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“Heey~ No fair! I’m the one who cut it off! I want that.”

“And I’m the one that herded it to big sis, it’s mine!”

“Now now,” A soft voice breaks through the squabbling, its quality like a warm summer’s breeze compared to the abrasive, bratty yet queerly suggestive quality of the two voices prior. At least, the relief that seems to show in the Iron-horn Roe’s glassy eyes would suggest so. Even the dead deserve rest. “What did I say about sharing?”

“Mou~”
“Geeze~”

Two begrudging claws meet, their owners looking away and pouting as they tear the kidney into two near perfect, bloodied halves and pop them into their respective, plump mouths. The other kidney seems to be reserved. A claw of a different colour reaches down to pluck that supposedly relieved eye, while a greater claw in size than any other wraps around the eponymous horn and sinks into large roe’s skull. With a sickening crunch and a gory rip, it pulls away a chunk of now-splintered cranium. It goes sailing, without any dignity and trailing gore as the claw returns to scoop the brains, of which, admittedly, there isn’t much.

The horn lands on stone by a shadowy figure’s feet with a keratinous clack. The figure licks the remnant heart-blood off its black claws then stoops to pick up the horn and scraps of fur and bone, only to stiffen. Nose twitching, a small growl forms in its throat that silences all the other noises except for the slow, offensive wet ripping of flesh, like a mischievous child continuing what they were doing despite the mood’s shift or perhaps in the face of it.

“Flesh… human flesh...”

 

* * * *

You come to a heavy stop, boot scuffing the smooth dark wood of the rampart. The faint jostle of metal accompanies your sigh, fading under the quiet crackle of the nearby brazier. It wavers under the nightly breeze, flaring up in small spurts before settling. Pinching the leather, you take your gloves off and stare out over the dark night, while warming your hands by the flame. It’s so quiet tonight, you can hear the distant gulls on the wind. You take a furtive glance north towards the cursed great gate beyond the horizon, like so many of the locals do before turning back to the safety of flame. That thing casts a fairly heavy shadow over this little city of Arnhem.

Well, not like you had much to lose if you were sent to guard the gates north. No family, you practically lived in the barracks. You got on with the other guards, but had no strong friendship. If only drinks and grumbles could constitute a connection. In a weird way, being sent there would be more in keeping with how dull, quiet and lonely your life is. Except, if you were sent there the absolute last thing you’d want is an exciting, noisy and busy life. As that would mean that there’s no more room in Hel and the dead were preparing their parade.

It’s not so bad; you’re fulfilled enough. A career. No one to spend money on, so you have some savings stashed away. Except the stingy ass captain docks your pay for food and board. You don’t know what you’ll spend it on. Maybe a vacation. Maybe you’ll get around to buying a small house of your own a little ways out of town, a few heads of cattle or something, settle down and work the land.

Sighing, you take a few moments respite, rustling around your hip before stealing a sip from your water skin. As you slake your thirst, you hear the quiet grunting of an aged man climbing the stairs behind you and to your right. You turn to see a gruff, greying face mount the last step. Your spine straightens a little.

“Captain.”

“Ulvatr. Office.” With only your name and a location spoken, the terse old man turns and grunts back down the stairs.

You tilt your head to a side, then shrug. Man as terse as this isn’t going to waste his time, must be something. Just at that moment you spy a silhouette upon the ramparts leaving a turret. Placing two fingers to your lips the way they taught you in training, you signal to him with a shrill whistle and gesture your break before following down the stairs. You take them two at a time and just beyond the flight of steps is a faded wooden door leading into the base of the watchtower.

The captain’s ‘office’ isn’t really much to speak of, mostly just a desk in his private room. When you enter, he’s already seated and frowning, mulling over papers. “Sit.” You do so. He brings a hand up to his chin, thumb and forefinger lightly pinching the wiry grey hair beneath his lip. You sit in patience as he mulls over his thoughts, the only sign he’s still doing so the faint twisting of said hair.

“Your father was a lumberman wasn’t he?”

You blink, thoroughly baffled. “Yes, captain.”

“Been to Faraon?”

“Of course, captain, they are one of the largest suppliers of lumber in this region, father took me to see the mills when I was young.”

He squints. “They were. From up to about four weeks ago, maybe more. Then the shipments stopped.”

