The empress leaned heavily on Sanadhil's arm. She was still weak from blood loss and more than a little dazed in the aftermath of the powerful ritual they had performed that evening. This was only compounded by the heavy dose of vodare she had insisted on taking afterwards, against San's advice. "Look at all the stars," she murmured, which was slightly worrying as they were inside the palace, in one of the darkened corridors. It was well past midnight and the normally-busy halls were quiet.
"Let's get you back to your chambers, your majesty," Sanadhil told her, attempting to steer her in that general direction.
"Oh no!" she exclaimed, turning to him, her cheeks pale with spots of a feverish red. "No, no. Not yet, I couldn't sleep yet..."
"Not necessarily to sleep," he agreed, humouring her.
Yanina giggled. "You should come with me, and keep me awake. That would be wonderful right now!" She sighed happily at the thought.
San frowned slightly. He had promised Dozilva that he would be back to their temporary quarters in the palace that night, and she might worry if he disappeared until dawn or later, given that they had only just taken their room there for reasons of security. "Of course, your majesty," he said, smiling. "But my..." He hesitated over what to call Dozilva. "…my companion," he settled on, "may be waiting up for me. Might I pass by her rooms to let her know that I've arrived home safely?"
"Of course!" Yanina said cheerfully, throwing her arm wide and almost falling over in the process. "I don't want your darling friend to be worried!"
Sanadhil nodded. It was obvious he couldn't leave Yanina to walk back to her rooms alone - she would wind up sleeping on a sofa or passed out in a hallway, or perhaps sucking the cocks of a dozen footmen, and that wouldn't do for the empress. "If you would care to accompany me?" he said, offering her his arm once again, as though it was a pleasant evening stroll.
Yanina took it graciously. "Of course, M. Orecalo." He led her through the corridors until they reached the room Loick had found for San and Dozilva to share until the current crisis passed. He tapped gently on the door. "It's me, dear," he called quietly to his lover. "I have company," he added, in case she wasn't in her human disguise.
A moment later, Dozilva peeked out around the door, thankfully having understood his intended message. She was wrapped in a pair of his loose silk trousers and a tunic, but she had taken the time to add a little clip to her hair, which was a vibrant red usually found only on flowers. "You are very late!" she told him.
"I know," he said apologetically. "Things took longer than expected." He thought of the clean-up and the complicated arrangements to get everyone out of the Mausoleum without betraying that they had ever been there in the first place, and stifled a shudder. "I can't stay, though."
Dozilva frowned slightly. "Why not?"
"The Empress wishes me to... join her in her chambers," he said diplomatically.
Yanina poked her head around to wave hello to the young woman. "I hope you don't mind me borrowing him," she said with a cheeky smile.
Dozilva smiled back. "Of course not," she said, eschewing honorifics - San suspected she was still uncertain which titles applied to whom. "You will return him in one piece, I hope?"
Yanina laughed. "Well, if you liked, you could join us and keep an eye on him, hm? Make sure he's well looked-after?"
San's stomach sank slightly even as Dozilva's smile widened, becoming more genuine. "How could I refuse such a kind offer?" she said, stepping out into the corridor and shutting the door behind her. Feeling distinctly outnumbered, San could only smile and nod. Sex would require Dozilva to drop her disguise, and that would necessitate explanations, which might result in difficulties for her, for both of them... He tried to put those worries aside, imagining only the pleasures that lay ahead, and not the possible consequences.
The three of them proceeded down the hall, Dozilva's bare feet squeaking slightly on the marble floors. They turned a corner and nearly ran headlong into Loick Silveira, the Chief Sorcerer and Dozilva's current employer. "Oh!" he exclaimed. "Didn't expect to find anyone up at this hour."
"What are you doing out of bed, M. Silveira?" the Empress inquired teasingly. "Or are you just coming from someone else's bed, hm?"
Loick grinned. "If only, your majesty. I'm afraid work has kept me up late tonight, nothing more exciting. Your Imperial husband, the Lord Treasurer and I recently concluded a meeting."
