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The True Source of Magic (2nd part)

..."she was the one lying there receiving thrust after pleasurable thrust"...

Chapter 1: The Longest Chapter - continued

Kadren swung her mace threateningly at one of the creatures.  It backed away a little, but did not retreat.  The other five paused, but then resumed their slow advance forward.  They looked like small, ugly (uglier than usual) goblins, and more feral than any goblin she had ever encountered.  These were the same sort of creature that Coj had already handily dispatched.  They made shrill noises as they closed in, and gave off, what sounded like, cackles.  They also waved their arms wildly at Kadren, teasing or threatening her.  They had no weapons, but their claws looked sharp, and their teeth hungry.  Kadren wished she had dispatched the two she encountered first, instead of fleeing, because the other four joined the fray as she was running, and now she was backed into a blind section of the cave, having to face all six at once.

“Leave me be!” Kadren yelled.  “I'm warning you.  I will strike you down, if you come closer!”  This brought about more cackling sounds from the goblinoids.  

Kadren dared not put down her mace or shield to cast a more complete spell, but, with her shield and mace at the ready, she began her chant-like spell-casting, and a flame began forming in front of her, as before.  This flame, though, was less white and less hot than the one she had made before, and it was not round. The spell-casting was a lot more difficult without the free use of her hands and arms, and what she produced now was more like a regular flame.  She built it to the size of her head and no further, lest she should lose control of the flame, or deplete her strength too quickly.  But it was still enough to halt the goblinoids advances, and Kadren felt a small relief when she saw them stop.  Kadren strained to keep the flame alive, and to keep her focus on her enemies and her spell at the same time.  She had to think quickly on how to use her new advantage.  She kept up her spell-chanting as she advanced slowly towards the goblinoids, and was delighted to see them retreating.  Her mind raced to come up with a plan.  She decided to push them towards the large entrance of the blind chamber she was in.  Once she was close enough to the entrance, she could throw the magic flame as a distraction and run for it.  Kadren hoped the flame would be enough to discourage a pursuit, but she knew her spell was not powerful enough to incapacitate all of them.

Kadren kept a steady pace forward, and the goblinoids continued to retreat, baring their teeth, and hissing at her in displeasure.  Every step forward was taxing, the energy and concentration required was draining her relentlessly, and the progress was aggravatingly slow.  She began to have doubts as to whether she would even have enough strength left to run, if she reached the entrance.  As is often the case in unpleasant circumstances, time slowed to a snail’s pace, and it seemed to Kadren that it might take hours to reach her goal.  But steadily she inched closer, and Kadren began to feel a surge of hope as the entrance loomed just a few yards away. Unfortunately, her plan did not succeed.   

Whether it was because it had deduced her plan, or whether it just got tired of retreating, one of the goblinoids - after looking towards the other four, and exchanging quick guttural noises - made a sudden lunge at her from her left.  Kadren reacted quickly, and made a rapid movement with her mace arm towards the creature, causing the flame to hurtle at the goblinoid.  The flame flared up dramatically on impact, and faded rapidly; there was much screeching that ensued.  Kadren had no time to see the result of her flame attack, however, as the others had moved in on her the instant her flame faded.

Kadren fought off the five assailants for a while.  They pursued doggedly, and were wolf-like in their attacks, but Kadren was no easy prey.  They had trained her hard in the Order, and she had learned well.  But, eventually, shield and mace began to weigh too much, and her movements slowed.  Her legs also began to feel like cotton, protesting the running she had made them do, and now this deadly exertion.  She was thankful that she had decided to put on her coif before all this happened, for there were a couple of blows from teeth and fangs that surely would have been deadly, instead of just painful, had it not been for the mail headpiece.  

Kadren was able to down two of their pack, and wounded one, before she ended up locked in a deadly wrestling match.  She had a goblinoid on each arm and one leg.  Her mace had been knocked away and her shield she dropped due to exhaustion.  It was then, with both hands involuntarily occupied, that Kadren finally learned what effect her flame spell had had on the last goblinoid, for it was now charging at her, screaming with unmistakable fury.  Its face was badly burned on one side, looking like charred and melted dark green flesh; the goblinoid had its one remaining, usable eye trained on Kadren with deep malice.   Kadren braced for doom.   

But then… by the entryway.... a blink of a shadow… a glint of metal… the charging goblinoid suddenly halted, and fell…  A man?... he was too quick…  She could not see clearly in the dim light… in the blink of an eye he was upon them.  Coj!?  No.  It was another.  His fighting, however, was similar to Coj’s, in that both men fought with effortless grace, and incredible speed.  Kadren was unable to follow all of his movements.  But there were only a few movements made before her assailants had fallen; the last sounds they made were screeches and gurgling noises.  