You frown, “Did they say why?”

“They haven’t said a thing. There’s been no word, even after pigeons had been sent out.”

You lift an eyebrow at that. Faraon basically lives and dies by its lumber trade. For it to stop is no less stranger than seeing some one suddenly go off their food. “Then...”

“Then it’s fallen onto me to investigate the matter. You’re smart, observant – mh, good job on apprehending that thief yesterday by the way, saves me the hassle of having to deal with the woman. I owe you a drink. Anyway, short handed as we are, I’ve decided to send you. I can only spare one man and you’re the best for it. Make your preparations, find out what’s wrong. I don’t need to tell you how much we rely on a constant flow of lumber coming from the forest. Now, you’re just there to scout things out. You’ll be going alone, so forget authority, you won’t even have the manpower to make any arrests. Just find out what’s going on. If they’ve fucked the mill or something’s happened in the forest, find out what it is and find out why they haven’t asked for assistance yet. Your priority first and foremost is to report back, got it?” His aged, grey eyes pierce yours.

You nod firmly. “Yes, captain.”

“Get your ass to the stables at sunrise, one of the hands will point a horse out for you, they should have it geared. For now, get some rest.”

“Yes, captain!”

* * * *

The smell is never pleasant, though at least the hay is fresh. Your equipment feels markedly out of place surrounded by the squalor. You were told to get some rest, but you stayed up most of the night restless, thinking. You decided to busy your hands with maintaining your sword and armour so as it stands you almost look as proper as you did the time you had to stand guard for a parade. You kind of regret not just lying down and closing your eyes for as long as it takes now, heavy as you feel. Thankfully you packed extra scoutsleaf if you needed a bit of a boost along the road.

The stables for the guard’s use aren’t too far from the barracks, a building that’s fairly open to the elements although the horses don’t seem to complain much. It’s almost entirely made from wood, with thatched roofing and half nestled in the shade of the city walls

One of the hands is currently sweeping, he looks up at you as you approach… Gilbert? No, “Hey Gerald. Morning.”

“Ulvatr, I was told you were coming. It’s Greg.” The mans’ a bit scrawny, though his forearms are whip-like and developed, shaggy dirty blonde hair and beard with a penchant for scratching. Must be the horses.

You ignore your slip, “So, which is it?”

He hikes his thumb up behind his shoulder, “Fifth stall down, she’s already saddled up.”

“Cheers.” You head down the stalls, passing disinterested horses idly chomping on hay. This one’s no different, but for it’s brown fur and white splotching down its nose and chest. In fact, it’s the most disinterested of them all. Still, the saddle seems to be all prepared, so you take off your pack and open the gate to this docile animal, though you feel that word doesn’t quite convey the right nuance. You fix your pack to the saddle and mount the horse in a swift if some what stiff manner. It’s been a while since you’d ridden a horse.

With a nudge of your knees, the beast trots forth, making its way through the stables and out onto the paved road. You spare one last glance for the walls of Arnhem before joining the throngs of people leaving the town, though most are heading south and you soon diverge. You strike out for the road east at a rhythmic, four beat amble, the horse beneath you seeming fairly happy with this pace and you yourself pretty pleased to not be rocking and bouncing so much in the saddle.

The forest – large and expansive as it is – already stretches out before your eyes, long into the distant horizon, only stopping far beyond your line of sight at the foot of the great mountain ranges that hedge the sky. The morning’s a crisp one, leading into autumn. A decent bit of fog clings to the landscape and the scent of the ocean is stronger today than it usually is, though you can’t hear the gulls anymore.

The ‘road’ east is almost entirely in disrepair, almost reclaimed by the wilderness, thick grasses growing amidst cracked stones. It’s surprising to see a road like this paved at all, but you suppose it makes sense with the great lumber carriages expected to trundle along them. Not that there have been any for a while, it would seem. You ride along, though the closer you get to the forest, the closer your hand gets to the sword at your hip. The area around these parts is dangerous enough ordinarily, forest beasts and the odd nuisance monstergirl. Most can be reliably scared off and away from the town, but they make a habit of predating lone travellers like yourself.

