tagSci-Fi & FantasyA Drow's Dilemma Ep. 64: Fresh Air

A Drow's Dilemma Ep. 64: Fresh Air

byDrowsDilemma©

Author's Note:

A Drow's Dilemma began as a one-on-one roleplaying project and has been converted into a chapter-by-chapter format for weekly posting with the permission and assistance from my partner. It will contain a considerable amount of sexual themes such as femdom, lesbian, straight, 'reverse' rape, BDSM, group sex, romance, and other themes. The main goal of the story, however, is to tell an epic tale of adventures, gods and goddesses, fae, and nymphomaniacs. This episode and every episode to come will be available for free on Literotica for the foreseeable future. All characters that engage in sexual or suggestive situations are mentally and sexually mature: the human equivalent of 18 for their race.

*****

Episode 64: Fresh Air

The party left the rusalka pool to go back the way they came. Nothing tried to challenge them on the way back up to the sewers. There was another burst of water when they were about halfway there, but Mirjana neatly prevented anyone from giving the rusalka below another surprise visit.

Finally they were back in the even, chiseled tunnels of the oddly clean sewers. And the drow were back to wading in the thigh-deep water. Neither looked very pleased about that. The spot above where the naga had been was cleared - even the corpse was gone. Mirjana seemed to think nothing of it. Not too far beyond, however, there was a subtle... irregularity with the wall. "Naga?" The rusalka said without moving from the center of the channel. Two familiar heads snaked out from behind the rock. "Go. Be free. We do not care for you."

"They should probably wait until after we take down Faust." Selene said. "They would be easier to spot in the river than we were. Not that I care about their well-being; we just don't want Faust to think something is wrong until it's too late."

"Whatever you say." Mirjana responded carelessly.

"Selene is probably right. Stay here you two, we'll come see you after this is all over. It won't take too long." Ashyr said with a grin that was almost downright feral.

Seeing the spot where the body of the dead naga had been, Caleldir felt another rush of sympathy for the poor creatures. He was never fond of killing guards who were just doing their jobs, even if said guards were giant snake-things.

"I would definitely prefer the two of you alive to dead, so I agree with Selene. You should wait for us to pass back this way to evacuate. Otherwise Faust's men might decide you have turned traitor and turn on you." He gave the naga a sheepish grin. "Also, we managed to negotiate your freedom. We gave the rusalka something they wanted more." Himself, apparently.

Before they could continue onward, however, Nemanja turned the corner. Her hair whipped at the party aggressively until she saw her sister standing with them. That hair relaxed, but the fey still looked to be on her guard.

Nemenja took Caleldir by surprise. He slipped into a guarded stance, before realizing who she was.

"I thought I heard voices." Nemanja said. "I came up here to warn Lord Faust, sistra. But I have a feeling that will no longer be necessary." The light-haired rusalka observed. "Something very entertaining must have happened. Oh, and I see you survived the fishmen, nymph."

"Good to see that the rocks did not get you." Althaia was, predictably, unperturbed. "Of course I survived. They were not even a threat. It took me less than thirty seconds to remove their 'Holy Taint'. Next time you try to off me, choose more powerful enemies."

"There will not be a next time," Caleldir interjected. He turned to Nemenja. "I negotiated a new bargain. The one with Faust is at an end. Rostimira has agreed to stand aside and let us take Ceistas, and transferred the duty of responding to distress calls from the Motherland to us."

"Thank you, travelers," the female (or was that the other one, whose gender was unidentified?) naga told them. With much happier looks on their faces, they coiled back into hiding.

"It's at an end if you defeat him," Mirjana corrected. Of course, even if the party failed it could spell their doom if Faust found out that the rusalka had then and let them free. Their leader was confident enough after seeing Goelon's strength to risk that. "We hope you win, though. I like your dick better than his," she told him with a lecherous smile. Her hair began to casually flow towards him as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

This put a grimace on Caleldir's face.

"I... am glad," he said uneasily, taking a step away from her prehensile hair.

Nemanja shot her sister a jealous look, and then turned to Althaia.

