tagSci-Fi & FantasyThe Blood Pact Ch. 01

The Blood Pact Ch. 01


"Please, Master Oringel, you've got to help me! It's the chamberlain, he's going to kill me!"

I guess I should have known better than to ask a wizard for help, but all those time I'd seen him down in the servant's quarters, drinking with the rest of us late into the evening, he never seemed all that different than anyone else. Some claimed he was rather frightening, but I'd never thought of him that way until I saw that mischievous glint in his eye.

"Kill you?" Master Oringel laughed. "Why would he have reason to kill a lowly stable hand?"

I looked back over my shoulder. I didn't have time for games. I could hear the fat man's boots on the stone stairs. He had me trapped. It had been stupid to go into the storerooms, but running for my life, I suppose I wasn't exactly thinking very clearly. I could have tried hiding amidst the sacks and crates but that would only delay the inevitable. The chamberlain had seen me come down here and he wouldn't rest until he had me in his grasp. Running into Master Oringel was a stroke of luck, though good or ill, it was hard to say. Regardless, he was my only chance.

"I owe him money!" I said, practically grabbing hold of the wizard's shirtfront in violation of all protocol. "He's already given me more extensions than he usually does but now he says he's going to take a finger for every extra day I'm late!"

There was no need to elaborate further. Surely even Master Oringel had heard of the Chamberlain's cutthroat collection methods. The wizard's smile broadened and he nearly chuckled. As he stood there, stroking his stubbled chin and looking down at me like a collector might a rare butterfly, I could feel the seconds ticking past. The man didn't look any older than forty, but as a wizard he could just as easily have been four-hundred. His tunic was rumpled and the salt and pepper hair hanging to his shoulders wasn't any better kept. He didn't look like he belonged in the castle at all, let alone on the king's inner council. Would he even be able to help me?

"So, you're asking a boon of a fully-vested Cadre wizard?" he said at last.

"Y-yes! I suppose I am! Can you use your magic to hide me?"

"Mathis! I saw you come down here!" The chamberlain's voice echoed down the hallway followed by the metallic scraping of a knife being drawn from its sheath. "Why don't you just come out, boy, and face the music."

"Very well, I shall grant your request," Master Oringel said.

He reached into the folds of his tunic and drew forth a small twig, as big around than his finger and no longer than his forearm. He raised it with a single deft movement and pointed it at my forehead, speaking some whispered incantation. There might have been a faint glow, but I couldn't say for certain, the sound of the door latch being lifted drew my attention away.

"Please, hurry!" I said. Turning back toward the wizard, he seemed even taller than he had a moment before. It was only then that I realized I didn't even know what he was doing. For all I knew, he was turning me into a newt. The Chamberlain certainly wouldn't have any reason to spare me a second glance then.

As the storeroom door opened, I shuffled around behind Master Oringel. It was a pitiful hiding place, but the best one I could see at the moment. Some great wizard he turned out to me. His magic hadn't done anything at all. To make things even worse, I nearly tripped when my tunic became entangled around my legs. Not only that, but my entire balance suddenly felt different, as if my hips were too wide and chest too heavy.

As I stumbled over my own feet and fell against Master Oringel, he didn't so much as budge. He'd just doomed me and he was being perfectly calm about the whole thing. The sadistic fellow had probably only been toying with me. He'd never had any intention of assisting me at all.

"Alright you little -- Master Oringel?" the chamberlain's voice boomed across the storeroom but cut off short. "What're you doing down here? And who's that with you?"

"Oh, this is just a friend of mine," Master Oringel said and pulled me back into the open. Why had I ever thought this wizard would really help me? They were all just as cruel as everyone said.

My heels clacked loudly on the stone floor as I stumbled yet again. I would have fallen completely if one of Master Oringel's hands wasn't still wrapped all the way around my upper arm. I'd never before noticed his hands were so large. To be manhandling me so easily, he must also have much stronger than he looked. It didn't help matters that it felt as if my shoes had suddenly gained nearly an inch of narrow sole. With a huff, I brushed the hair that fell across my face out of the way. I knew it had been getting long, but I hadn't thought it was time to have it cut just yet. With this inept wizard helping me though, perhaps I'd never have the chance.

The chamberlain stared at me and his plump face contorted with confusion. I suppose it would look rather strange to see a grown man hiding behind the court wizard like a frightened boy. But I wasn't about to face my end like that. Rearing up straight and setting my feet firmly, my ankle twisted yet again and turned my stance of defiance into one of ridicule. Instead of laughing, however, the chamberlain eyed me with a predatory gaze and licked his fat lips. That one look alone drained away all of my resolve in an instant. I backed away from him only to run right into Master Oringel. Before I had a chance to stumble yet again, he put a massive hand on each shoulder to hold me steady.

Looking up at him through my tangled bangs, I realized he was definitely taller than he had been; I was certain of it now. As that slowly dawned on me, I also came to realize the chamberlain looked somewhat larger than his usual rotund self. In fact, everything in the room and even the room itself appeared to have grown slightly larger. What the bloody hell had this crazy wizard done?

Still eyeing me like some roast fresh from the oven, the chamberlain sauntered closer. It was only after he gave me one last, long look, lingering for an uncomfortable length of time on my chest that he turned to the wizard. "Have you seen a stable hand come down here, Master Oringel?"