Yanina smiled in a way that San was coming to recognize meant mischief. "As it happens, I had something more exciting in mind. Would you care to join us? We'll do our best to keep you from dozing off."
Loick looked from Yanina to Dozilva to San - a look that lasted an unsettlingly long time, to San's mind - and back again to the Empress. "By all means," he said cheerfully. "I'm feeling more awake already."
Yanina grinned still more broadly. "My Imperial husband," she inquired casually, "was he retiring to bed as well?"
"I don't believe so, your majesty. He went to seek... other company."
"Oh, well, that's all right then!" Yanina linked her arm through his, laughing.
As they continued on their way to the royal bedchamber, San prayed that they wouldn't meet anyone else. In her current mood, Yanina would probably invite the Patriarch to join them. Fortunately, they made it safely to her chambers without any further encounters along the way, and were soon secreted behind its heavy doors.
Yanina dropped the cloak she was wearing to the floor, and began to disrobe without further ado. Dozilva's (well, Sanadhil's) Cozovodë garb was much simpler to cast aside. When Loick fumbled momentarily with the knot in his cravat, Yanina laughed and beckoned for him to bend down and let her help, then kissed him while he was trapped there by her grip. It was clear they were on familiar terms - San was not particularly surprised that they had been together before, he just wondered how long it had been going on. He began to remove his own clothing without assistance, casting a glance to Dozilva as he did so. Do you want me to tell them? he thought to her, and she shrugged, then nodded. Her hair was still bound up with the clip that maintained her human disguise, but the rest of her clothing now lay in a pile on the floor.
Sanadhil cleared his throat. "Perhaps before we proceed any further, a few words are in order. M. Silveira, you already know that Dozilva is not human, but the Empress does not."
Yanina looked over at her appraisingly. "She looks human enough."
"A disguise maintained by magic," San replied. "If you were to touch her, you might sense certain... differences."
This seemed to intrigue the empress rather than alarm her, and, in nothing but her underskirt, she crossed to where Dozilva stood calm and naked. She reached out to cup one of Dozilva's breasts, then ran her hand down the other woman's side to her hip. "Feels human enough, too," she said playfully.
Dozilva smiled, looking down at the diminutive redhead. "Here," she told her, and took her wrist, guiding her hand to stroke her cheek, her ears, her hair. When she removed the clip and her torrent of suddenly silver-white hair tumbled down around Yanina's hand, the empress gasped. "You see," Dozilva told her, grey lips parting in a smile. "Not human."
"What... what are you?" Yanina asked. She sounded more curious than alarmed, which San felt was a good sign.
"Shadar-kai," Dozilva replied. "From the plane of Shadow. But it is simpler to look human here, I have found."
Loick was also looking her over carefully, San noticed. He hadn't been sure if Dozilva had shown the Chief Sorcerer her true appearance yet, but judging by Loick's reaction, she hadn't. He didn't seem at all displeased, though - quite the opposite, in fact. "The marks on your skin..." he began, his voice full of awe.
"Scars," Dozilva replied. "They are done with a very sharp knife, and there is a particular paste my people use to make them stand out when they heal."
"Do they... mean something?" Loick asked.
"Yes," said Dozilva with the enigmatic smile San knew meant she was not likely to say more on the subject at that time.
"They're fascinating," Yanina said, tracing the curving patterns with her fingers. "They make me want to just follow them wherever they lead..." San breathed a sigh of relief, then - the moment of revelation had passed without undue upset.
Dozilva set her hairclip carefully aside on the vanity and returned her attention to Yanina's explorations. "They are also very nice to follow with your tongue," she told her, smiling, and let the empress draw her over to the bed. Built for royalty, it was large enough to accommodate the four of them with room to spare. Yanina had a little stepstool at one side to allow her to scale its height more easily, San noticed with slight amusement. He offered her his hand to assist her up, and she took it gratefully, for she was still none too steady on her feet.