"I was not trying to kill you," she protested. "You just had to anger those who worship disease. If you remember, a couple attacked me as well. It is not my fault." It was most certainly the rusalka's fault for not letting Althaia know more about the creatures who had her dark elf friend. But if Nemanja insisted on her innocence, there was really no way to prove her wrong.

"Well, if you were not trying to kill me, no hard feelings then, right?" Althaia said cheerfully. "I mean, I thought that you were trying to get me and Ashyr out of the way so that your Eddy could claim Caleldir, but you ended up being out of your league on both ends. But, if you did mean me well, I will just take your word for it." She gave the rusalka a sweet smile, but one with something of a hinted threat behind it.

"I will see you back at the pool," Mirjana told Nemanja. "Come, adventurers. Not much farther." And with that, the light-haired rusalka went back down a side passage, and the redhead traveled upwards.

"Farewell!" Althaia called after Nemanja.

On the way to their destination, the were many splits in the passageway that the drow presumed snaked through the rest of the city. This tunnel they were in was by far the largest, and obviously the central vein. Caleldir made note of all the twists and turns. The city sewers were certainly complex. Then again, sewers were infamous for being larger than needed, and infested with weird monsters. Generally not anything as lovely as a rusalka, though, as a rule whatever those fish things that worshipped disease were would be more common. Eventually, they came upon a large chamber. The channel of water began here from a pool in the center. At the moment, it idly bubbled. Stairs came up along the walls that led up to a solid stone platform above the water. In a vertical channel at the back wall, a column of water shot upwards and into the ceiling. To either side of that wall, there were hundreds of panels. About a half-dozen of them were completely mutilated, and a few more looked as if they had been hastily broken with the rest of them, but then were repaired to some extent.

"Here we are. Turn off the water before going up," Mirjana advised them. Without any further explanation, the redhead turned, dove into the water, and sped away.

Althaia sashayed up to Caleldir. "We should probably get you back to normal before we go any farther," she noted.

Caleldir nodded vehemently. "Not being in control of this body before, I did not realize how many downsides there are to it. For all his power, I think Goelon is more vulnerable than me. If I die, I turn into him. If he dies, or simply hangs around long enough without constantly draining power to keep this form stable, he dies for real. We would need to get a resurrection to properly get me back then."

"Sounds about what would be expected," Althaia noted, laying her hands on him to channel healing energy into him. Of course, being Althaia, she chose his butt as the most logical place to do that. Caleldir did not react much: he was used to Althaia by this point.

After a few moments, Caleldir was back to normal. He instantly summoned a full set of weatherproofed leather armor. "Much better," he said in a satisfied tone.

"I should probably dress as well," Althaia noted. Soon, she was back in her now more commonly used understated, elegant armor. "Now, about all these panels... I have no idea what they do." She confessed.

"Neither do I." Caleldir sighed. "But I assume they turn off the water somehow. Well, we should get to figuring out what it does. Ashyr? Selene? Any ideas?"

Selene turned to inspect the wall at the back of the chamber. There were six distinct sections to the paneling - three columns on each side. To the mundane observer, it looked purely decorative. To Selene's eyes that glowed with magical detection, the whole wall was almost too bright and confusing to look at. But nothing really stood out to her as something that obviously turned off water. She just managed to get a bit of a headache.

"It's magical, but that's about all I know," the mage told the rest of them. She turned her back to the wall with an uncomfortable look on her face.

"Well... Carlotta and her gang must have gone this way. I'd wager they had something to do with the broken panels," Ashyr thought aloud. Those panels that were broken looked newly smashed and newly repaired.

"They... wouldn't repair something if it wasn't necessary for the function of -" Selene waved her hand at the spout of water "- whatever that thing is. Right?"

The ranger shrugged. Sounded good to her. She approached a repaired panel and poked at it. Nothing happened. So she pulled out a dagger and used the hilt to smash the tile. The pool below them made a guttural noise, and the spout of water faltered for a moment. The drow looked ready to celebrate their luck and cunning. But then the spout sprayed full-force again. Except this time, the water wasn't as clear and clean as it was before. And the distinct smell of a sewer began to fill the room.

"Oh. Well. That's why they fixed that tile. One mystery solved." Ashyr said sheepishly.

Caleldir winced.

"That one needs to be repaired quickly," he said.

