Ian blinked his eyes open and stretched as he awoke late on the afternoon of the day he’d been captured. He frowned as he heard Ember shouting from the living room of his apartment. ‘Their’ apartment, he corrected himself with a smile. Getting up and slipping on a pair of sweats, he made his way out of the bedroom. He chuckled at the sight that met him and leaned against the doorjamb with his arms crossed.

Ember was standing in the middle of the living room with a controller in her hands yelling into her headset, “OWNED bitches! Your head was like splat. What’s that? I can’t hear your whining over the ass whooping you’re getting…” He smiled as he saw her enjoying the shooting game they’d gotten for the console she’d forced him to buy during their little shopping spree the day before.

“Fuck these noobs,” another voice said. “Oh shit, watch me knife this sniper in the back.” Ian wasn’t surprised to see the revenant sitting on the couch holding the other controller. What did surprise him was Grim’s voice coming from beneath the hood. When had he learned to do that? Just then, a knock on the door sounded and he moved to answer it.

Opening the front door, he was surprised to see Val, red-faced and giddy with excitement. Her face flushed an even deeper shade of red as she caught sight of his shirtless, lightly toned body. Then whatever had her so energized must have overwhelmed her because, before he could ask what she was doing here and how she’d managed to arrive, she shouted delightedly, “We’ve got new sponsors!” and chucked something at him as she dashed past.

Ian gave an amused snort and looked down at what she had tossed his way. His mouth dried up as he saw the engraved bull on the back of the car key. “Damn…” he muttered. “I’m going to have to ward the shit out of this one before I decide to risk parking it anywhere near the Industrial District.”

Val shivered in remembrance. “The drive over was pretty awesome,” she commented. “Some dude actually came by the warehouse to drop it off and there were a bunch of papers we had to sign before taking it. He said something about it being one-of-a-kind and there was a lot of legal shit involved I couldn’t follow.” Ian hummed in response.

As he was about to close the door, he recognized a spirit he was becoming quite familiar with waving to get his attention and pointing down the hallway. Her ghostly presence was the same one that had warned him back in his hometown that the Inquisition goons were coming. She was by far the most coherent and agreeable spirit he’d ever met and she’d taken to staying close to him. He sometimes wondered if she wasn’t just an echo or shadow of something left behind, but a soul that had chosen to remain.

Val glanced curiously his way as he continued to hold the door open. Finally, Ian called out in a loud voice, “You might as well come in. I’m not going to stand here forever…” Tentatively, a hooded figure moved from behind the corner of the hallway and walked towards him. He noted with a raised eyebrow that she carried a pretty impressive gear bag over her shoulder

As she came into view, Val exclaimed, “It’s you!” Ember glanced over and gave a neutral grunt before going back to her game. Grim on the other hand wanted to see who their cute visitor was and left the revenant to float over and get a better look. Her dirty blonde hair came out of her hood in spiky locks to cover her face and she pulled the sweatshirt she was wearing around her tighter in response to their scrutiny.

“How’d you know I was there?” she asked Ian with a wary expression, ignoring Val’s outburst.

Ian chuckled. “It’s hard to hide from the dead,” he remarked furtively. He allowed the spirit of the young girl to appear beside her, making her jump in fright.

“Y- you- you’re a…” she sputtered nonsensically.

Ian frowned and looked towards the others. “I thought she was at the clearing,” he asked, confused.”

“She left before you lost it and raised an army of spirits,” Ember commented without taking her eyes off the screen.

“Way to keep a low profile, slick,” Grim laughed.

Ian made a face before figuring there was nothing for it now. Turning back to the newcomer and observing her closely, he said, “Let me guess, you’re the Church-sanctioned assassin Ember told me about.”

Her eyes blazed as she retorted, “The Church has nothing to do with that!”

Ember glanced over, surprised at the Demon Slayer’s changed outlook. Val suddenly exclaimed, “You bitch! You followed me here, didn’t you?”

Dani looked a little abashed at that and muttered self-righteously, “I had questions that needed answering. When I found out the warlock- necromancer…” she corrected with a shudder, “wasn’t at the complex and then saw you leaving, I decided to follow you.” A small smile slid passed her mask. “You were pretty hard to lose. Where’d you learn to drive?”

Val, incensed, made to rush her, but was stopped by a look from Ian. He sighed heavily and turned towards Dani with a sour gaze. As the girl squirmed under his attention, he finally said, “The problem is there’s a tracking spell on you that almost certainly stopped transmitting when you came through my wards.”

The girl’s eyes widened and she sputtered out, “T- that’s not possible. How? Who?”

Grim scoffed and said, “Who do you think, sunshine? Your esteemed order isn’t about to just let you walk off after all they’ve invested so much into you.”

She shook her head furiously. “N- no way! There are no mages in the Church. There are priests that can heal and crusaders that receive other boons, but no one that can cast actual spells. There’s just no…” Her breathing picked up and she heard Ember give a humorless snort. ‘No,’ she silently denied. The revelation hit her like a thunderbolt and she slowly sunk down onto a chair as her legs gave out. The 9th Order, sworn enemy of mages, actually used them to keep track of her. ‘Those hypocritical sons of bitches,’ she roared into the depths of her consciousness.

She bowed her head and rested it in her hands as tears threatened to break out for what felt like the hundredth time since the night before. Everything she’d given over to the Order… All she’d done for them… So many lies and so many sins to atone for. Val saw the distressed girl, plagued by her own demons, and felt a tinge of sympathy. Dani’s head shot up as she felt a slight tingle.

“There,” Ian responded to her curious look. “The tracking spell is removed. I doubt they can actually trace the exact route you took, but it would’ve looked suspicious if it stopped and then started transmitting again. At least this way it’s conceivable that they might think you’ve died.” She looked up at him astonished, wondering how he could have done it so quickly and why he would chose to help someone who, by all accounts, had nearly gotten him killed.

He shrugged at her curious, conflicted expression and left her alone to her thoughts, dropping down on the couch next to Ember. From what he’d gathered from his lover’s account and what he saw in the girl, he imagined she was at a crossroads in life (not too unlike how he’d felt quite recently), wondering what to do next. She didn’t ‘appear’ to be a threat, so he figured her sticking around to do some soul searching wouldn’t hurt anyone.

Scraps, now himself, got up and walked over to the window to read. Val dropped into his vacant spot and began describing the events of last night since they’d parted from her perspective. This included a dramatic telling of Ember valiantly ferrying children wrapped in her wings past walls of flame that had even the coldhearted succubus with ice in her veins blushing like a schoolgirl on her prom night.

Apparently there was quite the buzz in Central surrounding the feats they’d performed, particularly since everyone had considered their group weak and on borrowed time. There was a flood of new sponsors that, coupled with their cut of the payment from the jobs, would easily pay for a new, larger shelter to be built. Forrester and Bobby were also talking about new housing arrangements and weapons shipments.

She cleared her throat. “Anyway, I didn’t just come for a social call. There is a meeting in Central tonight that will include most of the main powers in Seattle. The factions that will be represented include all the gangs and the Were clan, as well as the Church and Inquisition in advising positions, with the crafting guilds observing. It’s important that all the gangs are represented equally so the established etiquette is that two people are sent for each group: the leader and their chosen champion.”

“Until you came along,” she continued, “we didn’t have a proper champion and had to pretty much fold on all issues that were raised. Otherwise, another gang could’ve challenged us openly and we would have been taken over outright following a defeat.”

Ian interrupted, “I thought the whole point of me being over here was to keep a low profile. Won’t people pay attention if I suddenly show up out of the blue to a major gathering like this?”

She smiled at him. “After last night, people have already noticed you.” She paused. “You made… quite an impression. I think the only thing we can do now is run with it. The Were haven’t made it known that you’re a necromancer, but if- when it comes out, we’ll just have to bear the heat. You are our champion and Forrester will likely use that fact mercilessly to his advantage when voting on issues. Most will probably back off because you are an unknown, but there’s a strong chance you’ll be… tested.”

Ian shrugged, having no problem with anything she’d said so far. Her eyes widened. “Y- you’ll actually fight for us?” she whispered.

Ian smiled. “I’ve already fought for you,” he reminded her. “This is just taking out the trash…” Val let loose a giddy squeal of delight that even managed to shock Dani from her ruminations and threw her arms around him in a viscous hug. She pulled back abruptly and shot Ember a guilty look. The demoness watched her hungrily with gleaming red eyes and licked her lips causing Val to blush furiously and look away.

“I think we have time for an early meal before we leave. How would you girls like if I fixed so-” he started to say before Ember placed a hand on his shoulder.

He turned to see her raise an eyebrow imperiously. “You’re forgetting something,” she remarked. His mouth fell open as he took in their company and small, devious grin formed on her face. She leaned forward and rasped, “Oh, you didn’t think I’d let a few unexpected visitors stop me from receiving my daily dose of pleasure, did you?”

He tried to sputter out a reply when Val stuttered nervously, “Th- that’s okay. I can put together dinner while you… t- take care of her.” Ian stared at her incredulously before turning his gaze to Dani.

She seemed flustered that they’d even consider her and she muttered logically, “Well, she ‘is’ a sex demon. It’s only natural, I suppose. I’ll, uh, help with the food.” Ember dragged a dazed Ian into the master bedroom amidst Grim’s raucous laughter.

She shoved Ian backwards atop the bed, not even bothering to close the door, and grabbed hold of the cuffs of his leggings. With one swift swish of fabric, Ian was suddenly naked and staring up at his lust-filled partner with wide eyes. “Holy shi-” he tried to say as Ember mounted his hips and began grinding her sex into his crotch, smashing her lips against his in a scorching kiss that seemed to suck the air out of his lungs. “Wh- what’s gotten into you?” he panted around her mouth desperately.

She moaned as she felt his hard cock spring up between her dampening thighs. With a practiced twitch of her hips she plunged down his meaty length and gasped. “I forgot to mention that just as I give off pheromones and make others horny, when some else’s juices start flowing it acts like an aphrodisiac to me,” she explained breathlessly. She giggled and leaned down, biting his neck and marking her conquest. “That little chica is sizzling hot. She’s been practically bubbling in heat ever since she saw you. I can smell her yummy nectar from here…”

He groaned helplessly as she bucked her hips, causing her spines to rub down the length of his prick, taking him on a ride of bliss and ecstasy. She took his hands in hers and cupped her tits, cooing in delight. He smiled and took over, squeezing and rubbing his thumbs along her succulent nipples that were standing at attention. As he glided his hands along her smooth curves, she purred appreciatively and her eyes glowed red as he stoked her fires.

* * * * *

It was extremely hard for Val to concentrate on cooking over Ember’s loud cries of pleasure. Grim grumbled something about gags being cheap and Scraps turned up the volume on the TV show they were watching. The open door certainly wasn’t helping things either and she constantly found herself sneaking glances towards the nimble couple. The flashes of skin and sinful shadows she caught put her imagination into overdrive as she fleshed out full scenes in her head.

She heard a low chuckle from behind her and turned to see Dani staring at her with amusement as she fixed a salad. “Enjoying the show?” the Demon Slayer asked with an impish grin.

Val blushed furiously and looked away. “What’s it to you? Have you had so much sex that something like that doesn’t at least attract your attention when it’s bared in front of you so brazenly?”

Dani smiled as the girl tried to cover her embarrassment. “Oh no, I’m most definitely inexperienced, but I grew up in a militaristic enclave that put the strictest nunnery to shame. What’s your excuse?”

As Val floundered to come up with a good response, they heard Ember shoot off like a rocket. She screamed as an especially powerful explosion rocked through her. The both of them flushed scarlet as Grim muttered, “For fucksake…”

Soon after, they heard Ember laugh melodiously before picking Ian up and tossing him into the bathroom. She yelled after him, “Start the shower for me, babe!” His muffled cursing was cut off as the door slammed shut. Val shook her head disbelievingly and began draining water from the spaghetti she was preparing. When she looked up again, she squeaked in surprise to see a nude, raven-haired goddess striding towards her with an evil gleam in her eye.

“Hey!” she shouted as Ember wrapped her arms around her and picked her up bodily, carrying her to the bedroom. “What do you think you’re doing?” She saw they were heading towards the master bath and she panicked, squirming in the demon’s solid grasp. “No!” she protested as Ember opened the door. “Stop. I can’t! I’m a vi-” The door slammed shut again, leaving her alone with Ian. She unsuccessfully tried to turn the knob before collapsing to her knees as her heart began to beat a staccato against her chest.

Ian turned his head from under the shower spray to see what all the commotion was about and said, “Oh, it’s you.” He stepped from the bath, moving to open the door with his power and stop Ember’s games. “Sorry about that. She can get a little carried away sometimes.” Val was on her knees, blocking the door, and he crouched down, brushing aside the hair that fell over her eyes as she bowed her head. “Hey, are you okay? That was too far. I’ll talk to h-”

Her lips suddenly touched his and he froze as she gave him a lingering kiss. She pulled away and blushed furiously. “Sorry,” she mumbled. “I’ve just wanted to do that for awhile… I’ll be going now.” He stared at her as she tried to stand in the enclosed space without using his naked body to support her. Then he smiled as he remembered Ember’s words and pulled her towards him for a kiss of his own.

Her body jerked in surprise before melting against him. The heat of his lips seemed to travel through her body down to her toes, filling her with electric tingles. Her breath became ragged and she wove her fingers through his hair as he shifted and began kissing the crook of her neck, running his hands along her body.

Val shivered at the sensations he was inducing and pulled away, feverishly shedding her clothes. Ian stepped back and drank in her naked flesh as it was revealed. She paused as she got down to her bra and panties and realized just how fast things were moving. Then she noticed his prick hardening in appreciation and she felt a surge of satisfaction. She whipped off her last vestiges of clothing, moving a hand to conceal her sex nervously.

Ian’s mouth watered as he witnessed the considerable bounce in her chest as her two glorious mounds were released from their confinement. He smiled at her encouragingly and extended a hand out to her, palm upwards. His approval shined like a lighthouse in the fog she was trying to navigate.

Suddenly, all her worries and uneasiness washed away. He made her feel like she could compete with a succubus; that she was precious and beautiful and should be proud of her body. She boldly raised the hand she’d used to cover herself and grasped his fingers, allowing him to pull her into the running shower.

The shiver that ran through her body as the droplets hit her was intensified a hundredfold when his mouth fell to her chest and took in a nipple, tenderly sucking on the supple morsel and circling it with his tongue. Her hand reached for his pulsing cock and grasped it tentatively, exploring the feel of it. He moaned blissfully as her fingers reached his tip and a grin spread across her face as she found his weak spot. He retaliated by dropping a hand to cup her neatly trimmed pussy, circling her love button with his thumb.

Her hips began to move involuntarily, following his hand, and he grinned around a puffy nipple. She panted, rocking her hips as her legs squeezed together. It wasn’t long before she began to shake and he clamped his thumb down atop her tiny nub. She twitched violently in response and he had to support her as she rode her release. All throughout the explosion that followed, she continued to jerk him frantically, wanting to reciprocate. He didn’t hold back and chose to cum at relatively the same time.

Val was wearing a dreamy, glazed expression as she watched in fascination the ropes of thick white liquid coating her stomach. She smiled, head in the clouds, and murmured, “It feels way better when someone else does it.” He laughed at the adorable smile plastered on her face and kissed her heatedly.

He moved her into the spray and she frowned up at him. “You didn’t, um, ‘enter’ me… Is that because Em-”

“Later,” Ian reassured her. “I want to do it right. I just didn’t want to, uh…”

Now it was her turn to smile as she watched him blush. “It’s okay,” she said, giving a contented sigh as he wrapped his arms around her. “My hymen broke a long time ago.” She giggled. “You didn’t have to be so gentle.”

He growled as he cupped an ass cheek harshly, “I’ll have to rectify that next time.” She wiggled her tanned, plump ass eagerly at the prospect. Then he warned, “You ought to prepare yourself for Ember though. She’ll almost certainly want a taste of what you have to offer and she isn’t picky in how she gets it.”

Val froze as she considered the prospect of having sex with another woman. She tried to feel repulsed by the idea, but every time she imagined Ember striding towards her naked, she felt a wave of lust swat down any other emotion that tried to come to the forefront. She looked up at Ian and realized she wouldn’t have even experienced this much if the demoness hadn’t acted. She rested her head against his broad chest and murmured, “Maybe it’ll be her who has to watch out for me…”

* * * * *

Once Ember had been satisfied that she would soon have another mouth to train, she exited the bedroom with a look of triumph, clapping her hands together at a job well done. “Am I the best fucking matchmaker ever, or what?” she announced.

“Seriously?” Grim spouted incredulously. “You couldn’t have been more direct if you’d physically taken his dick and shoved it into her snatch.” Dani blushed at the image he conjured.

Ember gave an airy wave and huffed, “That boy is so blind to what’s in front of him, he’d of waited for her to make the first move. That sure as hell wasn’t going to happen.” She sighed insufferably. “I just couldn’t let that young love go unrequited.”

Grim let out a disgusted snort. “Yeah, right,” he scoffed. “You’re a real humanitarian. I’m sure the idea of getting those sweet, fuckable lips between your own legs had nothing to do with it.”

Ember blushed and remarked, “I ‘do’ have needs. Why, a thousand years ago it was unheard of for a lonely, innocent succubus to travel around without her own harem.” Her eyes sparkled at the thought and she rubbed her legs together. Dani also found herself imagining it -particularly what the effects of the pheromones she knew Ember released would have on a group of people in close quarters. ‘Epic’ wouldn’t even begin to describe the intense orgies that would occur on a regular basis. A sigh of longing escaped her traitorous lips and she turned away blushing as the others looked at her.

Grim turned back to Ember and accused, “‘Innocent’ and ‘succubus’ are two words that should never be used in the same sentence. You-” he paused as he saw a spirit float in front of him. ‘How in the hell?’ he thought to himself. Ian’s wards kept out the press of the dead. There was always a chance if he was asleep and unwarded that they would try and possess him. Energy for them to use literally bled off the necromancer so it was dangerous to allow them close when he was so vulnerable.

The only way for this spirit to have entered the apartment was for Ian to have allowed it through the wards. He concentrated on the ghostly presence and sensed curiosity from her as she vanished through the wall to observe what was going on in the shower. Grim hummed to himself as he felt how clear the emotions came through. Usually a spirit’s thoughts and feelings were a jumbled mess that only gained a semblance of clarity when compelled to do something. This was one to watch.

* * * * *

They all sat down at the table like some dysfunctional family. The demon slayer passed the bowl of Caesar salad to the demoness. Scraps mixed the bolognaise sauce with the spaghetti even though he wasn’t eating. Val sat next to Ian looking supremely satisfied as she ate her garlic bread. Hesitantly, Dani broke the silence by taking a deep breath and looking at Ember. “Sorry,” she said. “For trying to kill you and all… And for getting your gang into trouble with that shot at the clearing.”

Ember inclined her head. “You’ll have to apologize to the shifter you shot when you see her as well,” she told Dani. “I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t tell you about the smidgen of hope I’m holding out that she’ll rip your head off afterwards.”

Dani paled and gulped, but nodded in acceptance. Then she froze. “It survived?!” she exclaimed in disbelief. ‘That’s impossible,’ she thought to herself. ‘The round was enchanted and I know it was a kill shot.’ She glanced around the table in astonishment before her eyes came to rest on Ian. She released an involuntary shudder at the thought of his control over life and death.

“She -not it,” Ember corrected, glowering at her.

Dani bowed her head shamefully. “Sorry,” she repeated. “I’ve been trying to look at the order that took me in when I was eight -and everything they taught me- in a different light,” she continued, gritting out her words as if they caused her pain. “It’s just taking some… adjustment. I would appreciate anything you might be able to tell me about them that’ll give me a clearer understanding of how they operate and allow me to atone for some of my sins.”

Val’s respect for the shifty-looking sniper she’d chased down the night before rose at each statement that came out of her mouth. Then she heard her intentions and she felt pity. No one could take on the Church -even a depraved, warped subdivision of it. And to try to pull it off herself? Noble, but altogether foolish.

Ember gave a derisive snort. “Bold words,” she declared. “If you want my advice though, you should forget about your silly ideas of penance, take the freedom my lover has given you, and live your life. Nothing you can do will bring back the souls you’ve taken.” Her gaze unfocused. “Believe me, I know.”

After a pause, the succubus admitted, “Still, there’s something splendidly befitting that one of the Order’s own embarks on a quest to topple the empire they’ve built.” She released a heavy sigh and turned her crimson gaze on Dani. “The first thing you need to know about the esteemed 9th Order, holiest of holies, is that it’s led by a warlock…”

* * * * *

Dani was sitting on the couch, shell-shocked in light of all she’d been told. The other five were just leaving the apartment to travel to the meeting that would be taking place in Central. “We should be back in a few hours,” Ian told her. “Make yourself at home.”

Ember stopped in front of her on the way to the door and leaned down, a deadly serious look on her face. Dani stared up at her nervously and waited with bated breath. She heard, “If you steal the gaming console, I ‘will’ find you.” The succubus straightened and left the room, leaving her to stare after her incredulously.

The group took the elevator to the basement level and entered the garage. Ian missed the Lamborghini on his first sweep. It looked nothing like what he’d expected. When his eyes finally rested on it, he froze. Val giggled, “Nice, huh.”

Ember whistled and commented, “I didn’t even know they made them with four doors.”

“They don’t,” Grim stated in awe. Ian continued to stare at the work of art as he circled it reverently. The crimson tail lights stood out starkly against the gunmetal gray as he reached the back and saw the word ‘Estoque’ above the license plate.

“Damn,” he muttered. “These guys know me entirely too well…” As Ember cleared her throat primly, he tossed her the keys, not even bothering to argue. He got in with the rest of them and told the giddy succubus, “Make her purr.”

* * * * *

Ian and Ember sat next to Forrester in an enclosed room in downtown Seattle’s undercity. The underground streets and caverns, found in every major metropolis, proved to be a mecca for the city’s supernatural community. Everything one might conceivably imagine could be found in the bustling passageways forgotten from the public eye, from street stalls selling the meat of three-headed hellhounds to kiosks hawking talismans that could make the wearer levitate a few feet off the ground.

The gang leaders and their champions all sat around a long table with Agents Morgan and Hunter at one end and a bishop and hooded inquisitor at the other. At the center of the table sat a man in a suit that represented the investors. He had come to learn his name was Solomon and that he would be presiding over the meeting. Ian noticed a set of mirrors situated around the room so the man could look into the face of everyone sitting around him. He wasn’t a mage, but Ian had a feeling that he held the most power of anyone in the room.

Behind the table, in a raised seating area, were the crafting guilds that represented Seattle’s means of production where magical commodities were concerned. They were mostly human and came in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the only ones Ian recognized were the small hooded figures of the goblins or their attendants -he’d never figured out which. Looking around the room, he shot a goofy smile at the pink-haired banshee when he saw her seated next to a tall, imperious-looking oriental man and watched her roll her eyes and turn her head away.