When all had stopped Kadren looked upon her rescuer and again thought of Coj, for this man looked like he might be half-elven.  Now that he was closer, she saw that he had hints of that fair race in his face.  But this man’s hair was black, instead of gold.  He also had a cape on, which was something Coj did not wear.

After the gruesome task, the stranger wiped the blood off his blade with the ends of his cape; the blade glistened unnaturally, even in the dim light.  He then sheathed his sword, and turned to Kadren. “Are you hurt?”, he asked.

“No, I’m fine.”  Kadren paused to take a breath; she was still trying to steady her breathing.  “Many thanks to you.”  Breath.  “I'm indebted to you for saving me.”  Breath.

“No need for thanks, because I’ll be needing your help as well.  We will save each other from this wretched place.  But first, a quick introduction: my name is Callum Rominel of Thinden.  Friends just call me Cal, and I think our common enemy makes us friends.  Now, I would like to know who my new friend is.”

“I am Kadren.  I am a Sister of the Shining Order, from the city of Borjes, of the Kingdom of Galicia.

“Welcome to Dritam” - they both smiled at the humour.  “You are a long way from home, Kadren.  We will exchange full stories later, but for now I will tell you this: I have been trying to find my friends who were last headed to the evil house above us, and I fell down into this hell when I walked into a trap.   I'm guessing you are down here through similar circumstances?”

“Yes, that's right.  Except I was with my fr-”... the briefest of pauses: Kadren hesitated to say the word friends for some reason…  “-companions before I fell, in the abandoned manor... well, what we thought was abandoned…  I had wandered off to a different part of the house.  They’re probably up there trying to find me right now.  I suppose I'm glad they haven't found me, or else it means we're all trapped down here. But, anyway, it looks like you’ve found me.”

The stranger smiled.  He was handsome.  Kadren felt a tinge of guilt and disappointment in herself for assessing a man's attractiveness in such an inappropriate time.  

“Yes.  I was on my way past this area when I noticed something going on in here.  I thought I would be passing through as quietly as a mouse, but then I glimpsed someone [he waved his hand in her direction] being prey to those foul creatures’... awful pastimes…”  He paused, as if seeing something in front of him, far away.  “They delight in evil.  I've seen the remains of their victims… and I think I saw what's left of my friends...”

Kadren shuddered, and for a short time neither of them spoke.  During the silence, Kadren glanced upwards at him, when she had had her fill of the silence.  Kadren just could not help but notice that he really was beautiful.  The more she stared at him, the more she was convinced of elven blood.   His hair was pitch black, and his skin reminded her of the moon.  Moon Elf?  But it couldn't be; they had all been banished…

“There's more of them... we must escape before they find us in full force,” said Callum Rominel, breaking Kadren’s trance.  “It's a vast labyrinth down here, but I've already scouted extensively this wretched place, and I think we're close to the way out.  I can lead us towards where I think the exit is.  But first, do you need some rest?”

“No, I'm fine.”  Kadren was still a little winded, and also suddenly felt the fatigue that was due after surviving such a skirmish.  She felt her knees give way just a tiny bit when the idea of rest was presented to her, but she held on, willing herself to stay standing.

“I’m sorry.  I didn't mean for that to sound like a challenge.”  He smiled, a charming smile.  “I meant only to humbly suggest that you rest here while I scout ahead, to ensure the path is still safe.  I know you are a great warrior, tireless and stout of heart, but I think we would benefit from your full might in whatever trials we may face...  Some rest will help to bring out your full might.”

Kadren smiled back at him.  “I’m no warrior, my lord, as you’ve seen...  I'm just a common cleric.  My strength and skill are far inferior to yours.  But I do want to be as helpful as I can be, and not be a burden.  There's little I can do to help you, but what little I can do, I'll probably do better after some rest… I understand your meaning… I will rest...  And I'm very grateful to you, my lord.”

“The name, again, is Cal, my friend, Kadren. And you are certainly most welcome to whatever aid my sword can provide.  As for skill and strength…  One must remember that both - skill and strength - tend to shine brighter when used on a preoccupied enemy, and both tend to dim with fatigue. We will likely have plenty of opportunities to test both, fully, very soon.  For now, you must stay safe and out of sight.  Wait for me at the back of this… tunnel, or whatever we might call it.

“Thank you, Cal.”  She smiled.

Cal tugged at something around his neck and a pendant appeared out from underneath his armor and garb.  He then whispered something into it, and the pendant began to glow with a pale blue light.  With the glowing gem lighting the way, he walked with her to the end of the chamber, where she could sit and rest, with her back against the wall, as far as possible from the entryway.  He handed her a small waterskin when she had settled down, and the water tasted sweet against her dry tongue.

“Here.”  He unclasped his cape and laid it over her as she drank.  “This will make it hard to spot you.  To passing eyes, you will appear to be a part of the surroundings.”

