High King Cabeiron Erethian has done it. He has consolidated the broken kingdoms of New Corallia into a single empire, and the time for celebration has come. Little does he know that a powerful warlock has slipped his way into his court to exact a little reparation for the steep price of blood that was paid for his unity.
High King was a title rare bestowed upon even the most influential of kings among the human kingdoms. It was a title given only to those whose lives changed the course of history. None but he could have imagined that one day he would receive that title and yet, almost a year ago to the day, Cabeiron Elethian, king of the once-tiny state of Versallia, was crowned High King of the now-unified kingdom of New Corallia.
Cabeiron liked to think that he was a good king. A good man. But that didn’t change the fact that there had been a dark price to pay for the unity and prosperity that New Corallia now enjoyed.
As he looked out the window of his bedchamber, over the neat rows of Versallia’s courtly orchards, Cabeiron reminisced on the path he had taken to build his kingdom. Tomorrow, the court would celebrate a year of unity, but tonight, all on his lonesome, he would pay his respects to the blood that he had had to spill.
Cabeiron didn’t know if he would go so far as to say that the battle at Orthan, the Tower of the Magi, was necessary, but he did know that it had been inevitable.
A veritable state of its own, the eponymous tower of Orthan, as well as the sprawling campus at its base, had always been well-defended by the magi that called it home. The Orthans had always been a secretive people, mistrustful of anyone from beyond their walls that didn’t carry the same gift for magic in their blood.
But Cabeiron had always admired the pride of the Orthan people. No. The problem was that Orthan had always been conservative. The archmagus, Orthan’s equivalent of a king, impressed a strong sense of autonomy and sovereignty upon his people. The Orthans believed that the arcane power flowing through their veins elevated them to a privileged place in the human kingdoms.
From the very beginning of the campaign to unify the human kingdoms, Cabeiron had known that conflict with the mages was all but etched in stone, a challenge that he would have to overcome one way or another to achieve his dream of New Corallia.
Cabeiron remained steadfast in his belief that unity was the best thing that had happened to the human kingdoms after their centuries of infighting and feuding. In one short year, he had been able to demonstrate what the kingdoms could accomplish working together rather than against one another.
It was for the best. Humanity needed to band together. New Corallia was one of the few human states on the continent. The other was a world away, across the continent, reachable only by sailing around the coast as passage inland was nigh-impossible.
The Heartswood, the ancient forest at the heart of the continent,was ruled over by the elves, and passage through those thickly wooded paths was a privilege granted to only a handful of human merchants. The elves were not a warlike people, but there was always the chance that they would turn their eyes to the human kingdoms to the west and east in the future. Unity was the best shield that they could have against that.
More concerning were the orcish clans to the south of New Corallia. In ages past, the orcs had formed an empire that stretched across the snow-capped peaks that marked the southron border of the continent. Now the clans slumbered, waiting for a new chief of chiefs to raise the banner of conquest.
There was no telling when such a leader would arise among the orcs, but Cabeiron knew one thing: that humanity needed to present a united front if ever it happened.
The slaughter at Orthan was inevitable. It bordered next to necessary. Without it, Cabeiron would have never unified New Corallia and yet, the events of the day haunted him.
The sight and sound of the mages bursting into white-hot flames, as the magic that they had used to defend their homes was turned against them, was etched into Cabeiron’s mind. They plagued his dreams for the longest time. Not anymore, but the nightmares were still fresh in his mind.
The only thing that had brought abatement to the darkness that coiled around Cabeiron’s sleeping mind was the arrival of his now-favored concubine to court. Alaín was a half-elf from a distant land, an exotic and skillful lover that filled Cabeiron’s nights with satisfied sighs and dreamless sleep.
There were those in the court concerned about Cabeiron’s proclivities, who pressed him to produce an heir. But he did have an heir. A handsome boy 21 years of age. It wasn’t his problem that Dorilian spent his days in the whorehouses of lower Versallia, chasing after supple pieces of ass like his father had in his youth.
If the boy was unsuited to the crown, that was not a failing on Cabeiron’s part. He upheld the family tradition of allowing the young the pleasures of youth. That Dorilian found no interest in his studies of the state was on the shoulders of his teachers. The boy seemed interested enough when Cabeiron talked to him about his methods of statesmanship.
Cabeiron’s thoughts were interrupted by a quiet knock on his door. "I understand that you wished to spend the night in solitude, your majesty, so I shan’t come in. But the bath that you asked for is ready for you."