Solomon started the meeting off. “Before we begin,” he told the gathering, “I believe Konstantin has something to say that affects us all.”

Kiara’s father stood and announced, “The Council of Elders will hold a meeting in Seattle three days from now. Due to the disturbance this causes in Were politics and the preparations that need to be made, we’ll be postponing the shipment of new goods out of this port until Thursday.”

A low rumble of surprise and anger went up from the assembled group as they received this bit of news. The leader and also acting champion of the Georgetown Syndicate -a cocky little punk with jet black hair and a nose-ring- complained in a whiny voice, “A week?! We might as well start FedExing shit.” He smirked. “I’m sure they’d be happy to do business while you have your little get-together.”

Ashley glared at mage who ran Georgetown and Solomon delivered a sharp rebuke at the idea of revealing themselves to the general public, even in jest. The man then turned to Konstantin and said, “While young Lance here was out of line, the fact remains that while you shifters have a stranglehold on the transportation market, if you cannot meet our export demands, the products ‘will’ find other means out of the country.”

Solomon leaned back in his chair. “I understand there happens to be extraneous circumstances however. Please explain the reason this meeting is taking place, and specifically, here in our great city.”

The shifter did not look happy having to explain why the Were did anything, but he grimaced and reluctantly explained, “In light of… an event that occurred last night, the elders will meet to analyze the present situation here and pass judgment on what, if anything, is to be done about it.”

“Yes,” the Inquisitor hissed. “I think we’re all eager to know just what went down at the- last night,” he corrected smoothly.

Ember’s mocking laughter filled the room and she told him, “Oh, we just caught one of your little pets trying to stir things up.” The hooded man started at that. “Rest assured,” she continued in a scathing tone, “we realize that your order is much too virtuous to have been involved in anything as gutless and cowardly as what went down last night.” Even the bishop had a small smile tugging at his lips at that.

“‘Obviously’ your little club was infiltrated by someone without your upstanding moral fiber. No worries, though,” she continued, shooting him a chilling smile that seemed to lower the temperature in the room. “I made sure to teach her the error of her ways. She was quite tasty.” Ember licked her lips in sadistic pleasure.

The red-faced man exploded to his feet, his hand reaching inside his robes. Solomon’s voice cut through the tension like a knife and warned, “You may not issue a challenge while in an advisory position.” Ember’s eyes twinkled in mirth as she blew the incensed Inquisitor a kiss. The representative of the 9th Order glared at Solomon and for a moment Ian thought he was going to attack anyway. Then he snarled and strode towards the exit, his black robes fluttering along behind him.

The bishop wore a pleased little smile at the Inquisitor’s flight. His attitude seemed to match what Dani had said about them being separate entities. Ian bumped Ember’s shoulder slightly, shooting her an approving grin. She rolled her eyes and huffed indignantly, showing him that she couldn’t care less if he supported her decision to help Dani out. She gritted her teeth in annoyance when she realized a small part of her relished the fact that she had made him proud of her.

Konstantin watched the young necromancer with hooded eyes, the events of the last night replaying in his mind. The reason the elders would be meeting was that someone of influence in the pack had been killed by an outsider and there had been nothing done about it. It would have been perfectly acceptable for him to have killed the little snake, but for a rogue mage? The rest of the pack that hadn’t been there was up in arms and were demanding blood. It would be up to him to convince them that such a course of action would be sheer folly.

He was at this meeting alone. Normally he had his daughter with him, not as a champion (as any Were challenged so directly would feel a need to rip the throat out of their opponent themselves), but to learn the business she’d be inheriting. She was still recovering though, and while she could walk easily, he chose to wait for her to fully recuperate. It was not in their nature to show any sign of weakness. Having her stumble or wince even once in front of their enemies was not something that would help their image.

Konstantin sighed. She didn’t seem to be excited about what he was grooming her to be. She preferred to live near the university campus where she took business management courses than with the pack. She loved the sea, as they all did, but found the day-to-day running of a cargo vessel boring. At least she’d inherited her mother’s intelligence. She was incredibly savvy when it came to negotiations. He just hoped she would grow out of this phase soon.

The meeting resumed and Ian soon found himself bored as talks of trade agreements and political maneuvering commenced. Everything seemed to be about status. Every opportunity that could be taken to put someone else down and gain a superior position was taken. He released a yawn at precisely the same time as the pink-haired banshee and she blushed slightly. He smiled roguishly at her and she shot him a disgusted look before turning her head away.

He chuckled to himself and went back to observing the other players. One pair that caught his eye was the champions of the group that ran Pioneer Square. Ian didn’t know why their northern rivals were allowed two champions and two leaders, but their resemblance led him to believe they were a family and shared equal standing.

The two girls that held enforcer status were older than him by a few years. They wore black leather, had matching neck and arm tattoos, and glared out at anybody and everybody. They looked as if they could break him in half without even trying. His smile turned slightly feral as they met his eyes. They seemed surprised and a tad uneasy when this nobody they clearly considered to be the demon’s lapboy didn’t break eye contact.

Ian had to chuckle at the idea of a family-run gang, though he supposed it wasn’t so different than the mafia. Their parents -the leaders of the blandly-named group: Kin- currently weren’t doing so hot as they tried to defend themselves against the onslaught of accusations coming from the leader of the Heaven and Earth Society. Apparently they had previously agreed upon a set of arrangements and now the group out of Pioneer Square was having trouble meeting their end of the deal due to increased pressure from a new brood of vampires that had moved in.

“Just a little more time,” the father pleaded. He was a tall dark-skinned man with a Creole accent and showed none of the intimidation or menace that his daughters were giving off. “They sacked the waterfront storehouses, but we’ve got trucks en route from up the coast. You’ll get what you ordered by the end of the week, I promise.”

A malicious smile stretched across the master of the Tiandihui Seattle branch and he asked with relish, already knowing the answer, “And what about the bottled Dragonfire? Surely you can deliver ‘something’ on time…”

The Kin leader flinched and admitted, “The leeches have taken over our northeastern production facilities to make drugs for their nightclubs and feeding dens. It will just t- take some time to regain control.” His wife winced at his words and he instantly knew it was the wrong thing to say.

The atmosphere in the room changed and Ian thought of Val saying the gangs could scent blood in the water. At the group leader’s admittance that they were being taken apart piecemeal, it wouldn’t be long before the probing attacks along their border turned into full-on assaults. The leader of the Heaven and Earth Society had no intention of sharing the territory though, and he pressed, “You realize that if you aren’t able to live up to your contract, I can choose my compensation ‘and’ I’ll be able to challenge you?”

The two daughters exploded. “Bring it the fuck on then!” one shouted as the other yelled, “We’ll take that screaming bitch apart!”

The boss of the International District continued to smile at their defeated-looking father and pointed out, his voice dripping with venom, “Ah, but if I ask for your ill-mannered daughters or your pretty little wife as payment, then who would there be to defend your district?”

Agent Morgan spoke up, “There has to be a committee that decides if the compensation is fair.”

The accuser’s face was the picture of innocence as he remarked, “Really? Millions of dollars in lost product or a couple of worthless whores… I think perhaps I should be asking for more.” Ashley grimaced, but kept silent as the two ‘whores’ in question cussed out a storm.

With all the muttering, shouting, and contemplation going on, Ian’s words almost went unnoticed. “How much?” he asked, looking at the mother and addressing the group for the first time. Silence followed his question as people turned their attention towards him. All those who didn’t know who he was had dismissed him as a pitiful excuse of a warlock when Ember had first spoken up.

The story of his fight against the banshee had made the rounds and it was known that he simply shielded while the demoness was the real threat. Obviously, he must have somehow managed to summon a major entity and she only kept him around through some quirk in the contract they’d signed. Ian wasn’t about to disabuse them of that notion.

In a musical Louisiana French lilt her daughters had yet to inherit, the co-leader of the Kin stared back at him and asked, “What do you mean?”

Ian waved a hand airily. “Well,” he elaborated, “it seems to me as if you’ve got a slight vermin problem. You heard our furry little deliveryman, no shipments ’till next week.” He ignored the growl that statement produced and rested a hand on Ember’s shoulder. “Now see, I don’t know about all of you, but I can’t take seven whole days of attention from a bored, restless succubus. I need to take her out to for like, walks and stuff. And if she just so happens to walk into a den of vampires and rack up a bloodbath or two, well all the better.”

The woman that seemed to be the brains of their operation slowly asked disbelievingly, “You want to ‘help’ us?” She appeared to be doing the same thing the rest of the people around room were: trying to figure out what angle Ian was playing at. On the other hand, Ashley and Lily were looking at him with wide smiles and the bishop looked as if he’d just seen a cardinal walk out of a brothel. People in this line of work weren’t decent or honest and they sure as hell didn’t step in to grab a bucket when there was something to gain by watching a rival’s house burn.

“For a price,” Ian clarified, trying to glare seriously. “I, uh, don’t actually know what currency you all use so I’ll let Forrester think of that. You just expect me tomorrow morning at that place that sells those awesome cookies and we’ll go bust open some coffins.”

Ember groaned and turned towards her naïve lover. “You don’t know a single thing about vampires, do you?” Still, she was smiling. The thought of going out and slaying a few bloodsuckers was her kind of a date.

Even Solomon was looking at Ian confused. “Don’t get me wrong here. The sponsors would love to have this problem resolved quickly as the disturbance is eating into our profit margins, but why risk your life to help them?”

Ian shrugged. “What’s life without a few risks?” he wondered aloud, thoroughly convincing the others that he was insane. “You’ve also got to look at the bigger picture. I’d rather give a little now and keep two small rivals than ignore the problem and end up with one big one.” Those at the table shifted in realization. “Besides,” Ian continued, “better the enemy you know than the one you don’t.” He paused. “Not that I know much about these folks, but I’m assuming that having vampires in control would be worse…”

The Tiandihui master gritted out, “There won’t be a vampire problem. I’ll take care of them just as soon as their territory falls into my hands.” He turned to Solomon. “Production will not suffer, I assure you.”

Ian examined his nails. “You seem mighty confident of that,” he observed. “Hmm, northeast… That’s right along the border of the International District, isn’t it? Funny that you haven’t mentioned having any problems with them, and now you’re saying you can get rid of them at the drop of a hat? Well, that almost sounds like you had something to do with engineering this problem…” The master seemed to visibly withdraw at that, trying to distance himself from the issue as the other gangs perked up at the idea of foul play.

Attacking one’s enemies was all well and good. Sabotaging their shipments and then ransoming it back was frowned upon, but accepted. Deliberately destroying production lines and restructuring the established order to get a bigger piece of the pie at the sponsors’ expense? That was a good way to get Central to declare open season on your ass and watch all the other gangs form a temporary truce, swarming together until you were dissolved.

He glared at Ian and demanded, “Are you accusing me of something?”

Ian grinned back unimpressed. “You gunna sic your pink butterfly on me if I am?” he drawled. Even Solomon cracked a grin at that, which he quickly hid as the Chinese master turned to him.

“It doesn’t matter,” the leader declared. “I demand compensation and hereby issue a challenge.”

“Now hold on,” Forrester said, holding a hand up with a crafty gleam in his eye. “They still have three days to deliver and Industrial can produce Dragonfire just fine.” He turned to the woman leading the Kin and accepted her look of gratefulness with a nod. “I’m sure we’ll be able to come to an arrangement.” Ashley watched in awe as she saw Ian accomplish something that had never been done before among the gangs as far as she knew: collaboration.

Solomon saw it too and let out a small savage smile. He’d been a key player in getting the sponsors to… overlook the fact that Ian was a necromancer. The seeds were now starting to sprout and he was proving to be a valuable asset. Competition was good for business, but not if they wanted to compete with the European leagues as a single entity. If they could actually join together and dominate the western market, they’d be the biggest trading enterprise in the world. Oh, yes, he thought. The winds were changing now.

Master Long was ready to explode. He looked around feverishly as his carefully laid plans began disintegrating before him. How could they do this? Surely the others wouldn’t stand for this… But as he observed those present, it became clear that they were all onboard. Not only was there a chance that Industrial would lose their champion in this venture, but it stopped him from becoming too powerful.

He saw that little cunt beside him smirking as he suffered. He didn’t care what her mother advised, she would be losing her cherry soon. Maybe he should have her challenge this young upstart, he thought. ‘No, she’s already lost to him once.’ Finally, he decided to use his last resort and glanced across the table to the mage that ran the Georgetown Syndicate and jerked his head. He’d originally helped the little shit start his own group just so he could divide and conquer Industrial, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t still bought and paid for.

Lance started in realization and a flicker of unease showed in his eyes as he faced an unknown enemy. Then confidence flooded his frame as he scoffed at the idea of someone his age being stronger than him. He sneered at Ian and mockingly said the formal words, “I hereby take offense at your accusation and challenge you to the death so as to settle my grievance.”

The room quieted down as they heard his words. Forrester muttered to Ian, “That’s got to be the flimsiest challenge I’ve ever heard. You can probably just turn it down if you want with no penalty.”

Ian tilted his head and asked, “Do I get all of his stuff after I kill him?” The mage’s face reddened and he shot to his feet.

Forrester chuckled, “Aye, lad. We’ll get back a good portion of Industrial with him gone.”

“Sweet,” Ian remarked. Glancing at his challenger as if it was more of an afterthought, he answered, “Alright then. I accept. When and where?”

Things happened quickly after that. Everyone got up and the room seemed to transform as the lights were turned up and the center of the wall on the opposite side of where the crafting guilds sat gaped open, revealing an honest-to-God coliseum submerged into the ground beyond about fifty meters in length, surrounded by bleachers. “Now,” Solomon answered, smiling, “here. We used to do the whole at sunrise the next day thing, but we found there’s much less chance of interference if we do it on the spot.”

Ian simply shrugged and got up. “Works for me,” he said. As the occupants of the meeting room filed around the coliseum, a side door opened and admitted upwards of sixty people as the guards for those attending the meeting that had been waiting in the lobby were allowed to enter and watch. Ian spotted Scraps and Val walking towards him.

“Just couldn’t stay out of trouble, could you?” Grim’s annoyed voice reached them from beneath the revenant’s hood. “I know that fucking look. Those sisters look like the type to stick your dick in a meat grinder for fun and your first instinct is to get closer to them. It’s a goddamn miracle you’re still alive and I take all the credit for it.”

Val had a slightly worried expression on her face. “Lance is a lightning wizard. His strikes are incredibly powerful, but he has to create a static field and negatively charge electrons wherever the bolt is supposed to land, which means there’s a window to dodge.” Ian raised his eyebrows. “Well, he was part of our group for awhile,” she mumbled. “He was an asshole. Still is, by all accounts. You make sure it’s him that comes out extra crispy.” With that, she grabbed hold of his head and kissed him soundly.

Grim let out a groan. “Well, there’s nothing quite like advertising your Achilles heel,” he muttered darkly.

Ember stretched leisurely. The energy in the room seemed to increase as the observers saw the confidence in the combatants, one party looking cocky and the other simply unworried. Ian told Scraps to stay in the stands and approached the edge of the arena with Ember. Lance frowned and said, “Only one champion may answer a challenge.”

Ian waved a hand dismissively as he dropped the twelve feet to the sandy floor, using his power to steady himself. He pointed out, “I read the rule book on the way over. Summoned companions, magical constructs, and illusions are all allowed.” There was some muttering in the stands and finally Solomon nodded, allowing it.

Master Long reached into an open brief case a henchman held for him. He turned and slipped a vial of glowing, electric blue liquid to the young wizard. Ember hissed angrily, “Demonbane. Burns like hell and would probably be enough to do in a lesser demon.”

Ian hummed curiously at the thought. “Who would’ve known you’d have your own kryptonite. Could be fun to use in the bedroom…” His light humor pulled her up short and she choked out a laugh, loosening up.

“Oh you’re so not getting any sleep tonight,” she growled at him lustily, her eyes blazing.

His eyes danced in the light of the magical torches floating overhead. “You were the one that wanted to use hot sauce to-” he started to say before he was cut off as Lance, who’d entered the arena with a bit more difficulty, shouted at him.

“I see you’ve gotten pretty close to Bobby’s stuck-up bitch of a sister,” he taunted. “She always turned me down, but after I take control of the Night Watch that won’t be much of a problem, will it?”

“When Hell freezes over, you little shit!” Val retorted venomously from the edge of the raised tier made of black marble. Those in the stands chuckled at her words and the two Kin sisters took notice of the furious latina, shooting her appreciative glances.

Ian yawned, ignoring the mage, and sat cross-legged in the sand, concentrating on shielding and waiting for things to start. Ember shifted to demon form and there were a few ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the crowd as they saw her long black wings splay out. Solomon walked up to a loud gong and, without any ceremony, hit it, starting the duel.

Ian looked up to see a bolt of lightning streaking towards him. It crashed against his shield in a blinding white flash of energy, scouring the arena floor around him of sand. Electric aftershocks pulsed around the invisible barrier in the wake of its resistance. The observers appeared stunned to see Ian hadn’t even tried to dodge and that he’d actually managed to take the brunt of the force and maintain his concentration.

Pure energy versus maintaining a definitive cover would always favor the attacker. Of course, most of them didn’t know that Ian was able to draw on more energy than that which resided inside himself. Then Lance was put on the defensive as Ember bombarded him with Hellfire, flying towards him while evading his bolts of lightning.

Ian had to give him credit. While it looked as if he was simply missing his target, he was also directing where the succubus was going to be. Just as she neared, a bolt of lightning hit her from behind, launching her towards the mage in an uncontrolled tumble. Lance drew back his arm and chucked the vial straight into her… and watched it crash against the shield Ian had constructed for his companion. A murmur went through the crowd as they were impressed anew at what this ‘warlock’ could do.

Lance had a split second to realize just how badly he’d miscalculated before a long, deadly claw ripped through his shield and opened up a long gash in his side as she flew past. He screamed in agony before shakily recovering and going on the offensive again. This time, Ember didn’t even try to dodge as every bolt of energy fizzled on the shield Ian had created around her.

He would have liked to say defeating the wizard was a challenge, but the rest of the match just went downhill from there for the outmatched opponent. Like most magicians, he only practiced the one type of magic he had an affinity for and was thus left helpless when it failed him.

Towards the end, Ember actually started to draw it out, not wanting to end her fun too quickly. Some of the people in the stands got sick and left early. Ian knew she was making a statement that Forrester could build upon in his negotiations, but he also knew she was just as happy to make an enemy suffer than end it quickly.

Finally, Ian got up and called out, ” Alright. Quit playing with your food…” With a flick of his wrist, he lifted the unfortunate mage into the air. He had ignored Ian for the last few minutes as he struggled to stay alive, leaving him utterly defenseless towards a new kind of attack. A wildly flailing Lance plummeted to the arena floor in an uncontrolled fall.

Before the hapless challenger could hit the ground, Ember combusted the air around the tumbling body and Lance exploded in gory bits and red mist. Ian put a hand on his stomach as some of the observers screamed. “Oh, that’s nasty,” he muttered. He was glad he’d still maintained his shield as it began raining chunks. Looking around, he commented to no one in particular, “Well that’s one hell of a ‘what if’ for our potential enemies to worry about.”

He raised an arm skyward and Ember swooped down and plucked him from the arena floor, carrying him out of the fighting area. A short, stocky man who led one of the crafting guilds came up to Ian and congratulated him on his ‘effective strategy.’ “You two make quite a team,” he continued. “I hope to see more of your work.” With that, he walked off cheerfully as Ian stared at his back, unsure of how to feel about being complimented for such a grisly performance.

Ember beamed and commented, “This is my kind of crowd.” Ian gave a snort of amusement at that. Apparently his vocation of ‘criminal’ suited her tastes. He thought back to his trip through the underground market to get this place. He couldn’t exactly say he didn’t fit in with the city’s alternative nightlife. He shrugged off his concern. When it came down to it, the underworld had accepted him when everyone else had started sharpening their stakes and pitchforks at the very mention of his kind.

Solomon announced that the challenge had been answered and that the meeting was adjourned. People began a mass exodus at those words, casting wary glances back towards the bloodstained floor. Ashley came up to Ian and he fidgeted nervously when he saw her, knowing he hadn’t left her on the best of terms and that she probably hated him.

He was relieved to see her smiling as she congratulated him. She chuckled, “I don’t think anyone noticed when you tinged her talons with Spiritfire to eat through his shield either.” He raised his eyebrows in surprise and she felt a small thrill at impressing him. “I wanted to let you know that we just received confirmation that the Kin’s trucks have entered the state, so your efforts here weren’t all for naught. The FBI will be escorting the parts to the factories personally and making sure nothing happens to them during assembly. The finished product is a government order.”

She paused and Ian didn’t press. Still, she felt she owed him something and admitted, “We’re going to start mass producing the restraining collars…” Ian’s eyes widened, but more from being taken aback that she’d tell him than anything else. She looked at him carefully. “You’re not surprised?” she wondered.

He shrugged. “They’re effective tools. It would be a mistake not to.” He grimaced and said, “If you’d all started out restraining necromancers who’d gone insane instead of killing them all outright in the first place, maybe I wouldn’t have this kill order hanging over my head.”

She bowed her head at that and told him about the government’s change in policy. Ian gritted his teeth and fought down a few scathing ‘too little, too late’ remarks. Finally, he recovered enough to ask in a relatively calm voice, “What about the vampires? Isn’t it your job to make sure stuff like this doesn’t happen?”

She pursed her lips and shook her head. “We’ve been watching them,” she admitted, “but we can’t do anything until we have evidence of them feeding without the consent of the individual. It doesn’t matter that their customers are addicted. Still, there is a report of a cop going missing around their neighborhood and we’d like to have some eyes in there. If you’re going… I was wondering if you’d allow us to send along an observer.”

Ian didn’t like the idea, especially since he still didn’t trust the Inquisition by any means. Still, he and Grim had worked up a suitable workaround to the restraining collars and he’d been practicing keeping a shield up around himself at all times. The risk wasn’t so great that he dismissed it outright.

As he saw Ashley standing there biting her bottom lip in anticipation, azure blue hair framing her cute face, his reasoning jumped out the window. He snuck a glance at Ember and confirmed that she was just as eager to build a, uh, ‘working’ relationship with this woman. Shaking his head in amusement, he looked up and asked, “How about a trade.”

Ashley instantly looked wary and Ian continued in an attempt to reassure her, “There’s someone I’d like to protect. She’s likely being hunted at the moment and I think your compulsions would be a great help. Do you think you might be able to take a trip tonight to go see her?”

Ashley stamped down on the flood of relief that rushed through her, willing herself to remember her training. His intentions ‘sounded’ noble and she admitted to herself that she ‘wanted’ Ian to be one of the good guys. Well, she amended with a glance towards the arena floor, at least not a power-hungry sadist who only looked out for himself.