Kadren cringed a little bit on the inside as she thought about the goblinoid blood he had wiped onto the ends of the cape, but she did not want to appear to be an ingrate, so she smiled a small, tight smile, conveying as much gratefulness as she possibly could.  She wrapped the cape around herself, and placed the tail end of the cape on the ground by her feet, as far away from herself as possible.  Given that Cal was quite a bit taller, the cape was rather large for her, and the end where the blood might have been ended up at a satisfactory distance from herself.

She felt an inexplicable comfort and unexpected warmth with the cape wrapped around her.  There was also a distinct fragrance that made Kadren think of idyllic summer days; she began thinking of her childhood and her bed back home, but then something inside her told her not to get too comfortable.  She took off her coif, and covered her head with the cape as well, so that her head would not betray her presence, should there really be passing eyes.  With her thus situated, Cal gave her a smile and nod, then turned to walk out of the chamber; it became dark as he walked away.

With Cal gone, Kadren sat there alone in the silent darkness.  She stared at the flames sitting on the torches sparsely lining the entryway, in the distance; there were no torches where she was resting, at the blind end of the chamber.  She became curiously fascinated by the flames, which she thought was due to the fact that there was nothing else stimulating going on.  Even though they were many yards away, Kadren enjoyed them as if they were up close, noticing that they were adding to the warmth and comfort she was already experiencing.  They appeared beautiful to her.  

The flames were rather motionless in the still air of the cave, but Kadren saw such life in them, and she also began to see in them her own life… the warm and comfortable aspects of her life… the happy times she had… happy times she would have soon…  She saw dancing, and singing, and laughing…  And she saw… passion!…  She saw Coj…  

She felt flushed and tingly, in addition to warmth and comfort...  She saw Coj and herself holding a long embrace, each not willing to let the other one go…  She saw giggling, and teasing, and eyes lingering, and lips… lips meeting, not willing to part… lips brushing gently on skin, soft pecks here and there…  And nibbling… playful bites on the right spots…  There were caresses too… hands that would never be satisfied, hands that delighted in exploring … hands that travelled all over, and finally settled on the most secret of places…  

Kadren gasped as the images and sensations became vividly intense, and she felt a shudder, and a twitch in her nether regions.  She felt weird.  Something was not right, and she felt a dull panic, but she was more curious and delighted by her present state than frightened.  She wondered whether she was just giddy from having survived the attack.

Kadren rubbed her cheek against the surprisingly soft fabric of the cape, which was not expected of something worn by a battle-hardened warrior; but perhaps the softness was part of its magical properties, besides just the ability to hide her from sight.  The material gave her unexpected joy and pleasure, and she took off her gloves to savour the delightful feel of it in between her fingers, in her palms, on her cheeks, on her lips.  She wondered if it was silk, because the word “silky” came to mind.  She had only ever encountered silk once before in her life, and she remembered the material to be somewhat similar, but the feel of the cape was a lot more luxuriant and pleasurable than any material that she could remember.  

But she desired the feel of Coj the most.  The flames of the torches seemed to have ignited an unknown flame inside herself, and it burned inside her mercilessly, such that she wanted very much to have it quenched.  There was a voice inside her that warned of the inappropriateness of her desires in the current setting and situation, but that voice was small and drowned out by the roaring of these strange new fires.  Not having Coj nearby, yet desiring him so intensely, Kadren satisfied her urges by obsessively enjoying the feel of the cape, imagining that the tingling pleasures she felt from touching the cape were from Coj’s touch.  She kneaded and squeezed, trying to draw out every last drop of pleasure the cape might have to offer.  She plunged her face in and smelled deeply, trying to get more of that summertime fragrance, which had since turned into an exotic aroma; she sniffed and sniffed, trying to dig out a trace of Coj’s scent within the intoxicating aroma of the cape.  Everything she did now was for the purpose of getting closer and closer to Coj, and to get closer and closer to the ultimate pleasure that was overdue, the ultimate closeness she was supposed to share with Coj.

And as she was thus fully absorbed, she felt a light tap on her shoulder; it startled her so much that it might as well have been a slap in the face.  She looked up to see Cal with a smirk on his face.

“I'm glad to see you enjoying my gift to you.”

“Y-yes… I-I-I… uhhh…  I…” Karen struggled to find the right words.  How could she explain to him what was going on?  But the truth of the matter was that she had no idea what was going on.  She could not even explain to herself why she was behaving the way she was.

“That's quite alright.  No need to explain.  It is a wondrous piece of garment isn't it?” he said, the smirk never leaving his face; he seemed oddly satisfied about something.