"Thank you, Meilon," said Cabeiron. "You may take your leave now. I can take care of myself. Get your rest. There will be much to do from sunrise in preparation for tomorrow’s festivities."
"Yes, your majesty," said Meilon, his manservant. "As you say, my Lord. I hope his majesty has a good evening."
"And you as well," said Cabeiron, rising from his seat by the window. He pulled off his tunic and stepped out of his pants as he looked out into the moonlit countryside. He grabbed his silken robe from the bed and wrapped it about his naked body as he walked to the adjacent bathchamber.
The bathchamber was far from grand, but it was one of the places that the first king of Versallia had splurged a bit of money on. The marble tiles that lined the floor still gleamed as they no doubt had on the day that the chamber had been finished, and the gold leaf that plated the edge of the sunken bath basin in the middle of the room had needed scarcely any maintenance over the years.
Though a scant fifteen feet across, the bathchamber was a nice place to relax, away from the outside world that could just be too much at times.
Tonight, like most nights, the air was filled with the scent of juniper incense. It helped calm Cabeiron and set at ease his nerves. The soothing aroma warded away thoughts of Orthan and beckoned him closer to the steaming bath.
Slipping the robe off his shoulders and hanging it on a nearby hook, Cabeiron made his way to the bath. He descended the steps into the pool one at a time, feeling the heat wash over his legs and lower body as he did so.
Standing at the bottom of the steps the hot water came halfway up his torso, and Cabeiron struggled with the urge to just sit down on the stairs and stay there for a few minutes. But there was a proper way to do things, and he was sure that he would regret not sitting on the bench at the other side of the pool where the warm water circulated best.
Cabeiron waded across the basin, letting his fingers weave in and out of the hot water as he walked toward the bench on the far side. The heat was magnificent, the perfect way to loosen muscles after a day of court and having to deal with nobles jockeying for position in tomorrow’s festivities.
With a sigh, Cabeiron sat down on his favorite spot and leaned his head back against the edge of the pool as the warm water flowed around him, caressing his body like a lover.
After a few minutes, once the heat had fully soaked into his body, Cabeiron leaned forward and submerged his head and shoulders into the water. It felt good, although the heat stung somewhat against his face.
When Cabeiron resurfaced, he had to brush his hair back over his head. He wiped the water from his eyes and leaned back, freezing for a moment when he noticed that there was someone else in the room with him.
A pang of fear made Cabeiron tense. He had no magic, and he was unarmed. He was powerless if somehow an assassin had managed to enter his bathchamber. But he relaxed into his seat when he realized that the figure at the opposite end of the bath was just Alaín. Not at all an unwelcome intrusion into his alone time.
The half-elf stood at the top of the stairs, wearing a silken robe much like the one that Cabeiron had been wearing when he entered the bathchamber. This one was a dark, almost-black blue, with little dots of silver embroidery that glittered like stars against the night sky. It reminded Cabeiron of their first meeting, the net of glittering diamonds that had been woven into Alaín’s inky black hair on the day that he came to court.
The robe was not one that Cabeiron had bought for his concubine, but he was hardly surprised. Alaín was not just his lover. Alaín did important work for the kingdom and earned a substantial wage for it. The robe was clearly expensive, but it was understated instead of opulent, much like Alaín himself, who acted with a grace that belied his privileged position at the knee of the high king.
With a small smile, Alaín stripped the robe off his body. It slid smoothly over his narrow shoulders, falling soundlessly to the ground where it bunched up around Alaín’s feet. "Good evening, your majesty," said Alaín, in his low, buttery voice, "are you enjoying your bath?"
"Mmm…" Cabeiron murmured, beckoning Alaín to approach him. "More so now that you are here, my love…"
"I am glad that my presence pleasures you, my lord," said Alaín as he descended the steps into the pool. He waded across the stomach-deep water with the a sensuous grace that roused the hunger in Cabeiron’s loins.
"Your presence… Your body…" whispered Cabeiron as he wound his arm around the waist of his favorite concubine. He pulled Alaín close, shifting his legs apart to give space for his svelte lover. "You, in general, please me, Alaín."
Alaín’s slender fingers brushed against the side of Cabeiron’s face, tucking a wet lock of hair behind Cabeiron’s ear. "You flatter this glorified whore, my lord," said Alaín, the corner of his lips pulling up in a small smirk.
