“I! Said! To! Shut! Your! Filthy! Mouth! Whore!” While he snarled his broken sentence, Early Assem of House Kavak brought his leather boot down onto his bed wench’s neck. An audible, and disgusting, crack came with it and the girl went limp. The noblemen’s struggled to regulate his heated breath as the dragon in him flared. His eyes were wide with rage, and his hands trembled. His brown hair soaked in sweat, and his brown eyes
He stared down on the young girl, no older than twelve, she met her end on the cold flagstones of the Northern Keep’s inner sanctum. For a man who couldn’t keep his hands off “young” girls, he was surprisingly… Unforgiving towards their volatile emotional states. The beating had neared the sixth minute and the chambermaid had noted that she had wouldn’t have survived even if he had spared her.
“That’s the fifth one.” She stated. “You’re not allowed to have another until next year, you know that, right?” She stared with cold eyes on the noblemen, her tone even colder. Though the keep was under attack, she didn’t particularly care. She wasn’t just a chambermaid, she was one of the Royal Family’s chambermaids. Until the dragon breached the wards and enchantments, it wasn’t a concern. Unlike the dead child on the man’s bedroom floor.
The man’s hateful glare turned to her. A retort on the tip of his vile tongue, but he elected not to say it. He knew he’d lose in a war of wits with this maid, and he couldn’t kill her even if he tried. So, he kept his mouth shut as he grounded his teeth in frustration. He had known that but in his brief, yet not so brief, the moment of rage – he had killed her.
“All she did was cry like the child she was when the dragon struck the keep.” The maid continued. “That’s what children do, and if you want to keep sticking your manhood in children; you’re going to have to learn how to tolerate it. While you have the blood of the Dragons in you, you’re only the son of the emperor’s brother. You do not have the impunity reserved for full-blooded Dragons.”
The maid sneered, and he sneered back. For a few heartbeats, neither of them broke away.
Assem was the first to back away, just as she had anticipated. He was a weak-willed man-child that had never seen battle, his rank given to him because of who his father was, rather than merit. He a soft, lustful, and vindictively violent who had an inclination towards female children.
“You know I’ll have to report this to your father, yes?” She asked.
He only rolled his eyes and kicked the dead girl, the tip of his boot knocking out any remaining teeth that may have survived as it crashed into the body’s mouth. He probably would have raged more if the maid wasn’t there to mock him.
“Are you done yet?” She spoke up again, “Or do you just enjoy kicking children?”
He huffed and glared at her. “I don’t know why father’s limits me.” His voice was pompous, to say the least. “I only fuck the low-born. I’m not touching just any noble child, why do I have to be limited to five a year? They’re stupid creatures whose sole purpose is to serve us!”
“Despite what you may think of serfs and the common person, they can still kill a noble as easily as you kill them.” She said with a tired sigh. While most nobles failed to understand this and lorded over his subjects as if they were gods, a member of the Royal family had to remember this. Even if they did not care to believe it, let it not be said that they tried to educate a good ruler. Assem would never be an emperor or a minister, but he was still of royal blood.
Thus, he was relegated to the land he was lest to harm the royal reputation, as futile as it was. The chambermaid reflected on her actions in her younger years. She was only a few years older than the Earl, but she had been much too skilled in her duties. She always managed to clean up after him when he was younger. Always torturing the family hounds, bullying the servants. She never believed it would have gotten to the point of rape, but for all her good points, she could never tell when Assem had hit the bottom of the shit pit.
He hadn’t been in this post for but a year before he started openly taking young girls from the nearby village for his pleasures. He didn’t even shy away from telling their parents his intentions for them. Most didn’t mind. A silver here, an Imperial Crown there, and very rarely did anyone put up a fight. But he was running out off greedy parents. At this rate, he was going to run into a parent that would run their pitchfork through, or knife, or whatever weapon a low-born could find.
“Are you threatening me?!” Assem raised his voice. “I am royalty and I demand–!”
The maid cut him off. “Yes, you are of the royal blood, but you’re not of the direct line. That is why you are an Earl, not a prince. Need I remind you, if you continue your antics, you’ll be a dead prince by the end of the year. One of these days, you’re going to take the wrong child. It will be one of your guard’s precious apples, and then when it happens, you’ll be slaughtered. I won’t stop them either.” Her voice chilled the moron to his core.
“But- But-” He stammered, his eyes searching for something he could use against her. “You are supposed to protect me!” He squeaked.
“No.” She retorted. “I am to make sure you don’t lay your hands on another child of nobility. I am the holder of your leash. You’re free to try and kill me, but I’m also free to protect myself, which would involve killing you for trying.” She smirked gleefully at the thought of being freed from this wretched man.