Hopefully your armour and horse will dissuade them, though with over a month of no activity, there’s no telling what’s made its home along the road in the absence of those behemoth carts roaring out of the woods. Monstergirls. You’ve probably had more experience with them, more exposure than most guardsmen given your town’s rather remote positioning. You didn’t like seriously fighting them, beautiful as they were. You actively avoided it wherever you could and for the most part they’re sensible enough to conduct themselves civilly, though the deeper into human territory they get and the greater the repression from factions like the church they face, the more desperate they get.

What are you to do when they jump out to threaten travellers or yourself with their very real claws, or twisted makeshift weapons in the case of goblins and the like? Of course, these girls have no access to fabled demonic metals, wouldn’t know how to work them even if they did. Their goal is always capture, but an accidental blow to the vitals is still a blow to the vitals, not to mention the risk of infection. The threat they pose isn’t really different to your run of the mill bandit. In some ways, you actually like that. Makes it easier to deal with the monstergirls that aren’t trying to capture, maim, or rarely even kill you. They aren’t human, but they’re just people all the same, for good or ill – but mostly good. Of course the womenfolk don’t see it the way you do, but you’re given two very convincing arguments up front and then another two loaded at the end to consider later…

You wipe the dumb gin off your face as the leaves of the forest embrace the two of you, both horse and rider growing a little tense as the darkness closes in, stark rays of sunlight filtering down through the canopy but incapable of banishing the sense of enclosure. You rest a hand on its neck, trying to soothe it with a reminder of your presence. You’ve no idea how the beast feels about you, but at least it quietens some. You pull it up the moment you hear the bubbling of a stream – which is easy to do in these quiet woods.

By this point the horse had been dutifully ambling its way along for about two hours, it deserves a short rest and a drink and you could do with a sharper mind as you enter the woods, path or no. Time for some of that scoutsleaf. Firstly, you lead the horse to water and tie its reins to a small tree. Secondly, you fish around your pack for everything you’d need to boil up a cup of water.

You look about you, the stream forming along something of a natural miniature valley, the banks on either side rising high. Damp soil, a mix of fresh and old leaves over moss and erratic sprouts of lush grasses. The place certainly smells earthy enough, the sound of the wind through the trees pleasantly blending with the bubbling water and the odd bird call. You find what you need in short order, scooping some of the drier leaves up and ripping some dead vines out of the ground or off the trees. You even manage a dry, fallen branch which breaks apart into nice chunks over your knee and nicer yet sticks as you wedge them apart with your knife and hammer the back of the blade with a stone.

Constructing a nice square tower over a bed of dry leaves and burning vines, while you don’t manage it on the first spark of your flint, you manage to catch a flame with the third. Protecting it from whatever breeze there is with your hands, you blow, squeezing your eyes shut against the smoke until a heat licks at your palm. After placing a few more of the sticks over the flames and letting the fire grow, you head head down to the stream with your iron cup to fill it with water and snatch up a decently flat stone while at it.

By the time you return – horse nonchalantly watching you as it chews plant matter – the fire had spread nicely, but was well ready for more fuel. Plonking the cup down by the fire and swiftly spreading coals around it, you build more of the temporary scaffolding about the cup, all of it eventually catching, a neat ring of flame around your water, small bubbles already forming. Running the stone over the fire for a few moments, you sit it over the rim of the cup and let the water boil, dusting your gloves off on your thigh as you rise to take the scoutsleaf from your pack.

The small tin is about the size of your fist and stuffed doubly to the brim with diced and sliced dry leaves. Huddling it into your body to protect it from the wind, you slowly unscrew the cap and take out the folded cheese cloth crammed up against the lid by the mound of leaf. Unfolding it and taking a few pinches of leaf, you set a tiny mound in the centre and fold it over and tie it off, carefully screwing the cap back on and missing nary a sliver before setting the tin back into your pack. Taking the bud of leaves over to the fire, you set aside the rock and retrieve the cup from the flames swiftly but carefully, already feeling the heat through your gloves.

The cloth plops into the boiling water and using a stick this time, you nudge the ring of coals into a pile and enjoy the warmth while you wait. Just the smell of it alone has you feeling more awake, melting through the woollen fog of a morning where you’d have much rather rolled over and gone back to sleep. The small fire crackles with a barely there intensity and you’re already down to your last stick, ashen by your poking around.

