A Harem Fantasy Ch. 11bymadam_noe©
It was early morning and all around, people slept. Guards were posted but nodding off, some playing cards; there was little fear in the morning light. I tucked my hair up under cloth and covered it with a cloak and snuck into the men's quarters.
The private stock were hard to find, but at last I did. Tucked out of site, around a corner from the top tier, these rooms were small along a narrow hall and steps led to a small door t hat appeared to be a back entrance to the queen's chambers.
Cassipe was in the second room I tried and his door was a mere curtain. Inside was a small bed and a dresser with the washbasins I was used to at home. No running water for the stock. I wondered who these rooms had been designed for but pushed it aside and I nudged Cassipe's shoulder.
His pale blonde hair was tangled and in he started, lean muscles tense as I woke him. I pushed my hood back and held a finger to my lips. "The records room, ten minutes," I whispered and slipped back out.
I waited until a guard left his post to relieve himself and dashed across the maze of cells to the hall that led down. It was a long journey doing this at every post but at last I was in the dark hall, and walked to the records room where I had consented to making Lucius my consort.
I checked behind shelves and armoires everywhere to make sure there would be no one else. I was alone. I hadn't thought to bring a weapon with me, but should anyone discover us, could I kill someone? To save a life yes. To save Cassipe, yes. To save my own...most likely, but I wasn't quite sure.
There came the sound of footsteps outside the door. I blew out my small torch and hid as the door opened and closed. Whoever it was bore no torch.
"Virtal?" It was Cassipe's soft voice.
I stepped out and ran to him in the darkness, intending to hug him but he sidestepped. "Virtal," he repeated, voice dripping with sorrow," I dare not risk our deaths."
"Were you followed?"
"I cannot be sure."
I cursed softly and brought my torch back up. Striking the flint on the wall it sprung to life. He was so beautiful, so haunted, my teacher. Those large dark eyes were full of sadness and he looked thin, stretched.
"Cassipe," I said and dissolved into sobs.
He took the torch from me and laid a brief hand on my shoulder, guiding me to the crate I had sat on just a week before. It seemed no one else tread here.
He crossed to a wooden chest and sat, his long legs almost straight. "Virtal, what troubles you most?"
"The queen setting me up to fail? The sick things she makes me do? That I did a foolish thing when I let my greatest enemy live to see another day? That I chose for a consort a man I cannot control? Or that I feel something for him? What of that is the worst?"
Cassipe considered this heavily. I felt childish, whining, but here I was a pawn, a mythic figure, and he was the only man who would see me as I truly was: a very lost young woman.
"I did not know when I brought you here what would happen. When I was dispatched by my beloved queen to find you, Queen Antal had not yet arrived. My queen believed you were her successor and when I met you and reported back, she ordered me to stay and guard you.
"When Antal took the throne it was a very sad day for me. I had once been a consort of the old queen and I loved her very much. I know love was never spoken of in your teachings but it is real and it does exist. I loved her and she loved me. If you do come to love your chosen consort it will be a blessing and a boon.
"Young Lucius reminds me of...myself, actually," he smiled wistfully. "I never wanted to be controlled, it is not in my nature. I loved my queen, and I argued and debated many decisions with her, in private, but in public no one stood more firmly behind her than me. Lucius will be a bedrock for you, Virtal."
My tears slowed and I listened to his deep voice. "But how can I love him? I love you."
He smiled at the floor. 'There are many kinds of love, my sweet young queen. What you felt for me is puppy love, something of tender youth. It will pass, and I hope the love of friendship will bloom in its place."
I bit my lip though I wanted to argue; I sensed he had important things to say.
"A year after Antal came to power she disbanded the guards. You won't remember them, they were a service of the state that delivered the post, recorded news, and supported the Royal Guard, before that service was twisted in Antal's brute squad.
"News was stopped. In all your teachings I did not know how bad things had gotten. The only place people mix outside of their home areas is here in Caldor, and you've seen how the city walls are patrolled.
"Antal has brought war and famine to the lands. She is decadent and corrupt. He cruelty knows no bounds. She has appointed the priestesses of the order she was raised in to high positions everywhere. They exist for only pain and suffering, Virtal."
"Why are you telling me this now?"