Althaia shrugged helplessly. "My life has been spent naked in a forest. I know nothing about machines."

Shaking his head, Caleldir sighed. "Well, I did work on some pretty complex robotics back in the day. This should not be too difficult..."

With that, he used his weapon runes to summon some tools, and quickly set to repairing the smashed panel. A few 'mending' cantrips would suffice for putting the panel back together, after that it was a simple matter of re-installing it to how it had been before Ashyr had busted it.

When the sewage finally stopped flowing, Caleldir took a step back. "Probably best if I handle the rest of this," he told the other three. "Unless you are trained in mechanics, Selene? If so, I could really use some help. If not, a few of your minor spells could be useful. You have way more spell juice than I do."

"I don't know much about mechanics," Selene admitted. But she was more than willing to help with her magical ability. Working with Caleldir to try to do magical tasks was quickly becoming Selene's favorite thing. With a look of concentration on her noble features, she pulled her hair out of her face and tied it back with a bit of purple ribbon. Then the two of them set to work.

Caleldir and Selene had quite a bit more luck than Ashyr did. It turned out that smashing the tiles wasn't really the way to go, even if the party before them managed to turn off the water that way. Presumably. By the time they were finished, the wall was in much better repair than it had been when they first encountered it. With some concentration and a little bit of fiddling, Selene postulated that each section of the wall probably controlled similar pools in various places under the city. From there, it was a little easier to narrow down which section controlled their spout of water. It was a little bigger than the rest, and contained more tiles. Selene's observations were invaluable. Certainly, Caleldir did most of the mechanical work, but between her offering ideas and bolstering him with convenient magics, the task was many times faster with her than it would have been without her.

"It has to be this sequence, then," Selene agreed. Then three buttons were pressed - using the cantrip mage hands (it seemed that that was the only way to activate the tiles). A bright grin spread across the mage's face when the water slowed, and then stopped flowing altogether.

"We did it," she announced proudly.

Caleldir breathed a great sigh. "Excellent." He rubbed his hands together. Then, before he turned around to thank the younger drow for her help, she leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. Caleldir blushed. "We did do it. Thank you, Selene. It is always a pleasure working with you."

"Gods, finally," Ashyr said. She had been sitting on the railing between the platform and the gurgling pool below. She jumped off and looked up the shaft that the water had been using.

"I am agreeing with Ashyr that I am glad that is over," Althaia added. The nymph had been carefully watching Caleldir and Selene while they worked, trying to get a grasp on what they were doing, but though she was smart and quick, she did not know enough of even the barest base of information on the topic to really follow along. She would have to pester Caleldir later to tell her how machines worked. Even a little bit. She understood how plants and animals functioned, and those were thousands of times more complex.

"I see daylight!" Ashyr proclaimed. "But, uh, it's going to be a bit of a climb. I am so fucking glad fresh water came through here after I broke it..." With that, she grabbed a handhold on the inside of the shaft and pulled herself up and out of sight.

Selene made a complex gesture with her hands. The she began to levitate. Very slowly, she followed after her cousin - much the same way she managed to get into the mad dryad's tree. She couldn't go very fast with the spell, but instead of doing any annoying physical work, all she had to do was gradually lift herself upwards.

Caleldir followed Selene up the shaft, with Althaia bringing up the rear. "Does that spell go any faster?" Althaia asked. "Maybe it will go faster if you push her upwards, Caleldir."

"I would not dream of doing that unless she asked me to." Caleldir replied.

"Oh, I'm not going that slowly." Selene responded with slight irritation. She was only going a little bit slower than Ashyr, who was quite a good climber. Selene made a mental note to go last next time the whole party had to go straight up and enclosed space. But she certainly wasn't going to ask to be pushed. "Just be patient and enjoy the view." The mage advised. She was wearing robes, after all, and wasn't really in the habit of wearing underwear.

"I am not complaining." Caleldir said with satisfaction. "It is a nice view, after all. I can go after you all you want. Althaia is the grouchy one."

"Yes, grouchy." Althaia said. "If Caleldir would follow your example and wear something worth looking up under, maybe I would be less impatient."

"A tragedy that I did not," Caleldir dryly noted.

