster. I heard Morganna's mount scream a death rattle behind us as we rode, and fear pushed my horse faster.
When we reached the fire line the soldiers behind it had broken in stark fear. We jumped it and as I landed I had only time to scream "deserters meet death!" and then we rode into the hall.
It was chaos. The citizens had not been settled yet and men, women, and children ran screaming. There was a line of bodies and a trail of blood over the golden marble leading to the stairs. The bodies began to rustle.
I found a guard as I dismounted.
"Fire! Keep them at bay with fire, chop them into pieces. They will die soon!"
Her eyes were wild but she nodded, and I ran.
I used my sword to strike at as many moving dead as I could, but I could not get them all at my breakneck pace. I sprinted up the stairs, but I fought living bodies and dead. The dead were armed, Antal had struck at the soldiers with care. More fought them, but citizens were panicked, stampeding like cattle in a fire.
I did my best not to hurt them, but my speed and care for my people kept me from the fighting. I had to reach Antal, kill her. If Morganna had fallen, killing Antal was the only chance we had.
I crested the third levels of the palace by the balcony, and I saw the mummies had reached the fire line down below. My heart hammered, even though I saw my soldiers had pulled themselves together, forming a line of archers. They used the fire line to light their arrows. Smart. Whatever commander had devised that trick I would give a higher commission...if I lived.
The harem was worse. The fighting here was rampant, ten harem members to every dead one, but the dead had Antal's magic, immense strength, and a ferocity that was staggering.
I struggled my way, killing as many as I could, but the sheer density of the fighting made it hard. Outside below, the mummies had somehow broken the fire line and fighting was now sword-to-sword, and sword-to-immortal-flesh.
The harem was in chaos. Antal had slain the other two "stock" members and Cassipe and the top tier fought them valiantly. Uloga cut off a head as Missiply and Annist cut the arms from the other.
"Go!" Cassipe cried, pointing to my chambers.
Inside I saw a sight that gripped my heart with fear. Lucius lay bloody on the ground, but he was not stirring as a mummy. He had to be alive, he had to.
Antal and Marxim wrestled. The man who had feared her, killed her before, now faced her in demon form. Still he valiantly struggled pressed against his nightmare, keeping her clawed hands from his face.
I moved to help him when a sword clashed with mine.
The lightly dessicated corpse facing me was Mystrike. She had been prepared for burial, still wore the linen bindings around her, but she was armed, and one of her striking eyes looked at me, clouded milky white.
"Not yet," she called, sing-song, voice scratchy and sounding as if it swam through dirt.
"Marxim!" I called and drew back my sword to strike at her center. She moved quickly and blocked me, sending me stumbling into the altar. "Get her to the throne!"
I looked to Lucius, who appeared to be breathing shallowly. He was too bloody for me to see his wounds, but he was so pale they were dire, I knew.
Mystrike's sword hit the altar and cracked it. I felt the goddess and gods in me cry out and I struck at her, nearly hitting her head but the undead bitch blocked me.
"Die!" I screamed, and she just laughed.
"Already did. Your Turn."
Behind her Marxim had regained his feet and was struggling to push Antal back to the throne. Beneath us the sounds of vicious fighting rang out, the screams of the dying filling the night. For each that fell, they rose to join the mummy ranks, and I could gear as much as feel the tide turn against us. Time was waning fast.
We parried and Mystrike was much stronger, but her left eye was bandaged still and blind. I feinted and went to stab her. Unfortunately my move made me trip over Lucius who groaned, and my sword fell short.
Mystrike knocked it aside and cackled. My heart sank as the sword skittered to the throne where Marxim nearly had Antal seated. My attacker loomed over me, grinning with lightly rotted flesh hanging loose from the exertion. She was not healing fast, this had to mean Morganna was still alive, still working her magic. My heart soared with hope.
"Death is too good for you, Virtal. I want to hear you scream. I want to rape you, I want your body to betray you. Do you want to touch my sickly flesh?" She rubbed her body, still shapely under the linen, now stained with ichor, and my stomach lurched.
I licked my lips, thinking fast. Marxim had Antal on the throne now, his muscles bulging with the effort to keep her there. She was trying to reach for my sword and I abandoned it, praying she would touch it and die.
Mystrike's eye followed mine and she gasped. "No! It will kill you my queen!" She threw her sword to Antal who grabbed it.
"Marxim! My sword!" I sat up and ripped bindings loose from Mystrike's leg. Pressing my armor to her, she shrieked, moved to kick me, and then fell.
I shot up and moved Lucius away, albeit closer to the throne. I tried to touch it but Antal's sword hit my hand, slicing open my arm as she kicked me back.
I landed on Mystrike, turning to dust, and screamed as I rolled off. Below came a cry of victory and I rose up to see the mummies falling. "Great, Morganna waits until now," I muttered.
I turned back to see Antal had thrown my sword from Marxim's hand. She had Mystrike's to his throat, and Marxim was trembling but frozen, sweating, panting. She was about to deliver a killing blow.
"You lose everything," Antal said, and her arm flexed.
