Chapter One: Rik's Monster

No sex in this first brief chapter, just world-building, character intros, and some sword-and-sorcery action. Eventually will contain MF, MFF, group sex, and exhibitionism/swapping. There will be some size differences and fantasy-world shenanigans later, but mostly things will stay within the realms of human endurance. Eventually every character will be involved with each other, but no male-male stuff. I don't know how to write it. I'll publish a character glossary with physical descriptions and comparisons to real-life porn stars for reference. Any resemblance to actual persons is only physical. All characters are over 18.

I look forward to your feedback!

The misty cavern would have easily swallowed any stadium built by men. The massive circular opening to the sky was so distant it seemed like a keyhole. From it, a wide shaft of daylight illuminated a pillar of space in the cavern's center. Despite this, gloom and swirling mists -the cavern was big enough to host its own climate- swallowed the distant reaches into unseen void. Most of the light fell on a glittering basin of water and the ruins of a lichen-encrusted tower on its shore.

Like an oil painting of an ancient celestial falling to its damnation, Kardymum dove to smite his enemy. Indeed, with his double-handed broadsword and bronze-feathered wings both blazing with radiant energy, He could easily be confused with one of his angelic ancestors. Upon closer inspection, the runic tattoos covering much of his russet-brown skin were of a metallic gold ink, rather than the veins of pure holy aether that would have animated an angel.

His target was the longest-reaching limb of an undead abomination, the Fell Alder. An enormous, twisted tree had been animated with dark magic by nailing unshriven corpses all along its thick trunk and branches. Their desiccated faces moaned with unquiet rage, at the moment directed towards the flying paladin. Kardymum flared his wings and flipped upright just above the Alder, turning his head-first dive into a massive overhead smite which cleaved through the branch. Deep red sap ran from the new wound and several others where grasping humanoid claws had once grown. With two wingbeats, Kardymum gained some horizontal distance and began looking for his next target.

"MUM! LOOK OUT!" came the warning too late from his friend on the ground.

The Fell alder had caught its severed limb as it fell and was winding up to throw the wide-spanning branches at the airborne fighter. Kardymum ("Mum" to select friends) spoiled his angelic appearance with an abbreviated curse as the many tumbling branches proved impossible to completely evade. Clipped like a duck, he crashed in a graceless arc, bouncing off a crumbling battlement and landing in a magically summoned net of vines.

Tormerik spared a glance to make sure the party's healer and guildmaster, Qorianda had a clear path to where she had caught the falling paladin. He knew his Celestial ally could heal from a blow that hard, given time. The human monk relied more on his preternatural reflexes to avoid the whipping limbs, scrambling over them like a gymnastic monkey.

"Whelp. Looks like the front line's" -He sidestepped a blow that gouged the ground- "You and me, Min."

Kyu-Min tightened the grip on her kite shield. "...Balls. I wanted to show you my magic, Rik." Her eye flickered to a cheat-sheet of parchment pinned to the inside of her shield. She had meticulously copied it from her spell book during their preparations. The red-tinted half orc woman blew a strand of jet black hair off the bridge of her long aquiline nose in frustration.

Rik grinned, but didn't take his eyes off the windmilling limbs. He and the statuesque fighter had known each other since before she had joined their small guild. For much of that time she had been educating herself. First she learned how to read and write common, then basic history and arcane mechanics, until her efforts were starting to show fruit. She had access to magic someone from her background rarely accessed. He admired her drive for self-improvement. That usually meant gentle encouragement, and occasionally being her guinea pig during magic-sparring sessions.

He quickly ran his hand across his close-cropped hair, wicking off drops of sweat and flicking it to the ground. "How about I dance with Woody, here for a few seconds while you cast us a game of Find-the-Queen. Just like we practiced." Rik couldn't spare a glance at her face, but he knew she was lighting up like a candle.

"Thank you! It'll just be 2 seconds." She transferred her arming sword to her shield hand and began conjuring illusions.

Rik pivoted around a few devastating blows from the Alder, managing to land a crippling strike to one limb that had overextended itself.

He checked in on the ranged members of his party. "Sarisha! Stretch! How many corpses are left?" As if in answer, a blessed arrow THUNKed into the chest of one of the moaning dead, silencing it.

"Still too many of the cocksuckers!" said a fluting voice 50 yards behind him and 20 above. "The Newbie is falling behind. Maybe you can convince the tree to take a nap, so the dwarf can actually hit something."

Rik caught a glimpse of a slight, shadowy figure darting between the cover of large masonry stones that used to form a wall. Stretch didn't rise to the Pixie's bait, refusing to give away his position with a retort... for a bout 6 seconds.

