Chapter Three ELENA I kneeled in the great hall of Castle Bentius, King and Queen Tiadoa staring down at me from their white thrones. Princess Leveria Tiadoa sat at a lower throne next her father, not even trying to mask her contempt.
I suspected she was quite glad of Yavara's disappearance. Were it not for my ranger training, I might've jumped the bitch. "You may rise, Ranger Straltaira." King Clartias Tiadoa spoke. I stood up and looked up at the king of the Highlands. "Do you know why you have been summoned?" Queen Tiadoa inquired, her beautiful pale face even more pallid with worry. "Princess Yavara did not report to Castle Thorum." I nodded, "It is feared that she has been lost to the Great Forest." "Despite your youth, Head-ranger Adarian says you are the best tracker he has.
He told me that if you cannot find my daughter, then she simply cannot be found." King Tiadoa said. "If Head-ranger Adarian says it is so, then I believe it to be so." I nodded. There was no question that I was the best tracker in the rangers, but modesty before royalty was expected.
Even so, it was hard for me to retain my composure. Yavara was out there, and every second I wasted on useless ceremony drove her further away. "Father," Leveria's snide voice cut through, "Elena might be a fantastic ranger, but don't you think she's too close to this case?
Her relationship might cloud her judgment." "I can assure you, Your Highness, that my friendship with Yavara will only strengthen my resolve." I glowered at her from the tops of my eyes. "Friendship?" Leveria scoffed, "Come now, Elena. Everyone knows you're a dyke with a nose for royal cunt. If it was-" "Shut your mouth!" Queen Tiadoa snapped. "Actually, I suppose a muff-hound like Miss Straltaira is perfect for the task." Leveria said airily, ignoring her mother's wrath.
She grinned at me, "Though I'm afraid Yavara's scent may now be tainted with a few dozen or so orcs." "ENOUGH!" King Tiadoa bellowed, and Leveria retreated into her chair. The king turned his attention back to me.
"You were Yavara's best friend for as long as I can remember. My wife often thought you were a corrupting influence on the girl, always wanting to go on adventures instead of going to school." Tiadoa's face relaxed into kindly lines, "Despite Leveria's protests, I think that your connection will not blind you from the task at hand; it will in fact, empower you to try harder.
I can provide you with a hundred of my best men, and all the resources of the kingdom." "I work best alone, Your Highness. The Great Forest only yields her secrets when you're quiet." I responded. Leveria scoffed at me, but King Tiadoa just nodded. "Find her." YAVARA I gasped as the last throes of my orgasm subsided. The light behind Alkandi's eyes faded, and she collapsed on top of me, a small pool of blood forming on my stomach from her nostrils.
"Alkandi!" I cried. She didn't respond. Brock pulled Alkandi and I off him, and ran from the tent without looking back. "Where are you going?!" I screamed. "I need to get something to reduce the swelling in his brain or she'll die!" Brocks voice grew distant as he ran into the forest. I cradled Alkandi in my arms and ran my fingers through her hair.
Her breathing was laborious, every intake causing a gurgled moan to rise from her chest. I rocked back and forth, feeling horribly useless.
Her body shook violently, and a squirt of blood shot from her mouth. "Stay with me!" I whispered urgently. I grabbed a chunk of her black hair and looked into her eyes.
They were lifeless and dim, the orange irises faded and rolled into her skull. I placed a finger on her neck, searching for a pulse. There was the hint of it beating through her artery, but it was dim and irregular. It grew fainter with each passing moment until I couldn't feel it at all. Her pained breathing slowed to a crawl, and with a final gasp, it stopped. I killed her.
I didn't accept her, and now she's gone. Even now, I could feel the emptiness within me, a part of me I hadn't even known was there, now screaming its existence by its absence.
"I'm sorry, Alkandi." I sniffed as my tears splashed on her lifeless face. "I'm so sorry." A single heartbeat drummed against my finger. Another heartbeat sounded. And then another. Alkandi started to breathe again, her chest rising, labored rasps sounding from her mouth.