"But I have learned that this scarcely ever lies," murmured Alaín, as his fingers under the water wrapped around Cabeiron’s aching erection.
"I’ve told you," whispered Cabeiron, gently thrusting his cock into Alaín’s loosely circled fingers, "you need only say the word and I would have you seated beside me rather than at my knee."
Alaín gently pulled his hand away from Cabeiron’s cock. He threw his arms around Cabeiron’s neck, letting his own needy erection brush up against Cabeiron’s. "And what would a concubine know about matters of the state, my dear?" he said, rolling his hips so that their cocks would rub together, "Besides. Your advisors bay at you for a queen. It is hardly appropriate to give them more ammunition."
"I don’t think that glorified whore is the proper term for someone who so eagerly and so steadfastly clings to his right to sell his body," said Cabeiron, smiling as he pressed his lips against Alaín’s.
"Oh? Is that so, your majesty?" said Alaín, with a strange gleam in his eye. "What, pray tell, would the proper term, be?"
Cabeiron let his hands wander down Alaín’s slender back, palming the ample ass cheeks as he squeezed. A quiet little moan escaped Alaín as Cabeiron leaned in and said, in a low, seductive voice, "A slut, I believe, is what you are, my love."
Alaín laughed. The sound was musical, and made Cabeiron’s heart skip in his chest. "And what do I call a king who spends the evening before a celebration of the greatest triumph in history, his triumph, all on his lonesome?"
"I’m not alone now, am I?" said Cabeiron, with a small smile. Cabeiron felt a sudden, sharp prick on the back of his neck. He made Alaín jump with the swiftness that he slapped the area that he had felt it.
"Are you alright, my lord?" said Alaín.
Cabeiron shook his head. "Don’t worry, my love," he said. "It was, probably, but an insect. Now… Where were we?" He let go of one of Alaín’s ass cheeks and reached between their tangled legs to grab at their erections. A quiet moan bubbled up Alaín’s throat as he stroked them both. He luxuriated in the heat he felt against his arousal, as well as the sensation of Alaín’s length pressed up against his.
But it wasn’t long before Cabeiron realized that something was wrong. Very wrong. He felt pins and needles tingling at the tips of his fingers and toes, and he was having trouble moving his arm.
The pleasant heat of the bath started to get somewhat uncomfortable as the tingling sensation crept up Cabeiron’s limbs, leaving numb flesh in its wake. He couldn’t move his toes, or his fingers. He looked at Alaín with alarm and said, "My love. My love, get help. Something’s wrong."
The sudden coldness in Alaín’s eyes betrayed the truth before Alaín ever opened his mouth to speak. "There is no need, your majesty," he said, "nothing is wrong. You’re reacting just as expected for someone under the effects of silkhood venom."
Cabeiron gasped, having trouble breathing as his back slipped against the wet-slicked marble of the pool’s walls. He could still move his head, and he struggled to keep his chin above water. He wondered if this was how he was going to die, drowned in his own bath, having been oblivious enough to miss his favored concubine’s murderous intent.
But Alaín, strangely, came to his rescue. The half-elf, with surprising strength, grabbed him under his arms and pushed him back up into a sitting position. An approximation of one, at least. "Don’t worry, my love, you don’t get to die tonight," said Alaín.
"W-Why?" Cabeiron managed, his voice raspy and labored. "I… I gave you everything you wanted…"
"You also took everything that I had," Alaín said. There was a hint of bitterness in his voice, but he said the words in a matter-of-fact manner. "Confused that I’m not angrier about it?" said Alaín.
"Well, the truth is that I’ve had a year to process it all, and I realize that I don’t actually miss what I had all that much," said Alaín. "I’m just doing my duty so that I can finally lay this chapter of my life to rest."
Cabeiron tried to say something, but the best he could manage was splutter a few garbled syllables. Even breathing was a bit of a struggle. "W-Was anything we had real?"
"When I imagined what kind of man slaughtered every mage that lived in Orthan, I thought that he would be a monster. An irredeemable fiend seeking power under the guise of unity. Do you know how infuriatingly kind-hearted you are?" said Alaín. "Many days, I struggle to understand how someone like you could do something so horrible. But I guess some dreams are worth doing anything for, right?"
Alaín rolled his eyes and shook his head. He waded over to the opposite side of the pool with surprising speed. He retrieved what appeared to be a silver dagger from the robe piled at the top of the steps leading down. "The only reason that you’re still alive, Cabeiron, is that I actually like you. That, and I know that you regret what happened at Orthan."