FWIP. Another undead node of the Fell Alder went silent with a sanctified crossbow bolt jutting out of its eye socket. His position revealed, Stretch darted to another hiding place. "Mind yer own tailings ye fatarsed mosquito!" echoed in the shrill brogue he often resorted to when the petite ranger had annoyed him, which was basically always.

A flash of copper-red hair peaking from a black hood vanished behind a stone. Rik secretly enjoyed the contentious rivalry between the party's youngest and smallest members, but he hoped they could keep from killing each other long enough to put the Alder to rest.

"I don't know why we wasted magiced shafts, giving them to the manky little grub." Sarisha's insect-like wings buzzed in a tone he had learned signaled anxiety.

Rik dashed closer to the trunk and hopscotched across the upraised roots the creature was using like gnarled pseudo-feet.

"If you're running low, focus on the ones in the upper branches me and Min can't reach. And Try not to hup fall in love with each other!" The last comment he shouted backwards while back-flipping away from the Alder's spearing claws. A projectile whistled closer by his head than was polite. He grinned.

"Tagging in," said Min behind him. He backed out of the Alder's range as Min jogged back into the fray. Followed by Min, Min, and Min. Three of the arcane fighters were magic illusions. Rik whistled in awe that was only half-exaggerated. She had never pulled off more than two illusory doubles in battle conditions. All four flourished their swords in a salute that, for the serious half-orc woman, was equivalent to crowing in victory. She then went to work. While three of the Mins were illusion, they harmlessly attracted attacks that would have floored the real Min, who was able to dart in and pierce through the cores of one, then two of the corpses that gave powered the Fell Alder's necromantic energy.

Rik caught his breath watching the show. He jumped a full foot in the air as cool fingers touched the center of his muscular back. Slightly abashed he muttered, "...hullo Saffron."

The lithe Ophion dancer resumed tracing her fingers over the thin silk of his upper robe. "If you wanted to see some magic, lover, I'm always available to provide," she purred. "In a dungeon or wrapped in the sheets."

"Raincheck, milady." He over pronounced the word teasingly. Her slender, graceful fingers were trailing heat down his spine. "The smell of undeath is not the most romantic mood set-TER-heh-HEYHR?" She had grabbed a generous handful of his ass.

"Shhh. Healing your chakras, " she offered innocently.

Saffron stretched her whole body to her tiptoes, briefly elongating her limbs to become taller. Her delicate upturned chin and graceful throat rested on his shoulder. He felt the softness of her perky breasts. Mirth twinkled in her dark brown eyes. "Any time, any place, any shape." The last word she had whispered as she slunk away. She didn't see him tense up in a panic.

Her sinuous movements turned her saunter into the beginning of a magic-casting dance. These movements alone would have given her away as an Ophion, even if Rik didn't see the patches of fine pearlescent scales in patterns on her exposed skin, with some larger ones glittering like a natural tiara near her temple where they faded into her lustrous blond hair, currently pinned into a sloppy bun she made seem regal. Rik had no idea how the semi-reptilian woman kept warm, as every item of clothing dripping from her body seemed intended more to accentuate her movements, rather than provide any protection, comfort, or the minimum of decency to walk around freely in town.

The distant farm-boy within Rik sometimes urged him to offer her a jacket. She must be chilly in that lack-of-outfit. She strode with increasingly fast hip shimmies, bells on her waist tinkling. She caught him watching her and gave a delighted leer. Rik could contain his inner farm boy easily.

It was the other part of him that he needed to keep locked down. Chained in the basement of his soul.

Rik stalked back to the battle front.

Lost to the rhythm of music that pounded constantly in her blood, Saffron danced her magic. First she pranced a quickening of the heart to speed Rik's movements and reflexes. Something blocked the buffing spell from effectiveness. She frowned at the friendly monk's tense back. His movements were instead snapping and jerky. What was constricting Rik? Often he was open and easygoing, but she sensed a deep tension in him that she had yet to unravel. Saffron felt a pang of nostalgia for when it was easy to make the kind young man blush.

She transitioned to a syncopated style, clapping a flamenco beat. Her intent this time was to match the cadence of the ranger and rogue to make them more effective at attacking the Fell Alder in the openings between its strikes. This time when she felt the spell fail, she spun on her dainty heel and glared at the archers. She found them hissing barbed insults at each other as they took pot shots at the tree, ignoring the natural beats of its movements. They were going to get reamed out later, even if she had to do it herself. Normally Kardymum rode herd on the stooges, or maternal Qorianda was able to shame them into behaving through some kind of half-nurturing-half-sorcery psychological manipulation that could even work on Saffron.