"No!" I screamed, too far, but then magic swelled and Antal began to shake. The sword clattered to the stone floor and Marxim scrambled back.
At the foot of the throne, Lucius' hand weakly touched the leg.
Antal's eyes went white, her body desiccating instantly. I grabbed my sword, too impatient, and cut off her head. It fell with a wet plop and kept decomposing, even as I began to hack the body. Rage suffused me and even as she fell to dust I kept swinging, util I felt Marxim touch me and the goddess flare inside me.
"It is done, Virtal."
I dropped the sword and fell into his arms, doing the one thing a queen should never do, the one thing I was taught to never do. I wept, shaking with it.
We sank to floor, uncaring of the dusty remains around us and he held me until I felt dry, then Marxim gently kissed my nose.
He sighed, smoothing my hair back. "I am sorry, so sorry that your work is not done. We must heal Lucius."
Shaking, I nodded, and we twisted our bodies to lay hands on him. All touching, the gods and goddess were strong, and soon all my aching wounds, Marxim's, and Lucius' healed.
When it was done He sat up, blinking, green eyes confused.
"You did it, Lucius. You killed Antal."
He weakly joined the hug, wrapping his arms around us both. "No, we did it."
I kissed them in turn and then watched as they kissed. It was a thing of beauty, their beauty, now mine. When they parted I struggled to my feet to look over the balcony. There were piles of dust blowing in the wind, more outside the city gates, but the survivors, whole, weak, or wounded, cheered.
I raised my fist in the air, still covered in dried blood.
"My people! Today we have tasted victory. You stood proud and fought for your homes, for you friends, for your family, for your country. I will not forget this, and let this night be known as the night evil was defeated!"
A roar went up and I sagged, this time it was Lucius who caught me.
"You need to rest."
"Send Cassipe to find Morganna, she is alive but likely wounded. And there are forces loyal to Antal in the farthest corners of the land, they will have to be hunted down and killed, and there is famine, and war looms wi-"
"You need rest," Marxim interrupted.
Lucius smiled and placed a hand on my shoulder as he rose. "You are the Uniter, the queen we have been waiting for for centuries. You will save the world but you are young, and you have time. Sleep now."
"Cassipe!" I yelled, and he appeared, wounded but smiling.
"Yes, my queen?"
"Stop that. Morganna is by the temple. Find her, bring her back. I am on the verge of collapse."
"I will see to it you are not disturbed. Halfath is a fine steward, she is already sorting things out down below."
"Go, quickly now, bring her to me."
"Yes, your highness."
Before I could yell at him to stop using my formal titles, he was gone.
"Bed, now, Virtal," Lucius said.
"Only if you both join me. You are my consorts, for now, forever. Join me."
They both kissed my cheeks, and Lucius carried me to my bed. Marxim pulled back the sheets and we lay together, a tangle of weak and weary limbs.
"Tomorrow we build an empire together, but tonight, let us just be lovers."
I kissed them in turn and settled into the peace of sleep. We had done it, the first, violent step of a new era. Stories and ballads of this night would be told and sung for ages. Once I was rested, I would make sure it was a story abut how love conquered hate.
The sun was shining bright when my sisters came to visit. We'd never been close, but the dynasty that had brought me to Caldor, which insisted on shedding off familial relations, was a thing of the past.
My family name, a gift never given to me, as I was born Virtal of the North, now called Virtal the Just, was Larenct. My dynasty was to be named for it, and when the smoke cleared, the rebels of Antal's guard put down, my sisters came to witness the decree.
With restrictions and tariffs lifted the famine over the west was lightening. Trade with the south to bring food supplies had soothed talks of war. My people were at peace, and an era for prosperity was upon us, if we could take it, if we could only hold it.
It turned out to be a simple soldier who had held the line at the ring of fire that long-ago night and raised the flaming arrows, the Tide they called it in song. I made her a captain, posted her to my own guard, and the woman was present at council meetings as my favored military advisor.
The council was made up Cassipe and the other top tier harem members. I had disbanded the harem, allowing the members to return to their families and lands if they wished or to stay and work. Most chose to stay.
Markal, Uloga, Missiply, Annist, Morganna, and Cassipe were key to helping me run the land. The little details they saw to, though I stayed directly involved, comprised much of daily life. Peacetime was quite boring. I still had decisions to make, though I never made one without input, and often arguments, of my two crowned consorts, Lucius and Marxim.
Morganna cleaned out the temple and was now high priestess. Men were equal in the new religion and were flocking to it in droves. Learning from mistakes of the past meant the raising of mummies was taught but illegal, as well as defeating any rogue who tried. Morganna made sure all her students knew the process so all could stop it should such a night of terror ever come again.
I had the palace reorganized, redecorated. My colors were white, and ivory and gold now danced along the sand walls, torches wrought in oxidized metals shining purple, red, blue, and green adorned capped them. The harem space was made into apartments and offices, and my consorts oversaw it all.
After training for six months, many had left to the provinces to reorganize. Infrastructure, economics, trades...truthfully it was necessary but boring.