Cabeiron knew better than to plead with Alaín to reconsider. The look of determination in the half-elf’s eyes was the same look he’d had on the day of the massacre. There would be no dissuading him. He was set on a course, and the best thing to do was hope that he would survive it.
"But I have a duty to fulfil," said Alaín. "One that would leave this country’s throne empty. And I’m sorry. But it’s the only way that I can be free of Orthan."
Cabeiron closed his eyes as Alaín approached him. This was it. This was how he would die. At the hands of someone that wasn’t even doing it for revenge.
Cabeiron had always believed that Orthan would come back to haunt him one day. He had never expected that it would be so soon. Nor could he have ever imagined that the reckoning would come at the hands of someone he genuinely felt something for.
But the killing blow never came. Cabeiron fearfully cracked open his eyes. Alaín was holding the dagger over his head with one hand. His other hand was in the prayer position by his lips, his eyes closed as he murmured an incantation.
Cabeiron felt the wave of magic as runes ignited all across Alaín’s face, shoulders, and arms. They glowed with an unearthly silvery-grey light that shone brightly from Alaín’s eyes when he opened them.
In two smooth motions, Alaín nicked Cabeiron’s arms and legs with the tip of the silver dagger. His blood spilled into the water, creating a cloud of red around him and Alaín as the light faded from Alaín’s eyes and skin.
Cabeiron didn’t feel any of the cuts. But perhaps more concerning was the way that the crimson red blood in the water turned to a silty yellow-brown.
So taken was he by his blood’s sudden change of color that Cabeiron failed to notice the way that his breathing slowed and then stopped altogether. When he finally realized that he wasn’t breathing anymore, Cabeiron looked at Alaín with wide eyes and said, "What have you done to me?"
"Nothing to worry about, my love," said Alaín. "I’ve simply performed a spell that will allow the vengeful ghosts of Orthan to have their pound of flesh without having to kill you."
Alain grabbed one of Cabeiron’s arms and lifted it into the air. He raised his dagger over his head and brought it down in a single stroke. Cabeiron winced, closing his eyes, preparing for the inevitable agony that he was sure would ensue.
But no such pain occurred. When he opened his eyes, Cabeiron saw his arm dangling from Alain’s hand. There was no blood, and the cut was clean.
"See?" said Alaín, showing Cabeiron the base of the cut. It was brown all the way through. It glistened like wet clay. "Nothing gruesome, your majesty. You get to keep your handsome face and beautiful ass intact."
Alaín nonchalantly tossed the limb over the edge of the pool. He splashed water on the stump that remained of Cabeiron’s left arm, and worked the flesh-turned-clay smooth against Cabeiron’s shoulder with his fingers. When he was done, it almost looked like Cabeiron had never had a left arm at all.
Alaín disposed of the other arm just as quickly and just as masterfully as the first one. "You’ve done this before," Cabeiron croaked. It was hard getting words out now that he had to consciously breathe to get the air he needed to speak.
Cabeiron’s head dipped under the water as Alaín grabbed his left leg and hewed it off with his dagger, leaving behind a smooth clay stump that no doubt would be smoothed against his pelvis before long. At the very least, now that he didn’t need to breathe, Cabeiron couldn’t drown even as the water flooded into his throat and lungs.
It was the strangest sensation, and yet there was nothing that the high king could do. Alaín was methodical. Clean. By the time that he pushed Cabeiron back up out of the water, Cabeiron’s legs were little more than smooth stumps.
"Yes. I had to practice, somehow," said Alaín. "Like I said, it’s not exactly the most complicated spell. It’s reversible, under certain circumstances. But most definitely not for you, your majesty."
"W-Who?" Cabeiron croaked.
Alaín laughed. "I’m not a monster," he said. "I practiced on myself first. As long as you keep the cut clean and reattach the limbs there’s no harm done. As for sealing the cut, well, let’s just say that thief won’t be bothering anyone else with his sticky fingers ever again."
Now, Cabeiron was truly powerless. Even if he did get his armor and his weapons, he would have no means to fight Alaín. He had lost. Utterly. And he was left wondering what would become of him.
Using the edge of the pool for leverage, Alaín pushed himself up onto the tile floor and walked over to the pile of limbs behind Cabeiron. The high king craned his neck to see what the half-elf was doing.