"Oh!" she exclaimed. "I didn't offer you any refreshments, how rude of me! There's wine, or there's Marl's drinks - I think there's whiskey, brandy, I don't know what else - or there's vodare, of course..."
Dozilva glanced at San. He realized she likely didn't know what the drug was, possibly wasn't even sure what the drinks might be. It worried him slightly, being uncertain how her body might react to human intoxicants. Better not, he thought to her, and she nodded. "Nothing for me, thank you," she told the empress politely. San also shook his head. The idea of relinquishing his self-control in an already nerve-wracking situation was unpleasant.
"Loick?" Yanina asked, turning to him.
"Well..." He seemed to be considering. "If I have a drink, I'd probably just fall asleep, and that wouldn't be much fun for any of us." He laughed, and the girls laughed with him. San smiled, a little tightly, wishing that Loick might indeed pass out.
"Have some vodare, then," Yanina encouraged him. "Just in the silver jar on my vanity there."
"Since you insist," Loick said, smiling, and went to help himself.
While he was sniffing the blue powder, Yanina reclined on the ample pile of pillows and beckoned for San and Dozilva to join her. San could see the wetness glistening already on her inner thighs, on the pink, furled lips that were visible amidst the ginger hair between her legs. Her breasts seemed larger than they'd been the last time he'd lain with her, her nipples darker. Dozilva's tongue flicked teasingly over one of them, and San tried not to think of the ritual they'd just performed, the fluids that had mingled there. Yanina moaned and wrapped her hand around the back of Dozilva's neck, pulling her to her breast to suckle there, and Dozilva allowed herself to be pulled.
"More," Yanina gasped. San found he didn't want to put his mouth to her milk-swollen breast - it was too maternal, too unsettling. He kissed her neck and slid his hand between her legs instead, hoping that would be sufficient. Yanina squirmed at his touch, spreading her legs further apart. "Oh, yes," she sighed, "that's it! I want everything, all of you, please...!"
Loick, hearing her pleas, came to the bedside, watching them together for a moment. "Shall I fuck you, then, your majesty?" he asked playfully. The drug was probably just beginning to take effect, San thought, by his slightly wild-eyed look.
"Yessss," Yanina hissed, "hurry up!" Loick laughed gently at her impatience, but climbed eagerly onto the bed, kneeling between her legs, his cock standing stiff before him to indicate his own readiness. He was tall, and well-built for someone whose profession meant he spent most of his time reading. San moved his hand to the empress's thigh, pulling it up, spreading her as open as she could be, to give him access. He watched the look on Yanina's face as Loick slid into her, the way her eyes rolled and cheeks reddened. He stroked his lover's hair, and Dozilva looked up at him from Yanina's breast, smiling, and loosed her lips from their task long enough to lean across and kiss him. He thought he could taste the milk on her tongue, but told himself he was just imagining it.
"That's nice," Yanina murmured. "Nice watching you two... so pretty..." One of her hands had found San's nipple ring and was toying with it most distractingly, while the other fondled Dozilva's breasts.
"Could watch them fuck," Loick suggested, but Yanina shook her head.
"No, I'm selfish right now," she said with a breathless laugh. "I want all of you for myself."
Loick hooked a hand beneath each of her thighs to hold them up, allowing him to pound into her harder, which freed San's hand to resume other tasks. He hesitated only briefly before bringing it back between Yanina's legs to finger her clit, feeling the way it was pulled and tugged with each thrust Loick delivered into her. Yanina gasped as the sensations overwhelmed her, and tried to sit up for a second before falling back onto the pillows once more, biting down on her hand to keep from screaming aloud as an orgasm tore through her. Her struggles jarred Loick free of her cunt momentarily, and San felt the slick softness of his head brush along his fingers before he could pull away. He sighed - it probably wasn't deliberate, and such things were bound to happen in close quarters. Still, he looked to Dozilva, mentally suggesting that she take over those particular responsibilities, for it seemed that Yanina was far from ready to stop. "Again," she managed to pant, trembling but not yet sated.