I jolted up in shock as Alkandi's eyes rolled forward. They were no longer orange, but white irises with white pupils; Zander's eyes. Alkandi's straight black hair receded into her head and changed texture, her body sank down on me as her breasts shrunk beneath her, her bronze skin paled, and a thick beard grew on her cheeks. Zander coughed life back into his lungs and pushed himself off the ground.
I stared in disbelief at the wizard, who no more than a minute ago was in the shape of Alkandi, and dead in my arms. He wiped the blood from his mouth and looked back at me.
His expression changed to one of unbridled joy. "I can't believe that fucking worked!" He cried elatedly. "What worked?! Where is Alk-" I never finished that sentence. Something stirred within me, a feeling in my guts, a burning. My heart began to beat rapidly, pounding fiercely against my sternum.
I looked down at my chest and gasped in horror. An orange glow radiated from my visible heart, shining through my skin. I could see every muscle and vein from the point of illumination, my flesh naught but paper against the sun within. My legs began to shake, a tremor that rose within me until my whole body was convulsing.
Zander picked me off the ground and held me tightly in his arms. "What's happening to me?!" I cried in terror. "Your transformation has begun!
You have accepted Alkandi into your soul, and now the two of you are reuniting!" "It hurts!" I screamed. My insides churned, every inch of me feeling like it was burning. My heartbeat drummed loudly in my ears, its accelerating gallop sounding in my ears, pulsing against my temples. Pure panic washed over me. I kicked and thrashed like a caught animal, raging in Zanders arms. "It will only last a minute. Stay with me." Zander's reassuring voice sounded as though he was yelling to me from some distant mountain top.
I dug my fingers into his back as a splitting pain shot through my head. Zander held me tightly, whispering words of encouragement into my ear, but they were nonsense through the filter of my terror. Flashing memories raced behind my eyes. The day I shot my first arrow, the day I learned to ride a horse, my mother's loving face looking down at me, my toddler hands playing with a raddle, my baby feet kicking a blanket off me as I lay in a crib. Memories that were not my own began to enter my mind.
I am a young high-elf riding a horse, I am a young high-elf learning to paint, I am a young dark-elf being tortured by high-elves. They put the screws into my hands and feet, burn the iron into my most intimate places, work the knife beneath the flesh. Pain, such pain.
The memories grew darker. So many iterations of Alkandi that had died so young, and so horrifically, staring wide-eyed up at masked men with no mercy. I am a young woman being put to the rack. I am a toddler thrown from the balcony. I am a baby ripped from my mother's arms and tossed into the flames. I am a dark-elf lying in my bed, the room adorned lavishly. Five high-elves burst through the door, sending a shower of bolts at me.
I duck behind the cover of my bed and shriek as one of the bolts pierces my thigh. I reach out with my mind and grab two of my assailants with just a thought. They scream as they're suspended in the air before I launch them from the tower window.
An elf flanks my cover and lashes out with a sword. It stops just short of my face, held by some invisible, immovable force. His eyes grow wide with realization of it, then his sword whips back to split his skull. One of the assassins jumps over the bed, his boot heels meeting my jaw. I tumble backward as his sword crashes into my shoulder, slicing to the bone.
I mind-grab him by the ankles and launch him into his advancing comrade. His friend ducks at the last second and fires his crossbow. For a moment, I feel it pierce through my eye. Then there is nothing. I am a she-orc straddled atop a mammoth, a horde of orcs at my back.
I am drunk, both with power and alcohol. I slip off my steed and scream as a giant foot descends upon me. I am a succubus whispering incantations into an orange gem.
I feel my soul leave me as the queen's guards burst through the door. Zander held me tightly as the lives off my past carved their memories into my brain. My knees gave out when the last of the visions raced across my mind. Zander cradled my head, whispering gently, stroking my hair. The feeling stopped. The pain was gone. A great relief washed over me, the tension ebbing away, leaving me wasted in Zander's arms.
Then a new feeling began to rise. Energy surging through me, hot, scalding, a torrent in my veins. My insides felt like they were burning, but it was I that tended the flames.