Northern Protector of the Dragon Empire, Assem Kavak, Earl of the smallest fief in the empire, went pale as his bedsheets. While another complaint was on the tip of his tongue, he was saved from his egotistical head, a soldier burst through the door. Spear in hand, he stood in the doorway about to speak when he saw the dead body on the floor. He looked to the pale Earl, then the demon maid. Like all the other guards, he quickly stuffed whatever insult he had for the Nobleman and spoke his message.
“The dragon has been slain and the invading monsters have been chased back.”
× ♥ ×
Cyril and Priscilla sat side by side on a large rock a few feet in the river as they washed away the grime of the battle. Cyril was a much more pressing issue of cleaning as she was soaked from the very tips of her beautiful snowy hair to her very, very fine boots. None of them had stripped, but that was at Priscilla’s request since there were still within view of the keep. While Cyril never thought of the act as scandalous, Priscilla was a noblewoman, versed in the modesty and etiquette
She had almost gone into a lecture of both but Cyril was not going to have any of it. She was quick to simply haul the child down to the river, on the southern side of the wall, to wash off. Priscilla found something out about her newfound hero –
Cyril hated the feeling of blood on her.
Priscilla had watched the goddess scrub, and scrub with a rag at every inch of her body. Places that would have been to immodest to show under the sun, Priscilla helped her with. Blushing all the while at just how fine of a woman Cyril was. She had helped washed her mother, and her… belated best friend. Neither of them had been as plush as her. While she had all those good parts, thick thighs, soft and sizeable rear, and small waist. Not to mention how soft her skin was, she could feel the powerful muscles beneath those.
Not her breasts though, Cyril washed under there herself.
Still, it amazed her just how beautiful she was, and how deadly. She wouldn’t ever forget the scene of her slicing off a dragon’s head. The geyser of blood. The terrified retreat of the monster horde as their red eyes faded into nothing and ran for the forest with their tails between their legs. Cyril looked just like someone from one of those great epics at that moment. And she did it to save her…
Priscilla smiled like an idiot to herself as she splashed her feet in the slow-moving river as her mind slipped into her own little world. None the wiser that Cyril had only charged the dragon in a strange mixture of battle happy impulse, and a desire to just kill it. The killing part was habitual. Which gamer didn’t dream to face off a dragon? Cyril was no different. She loved fighting BAMS, she loved it even more when there was sweet, sweet loot. Despite what others thought of her, most of her items were gained through her own efforts, only very few – the really cute ones – were gotten via the administrator panel.
Both the girls sat and splashed their feet in the water, each stuck in their own thoughts. Each beautiful in their own right.
The clanging of metal pulled each of them from their worlds and they turned to the noise at their backs. On the bank of the river, a group of five pristine knights appeared. In front of them was a maid, dressed in a stereotypical victorian era dress. At the front of the group was a young man, handsome and slender. Similar to Desmond, but with muscles. His short blonde curly hair was combed back, his blue eyes framed with a slightly tanned face. Dressed in a fine light velvet doublet and trousers, patterned with spades and pinstripes in an oddly fashionable way.
He stood just on the cusp were the gravel and fertile bank soil met the lush, and unburnt grass. He looked onto the two girls.
“And who are you two?” He asked.
At the sound of his voice, Priscilla shuttered, remembering who he was.
“Earl Havak!” She squeaked with the fear she failed to contain.
“Ah!” Assem chuckled devilishly. “The lovely raven of the Hammel house.” He smiled confidently, like a wolf who had its prey fall right into its lap. Priscilla gulped. Cyril felt the sudden shift between the two. She didn’t know what history laid between the two, but she wasn’t so blind to see how to two reacted to each other.
“Who are you?” The goddess asked the glow of her eyes hidden in the sunlight and the dangerous gleam.
“You will address Earl Havak as such, or not at all!” One of the knights barked halfheartedly before the man in question could fly into one of his moods again. Least he’d want to see something happen to these two angelic girls.
“Who are you?” Cyril repeated her question in spite of the knight’s subtle help.
“I am Earl Assem of House Havak, lord of Lanthra’s Pass!” He huffed. “But since you are such a beautiful lass, I’ll spare you!” He puffed his chest as he pulled down on the hem of his shirt in discomfort. His maid was had half the mind to slap him upside the head. Clearly, the white-haired maiden looked like nobility, and she practically screamed of wealth.
She knew of Lady Priscilla, but she could tell that it was the sister dress of the one Cyril wore. The fabric was something that looked even better than what the Emperor had, a far cry from some mere village girl. Yet he spoke to her as if she was that, a mere village girl.