Deciding that her tits were a safer distance from Loick's cock, San turned his attentions there. He still couldn't quite bring himself to suck on them, but he cupped one in his hand experimentally, feeling its unaccustomed fullness, how heavy it was... He pinched her nipple, hard enough to make her squeal, and watched the tiny drops of milk that formed there as he did so. He didn't know much about such matters, but evidently the amount Bessa had taken from her earlier had not left her empty by any means. A harder squeeze, this time to the flesh of her breast, surprised him by producing a squirt of milk that spattered across the back of his hand. He looked at it, uncertain what to do. "Loick," Yanina said between gasps, "lick him clean."
Loick took San's wrist before he could object, bringing his hand to his lips, tongue running slyly over teeth for a moment before darting out to catch the thin trickle of pale liquid before it could escape. San shivered involuntarily, but said nothing. Loick evidently noticed the tremor that passed through San's body, for he met his eyes and smiled. "More of that?" he asked - San wasn't sure whether he was asking him or Yanina. San seemed unable to find the right words, but it didn't matter, as it turned out, since Yanina was the one who answered.
"More," she agreed, and San decided it would be better not to argue with the empress, especially in her current state of excitement. He could tolerate a little licking, if that was as far as it went...
With his cock still buried in Yanina, Loick leaned over to kiss San. The half-elf kept his lips sealed, submitting only grudgingly to the embrace. Slowly, Loick kissed his way down San's throat to his chest, tongue leaving a trail that cooled in the air. His mouth sought out the ring that pierced San's left nipple, as San had known it would. The sensation of having it sucked, twisted gently between eager lips, made him gasp, but not as much as the sudden touch of a hand to his straining cock. For a brief moment he thought it must be Loick, but looking down, he saw that Dozilva had reached between them and was stroking him, her grey eyes full of mischief. San gave up on trying to resist, and pushed into her waiting grasp.
Yanina's rising moans as she watched them were almost stifled beneath the sounds that San found he was making - most undignified, but he couldn't help it. With Dozilva's skillful grip on his throbbing cock, and the disconcerting but exquisite sensation of Loick's mouth against his chest, he knew it would only take a short while before he couldn't hold back any longer. He snarled one hand in Loick's fine, silvery hair, so much like Dozilva's, and tried to pretend it was her licking him, as well as her stroking him. He found that if he focused his thoughts, he could feel some slight sense of their attunement, even over all the deafening sensations from the others in the room. It was reassuring, somehow, and allowed him to relax further into what was happening to him, around him, to know that her bond with him was still strong.
Yanina, growing impatient, squirmed beneath Loick, and he returned his full attention to her long enough to send her into another frantic, shuddering climax. But San suspected it would only be a temporary reprieve for him. He didn't know whether to feel grateful or jealous when Dozilva drew Loick's hand to her own breast, pulled him to lean over and kiss her instead. Loick seemed perfectly happy either way, at least. He gave a startled gasp when she bit his lower lip, and San was secretly a little pleased to see the smile that played across Dozilva's face. She had stopped jerking him off, distracted by other amusements for the moment, but Yanina seemed restless again, and that presented an opportunity. "Suck me," San told the empress, moving up the bed to where she could reach him. Obediently, Yanina craned her neck to reach his cock, swallowing it so eagerly that San had to brace himself against the headboard. Her hand against the scar cut into his hip made him feel a little weak, and he needed the support.
They were in that position when the door swung open without so much as a knock. Marl strode in, taking in the scene at a glance. A young woman whom San couldn't quite see stood behind him. "Well," he said after a moment. San thought he might be trying to hold back a smile.
Yanina's head bobbed off San's cock at the sound of her husband's voice, and she rolled over to face him and his guest. "I didn't expect you tonight!"
"And yet, here I am," he said dryly. "I see you're well underway already, though. We could go elsewhere, if you prefer."
"No, no," Yanina said cheerfully. "There's still room for more."
"In you? Not very much more," Marl said, but he strode across the room to the bedside and leaned over to give his wife a kiss. Only once he had greeted her did he turn his gaze to the rest of them. "And who might you be?" he inquired of Dozilva, eyeing her with a sceptical but curious gaze.