The energy coursed through me, accelerating until it was moving so fast I could feel it from my finger tips to my toes. I let out a manic laugh as the energy electrified my muscles, the power wrought in my sinew, giving life to some unnatural strength. It was as though all the power in the world coursed through my veins, and it longed for release. I looked down at my body, and noticed it was changing. My pale skin grew darker until it was bronze, my blonde hair turned jet black, slight imperfections in my complexion were washed away, leaving me as unblemished as a newborn.
My nipples and lover's lips retained their pink hue, contrasting the bronze that surrounded it, and completing a body built for lust. This… this was me, me in a sense that I had never felt before. I looked up at Zander, my eyes running the length of him. I was hungry, ravenous in a way I'd never known before.
And I was powerful; I would take what I wanted. I licked my lips and walked over to the wizard, my hips shifting with a confidence I never knew, my gait a sultry dance that advertised my intentions. I grabbed his cock without pretense, and smiled as it hardened in my hand. Zander opened his mouth to say something, but I filled it with my tongue instead.
He paused for only a moment before he took me, his hands filling with my ass, my legs locking around his waist, our kiss a devouring of tongues and lips. For I was hungry; so hungry. Zander laid me on my back. I clenched my thighs around him and spun us over, my hands pinning his shoulders as I straddled on top, not breaking the kiss.
I'm the one taking control now. A single voice rang in my head.
The apprehensive, timid voice of Yavara's weaker half was gone. The duality of my spirits was gone. Only one voice would echo my thoughts now, the melded voice of my thirty-one incarnations, singing out through my subconscious in a choir of perfect harmony. I reached back, grabbed his cock, and brought it to myself, moaning into his mouth as I eased myself back, taking every inch. The walls of my pussy clenched around him, my juices flowing freely, soaking Zander's pelvis while he began to thrust.
I released him from my kiss to let out a cry of pleasure, the sound high and sonorous, but not weak. Never again. I moved my hips in sync with his thrusts, grinding forward with his entrance and pulling with his exit, my tight lips stretching from me to suck on his withdrawal. His head fell back, a defeated moan singing from him. I laughed at his involuntary reaction to my prowess, his pleasure making me feel powerful.
I liked to be used, but there was a thrill in being the controlling partner. I reached backward and pinned Zander's legs to the bed, grinding without the aid of his thrusts. I watched him submit to me, watched him fill his covetous eyes with the roll of my abdomen, the silky flesh baring the toned shadows of my muscle, all working to please him.
His masculine tones excited me, and I increased the ardency of my movements, my undulation devolving into a piston motion, fucking myself with his cock.
The smacking sounds of skin ascended through the tent, accompanied by the sounds of our elation. Zander's hands moved from my hips to my breasts, cupping both and squeezing gently. I moaned as his fingers toyed with my nipples, my power-wrought stare softening to allow the new dynamic. Zander sat up and brought his mouth to one of my breasts, taking the nipple while he sank his fingers deep into my flesh. I rested my chin atop his head, running my fingers through his black hair, groaning delectably as he nursed from me, his thick cock driving into me as I drove down onto him, my legs tightly wrapped around his hips.
He released my breasts and ran his fingers through my hair, taking the back of my head and guiding our faces together. We locked lips and entangled out tongues, exploring each other's mouths once again. I pulled Zander's head backward so that my face was atop his, taking control of the oral embrace.
Zander traced his hands down my sides, his thumbs brushing past my nipples as his hands traveled from my chest to my hips. He gripped my cheeks and spread me open, prodding my weak spot with his fingers.
Our lips unlocked when Zander sunk two fingers from each hand into me, forcing a slutty moan from my mouth. "I guess somethings never change." Zander smirked as pulled his hands apart, causing my pussy to gush, eliciting a cry of pleasure. "You bastard." I smiled back before pushing his face into the bed. "You know," I said mischievously, "when I was in that body of yours, I remember you enjoying something similar." Concern flashed across Zander's face as I reached backward.
"Wait a seco-" I pushed a finger into his ass and drove through his taut heat, searching for his prostate. I found it sure enough, as evidenced by the slackening of his face, the abject surrender written across it. "You fucking bitch." He groaned. "That's quite a thing to call your queen, Zander." I said through giggles, quite enjoying his reaction. "This never leaves the tent, Yavara." I leaned forward and kissed him.