The dancer turned her anger into a spell of destruction. No one wanted to act like they were in a party? Fine. She would fight on her own. Saffron quickly noted which of the Kyu-mins cast a shadow from the distant sun. She paced the far radius of the Alder's attacks and planted herself on the edge of the crystal clear underground lake. Saffron furiously threw her willowy arms into the motion of a storm, spinning powerfully, her skirts and scarves slashing the air. She leapt in three growing bounds towards the Alder. At the height of the third leap she arched her back and threw back her hands until the top of her head almost met the sole of her right foot. Her left leg fully extended at her target, a wave of destructive force boomed from Saffron in a cone, passing through two of the illusory fighters and rocking the Fell Alder like an explosion. It visibly shuttered back a step, and any branches thinner than a man's arm cracked and blew off like they were caught in a gale.

Landing on her slippered feet, Saffron noted with satisfaction that she hadn't caught any of her party with the Shatter spell. Kyu-Min didn't share her relief.

"Watch where the hell you're aiming that! You could have deafened me!" bellowed the half-orc girl, no longer shuffling herself with decoys.

Saffron dropped her jaw in indignation. How dare that lumbering virgin presume to be an expert on her magic because of a few late nights with a book and a candlestick!?! Saffron stomped in the smooth pebbles of the lakeshore. "Of course I knew which one of you was in range of- MIN!" She shrieked.

The Fell Alder had recovered its footing from the spell and, even with its limited intelligence, knew that the arcane fighter currently shouting over her shoulder at the dancer was made of vulnerable flesh.

With no sounds emitting from its undead mouths, the creaking wooden monstrosity plucked Min from the ground and lifted her in the air. Its clawed hand squeezed her torso until her metal-and-leather cuirass gave a tortured squeal as it bent out of shape. Min had no air in her to scream. She dropped her shield and embedded her sword inextricably deep in the wood of the limb holding her.

The remaining party charged from cover in a panic. Stretch gave up on concealment and began firing and reloading his crossbow with manic speed. Sarisha was a blur of electric blue-hair and green leathers. She dropped her bow and streaked towards the tree. Rik gave a wordless animal bellow and sprinted at his enemy. All this happened in the two seconds it took the tree to wind up and pitch Min underhand at Saffron like a missile.

Saffron squeaked and was able to leap backwards with the motion of the impact. A half-formed magic shield exploded when the two women made contact. Even this glancing blow tumbled Saffron shapely-ass-over-teakettle into the lake. After the first impact Min skipped like a stone twice before sinking into the lake.

Qorianda winced when she heard the two women collide. The voluptuous wood elf folded the vine hammock over the stunned Mum with one gesture of her hand and began summoning two bubbles of breathable air zipping for her underwater friends. She watched the other three.

Sarisha had foregone the corpse-targeting strategy and had dive-bombed the tree with a jar of incendiary oil with an ignition rune. The upper branches of the tree erupted in orange flames. Qor knew that she only had one, and it was meant to be used to buy them a quick escape.

Stretch had wasted his too many of his remaining crossbow bolts firing hip-shots, and know stood helpless . He seemed paralyzed by indecision, whether to run or charge the blazing undead tree without cover or surprise, with just his smoke-blackened dagger and a prayer. A pang of sympathy for the young dwarf twinged in her.

Rik had tackled the low-slung limb that had thrown Min where it met the trunk and appeared to be grappling it. He didn't seem to feel the hot embers raining on him from the conflagration in the upper branches. Was he trying to rip the branch off? He would never be able to- CRACK. There was a moan of tortured wood and a sharp retort.

Oh no. Rik was having an episode. Poor man.

Qor tucked her staff down like a cavalry spear. Her mint green vestment split at the hip to allow her freedom to bound down the rubble strewn slope, bobbed chestnut brown hair bouncing at each step. She moved surprisingly fast and was level with Stretch before he could make a bad decision.

"Stretch! Help me get to Min and Saffron. Sarisha, grab your bow and give us cover. Take out corpses if he gives you any openings, but STAY BACK."

"We can't leave him alone with that thing!" cried the distressed rogue.

Rik strained like an ox. Veins stood out on every limb Qorianda could see. There was another crack from the tree. It strained to reach the clinging monk, falling short with its few remaining arms.

"Qor knows what to do," barked the small ranger. . "...right?" Sarisha had retrieved her bow and landed near the others. She clearly didn't feel the confidence she was trying to bluff to the slightly younger dwarf.

No time for hand-holding. With orders followed, Qorianda focused on retrieving the party members she could help at the moment. At the edge of the lake, She glanced back and offered a prayer. Not for Rik, but for the cursed dead about to be put to rest so very messily. She began casting.

When the limb finally snapped, the suddenly released tension launched it and Rik away from the Alder. He landed with a crash beneath it. Silhouetted by the smouldering tree, a looming, inhuman form rose. It shrugged off hundreds of pounds of shattered wood and bared feral teeth. Its animal bellow of challenge echoed off the ruins, perhaps even reaching the outer limits of the cavern.

Rik's monster was out of its cage.

Pub: 22 Feb 2021 06:32 UTC
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