She sighed as she thought of all the department violations she’d be committing by going off alone with a dangerous person of interest. Then she remembered all the ones she was already violating by just talking to Ian. ‘And he did say there was a life at stake,’ she reminded herself.

That was why she’d joined in the first place, not to play political games and keep her nose clean. The final point that convinced her was that if Ian had wanted her dead or in thrall to him, he could have done so when she’d been possessed by him that morning. She turned to Lily who’d been standing a ways away trying to look innocent; like she hadn’t been paying attention to them. Ashley tossed her the keys and told her, “Take the car. I’ll check in after I’m done and see you tomorrow.”

Lily looked unsure, but finally nodded and walked away. Forrester had left in a hurry once the duel had been completed, rushing to get someplace above ground with enough signal to make some calls. There was a lot of work to be done to start reintegrating the Georgetown businesses into Industrial and he had to work fast before Delridge or Beacon Hill could mobilize.

On the way out, Ian stopped as he caught sight of one of the Kin sisters in front of him. Her leather vest revealed a considerable amount of cleavage, a black studded belt hung low on her waist, and her eyes were completely white. Suddenly, one of the nearby twenty foot columns of stone that held up the underground facility began to transform.

Ian looked up into the imposing rock visage of an enormous golem crouching down to glare at him, one hand continuing to hold up the ceiling with an ease that would put Atlas to shame. “I don’t know what game you’re playing,” the girl told him, “but it won’t work. If you try to double-cross us tomorrow, I’ll ground your bones into dust.” Her mother called her reproachfully from a distance and the tough-as-nails she-bitch seemed to flinch in admonishment. She shot them a last glare, her eyes going back to their normal amber color, and stalked off.

He looked up and saw the column was back to normal. Ashley chuckled and remarked, “The Castille women have always been a willful bunch, but those sisters are a real piece of work.”

“What are they?” Ian asked, eyes locked onto the retreating girl’s leather-clad ass.

Ashley smirked as she followed his gaze. “Animists. No one’s quite sure how they make inanimate objects come alive. There’s a lot of scholarship that says perhaps they use spirits like necromancers do, but…” she trailed off, not wanting to point out that they’d killed them all off before they could ask. Well, all of them but those of the main bloodlines and ‘no one’ was about to go knocking on their doors.

Ian just shook his head, denying that theory. He hadn’t sensed a thing that could be construed as spirit magic. Ashley shrugged and they continued their ascent to the surface. The small party walked through the underground streets and passed stalls and cracked storefronts, assaulted by the myriad of scents and sounds.

Val reveled in it, loving the atmosphere, and Ember snaked an arm around the captivated girl’s waist, hugging her to her as they walked. Ian stopped a few times as he heard things being called out, such as x-ray glasses, a potion to increase potency, and an invisibility choker. The group smiled at his curiosity and humored him, though it never turned out to be quite what he’d expected.

They entered the parking garage and he grumbled, “Just what the hell is the point of having a vanishing necklace that leaves the wearer visible?”

Ashley smiled at his antics and then let out a moan of appreciation as she caught sight of the Lamborghini. Her breathing picked up as she noticed they were heading towards it. Her head whipped back and forth between those she was with and the car as she desperately tried to will her hope into a reality. They paused in front of it and she threw her arms in the air and shouted, “Yes!”

Once she’d calmed down, she pouted at them and muttered, “Must be nice to have the sponsors on your side. Still, this is insane. You’ve got to have a pretty powerful backer making you their sole interest.” Val offered to sit on Ian’s lap so they’d have room, but Scraps pointed out that he preferred to be outside the car to better assess the situation and guard his ward. He could easily keep pace with the car in the city and by jumping from the rooftops of buildings while wearing dark rags he was nearly invisible anyway.

* * * * *

Dani waited in the apartment as the light faded from the sky and the stars came out. She debated taking off, but thought it would be poor repayment for the help her hosts had given her. They would no doubt think she’d betrayed them and had run off to tell the Order about this location. She pursed her lips as she caught herself enjoying the luxurious feel of the fluffy couch.

She chided herself for thinking about her own comfort. This was not a vacation, she reminded herself. Still, she’d been living a Spartan lifestyle for so long, anytime she was sent on a job she inevitably found herself enjoying the soft sheets in a wayward hotel room, or the bathtub. She eyed the whirlpool Jacuzzi in the master bath and sighed.

Frustrated, she paced restlessly before eyeing the laptop on the coffee table. To her relief, it wasn’t password protected and she killed time doing her own research on the 9th Order. She knew various locations that were owned by subsidiaries of the Church, but the more she learned, the more she realized just how out of her depth she was. It was staggering just how little she really knew about their operations.

She’d had lessons on hacking as part of her infiltration studies and she put them to use in cracking some of their firewalls. Still, it became clear that they employed even better programmers and her efforts were often thwarted, leaving her with a lot of surface information, but few glimpses of what was really going on. Toppling this enormous empire would have to be done in multiple parts and looking for cracks in their armor was proving to be a challenge all by itself.

She didn’t want to try anything too risky as she didn’t know how secure Ian’s network was, so she made a list of the known locations that the Order operated out of and shifted her attention to learning more about the surrounding areas. Dani figured they would at least be someplace to start. Her eyes drooped the more notes she took and she was half asleep when the lock turned.

Her head shot up and she saw them returning with a visitor in tow. She recognized the branch leader of the Inquisition from her briefings and her head bowed. ‘So they sold me out,’ she thought morosely. ‘I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I certainly deserve it.’ She sighed and waited, silently accepting whatever fate would befall her.

Ashley frowned at the pitiful-looking girl sitting on the couch in front of her. As she approached her, she was shocked to feel the strongest mental barrier she’d ever experienced from a non-mage and knew she’d had extensive training to repel psychics. Dani felt her probe and clenched her eyes shut to stem the flow of tears. Then she forced herself to relax and opened herself completely.

Ashley mentally stumbled into the other girl’s consciousness as the resistance disappeared, similar to what she’d gone through when Ian had let her in. A wave of memories and experiences flooded her mind as the girl’s life flashed before her eyes. She saw the demon kill her family as she watched, then mark her along her back, telling her to grow up big and strong so she’d taste sweeter.

Tears trailed down Ashley’s face as she fell to her knees, watching the child experience her first beating at the hands of the inquisitors. She pulled the girl towards her and hugged her fiercely, both of them crying as they relived Ben’s death. The young agent, only a handful of years older than Dani, was floored by the amount of pain and suffering the girl was forced to experience in her short life.

She brushed Dani’s messy locks of hair as she choked out over and over, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry…” Dani’s shoulders shook and her face was burrowed in Ashley’s chest, desperately holding onto the agent as if she was a lifeline. It was more than just therapeutic to share what happened to her with someone else and confront that which plagued her nightmares. This was the first time since her parents’ death that she could really face what she’d experienced.

Soon, she cried herself to sleep and Ashley pulled back sniffling, resting the girl’s frame along the couch. She knew the Order would want to know what happened to her and understood Ian’s request. Her respect for him rose considerably as she saw him want to help her even after her actions had nearly gotten him killed. She also realized Ember’s words at the meeting were for Dani’s benefit and that the 9th Order would probably take it as fact that their assassin was dead, although they would now shift their attention to trying to find Ian.

She stroked the girl’s dirty blonde hair and kissed her forehead. Bowing her head, she began placing ring after ring of protective spells on the girl. She repeated continuously in her mind, ‘never to be found by those who would search her out, never to be recognized if seen, never to fear being hunted.’

When she’d finished, she was stunned by the potency of the compulsions surrounding the girl. The clarity her purpose gave her and the cause she was doing this for allowed her to cast them with a strength and will beyond her years. Each time she came into contact with Ian, her powers grew exponentially at the impact the events had on her. Ashley also admitted to herself that the compulsions probably wouldn’t have taken hold if the 9th had been looking for Dani in force. The bluff that they used that night must have been enough to turn their attention away from the girl.

She rose and turned to Ian. “It’s done,” she said, her voice sounding alien even to her.

He smiled at her gently and thanked her. Ian was moved by the comfort she’d offered Dani and the determination with which she’d set about her task. “You can stay the night if you want,” he offered.

She shook her head. “I’ve got to get back and check in with Lily.” She paused before saying, “You have to possess me again.” Ian froze and started to shake his head when she continued in a strong voice, “The director came by this morning. I was pumped for information and I was powerless to stop them.” She looked up at him and her eyes flashed. “I will not allow this girl to come to harm. If they find out about her, I don’t know what they would do. I can’t risk that happening.”

Ian pursed his lips as he tried to think of another way. The spirit that had taken to following him around caught his attention and made a placating gesture, offering to take care of it. He frowned, knowing there were dangerous things in the spirit world as well.

Wraiths that would try to eat your soul given the chance, Phantoms that haunted locations and would often simply try to kill you for interrupting the pattern they had set, and Ghouls that possessed the dead and fed on the living to gain energy… There was also a whole host of monsters he knew nothing about.

Still, Ian had come to trust this spirit and he didn’t feel any menace coming from her, only sorrow. The more he thought about her, the more he realized that she’d been with him since long before that night he’d been forced to flee his home -he actually couldn’t remember a time since he’d discovered his power that she hadn’t been nearby. He fed her a small amount of energy and told Ashley to drop her shields and mental barrier.

Ashley worked to calm herself as she prepared to be assaulted by a horde of ravenous ghosts again. She sat in a chair at that dining table and clenched her fists, closing her eyes and gritting her teeth. Then, she forced herself to relax and let go, feeling naked as her protections crashed down around her.

Surprise filtered through her as a single tendril of energy seemed to seep into her consciousness. It wasn’t frenzied or violent like the others had been and it seemed to want to spare her any pain. Ashley didn’t feel like she’d lost control so much as if she’d been placed in the co-pilots seat. Through each memory that was locked away, the spirit seemed to turn to her and ask for her permission to continue. The entire process almost felt relaxing.

The spirit then shocked Ashley by creating a space inside her consciousness that seemed to ignore all the laws of Sorcery she’d been taught. It was as if her psychic ability was completely unable to focus on anything that went on inside the bubble. She watched as the spirit placed the location of the apartment inside the newly defined space and Ashley knew that even if she came to visit again or thought about the location while being scanned, someone reading her would be unable to see it.

She opened her eyes as the spirit gently, almost reverently, backed out of her mind, returning the reins to her. She stared wonderingly at the ghost, still visible from the energy Ian was feeding her. She knew that if the League of Sorcery in Europe found out about this, necromancers would be vilified to an even further extent as they found themselves impotent against spirit magic in one of the primary ways that defined their craft.

Ashley shook herself and stood. “I should go,” she said. Ember surprised her by giving her a hug as she reached for her coat. “Come back soon,” she heard before she jerked in surprise as the succubus pinched her ass.

Val piped up, “I need to leave too.”

Ian asked, “You sure you don’t want to stay?”

She blushed before shaking her head. “Bobby is probably climbing the walls,” she answered, “and the old man will need all the help he can get organizing the corporate takeovers. I’ll give you a call tomorrow.” She leaned against him and kissed him softly. Her heart fluttered as he made sure to leave her breathless. “I need to use your phone to call Bobby. I don’t think the buses run this late.”

Ian chuckled and willed the key for the BMW off the countertop and handed them to her. “Enjoy,” he told her, enjoying her stunned expression. “I can buy a phone for you as well if you’d like.”

Her brain finally started working again and she shook her head. “Patrol leaders used to be given burners, but Bobby says because of the money rolling in we’ll all get personal ones soon.” Her eyes tracked down to the key in her hand and she asked, “Are you sure?”

Ian smiled down at her. “Ember and I don’t need two cars. If for some reason that changes, I’m sure the sponsors would jump over themselves to provide another.” He looked at the key and said, “It’s already warded so don’t feel pressured to watch where you park it.”

Val smiled at him brightly before turning and walking towards the door. She let out a squeak of surprise when Ember grabbed her possessively and kissed her soundly. Her tail formed and snuck between the girl’s legs to rub her covered sex and give her something to think about. Then the succubus pulled back, her eyes gleaming red, and smacked Val’s ass hard enough to send her stumbling towards the door.

Val caught up to Ashley in the hallway and offered to drive her home so she didn’t have to take a cab. The agent smiled gratefully down at the young gang member and asked her about herself. She learned that Val had just graduated high school. College had been a distant dream for her, but with the money they were now making Bobby was pressuring her to go.

She thought that maybe she could take some business or accounting classes to help with the administrative needs of the Night Watch. Ashley found herself fascinated by the resilience the young girl showed and was surprised to realize that in the short time she’d known her she had started to consider her a friend. With a small smile, Ashley began placing her memories of their encounter and all they’d talked about in the space in her mind she’d come to treasure as her own.

* * * * *

The issue of sleeping arrangements filtered through Ian’s mind. It didn’t seem right that Dani should take the couch while he took the bed, but he had Ember to think about and their guest was currently passed out anyway. A stray thought entered his mind that involved Dani and Ember sleeping in the bed together and his brain promptly shorted out.

Ember could apparently sense when he was thinking naughty thoughts and wrapped her arms around him, a hand snaking down to squeeze his crotch. “She’s pretty,” his lover commented as she observed the sleeping girl. She sighed. “It’s too bad that she’s been marked by a demon. Her spirit has healed considerably since the sorceress read her memories, but she still has a long way to go.”

Ian raised an eyebrow and commented with a sly grin, “A long way until she’s better or before she’s between your legs?”

Ember’s eyes twinkled as she replied, “What’s the difference?” She grasped his hand and led him into the bedroom, their ever-present mystery spirit floating along behind them curiously. Grim seemed to seep back into his book and Scraps checked the locks. The wards around the apartment shone brightly to him in the spirit realm. Finally deciding the place was secure, he crouched with his back to a corner and sat back on his heels to quietly observe his surroundings, tireless and unmoving, always watchful.

Ember stripped out of her clothes and then nearly ripped Ian’s remaining garments to shreds when she decided he wasn’t moving fast enough. She pushed Ian backwards onto the bed and dropped to her knees. Reaching out, she squeezed Ian’s cock and he felt electricity shoot through his limbs as his member hardened in an instant. She smiled wickedly as she lowered her mouth.

Her tongue seemed to wrap around his girth and the feeling of it grasping him as she bobbed her head a few times caused his mind to blank. When he came back to himself, Ember was straddling him atop the bed, his cock poised to enter her. He moaned and through his head back when she decided to rub his tip up and down her slit, teasing him to the point of insanity. Finally, when he could take no more, she plunged down his length. Her spines sought out his most sensitive regions and stimulated them. His breathing picked up as she ground her hips down, causing the most amount of friction and he gasped when she hit bottom.

She chuckled at his desperate expression and she put a hand on his chest. “Go on, baby,” she whispered. “I’ll take care of it.” Ian laughed softly as he gave up his hopeless effort to ward off the inevitable. The waves of pleasure she was inducing broke through the walls of his resistance and he felt himself swept away on an ocean of bliss.

The walls of the bedroom turned a hellish red as Ember lived up to her name, the glowing light of her eyes reflecting the fire of her lust. She milked her lover’s release, using her talents to extend his orgasm. Ian arched his back and clenched his fists before relaxing. This time he knew she wasn’t going to stop as she picked up the pace, keeping him hard inside of her.

He rested his hands on her creamy hips, knowing her soft skin and delicate frame hid a savage, deadly creature that he’d never be able to tame. He felt her need through their bond and tried to increase his own pace, driving into her harder, faster. She was a force of nature that didn’t require any action on his part to get herself off, but he felt a strong desire to be the best lover he could for her. He knew she deserved at least that much.

Ember smiled at the determined look on his face and reveled in the love she felt coming off him. It tasted strong and potent. Devotion in its truest form was something a sex demon almost never achieved. Being the objects of lust and desire, one rarely got passed their outer shell to recognize the being below the surface. It tended to make demons, and succubae in particular, jaded -her included.

She thought she’d given up on finding someone she could spend the rest of eternity with. Tears filled her eyes as she shuddered through a small orgasm before resuming her pace. Ian saw the red glow become blurry and looked to see her eyes swimming with emotion. He didn’t know what caused it, but he took one of her hands in his and brought it to his lips, brushing across her fingers tenderly, wanting to show her that no matter what she faced he would be there.

Ember bowed her head as his dedication to her flooded her consciousness. Despite the darkness in her heart, the deaths she’d caused, the vicious, often sadistic, nature that sometimes came out, she truly believed he would always stand by her side. An explosion rocked through her, limbs locking at the charge that struck her like a thunderbolt, and this time it was her that blacked out.

When she came to, she found herself lying atop Ian, wrapped in his arms. His mouth rested against her brow, breathing in her scent. She flushed with embarrassment at her display of weakness, but when she looked into his eyes there was no criticism, only pure adoration. It was an incredibly freeing experience for her to know that no matter how far she fell there would always be someone there to catch her. She relaxed and placed her head back on his chest, sighing in contentment.

Ian closed his eyes and brushed her hair, feeling her breathing become steady as she fell asleep in his embrace. He smiled and knew that this feeling would never get old. His thoughts shifted to the changes he’d observed lately. He had noticed various improvements happening to his body the last few days, his muscles becoming more toned and defined, his stamina increasing, his vision becoming sharper. The pleasure he received from Ember never dulled though. If anything, it got even more potent.

He guessed that the sexual energy Ember received which allowed her to retain her eternal youth was being shared through their bond. As sleep overtook him, he thought of the future. He didn’t know what it would bring or if the risks he continued to take would catch up to him sooner rather than later, but he knew he wouldn’t stop trying to live life to the fullest. His experiences would now always be shared with Ember and he was determined to make her time in the realm of the living as wondrous as possible.

* * * * *

Dani woke to a heavenly feeling. She was lying on the softest velvet and covered with a blanket that felt like it had a million thread count. Blinking open her eyes, she squinted against the light streaming in between the curtains of the living room and she shot upwards as she got her bearings and realized where she was.

The events of the night before crashed down on her. She had no idea why she was still there. Glancing around the room, she gave a start as she saw the revenant crouching in the corner of the room, looking like the scariest gargoyle she’d ever seen. His hood hung low over his face and he held a stillness and patience that no human mind could achieve.

Finally, she took account of herself as the blanket pooled in her lap. She was still dressed, but someone had taken off her boots. They’d arranged her so she wouldn’t be stiff and even given her a pillow. She frowned. Barring waking up in a cell or not at all, she’d at least expected to have been violated. There was something wrong with a succubus, let alone a necromancer, with morals.

Stretching, she went to use the guest bathroom, wondering about what Ian had planned for the day. Whatever it was, she was sure he’d need to eat first. She remembered the pancake mix that was in the cupboard and determined to try her hand at breakfast, despite her lack of experience. She hadn’t cooked at all in the enclave and the flighty nature of her vocation afterwards hadn’t led to a favorable environment to practice in.

* * * * *

Later that morning, Ian, Ember, Dani, and Scraps, holding a cheerful Grim, drove to Pioneer Square. Dani didn’t know why she’d decided to tag along for a no doubt dangerous mission, but she knew she felt an even greater need to repay them after what she’d learned over breakfast. Just the memory of what had happened the night before brought tears to her eyes, but when they’d told her what the agent had done to help her and her vow to protect her; what she went through to keep her safe, what she risked… She had broken down crying on the spot. Ember had surprised the hell out of her when she wrapped her in her arms and comforted her.

Looking out the window as the city passed by, she grimaced. They even liked her pancakes -Ian praising the meal like it was the sweetest ambrosia. She kept waiting for something to happen to shatter her view of them. Where were they hiding the decapitated bodies of children or the ravaged nuns-turned-sex slaves the Order always told them about?

She sighed, knowing it would take some adjustment. Nevertheless, she wasn’t one to mope around all day and hitting her wall against a wall trying to find out more about the 9th Order was what that equated to. Dani decided she had to do something and going along with Ian was as good as anything she could think of. She’d even realized as she checked her guns that she had craved a little danger and excitement; to feel the adrenaline rush that came with a difficult job.

Ian was disappointed to learn that vampirism wasn’t an undead condition (thus he couldn’t control them as a necromancer), but more of a mutation which altered their genetics. It made them sensitive to light (though nowhere near enough to burn them to cinders), reliant on uninfected blood, and taking in excessive amounts of new blood tended to kill off the fluffy, puppy-loving, ethical portions of their brains. In return, of course, they got increased speed and strength, longer lives, the ability to see in the dark, and an unlimited supply of date-rape drugs flowing through their system.

“Seriously?” he asked Grim after he’d finished giving them the low down on their prey. “They put a kill order on ‘me,’ but let these virtueless wonders run around free?”

Ember pursed her lips and reminded him, “There are many vampires who feed only in moderation. They’re as sane as you or I.”

Ian thought about that. “Then there should definitely be a kill order out on them,” he finally concluded. A laugh burst forth from Dani and he was captivated by how innocent and free the young assassin sounded. He sighed. He was really beginning to dislike this order that would inflict young girls with what she’d been through.

They got to the storefront and Ian put on a determined expression as he tried to weave a compulsion around the vehicle so that it wouldn’t be towed for being parked along the busy street. A voice behind him called out, “Don’t bother.” He turned and saw one of the Castille sisters leaning against a building without any sign of how she got there. “We’ll make sure no one touches it.”

Ian chuckled, “I hope so. Otherwise some poor meter maid is going to get the shock of their life.”

She frowned before asking, “Where do you want to start?”

He pointed to the shop, already walking towards it, and said, “In there.” The girl stared at him incredulously, wondering if he was screwing with her. She reminded herself of what she’d seen in the arena and forced herself to stay calm. Her sister was still canvassing a likely starting location for them anyway. They’d been watching the vampires for over a week now and knew they used the underground to access most of their territory. It was going to be a nightmare navigating their warren in the dark.

Inside, Ian smiled as he saw Lily sitting at a corner table with a bag of cookies and a coffee. She returned his smile and waved as he walked by, blushing slightly as she remembered their encounter in his apartment. They sat down and started making plans for the assault.

“First off, what’s your name?” Ian asked the Kin enforcer.

“What’s it matter to you?” she retorted defensively.

Ian’s lips quirked up and chuckled, “Fine, be that way. But if I have to shout for you in the dark I’m going to call you the snookums.”

She growled threateningly at that, but decided that it did make sense to prepare for the worst. “It’s Rosalie,” she admitted gruffly, daring him to crack a smile. “And my sister is Evelina.”

Ian didn’t disappoint her expectations as a wide grin formed. “Beautiful Rose and lovely Eve,” he murmured as if tasting their names. Rose glared at him, trying to figure out why the biker bitch getup she was wearing didn’t scare him off like all the others. She was about to make an issue out of it, but saw his goofy smile and head-in-the-clouds expression and knew it was pointless. This just confirmed her suspicions from the night before that he was insane. She sighed to herself and hoped he wouldn’t die on them before they got rid of the vampires.