He stood, still holding the torch, and drew near. "I have only learned much of this. Virtal, no matter what, I raised you to believe in yourself, to fight for what is right. The indomitable spirit inside you that made you seduce me again and again is the same that will make you fight.
"Yes, you are young, but you are smart and more than capable. In the weeks here she has shown you nothing of rule, only the cruelty and perversions on these floors. She is doing her best to warp and twist you, and you must not let her!"
"He's right," another deep voice said.
We both jumped and turned. Lucius stood in the doorway, hooded as I was. He stepped in and closed the door. "I warned you to take care and hide your feelings, Virtal."
Cassipe frowned. "You may be a headstrong young man but you do not ever order your future queen around."
"I am trying to protect her! And save you too." Lucius crossed to me and reached for my face, but I jerked away, still bitter he would not defer to me.
"This not what you think. I came to my old teacher for comfort and for knowledge."
He grabbed my chin and raised my eyes to his. "I am your consort; I," he emphasized, "give you comfort. Knowledge," he glanced to Cassipe, 'perhaps you can help with that."
"You've lived too long in this hell. The lands are falling apart. The time has come for a new queen to take control and save the lands." Cassipe ground out.
"I cannot unless I have the consent of the nobles." I stood and shrugged off my consort's hand. "And I am unknown to them."
Lucius grabbed my forearms. "They have suffered just as everyone else. I am not entirely ignorant of what is going on. They will support anything that ends Antal's rein. What you need to do before slaying her is kill the woman she lets govern in her place. You must kill the high Priestess of Caldor."
Cassipe snorted. "And just how is she supposed to do that?"
Lucius glanced at him. "That is what we have to figure out. Virtal, do you ever wonder why I am so hard on you sparring with the swords?"
"I assumed it was merely your nature."
"Fisine is not just High Priestess, she is a knight, and the best swordswoman in all the lands. I was awarded a place in the harem here under the old queen. I was being trained to kill Fisine who at the time was the greatest champion for the orphaned woman we now call queen. Antal kept me here so I could never escape.
"You are second. If anyone of us has a chance to leave these walls it is you. First you kill Fisine, and her false order will scatter. In the confusion you can kill Antal and assume power. It will not be easy, but it can be done.
"Virtal, bide your time, do as the queen says, no more, no less. I will protect you. Cassipe...you must take care. We can work together and get word to the priesthood. Through them we can fully secure the nobles."
Cassipe glanced to me. "Your young man does make some good points. I am willing to do my part."
I looked into Lucius' bright eyes. "I will do whatever I must for the people."
"Your people," Cassipe said. "I must go now, wait here, give me a good head start."
"Swift safety," Lucius said and I could not speak. Cassipe handed Lucius my torch and slipped from the room.
We held our breath until he was gone and then Lucius extinguished one torch, setting the other in a sconce. "What are you doing?" I whispered loudly. "We need to go!"
"Virtal, you are the second highest ranking person in all the lands and I am your chosen consort. There is nowhere in the palace you may not go, and as your consort I may accompany you anywhere unless otherwise ordered by the queen."
He looked around the little hall. "This is where you accepted me as consort. Should anyone find us, they would assume we are visiting memories."
"Lucius...consort is not a forever position."
He smiled at me. "Why you little spoiled brat! Why is it there are only two men you cannot control and one you claim to love and one you're trying to turn your back on? What does your teacher have that I haven't? Yes, he was the first man to claim you," he stepped closer to me forcing my face up to meet his eyes, "but I too was the first man to have you in a manner, and I know I am still the only one who has."
"Why would you say such things?"
"Because very soon my arrogant yet innocent little one, you will have more power than even your swelled head can imagine. It's my job to keep you grounded, to connect you. You are the moon, the hopes and dreams, and I am the sun that illuminates all, good or bad."
"Suddenly, you're talking an awful lot," I said, sidestepping him and grabbing the torch, I stalked out.
I reached the fork of halls and there was no guard. Curious, I stopped and listened. There were three paths: one led back to the records and closed scribe offices, one led to the pool, one led back to the harem levels, and the last I had not yet explored.
Not ready to go to sleep and not sure what I would find in the pool, I turned down the unknown hallway. It was long and narrow at first, widening, and the end was a single door. I opened it to find the queen's personal armory.
There should have been at least two guards and yet there were none.