"Never." I said, smiling. "Well I'm telling fucking everyone." Brock's voice boomed into the tent. Brock stood their grinning from ear to ear, his hands filled with bark. "And you said I had bad timing!" Zander's snapped.
"You know Zander, I ran like a fucking maniac through the forest looking for willow bark to save your life. And now I come back here, sweating like a pig and worried to death, only to find you fucking the queen. So, you can take this bark and shove it next to Yavara's finger, you ungrateful prick." Brock threw the bark on the ground and stormed out of the tent, stopping only to say to me, "It's good to see you have returned, my queen." I turned my attention back Zander, who was still angry about the encounter.
"At least you didn't ask him to join." He said through gritted teeth. "What, you don't like to share?" I said, smiling as I played with the wizard's ass. Zander responded by sticking the rest of his fingers inside of me, forcing me to lurch forward to accommodate the delightful shot of pain that arced up my spine. Zander grinned. "I'm a selfish lover." Zander drew himself upward until we were both vertical above the hips, my breasts pillowing his chest, our bellies seeping their warmth into one another.
I rode his lap as he thrusted, our movements limited by the lock of our legs, but the penetration deep and intimate. He withdrew a hand from my ass and put it against my lips, and I accepted him into my mouth, sucking on two of his fingers and gazing lustfully into his eyes, enjoying the decadent filth.
I moaned around his fingers as I continued to suck them, the rhythm of our movements increasing, our bodies slickening, the exertion flushing our faces.
We were coming. Our cries rose in a crescendo, our motions becoming frantic, driven by the sensations roiling within us. I drove myself downward with each of Zander's thrusts, trying to take every inch I could. I clenched around his cock and fingers, gluttonous in my need to be filled, sucking his invasions deeper into my vile innards. We heaved as one, staring rapturously into each other's eyes, moving like a beast of four legs. We reached the apex, my body shaking and convulsing, Zander's pressing as though trying to merge with me.
He growled in my ear as he thrust upward, lifting my body off the ground, leaving me straddled across his bridge, pierced to the limit by his weapon. I shrieked my delight, my back arching, and I sprayed my release. I could feel his prostate pulsating wildly against my finger, and I massaged the organ, bringing it to a roil of spasms. Zander let out a cathartic roar, and emptied himself into my womb, sounding the final note of our symphony.
We collapsed in a heap, panting with exhaustion, the dopamine soaking into our minds. The energy rush that had consumed me earlier subsided, though I could feel it still within me, as though it was a dormant beast ready to be awakened. I pulled myself off Zander, relishing the feeling of his hot seed running down my leg.
He turned over to me, putting a loving hand on my hip, and I leaned over and pressed myself to his front, enjoying the comfort of his body on mine, our eyes locked. "Now that you got that out of your system, I'm guessing you have a lot of questions for me." Zander said as he traced my outline with his hand. "I don't know where to start." I laughed.
"What do you remember about your transformation? Tell me, and I'll help you make sense of it." "At first it was painful, like there was fire beneath my skin. I could see my heart beating through my chest, as though my flesh were paper-thin. Then my head started to ache, and all my memories flashed through my head.
I remembered things I had forgotten for years, things from when I was still a baby. Then other memories came to me. These memories were not my own, and they weren't as detailed. They were like fragments of memories, like some hallucination brought about by a fever dream.
Most of them were horrible." I stopped as I recalled the abhorrent things my past selves had endured at the hands of my own people. Such pain, such merciless hatred, and why? "Why did the high-elves do that to them -to me?" I asked, tears welling in my eyes.
Zander ran a thumb across my cheek, wiping the tear from my face. "You can't know the hatred they had for you, Yavara. It wasn't just that Alkandi split their kingdom in two, but how she did it. You know how the high-elves think about beasts. Now imagine the greatest armies in the world, the pride of a nation built upon pride, defeated and disgraced at the hands of brainless brutes, led by the abomination of your own race.
Alkandi desecrated the notion of high-elf superiority over all humanoids, and indeed, brought to question if high-elves were even the superior of their own race." "Yeah, that would do it." I muttered, having felt that same sense of elven pride myself.