“I think the main problem we need to address is manpower,” Ian pointed out.

The dark-skinned girl gave a snort of annoyance and rolled her eyes. “Obviously,” she declared.

Ian ignored her tone and continued, “What I meant is that if we start at one location and work our way through each room and level, those that make a run for it are simply going to run out of the other exits. Now, I don’t see this as a major problem for getting rid of them in the long run as I’d already figured we’d need to do multiple purges, but what happens when a bunch of angry and scared vampires run out into the open? What’s to stop them from just massacring people in the streets?”

Lily smiled and told them, “The bureau knows we’re about to poke a hornet’s nest. They’re standing by in case we need damage control. All it will take is one call from me confirming that they’ve committed a crime and we’ll have this place flooded with my people.” Their host did not like the idea of the Inquisition invading her territory, but she knew they didn’t have the numbers to contain things if the leeches went berserk.

“Speaking of which,” Ian wondered, “why hasn’t there been a single recorded violation on their part so far?”

Rose grimaced and explained, “It’s their leader, Cassandra Devereux. That soulless bitch makes Mary Tudor and Elizabeth Bathory look like innocent kittens in comparison. She also rules with an iron fist and any who cross her know their death will be painful and prolonged. She had enormous wealth before she was infected and she’s used it to build quite an empire. I can’t even guess what Long offered her to get her to agree to this.”

Ember smiled, showing off her fangs, and commented, “It’s nice to know that his investment will be going to waste.”

* * * * *

They reached the building amidst a small army of Kin members prepping for a raid. Rose’s sister was waiting in a black Mercedes and Ian waved at her cheerfully as he walked by. She nearly spit out the coffee she was drinking as she saw him walk right up to the solid oak door of the place they were casing without a care in the world. ‘He’s not going to just- ah, hell,’ she thought to herself.

Ian put a hand on Scraps’s shoulder and said, “Play time…”

The revenant blurred forward and hit the entranceway shoulder-first, blowing through the door with ease and spraying wood fragments in all directions which Ian helpfully shielded those behind him from. Ian saw the receptionist immediately kick her sizeable desk in the air towards them and pull out a cutoff shotgun like she dealt with intruders every day.

Unfortunately for her, she wasn’t nearly prepared enough for Scraps, who hadn’t stopped when he’d gone through the door, to suddenly appear before her and punch through her neck. Quiet fell over them as the vampire’s body collapsed to the floor, her tainted blood dripping from the flesh golem’s hand.

Then a horrible buzzing, scraping, crunching sound filled the air as the building came alive. “Incoming!” Grim shouted. From the far ends of the two adjoining hallways came a rush of vampires crawling on the floor, walls, and even upside-down along the ceiling, moving with frightening speed, their limbs seeming to defy the limits of a human’s biology.

Scraps and Ember took the lead while Ian plucked those from the ceiling and willed them into the thresher the pair was creating. The Kin opened fire from behind the trio. Most of their shots were ignored however and Rose shouted, “Aim for their heads.” One of the sisters had animated the receptionist’s desk and turned it into a lanky wooden monster that drove the stakes it had for arms through vampires like some kind of grotesque shish kebob.

Then they heard a scream from behind them and looked back just in time to see one of the Kin members plucked from his feet and dragged towards the door as vampires flooded the entranceway. Dani calmly raised her Beretta and shot the head of the vampire that held one of the gunmen and the group shifted to form a circle as the bloodsuckers hit them from three separate angles.

Those in front slammed into the shield Ian had created and he winced at the effort of keeping them back took. ‘These fuckers are strong,’ he thought. Ember cleared away their pressure by unleashing a wave of Hellfire down the nearest hallway which seemed to spook the rest of them as they abruptly began to retreat. Those Kin who’d followed them were breathing hard. Lily went around checking wounds, occasionally slapping a hand on a cut received from shrapnel and muttering a chant to heal the wound or dull the pain.

She got to the man who’d been grabbed and applied herbs to the rents in his shoulder. She looked to Rose and said, “He’s safe from infection, but he’s done for the day.” The champion nodded her head, expecting the answer, and had him carried out to one of the cars. She shot a grateful look at Lily, finding it useful to have a healer along.

The rest of the building which appeared to have offices in the upper levels and bedrooms in the lower ones only turned up five more vampires. They reached the basement level and were met with a large hole in the concrete that led… somewhere. “Wow,” Grim commented. “That’s pretty ominous. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about dying or anything.”

Ian sighed and told the group, “Stay close.” Turning to Ember, he warned, “No large combustions or waves of fire while we’re underground.”

He then made his shield visible for all to see and stretched it to cover those behind and in front of him. Its light cast their surroundings in an eerie green hue causing the people with him to flinch in surprise. Flames of Hellfire surrounded Ember’s hand as she led the way while Scraps took up the rear.

They heard skittering coming from the darkness and the sound of nails on concrete caused shivers to run down their spines. Every once and awhile they’d catch glimpses of movement at the limit of their vision before fading into the murkiness beyond. The vampires seemed to avoid the light, but they clearly weren’t happy that the invaders were there.

The party continued until they reached a crossroads. As if a switch and been flipped, as soon as they stepped into the center of four crisscrossing tunnels they came again. They charged from all directions, including the one they’d just come from and staccato bursts of gunfire hammered the air around them. Ian had to not only concentrate on allowing those things inside the barrier to get out, but he had to strengthen all sides of equally since he didn’t know from where the pressure would come from.

Inevitably, the horde of bloodthirsty predators reached the shield and slammed against it. Ian felt what Ashley must have at the FBI branch headquarters when she’d tried to protect herself against the countless ravenous ghosts reaching towards her. Ian dropped to his knees and gritted his teeth under the onslaught. Most of the Kin had run their clips out at that point and were furiously reloading with shaking fingers.

Lily touched Ian’s shoulder and whispered, “I think it’s time for you to stop pretending.” She knew the Seattle players weren’t who Ian would have to worry about now. It was the European leagues who’d established the decree that would come for him next.

Rose threw her an incredulous glance, amazed that Ian hadn’t collapsed yet. Her words seemed to relax Ian though, and when he next opened his eyes they were blazing green. Ian reached out for the spirits around him and found a host of waiting volunteers. They’d been dragged down to these caverns and killed in large numbers. In some cases they’d been kidnapped from the streets and taken unwillingly. In others, they’d paid to come and be fed on before their used husks were tossed in a twisted pile of corpses. All wanted vengeance.

They came when he called. They eagerly took the energy he offered. The mass of vampires suddenly found themselves looking into the ghostly eyes of their victims and their small, degraded animal brains registered fear. The Kin were shocked as they saw a wave of ghosts explode outwards and crash into the suddenly outnumbered vampires.

Their fury made the ghosts even more frenzied and some of the attackers were stopped in midair, their limbs ripped from their sockets. A terrible, inhuman screeching noise went up and the vampires again began to retreat, but this time they were followed. Ghosts began possessing the dead vampires or, in some cases their old bodies, and took the fight to the enemy.

Grim chuckled into the silence that followed, penetrated by distant screams, “Vampire zombies… What a concept.” The two sisters were gaping like a pair of fish as they tried to make sense of what they’d just seen. “Don’t strain those limited brain cells of yours,” the Archive commented, “we still haven’t reached their lair.”

The snide remark seemed to shock them out of their trance. Ian saw a familiar spirit waving towards him in the distance and he began walking down the corridor towards her. Rose’s sister had a conflicted expression on her face and he called back, “Fight or flight, Eve. Decision time. I’ll have to escort you guys to the surface if you want to call it quits.” Slowly, she shook her head and started to follow him. It registered that he’d called her by a nickname and she glared at her sister who was trying to look innocent.

The others followed him warily, shooting uneasy glances at his back. The decrees of the authorities didn’t mean much to them and they wouldn’t have followed them given their present situation anyway, but it was still quite a shock for them to see a necromancer in person knowing how rare they were in the world’s present climate. Most of them finally decided to simply appreciate the fact that he was on their side and began looking outward for new threats.

It took close to twenty minutes to reach the deepest depths of the labyrinth, during which there seemed to be an attack waiting for them around each and every turn. Each time they killed, the bodies were resurrected and began staggering along behind them. They soon found the ground littered with corpses that had been cut to pieces to stop the ghosts from reviving them. Most of the spirits that had used up their energy had crossed over, sated with the vengeance they’d caused. Others gathered around Ian as he channeled more energy to them.

They entered a clearing and looked up to see a honeycomb of tunnel openings. Ian had to crane his head to see all of the tiers upon tiers of rock formations on which countless ranks of vampires stood waiting. In the center of the pack in front of them a girl with flawless skin that looked to be about Ian’s age stood out. Her incredibly beautiful face, framed by long, snow-white hair, was marred by the cold, furious expression she was wearing.

Ian and company reached the center of the large underground room and realized the full scope of what faced them. Grim broke the silence with, “That is one scary ass bitch.”

Her lips pulled back, revealing a set of fangs that gleamed in the light of Ian’s shield. They retracted and she walked to the edge of the tier she was standing on, stating in a malevolent voice that rang in their ears as it reverberated around the chamber, “What is a son of Erebus doing in my realm?” Ember flinched as she said the name and the Kin held their weapons tighter at the force of her words.

She smiled as her chilling gaze locked onto Ian’s. “Ah, a mere stripling,” she concluded in a haunting tone. “No matter. I sense in you power enough to meet my requirements. Yeesss. You will become my magnum opus. An undead mage, rooted in the spirit world. You shall be mine and serve me throughout eternity.” She raised her arms in triumph and from her wrist hung a gleaming talisman that made his skin crawl. “As a lich, you’ll command an unstoppable army I will use to secure my position here in the city, and then the world. Come, my sweet. Submit to your fate!”

A fireball streaked out of Ember’s hand as she shouted, “Like hell, you fucking parasite!”

The onlookers watched in amazement as the ball of Hellfire exploded in front of the white-haired vampire queen, the flames dying away against a pure ethereal blue shield. “Ah shit,” Grim remarked. “Vampire mage…”

Almost as one, the ranks of vampires surrounding them crouched and then jumped high in the air. Hundreds of flying superhuman bodies came crashing down atop Ian’s shield, causing it to flare green. The Kin opened fire, Scraps rushed the leader, Ember ignored Ian’s warning and started an inferno of flame, and the two Castille sisters summoned two enormous rock golems the size of a Mack truck that wandered outside of the failing shield and began smashing their way through the mayhem.

The army of ghosts and possessed cadavers under his control began moving forward in a massive assault of their own against the enemy lines. The vampires surprised them by retaliating with weapons of their own. A minigun began firing from the third tier and mowed down the lines of the dead as they crossed the protection of the barrier.

Dani, who’d managed to assemble her sniper rifle without anyone taking notice, sent a round through the head of the vampire controlling it before looking around for new targets. She found one when an honest-to-God rocket materialized out of the mass of feral attackers to hit one of the rock golems, blowing roughly a third of it to dust and knocking the surrounding figures to the ground.

Eve gritted her teeth and concentrated on reforming her minion. Then it happened. Cassandra, who’d blasted Scraps through four layers of rock, hammered Ian’s flagging shield with her own force of will, shattering the construct. Kin soldiers began dying as they all scrambled to get behind the cover of the rock golems.

Lily, who’d been waiting for such an occasion, finished her spell and shot an orb of light into the air, shining brighter than the Sun. The denizens of the dark screamed in surprise and anger, momentarily blinded. The pressure of their assault was relieved as all the vampires were suddenly put on the defensive. All of them except their leader…

She blasted them with her power, actually succeeding in picking up one of the golems and tossing him backwards, cracking his frame. Ian stepped forward and shot a jet of Spiritfire at her. It stopped against her shield and seemed to take forever to burn through it. She flashed forward, covering the distance between them in the blink of an eye.

A broadsword the length of her leg and twice the width suddenly materialized in her hand and she thrust it at Ian. He barely had time to register its presence before he knew it was too late. He winced backwards before it stopped centimeters from his chest. There in front of him stood Ember in full demon form grasping the blade with her bare hand. The two seemed to blink forward at the same time and the room exploded in a series of aftershocks that resulted whenever the two connected.

Finally, an explosion of white light and an angry glow of Hellfire flashed and when next Ian looked up, Ember was falling with the white-haired vampire standing atop her, sword poised for the killing blow. Then a black-clad figure materialized behind her, having jumped the thirty feet into the air, and hit her from behind, knocking the sword out of her hand. Scraps slammed them both to the ground in front of Ian, his arm around her neck in a chokehold.

Even as he held her down however, the flesh and rags around his arm seemed to disintegrate as Cassandra’s power burned through him faster than he could regenerate. The sword tumbled through the air and Ian used his will to direct it into his raised hand. He lunged forward with it, impaling the vampire queen through her chest. Her body jerked as she released a silent scream that seemed to collapse the ranks of vampires around her as those that remained fled through the various tunnels.

The gunfire died down and many of the Kin seemed to go into shock after what they’d just experienced. The Castille sisters collapsed to their knees in utter exhaustion as their creations crumbled to dust. Lily began doing triage and Scraps dusted himself off as he finished regenerating a new limb. Dani calmly broke down her rifle and began cleaning it.

Ember blinked open her eyes to feel her head resting on Ian’s lap. She was back in human form and he was looking down at her with a haunted expression which told her how worried he’d been when he’d seen her fall. She sighed and punched him in the gut. Amidst his gasping, she rolled her eyes and told him, “Quit looking at me like I’m some defenseless kitten. It’ll take more than some leech with a god complex to take me out.”

He chuckled at the tough exterior she wore like a coat of armor and brushed her hair. Leaning down, he kissed her softly. She accepted it for a few moments before shoving him back, having had enough of his mushy ministrations. Smiling, he stood and took account of the situation and was surprised to find the spirit that had led them there kneeling before him with her head bowed.

She communicated to him in the vague flurry of images and thoughts that spirits tended to use when interacting with the living that she’d directed the dead to harry the prey and had cut off most of their escape routes. The main body of the fleeing vampires now congregated in an abandoned ten story hotel and she recommended that be their route out of the warren.

Ian shook his head in amazement at the thought of her being sufficiently strong and retaining enough of herself to actually command the dead and get them to listen to her. He now knew without a doubt that she was more than just a lost echo; energy left behind from her soul’s departure. He sent her feelings of gratefulness, admiration, and approval and felt pride shine from the spirit.

He noticed the others were crowding around the body of the late Cassandra Devereux, sword still imbedded in her chest. She looked… peaceful in death. Her magic still pulsed through her, keeping her limbs from freezing up in rigor mortis. Ian picked up the talisman she had around her wrist and almost dropped it as he realized it reeked of spirit magic.

Examining it with his spirit vision, it looked to him like it was on fire and it seemed to draw those nearby ghosts like moths to the flame. He felt the runes and took it apart inside his mind to try and figure out how it worked. His eyes widened when he found its purpose. Had she used this on his dying body it would have captured his soul and kept it bound to his flesh for as long as the talisman survived.

The main clincher was that he would have been forced to serve whoever possessed the rod. He grimaced as he decided to destroy it. It was obviously an ancient artifact, but anything that bound souls against their will for an eternity was something he couldn’t accept. To him, it was no different than the device the warlock had used in his first encounter with the Night Watch.

He paused as he saw the tension in the incorporeal bodies of the ghosts around the clearing. Their eyes were locked onto the rod in his hand in unbridled hunger. He realized that with this device, he could give them life, albeit one of eternal servitude. He looked at the spirit that had always been at his side and felt an incredible sadness emerging from her.

Slowly, she shook her head. Through a series of impressions she sent him, she told him that it wasn’t worth it. The talisman was a sham that only gave the illusion of freedom. It was Spirit Magic warped for nefarious purposes that would only taint the user with visions of power and greed. She directed a crystal clear thought at him, ‘Do it.’

Spiritfire consumed the talisman, burning through the runes and enchantments. Using his will, he snapped the now-useless rod in two and tossed the pieces onto the ground. A wail of loss and outrage went up from the surrounding ghosts and they surged forward, hammering against the shield he’d casted anew in anger, startling those of the living who warily glanced around at the intangible attackers. He raised a hand and banished them.

Looking back towards the spirit, who he realized had never taken the power he’d offered to manifest herself, he felt sorrow, but also acceptance. Even though she felt the sense of loss from never experiencing the warm glow of the Sun again, the ever-present fear of being eaten by one of the many predators that resided in the spirit realm, the eternal loneliness of always being alone, the longing to do all the things she’d observed by following Ian around… she accepted that it wasn’t to be.

He didn’t. Ian approached the body of Cassandra and gripped the hilt of the sword. Pressing a foot against her chest, he wrenched the blade free and slammed it into the ground. “Start healing the wound,” he directed Lily, setting about replicating the process he’d learned from observing the talisman.

Lily frowned at him. “But she’s already de-” she started to say before being cut off.

“Just do it,” he growled out, continuing to set up his preparations.

Grim approached hesitantly and warned him, “This hasn’t been done by a necromancer since the Egyptian pharaohs. Even those necromancers belonging to families that can still trace their roots back to that age wouldn’t try this. If I had to guess, that talisman was probably first created as a tool for them to use without risking their lives.”

Ian shrugged off the advice and Ember squeezed his shoulder, not knowing why he felt he had to do this, but throwing her support behind his decision. When he’d formed the structure in his mind minus the compulsions that forced the bound soul to serve, he began drawing energy. There wasn’t enough energy for him to tap in his general vicinity, but the spirit world worked differently than theirs. He extended his senses outward, channeling the energy that was suddenly available to him.

Looking at the world from the plane of the dead, Seattle shone like a beacon of light as massive amounts of energy was shared over a large area. He didn’t know it, but every necromancer and being that was connected with the spirit realm to some degree felt his spell being cast. Grim’s voice cut through the haze as he got drunk off the power he had at his finger tips, his entire body bathed in green light, “Now, you have to bind her with your blood. Mark the body with an ankh.”

Ian held out a hand, palm upwards, and Ember pricked his finger with one of her talons. He crouched down beside the undamaged corpse and the top of her buttoned shirt flared open. He drew the key of eternal life and rebirth in the center of her chest, slightly above her exposed breasts. He then slammed his hand down atop the symbol and its outline flared green. The entire body jerked from the force of the magic coursing through it, scaring the shit out of those observing the process.

The spirit watched in awe. When Ian finally turned his gaze to her she exuded disbelief, then apprehension, and finally acceptance and eternal gratitude. She walked towards the body and appeared to dissolve into smoke the closer she got, slowly letting the spell act on her. When finally she’d transferred herself, a brilliant green flash lit the chamber and the body gasped for air, fangs shooting out and her eyes opening wide, revealing pure black orbs of obsidian.

Then she collapsed backwards, Ian catching her before her head could hit the ground, and fell into unconsciousness as her soul acclimated to her new body. The light died down and Lily shot another orb into the air for them to see by. They all looked at the newly-birthed lich, stunned by what they’d seen take place.

Ember helped her tired and jittery lover to his feet, shooting him a reassuring smile he seemed to draw strength from. Finally, Rose broke the stunned silence by ordering her men to add the sleeping girl to the numbers they were already carrying on collapsible litters. They got back into a loose formation and Ember led the party through the tunnels. Ian told her where the spirit- lich, he corrected himself, had told him the remaining vampires were holding out and they prepared for yet another engagement.

* * * * *

Mei stood in the abandoned hotel lobby with a frustrated expression on her face. She’d been ordered by Master Long to stop the efforts of the Night Watch and save his precious plan at all costs. The problem in carrying out his orders had been obvious from the start. While they were technically allied with the vampires, that wouldn’t save them if they were caught in an exposed position.

Thus, there was no way in hell they were going down in the tunnel systems. There was then no way they could track the Night Watch once they’d discovered they’d already infiltrated one of the locations. They’d driven all over the district to each of the known vampire haunts to try and catch them, but all they saw were fleeing bloodsuckers.

The Honorable Master had also given them the unreasonable task of doing all this without being noticed by the gangs (the Kin being on a high alert made this especially difficult), and adding to his implication to the plot. Eventually they’d noticed that most of the locations had been abandoned and they were shocked by the speed in which those underground were clearing the leeches.

Finally, they’d arrived at this hotel just in time to see hordes of the biters bolting through the lobby to the upper floors. Now she stood with her men, wondering just what the hell she was supposed to do. She wasn’t about to leave the biggest congregation of bloodsuckers they’d found, but it wasn’t like she could stay with them and seek out the Night Watch at the same time. Then she heard a new noise coming from the stairs and she realized she didn’t have to.

* * * * *

The group had finally reached the exit the vampires had fled out of. They’d been firing at the backs of the enemy almost nonstop, though actual resistance was rare. Ian noticed the ghosts that had been harrying the mob were unable to possess live vampires as an all-consuming fear blocked out their thought processes to any form of outside manipulation.

Over half the group was out of ammo by that time and when he reached the top of the stairs that led out of the kitchens he turned to tell the Kin soldiers to carry the wounded out the doors of the hotel and they would take it from there. A blast of compressed sound slammed into his shield and he was thrown forward into those coming up the stairs.

Two dozen gunmen from the Heaven and Earth Society opened fire on the small passageway, pinning them down while the banshee’s attacks destroyed the walls around them. A rock golem tried to make it through the onslaught of bullets and was hit by a high pitched burst from the banshee, shattering the construct.

Suddenly, Mei caught sight of a black-clad figure streak through the opening and hit the lights overhead, casting the area into darkness. They’d had to switch the breaker on their way in and that had been their only source of illumination. The fire died down as they lost their line of sight.

Then the screaming started as flashes of gunfire on both sides revealed eerie, hellish tableaus of death and destruction. There was a black-winged monster with a huge wingspan flying above their heads while green flames rose at their feet and a hooded figure seemed to blink from person to person, leaving mangled bodies in his wake.

Mei and a handful of men began retreating up the stairs to the upper levels, trying to gain some distance while they fired behind them. The screams of the men below died down and then they heard the ominous creak of footsteps coming after them. The body of the man they’d left to cover the stairs suddenly flew over their heads and slammed into the wall in front of them.

That spooked them into a full-on run and they scrambled up the old, crumbling steps. On the next level, one of the gunmen fell through the floor as the rotting boards gave way under his weight. As they looked back at him, they heard a scrambling, skittering sound that made the hair on the backs of their necks stand up and the muffled scream of another one of the men with her started up as he was snatched by a passing vampire.

Mei gritted her teeth and felt a sense of hopelessness well up inside of her as she reached another level. To survive without killing the Night Watch’s champion would be considered a failure. She knew what would happen if she returned empty-handed and she knew it was impossible to run. She screamed out a frustrated note which thundered along the hallway, clearing it of any of the hidden crawlers. However, when she turned a corner she found the stairs to the next level were gone, and the vampires were creeping in.