By the time Selene got to the top, Ashyr was there to pull her quickly out of the shaft. Then she helped as much as she could with Caleldir and Althaia. Neither Caleldir nor Althaia needed help, strictly speaking (especially Althaia...) but they both gratefully accepted it all the same. Caleldir gripped Ashyr's hand tenderly and gave her a thankful smile, Althaia gripped Ashyr's arm with one hand and used the other to fondle the drow, grinning mischievously. Ashyr responded in kind to the nymphs' vastly different show of affection. Caleldir she gave a quick and tender kiss to the side of his jaw, Althaia received a soft pat on the ass.

The spout of water had been the inner workings of a decorative fountain. There was still some water within its large base, and not all of it had cleaned out properly after the spout of sewage Ashyr inflicted upon it. The soiled water was easy enough to clean off their shoes once they exited the fountain entirely. Said fountain was in the middle of good-sized garden next to the lord's castle. They stood in the highest part of the garden, allowing them the view of the top of the hedge maze they were in. The maze was nothing like those they had encountered below. It was clearly meant for a leisurely stroll in the fresh air. Well, sort of fresh after what Ashyr did.

So, they were all out of the fountain. "Huh. It is earlier than I expected," Caleldir observed quietly. "I thought the rusalka had us longer than that."

"We can't stand here." Ashyr told the rest of the group in a hushed tone. She took Selene by the hand and pulled her out of the center of the maze, walking low and fast. The sun was getting low on the horizon; darkness would come in another couple hours. There were plenty of long shadows to hide in. Ashyr would have preferred the night, but skulking in the shadows would have to do. It was vastly better than standing out in the open next to a fountain that had suddenly stopped working.

"Now I guess we get out of here and find out where Faust is," Ashyr said when everyone was out of the fountain. "Any ideas?"

Caleldir and Althaia followed Ashyr and Selene into the shadows.

"We need to get to Faust's castle," Caleldir stated. "Ashyr? Selene? Do either of you have anything that you can use to disguise your race? We could walk in as part of the staff. If we find one of the staff and knock them out (No killing, though), I could even use my ring to turn into them. Now, I know that you have that Mask, Ashyr, but I do not recommend using it."

"I got a few magical disguise kits from the Monastery," Althaia added. "Not much, but I can dye your skin and hair. You could be surface elf versions of yourself. Would elves work as maids? I can make myself look halfway plain that way too."

"That's assuming he's actually at the castle," Selene said. "But it's a start."

"In fact, he probably isn't there," Ashyr guessed. "Last time we were here, he was doing personal interviews. Dunno if he's still doing that, but he does seem like the type to oversee things in person. He might have Carlotta and her party here, though."

"I would not personally know anything about Lord Faust's habits," Althaia mused. "But it seems to me that if we control the castle, he will have to come to us. And at a severe disadvantage."

"I agree," Caleldir said. "With both of you. The Castle is our objective even more than is Lord Faust, both because of strategic and personal considerations. At very least, if Carlotta and Company are in the prisons being interrogated, as I had been, we should prioritize getting them out. Those places are not pleasant. Definitely not the good type of torture."

"Wait, 'good type of torture'?" Althaia asked, confused.

Caleldir raised an eyebrow at her. "Ask Ashyr. Or, better yet, Selene. I am certain they would be happy to tell you all about it. But do that later. We need disguises."

"I think I know a spell that can make us all look human," Selene said, willing to let the topic of torture pass for the moment. "Well, I do know it, but I've never been strong enough to cast it. But I think now - here, everyone get closer." As soon as the party gathered around Selene, she furrowed her brow in concentration and did a complex gesture with her arms and hands. The party's features morphed strangely, then with a soft 'pop' they all took on the forms of vaguely attractive humans with dark hair and slightly tanned skin. They all looked like they could be siblings or cousins - unfortunately, Selene didn't pay enough attention to the variations of humankind to make unique people on the spot. "Ha, I did it! This should last us a couple hours. But that's all we have. It's a draining spell."

"Makeup and wigs not necessary then." Althaia said, checking out her new body. She frowned a little. "Tis sad. When you are as perfect as I am, any modification is a downgrade."

"A humble race, nymphs are. Among the most modest of peoples certainly."

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