"My assistant, Mlle. Baru," Loick introduced them, for all the world as if he wasn't still balls-deep in the empress. "M. Orecalo's, uh, partner. She's... foreign."
"I noticed," Marl replied. He took Dozilva's hand, and San thought for a moment that he was going to kiss it, but instead he brought it up to examine her skin, its colour, its adornments. "Let me guess," he said. "Shadow Plane?"
Dozilva looked surprised, but smiled. "How did you know?"
"A long-ago elective on extraplanar geography," he told her with a smile in return. He glanced back at Loick. "Does she normally disguise herself?"
"Yes," Loick told him. "She passes for human, with a bit of magical assistance."
"Hm," the emperor replied. "We'll have a discussion about the relative wisdom of your hiring decision later. For now," he said, returning his attention to Dozilva, "consider yourself welcome." And he did kiss her hand before releasing it, San noted. "Carry on," he instructed the group, "I want a drink before anything else."
As her husband crossed the room, tossing his coat aside carelessly, Yanina turned to resume her efforts on San. She caressed his legs, adjusting his position slightly until she could suck him all the way to the root once more. San got his first clear look at the girl with Marl, and realized the dark-haired beauty was Zivia Rademacher. He had seen her before, of course, though they had never had occasion to speak, but he knew two of her brothers well. One of them, in fact, had participated in the cult's ritual earlier in the evening, but San couldn't mention that to her, of course. She said nothing to any of the group writhing on the bed, but went to join Marl, murmuring quietly to him as he poured himself a drink. San couldn't hear what she said, and was distracted in any case by Yanina's vigorous ministrations, and by the sounds Loick was making, which seemed to indicate he wouldn't last much longer either.
Dozilva got up to straddle Yanina's waist, twisting to kiss San, then back to Loick, switching from one man to the other smoothly. Her touch, the sight and smell of her, and Yanina's enthusiastic mouth on his cock, combined to leave him clinging onto the bed's headboard, and whoever else he could reach, as he shuddered and gasped out his pleasure.
A short while later, as he reclined on the soft pillows, he became distantly aware that somewhere at the foot of the bed, Marl was undressing Zivia - he could hear the shushing sounds of silk skirts crumpling delicately to the carpet. In the dimly-lit room, they were silhouetted against the window, framed by moonlight, and he saw how firmly Marl gripped her arm, the back of her neck, still speaking to her under his breath. San got the sense that she didn't entirely want to be there, but that the emperor had persuaded her to stay, though his guess was based only on body language, not on anything he had actually heard - other, more pleasurable sounds were drowning out their quiet conversation. The others had come apart too, and sat or lay sprawled, regaining their composure, catching their breath, waiting for what was to follow...
San could feel Yanina trembling beside him. He looked over at her, assuming at first that she was simply strung out, overstimulated, and was surprised to see that her eyes were full of tears. "Are you all right?" he asked her quietly. She hadn't seemed upset when her husband had joined them unexpectedly, but perhaps it had displeased her more than she'd shown.
She turned to him, flinging her arms about his neck to hold him close. "We're all going to die, aren't we," she whispered against his ear. "When everything comes crashing down. We'll be punished..."
"No," he told her firmly, stroking her tangled, sweat-soaked hair, realizing she was still in the grip of her drugs, as well as drained from the ritual and her more recent, desperate exertions. The frantic need she'd exhibited seemed more understandable now. "You'll be safe, I'll make sure of that," he added, hoping his lies (if they were lies) would be enough to reassure her.
She nodded, trying visibly to calm herself, but still clinging to him tightly, shivering. "Make me warm again?" He kept one of his arms around her, and drew a blanket across her with the other, which seemed to help somewhat. "And it's not fair, I'm the oldest one here!" she added, sniffling.
San glanced at Dozilva, wondering just exactly how old she was. Over a hundred, for certain. "You're really not," he told Yanina comfortingly.