Deeming it time enough, you take the cloth out of the water and pinch the bud flat between your fingers, wringing the last of the water out before letting it drift and dangle over the fire, drying the moisture out of it. That way you can put the leaves back in the tin, stretch it out further. By the time the cloth is dry enough to have you worrying about it smouldering, you set it aside and give the bud a few squeezes, feeling the crinkle of crisp leaves. You sit it on the stone near the flames to let some more of the ambient heat dry the inside of it, while you take the cup in hand.

Swirling it gently, you take deep lungfuls of the aroma, sighing before you take a sip. Of all the drugs to get hooked on, scoutsleaf has got to be the best. So long as you keep modest and moderate and don’t start snorting the alchemically distilled essence of it or something, you can handily go without, but boy if it isn’t pleasant to go with. Most soldiers and guards were fond of the stuff, it’s almost an occupational hazard of the trade.

You raise the warm cup to your lips and sip the hot water, relishing in the sharp, bitter texture that almost seems to attack your tastebuds. All the more keenly do you taste it, as the liquid settles comfortably in your stomach and your mind seems to brighten, eyes noting the surrounding underbrush with a new, keener attention. Scout’s leaf indeed. You’ve never used it for its intended and eponymous purpose – only using it yourself from now and then during a break to make the night watch less exhausting – but you can well imagine the boon this leaf would provide to the worn and exhausted scout, desperately trying to focus on vital information while severely sleep deprived.

Some chew it, but you were never fond of that, besides, you can’t reuse that. Your way is infinitely more economic, clearly. Rejuvenated, you spare yourself another five minutes of resting your muscles and soaking in the aroma of the drink before you’re down to the last mouthful. Letting out a contented sigh, you rise and give off a mighty stretch, stomping the fire out beneath your boot and heading back over to the horse who’d gotten its fill of water in the meantime. Taking the tin back out, you carefully unfold the cheesecloth and tip the leaves back in, mixing it through a little with your finger so you’re not just taking out the same portion again next time and you neatly fold the cloth back up into a tiny square over the leaves and screw the lid back on.

Far more awake leaving this rest than when you entered it, you untie the horse and mount the saddle once more, driving it back to the road, for what you figure will be another few hours of travel, seeing you at Faraon by early or mid afternoon. Hopefully even if it’s the worst case scenario, things aren’t so bad you can’t find an empty bed for the night.

The steed beneath returns to its four beat amble down the overgrown stone path, shoes some times clomping into dirt and moss, sometimes clacking against stone, but never seeming too worried. It isn’t until the canopy grows significantly denser that you begin to feel some of its disquiet. A disquiet you share, your eyes surveying the shadows, though not more keenly than its; you’ll have to defer to the beast’s senses for immediate danger.

Thankfully, the road is broad enough for two carriages to pass by one another and thus the canopy directly overhead is stretched a little thin, ample sunlight shining through over the lush dark greens around you. At no point along your journey, however, do you come across any one else, or any movement for that matter, the jostle of your armour and the infrequent loud clacking of your horse driving off predator and prey alike, most likely not out of fear but a mutual disinterest. Bears and wolves have better, juicer things to hunt that don’t smell like they routinely go around in packs with giant metal tusks and launch-able metal spines and sunlight sticks to routinely harass innocent woodland critters.

It’s a little hard to tell the time here in these woods. The towering trees all look the same, unfathomably ancient. The road is the same random section of cracked stone with clumps of moss or grass here and there, so infinite in their variations it all blurs into one long stretch. About the only way you can tell the time is by your hand sneaking its way into your pack to relieve it of some dried rations. It must be around mid day.

The horse dutifully continues its pace, gradually getting a little more use to and at ease with the woods, your hand idly stroking its neck no doubt a part of that. The road is fairly straight. If it curves at all, it either does so incredibly gradually, or it does so with the writ and permit of nature herself, so naturally conforming to the terrain as to be almost unnoticed.

Eventually, the forest begins to clear, some aspect of the pattern leading one to believe that it hadn’t done so by entirely natural means. A great wooden palisade rises in the distance, some thrice the height of a man and thick to boot. Great wooden doors, a seeming extension of the palisade yawn almost invitingly and from within that portal you can spy the dim shape of a few buildings. Faraon. Not so different from what you recall as a young boy, an enclosed, small village built entirely to function yet bearing beneath the stoic facade a quaint kind of charm.