* * * * *

Ian told the others to get out of there and began organizing the dead soldiers into zombie fireteams. They beat a hasty retreat as the dead charged up the steps. They were a block away when they stopped at a vacant construction site, having reached the limit of Ian’s ability to keep track of them and control their actions directly.

In his mind’s eye, he saw his undead contingent clear level after level. He directed their fire and manipulated their movements like a puppet master of the damned. Every time one of his cadavers had their strings cut he replaced it with a fallen vampire. The slow march continued until they reached a hallway swarming with crawlers.

At the far end, he could see the pink-haired Tiandihui enforcer on her knees, keeping back the press of biters through a series of weak gasps of energy that wouldn’t have been called deadly by any measure of consideration. His army jerked forward and began shooting the vampires or just tearing into them in a grisly display of teeth and nails.

On and on they pushed until the resistance fell away as the vampires retreated to the upper levels, easily bypassing the nonexistent set of stairs. The banshee was on her hands and knees, looking frail and on the brink of exhaustion. Her pink hair covered her face and her hands clenched as the dead came closer.

Ian saw her through the spirit world and shuddered at the black chain of thorns he saw wrapped around her. It was a strong binding that must have been placed on her when she was an infant. The more she disobeyed the orders given to her by her masters, the more she would feel invisible thorns digging into her.

If this was how their esteemed society chose to ensure compliance, he was going to have words with whoever ran it. He spoke through one of the corpses in a dry, cracked voice, “I think you’d better come with me.”

A choked rasp came from her as she tried to laugh and ended up with a hacking cough. “Just my luck,” she made out. “A fucking necromancer… You had us all fooled, didn’t you.” Tears pooled in her eyes and she whispered, “Sorry, mom. I know you stayed because of me. I couldn’t get us out after all…”

Ian’s eyes widened as he realized she wasn’t going to give up. He sent a minion lunging forward to hold her down. Suddenly, the banshee threw her head back and released a long, titanic shriek with everything she had left. The zombies were blown backwards down the hallway, every window on that particular floor was blown out, and the walls crumbled.

Mei’s head lulled and her drained body fell forward. There was a horrible creaking sound and a block away Ian’s body, which had been in a restful, trance-like state, abruptly shot up, his arm extended towards the hotel. Even from a block away they could hear the metal beams groaning as the supports on the floor the banshee was on gave out and the upper floors came crashing down, flattening the level she was on instantly as well as the two below hers.

Ian fell to his knees and felt as if he’d pulled something inside of him. He rasped, “Go.” Scraps exploded into movement, jumping off the construction platform and dashing towards the ruined building. Ignoring the few vampires that managed to scramble out of the collapsed structure, the revenant powered through the rubble towards where he saw a fiery circle in his spirit vision that called to him like a beacon.

Bashing the three ton metal beam in his way once, twice, three times before getting through and finding the hollow created when Ian had shielded the unconscious girl, he pulled her body out of the wreckage and carried her back to the waiting group. As Scraps laid down his charge at their feet, Lily let out a curse and began treating her injuries.

Eve frowned and questioned, “Why? She tried to kill us. She’ll do it again, given the chance.”

Ian, resting against Ember as he tried to get his breath back, choked out, “Look beneath the surface.” The sisters glanced at each other, then stretched their senses to examine the banshee.

They missed it at first it was so ingrained in her. Lily found it first and gasped when she saw the magic hooks that seemed to be imbedded in her. He sighed wearily and knelt down beside the pink-haired girl. He shielded her like he had Bobby and used Spiritfire to burn away the thorns.

It was a painfully slow process and he managed to nick his patient a few times, requiring Lily to smooth over the damage. It didn’t help things any that his concentration was shot, but eventually he was satisfied that she was free of the compulsion that kept her from leaving and disobeying. By that time, they could hear sirens in the distance.

Lily gave a final shudder at the thought of what she’d seen. “I’ll need to tell the bureau about this. We might be able to bring Long up on charges for immoral use of magic and slavery, but I don’t know how much will be done about it given his status in the city.”

Ian stared coldly out at nothing and said in a low, frigid voice that caused a shiver to run down her spine, “You let me worry about him.”

A small smile formed on Ember’s face as she got a charge out of the darkness she saw rise to the surface in her lover’s heart. They arranged another stretcher and gathered their things as they started descending the bare infrastructure and raised earthworks to get back down to the street level.

Ian led the way out. Just as he turned a corner onto the main level, a voice rang out, “Freeze, police!” He stopped in his tracks and used his will to push back those behind them, stopping them from revealing themselves. He heard, “This is a restricted area.”

Ignoring the obvious statement, he slowly turned towards the voice, saying, “Your guys’ response time is getting better.” When the lone figure was revealed, he cracked a grin as she lowered her gun, an expression of stunned recognition on her face. “Nice to see you again, Officer Flores.”

She put her gun back in its holster and grumbled, It’s ‘detective’ now… and this happens to be the last location a cop was seen before he went missing.” She frowned, “What are you doing here and don’t give me any shit about not seeing the signs.”

“Signs?” Ian asked in wide-eyed innocence, grinning wider.

Sarah looked skyward and cursed the heavens for what she had to endure sometimes. Then a concerned look crossed her face and she asked, “You’re not squatting here, are you -living on the streets because you’re on the run?” A muffled laugh came from Lily around the corner at that.

Luckily, Sarah didn’t appear to notice and Ian slowly shook his head, amused at the direction the conversation was going in. She pursed her lips and glanced towards the street as patrol cars flashed past on the way to the less-than-structurally-safe hotel. “You know I’m going to have to take you in for questioning… again.” Her eyes narrowed and she accused, “And don’t think I don’t know you had something to do with that loud noise earlier and what’s been going on in this neighborhood.”

Ian smiled at the way her face scrunched up when she got angry and walked towards her. As he left with her, he used his will to brush Ember’s hair affectionately. Ian held out his wrists to Sarah when they reached the car and she rolled her eyes. “Just get in,” she muttered, indicating the passenger seat. “Maybe you can make some sense of all this.”

Sarah observed the boy who’d plagued her dreams these past few weeks. She hadn’t known if he was still alive or what had happened to him. The things she’d seen and heard that night had changed her path in life. Then, of course, she’d joined the special task force her chief had organized. She gave a snort of annoyance. Three people a task force did not make.

He’d assured her that he’d just started recruiting, but she could tell they’d be stretched tight for awhile -not to mention suffering an extreme lack of funding and resources. He’d essentially put them in the basement of the precinct that was packed with boxes of suspicious reports, most of which were copies of ones the FBI had come in and ordered burned -not shredded, but actually, physically incinerated. She’d spent all of last night skimming through them. The more she read, the more uneasy she felt, convinced that there some seriously strange things going on.

They arrived at the precinct and Ian saw she had her own parking space. Walking through the station lobby, she got nods of greeting and he didn’t see any signs of the usual hazing he would have expected shown towards a newbie. He whistled in appreciation. “This is definitely a step up from your last post,” he remarked, looking around at the busy office setting.

She gave a snort and they rode the elevator down to her ‘office.’ “Still think it’s glamorous?” she asked as the doors opened and she moved a stack of boxes resting on a dolly out of the way.

Ian had a coughing fit as a plume of dust was kicked up by the action and he stated, “Ah, I see. They stuck you in a completely separate unit. I had wondered about that…” As he took a seat across from her as she took the one behind her desk, he commented, “It didn’t look like the others were giving you a hard time. I had this image of the regular members of the force discriminating against the ‘weirdos’ that try to put a face on what lurks in the dark.”

She laughed sardonically. “Oh, they probably would if they actually knew what my work involved. As it is, there are lots of instances of undercover duties that no one knows anything about. I think most of them think I’m acting as a liaison for another department related to drugs or immigration.”

Ian nodded, relaxing in the chair. He was still coming off the emotional rollercoaster the day had been. He knew Ember would make sure the wounded got taken care of and she had the car keys so she wasn’t stuck there. “So what exactly is your job?” he asked as he grabbed one of the folders spread out atop her desk at random and began paging through it.

“To look at issues that seem too outrageous for the normal detectives to take seriously. To observe and make sense of a given situation before reporting back to my superior so we’re not caught with our pants down,” she recited drolly.

Ian nodded, his head swimming with images of her with her pants down. “Or those issues that the Inquisition covers up, leaving you guys in the dark…” he added with a chuckle.

She nodded in agreement. “There is that,” she admitted. Her eyes narrowed. “That’s the nickname for the FBI among those who know what’s up, right?”

He shrugged. “Almost,” he corrected. “The FBI are just cops like those upstairs.” He grinned. “The Inquisition is you with more manpower, better resources, and the ear of those politicians in the highest offices.”

Her eyes widened at the picture he’d painted. She was beginning to understand her boss’s worries about them being outmatched and why he only wanted them to observe instead of act. She sighed and looked out at where someone with a sense of humor had put in a window that looked out at the brick wall it was framed in. Finally, she said, “There’s something wrong with this city.”

He burst out laughing and she glared at him before shaking her head as he grabbed his sides. “No shit,” he managed to gasp, dabbing wetness from his eyes. He smiled at her indulgently. “I know the feeling… It’s as if everyone that’s part of this world knows what’s going on and no one bothered to tell the rest of us.” She nodded her head ardently, glad to have found someone that understood.

He looked around the room at the other two vacant desks. “So how did you guys get roped into this gig?” Sarah described the interview process and the chief’s need to get eyes on what was happening in the city. By the end of her story, she realized that she’d done all the talking so far when she’d actually brought him in to ask questions of him. ‘Oh yeah,’ she berated herself. ‘That’s one hell of a detective you’re turning out to be.’

Ian nodded at what she’d told him, impressed at her boss’s initiative. “Seems like he’s at least making an effort to follow the rules,” he commented.

“What do you mean?” Sarah wondered, leaning forward.

He leaned his head back and thought. Finally seeing no reason to hold back, he explained, “Apparently, you can only be told about this stuff once you’ve experienced a supernatural event. It makes sense that you don’t have a big force down here. He can’t just pick any cop -they have to have already seen something strange, survived it, and then have the will to learn more and put their lives on the line in the face of something they know nothing about.

She stayed silent as she thought about what he’d told her. It made sense. Her eyes widened and she murmured, “That’s why…” Her face flushed and she admitted, “I kind of got your friend involved in this.” She bowed her head at the sharp look he gave her. “Rachel, she… helped me keep my head after that night. I was going crazy trying to figure out what happened and she was the one who told me I needed a change of scenery and gave me the idea of being a detective.”

His eyes were locked onto her and she squirmed under his scrutiny. ‘Damnit,’ she chided herself. ‘I’m supposed to be the one putting him in the hot seat.’ She took a deep breath and continued, “Well, just look at this office. There has got to be tens of thousands of unfiled documents lying around. We also need someone to take calls because we normally turn our phones off whenever we’re scouting. I asked the chief why we couldn’t get a secretary to organize this stuff and he said they wouldn’t have clearance to know what’s in the files. That they would have to be in the know…”

Ian had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. “Rachel had been telling me that she wanted to find work or an internship someplace for the summer and I sort of… pushed to get her a job here,” she explained. Sarah looked miserable and couldn’t meet his eyes, knowing from how the girl talked about him that they must have been pretty close. “I’m sorry. It’s just that she was all for it and the chief was ecstatic to essentially have a new recruit…”

He groaned and covered his face. As she made to apologize again for putting his friend in danger, he held up a hand. “I don’t blame you. When she takes an interest in something she’s like a force of nature. You wouldn’t have been able to stop her.” He sighed before looking up. “Tell me she’s at least getting paid for this,” he questioned, knowing how companies liked to take advantage of kids trying to beef up their resumes.

Sarah nodded her head vigorously, explaining that it was actually quite a lot for a receptionist. “She starts next week, actually. I believe she’s still looking for an apartment. So am I, as a matter of fact, since the temporary housing the department put me up in is kicking me out next week after I get my first paycheck. We were discussing splitting the rent for one. It would have to be somewhere over in the university district since she won’t be living on campus and it’s only about 5-10min. from here.”

Ian shook his head and let out a soft chuckle at how close the two had become since he’d last seen them. He grabbed her pen and pad and scribbled down the information of his apartment complex. He handed her the note and said, “I believe they still have a couple of openings.” He grinned. “They’re also putting in a pool to appeal to a younger crowd so that’s a plus.” She smiled gratefully. Most of the apartments in a large university district usually started booking over a year in advance and the competition for most places was murder.

He finished reading the report in his hand and tossed it onto the desk. “Werewolf,” he announced with a yawn. She’d raised her mug of bitter coffee to her lips and choked as she heard the word.

Sarah looked from the report he’d been skimming to his bored expression and back. She leaned back and had a surreal moment as she considered it. Over and over while reading the reports she’d understood something abnormal was going on, but she’d never actually put a name to it. She had even been skeptical about her chief’s brief introduction to the city’s ruling class. Finally, she shook her head and asked, “How can you tell?”

“The coroner couldn’t figure out how a rapid dog or wolf managed to bite the top of his shoulder when the blood-spatter and footprints before he was dragged clearly showed he was standing with his back straight when the puncture wounds occurred,” he explained. “Werewolves are about nine feet tall when they shift.”

She just stared at him openmouthed before shaking herself and scrambling to open other report. “What caused this one?”

He glanced at the puncture wounds in the photo. “Don’t suppose you believe in vampires?” he asked her with a grin. Her eyes widened and she wondered if she was going crazy.

She picked up another folder. “And this?” she asked excitedly.

Reading the report, he realized it described a number of bodies found along the riverbank near Delridge. He tilted his head and looked up at her, eyes softening. “Me,” he told her quietly.

They stayed like that for a long moment, staring at each other as her mind seemed to rebel against her. Then the door opened and a heavyset man with balding hair entered the office and froze when he saw Ian. “Fuck,” he muttered disbelievingly. He turned to Sarah and yelled, voice bordering on hysteria, “You did NOT just bring the Inquisition’s number one most wanted fugitive into my precinct!”

“H-hey, chief,” Sarah said, a bit apprehensively. “Nice to see you too.”

“Don’t ‘hey’ me!” the man exclaimed furiously. He lit a cigarette, which told Ian he didn’t care much for policy regulations, and waved a hand. “I told you, watch, gather information, don’t get involved.” The man pointed a pudgy finger in Ian’s direction. “He attacked their goddamn branch headquarters yesterday and you brought him here? Are you trying to start a war?!”

Ian frowned. “I resent that,” he argued. “I ‘escaped’ from their branch headquarters. Any damage caused to the building or agents therein was strictly their fault.” The two stared at him incredulously. “Besides,” he continued, polishing his nails on his coat, “they removed me from the unofficial wanted list afterwards.” Ian held open his phone showing their website. “See?”

The lit cigarette fell from the chief’s open mouth. “You’ve gotta be shittin’ me…” He started pacing and ranting about all the injustices that were occurring in his fine city.

Sarah watched for a bit and thought about writing down some choice phrases before picking up another folder and poking Ian in the ribs. “What about this one?” she whispered.

The chief finally cooled down and glanced over to see Sarah had divided the files atop her desk into three piles and was separating them into known causes of death and those that required more information. Ian noticed after awhile the chief pulled up a chair and began listening as he explained what he knew. Ian just shook his head at the situation. These guys were barely keeping their heads above water and if someone didn’t set them straight their ignorance was going to get people killed, themselves included.

The sponsors wouldn’t stand for anyone trying to destabilize the system and he knew the Inquisition would side with them. By the time it got dark, they had only gotten through a fraction of the material they possessed, but at least Sarah felt she understood the situation better and could keep herself afloat. The chief in particular was curious about getting his hands on some enchanted bullets. They’d need every edge they could eke out if they wanted to survive.

They finally called it a night and Sarah grabbed her coat to walk Ian out. She offered him a ride as they exited the building, but he turned her down. She was surprised to then see the most gorgeous woman she’d ever laid eyes on push off one of the sweetest cars she’d ever seen from across the street and walk up to Ian, grabbing his coat and kissing him hard. She stared openmouthed as his hand snaked down and caressed her hip before hugging her to him and palming her ass. As they walked off, he called back to her, “Come by the apartment sometime to check out if it’s your thing.”

In the car, Ember smiled at him as she made an illegal U-turn and floored the car past the police station, watching the pretty detective in the rearview mirror. “You set ‘em up and I’ll knock ‘em down,” she murmured. He laughed. Life was good.

* * * * *

In Anhui province in eastern China, Supreme Master Han sat with the twelve clan leaders in the Tiandihui longhouse near the top of Mount Tianzhu (meaning Heaven’s Pillar). Honorable Master Chou was trying to defend the actions of his student, Honorable Master Long, from the accusations of the ambitious Honorable Master Feng.

“He continues to say the same thing,” Feng grumbled in disgust. “Always progress. Never a problem. Everything is in hand. With all the progress he claims to make, it is small wonder he has not conquered whole country… Yet their exports still rise!”

“We never sent him there to take over,” Chou reminded them, “only to cause chaos, which he’s certainly done. Their groups are still warring with each other.” That caused some mutters around the gathering as the others took sides.

Han silenced the argument by raising his hand. “I agree that it is unreasonable to rely on such a young and inexperienced master to deliver us our primary rival in the Pacific. I also believe he exaggerates his success and we cannot count on his estimates. In light of what the mystics observed regarding the enormous power drain, I think it wise to act quickly while we still understand the situation and before the environment has time to change. I will now call on a vote to move up the date of the invasion.”

The vote was unanimous as all twelve leaders pledged mages to fill the ranks of the invasion force. “It is decided,” Han declared. “We must now decide on our method of travel. We cannot rely on the shifters to take the army by sea and they will not allow us to use their ports. Travel by air is also out of the question as we would be exposed to the American aeromancers.”

“Why should we be limited to using clandestine means?” the newest clan member asked the masters. “We have the largest military in the world. It is time to throw off the Western yoke! We have been exploited by their magicians ever since the European ‘missionaries’ came to our country by the Silk Road.”

He turned to the others and spoke fervently, “We are now stronger than we’ve ever been before. The European leagues no longer rule us. We should not be forced to follow their mandates. I say we shou-” His voice suddenly cut off as the Supreme Master had enough of his opinions and lack of respect.

The human lungs are roughly 90% water and it was a simple matter for Han to freeze them solid with his aquatic affinity. The clan leader died slowly and painfully, twitching on the bamboo mat. “Does anyone else have any similar notions of turning every magical community in the world against us?” Master Han asked the group.

Master Chou waved a hand absently. “No one wants the necromancers to return. He was a fool that took control of his clan by default. His sister will be a better ruler in his stead and we will be stronger for it.”

Master Feng frowned and pointed out, “A woman may not represent her clan in the sacred ceremonies. She will have to be married before she is allowed talk in the assembly.”

Han grimaced, “Is that rule still on the books?” He sighed. “Some traditions never made much sense.”

Master Chou, getting back on track, said, “I think it’s obvious the only way to pull off this invasion with any degree of success and gain a foothold in the US is by way of portals.”

“The wards around their country are much too strong for that,” one of the masters protested. “And what is this talk about a foothold? I thought we were only trying knockout Seattle. If we try and take over the fighting would no doubt bleed over to the general populations. No one wins if we set off a nuclear war.”

Master Chou held out a placating hand and explained, “I’m not advocating a full occupation, but if we don’t create a dominating sphere of influence there like we’ve done in LA and Portland and the Russians have done in Vancouver, they will just build anew. Once we entrench ourselves in their society, running American businesses as fronts for our own operations, we become legitimate entities that they would have to break their own laws to remove.”

Heads began to nod around the seating area and the electricity in the air increased as he continued, “As for the portals. You are correct if we try to create one from here to there directly. Their structure would break up as they crossed the wards. However…” he began drawing what he had in mind. He’d spent many hours with the mystics as they described to him how they saw the cosmos.

“That’s impossible,” one of the onlookers exclaimed. “There are only three planes of existence: the divine, the physical, and the spiritual.”

Master Chou shrugged. “The mystics seem to have a different opinion. It seems there are supposedly hundreds. There are old texts of ancient civilizations using them to travel around the world before deep-sea vessels were developed.”

“How does this help us bypass the wards?” Han questioned.

Chou shrugged. “How are demons summoned from their plane into ours inside of the wards we establish? How do spirits manifest themselves inside of our barriers? It appears the laws that are true here aren’t the same elsewhere. Only a few planes have been found to be habitable for us, and of them, the mystics have located two that overlap our plane in North America. One is relatively close to Seattle at roughly a six hour drive.”

Han sat back and thought. “Have you tested this?” he finally asked.

Chou bowed his head and said, “With your permission, Supreme Master. I have an arcane wizard standing by that has been briefed by the mystics on the process. He can leave as soon as you order it.”

Han took a deep breath and calmed his mind, purging himself of the eagerness he knew plagued him and trying to look at the situation from different angles. He knew that to do nothing would create stasis and sound their doom. Yet he also knew that to act in haste would be just as dangerous. Finally, he accepted that change was happened in Seattle. It was merely a decision of fighting on the offense now or being forced on the defensive later.

He opened his eyes and commanded, “Send the scout. Make sure he’s discreet.” Addressing the entire gathering, he said, “Meet with your clans and have those who would represent you come to the valley at the base of this mountain in two days time. Master Feng will have the honor of commanding this expedition and will take over for Master Long when he arrives in the city once he’s been familiarized with the situation.”

The clan leaders bowed low, accepting his judgment. Feng had a hungry gleam in his eye as he finally got the chance at power he’d always desired. At last, all the work he’d put in would pay off. Soon, he’d have all the backing and resources required to create his own empire. And then… Well, the Supreme Master wasn’t going to be around forever -especially if he gave him a little push. Feng might have thought differently about his position if he’d known he’d been chosen because Han thought of him as being expendable, just as Long had been chosen before him.

* * * * *

Ian and Ember arrived at the apartment and were greeted by Dani and a white-haired beauty. Grim and Scraps were on the balcony fiddling with a new grill they’d bought. Dani waved and pointed to the guest bedroom. “The banshee is still sleeping soundly,” she told them. They had ordered a bed for Dani when it had become obvious she had nowhere else to go.

“Sorry to have you sleeping on the couch again tonight,” Ian said. “We might need a bigger apartment soon.”

Ember let loose her musical laughter and denied in a silky voice, “No way. We just need to get a bigger bed.”

Dani blushed and mumbled, “Don’t worry about it. The couch feels great and I’m thankful for you guys putting me up.”

Ian turned to their other guest and sat down across from her. Her breathing picked up as she stared at him and she cracked a smile. “I still can’t believe I’m really alive,” she murmured. “Or that I can finally have an actual conversation with you,” she added softly.

“Well, technically you’re not really alive,” Ian said apologetically with a shrug.

She waved this off. “I can feel again,” she whispered. “You’ve no idea how excruciating it’s been all this time to live without that simple pleasure. I don’t think I could have retained my sanity if not for you. The fact that my flesh is preserved through our shared bond is of no consequence to me.” She turned away as color flushed along her pale skin. She actually preferred it this way.