Thus distracted, he missed the moment when the emperor and his mistress joined them in bed. Even an imperial-sized mattress was a bit snug shared between six. Everyone else, it seemed, was waiting to follow Marl's lead, to see what he would do, what he would ask for - or demand, perhaps - except for Loick, who got up and strolled naked across the room to help himself to the emperor's drinks as casually as he'd helped himself to the emperor's wife. San wished that Yanina were slightly more coherent - she would surely be able to take her husband's cues and let everyone know what was expected of them, but she was in no state to do so at the moment.
Marl surveyed the scene with a somewhat jaded look. "Mlle. Baru," he said at last. "Over here." No 'please', no 'if you wish' - he would command them for his own entertainment then, San thought. Dozilva crept gingerly over and around people until she was kneeling at the emperor's side. "I've never fucked someone from another plane," he said, stroking her elegantly scarred cheek.
"That you know of," Dozilva told him slyly, laying a hand on his chest. "I would be most willing to remedy that."
"I'll try to be gentle," he said, drawing her onto his lap. "For the first time, anyway."
"Oh, please don't!" she exclaimed, and San had to stifle a laugh. The emperor had no idea what he was getting into.
"What about me?" Zivia pouted, arms folded across her breasts.
"Take your pick," Marl told her, distracted with exploring Dozilva's body. "See to the half-elf, if you want to try something new."
"Everyone loves fresh meat," Zivia muttered, but she turned to San with a transparently false smile and a lowering of her thick, black eyelashes. "I've seen you around," she said coyly.
"Yes," he agreed calmly.
"And read about you. In the Scourge," she added, naming the most popular of the city's tabloids.
"Of course you have," San replied. If she had intended the jab to sting, she'd missed her mark - San had arranged for those stories to appear in the paper's pages. "I'm sure you've appeared there more than a few times yourself. Perhaps even with your fiancé, on occasion."
She shrugged her pale shoulders. "Aden knows how things are. Everyone does what's in their own best interests." She glanced over to Marl and Dozilva. "She's yours, isn't she, but you'll gladly let him have her if it helps you get what you want."
Sanadhil found he was looking forward to breaking this simpering, shallow girl, and simultaneously decided he was not in the mood for further conversation with her. "Come closer." He emulated Marl's firm tone with her, almost unconsciously, and she did as he instructed. He stroked the raven locks that fell to her shoulders, then brought his hand close to her scalp and knotted his fingers there, tight enough to make her wince. "I hope I don't have to be gentle," he told her. Zivia could have broken out of his grip, though probably at the cost of a few hairs, but she stayed, and shook her head 'no'. "Good," he said, and pushed her face-down onto the mattress, where she lay beside Yanina, who was still curled up beneath her blanket.
"Spread your legs," he ordered her, and when she didn't move quickly enough for his liking, he pushed them apart himself. His fingers slid into her readily, she was wet enough, but she still whimpered a little - he suspected purely for show. "You want it," he told her, "you're as loose as any streetwalking slut, aren't you."
"Yes," she muttered.
"'Yes master', I think you mean," he corrected her.
"Yes master," she said sullenly.
"Forget again, and it will hurt." He pushed her hips up, arranging her to his liking. Her arse was smooth and soft, her hair dark against pale skin. He heard a stinging slap, and glanced over to Dozilva and Marl. The emperor had his lover arranged similarly on all fours, and her backside was already pressed tight against his belly - he had just smacked her, to judge by the fresh hand-print on her bottom. Sanadhil knew that Dozilva could take far more than a simple slap on the arse, but it seemed impolite to give the emperor instruction in how to fuck one's girlfriend.
Loick, having finished his drink, was now back to the bedside - on the far side from San, he was secretly a little relieved to note. He waited until Marl jerked Dozilva back by her hair, and then slid gracefully in under her, placing himself perfectly to ensure she would be able to suck his cock. San had to admire his nerve - he wasn't sure he'd have dared put himself on the other side of whoever the emperor was in the process of fucking, but Loick seemed quite cavalier about inserting himself wherever he felt like.