There were spears, swords, shields, bows, quivers, arrows, sais, throwing stars from the eastern lands, armor, and weapons I could not even identify.
"Little girl lost," a smooth, feminine voice called.
I whirled to find Gorgent standing between racks of swords. She wore light armor and her dark hair was braided back in a style common for battle. She had a sword, but not one from the rack. It was the sword her mentor knight had given her upon her ascension to knighthood. Mine was in my rooms.
She drew back into a classic attack pose, holding her body like an archer, the sword raised to guard in an attack without a shield.
"Why are you doing this?"
"Because I love Mystrike. Because you have no place here!"
She charged and without thinking I grabbed a sword of the rack and raised it just in time to stop a slash that would have taken my head. I forced her back and she stumbled, giving me time to toss off my cloak.
Gorgent came at me and brought her sword up in a move to slash open my belly. I blocked again and the hit sang up my arm.
"Gorgent, even with this sword you are no match for me. Why?"
"Shut up and die!" She yelled and came at me in fury. I stood my ground and parried, swirling my blade around hers to strain her grip. We danced about, her holding her sword with both hands me holding mine with one. It was smaller, lighter, and I moved faster.
By sheer length of blade she caught my shoulder, running around a rack and spinning to deliver the strike backhand.
I switched to my left hand and chopped at her head, embedding the blade on a rack. She swung for my neck and my sword was stuck so I ducked and rolled under the next rack and came up.
Here were knives for throwing and I grabbed three. The first missed her to the side, the second whooshed through her hair, and before she could reach me the third struck the weak point in her armor, piercing her shoulder.
I grabbed another sword and raced over just as she pulled it out. Bleeding and panting Gorgent's beautiful face was a mask of hate. I meant to bring my sword down to pint at her neck but she swung hers up. I drew my blade to her hilt and it brought the sword I had grabbed, razor sharp, through her throat.
Her head was almost off and blood spread rapidly as she gasped.
I had never taken a life before and drew back my sword, wincing at the wet sound it made. I rested the blade on the stone floor, panting. "Gorgent, why? You knew you were not match for me."
She couldn't speak but mouthed the name Mystrike and through the fear of death, and evil glint came through her eyes.
I ran into the hall, blood dripping from the sword, calling for the guards.
Three women came running and I yelled at them to follow me to the records hall. As we neared I heard the sound of a chillingly familiar laugh.
The door was locked and I threw myself against it but it wouldn't budge. The guards were heavier with muscle than I so I ordered two to help. The cackling inside grew louder as we fell against the door again and again. The wood groaned, dust plumed, and on the fifth fall it broke open, one of the guards falling to the floor.
We came upon a grim scene; Mystrike standing over Lucius with heer sword drawn. He lay in a pool of blood, his hands grasping for his own sword at his side, defensive wounds on his palms.
I ran for Mystrike and fury gave me strength. Our swords clashed and blood from Gorgent flew from my blade to her face. Blinded, she stumbled back, and with a battle cry I drew my sword back then thrust it into her chest where armor had been ripped open in her earlier fight.
Her eyes widened and she fell to her knees.
I turned my back on her as the other two guards reached her and knelt beside Lucius as the other women shouted. There was a deep slash in his belly and he was bleeding fast, a mortal wound.
"Lucius," I croaked.
E tried to speak but I shook my head. "I have to heal you but I am low on power and the moon has not risen. It will take all I have. If Mystrike is not dead when I pass out, kill her. You will need rest too, but find a way to have another come to heal me, Uloga or Markal, whoever has more power. "
He nodded, fear calming in his eyes.
I laid my hands on his bare skin and called forth the goddess. In the light of day she was distant but I pushed on, demanding an insistent. In a vision she came to me, a woman of every face and none, every form and one, treading through a thick wind.
She drew near, the mother of all, and opened her mouth. Power surged out of her and into me, out my hands with sparks and it filled me too fast.
The next thing I saw was blackness rising up.
"Keep your voice down or someone will know I am here."
"Just keep it up, breathe with her. The Queen said she must be awake by moonrise for the ceremony. I am too weak to heal her, you're the only one."
"I cannot do it all, I cannot bring her the pleasure! The danger is too great."
I was swimming up through deep water, light shimmering at the surface. I recognized the vices of a weak Lucius and a scared Marxim. At the knowledge Lucius was speaking, weak but alive, I slowed my struggle to the light.