“Being able to still interact with the dead through the spirit magic you gifted me with is also something I will cherish,” she continued. “I think it would have felt like losing one of my senses if I had returned without that.” She saw him waiting patiently and she sighed. “I suppose you have no idea who I am.”

She bit her lip and drew strength when Ian smiled at her encouragingly. “That night your sister died,” she began and winced as she saw his expression change, “I was the beast’s first victim…” Tears pooled in her eyes as she was able to think about that night with a clarity previously unattainable in her spirit form.

“I’d just turned 19,” she explained with a far-off look in her eye. “I moved up here for college from California. My first year was pretty rough. I didn’t make any friends and one day I just thought, screw it. Why not? I’d gotten sick of going to movies and parties by myself and getting weird looks. I just wanted to go someplace alone where I wouldn’t be judged; where I could be free.” She choked out a laugh. “Just my luck that the first time I went hiking I’ got attacked by a werewolf.”

She bowed her head, as if ashamed, and admitted, “Probably the worst thing that happened was that after it was all over, I was still there. I just felt numb, looking down at my corpse thinking what a waste.” Her shoulders shook. “I didn’t think of the parents that I’d left behind, the people who loved me and would miss me… I didn’t care!” she gritted out, as if blaming herself.

“All I could think about was that I hope the next life isn’t as shitty and unfulfilling as this one turned out to be.” She looked up and met Ian’s eyes with her tear-stained gaze. “I was so close to just giving in and crossing over. I could feel the cold seeping in around me, pulling me towards the Plane of the Divine. Our souls aren’t meant to survive here without a body to anchor us… at least not intact.”

“Then,” she said, that night filling her vision, “I heard the screams coming from your campsite and I tried to run towards the sound. No sooner had I had the thought than I was there in the clearing with you.” Her tearful gaze softened and she murmured, “Oh, you should have seen your sister. You didn’t have your spirit vision back then, but she was magnificent. She was a blazing Valkyrie with a shield of fire, standing in front of you, protecting you from any who would try to harm you.”

She looked down at the table and admitted, “She humbled me. Here was someone who’d lived half my life a hundred times as full and yet she fought tooth and nail against the pull of the beyond to remain long enough to save you. I… I just- I just wanted to do something a fraction as brave and meaningful as she had done before I left this world. I wanted to do something that she might have been proud of.”

A shudder ran through her body as she rasped, “I chose to stay. I discovered that the energy you gave off was enough to keep my soul intact. As long as I stayed close to you, I could survive in this world. I watched you grow and found you had the same mettle as your sister. When your parents abandoned you, you remained strong. When you found out that the entire supernatural community wanted you dead, you took it in stride.”

“I found in you something worth protecting; a goal that would have made your sister proud.” She gave him a sad smile. “In the end, you never needed my help and I was content to simply stay on the sidelines and watch you grow.” She paused. “Now, you’ve given me life.” She let out a shaky breath and pleaded in a soft whisper, “Please don’t send me away. I still haven’t accomplished what I remained behind to do. And… I find I still need to be close to you.”

“You’ve been what every aspect of my being has revolved around for nine years that have felt like an eternity for me,” she declared. “I know I’ve only been part of yours for a short while, but please give me a chance.” Ember made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a sniffle before getting up and squeezing Ian’s shoulder, then walking off to join the two geniuses still trying to light the grill. Ian reached out and stroked the girl’s white-hair. She leaned into him at his touch and he wrapped his arms around her, enfolding her in his embrace.

“What’s your name?” he asked his ever-present sentinel.

“My name when I was alive was Becca,” she answered, closing her eyes and enjoying the feel of her cheek resting against his broad chest, “but that doesn’t seem like me anymore. I don’t know if I want to be her. The second chance you’ve given me has allowed me to start over like I’d always wanted to. I want to be called Eris,” she decided.

Ian breathed in the scent of her hair and hugged her tighter. “You need to be close to me?” he asked, repeating her words. She looked up to meet his eyes and froze like a frightened doe. She nodded hesitantly. “Despite all you’ve seen of me?” he asked, keeping his face neutral.

She nodded again. “Because of all I’ve seen,” she clarified. “I love how you can be compassionate yet devious. You’re laid-back most of the time, but when your loved ones are in danger you can unleash a cold fury. You’re a leader, but you aren’t controlling. You’re giving, inspiring trust and confidence in others while asking for nothing in return.” Her hand caressed his cheek and she said, “I’m thankful that I died that night, because I got to know you.”

He blushed at her praise and lowered his gaze. Then he took her fingers in his and brushed his lips across them. “You said you wanted to protect me?” he asked, his eyes flashing with amusement. “Are you going to be ‘my’ blazing Valkyrie?” he pressed. Her eyes widened and she felt her heart flutter when he called her his. “Will you wield your sword against my enemies and be my bloodthirsty little lich,” he asked, cracking a grin.

She licked her lips and answered raggedly, “Uh-huh.”

He threaded his fingers through her white tresses and pulled tight, drawing a breathy gasp. “How many times did you watch while Ember and I had sex?” She moaned as he brought his face close, his lips inches from hers.

“Each and every time,” she replied, panting in need, still not believing that this was actually happening. He smiled as she got all hot and bothered. “So many times… You’ve no idea how often I wanted to reach out and touch you.”

Ian seemed to fall into her twin black pools, entranced by the devotion he saw staring back at him. He leaned in and met her lips with his. They both felt an explosion of jumbled sensations as their powers interacted with each other. He pulled back slowly and a trail of Spiritfire connected their lips, bringing about a tingling sensation that made him want to lean in and press his lips against hers once again.

Taking her in his arms, he carried her to the bedroom. She stared up at him and felt the respect and closeness she’d been feeling for him over the course of a lifetime blossom into love. Eris felt afraid when she saw the intensity of his gaze seem to return the emotion and she dared to hope.

Back in the living room, Dani raised her head from the couch and made sure they were gone before collapsing backwards once again. She blinked hot tears from her eyes and knew she’d just witnessed something incredible. It was also easily the hottest thing she’d ever seen or heard and she glanced towards the glass door of the balcony to make sure the coast was clear.

Then she snuck her hand in her pants and rubbed her slit through her panties, closing her eyes and moaning softly, imaging what the couple was doing right now. Her thumb slid under the elastic band and strummed her love button, revving her engine. Her other hand reached up under her shirt and squeezed a perky boob.

She unbuttoned her pants so she could stick her whole hand down her panties and really go at it, giving her tiny rosebud a pet before lodging three fingers deep into her pussy. She struggled to pay attention to any outside sounds that might alert her to someone coming over the squelching of her cunt juices.

Raising her hips and arching her back, she felt herself reach the edge and backed off slightly, choosing to walk a tightrope of need as she drew out the anticipation and, ultimately, the pleasure. She stoked her fires higher and knew her release was going to be a big one.

Again she took herself close and backed off, using pain to stave off her final curtain call. She grabbed and clawed her sensitive inner thigh with one hand while pinching a nipple harshly with a second and digging into her clit with a third hand and- ‘Wait… what?’ she thought, before opening her eyes and freezing in horror.

Leaning against the couch’s armrest, staring down at her with an evil smile, was the succubus, the arrowhead at the tip of her tail pressed flush against her sensitive nub. A wicked gleam was visible in Ember’s eye as she twisted the tip of her tail, drilling into the girl’s exposed clit and pushing her over the edge.

Dani was powerless to do anything to preserve her modesty or lessen her embarrassment as she shuddered through an immense orgasm, thunder sounding in her ears. Ember watched the writhing girl with a hungry expression. By the time the aftershocks had finally died down, the emotion caught up to Dani and she found her eyes wet with tears as she tried to cover herself.

“Shh,” Ember cooed, lowering her head and licking the tears that fell. “All you had to do was ask… My, what pretty, unkempt pussy you have.” She licked her lips. “That’s one hell of an entrée you’re toting between your legs, girl. Don’t be embarrassed.”

Dani looked up at the demoness from her vulnerable position and felt as if she was being swept along a current and no matter what she did her destination would always be wherever Ember wanted. The succubus leaned down, pressing her sizeable tits into her arm, and captured her lips with her own.

One of her captor’s hands tugged back her shirt, revealing two cute handfuls capped with bright pink, mouthwatering nipples. The other hand snuck down her body to her pussy and threaded fingers between her silky pubes, pulling up sharply. Dani gasped into Ember’s mouth at the sudden discomfort.

The succubus stood and started walking away, her fingers still intertwined in the girl’s delicate fur. Dani yelped and jumped -as much as one can jump from a completely supine position- and almost tore the hairs out at the roots when she fell off the couch. She quickly scrambled crab-legged after the demoness who was tugging her along by her pussy hair.

Finally, her tormentor released her Achilles heel and Dani collapsed on her back from the exertion. She reached up and covered her brow with the back of her wrist as she tried to calm her rapid heartbeat. Her eyes shot open in alarm when she felt the demoness straddle her and she looked up just in time to see Ember’s pussy smother her mouth and nose.

Dani bucked and struggled as her air was cut off. The succubus smiled and ground her hips down appreciatively at the sensations her victim’s gasps were inducing. Ember’s tail began wind-milling behind her, slapping against Dani’s exposed cunt with harrowing frequency. The sexy young death dealer’s muffled cries stirred her tormentor’s passion and Ember got drunk off the mix of pain and pleasure with a hint of fear her young prisoner was giving off.

Finally, Ember slid back and let her prey suck in air greedily. She used the hand covered in Dani’s own juices to explore her mouth. The girl grunted her displeasure before reaching out and trying to shove Ember off of her. The demoness’s eyes rolled back into her head as Dani’s hands contacted her tits and she squirmed in bliss, sliding her hips forward again and smothering Dani, but this time her arms were locked above her head and she was completely helpless.

Just as the annoyed girl was starting to dread how long this torture might go on for, some of Ember’s nectar slid into her mouth and her eyes glazed over as the potent aphrodisiac took effect. Soon she was raising her hips desperately to meet the strikes of Ember’s tail as she lapped eagerly at her cunt.

* * * * *

Ian took Eris’s hand and led her to the edge of the bed. Reaching behind her neck, he brought her head close and locked his lips to hers, enjoying the small shock he felt as they connected. Using his other hand, he glided it down along the center of her dress shirt, burning away the buttons that hid her succulent breasts.

She moaned into his mouth and threw her shoulders back, exposing herself to his eyes. She hadn’t been wearing a bra and he reached out to lightly pinch a rosy nipple, rolling it between his fingers and causing her to gasp and rub her legs together. “God yes…,” she enthused. She was still getting used to being able to feel again and his touch was causing an explosion of renewed sensations that threatened to overwhelm her senses.

He moved her so she was facing him with the bed behind her and gave her a gentle push backwards. She fell atop the bed and looked up at him with a lusty expression. He knelt and kissed her exposed navel, causing shivers to run up her frame. With half skill and half desperation, he whisked away her pants in the blink of an eye and massaged her panty-covered mound, watching as a wet spot formed against the fabric.

Eris closed her eyes and bit her bottom lip, her hands coming up to fondle her breasts in anticipation. Dragging the skimpy fabric down her long, silky smooth legs, Ian stared at her pretty, shaven pussy leaking a steady stream of nectar. He smiled and leaned forward, blowing softly on her hood, and watched her clit twitch and come out to play.

She squirmed under him and clenched her fists around two handfuls of the blanket, desperately wanting him to stop teasing her, but knowing from all she’d observed that he controlled the pace and would build her orgasm until its roar filled her mind. She screamed as he caught her by surprise, giving her a long lick from rosebud to clit, relishing the wetness along her slit.

Then he backed off and began kissing up each of her thighs, teasing her relentlessly. When he reached her puffy pink lips, he sucked them hungrily before his tongue dived into her soft opening. “Fu- fuck!” she cried out, wrapping her legs around his head and threading her fingers through his hair. She rocked her hips and squeezed selfishly, trying to get his tongue to reach deeper.

Catching herself, Eris released him with an abashed expression. He chuckled at her eagerness and stuck two fingers inside her, curving them upwards and massaging her weak spot. Her mouth opened in a silent scream as a small orgasm caught her by surprise. Then he started circling her unveiled clit with his tongue and she found herself in a never-ending cycle of bliss, twitching madly as she gave up coherent thought altogether.

When a particularly large release thundered through her she was left breathless, her limbs numb. Ian rose to his feet, a satisfied smile on his face, and stripped out of his clothes. Then he knelt on the bed beside her hips and rubbed the tip of his cock up and down her soaked slit.

She managed to feebly turn her head as she felt heat warm her sex and froze as she saw him poised to enter her. He met her eyes and Eris felt tears pool in them as she realized her long-held fantasy was about to become a reality. Her breathing picked up as her excitement increased and then caught as he plunged into her.

She arched her back and screamed, “Yes!” His prick sunk deep into her and they both felt the same tingle of Spiritfire engulf their linkage and spur them on. The white-haired lich wrapped her legs around him and feverishly tried to accept more of him. Ian gripped her creamy hips and drove himself forward, backing out slightly, then plunging deeper.

Eris kept her arms flush with the bed and pushed off, eagerly taking all Ian had to offer and urging him to be rougher. Green flames broke out along her arms as they blazed in Ian’s eyes. The power of the two clashed together and seemed to flood through them as they increased the pace. “Fuck yes,” she moaned. “I’ve waited so long… so goddamn long.”

Ian smiled down at her, starting an intense rhythm. “Sorry,” he gasped. “I’m sorry you had to wait. That I didn’t know…”

She released another moan. “It was worth it,” she finally made out. “Just don’t ever order me to leave your side.”

He felt them both reach the edge and he sent a charge of energy to push them over together. They screamed out their release and she shuddered through a full minute of aftershocks, nerveless and twitching. He collapsed atop her and hugged her to him, brushing her hair. “Never,” he murmured.

* * * * *

Kristin Moriarty looked out at the city of Seattle from her skyrise hotel room and had to clamp down on the glee she felt at being in the sprawling metropolis. Cloistered away at her father’s estate or playing the silly court games that the other nobles of the high families of necromancers were so fond of was insufferably boring and oppressive.

Chapter 02

Dancing with the Devil

“I’m sorry I killed you.”

Those words veritably bounce around inside my skull, crushing the euphoric mood I’d just been in.

Dang-it, Lyden. She’s a succubus! You knew that. Why did you just have sex with her? These thoughts flood through my mind, as I play over the last little while.

The sex had been fantastic, if short. Even now, knowing that my death is only a little ways away, I still feel great and energized. I’d thought that I would be exhausted and worn out after being drained by a succubus, but maybe it’s more like a mosquito: They drain you, but you really don’t feel it, until the itching starts.

Turning my head to look at her, I’m saddened to see a real tear slide from the corner of her left eye, and drop down to her ear. Once again, I’m shocked to see something I never would have expected. A demon crying? Over killing a mortal? Will wonders never cease. . .

Something in my heart tugs at me, and a strong desire to assuage her guilt comes over me, despite the sinking feeling in my gut. “At least I get to die with a beautiful view in my vision.” I give a slight laugh before adding, “And I can even see you clearly.”

I don’t expect the response I get out of her. Almost faster than my eyes can see, she’s up and standing five feet away from me. Her eyes are wide, and shock paints her features, while her mouth moves wordlessly.

“Are you okay?” I ask slowly. She looks like a dear ready to bolt. A part of my mind takes in her whole beauty, and I can’t find a single flaw in her body. A sparkle at her bald snatch, tells me that even her clit must be pierced in this current guise.

“You. . . you’re alive. . .” Her hand covers her mouth, as she continues to stare at me.

“Um, yeah,” I reply confused. “I actually feel pretty good. I thought getting drained would make me feel weak and exhausted, but I feel like I could climb Everest without taking a break.”

“But, how? I felt your energy flood into me when you came.” Her legs seem to decide at that point to quit supporting her. “I know this feeling. . . . This life-force I’m now filled with. You should be dead.

Time slows as she begins to fall, and somehow I easily stand and reach her before she completely collapses. Catching her in my arms, she stares at me in newfound wonder and curiosity, as time resumes its usual pace. Her left hand slowly reaches up, and she palms my cheek.

“Are you real?” she asks me, and I can’t stop the laugh that bursts forth from my chest, a deep sound that actually seems to reverberate through the open fields around us. There’s no malice in my laughter, but pure joy. Not that long ago, I’d thought she wasn’t real. “But how?” she asks again, and I realize that I’m not going to die. I don’t know what’s going on, but I know that I’ll live.

I throw her into the air, and I’m surprised at the strength in my limbs. It’s not that she’s heavy; she likely weighs less than a hundred pounds. No, it’s just that before the accident, I probably only could’ve lifted her off the ground; not throw her ten feet into the air.

I also catch her easily, as she lands lightly in my arms. Setting her lightly back on the ground, I look down at myself, and almost start laughing again. I’m still skinny, but I have more definition now. Not quite what you might call sculpted, but definitely toned. I can feel the raw strength in me far exceeds the muscle mass to support it.

And my cock! Holy Hanna! I’ve never been one of those guys that has to make jokes about how big my cock is to compensate for, well, anything, but I was by no means a monster down there either. I’ve always been comfortable with my manhood. Now I almost feel like I could play baseball with my pecker if I wanted to, and hit a homerun every time! Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating now, but it is bigger than it ever has been before, and that’s while it’s limp.

“What are you?” Angela asks me, and I look back to her, wondering about her question.

“What do you mean?” I ask in response.

“I mean, you were definitely human while you were recovering in the hospital. The amount of energy that flooded into me when you came was enough to feed me for a month, and kill you. By all rights, you should be dead, but. . . but you’ve changed.” There’s awe and wonder in her tone as she steps up to me and runs her hand along my chest.

“Maybe it’s this place,” I say, trying to come up with something to explain it. “Every time you. . . er. . . had yours, I was flooded with energy too.” Despite what we’d just done, and the fact that we’re both still naked, I have a hard time talking about her having an orgasm.

There is a twinkle in her eyes, as I stutter, but it turns quickly to confusion. “That doesn’t make sense. The energy had to have come from somewhere.” Her eyes examine me again, and I start to feel self-conscious as she ponders.

My underwear is nothing more than rags now, so I have to free-ball it as I pull on my pants and shirt. It’s only now that I realize I’ve been moving without the aid of the crutch. I feel better than at any other time in my life, and I find I keep chuckling to myself, truly happy for the first time in a very long time.

“I may know someone who might know what’s going on,” she tells me hesitantly. As I look at her, I watch in amazement as her clothes materialize around her.

“What’s wrong?” I ask, sensing something in her tone, despite my shock of seeing what I can only refer to as magic. My world isn’t the same anymore.

“Nothing,” she tells me, shaking her head, and I know she’s lying, but something tells me not to push it. “We should get you home for now. There’s no telling how much time has passed in your world.”

“My world?” I ask as I follow her lightly back to the tree we rode up in.

She slows, and twines her fingers into mine as she smiles at me. “The world we’re in now is a shadow of yours. In many ways it mirrors Earth, but because it’s only a shadow, it’s more malleable.”

“And this is where you live?”

“Many of us live here,” she says blandly.

“More succubusses, er, succubae?” I have no idea what the plural for succubus is.

“Succubae,” she tells me. “And more than just other succubae. All the creatures from your myths and legends. Those that were persecuted by the humans, and driven from the world we used to share.” Despite her words, I don’t sense any chagrin in her tone.

We persecuted you? I thought those creatures fed on humans,” I say, feeling defensive.

She laughs before answering. “Of course. The victors always write the history books. Yes, some did feed on humans, but not all of them. That’s like saying that humans are all murderers, because a few bad apples are.”

That makes sense, but something about the way she’d said that. . . “You weren’t around when it happened.”

“Ha! No, I wasn’t even a mortal back then. That all happened well over a millennia ago.”

The bark of the massive oak tree separates, and we step into the elevator, before I ask, “Do you remember how you became a succubus? I mean, how you lost your mortality?”

“If you’re thinking that you’re becoming an incubus, it can’t be. I made a deal with a demon, which split off a small part of itself, and I became as I am now.” She must sense my unease at her statement, as she steps away from me, new worry in her eyes.

“So. . . . You’re possessed?” I ask. “What deal did you make?”

“The deal isn’t important anymore. I’m not possessed as you would think of it. The demon only gave me a small sliver of its soul to meet its end of the deal. A possession is the entire demon taking over. I still have free will,” she informs me, and I know she wants me to understand, but I’m only coming up with more questions.

“But as a succubus, doesn’t that make you a demon? So by taking part of the other demon’s soul, you became a demon in turn.”

“My actions back then made me into what I am now. Yes, that portion of a soul helped, but didn’t do it on its own.” She steps back up to me, and I hold my ground, not wanting to back away. She had cried when she thought I was dead, so I know she feels emotion. There would have been no reason to fake it after she thought I’d died.

“So what do you think is happening to me now?”

“I really don’t know. I’m going to ask around, and see what I can find out. In the meantime, I want you to continue living your life as normal, and I’ll be back as soon as I can. Depending on how time warps randomly between the two worlds.”

The elevator doors open on the parking garage, and I can see my car, still parked in its spot. Stepping out, I quickly realize that Angela hasn’t followed me.

“I don’t know how much time has passed in this realm while we were away, but go home.” Before I have a chance to say anything, she tosses me my keys, and the elevator doors close.

Great, I think, I have no idea where exactly I am, or even what today is.

Pulling out of the garage, I notice that the sun seems to have dipped only slightly, but that doesn’t tell me what day or even month it is. I pull out onto the busy street, and immediately notice how smooth the Orange Bubble rides. The steering is a lot more responsive, and some of the little issues that I realized I’d gotten used to over the years are gone as well. The car is handling better than new. The gas gage on the dash is completely gone, and I wonder how I’m supposed to know how much gas I have without the gage. Pulling into a gas station just to be on the safe side, I’m surprised to see that there isn’t even a spot to put gas in.

It doesn’t take me long to figure where I’m at, and I point my car north, and enjoy the speed and power of my remodeled car. To my surprise, the radio announces the date and time, letting me know that I was in the Shadow World for less than thirty minutes. Angela had said that time runs randomly between the two.

Walking into my tiny 32nd story apartment, I find a brand new cell phone charging on my kitchen counter. I’d been told my old one had been destroyed in the accident. Turning it on, I see that I have five new messages. The first one is from the company that manages this apartment complex, asking if I want to apply my last payment to the rest of the year, or want a refund. The next four were from Sheila Lance, my boss, demanding to know when I’ll be back in.

I call the management company up first, and they inform me that I can only pay one year in advance, and that the rest will be refunded to me. In a daze, I hang up. Who’s been paying all of my bills?

The next call isn’t as pleasant.

“Your medical leave was burned up a week ago, Mr. Snow,” Sheila informs me rather bluntly. “By all rights, I can fire you right now, and be well within the company’s rights.”