After dinner I excused myself from my sisters and their husbands, and took my consorts in hand.
Marxim had recovered beautifully, and his act of bravery marked him as one of the valiant men I'd ever known. Lucius, who'd fought impending death to kill Antal was the other.
"Tonight we once again greet the moons!" I called to the massive crowd below, who cheered. In the new era, affectionately called Two Moons, Caldor's population had swelled, and the city walls were being pushed back, claiming desert daily. So the crowd that stood below for the nightly ceremony was immense.
I kissed Marxim first, so handsome and strong, his black hair long, loose, and soft in my fingers. I turned then to Lucius, slim and bronze, his pretty looks shining beneath his golden hair. He kissed me, impishly biting my lip, and my body heated.
They raised me to the altar and Lucius kept my mouth, even as he helped Marxim to remove my dress. My other consort's mouth found my breast, claiming a peak to suck and nibble as Lucius palmed the other, teasing me with rough swipes of his thumb.
I parted my legs, and Marxim slid his hand up my thigh, teasingly stroking the folds of my damp pussy. The sun slid lower and the crowd hushed, fading from mind as only my gasps filled the air.
I stroked any flesh I could, enjoying their muscles, bunching and sleek, the contrasts of the two men I loved dearly. Their erections pressed into me, and how I wanted to revel in them, luxuriate in our mutual passion, but that was for the night. Now was for the goddess and gods, for the people.
They each moved one hand to the other's cock and I opened my eyes to see them stroke one another. Deep, erotic shivers covered me, and if I were free to, I would happily watch them play all night.
I groaned as they broke free and we moved, and this time it was Lucius who lay on the stone altar, green eyes glittering to me. He kissed me and moved me higher, capturing the dry breast in his mouth, suckling as Marxim moved behind us, spreading the lotion on his hard cock.
I teased Lucius, stroking my pussy over the head of his cock, and with a growl he bit my nipple and settled me, spearing me deep. Crying out I wanted to move, but his iron grip held me still. I opened my eyes, seeing my red hair fall onto his honey skin, and the misty look of love and lust filled his eyes.
He moved them to a point behind me, darkening with lust, and I felt Marxim settle in. "Raise up," he ordered me and I did.
Marxim's hand cupped Lucius' balls and the stroked up the shaft to tease my clit. I was shaking with desire, drenched by the time I felt his huge cock at my arse. His heavy body pressed against my back as his fingers opened me, loosening me up, and then he pressed inside.
When they filled me the sun sank below the horizon, and we had to move quickly. Without any orders they began to move, one sliding in as the other moved out, taking turns. The pleasure was filling, deep, dark, consuming me, and all I could do was hold still, trembling as my body tightened, heated, and climbed inexorably towards the summit.
Marxim's hand snuck around to cup my sex and Lucius suckled at my breasts. My body tightened and tightened impossibly further and then I felt the goddess fill me. With a cry of triumph I came, and they moved with the speed of a raging river and tumbled with me into bliss. The connection of our bodies gave me the flavor of the gods as well, even as colors burst behind my eyes, and when I opened them the moons had risen.
Applause rang out and only then did I remember the crowd. We extricated ourselves for a bow, and then headed inside to our bedchamber.
"I will wash up, and then we shall take our time," Marxim said with a kiss.
"Do hurry," Lucius purred, kissing me, and then he walked with Marxim inside, arms around each others' waist. Love had blossomed between them too, and I smiled.
I was staring at the throne. The mason had worked on it, and the spike was on top of the back, away from the head. The next queen to come, my successor, would be the only other one who could activate it, and through her touch that is how we would know her, though I prayed she was years off.
I pricked my fingers to see it light up with magic, my magic. Now it did so without Morganna's help, it was all me. There were all kinds of power to being queen.
I delayed and went into my study where there hung paintings of all the past queens, nearly a thousand. Some were small, barely more than scratches of a chicken in sand, all the way to Antal, a full painting, albeit small.
I hung my whip beneath her. The painting was from her youth, when her beauty was clear, and the darkness hadn't touched her eyes. I kept the whip below because, goddess help me, Antal had given me a taste for it. Lucius could tease me to begging with it, or I could make my men gasp and writhe. Power games and light pain were a delicious spice, but always with love in our hearts, never Antal's capricious cruelty.
Our lingering dark desires were her gift, one of them. From her I had my name: Virtal the Just. I had my taste for dark sensuality, and I knew just what lengths a queen must go to for her people.
She made me, just as much as Cassipe did, just as much as the goddess did. It would be the struggle of my life to never cross the line she had so joyously bounded over. I swore once more, my private oath.
"My subjects are people. My consorts are people. My friends are people. They are all my people. My people have my protection; my people shall never fear me; my people should never be left wanting."
"Virtal!" Marxim cried, and for the insistence in his tone I grabbed the whip.
Though like my rein it was a cruel tool used with love, I could swear I heard a husky laugh behind me. I stopped, my reflection on the polished mirror in the spot where my portrait would hang when it was finished.