"That is why I invited someone here."
"No one can know, Lucius!"
"You can trust me," I heard Uloga say.
The water was thick, heavy and I couldn't breath. At Uloga's voice the weight lessoned.
"You must swear to tell no one of this, Uloga."
"I am here to help Virtal, I have no other interest.'
"Then get to work," Lucius said.
Seconds later the water turned warm, the currents caressing me. I felt keen pressure on my lips, my neck, trailing down to my chest. I closed my eyes firmly and let myself float, enjoying the slow burn inside me this brought.
The water became hotter and somehow wetter at the tip of a breast and a light current trailed down to the apex of my thighs. It speared me, coming inside and I moaned.
"It's working!" Lucius said.
The heat traveled down over my stomach and joined the spear of pressure between my legs, tickling, caressing, pulling. More pressure came at my breasts.
"You said that was forbidden!" Lucius said.
"Touch is what heels," Marxim replied. "Now shut up and don't distract me, I must breathe with her."
I floated in the water, buoyed, and relaxed into the pleasure being offered by shadows in the light. It built slowly, oh, so slowly, and then I peaked.
It was like I shot up through the water into the light. My eyes opened and I started. Uloga looked up at me from where he was bent between my legs. I lay against someone else whose hands were frozen on my naked breasts. I turned and saw Marxim.
We were in Lucius' room and he sat at his desk, looking alive but pale, tired.
"What's happening?" I weakly asked.
It was Marxim who spoke, whispering into my ear. 'Trust me on this. We must heal you, you must heal Lucius, and then we must heal you again for the ceremony. There's no time to waste. Uloga?"
The older man dipped his head and licked my wet core. I could only gasp and arch into Marxim, who massaged my nipples between his fingers. My head rolled to meet Lucius' eyes and what I saw there surprised me. Warmth that was only somewhat sexual, and something...else.
I closed my eyes and relaxed into the pleasure and let another peak wash over me. Another and another came, all at the soft pressure of Uloga's fingers inside me, his quirking mouth working that nubbin, and Marxim's rhythmic massage.
With each peak I felt clearer, sharper, and realized Marxim's breaths mirrored mine and power flowed. At last I could move my arms and grabbed Uloga's head, tangling his silky tresses around my finger.
At long last Marxim stopped. "If I heal you any more, Virtal, I will not survive the ceremony. You must heal Lucius now, and I will send Markal to you to strengthen you more. I must rest."
He kissed the top of my head and lifted me easily to the side where Uloga cradled me as Marxim rose. "Lucius?" He said and my consort nodded to the queen's.
Lucius ambled over to take his place and Uloga helped me settle into my consort's arms. Uloga's kind dark eyes matched his smile as his fair hair fell into his gaze and he returned. Lucius touched my breasts and as the tension built in me from those long, slow licks gifted by Uloga. I closed my eyes, called the goddess, and felt her smile distantly, but the connection, though far, was strong.
As it flowed from me to Lucius pleasure claimed my every nerve and my body flared to life, undulating. My own hands held Uloga in place, begging for the suckling touch of his lips of my nubbin, rubbing my slick heat into his face. I peaked, crested, crying out with need and clamor, the pleasure as always a sweet, shock. Indeed Uloga now suckled, and Lucius regained some strength and fondled my aching nipples, and at the height of the shudders Markal entered my rooms.
I came down panting and met Markal's dark eyes and easy smile. "I would say you don't need much help."
Lucius extracted himself for I was now weak. "She has healed my wounds fully, but now she is weak. You and Uloga must heal her for the ceremony or all is lost."
Some of the humor dimmed in Markal's gaze as he nodded to my consort who staggered back to the desk and sat.
"Uloga, lay down on your back," Markal said and reached for me to pick me up. Against my pale skin his olive toned hands looked so dark and the contrast pleased me greatly. He lifted me again, for I felt completely weak, and Uloga laid on my large, soft bed. His face was still marked by my juices and he was fully erect, nearly pained by need.
Markal sank me down until I straddled him, speared on this thick member. I cried out, frustrated by my inability to move. Markal straddled Uloga as well and urged me to lean back. His hands gripped my hips, held them aloft, and then he sank me down.