Something spooks your horse as it trots in between the gates, tossing its head and dancing somewhat nervously. You crouch over to whisper some reassurance while glancing around, instantly alarmed. The village is… empty. Yet it doesn’t feel it.

There’s a cobbling of buildings around the perimeter and a great oaken idol in the centre of a woodsman posing with his axe. Every building here is made of wood with beautiful and masterful saddle notching in each building’s construction. Arnhem buildings don’t look like this at all, far more simplistically made. You suppose it’s a woodsman’s right to flaunt both his own craftsmanship and the quality of his wood.

The spaces between them are amply large to load up one of their great carriages, one of which – coincidentally – sits neglected and laden with its lumber load off to the side. There’s one large home, thrice storied, though the top two combined only match the footprint of the ground floor. You recall this being the ealdorman’s dwelling. The only other building in the village comparable with size is the tavern, which is also the only building that isn’t directly related to the town’s lumber industry or the residence of her workers.

After all, when the sweaty, burly workers return from their shift, they need a pint. Faraon honey mead is second in fame only to their lumber. Granted, it’s also their only other export. The other wax based products are rarer, given the use they see around the village. In fact… now that you’re reminded of their second secret little industry your stomach growls. You still remember the taste of their honeycomb…

You shake your head clear of errant thoughts as your horse slowly walks into the village proper. Every building… empty, it seems. There’s no sign of struggle, some windows and even doors remain open, but all around you is little more than gloomy quiet. You can hear yourself gulp nervously, but you fight to keep it from showing in your body language as to not frighten the horse. You slowly reach down again to put a hand on it’s neck and clear your throat.

“Hello?” The beast flinches, but doesn’t rear. Your voice isn’t that loud, but it carries well through the silence. You raise it just a little. “Is any one there?! I am Ulvatr, a guardsman of Arnhem sent to investigate the missing shipments. Is any one here?!” Your words echo back to you off the wooden palisade. Silence. Just as you’re about to call again, a crash coming from the building to your right startles both you and the horse. Thankfully, though it dances very nervously, it doesn’t bolt. Still, fearing that eventuality, you decide it prudent to investigate on foot for now. Leading the beast over to the building to your left, you dismount and loop its reins around one of the posts holding up the overhanging roof forming this cabin’s veranda. You decide to take and place your pack to the side, so at least you don’t lose everything if it decides to break free.

That done and with a hand on your sword’s hilt now, you slowly make your way over towards the building where the crash originated from. It’s another small home, more fit to be called a cabin with it’s own tight but cosy looking sitting area by the front, window open and some knitted curtains wavering slightly despite the lack of a breeze. The wood’s a dark and rich colour, sturdy looking and seemingly coated in a varnish of sorts, by the sheen of the afternoon sun. Well, the parts that are lit up, the surrounding trees and the tall palisade cast long shadows across the village.

The building looks like it doesn’t even have any rooms, of a humble design, the amenities are probably all just thrown together, the kitchen and fireplace up one end a bed up the other, you’ve seen plenty of them. The wood doesn’t croak or creak as you step onto it, a testament to the quality of both the materials and the craftsmanship. The door itself looks thick, sturdy. You’d hate to have to try and kick it in.

You creep ever closer, fingers resting on your hilt now wrapping about the handle. “Hello? Any one? I’m coming in and I am armed!” You shout to the silence and the silence answers back. Firming your nerves, you slowly start to reach out towards the door handle, when in the silence you hear another door open further in the village, sending chills down your spine. You twist to look, but as you do, a woman’s voice cries out, sharp in tone and loud enough to be clear yet there’s an unmistakably gentle quality to it.

“Aine, don’t!”

“Fine...”

You jump out of your skin at the sudden voice from behind, head jarring back in the opposite direction so suddenly you sprain your neck, but you don’t care for that as you turn and draw your sword while flinching and leaping back. Your limbs, such a surprised and uncoordinated mess, trip over one another and you fall over into a heap, pointing your sword towards the rough yet feminine voice by your ear.

She’s tall, long and wild red hair hanging down to her hips, her muscular arms raised and holding a woodsman’s axe. Her golden eyes narrow at you and faster than you can react, her foot flies out, kicking the blade out of your hands and sending it flying into the building’s wall, where a different, younger sounding voice gives a startled yelp.

“Aine!” That first voice shouts chidingly.