“I'm sorry,” Kadren said apologetically, finally finding enough of her voice to utter something complete.  “I'm not sure what came over me.  Perhaps I'm more exhausted than I thought, and I'm not fully in my right mind…”  She hoped that he saw only her enjoyment of the fabric, and not the imagined pleasures it provoked.  “But your cape is, indeed… wonderful…” Kadren said, as she handed the cape back to him.  “It gives me great comfort.  It… it has some wonderful magic.”

“It was made with comfort in mind…  And pleasure…”  His smile turned up even more, and he looked extremely amused.

Before Kadren could fully dwell on why he said “pleasure” with such pleasure, he interrupted her thoughts with a sudden urgency.

“Come. We must go quickly. I've found our salvation.”  He offered his hand.  

She quickly took his hand, almost reflexively, spurred on by the urgency in his voice.  But when she stood up, Kadren wobbled, and realised that she had gotten up too quickly for her current state.  She fell into Cal, who steadied her effortlessly with his obvious strength.  Kadren felt a sense of security and comfort, and lingered in his arms.  She also filled herself with his soothing scent, the same scent that was in the cape, the same scent that seemed to be everywhere.  She looked up to see Cal smiling knowingly at her, and she noticed that she found him even more appealing now.  She chastised herself for being attracted to Cal.  She wished it was Coj holding her, for she desired nothing more than to be held in that instant, and she also did not want to feel guilty.

“I'm sorry.  I'm alright,” and she stood up straight, without his support.

“Are you sure?” he asked, still with a smile.

“Yes.  Let's go.  Please lead the way.”

She followed Cal, who led her out of the passageway, into the next chamber.  As their exodus continued, Kadren felt gradually stranger.  She found herself more and more in a dream-like state, and her thoughts lingered more and more on Coj, or Cal’s handsome face.  She did not keep track of where they were going, but it seemed to Kadren they had gone a long way.  They passed by so many rocky walls that all looked the same, and Kadren wondered at times whether they had circled around and retraced their steps.  Once in a while, Kadren would need to rest, leaning on the cave walls, trying to shake the daze from her head.  Cal would smile at her, and offered his hand several times, but Kadren declined, fearing the comfort she had felt in his arms, and the attraction to his appearance.  And all the while, Cal seemed to be holding in a restless excitement, which Kadren assumed was due to his strong desire to leave the underground dungeon.

Finally, they stopped just outside the entryway of yet another chamber.  Kadren thought she could hear some strange noises coming from within the brightly lit chamber, and she reached for her mace, but Cal motioned for her to relax.

“It's alright.  Come and see.  It is our salvation.”  

It took a second before Kadren realized what she was seeing; but when her eyes finally did believe what they saw, Kadren inhaled sharply, and her eyes and mouth opened wide in disbelief....

Bodies…  Bodies everywhere.  Naked.  Writhing.  Pumping.  Bodies on top of bodies.  Bodies side by side.  Some lay flat.  Some were bent.  Some stood.  Some knelt.  A few were contorted into uncomfortable looking positions.  But nobody looked uncomfortable.  Every face was showing expressions of pleasure.  Moaning, grunting, and yelps of delight filled the chamber.  

High above, there were many sun-bright magic globes that seemed to just float in the air, and they shone down on the lust-filled masses below, illuminating the whole scene.  It was a scene of shameless debauchery on full display, and Kadren could not look away.   There may have been forty of them, or fifty; Kadren did not stop to count.  Her mind was too busy thinking: thinking of how all these people got here, how they all got to be this way, what her religious duties might be in this situation, was there any immediate danger in all this, and dozens of other tiny, transient thoughts that Kadren could not keep track of.   But mostly, Kadren struggled with deciding whether she was revolted or fascinated.  She knew she was supposed to only be disgusted, but she was also drawn to the spectacle, like it was some majestic wonder.  Even as thoughts of how sinful this all was floated through her mind, she caught herself envying the unbridled enjoyment the horde seemed to be having.  The faces, the noises they were making… they seemed to experience a freedom and pleasure that  Kadren was never allowed.  She hungrily took it all in, condemning and admiring, ashamed and curious…  She took in all the shapes and colors... the curves, the angles, the mounds… softness, rigidity… glistening, glowing... pinkness, redness...  It was a never-ending feast.

And Kadren started becoming involved.  She imagined Coj as the one thrusting, and she was the one lying there receiving thrust after pleasurable thrust; or that she was the one riding, and Coj was the one being driven quietly insane with pleasure.  There were some actions and positions that Kadren would never have even fathomed, let alone perform, and those bodies she glossed over.  She also found less appealing the bodies with more than one partner; she found more fulfillment in being one with one.  So she kept her eyes on the various lone couples that were in the arena - for that was how Kadren thought of the chamber: an arena made for contestants to grapple, and tug, and pull, and engage in the sort of wrestling that brought pleasure.  The cave floor in the centre of the chamber was covered extensively with luxuriant furs, to provide soft ground for the amorous contestants to perform their vigorous deeds in comfort and with abandon.  As she continued joining her mind with the sinful horde, Kadren abandoned more and more of her reason and fear, and embraced more and more passion and pleasure.  She soon stopped debating herself and fully immersed herself.  Her mind became awash with all the images before her eyes and her mind’s eye, and her body was drowning in a soft, self-inflicted ecstasy.