Alaín knelt in front of the pile of limbs and murmured "O vengeful spirits, accept this offering of flesh from thy murderer. Slake thy thirst for vengeance with the blood of the man who spilt thine."
The air in the room was whipped about into a frenzy. It howled against the walls, leaving traces of frost on the marble as the temperature in the room plummeted. As Cabeiron watched, the limbs that Alaín had removed from him dried out, cracked, and turned to dust swept up by the swirling gale. Moments later, the temperature returned to normal and the air about them stilled.
Alaín turned back to Cabeiron. "Now that the evening’s business is concluded," he said, "Perhaps it’s time for a little bit of pleasure."
Cabeiron shivered. Despite himself, the thought of being used in his current state was somehow titillating. He had always preferred to be the receptive partner. He particularly loved the way that Alaín’s cock, with its slight upward curve, felt inside him.
The idea that Alaín could have his merry way with Cabeiron sent the faint ghost of pleasure straight to the tip of Cabeiron’s numb yet erect cock.
Alaín walked around to the other side of the pool and retrieved somethinge else from his robes. It was a small glass phial with a faintly glowing transparent fluid inside. "Truth be told, my love, I am no mage. I am a warlock. I draw my power from things beyond the ken of most mortals. In my studies I pull back the veil that surrounds the world to seek knowledge beyond it."
"This is a small gift that I obtained from a world beyond the stars," said Alaín. "Water from a river that the inhabitants of that world call the Lethe. A river of forgetfulness, could you imagine?"
Cabeiron felt a chill run down his spine. "Allegedly drinking from the Lethe obliterates one’s memory, but I don’t want that. Not for you," said Alaín. "A few drops will accomplish what I want to do. By the time that I am done with you, my pet, you will think that you have always been this way, that you have always belonged to me, a toy for my amusement."
Alaín walked over to where Cabeiron was seated. His fingers brushed over Cabeiron’s shoulder. Cabeiron felt the sensation return to his bod, and purely on instinct he tried to bolt upright only to remember that he had been dismembered.
"You will forget that you were ever the high king of New Corallia. Much less the king of Versallia…" said Alaín. Even though what he was saying sounded horrible, like a complete and utter trespass on Cabeiron’s sovereignty as a person, his cock twitched at the prospect.
Alaín wrapped his arms around Cabeiron’s torso and pulled him up, onto the tile floor. Cabeiron’s hard cock flopped onto his stomach as Alaín pulled Cabeiron’s head onto his lap.
"Are you ready, my love?" said Alaín. "You will be mine from now on."
A tear crept down the side of Cabeiron’s face, but his traitorous cock had already accepted his fate. He opened his mouth as he heard Alaín unscrew the stopper on the vial. Two droplets fell onto his tongue and immediately he felt his mind go fuzzy.
A strange coolness crept down Cabeiron’s throat, spreading across his shoulders, over his chest, and down to the tips of his toes. It climbed into his nose, behind his eyes, and blossomed behind his brow.
Cabeiron’s eyes rolled back into his head as Alaín spoke in hushed whispers, that dissolved into static, into his ear. For what felt like an eternity, he was suspended in that state, between waking and dreaming, feeling bits and pieces of his identity being washed away by the coolness that dwelled in the seat of his mind.
When at last, he began to warm again, Cabeiron’s eyes cleared and he looked up into the face of his master. He couldn’t remember how he got here, but it didn’t matter. It wasn’t his place. He was Master’s toy. A plaything. And playthings didn’t need to remember anything. Playthings didn’t need to think.
Cabeiron let Master lay him down against the floor. He rested his cheek against the smooth marble tile and moaned, just like Master liked, as Master’s fingers pried his ass cheeks apart.
Cabeiron’s cock twitched between his legs, dripping pre-cum onto the tile floor beneath him. A small part of him wished that he could reach for it and stroke it like Master did. But he had never had arms. Playthings didn’t need arms. Well, that and playthings didn’t want things.
There was a faint inkling in Cabeiron’s head that something was wrong, that this wasn’t right, but it quickly melted away as he felt Master’s cock at his hole.
The plaything wriggled his rump, inviting Master to fuck him, to use him as he was meant to be used. "Mmm…" said Master, "I definitely like you more when you’re like this…"
With that, Master pushed into Cabeiron, burying that thick cock in his hole, where it was meant to go. The surge of pleasure that washed over him dissolved his mind into a frenzy of static.