"Here," he said, passing something to Yanina. The empress stretched out a trembling hand to take it, and San saw that it was her container of vodare. He was far from certain whether having more was the best idea for her at this point, but then, he was also far from familiar with the effects of the drug, while presumably she - and Loick - were. He refrained from commenting as Yanina helped herself to another dose of the blue dust.
Zivia squirmed under his hand, which still rested on the curve of her arse - growing impatient, perhaps, but it wouldn't hurt her to wait. Learning a little patience might be good for her, in fact. San watched a little longer as Dozilva was fucked, face and cunt, by the two other men. He would have imagined it would bother him more than it did - indeed, the lack of concern he felt was in some ways more worrying to him. He still didn't think he would be inclined to let her make a habit of it, but sometimes, good manners required certain concessions, and perhaps, on special occasions... As for Dozilva, she seemed to feel quite at home, responding eagerly to everything they did to her, each slap or pinch or scratch of nails over scars, pushing herself back onto Marl's cock while at the same time opening her mouth wider for Loick's.
"Are you going to fuck me?" Zivia asked petulantly, lifting her head off the pillow. San didn't hesitate to let her know what she'd forgotten by administering a vicious slap across her bottom, hard enough to make her cry out. "…master," she added, in a slightly more respectful tone.
"Soon," he told her. In truth, he hadn't been quite ready yet until that moment, still recovering from his previous exertions. But the combination of the tingling throb of skin colliding with skin, and the sounds Dozilva was making as she was doubly impaled, low moans deep in the back of her throat, roused him anew. He pushed Zivia's face back down, holding her firmly by the back of her neck, and shoved his way roughly into her, not bothering to prepare her further, knowing she was more than ready. She whined and twisted beneath him, but not hard enough to throw him off. She seemed expertly able to gauge just how much she could struggle without actually breaking free, he realized, and his respect for her increased, at least very slightly. She had chosen her game to play and she was playing it well, enabling him to fulfill his role as well. San could understand that.
Yanina, meanwhile, was sitting up and looking bright-eyed once more, if still somewhat shaky and disheveled. "Let me help," she said, crawling over to San's side and stretching up to kiss him. He could taste a hint of some unfamiliar tartness on her tongue, which left the tip of his own tongue tingling. "Are you enjoying my husband's bitch?" she asked when she finally drew back.
"She's a troublesome girl," San replied, a little out of breath, ignoring Zivia's muffled complaints, "but I think she's trainable."
"Oh, but Marl doesn't want her too well-trained," Yanina told him, running a delicate hand along Zivia's spine. "Otherwise, what misbehaviour would he have to punish? Isn't that right, Zivia?"
"He'd have yours, whore," Zivia sneered, turning her face to try and see Yanina. "The way you fuck around, he ought to whip you every night."
"Tsk," Yanina said, smiling. "Sanadhil, are you going to let her get away with such talk?"
"No." San slid out of Zivia, who gasped at the sudden emptiness. "Turn over," he snapped at the dark-haired girl. When her breasts were upturned once more, he took one nipple between his fingers and pinched it tight. "I could take this," he informed her, "and drive a needle through it. You'd scream, of course."
"Please don't," Zivia begged. "I'll behave, master."
"Oh, I don't know, Ziv," Loick said playfully. "You might start a new fashion craze, à la Cozovodë. I'm thinking of having one done myself."
"It's just so... barbaric," Zivia sniffed.
"It wouldn't be to keep," San informed her coldly. "You don't deserve a permanent mark from me. It would just be to punish you." He pinched her nipple hard enough to make the tip turn pale. Zivia didn't make a sound, but her lips were pressed together tightly. "But I do try to have the punishment fit the crime, and it was Yanina you insulted. For that, I think you ought to beg forgiveness from her."
"Forgive me, your majesty," Zivia said sullenly, her cheeks flushed with embarrassment or anger or both.