Part of me is tempted to quit right away. I have a rather hefty check coming in from the management company, and rent is covered for the next year, but Angela had told me to live life as I usually do.

“I’ll be in first thing in the morning,” I tell her, trying to act sheepish, but I’m still full of energy from the excellent sex with Angela in the Shadow World.

“Are you laughing at me?”


“No, Mrs. Lance, just trying to multitask while talking. I’ll be in first thing,” I repeat, and hang up before she can say anything else to me.

Sleeping tonight is impossible, I realize, as I lay for a couple hours staring at the ceiling.

Well, it may be a Wednesday night, but maybe I should go out. Normally I’m pretty self-conscious, but for some reason I’m feeling confident, and walk to a bar that’s a couple blocks down the road. A large sign out front declares that it’s ladies’ night, and I smile as I walk in.

I pull out my wallet to pay the cover charge, but the cute redhead at the counter looks at me dreamy eyed, and stamps my hand.

What’s going on? Have I changed that much? Shrugging my shoulders, I walk in, and order a cocktail. The bartender, a male, makes me pay, but I don’t mind.

The music is blaring and the dance floor’s packed as I watch people shaking and moving to the rhythm.

“I don’t remember seeing you here before?”

I turn and look down at the owner of the voice. The girl—well okay, she has to be at least twenty-one to be in here—stands only as tall as my chest. Her hair is a warm chestnut brown, and travels the short distance down the length of her back. It’s too dark in here to make out her eye color, other than to note that they’re dark. In her hands is a blue or purple drink—Now why couldn’t my colorblindness have been fixed with the rest of my vision?—that’s half-full.

“I was bored, so decided to come out and find some entertainment.” The way she’s looking at me, makes me feel even more confident about myself. She’s not the cutest girl here, but definitely above what I consider to be my league. She finishes her drink, and I decide to play things up. I’ve heard people talk about not buying a girl a drink unless you really know them, but some new instinct says to go for it.

Pulling the drink from her hands, I take a quick sip, and know that she’s drinking a purple hooter. I make eye contact with one of the wandering servers. She turns away from whoever was giving her their order, and rushes to me.

“A purple hooter for the pretty lady, here,” I tell her, and she rushes off to fulfill my wishes. Wow, this new power could really go to my head. She returns within a couple minutes and hands the glass to me. I hand it to the short girl still standing speechless next to me, and turn back to the waitress. “How much?” I ask, and she shakes herself as if coming out of a dream.

“How much?” she repeats my words. “Oh!” It takes her a moment to gather her wits enough to tell me how much I owe, and I pay her, with a decent tip.

“My name’s Becky,” the brunette next to me yells at me to be heard over the music, “and you shouldn’t have had to pay full price for that. It’s ladies’ night.”

“Lyden,” I reply, holding out my hand for her to shake. Her hand is tiny compared to mine, but her fingers are soft. Just because I feel like it, I bend over, and place a soft kiss on her knuckles. Her knees give way, and I have to move fast to catch her. “Are you alright?” I ask, concerned. I feel a little weak after moving so fast, and she has to blink a few times before she can answer.

“Wow, a real gentleman.” Her voice is breathy, as I help her back to her feet, and I notice that she’s somehow managed not to spill her drink.

To my surprise, she quickly downs her drink, and pulls me out to the dance floor. At first I hedge a little, as I’ve never been much of a dancer, but I feel the music in my bones, and soon a large group of women surrounds me. They push Becky away from me, and I can see that she looks downtrodden as two other women replace her. For some reason, I can feel my energy draining out of me.

At this point, I know that I can have any woman here, but Becky had been the first one to talk to me, so I push the two women away, until I’m back in front of the brunette. She gives me an odd look, and then drags me out to the smoking section. I don’t smoke, never having been able to afford the habit, but I don’t begrudge those that do.

As soon as we’re outside, she turns, grabs the front of my shirt, and pulls my face down to hers. As her lips touch mine, I feel some of my energy return, and smile, while I place my hands under her thighs, and lift her up. She’s so light, that I hardly even notice her weight, as our tongues dart in and out of each other’s mouths, and her legs grip my hips. I can taste her drink still on her tongue, as well as mint. I find the source of the mint a second later, as I steal the gum I didn’t know she had, right out of her mouth.

“Hey! Give that back!” she commands me, smiling, her arms around my neck.

“You’ll have to take it back,” I inform her, and you’d think I just gave her the world, by the grin that blossoms across her face. Had I really thought she wasn’t that cute a little while ago? She mashes her lips to mine, and we fence with our tongues for a bit, before I let her take the gum back. My cock is rock hard, and I know she can’t miss it poking into her.

“Get a room!” a male voice shouts, and Becky pulls back, her cheeks red.

“That guy’s completely out of her league,” I hear another, feminine, voice say not so quietly. I grind my teeth, as Becky tries to wriggle out of my arms, but I won’t let go.

“Yeah, there’s probably something wrong with him,” a different voice says.

“Wanna have some fun?” I ask the attractive woman in my arms, and she nods uncertainly. “Play along.” I wink at her, then turn, force her up into the air, and set her softly on my shoulders. It’s been years since I’ve given anyone a shoulder ride, but she’s small enough, that she feels quite comfortable sitting up there.

“There is something wrong with me,” I tell the two couples. Glancing at the two girls that’d spoken, I feel another drain of energy as I focus on them. I can sense their knees trembling under my intense scrutiny. “This woman is the only one I’ve found that knows how to properly take care of me. Skanks of your caliber just don’t know how to handle a tool my size.”

“Come on, dear,” Becky says right on cue, “Why don’t we go back to my place, and I’ll remind you of just what I’m capable of. Let’s stop wasting our time with these floozies.”

It takes all my effort not to laugh at the insulted faces of the four people in front of us. I turn and walk back inside, hearing the women demand that their men stand up for them, and the men saying they will as soon as they’re done with their smoke.

I have to duck to walk back in, even as short as Becky is, but I keep her on my shoulders, as I head back to the dance floor.

“I really meant that I want to take you home,” she yells into my ear, and I do an about-face, and head for the exit.

Word about what happened outside has already made it in to the entrance, and I notice no shortage of women giving Becky an envious glance, and even a few men giving her a calculating one. Something tells me she’s not going to have a problem picking up men here anymore.

She points the way to her car, and I set her on the ground just outside. For some reason she seems to get heavier with each step, but I’m still able to set her down lightly.

I wonder about how weak I’m suddenly feeling, but get distracted when she tosses me her keys. “I’ve been drinking too much to drive.”

“Becky!” someone yells, and we turn to see a dirty blonde-haired woman coming over to us. “Were you just going to leave me here?”

“Lisa, oh my god,” Becky spouts, covering her mouth, and looking embarrassed. “I was so distracted by everything. . . I’m so sorry.”

Lisa pretty much ignores her, as she turns to look at me. “So, is it true what you said back there?” She arches one slender eyebrow at me, daring me to answer.

“Lisa!” Becky reprimands her friend.

“I guess you’ll have to ask Becky in the morning,” I tell her, and before either one can say a thing, I duck into the driver’s seat. Both women get into the passenger side and start arguing about who gets to sit shotgun. I don’t even wait for an outcome, before starting the car, and throwing it into first gear.

They quickly decide to share the passenger seat, pulling the seatbelt across both of them. Luckily Lisa is fairly skinny and Becky is definitely small enough, that they both fit.

The drive is punctuated by both women trying to be as helpful as possible in giving me directions. I actually find it rather annoying, but drive on, nevertheless.

Parking the car outside a small home, I get out, and then rush around to open their door. Both women look up to me stunned, and I realize that I’d super-speeded again. I’m really going to need to watch that! This time, however, I’m able to associate the energy drain with the action.

I’d been hanging around London for weeks now, hoping to find Charlotte, or at least that she’d find me. Well, not so much the latter—I definitely wanted the element of surprise on my side, and not hers. Self-preservation and all that. Word around town from other demons was that she was probably affiliated with the Circle of the Purity Scroll, a group dating from ancient Rome that sought to rid the world of demonic beings. They were a pretty shadowy bunch, though, and no one seemed to know anything about them having a significant presence in London. I was beginning to think she had been here simply to deal with Ellison, but even if that were the case, I would have been surprised if she hadn’t stuck around knowing I was in town.

In any case, a girl’s gotta eat. As per my usual MO, I’d been preying on either real scumbags, the kind of people that deserved to die, or on hard-luck cases: those with terminal illnesses or who were about to kill themselves. Cancer support groups were always a good place to find someone. In fact, attending them was part of my strategy to find Charlotte. I thought she might put two and two together, after what I’d told her, and realize these would be a prime spot for me. But so far, no luck. I struck out in the feeding department as well; the only men at the meeting were some combination of old, fat, and gross. No poor souls being cut down in the prime of life.

It had been a week now since my last feeding, though, so I was getting pretty desperate. I’d heard rumors of a sex club controlled by the Russian mafia. Real sick stuff; kidnapped Eastern European girls that upper-class twits would spend hundreds of thousand of pounds to rape and torture to death. Through some well-placed cash outlays of my own (when you’re twelve-hundred years old, money isn’t much of an issue; you’ve had plenty of time to make some solid investments) I got a line on a girl who was being taken off a cargo ship and sent to wherever this place was.

I got down to the docks just in time; she was going willingly enough. Probably thought all she had to do was some porn or prostitution, the poor thing. I was hoping they were going to load her into the back of a van or something, from where I could have taken her place unseen, but she was just riding in the back seat of a BMW 750. There was a driver and one other guy riding shotgun. I followed them instead, keeping to the rooftops as much as possible. Eventually the car turned into an underground parking garage in Acton. I scrambled down to the street and down the ramp just in time to see the three of them get into an elevator. It stopped at the fourth floor of what was a five-story building. Back up to the roof then. I figured they had at least the top two floors. The operation probably was largely a conventional brothel, with, I assumed, one or two “special” rooms for the rough stuff. It wasn’t a particularly new idea. Anywhere there was too much money and too many easy thrills bred a market for this sort of thing. London, in particular, had a long history of sexual sacrifice. Let’s just say Jack the Ripper didn’t happen in a vacuum. But that’s a story for another time.

The doorway on the roof was well-secured. The locks wouldn’t have been too much of a problem, but the alarms certainly were. I made my way around the side of the building along the fifth floor, peering into what windows weren’t fully covered. It was, as I had suspected, an ordinary brothel. As far as I could tell, though, each window was alarmed. The fourth floor was more of the same, until I came to room with an open window. There was one man inside, sitting in front of a bank of video monitors. He was absentmindedly stroking his cock, his pants unbuckled and pulled down just enough to give him access. A security guy, no doubt, but when you’ve got nothing to look at but grainy cam footage of people fucking, I guess it’s easy enough to lose your focus. He wasn’t the one I wanted, but I was awfully hungry. Before he knew what was happening, I had straddled him, slipping my cunt right over his erect member.

He started to say, “What the hell are…” (in Russian — 1200 years gives you lots of time to learn languages, too) but was soon overcome by the intense pleasure he was feeling as I pushed down onto him. He was actually pretty big, and I say that as a girl who’s not easily impressed. Nor was he bad looking. He had made some poor career choices, though. I began to grind into him, pushing him deeper into my cunt, moving my hips in a circular motion. The sense of fullness his cock was giving me was nice, to say the least, and in any case I wasn’t in much of a mood to take my time. I focused my mind on the sensation of his hot, engorged cock sliding in and out of me, and in a few seconds I was coming — which meant that he was, too, a few seconds after that. As usual, the sensations he was experiencing made the fact that I had suddenly turned bright red and grown horns and a tail not all that important to him. As his life force spurted into me for the next two or three minutes, his body wracked with an unknowable and unimaginable pleasure even as he passed from this world, I came again, the spasms of my vagina squeezing out his excess ejaculate that, pooling up, began to make a loud squelching sound as I continued to move up and down on his nearly exhausted body. His eyes were wide with wonder as the last of his soul dribbled from his cock. As I climbed off of him, his body fell off the chair onto the floor.

I quickly cleaned up with a fistful of tissues and started to examine the video monitors. There were several BDSM-themed rooms with various accoutrements — sawhorses, shackles embedded into the walls, floggers, and the like. But outside of the décor, they were just ordinary rooms, except for one. This one looked medical or clinical, all white tile, with a padded leather thing that was half-chair, half-bed, and all sinister. It was either for people with a serious medical fetish, or it was the torture room — much easier to clean up blood. The monitor was labeled 404, so I figured it was on the fourth floor, same as me. There was no one in the room, yet.

I was pretty well sated, hunger-wise, after that, which of course diminished my biological imperative to feed but nevertheless left me with something of a dilemma. Here was a group of evil men, doing very bad things. I could, probably, one by one, go through the place and fuck each one to death. That seemed kind of wasteful, though, when I knew I could keep coming back here every time I got hungry. But then there was the problem of the girls. Sure, I could get the one who was heading for the torture room out of there, but they’d just send another one in her place. I could try to get them all out of there, but I’m just one person and I can’t solve every problem in the world. It was time to come up with a plan.

I spent thirty minutes or so watching the video monitors. There were maybe ten or twelve girls active at any one time. There were two rooms that were dormitories, with a dozen or so beds in each room. There seemed to be eight guys around the place, five on this floor and three upstairs. Two of them on the 4th floor were ensconced in an office; the rest seemed to be guards. There were also two guys downstairs at the elevator in the garage, doormen more or less, and a woman who went back and forth, escorting clients up to the girls. One of the two guys in the office went out and checked on this or that every few minutes; the other never seemed to get out from behind his desk. Probably the head guy. I slipped down the hall to what I figured was the office. I figured right.

“Who are you?” the number two man asked, in Russian. The whole conversation was going to be in Russian. I addressed myself not to him, but to the man behind the desk.

“I’m from Sergei,” I said. There’s always a Sergei somewhere higher up. “A gift for the both of you. For your hard work.” I started to take off my shirt.

“We have the run of the girls already,” the second man said, to which the head man said, “Shut up, Mikhail.”

I smiled seductively at Mikhail and said, “Yes but with me you don’t need condoms. I’m clean.” My shirt was off by now, and my bra soon followed. I draped myself over the desk on my stomach and began to unbutton the head man’s pants. By the time I pulled his cock out, he was already hard. I went right to work with my mouth. Succubae don’t have gag reflexes, so if you think you’ve had a good blowjob (or can give one), you haven’t. I took him right down my throat. He grasped the back of my head and pushed me down further, my lips now pressing hard into his pubis. After a few seconds, he pulled me up by my hair, not letting his cock fall from my mouth, and then pushed me back down. He started to do this more rapidly. I let the drool pour out of my mouth, dripping down his shaft and soaking his pubic hair. After a couple minutes of this, I pulled back and held my face just inches from his, smiling.

“What’s your name, lover?”


“Well, Alexei, tell your friend to get over on that couch and to get his cock out. If you think my mouth is good, you’re both in for a real treat. Tell him how good my mouth is.” He was putty in my hands already. “Her mouth is amazing,” he said. “Now go over to the couch. You heard her.”

Mikhail didn’t waste any time. What was it with these Russian guys? Alexei was more or less average, but Mikhail was even bigger than the guy in the video room. I sort of wished it was the other way around, because his was the one that was going to go in my ass. I don’t do anal all that often because it doesn’t get me anywhere, feeding-wise. I generally saved it for when I actually liked a guy, for whatever reason, and didn’t want to kill him. Not that I liked Mikhail, but I had my reasons.

I quickly dropped my pants and panties after kicking off my shoes, and got on my knees in front of Mikhail. I licked my way up his long, thick, shaft, and then took him balls deep in one swift move. He gasped and I could feel his muscles tense up. I stuck my tongue out and licked his balls while he was still deep into my throat. Once I was got his cock nice and slick, I stood up, turned around, and lowered my ass onto him. It was a tight fit but within a minute he was buried inside me. It felt pretty fucking good. I hadn’t had a solid assfuck in years, actually. But I had other things on my mind. Like Alexei. Poor Alexei. He had no idea what he was in for. Then again, neither had however many girls he’d sent to their deaths in the torture chamber. I beckoned him over with a come-hither glance, wrapped my fist around his cock, and pulled him toward my glistening pussy.

As he entered me, I began to rub my clit furiously and with Mikhail’s enormous member buried in my asshole, I started to come in mere seconds, my skin suddenly turning red, my tail and horns popping out. Alexei soon followed suit, convulsions racking his body, his eyes rolling back in his head as his life force-turned-cum pumped into me. He was groaning and writhing for what seemed like longer than usual, and his ejaculate was flowing out between my things, dripping down onto Mikhail underneath me. Meanwhile, I had wrapped my tail around Mikhail’s throat, choking him but not to the point where he was going to die. Not yet. He tried to call out to Alexei but didn’t really have the breath to do so, and in any case Alexei, obviously, couldn’t answer. His mind was elsewhere, busy embracing his own imminent demise, the pleasure pulsating upward from his cock outweighing the terror that gripped his heart. Even as his consciousness faded away, his body kept jerking in and out of me, fucking me to the very last. He finally slipped out of me and fell to the floor. As he did so I released my tail from Mikhail’s throat, rose up off his cock, spun around so I was facing him, and, in the same motion, impaled my dripping cunt onto him (girls, don’t ever do ass-to-pussy like that — I can’t get Chlamydia, but you can).

“What the fuck…” he gasped. “What are you? What did you do to him?”

“I killed him,” I said, smiling down at him while I fucked him. Already, the pleasure was controlling him. He knew things weren’t right, but his cock wouldn’t let him do anything about it.


“With my pussy. I sucked out his soul, Mikhail, and as soon as I come, I’m going to do the same to you. Unless…” I trailed off.

“Anything!” he yelled.

“Anything?” I grinned.

“Yes! Please!”

“Are you sure you don’t want to come? I promise you you’ll never feel better.”

“I don’t want to die. Please.”

“Good. I have plans for you anyway. You’re going to take over this little operation now that Alexei’s gone. I know he’s not the guy who’s really in charge, but whoever that is, you’re going to convince him that you’re the new guy. And then you’re going to change things around here. The girls are going to get better treatment. Access to doctors. Better food. More space. More money. Twice as much money. And the torture room, the killings. Those are going to be off the menu. Understand?”

“Yes. Please, lady, I’ll do anything you say.”

“I’ll be checking on you. You know what a succubus is, don’t you?”


“Good. Then you know I can come to you in your dreams.” I couldn’t, actually, but it was a common misconception, and as long as he thought I could, it was good enough for me. “Don’t fuck this up, or it’ll be the last thing you do.” With that I climbed off him. On my way out the door, I gave him a look I’m sure he’ll never forget, equal parts seductive grin and threatening glare.

I was nice and full now, and even had a good deed under my belt. Quite a day. Not what I was hoping for, exactly, but at least I wasn’t hungry anymore. It was getting dark outside, and I had a yen for a nap before hitting the town later that night. Not for feeding purposes of course—just for entertainment. Catch a band, have some drinks, that sort of thing. I caught the Red Line at East Acton and took a seat on the far side of the train. The west-bound train pulled up just as we were pulling out. I found myself locking eyes though the window with a luscious-looking girl. She was staring right back. Contented as I was from the afternoon’s activities, my mind probably wasn’t as sharp as it ought to have been. It wasn’t until my train began to pull out that I realized the girl was Charlotte.

Blank nothing. Then. Images cluttered my brain like static. A beautiful red smile. A black dress. A blue drink and blue lights glowing neon. A throbbing beat. A rusty door. Blank again.

When I woke again, my mouth tasted dry as a salty dream. Still couldn’t see. Tried to rub my eyes. Couldn’t. Panic opens eyes. Still dark. Struggle. Legs caught, arms caught. Turn to look at arms. Can’t. A band around my forehead and temples. Scream.

“Tush, tush, my dear,” came a caramel voice. “Must we make such noise?”

Too dark. Can’t turn to see anyways. Try to smack spit.

“Who’s… who’s there?” I ask, a raspy voice.

“Come now! Don’t you remember me?” pouted the caramel voice. A fingernail traced my chest. I am naked, I realize. The fingernail trailed circles.

“We only met last night. And it was such a… fulfilling night, too. Men these days.” The fingernail slid towards my nipple, joined a thumb, then bit together and twisted. Hard.

I squealed. Then blushed, furious and embarrassed.

“Let me go! This is kidnapping! Torture!”

A caramel laugh, coated with scorn.

“Torture, my boy? Oh, you have no idea. I haven’t even done anything worthwhile. Just… a little… twist.”

As she spoke, she slowly twisted my nipple, then gave a final jerk. My body jolted against the bonds. My helpless yelp gave no relief.

“Please, whatever you want, I’ll… Look, I’ve got a lot of money. I’m a… I’m… a…”

I searched my memory for what I was, but nothing except a blue drink returned.

“I’m a lawyer! I’ll give you all I’ve got. Just name your price, it’s yours.”

I tried to sound confident, but my breathing refused to cooperate. Silence was her only reply. I listened, trying to hear where she was moving. Nothing. Her steps were as blank as my memory.

A flick shocked my right thigh, evincing a wince. Another. Another. Just as I was about to yell out, a pinch caught my voice, twisting words into another yelp.

“Money…” came the voice. “Every man seems to think I want…” twist, “their money…” twist, “it is really rather…” twist, “amusing.”

At that, her whole hand slapped the inside of my thigh. I could feel the bonds against my wrists, my ankles, my head, my chest hold my jolt, but none of them bit. They felt merely like an impassable point, not like a strap at all.

“What,” I said, panting, “What do you want? I’ll give you anything, just, please… let me go. I have friends,” blank, “a family,” blank, “a… god, I haven’t even fed the dog, just let me…”

A soft, gloved hand clasped my mouth.

“Shhhh, little boy,” came the voice, slithering into my ear. “You’ll know what I want soon. Very soon. But that’s not important right now. What is important right now is, you don’t even have anything holding you down right now. There’s simply nothing…” she poked my wrists exactly where I felt a bond, “there.” She poked again at my throat.

“This is insane… What are you trying to say? What are you doing to me?” I thought desperately for a solution, “Did you hypnotize me?”

Playful, impish laughter.

“Hypnotize you! My goodness, you think I would be so crude? Do you truly remember nothing of our night together? How I swayed towards you at the bar? How my body slid against yours on the dance floor? How my lips loved yours with such grace that you hardly dared to breathe lest you broke the magic? To say nothing of my tongue! Goodness, what a forgetful boy you are.”

Before I could reply, a warm breath cradled my face. A red smell sank into my stomach. Lips met mine, and instinctively, automatically, my body relaxed like a kitten picked up by the scruff. Her lips lifted from mine, but not before leaving a gentle bite, and I strained forwards towards the emptiness she left. Whatever bonds held me, held still. Fear trilled my throat for the first time.

“What have you done to me?” I whispered, barely able to coax the words into sound. Her soft lips kissed my chin, my cheek, my ear. Relaxation soaked into my muscles, and at each kiss, the bonds grew more and more faint.