“Beautiful isn't it?” said Cal, close beside her. Cal’s voice was soft, but it pierced through the rapturous din like an arrow, brutally puncturing the awake-dream Kadren was having.  Kadren gasped, having been so violently awoken by his soft voice.  She suddenly and painfully recalled that she was living in this world - a harsh pleasureless world, a world where she was forbidden from certain things, from many things.  Kadren tried to compose herself, but could not quite do so.  She was dizzy from the lust… flushed, moist, and ashamed.  She tried to turn to look at Cal, but staggered back into the wall of the entrance.  She steadied herself against the cave wall before looking up again, and what she saw frightened her.

Cal looked unearthly beautiful, like some angel descended.  He had been handsome when they first met, but now he was so beautiful that it was terrifying.  Kadren could not find anything that had outwardly changed about his appearance; it seemed to her that it was she who had changed.  She had just grown to truly appreciate his beauty, and was, for the first time, seeing him as he truly was - a being of heavenly beauty... a being who, when gazed upon, would render the beholder helpless and mindless.  All she could think about was how much she wanted to rush into his arms, feel his lips, feel his caress, fling off his armor, tear off her own garments, feel his flesh, let him feel hers…  She wished it was Coj standing in front of her, so that she could unleash herself upon him.  She was holding onto her morality by a thread, hanging onto her religion, hanging onto her sense of loyalty, all of which were trying mightily to slip away from her.  Cal’s beauty was terrifying, because the things it made her think and want to do were so frightening to her.  It was as if she was losing herself… or perhaps this was the real Kadren, and she had never really known herself...  She did not know who she was anymore…

“It is my art… my masterpiece…” he said, as he moved slowly towards her.  “It is the most beautiful art in the world.  Desire is used to color, and passion is the brush.  The body is the panel.  You are my panel on which I'll happily ply my art…  You don’t have to hold back…  You don't have to pretend…  We are all very accepting here.  Feed your hunger.  Feed your desires…  Join us.”  

He stopped right in front of her, and held out his hand towards her.  His smile was welcoming, his face deadly alluring, and his whole appearance - his heavenly features, his tall stature, his steady posture that exuded strength - all of it threatened to consume her and enter her into a world of indomitable allure and exquisite pleasure.  And while she was teetering on the edge, with Cal’s beauty threatening to burn her with its searing brilliance, while the orgy continued on uninhibited in the background, with the contagious fog of lust seeping profusely from the sinful horde, she knew, at that moment, that Cal was the enemy.

She realized what she had been sensing for some time now: magic… powerful, covert, irresistible magic… all around her, pressing in on her, now inside her, having invaded her so surreptitiously, and so thoroughly.  What took her so long to finally realize, Kadren could not say.

“No…” she whispered.  “Stay away,” she said, somewhat louder.  But she feared that she did not really mean it.

He smiled.  A demon's smile.  And he moved in closer.  She had nowhere to go.

His hand came up to her face and gently stroked her chin, his face inches from hers.  It was just a simple touch, but it sent streaks of lightning radiating under her skin, from the spot on her chin to the rest of her body.  It was an unbearably pleasurable sensation, weakening her knees and her resolve.  It was as if her whole body had been rebuilt to only feel pleasure and nothing else.  Kadren gasped and moaned, and she feebly swiped his hand away.

He straightened up, leaning away from her, and issued forth a cruel cackle that sounded oddly high-pitched.  

“I love that noise you make,” he laughed.  “You are beautiful, indeed, my dear Kadren.  I can't wait to have you. Your virgin flesh will taste so sweet.  You will be my most prized student.  I will teach you true pleasure, good Sister.”

He stood there in front of her, not moving, just waiting, with an ugly smile on his heavenly face. The magic was emanating from him intensely now, with no pretense or subtlety.  It felt so dense that Kadren thought she could almost see the magic, a crackling haze all around her; and the sinful horde, affected by the increased outpouring of lustful magic, quickened their activities.  Kadren feared that, with one more move, Cal could win this twisted game instantly.  With one more move, she could be completely his.  But Cal seemed to be savoring his moment of inevitable victory, and was in no hurry to end the game.

“This is... sinful…” Kadren managed to utter, with incredible effort.