The red haired woman, Aine, looks you over with a smug smirk and an interested twinkle in her eyes before she spins on her heel and walks away. Despite yourself, you can’t help but take keen note of the wide hips and large ass crammed into her tight leather pants. You were far too startled to take in her other assets when she was facing you before, other than those striking, golden eyes. Your gaze flicking to the building, you spy the white crown of a pale faced girl peeking over the windowsill, her eyes a light blue. You can’t help but look to your sword, tip buried in the wood and still vibrating. With the redhead still around, maybe pulling it out right now isn’t so prudent.

Instead, you look to that soft sounding voice across from the village. A woman… a rather buxom woman has emerged from the village head’s house. You pick yourself up and dust yourself off, as you slowly make your way over. She’s the first to speak, smiling at you gently.

“I’m sorry about Aine. She’s just a little... over protective at the moment.”

She’s… beautiful. Frankly speaking, all three you’ve seen now – even if you only saw above the nose of the second – have been beautiful. This woman is… soft is all you can really use to describe her most aptly. There are other words, but this one alone is all encompassing. Breasts that strain against the top of her dress, childbearing hips that equally test the integrity of the fabric. A midriff that has the faintest hint of pudge on her belly. You’ve no idea what her ass looks like, but a man can dream. Her hair is the warmest brown, long and silky and flowing; a similar length to Aine’s but far neater and smoother. Her eyes are a welcoming hazel, though in this light there’s a little more green to them. The solitary wrinkle at the edge of her gently downturned, round eyes speaks to the history of the maternal smile she currently wears upon her full, plump lips. A round of expletives explodes in your mind as you curse the man who has her in his bed every night, as surely there is one, a woman like this doesn’t stay single in a village so small for long.

You shake your head, part to deny that you’re bothered, part to gather yourself. “That’s… quite alright, something has obviously happened, I can see you’re all quite on edge. As I said, I am Ulvatr, a guardsman from Arnhem. Please, take me to the ealdorman so I can find out what has been going on here and why the shipments of lumber have ceased.”

She chuckles softly, “You’re looking at her, I’m afraid.”

You frown, “You?” Two more doors open and you look back to see two women emerge from opposite houses, but asides from the way their fringe falls from left to right, or right to left and the long, asymmetrical socks crumpled over their boots, those are the last opposite things about these twins, blondes with blue-green eyes and full, round, pouty pink lips; they’re identical down to bodies that would make a succubus blush, paling a little to the matron before you in proportion, but more than making up for it in perky and youthful tightness.

You’re already in the process of assessing each face as it appears; first the big redhead, who seems the type to be frustratingly stubborn but also perhaps a coincidental witness; then this soft brunette, who strikes you as the type to appear cooperative at first, but may secretly be withholding some great secret. Each figure could prove pivotal in your investigations, but these twins’ overtly revealing short dresses and plunging vests mean your appraising gaze would probably linger on them regardless. Their skin, strangely enough, is a sunkissed bronze, as if they’d just returned from lands further south, the sun-bleached streaks in their hair seem to support this. Some travelling merchant’s daughters? That calls to mind another oddity that’s only just now coming to the forefront of your consciousness. They both look at you, almost through you, the smiles on their lips somewhat unsettling.

You turn your attentions back to the woman before you. “Where… where are all the men?”

She gives a sad sigh. “Ulvatr, was it? I think it’s best you come in so I can explain the situation. I’ll light the fire and get the kettle going, would you like something to eat? Arnhem you said? You must have travelled some way.” She gestures at the doorway, then guides you into the home. A simple staircase rises before you, with two rooms to the left and right and one further down the hall. She takes you left into the kitchen, where a table and set of chairs sit at one end.

You respond, while idly looking about and reacquainting yourself with the house that’s still looming vaguely in your memories.“Yes, thank you.” She busies herself with lighting the fire, getting the kettle boiling and digging around in the pantry to bring you something serviceable to eat. Meanwhile, you continue to look around you, taking the moment to get your bearings and try and absorb what you’ve seen and prepare yourself for what you’re about to hear, whatever the reason for this village’s oddity is. Loaded carriage sitting there a month late to ship out, no men, a village that doesn’t outwardly seem wrong but… a sense of abandonment seems to hang over everything here, even if it all looks ostensibly lived in. You look around at the all-wooden furniture, notice a bit of dust build up on a corner stand across the room.