“Cyril.” The woman responded before she got up from the river. She helped Priscilla up but kept their hands in each other as Cyril lead her across the short stretch of water between the rock and the bank. She passed the group, ignoring the stares and kept Priscilla from giving her partings with the Earl, least she’d have to speak more with him.
“Are you ignoring me!?” He roared, indignantly.
As if in response to his question, silence fell on the river bank.
× ♥ ×
Prince Randol DrakeFang glared at his cousin as he hollered on the top of his lungs. Something about a white-haired “Bitch” disrespecting him on the river bank. She apparently pulled away Priscilla while he attempted to converse with her. He didn’t doubt the words, because the pair had told him about a creep when they passed him on their return from bathing. Randol only wished he could slit his own throat. Desmond and Mai had already vacated the war wrecked outer bailey when he had appeared from his little enchanted inner keep.
They also hadn’t bothered to warn him that this plague of an extended family member was coming out, but lucky enough, he managed to blend into a group of soldiers resting after the terrible battle.
Nothing, however, could have been done when he stormed back. Like always, his non-existent dignity had been insulted and he was going to rain fury about whomever it was. Now he had to listen to his rant while being assaulted by the stench of the dead. Randol only stared at him with tired and resigned eyes. He was tired, hungry, and damn it, why did he have to deal with this blight upon the empire?
Unlike this pariah, Randol held the beliefs of the Imperial Family close to his heart, and while he may have… deviated from his duties slight, he was not sexual deviate who desired the young and wasn’t above cradle snatching.
And where were the ladies who had earned his ire? His eyes turned to the only cleared corner within the bailey. They both stood there gathering a few pieces of dried meat to munch on, alongside Desmond and Mai. Cyril was the only one who wasn’t attempting to make herself inconspicuous. She stood out among the beaten and filthy soldiers who were all too pleased to let her get her cut of the rations first. Hell, they were practically trying to hand her theirs.
Randol had to suppress a groan as Assem finally noticed when she had let out a songbird-like laugh. Two of the larger soldiers were acting like fools and attempted to show off by picking up a barrel of ale. He may have been able to do so if he was in a normal state. He was weary from battle and tired, thus, the barrel swayed before he lost hold of it. It fell off and broke against one of the bench tables and shattered. Ale rushed over the table before it splattered over a soldier who was resting on the bench.
It probably would have ended in a fistfight if the lady hadn’t broken out in laughter. Soon, everyone was laughing and the bulky soldier apologized to the other in embarrassment.
“You there!” Assem’s roar stilled the laughter as he strode over, sighing maid in tow. “You bitch! You think you can just–” The Earl’s hung flung backward as a thick wooden mug exploded across his face, smashing his nose.
All eyes looked to the now unconscious noble, then to Cyril. The action had been swift and had taken them by surprise. She had grabbed a mug off a table next to her and flung it at the man.
This time, the maid broke out in laughter.
× ♥ ×
Priscilla clung to Cyril’s left arm as the goddess held onto the shire horse’s reins. The rustle of the dirt beneath its hooves that only thing that disturbed the deathly silence that hung over the group. While her arm was fair, soft, and almost too feminine, it felt more reassuring than a thousand knights could ever feel. The warmth, the tend pat with her other hand.
The visions returned with a vengeance, and they all felt it.
The dead. Each student, each knight… Each goblin. When they had first mounted up onto the horses left at the stables at the edge of the forest, they had all been fine. It was only once the entrance had long disappeared did the visions strike. The beginning was like a murderous monsoon of hate and death, as all their dead walked out from behind each tree. As blood began to drip from the leaves onto them, so warm… So… Real.
It had only lasted a few seconds before Cyril could react, but it had done its wish. They were all terrified. Randol was still pale and shook slightly on his mare. He kept his eyes on the horse’s mane, careful to only look up to once and a while. Desmond kept his eyes on his brother’s back, and Mai… The poor beast girl clung to Desmond’s chest, still crying. It became apparent that Mai was not as mentally strong as they all thought. It had caught her off guard, her mind not prepared for the brutal and harsh scenes it slammed her with.
Priscilla… She shook like a leaf, but after Cyril had fought that dragon for them. She did not cry. She felt the fear deep in her bones. Down to her very being, but she had grown today. She had seen a dragon and saw its end. She would coward, but she would not turn – so she told herself; and for the next five miles, Cyril spent every waking moment, like a vigilant hawk, tearing apart any wisps of static. While winter was coming, the air around the small line of horses felt like summer as her anger stabbed, torn, and obliterated them when she found them.
