Storming the Castlebytiedwide©
The warrior spurred his horse and leaned forward, drawing back his curved sword and roaring out a challenge to the castle guards. Steel flashed in the sunlight, catching the bloody rays of sunset as the guards stepped out onto the packed earth of the courtyard.
The warrior was good - and his horse was a fighter, too. The huge mount wheeled and turned, dodging pikes and sword tips easily as his rider dealt death from above. Horse and rider were seasoned veterans, survivors - victors - both successful practitioners of a profession that punished mistakes harshly.
The castle guards did the best they could, but the battle was lopsided from the start. Unmounted and out of shape, the best they could hope for was to overwhelm the warrior by sheer force of numbers. Time and again, one or another of them would set a pike or lunge for the horse's belly to disembowel it and unseat the rider, only to have the monstrous beast read their minds at the last instant and leap aside. As the horse snorted in triumph, the glittering arc overhead dropped like lightning, and another defender's weapon dropped in the dust.
In the end, there were not enough guards. Given the skill and passion of the warrior, twice as many would still not have been enough.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, the warrior dropped to the ground beside the war horse, grinning tightly. He checked and rechecked the contents of a couple of pouches belted to his waist, murmured brief instructions to his horse, and strode across the courtyard to the big ironbound door.
The door swung open easily, and the warrior smiled. Reaching into a pouch, he selected a silver ring and slipped it onto his finger. Faint lines of script glowed and pulsed as he walked forward into the hallway, and the metal grew cold against his skin as the ring dissipated the force of the invisible barrier blocking his path.
The warrior paced the length of the hall, then stopped to admire the ring. He nodded his head in approval, glad to find his money well spent. Money not just for the ring, but also for the collection of tales and whispers about this place - mutterings of sorcery, treachery, and riches.
As he worked his way deeper into the castle, the glow of the ring faded; apparently, the wizard-work was placed as a perimeter defense. He picked his way slowly and carefully, identifying traps and triggers placed within the ancient stonework. Reflex saved his life several times as creatures leapt from shadows - in a blink, he spitted the vile forms and jerked his blade free. He spared little time for examination, but it seemed that even some of the more fanciful tales were true; many of the furry horrors that died at his feet existed nowhere else in the world. It seemed as if someone had dumped the entire contents of a mad wizard's zoo into the castle - everything had too many fangs, or too many legs, or both.
The glow of the throne room drew him forward at last, and he stepped through the last doorway into a large open space well-lit by candles and torches. Glittering suits of armor, rich silks, and precious metals surrounded him on every side, and he knew at last the tales were true. Movement caught his eye - across the room, a harem girl caught her breath sharply and started running for the door.
He crossed the floor with a few huge strides, catching her by the wrist as she tried to duck down a hallway. She struggled in his grasp, but he held her tight, gripping her by the upper arms and holding her at arms' length to look at her. Her chest heaved as she fought, and he was mesmerized - she brought up a knee sharply, then winced as her kneecap bounced off his combat cup.
She smelled of sandalwood and musk, and the big fighter ran his eyes up and down her body. Dressed in a few slips of filmy silk and adorned with jewelry, she presented a perfect vision - an ideal, the very essence of the harem. Smooth, perfect skin, nicely curved and inviting body, lush lips, and brilliant green eyes that drew him in like deep pools. His mind wandered for a moment, the spoils forgotten.
He blinked and looked away, reminding himself that the loot was the lure that had drawn him here. With this wealth, he could buy his own harem - and enjoy it in safety. The girl thrashed in his grip, and he felt her sweat slipping beneath his fingers.
He pursed his lips, thinking. The smart thing to do would be to just kill the girl, lest she raise the alarm before he could efficiently loot the place. His eyes roved up and down the room, mentally tallying treasures and deciding how best to carry them off.
She bucked and thrashed again, and he looked down at her in annoyance. Her skin was covered in a light sheen of sweat all over, now - he could feel it in his hands, and the faint scent of fear washed over him, mixed with the musky tang of her fragrance. The sight of her struggling form hit him like a physical blow, and his lips parted.
His field of view seemed to contract, and she sprang into perfect clarity, eclipsing everything else in the room. With wide eyes and panting lips, she projected an almost tangible wave of helpless vulnerability, and her trembling, virtually nude body was perhaps the most delicious thing he'd seen in quite a while. He debated himself for a moment, then shook his head firmly. Not here, not now. He shoved her away hard, sending her sprawling into a pile of cushions.