“The only sin is to deny yourself pleasure,” Cal lectured.  “God created everything.  He created our bodies, and He created pleasure.  Our bodies were created for pleasure.  To deny yourself pleasure is to deny God!” he boomed with unquestionable authority.

Kadren wanted very much to surrender to the truths he expounded, but she thought of her own soul.  She looked into the blank eyes of the horde and saw that they were nothing but slaves, slaves that enjoyed unfathomable pleasure, but at the cost of their souls.  She wondered if they still had souls, or were they only a shell of pleasure-filled existence.  At the present moment, Kadren still desired God to be the only keeper of her soul, so she did not wish to join them.  It was better to die… better to die a clean death rather than live sullied.  She also thought of Coj, and how she loved him, and how she wanted to stay clean for him as well.

And so it was, with thoughts of death and Coj and souls on her mind, that Kadren somehow mustered enough strength to counter this enticing new religion of pleasure that had been so forcefully preached to her.  Her hand found the handle of her weapon, and she stumbled forward with it.  The feeling of her grip was strange, a sort of numb-tingling that seemed to be on the verge of exploding into a powerful exhilaration; her feet also felt a similar sensation with every step she took.  Everything felt strange: she was not in her own body.  She struck at him, and he easily dodged her clumsy attack.  Kadren had suddenly lost all her skill, as if the years of training and merciless drills never happened.  Her hands and limbs (and the rest of her) were only intent on learning pleasure, and had forgotten the deadly, instinctual movements that had come with the long years of toiling under stern tutelage.  

Cal issued forth another high-pitched cackle, and laughed even louder when Kadren swung again and missed a second time.  He grabbed her by the wrists as he side-stepped her attack, and she immediately felt another lightning sensation coursing from her wrist, to the rest of the body, causing her to drop her mace, and gasp and moan.  His laugh was shrill now.

“Good, good!” he cried, in a sadistically delighted tone.  “Fight!  That makes it…”  

He was interrupted by Kadren’s sudden lurch forward.  Right before Kadren thought she was going to collapse from the unbearable pleasure, she managed to muster a feeble attempt at a head-butt, and for the briefest of moments she could feel a sudden flash of his surprise, and even annoyance, as Cal narrowly escaped the surprise attack.  The lustful air in the room dampened a little, and there was a change in the magic all around the arena as well, though the horde was too engrossed in their activities to notice.  But very soon, Cal had composed himself, and the sinful magic poured out of him like nothing had happened.

He cackled once more, less enthusiastically.

“Very good, Kadren.  But we both know your body can't withstand much more.  Give in to what's right, Kadren.  Come, Kadren,” he held out his hand once more.  “Shed your armor and your shield.   Shed your clothing.  Shed all your trappings.  Shed all those wrong beliefs.  What I have for you here is right.”

Kadren had collapsed onto her knees, finally unable to stand any more.  She had still not fully recovered from the skirmish with the goblinoids, and now fighting pleasure and desire made her knees even weaker.  Her shield was propped up in front of her, and she leaned on it, trying to steady herself.  She had taken out the shield with thoughts of charging at Cal one more time, but she thought better of it, now that she was kneeling on the ground.  She let the shield fall.  It was no use.  Her might was not enough to overcome him at the present, and probably had never been enough.  There was nothing else to do now…  Kadren began unfastening her cleric’s robe.

“Yes… that’s right…  Good...” said Cal, in a soft and encouraging manner, like a father might say to his child.

It took some time, as Kadren was not used to doing even simple tasks in her changed body, but finally all her armor was off, and she was in her tunic.  When she looked up, she saw a smile of victory on Cal’s face, and a delighted gleam in his eye.  She also noticed that a few men from the orgy had noticed her actions, and had left the horde to come over to her, their erect penises leading the way to her, like divining rods.  Some stroked their members while walking towards her, all of them with a blank stare and a hungry look.  

“No!  She’s mine,” Cal commanded calmly, and the men obeyed.  Most of them went back to the larger group, but a couple of them stayed standing there, staring at Kadren, touching themselves.

Even through the heavy fog of magic-induced lust, Kadren felt a tinge of disgust.  It was different when their penises were inside somebody, hidden away from full view, and she could use the sight of gyrating bodies to stimulate her imagined pleasures with Coj.  These men were not ugly, and neither were the rest of the men in the orgy, nor were the women.  In fact, it was rather strange that there should be gathered so many beautiful people in one place, and, stranger still, it seemed that most, if not all, had some elven ancestry.  But it disgusted Kadren that these beautiful men were looking at her with such blind desire; they did not even know who she was (and she did not know them), yet they were so comfortable pointing their lust at her.  

Most beautiful out of all them, however, was still Cal, and she knew that his would not be a boorish act of lust, but an irresistible, sophisticated seduction.  For a second, as she looked into his face, she had a compelling urge to be seduced by Cal, but then her righteous revulsion returned as she remembered God and Coj (and the boorish, beautiful men with their hands on their privates), and she acted quickly, while she still remained mostly herself.