For five miles… the curse and Cyril played a dangerous game of Cat and Mouse.
After two painful hours and five miles, they brought through the treeline and plots of farmland welcomed them. Sunlight kissed them, and the visions had no other place to erupt from. Maybe on the treeline, but that would be a waste of its mana. Something that had been nearly drained as it tried to fulfill its mission and Cyril would rip it apart. She had also learned had to consume mana, thus, for every ten attempts, Cyril could completely destroy seven of them and deal a blow to the curse on each of them.
She wasn’t sure if that was how curse-breaking worked, because she didn’t actually write that part of the lore. Jax had. He had a knack for being the “good guy”, even when he wasn’t, but that was in the past and Cyril pushed the memories down into the depths of her heart. She had to remind her self not to think of home because home was pain.
She had to focus on the now. At least, until she sorted her situation out first. Unlike before, she was sure she would have time to do it.
“There it is!” Priscilla finally chirped. “Quinn’s Wood. It is the way-point between the Northern Keep and the Gully Point.”
“Gully point?” Cyril forced a chuckle. “What kind of name is that?”
“Its a port,” Priscilla said. “It’s a hub between the western border and the empire. It’s quite a popular city.”
“Is there anything between Quinn and Gully?” Cyril asked.
“A lot of hamlets,” Priscilla muttered. “The northern lands are not well thought off in the Empire. It’s too close to the forest. A lot of monsters roam up here. The south is quite peaceful, so you’ll mainly find adventurers up here more so than commoners. Knights also come up north to test their mettle against the stronger monsters too.”
“Hmm.” Cyril mused. “I see. Where would a dragon fall on the scale of monsters these people fight?”
Priscilla turned around and stared into the maiden’s lovely molten eyes. She examined each of her eyes, perplexed. “Really…?” Priscilla said after a few moments of just jumping from each eye to another. It had been so amusing, that Cyril’s anger had simmered at it and she chuckled for real.
“Yes!” Cyril’s voice rose in joyful defense. “Dragon’s weren’t the biggest baddies before. There were tens of bosses to fight, and dragons were only a small portion of the lineup!”
“By the sun!” Priscilla exclaimed. “She’s not joking!”
Slowly, but surely, the darkness had passed as they stepped foot into a small piece of civilization.
× ♥ ×
Quinn’s Woods was a large village with a population of just under five hundred. In Cyril’s eyes, that was a damn town! Desmond had to point out that there was no real set number to be defined by, only whatever the central government deemed them to be. Quin’s Wood was only labeled a village, and probably would always be labeled as such. The village had only grown from a hamlet by the road and into what it was nearly only ten years ago. There was a need to have a waypoint for the constant flow of goods and human resources as Quinn’s Woods was sat on a vital crossroad.
Before Desmond could go on about the historical facts of the quaint little settlement, Mai shoveled a spoonful of mashed potatoes into his mouth. She no longer avoided the shadows, but she also made sure to stay in the light. As such, they sat around the largest table the only tavern in town had. While the village had a huge population, the town was quiet and alone bard who strummed a lazy, but catchy tune as he sat on a table pressed up against the large tavern wall.
A few women passed by with buckets in hand, and a few even eyed Randol with bashful stares just before they reeled at the sight of Mai. None of them paid any mind to them as wooden plates of roasted duck and venison were laid out before them. The tavern’s owner personally brought out slightly cold mugs of mead that, while bitter, was okay to Cyril. When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do. Unless… Well, use your head in that regard she thought.
She sipped at the mug sparingly, aware that she hadn’t felt the urge to eat, or do any of the other… bodily functions the others had to do. Not that she didn’t appreciate not having to crouch behind bushes. It made her wonder what would happen if she did eat. She ripped a leg off the whole duck and nibbled on it. The taste was flat, and a small pink tongue ejected the small morsel she had chewed.
“I-Is something wrong with the duck…” The tavern owner seemed to have materialized out of thin air, the group unaware that he was just off the side hoping none of the high-born patrons would be offended by his humble cooking.
“It tastes… flat,” Cyril responded, her golden eyes rose to meet the man.
“Err…” He looked to the others at the table.
“It’s acceptable,” Desmond said as he finished a sip of his mead, his love only nodded in agreement.
“Food is food,” Randol said as he sat up, his eyes fell on Cyril.
“What?” Cyril looked confused at why he was looking to her.
“What’s… flat about it?” Randol asked, not intending to fight, but purely out of curiosity. It was far better than a soldiers ration on a battlefield, but it was certainly far below the palette of a noble.
“I…” She bit her defensive retort and just stated how she felt. “I was just expecting the food to taste… more spectacular….”