“Why, my good little boy, I haven’t done a thing. You just don’t want to leave. Isn’t that right?”

Another kiss, and I felt the bonds not at all. My mind continued to struggle. But an answer, an answer that felt as foreign as it felt familiar, slowly pressed through the resistance. Unable to hold my lips shut, I answered.

“No… I don’t…”

I felt her smile, barely a half inch from my face.

“Good boy,” she whispered, and a final kiss held my body firm.

Succubus princess Nyla is 18 and in college. She has a butler, Remley, to watch over her because she gets in trouble sometimes.

A girl sat at large desk with paper set in front of her, very intent on the page. She was scribbling furiously. Every so often she’d reach for a different pen in front of her. The only things that made her any different from a normal girl studying was her elaborate gown and slightly pointed ears.

“Nyla, would you like something to drink to help you study?” Remly asked. He walked towards the desk with a glass of her favorite chocolate milk on a silver platter.

She jumped.

“No Remly!” she exclaimed. “Can’t you see I’m busy? I have to learn these spelling words by tomorrow.”

“You do seem very busy. You’ve never been this diligent about spelling before.” He glided up behind her and surveyed the paper in front of her. It didn’t have spelling words on it. There were doodles all over it. A puppy, mysterious flowers, and a tiara. He picked it up crumpled it in a ball. He put another piece of lined paper in front of her. “Now you have to write the words 20 times each.” He tried to say that but got interrupted by a whine.

“You can’t throw that out. I made a picture of a new tiara and I have to give it to the jeweler so I can have it by the ball.” She drew a big X over the whole paper and pouted at him.

“Nyla, you can’t be like that. You have to learn to spell important words so you can be the queen one day. How will you write policy for our nation if you can’t even spell fellatio? I saw your attempt earlier. It’s one of the most important matters of national politics. We can’t have an illiterate queen.”

Nyla pouted again, looking down. She muttered softly “I’ll just have someone else write it.”

The butler gave her a stern stare and put another piece of paper in front of her. He left the milk on her desk and left her alone to straighten the pillows on her canopy bed. She started slowly writing.

After a few minutes her hand started moving quicker. Remley noticed and stealthily went and looked over her shoulder. There were a few spelling words repeated on the top quarter of the page, but the rest was covered with drawings of a different sort. He picked it up out from her reach.

“I see you’re studying your techniques, but that’s not what we’re doing right now. Besides, if you tied up a human like that you wouldn’t be able to steal his seed.” He scowled. He’d had enough of her fooling around. “This is enough. I’m going to have to punish you. It’s my duty.”

Nyla looked at him and said “I don’t want to.”

“That’s too bad. Your mother’s charged me with keeping you in line and if this is what it takes I’ll do it,” he pointed at a richly embroidered ottoman. “Bend over that now and I’ll let you off easily.”

She shook her head. He looked exasperated and picked her up easily by the waist. She gave a little show of struggling, but since Remley was part demon it was useless to try to escape someone that strong. His lineage gave him androgynous good looks as well as strength.

He set her down on the ottoman with a little bounce, and started to lift her skirt. There were many ruffles underneath and when he lifted it all the way the hem rested on the back of her hair. She wore little shorts with lace underneath the dress, which he pulled down to expose her tanned little bottom. She’d stopped struggling by then and looked back at the man kneeling beside her.

Smack! The slap went echoed through the room along with her sharp intake of breath. He spanked her again and she cried out a loud clipped noise. He repeated it again twice. “Are you going to be good now?” he asked. He wasn’t sure because the last few cries had sounded more like pleasure than pain.

She nodded with a dreamy look in her eyes. Her nipples were straining against the fabric of her bodice. Remley sighed. “You enjoyed that again, am I right?” Honestly he had enjoyed it, too. The sight of her tight bottom, now pink with the sting of his blows had made something in him start stirring.

“Absolutely not,” she said pridefully. “I hate when you treat me like a child.”

Remley ran a finger between her pussy lips and sighed. She was extremely wet. He knew it was much too late for studying. “How about we change subjects?”

Nyla looked at him with a questioning gaze.

“We can switch to studying how to suck the seed out of a man.”

Nyla looked unconvinced. That was her favorite subject but she wasn’t in the mood for schoolwork.

“I’ll give you a reward at the end of the lesson,” he conceded.

“What kind of reward?” she asked with a glint in her eye. “I don’t want to unless you give it to me with your cock afterwards.”

“I will accommodate that wish, even though you know it’s useless.” Nyla was considered somewhat of a deviant in the succubus court. Intercourse was seen as useless and unnecessary, because the way they got their powers was sucking the seed out of men, not using them in other ways. Giving them that kind of pleasure was supposed to be beneath them.

“I’ll say what’s useless and what’s not. You’re only the butler.”

“Well after the lesson I’ll give you what you want.” He opened the front of his formal robe and immediately became hard. That was one of his powers. His member was somewhat long and very thick. He could also control its shape. There were no scales on it like he had on the backs of his hands, but there were outlines of them, like tattoos, over the whole thing. Nyla looked at it and licked her lips.

“Lie down on that couch. I’m not kneeling for you,” the princess commanded. Her butler complied, lounging on the long couch facing her bed. She hopped up on the couch, straddling his legs and sized him up. This time he was thicker than he usually was. It intimidated her a bit. Still, she leaned over and licked him, from base to tip. She put the head in her mouth and swirled her tongue around. She leaned over it and drew it further into her mouth, but it was difficult. His thick cock was too much for her little mouth. She sucked on it the best she could.

“That’s not enough, you know that,” he critiqued her. It actually felt very good and he knew he was going to have to hold himself back to give her a proper lesson. She tried to take him in further and gasped a little bit. She sucked as hard as she could, but it was hard to breathe with such a large cock in her mouth. She had it in just over halfway. She took the base in her hand, jacking him there.

He groaned with pleasure, but said “No hands allowed on the next test.” Then he added, “I’ll let you do it here, though for practice. She nodded, cock still in her mouth, and contimued sucking and pumping her hand. She bobbed her head in time with her hand.

She was getting tired, so she let go of his member and licked in in little circles down one side and up the other side, teasing him. “Back on topic, Nyla,” he said, strained. She sighed and put it back into her mouth, this time going down on it further, causeing the butler to moan. She gave it her full attention, sucking and bobbing until Remley’s face contorted and he came. He came more than a human man and the princess couldn’t swallow it all. Some of it got on her face. It was creamy and tasted like milk.

“Good job, princess. You still need work before the test, but you’re getting much better.” He wiped his flaccid member off with the towel tucked into the belt of his robe. She really was getting better.

She licked the drops of his seed from her lips, and smiled at him showing one of her pointed teeth. She obviously didn’t care too much about his assessment of her skills at the moment. She unlaced the top of her bodice and presented her small breasts to her butler. “Get hard for me again. You know what to do.

He looked at her pink nipples and didn’t need the help of demonic powers to make himself hard again. It had returned to the same shape, thick and long. He took her breasts in his hands and knelt to put one nipple in his mouth. He sucked on it gently at first, but then hard. He began to bite at it gently. She made a small noise of pleasure. Smiling, he gave her left nipple the same treatment.

But she was impatient. She pulled her skirts up and put his hand between her legs to her dripping sweet spot. “Faster, Remley,” she ordered. He laid her on the couch and propped himself on top of her. He slowly slid two fingers into her tight hole. She moaned. He started moving them in and out while she bucked her hips in time with him. He used his thumb to gently rub her clit the whole while.

Nyla couldn’t stand it anymore. She pushed Remley off her. She turned over onto her stomach and presented her bottom into the air with her legs spread. Her pink pussy lips glistened with moisture. “Now, Remley.”

He didn’t hesitate. He knelt between her legs and put his penis at her opening. He rubbed it along her slit to tease her. “I said now!” she commanded. So he eased it in. It wouldn’t go in all the way because he was too thick. Only the tip would fit in at first. Nyla arched her back in this exquisite combination of pleasure and pain. “You made yourself too thick again,” she complained, gasping. Remley smiled. He was going to get back at her for misbehaving so badly earlier.

He thrusted again, getting himself in halfway. She grunted, but she was also pushing herself onto him. “Again,” she pleaded. He obliged and pushed himself all the way in, to the hilt. It felt so good to be inside her, so tight and wet. Nyla was sweating. Remley was going to give her a chance to rest, but she pulled her hips forward, bringing him out of her and lunged back to bring him in. “What are you waiting for?” she panted. Remley was surprised. The princess had never been this ardent before. He slowly started thrusting into her building up his speed until he was banging her as fast as he could. She was crying out in pleasure with each thrust.

“So close!” she said between cries. “My breasts!” she cried desperately. He knew what she meant. He bent over her so his body cupped over hers and took her nipples between his fingers. In time with each movement he pinched them hard. Her cries of pleasure redoubled until her hips moved in time with his even harder. Her pussy squeezed around him in quick waves until she called out a call that would have stunned any mere human. She went limp, breathing hard.

Remley let her rest a moment, still inside her. “Princess, if I may,” He asked politely. Nyla looked back at him, considering. She didn’t often let him come. But he had been such a good servant and lover that time. “Just this once.”

As soon as the words were out of her mouth Remley growled low in his throat and started fucking her harder than he had before. Nyla made a noise of protest and tried to get up, but his hands on her hips were too strong. He had her for a minute until with one last thrust roared as he came inside her.

He wanted to collapse and rest in the afterglow but he did have his duties. He cleaned up the princess with the cloth attached to his robe and righted her clothing. He belted his own robe back up.

“So, Nyla,” he said to the pouting princess, “What was that about spelling practice?”

Note: This story is fantasy in the most complete sense. Unrealistic proportions and stamina. A single man in a supernatural world full of invariably sexy, horny women. Love equated with lust, and love/lust at first sight. Think of it as less of a story, and more of a night dream, which like all dreams has its own rules, that for as long as you are dreaming, you accept on its own terms.

Critical feedback is fine, but if you’re going to be rude or demeaning, keep it to yourself. The usage of the words “cum/cummed/cumming” rather than “come/came/coming” is a deliberate stylistic choice.

All characters are 18+.

I apologize for the erratic rate of posting, but my inspiration comes in fits and starts. Enjoy!


Rivers of cum twisted sinuously in the pits of Lilith’s hell, the musk of Man filling the ravines and gorges of mossy stone. Succubi bathed decadently in their father’s seed, reveling in his liquid lust as it seeped into their pussies. The low groans of sensual pleasure in the nine circles grew into a louder chorus of panted gasps as demonelles crested the waves of ecstasy, licking his cum off each other’s bodies and out of their pussies, kissing madly in the rivers of spunk and trading their drool and Alexander’s cum.

In the center of the pits, atop a ridge from which could be seen the high cliff walls around them and ravines below them, sat a great black stone throne, cushioned in brilliant red moss. Alexander lounged in this throne, incubus and prince consort. Lily snuggled up into his side and spoke mysteries unto him in whispered moans. He grasped her shapely round ass, moaning into her kiss as succubi lavished his succulent cock with lust and slobber.

His massive shaft towered, perpetually erect and dark purple, pulsing ropes of jizz into his daughters’ mouths. “You are incubus now, Alexander of the Mighty Cock,” Lily murmured to him as a low moan wrenched his mouth out of their kiss. “We have unleashed the lust of your cock, but the passion of your heart has yet to be fully awakened.” Alexander groaned again as he pumped cum into a succubus’ throat. He convulsively squeezed Lily’s lovely form into him, slicking his thigh with her juicy pussy.

Her eyes rolled back briefly, her bust heaving into his side as her breath caught in the middle of forming a sentence. A succubus tugged a ball sack into her mouth and suckled. “I first met you long before you first met me,” Lily panted. “You loved me, and your load was so great, so full, that your seed has remained in me these long ages, siring daughter after daughter upon me.”

She ran a pale finger delicately up his chest, tracing the deep red curves of his muscles as more jets of cum spurted into his daughter’s mouth, as her throat glucked greedily on his vibrating, studded pole. In response, Alexander kissed Lily once more, gently at first, savoring her hot mouth. This quickly heated into frantic tongueing as his demonic daughters milked his dick lustily.

“Mmmmm, Daddy…” a succubus managed to moan, somewhat coherently, around the mass of his cock sausage stuffing her mouth. His manhood lurched at her lewd desire, tossing the curls of her white hair about as she wrenched more bursts of cum from him. His back arched, head lolling back, and Lily grinned knowingly.

“Behold, Alexander of the Mighty Cock,” she murmured in a sultry almost-alto. “Your tide rises.”

Indeed, the neverending fountains of cum from the new incubus lord’s eternally hard shaft were pouring more and more into the rivers of cum, as they slowly rose along the banks of the pit.

“Maidens four shall mark the tide,” he managed to groan out. Lily nodded.

“Your passion makes you wise,” she agreed. “Despite my eromantic lore, I have not the particular gift of a seer as does the oracle Cyranre. But your cum awoke a seer’s sight in Zaelle.” The succubal girl with skin as pale as Lily’s and hair as fiery as Cinnamon’s. “Four virgins, crowned in crimson locks, shall mark the time till I must release you to follow your passion where it leads you.”

“My passion… leads me here, Lily of…the Dark Eyes.” Alexander tossed his head from side to side as a procession of his daughters took turns giving their father head. His grip clenched spastically, one hand on Lily’s ass, the other in the raven hair of a succubus who nursed obscenely upon him.

Lily stroked his brow, where sweat had plastered his newly red-orange curls to his forehead around his horns. “For now,” she whispered, and pressed moist, fluttering kisses to his dusk-skinned throat. Her other hand caressed his muscular chest, feeling every chiseled outline. “As prince consort of the exiled goddess, it is your right and duty to visit maidens of the lands above and show them the wonders of lust and the pleasures of a Man.”

A demonelle standing behind them tapped the surface of the summerwine in the silver basin next to the throne, and as ripples spread across the rich purple liquid, an image formed. A young maiden appeared to him in the pool, a girl with creamy skin and lush black ringlets down to her neck. Her breasts were delicate pears, with tiny nipples in full areolas. Her pussy was bald and pink.

Alexander tilted his head back, and his succubal daughter poured summerwine from a golden pitcher down his throat. His cock lurch mightily, flinging his cocksucking daughter around as her curls tossed. She moaned around his girth, and laughed delightedly as it popped free of her throat. She ran a teasing finger along the thick, stud-bordered cum tube of his drool-slathered cock. “Mmmmm, Daddy, so big… I think you need to plow a fertile valley.”

He grinned his crooked smile, and flicked out his long tongue to brush wetly upon her nose. She giggled naughtily. Lily turned his face to hers with a hand on his cheek, and melded her lips to his once more. “Go forth, my mighty-cocked incubus,” she murmured, and he drifted…

As one drifts into a dream from wakefulness, so Alexander drifted from cum-musked hell to the lands above. In the mountains upon the edge of the world, a pavilion rested on a lush outcropping of rock, sky open to the moonlight, illuminating the maiden for whom he had come.

Half-hidden in filmy curtains blowing from between the marble pillars surrounding her open-aired chamber, Mollissia lay upon a thick quilt woven from blue and white feathers. She shifted in her slumber, thighs rubbing together, as Alexander drifted into reality. Her hair was dark, nearly black ringlets in a rich fan around her head, her skin creamy and pale in the moonlight. Two flowers were twined in her hair.

His flesh had darkened to ebony, but his hair remained flame-orange. His cock stood at towering attention, his entire slab of meat a deep purple shade. Clear precum, flowing in rivulets from his cockknob down his shaft, glistened in the soft moonlight, and the violent throbs of passion that spasmed his cock flung droplets of his precum about with sweet abandon.

He flicked out his tongue salaciously, and his breath perfumed the air with his musky incense. The young maiden’s nipples hardened into pebbly points, and she rubbed her thighs together once more. A moist sheen became apparent on her puffening slit. “Mmmmm,” she sighed dreamily. Alexander knelt beside her bed, and rolled out his long tongue to wrap around her boob in wet, heavy licks. Mollissia gasped and moaned, her head tossing about in her sleep. He lowered his finger, and touched it lightly to her achingly stiff nipple–

She screamed in ecstasy, snapping awake as orgasms shook her body. Her back arched, her toes curled, her eyes rolled back. “Oooooooooh Goddess!” she moaned. Her eyes slowly came into focus once more, and she gasped as she saw the incubus and felt the heavy wet warmth of his tongue wrapped around her succulent pear-shaped tit. She shivered violently, a spasm of pleasure wracking her body. “Who…?” she panted out, barely able to draw breath.

His lips curved into his warm, crooked smile. “I am Alexander.” His voice was slightly muffled around his tongue, which squeezed around her boob, milking and massaging. He slowly withdrew it, sliding it slickly along her flesh as she shivered. His cock was massively erect, a deep throbbing purple pole swaying and twitching before her eyes, and she stared at his manhood as though hypnotized.

“I am,” she paused, licking her lips, “Mollissia. Alexander…” Her voice trailed off in wonder as her creamy-skinned hand reached out to caress the thick, thrumming cum tube bordered by studs, massaging it with her thumb. He groaned lewdly. His dick lurched so madly that it batted away her hand, and she laughed hoarsely in husky delight. “Are you a demon come to seduce me?” Her gaze never strayed from his throbbing cockknob as she began rubbing soft slow circles around the top metallic stud tingling on his sensitive triangle.

“A Man come to love you,” he said in gasped moans as she fondled and milked him. He moved to kneel behind her at the head of her bed of quilts. Her eyes widened with lusty anticipation, and she opened her mouth to receive his gift. Mollissia’s hand tugged on his mighty shaft as his succulent cockhead pressed between her plump lips and stretched them into thin pink lines.

“Mmmmm!” she moaned lewdly, lovingly, as she sucked on his head. Then her lips clamped down around his flared helmet as he popped into her mouth. Alexander moaned a gasping cry as her hot, wet, eager mouth suckled noisily upon him.

“Molly…” he groaned, anointing her with precum and a lover’s name of affection. Her hands reached behind her, insistently pulling on his shaft, and he drove his hips forward, plunging his massive dong deep into her throat. Her scream of absolute ecstasy was muffled by his titanic dick, but she thrashed around his pole and squirted her creamy juices in a glistening wet spray.

In and out, Alexander pumped his studded dick within Mollissia’s tight, glucking throat. Fierce wet heat bathed his cockmeat as she swallowed him whole, her lips slurping greedily around the base of his shaft as his heavy nuts smeared her face with his sweat and her own drool. She slobbered eagerly around him, saliva pouring down his balls and her face, pooling on the quilt as she traded her thick coats of drool for his sticky globs of precum.

He burst, jets of liquid fire creaming down her thirsty throat. Her milking swallows eagerly guzzled down his jizz, and her throat gurgled with obscene glugging moans. He gasped in a soundless roar as he pumped his load inside her maiden mouth, and his knees buckled. He half-fell, half-lay forward onto her, and she juiced hard, spraying his face with hot love as she felt his powerful muscles thrumming atop her.

He buried his face into her cunt as his load pumped into her. She squirmed lustily as he rolled them both over, so that she lay on top of him. She moaned and gurgled lewd love around his spunking shaft, grinding her pussy hard into his face, soaking him with her womanly dew. Her hands fondled his massive nuts as she moved her head back and forth, jerking his thick log with her throat. He shuddered in lust, unable to stop pouring his thick cockslop down her throat, and his long, demonic tongue slithered sensuously between her puffy red slit.

Molly screamed in obscene euphoria, her yells of passion muffled by his rod. Her pussy was a fountain, showering his face with her juices, slicking his thick mane of flame-hued hair and running down his head and chin. Alexander’s long, sinuous red tongue dived into the depths of her cunny, curling and twisting and probing. It curled back on itself, thickening coils caressing every velvet wall of her womanhood, before doubling back to flick his tip up at her clit.

The raven-locked maiden thrashed atop him, gasping breathlessly around his thick slab of meat. Her hot, sweet breath washed over his pole, and he grunted, muscles coiling as he blasted forth a final geyser within her. She shuddered violently with rapture, and fell limply upon him. “Mmmmmmmmm!” she moaned around his shaft, lightly nursing it with gentle glucks in her throat.

Alexander bestowed a hot kiss upon her steamy pussy, loving her with his lips, and her back arched. “I would take thee, Molly,” his sigh whispered up her body. She shuddered with glowing pleasure at the thought, and pulled her throat off his turgid cock, revealing the drool-slicked rod that gleamed in Selene’s light.

She tugged on his shaft as she rolled over onto her back once more. His hand came to rest upon hers, and pulled her hand away as he rolled up to kneel over her. His tremendous cock came to rest heavily along her torso. Her breathing quickened, the apples of her eyes flaring in excitement, and her rocky nipples scraped lightly against his chest as her hand tightened in his.

Her other hand came down to clasp his thick trunk. With a wondering touch, she kneaded it softly, relishing the groans she milked from him, and pulled it away from her tummy. In tune with her intent, Alexander pulled his hips up. His fat cockknob left a slick trail of sticky precum along her tummy as it pulled back, till the bulbous head of his member throbbed into her bald, wet slit.

Mollissia trembled with desire and longing as she gazed up into the Man-Incubus’ eyes of glimmering embers. She panted dark wet heat upon his face, and as her pussy slicked the tip of his cock with her overflowing honey, she humped her hips up at him needily. Her puffening pink slit stretched wide around his cockhead, aching to bury him within herself.

Alexander smiled his crooked smile. “Molly,” he rumbled lustily. He bent to press his lips to hers as he slid into her maidenhood. She gasped with throaty pleasure into his mouth as he breached her. In the throes of virgin ecstasy, her hips thrashed upward, sinking him fully within her in the space between heartbeats.

Their lips gasped apart as she buried him to the hilt inside her, his heavy sweaty balls heaving and churning against her tight ass. “Al– Al– Alexander!” Mollissia babbled with incoherent delight. She gyrated her hips up against his, grinding against him with desperate need, and he began thrusting. Their hips pummeled each other with slurpy, salacious smacks as Man and maiden, incubus and mortal, made passionate, lusty love.

His massive cockknob penetrated into her womb, and Molly arched her back with gasped pleasure as his flared cock crown caught on her cervix, locking him into place right where he belonged. Alexander groaned, every muscle shuddering, and he cummed with the force of a waterfall, bursting thick jets of jizz inside her fertile, nubile womb.

Molly’s ecstasy blossomed lewd, sweet nectar onto his bloated nuts as she felt his hot, life-giving seed pour into her. She locked her legs around his back, holding him tight as her pussy frantically clenched and convulsed around his pulsating, spurting member. Her womb greedily slurped up every last glob of cum she enticed from him as their obscene screams mingled in a chorus of rapture that echoed off the mountainsides.

As the eastern sky began to lighten, Alexander started to fade, leaving behind a thoroughly loved woman, a maiden no more.

June 2018
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