"After Alkandi died, Alkandra fell to ruin." Zander continued, "The factions that she united began to war with one another. Even her own descendants would fight each other for power. The high-elves took advantage of the chaos and moved in.
The divided armies of Alkandra fell one by one. The beasts dispersed to the Great Forest, becoming wild once more, forming tribes instead of cities, and villages instead of kingdoms. Decades passed, and all evidence of Alkandra disappeared; either reclaimed by the forest, or destroyed by the high-elves." Zander held me closer, his eyes filled with memory.
"Years later, I received a message from a centaur chieftain. His dark-elf wife had birthed a daughter with orange eyes. I rushed over to their mountaintop village and found you; you were called 'Teradreana' then. We concealed you from the world until you were of age, and then we set out to unite neighboring clans under your banner.
We built up a sizable force, but not nearly large enough to go head-to-head with the Highland armies. We raided villages, sacked small towns, and robbed caravans to build up a treasury.
Eventually the high-elves sent out a contingent to deal with us. We were ambushed during a raid, and you were captured. When the high-elves found out who you really were, they were terrified. They tortured you for answers, and when you could give them none, they tortured you for fun." Zander's face paled, "They displayed what was left of you on the ramparts of Castle Thorum. They said you lasted for weeks." I sat up, recalling in horror the memory of high-elves torturing me on the rack.
"I wasn't 'of age;' I was barely twelve!" Zander sat up and cross his legs, leaning forward as he spoke. "Teradreana was more than ready to lead at a young age; she was one of the greatest pyromancers I'd ever seen. Her fatal flaw was her arrogance.
Every incarnation of you is their own person, Yavara, with their own strengths and weaknesses. Alkandi risked everything to become one with you because she recognized that you were the strongest she ever could be." "But how could Teradreana have transformed at such young age? If the metamorphosis is awakened by lust, then…" I gave Zander a frank look. Zander laughed. "Holy shit, no, Yavara. Dark-elves didn't need to undergo the transformation, for they already carried the blood of their common ancestor.
Like I said, Teradreana was born as she was. Once the high-elves extracted that information from her, they began their genocide. The dark-elves were forced into hiding, and one by one, over the course of centuries, the high-elves found them all. You came back as a dark-elf twenty times after Teradreana, and I only ever managed to find you five times.
The high elves were… efficient with their slaughter. The last dark-elf died over five-hundred years ago.
I resigned myself as an exile, living as a hermit until the end of time, thinking that I had failed you." Zander's eyes were dry, but I could tell there was grief behind them.
I laid my head on his shoulder. "But I'm still here, Zander, which means there's more to the story." Zander put an arm around me and pulled me close. "About four-hundred years ago, a young high-elf girl came to my abode. Her name was Rheyari. She was maybe seventeen years old.
I had developed a reputation as a witch-doctor at the time, and the villagers that lived near me would send their sick to my hut. There didn't seem to be anything wrong with Rheyari, so I asked her why she came. She removed her headscarf to reveal a streak of black hair running through her blonde.
I assumed she dyed it and her parents had sent me to fix the issue.
I must admit," Zander laughed, "I was a little mad that the villagers had now decided I was fit to be the town hair dresser. The girl insisted that she didn't dye it, and with a little prying from myself, I learned that she had developed the color change after she slept with a succubus. I was incredulous of this claim; only a few races can resist the lust of succubi, and high-elves are not one of them. And once a succubus has her prey, she never lets it go. The succubus that preyed on this town lived in an abandoned dungeon at the edge of the Great Forest.
I met with her, eluded her seduction, and questioned her about the girl. The succubus corroborated the young girl's story, she even went further to claim that the young elf had not only overcome the succubus's seduction, but had seduced the succubus herself!
There is only one race that can do this. On our second appointment, I put Rheyari in a trance and sent us both to the astral plane. Twenty-four versions of herself followed behind her astral figure. You cannot know the joy I felt when I found Alkandi among them. Alkandi explained to Rheyari and myself that she had found a way to claim the wombs of high-elf women…" Zander trailed off, looking awkwardly at me.