He drew his sword.
She opened her flimsy blouse. He faltered briefly, then stepped closer.
She unclasped her belt and flipped her skirt aside. He raised the blade.
She opened her knees wide and extended her arms, eyes wide in terror as she pleaded for her life with her charms. His eyelid twitched and he paused, considering. His hand, slick with her sweat, tingled on the grip of his sword. He couldn't take his eyes off her - all of her - and he finally decided that he could always kill her afterwards, after all.
The touch was stunning, an electric shock that jolted through his whole frame. As hands roved and fingers explored warm, moist skin, his pulse hammered in his ears and she grew even more ripe and luscious before his eyes. He quickly rationalized away his fears and concerns, consumed with the passion of claiming and mastering the quivering woman beneath him. Clothes and equipment hit the floor, and then he was in Paradise. She struggled and gasped in fear and shame, but clearly preferred submission over death.
The coupling was unbelievable - his skin was on fire, and he couldn't get enough of the feel of her in his arms, pressed against him, moving in timeless rhythm. She filled all his senses to overflowing, and he cried out as he devoured her greedily. She writhed against him, slick and soft and yielding against his taut muscles; passion crested, and his world shuddered into gasping oblivion.
He blinked, then frowned. Realizing he was looking up at the ceiling, he tried to stir, but found that a delicious laziness coursed through his veins.
"It's the sweat, you see." She illustrated the point by rubbing thumb and fingers together. She sat astride him, and even as he blinked the cobwebs out of his mind and tried to understand, he felt himself stir inside her.
"Something in my sweat has the most amazing effect on people," she continued conversationally. "Men, women - it doesn't matter. With just a touch - " She leaned forward to brush a fingertip across his lips, and a hot pulse of desire hammered through his groin. " - I can captivate."
A small voice began to shrill an alarm, somewhere back in the depths of the warrior's brain. His concern was no match for his desire; like the castle guards, his mental defenses were outgunned from the start. She stretched like a cat, flexing her body and rolling her hips atop his, and he moaned helplessly, spearing her and shaking with lust.
"Ah, that's nice," she purred. She hefted his pouches, smiling. "So, what did you bring me?"
She dumped the contents of the pouches onto a cushion, then idly flicked through the pile with a fingernail. She turned various charms and talismans this way and that, then pursed her lips.
"Pretty standard stuff - but how did you get past the shield?" Her eyes flicked up and down his body, then zeroed in on his hand.
As she plucked the ring from his finger and examined it more closely, her thighs tensed, wringing a howl from the warrior. Desire of her own grew in her eyes as she read the inscription, and she wet her lips.
"Do you have any idea what you've got here? This is a rare treasure indeed - not just some knocked-together charm that might possibly get you in and out of the shield one time without killing you. This is something for the ages - " She rippled with pleasure, and he gasped. She kissed him deeply on the lips, bending down to rub herself against his heaving chest.
With a mighty effort, the warrior spoke.
"So you're the last defense, then."
She sat up, grinning.
"Defense? For all this useless junk, you mean?" She swept her arm around the room, smiling.
"Broaden your mind, warrior-man. Did it ever occur to you that I might be one of the treasures - or, more to the point, one of the reasons why this castle was defended by men and magic, traps, and beasts? Did you ever stop to wonder why you found no one else inside?"
She laughed, tracing patterns in the sweat on his chest and watching him writhe beneath her.
"No, of course not - because the first thing you did was chase me down and grab me, wanting me like a hungry wolf. With that first touch came the beginning of your fall. The truth is, all those defenses were not there to keep you out - they were to keep me in!"
Power gathered within her - he could see it in her eyes. Power, and lust.
"I've never been able to pass the barrier before, but this will do nicely." She slipped the ring onto her finger, then made a fist, grinning. As she flexed her fist, he felt her flex around him, squeezing him.
As his body responded, he felt an unfamiliar ripple in her - then, to his horror, a pair of hollow fangs pierced him from both sides and locked into place. He gushed convulsively inside her, eyes wide in terror.
Tracing runes on his chest and rocking on her hips, she began to feed.