"No, I haven't," he said with a slippery sort of charm. "We've been down here quite a while now and haven't seen a thing until you're arrival."

"And just who is your friend?" the chamberlain said, again glancing at my chest.

"This is Stephanie," Master Oringel said at the same instant he gave my butt a forceful squeeze. A startled yelp left my mouth before I could even process what he'd done or why he'd called me by that name, but the voice I heard was much too high-pitched to be my own.

"What the -- " I cut myself off short when I heard myself speak in that same squeaky voice. I cleared my throat and tried again, but with no improvement. "What the hell, did you do..."

"Oh, nothing yet, my dear," Master Oringel laughed. He slipped an arm around my too-narrow waist and pulled me close. My eyes grew wide as saucers and the chamberlain chuckled at the display.

This wasn't right at all. I looked down and could see that part of the reason my waist was so narrow was because it was bound within a corset. Not only that, but my clothes had somehow become a dress!

That's what his magic had done? Master Oringel had simply dressed me up as a woman? Now I would not only be a fingerless cripple but also a laughing stock as well!

But there was more to it than that. I could barely even see my waist past my chest. The low neckline of the dress I found myself wearing showed more jiggling cleavage than even the most well-endowed woman in the castle. That couldn't have been just a part of the dress. I could actually feel it -- those two things there, not just stuck to my chest, but actually a part of it. My hands too were changed; slender, soft, pale -- like the hands of a woman. And between my legs, I couldn't feel anything at all. My breath was coming in panicked gasps now and my mind was no longer thinking the least bit rationally. Regardless of what I had become and who was watching, I grabbed myself through the dress. There was nothing there but a smooth patch of skin above and a slightly puckered slit below. This had to be some kind of nightmare.

Master Oringel grabbed my hand away, though I doubt it was to save me my dignity since he was laughing nearly as hard as the Chamberlain was. "I know I promised I'd get you a position in the castle in exchange for a few favors, dear Stephanie, but I think my friend here has ruined the mood."

"Favors? Mood?" I sputtered in that ridiculous voice.

"Hey now, wizard or no, hiring and firing is my job alone," The chamberlain said, suddenly taking that familiar cruel edge he so proudly displayed around all of the servants.

"Oh, I'd never think to infringe upon your purview, but if you'd be willing to accept my recommendation on this matter, I think you'll agree with me that Stephanie here would be quite well-suited to employment within the castle."

Again with that oily charm of his. Was that one of his spells as well? The chamberlain gave me a harsh look, the same one he employed when he was about to scold someone for a job poorly done, but then pressed his lips into a thin line and stroked his chin. His eyes narrowed and he began pacing before me slowly, methodically studying me up and down.

"I suppose she's a healthy enough looking young lass." He sounded as if he was being overly-generous even to say that much. However, hearing those words addressed at me, I wish he'd have said nothing at all. Suddenly he stopped and his hand grabbed hold of my thigh. By this point I was too frozen with fear to even cry out. He squeezed my leg roughly, like he was appraising a horse. His hand lingered for a moment, slipping a little higher before finally releasing me. The chamberlain wasn't that strong but at the moment, even he could have overpowered me with ease. Never before had I ever felt so helpless in my entire life.

"She's strong, I will give her that," the chamberlain continued. "And she's not too harsh on the eyes... Alright, I'll tell you what. With the festival tonight we could use an extras set of..." he paused, licking his lips as he looked down the front of my dress. "...hands. I'll start you on a trial basis. If you can pull your weight today, I'll give serious consideration to hiring you permanently -- but don't get your hopes up, the staff is already full up, so I can't make any guarantees."

"Don't worry about all that bluster," Master Oringel said with a flirty whisper in my ear. I never thought he was into men. Maybe his spell had done more than just change me, maybe it had addled his brain as well. "He says that to all the pretty young things. I'm sure you'll be a shoe-in."

"We'll see about that," the chamberlain said. "Now hurry on up to the kitchens and see if Holainah has any use for you."

Master Oringel released me from his grip and gave me a little push towards the door with a pat on the ass. Fortunately I kept my balance this time, but I'm not sure how with my chest as big as it was. No wonder the Chamberlain kept staring at me, I must have looked like a freak. However, glancing back at the wizard, I felt more like a little lost puppy.

"Oh, don't worry, there's no need to thank me," he said, "I'll find you later and we can finish up then."

Did he really intend to make me stay like this? What was everyone going to say when they saw me?

"But...but this isn't..."

"Hurry up!," the chamberlain said giving me a swift slap on the ass. I leaped nearly a foot in the air and yelped loudly. It stung worse than I would have thought. "Get going before I change my mind and throw you out on that shapely little ass of yours!"

He raised his hand to strike again, but I was already headed for the door. I couldn't believe I was actually going out in public like that, of my own free will no less.

But Master Oringel did say we'd talk later. He must have meant to humiliate me a while before changing me back. No matter what anyone said about him, or what I was thinking at the moment, he was an honorable man. I'd seen him lose often enough at cards know that. If he was going to end this madness eventually, I just had to put up with him laughing at me behind my back until then. However, once he did change me back, Cadre wizard or not, he was going to pay for this.

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