"…and?" I asked with an impatient wave of my hand. "Dark-elves are what some scientists referred to as 'the universal female.' You see, there were no male dark-elves, but the descendants of Alkandi were prolific in their breeding. They were fertile with any race of man, but they only begot more dark-elves. This trait comes from your succubus lineage, for as you know, succubi are also 'universal females.' And beasts.
As such, Alkandi could only take the womb of a high-elf mother whose sanctity had been breached by a beast's seed." I let out a gasp. "Mother!" Zander laughed. "Yes, Yavara. Your mother must have experimented sometime between the birth of your older sister and you, because Alkandi could not claim the wombs of rape victims." "I wonder what race she preferred. She must have gone to the dungeon and picked one out for herself.
Oh my god, that slut!" I giggled at the thought of my noble, dignified mother examining the creatures of the crypt, licking her lips as though selecting food from a menu. If I ever saw her again, I'd make sure to compare notes with her.
"It would appear there's more of your mother in you than you thought." Zander chuckled, "Anyway, Alkandi seduced Rheyari into accepting her soul, and they merged.
She was the first high-elf to undergo the transformation, though she would not be the last. Five more came after, and I advised and guided them all. The reason you don't hear about the legend of Rheyari, nor any of her successors, is because they never intended to sit on the Black Throne. Most went east to Ardeni Dreus, where the high-elves would never find them.
The humans don't really care about race or creed; they care about money. Orcs, goblins, centaurs, nymphs, trolls; any number of beasts are welcome in Ardeni Dreus as long as they have coin. It was easy for Alkandi's high-elf incarnations to conceal their eyes and ears, and live the rest of their days in debauched anonymity in the red-light district.
One… one decided to stay in the Great Forest with her mother, but that is a tale for another time. And that leaves us with just one more incarnation: you. Whatever you choose to do, Yavara, I will be by your side. I can advise you on many things; I can tell you where your past selves failed and where they succeeded. I will stay loyal if you choose to move east and live a peaceful life, or if you choose to stay here and amass an army.
But there is one thing I cannot let you do, Yavara. I cannot let you return home. As much as you love your father and mother, they will kill you. You know it is true." I nodded, thinking bitterly of my father's ruthlessness. Yes, he loved me, but his hand would be forced if it got out that he was harboring Alkandi incarnate, and Leveria would surely find out and spread the word. The thought of never seeing my mother and father again hurt less than I thought it would.
I'd already lost Elena to the rangers, and she'd been my only friend, my only real tether to Bentius and the Highlands.
I had ventured out alone to find myself, and I had, though I never thought it would be such a literal discovery. Still, there was a confident independence within me that had not been there before. The prospect of seeing the world as a new woman excited me. I could go to Ardeni Dreus and live as a free woman, doing as I pleased until my dying days. But there was something else that excited me, something that had been nagging at the back of my skull since I was a child.
Power. I was always the second in line behind my sister, a placeholder in case of catastrophe. My life was pledged to be one of subservience to some lord, despite my royal stature. And now I had the opportunity to seize power for myself, to create something of my own image.
I could feel the dormant energy within me vibrating softly under my skin. Zander said that I was one of the most powerful entities to walk the earth. I recalled the memory I had when I was Alkandi, who had killed four of the Highland's best assassins even after being wounded, and all with her mind.
I wanted to unlock this power, to see what I could do at my full potential. I had no quarrel with the high-elves; they were my people after all. If I could be diplomatic, with a force to back my words, I could rule over Alkandra in peace. I could form an empire the likes of which the world had never seen, but I would need powerful allies to do so. "Tell me about this power I have, Zander." I whispered into his ear.
A smile crept across his lips. "You have many abilities you do not know about, Yavara. Many of your past selves practiced the arcane arts, and all their knowledge and expertise are at your fingertips.
Alkandi was one of the greatest telekinetic masters of all time; she could lift a warship from the water with just her mind. I witnessed Teradreana launch flames from her palms, engulfing her foes in an inferno. Perhaps the most useful power was Rheyari's, who could manipulate people's minds. Inherent in all your incarnations is the seductive powers of the succubus, and the unnatural strength of the orc.
May I ask Yavara, what you plan to do with these powers?" I smiled back at Zander, the energy rising in my eyes. "I want to be queen." End of Part One