She rolled up her sleeve and began chanting a fire spell, making the gestures with one hand while a thin flame began forming in the palm of her other hand.  

Cal was caught off guard for a second time, and he stood there in silence, with a small, curious wonder in his eyes.  He had probably sensed that Kadren had surrendered, but she had only surrendered to the fact that her might was not going to avail her.  She was, however, not going to hand over spiritual victory that easily.

It took a little longer than usual, but, when she was finished, Kadren stopped the spell-casting, and she looked up at Cal with unshakable determination on her face.  In the palm of her hand was a flame shaped like a dagger, long and thin, and she focused all that she had in that hand, which held the flame in a tight claw-like gesture.

“What are you doing?  That's useless. That feeble magic won't work...”

Kadren gritted her teeth, closed her eyes tight, and plunged…

A piercing scream filled the chamber.  Kadren hardly recognized that it was her own when it was echoed back to her, as she had never made that sound before.  Even though she knew it was her own scream, she experienced it as if someone else was screaming.  She only thought about her scream very briefly, as Kadren had no room in her being for the scream; her whole being was now engrossed in pain.  But she still dared not take the flame-knife away from her bare forearm, for her fear of death was still more terrible than her bodily suffering.  Her own magical flame kept searing and digging into her flesh, burning away all sin and evil from her being like an angry Holy fire, such that all thoughts of lust, of Cal, of naked bodies ceased to exist, and in that moment in time, all that existed was Kadren and that holy wrath.  She bore the agony until she thought she was going to lose consciousness, and then stopped, relaxing the hand that contained the spell, and the flame, along with her screaming, ceased.

The pain did not go away, but nor did it escalate anymore, and the initial shock of it was gone.  It lingered like a reminder, like an unwelcome house guest.  When she opened her eyes, she saw that her vision was blurred by pain, but Kadren was seeing clearer than she had been for a while now.

She looked at Cal, and saw that he was still very handsome, but only a beautiful mortal, and obviously not an angel.  The look of surprise was apparent on his face, but also… delight?...  Kadren stared at the horde and noticed that the participants now looked very unhealthy, abused, and not at all beautiful.  Many were malnourished, with a look of near-death darkening their faces.  The spell had lifted over Kadren.  Cal’s magic poured out uselessly now, and Kadren knew that the power of his magic depended on how many were willing to bend to his will and give in to lust.  Kadren’s screams and agony had awoken the horde from the spell, or, at the least, dampened their lust.  The power of the magic seemed to also depend largely on Cal’s mood, and he was no longer of the mind to deliver pleasure.  

Even though Kadren was no longer screaming, the pain was still all-consuming and incapacitating.  She could do nothing until she did something about her wound.  Most of the wound was just the surface of the forearm being burned, blistering, and even blackened in certain spots, but there was also a crevasse that gave her a nauseating view of sinew, and Kadren thought maybe even bone.  Looking at the wound now, Kadren regretted having put the flame-knife to her forearm for that long, determining that she had most likely overdid it.  But at the time of her desperate gambit, Kadren wanted to be completely free of Cal’s magic, and so too much was better than too little.  Wincing and panting, she began chanting and weaving her hand above the wound.  She put a numbing spell over the area first, and this brought the pain down a bit.  She then cast a spell that caused a flesh-colored, translucent mud to start forming in the central chasm of the wound.  A full healing of the wound would have to come later, but for now Kadren meant to cover it so that she would not be in agony with every movement.  As the thick salve reached from the centre to the edges of the wound, the pain began intensifying drastically, for it was the burned skin that hurt the most, whereas most of the feeling had been burned away in the deeper parts of the wound.  Kadren grit her teeth, and grunted, but she kept up with the spell.  

Kadren glanced at Cal.  She was worried that he would not let her heal, but Cal just stood there with a calculating look, and Kadren thought she saw a ghost of a smile on his face, as if he was secretly delighted about something.  After a short while he walked towards his horde of spiritual prisoners.  His prisoners were getting restless, now that they did not have the orgy to occupy them.  Some of them began shuffling about, with a dazed look.  Some of them began moaning.  Some were wailing.  They were all lost without the pleasure they had gotten used to.

Cal pulled out the crystal that had lit the way in the dark tunnel, and began speaking something into it.  Cal then turned his attention towards the prisoners and began singing a lulling melody, in a crisp, soothing tone.  It sounded wonderful, and Kadren knew to be wary, but the pain from her wound seemed to help mitigate the spell’s effects.  It also helped that Cal was directing his focus on the prisoners and not her, so that she did not receive the brunt of his magic.