"Oh, I didn't mean that way," San told her. "You'll be using your tongue, but instead of speaking - because frankly, I'm tired of your voice - you're going to lick her cunt by way of apology." He gestured to Yanina, who, smiling, crept back up to the top of the bed, reclining with her legs spread. Zivia still looked sulky, but she took her position without further complaint, rolling back onto her belly and sliding up between Yanina's thighs, lowering her head over the mound of soft red curls, sticking her tongue out tentatively. By her hesitation, San wondered if she had ever done this before. Perhaps not. She certainly didn't seem to be relishing the prospect. "Show her what you want, Yanina," he instructed the empress. "It will be up to you to decide when she's been punished enough."
Yanina stroked Zivia's cheek almost affectionately, before pushing her down to make her lick her pussy. San waited until it seemed as though they had found their rhythm before he resumed fucking Zivia. When he pushed into her once more, she lifted her head long enough to gasp before Yanina forced her back to her punishment.
San glanced over at Dozilva, who was, he noticed, telling the emperor and Loick just exactly what she wanted from them. He smiled to hear her asking for harder fucking, more slapping, more hair-pulling, telling them to pin her down hard, even if she struggled... Between the two of them, they seemed to be able to meet her requests quite handily. He could see drops of black blood beading from scratches and bite-marks on her back, her shoulders, bruises starting to form on her hips, her arse, her throat, her lips fuck-swollen and bleeding as well. He wasn't sure whether they could hit her limits, but he was confident that if they did, she would let them know in no uncertain terms. For now, she was writhing between them, lost in a sea of sensations. San tried to sense the vague attunement he had felt earlier, but it was drowned out now, their attentions too divided. You look beautiful, he thought to her, and he saw her smile around Loick's cock and lift her head up.
"May I come, master?" she asked, and it was clear she was talking to him, not to either of the men fucking her. He knew she could have asked him without speaking aloud, which meant she had wanted them to hear, wanted them to know who she truly submitted to. That knowledge made him ache with pride in her, and a sensation another might have understood as love.
"You may," he told her, driving ever harder into Zivia, trying to finish himself off as well. The sound of his lover's long-building release was incredible, a siren's cry of lust and satisfaction. Knowing that he had granted it to her was even better. He came himself a few moments later, a near-silent shudder, pulling out of Zivia to spill his seed on the imperial sheets.
When next he looked around, Dozilva's partners were both spent as well, gasping and collapsed across her and the bed. Yanina and Zivia were still occupied, but without much energy or enthusiasm. He thought about ordering her to stop, but remembered that he had left that decision up to Yanina. It was time, he thought, to make their exit. Come, he thought to Dozilva, when you're ready, we'll go.
Stretching, feeling sore muscles and a variety of superficial wounds, she nodded and stood. "Good girl," Marl said, still a bit out of breath. "Nice control." San realized that was directed more at him than at Dozilva, and smiled, nodding his acknowledgement of the emperor's praise. "Not sure I like the idea of an outsider walking around my palace in disguise, though. We'll have to discuss that too," Marl added sternly.
"Certainly," Dozilva said, tugging on San's tunic and retrieving her hairclip. "But for now, it is all right?"
"For now," Marl agreed grudgingly. He turned to his wife and mistress, who were lying sprawled next to one another in a reluctant truce. "Don't think you're done," he informed them with a slight smile.
Bidding their erstwhile partners farewell, San and Dozilva retrieved the rest of their clothing, dressed themselves at least well enough to be decent, and departed, making their way back out into the darkened corridors once more.
"Was that to your liking?" he asked Dozilva once they were safely back in the room they shared.
"Mmm," she nodded. "Reminds me of home, a little. It was good, but... so much, you know? Not so good for relaxing. And he finished inside me," she added, making a slight face, "but I will take care of that, so no problems." She patted San's arm as they lay in bed together. "You like it better with only one, don't you."
He shrugged, but nodded. "It's easier to concentrate. More... focused. That had a lot of nice parts put together, but I felt a bit lost at times. Having you there helped, though."
She smiled. "I am glad, then. And I love you," she told him, before rolling over to sleep and leaving him to his restless meditation.