A tranquility overcame the prisoners after Cal sang for a while.  They sat or lay there on the fur-laden ground, with a strange peace.  Kadren herself felt just a bit calmer.  By that time, she had covered all the burned areas of her forearm with the salve.  The salve had hardened into a protective layer that looked like thick, ugly skin.  With a new layer of skin covering her own raw, damaged skin, Kadren was able to drape her forearm with her sleeve without wincing.  Seeing that Cal was still occupied, Kadren started donning her armour, as quickly as she could, grunting and wincing at certain parts of the process.  

When she was fully armoured and was about to pick up her shield, Kadren saw a band of goblinoids walking in from the far side of the chamber, about ten of them.  They were carrying large drinking vessels, and began to place them to the mouths of the prisoners, who drank obediently.  Kadren tried to quickly equip herself with the shield, but dropped it.  She had lost some strength in her limb from the burn, and it was still rather painful trying to equip the shield in that arm.  She gave up the notion of having a shield and went swiftly to pick up her mace.

Kadren turned towards her enemies, weapon in hand, and saw that the prisoners who had drank of the mysterious draught were now sleeping; it only took a few sips.  The prisoners’ faces were pathetic, and it seemed to Kadren that much of the unsightliness was due to some disfigurement.  She could not quite figure it out, but, in looking at them, Kadren got the feeling that the prisoners had been forced to look like Elves through some painful, unnatural manipulation.  When she was under Cal's spell, Kadren did indeed think they were enviable beauties of some elven blood, but with the spell lifted, the overall effect was a pitiable appearance.

With her enemies still paying her no mind, and with her now armed and armoured, Kadren decided that this would be a good time to make her exit.  As she neared the opening she and Cal had entered from, however, a flame suddenly burst forth and filled the exit.   The fire was large, and the heat was intense, even from ten feet away, and Kadren knew that it would be death or deathly pain to go through it.  

“You didn't think it would be that easy, did you?” asked Cal.  

He was singing no longer, but he did not turn to look at Kadren.  Instead, he had a vessel in hand, and was helping to distribute the mystery draught, as if he was not concerned at all with Kadren escaping.

Kadren’s heart dropped.  For one fleeting moment she had tasted triumph and freedom, but now she realized she had never truly believed she would escape...  She surveyed her surrounding for what to do next.  She noticed that she felt alert, and somewhat refreshed, as if she had just awoken from a nap, and her thinking was rather clear.  She eyed the two exits on the far end of the chamber, saw Cal and the goblinoids in between, decided that she would have to fight for her way out, and steeled herself for battle.  An unexpected calm came over Kadren after her decision, possibly because she had faced certain death twice now, in such a short time; and knowing what she had to do, even if it meant certain death, was more pleasant than uncertainty.  

She headed towards one of the exits on the far side of the chamber, and met no resistance from Cal or the goblinoids.  The exit filled with fire, however, sooner than before, even at more than twenty feet away.  And this time, Kadren saw Cal casting the spell, drinking vessel in one hand, fluid movements with the other, muttering something inaudible, and a flame sprang up in the remaining exit as well.  That made things even simpler, and was along the lines of what Kadren was expecting.  With the brave calm she had mustered, Kadren faced her enemies.

Cal gave the vessel back to one of the goblinoids.  All the prisoners were sleeping now or were about to.  Cal walked towards Kadren, and stopped about ten feet away.  He then began stripping his armor and clothing.  Soon he was naked, completely comfortable in his beautiful body, and staring at Kadren with a smirk.  Kadren looked away a little, but kept him in her line of sight, watching out for any move he was going to make.  She would not let him have her; she was ready to fight to the death to preserve her chastity.

“This body does not seem to appeal to you,” said Cal.  “Perhaps another will do.”

And he began stripping again.  Kadren had to look directly at him, because she wanted to know what he could possibly be stripping when he was already fully naked.  What she saw horrified her.

It was his skin that he was stripping, his flesh, and he kept peeling it off like it was a large overcoat.  Apparently, it was also somewhat of an unpleasant experience for Cal, as he kept grunting while stripping away the layer of flesh.  And the grunts grew gradually louder, and higher-pitched, until it was a woman yelling as the whole layer of flesh finally came undone.  Underneath was a woman, slightly wet- and squished-looking, but very quickly, as she continued yelling, swelled and morphed.  And when the yelling and swelling had subsided, there stood a woman of angelic (or devilish) beauty... bewitching face, curvaceous features… seductive allure exuded from every part of this woman.  She was noticeably taller when she was Cal, but she still retained a regal height after her transformation.  And, like Cal, her long hair was pitch black and luxuriant, and her eyes were just as dark in color, but they glistened much more than her hair.  Her skin, however, was as pale as the full moon.   This being was surely a Moon Elf; if so, the stories did not do their beauty justice.  

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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