You hear the woman rifling around and can’t help but wonder what’s taking her so long to navigate her own pantry. She emerges as the kettle begins to howl, carrying a plate with some stiff looking bread, cheese and old sausage. She lays it out before you politely enough and gives you a knife before heading over to the kettle, fetching two cups and placing a scoop of tea leaves into the kettle.

You hesitate to partake for a moment, suspicions running high before you reason that the tall redhead could have easily brained you if they’d wanted her to. To the woman, however, it just looks like you’d politely waited for her to take a seat before helping yourself to some of the food. You cut a slice of each item, sandwiching the sausage between bread and cheese and popping it into your mouth. It’s flavourful enough but… you reach for the cup and sip a little despite the heat. Man is it dry.

“I am Cybele, the...” You take note as her expression becomes somewhat downcast. “Daughter of the late ealdorman and currently acting in his capacity.” Despite your entirely professional reasons for being here, a more personal part of you can’t help but perk up at this information. If her father died, authority should have temporarily gone to her husband… if she had one. You take another sip and gesture to her. You’ve a dozen questions, so it’s best to let her unravel the story on her own to begin with.

“I suppose I should start at the beginning...” She wraps her fingers around her cup, staring into the liquid while she thinks, before looking up, her gaze crossing yours with a sweet, amiable smile. “Nearly two months ago now, we started hearing strange… bellowing from the forest. Ever since that night, the dogs started howling incessantly… they were the first to vanish. When we went to look for them, we found tracks of some giant beast circling the village and deep gouges in the palisade.” She shudders a little, as if reliving the fear and in the moment’s silence, you hear another door in the village open and close.

“After that there was silence for a few days and things seemed to return to normal, but then one night the bellowing returned, even louder, seeming to surround the village all at once. A few of the men, drunk no doubt, decided to set out on horseback and hunt whatever beast it was that had been frightening us… they were never seen again. After that, we all stayed in the village for a few days, but it seemed that the beast was only active at night, so during the day life went on, albeit a little more slowly, as we all returned to the village before sunset. We didn’t dare venture far into the woods, only far enough that the men could harvest honey from the forest and in groups at that. The clearing by the mill was open enough that asides from finishing early, work was able to continue as usual.

Then, it was time for the men to set out with the lumber, but in the early morning, just as they’d set out, the bellowing returned, almost as if it was warning us not to leave. With all the other people missing, we didn’t really know what to do, we sent a few people out to find help at different times during the day, but… if they never reached you then I guess it’s obvious what happened to them.” She sighs. “We’ve been basically just waiting ever since, there’s enough food we can scavenge from the forest and we’ve ample supplies of honey. We were hoping some one would have made it out and in the worst case scenario eventually some one would come to investigate.”

She looks at you, smiling from across the table. “And here you are.” She smile quickly falls. “Unfortunately, just last night all the children of the village went missing. Just like the dogs two months ago. All the men rallied together at first light and set out searching, leaving us behind.” Unease slips into her expression. “I don’t know if they’ll be back before sunset, but there are many quite defensible hunting cabins out in the forest. If the walls around the village are enough, then one of those should keep the men safe until morning.”

You tilt your head, “They all left the women behind, just like that?”

She smiles, “You’ve met Aine, we all feel quite safe with her around. In fact, she demanded to go searching with the men, but thankfully they convinced her to stay behind to protect us.”

“And what does this beast look like?”

“W-we’ve never seen it, only heard it.”

You look down at your food, working somewhat to hide your expression as you mull things over. Her story… well it’s pretty obviously suspicious and there are a lot of questions you have about it. But the shipments did stop. There’s a cart right there, full of lumber that never set off. Something emptied or, rather nearly emptied this village. You don’t want to confront her over any of it given your current lack of information. You’ll need to investigate exactly what happened and free reign to do that will be a little hard to get with the big redhead chasing you out. Mulling it over, you open your mouth.

“Then, would it be alright if I waited until the men returned to ask them some questions?”

Her eyes gleam. “Yes! Of course! Please, you can take the spare room here if you like.”

You shake your head, “That’s okay, you mentioned loosing a fair few people, I’ll just temporarily take up a bed in one of the empty homes, I promise to be respectful of the items of the… missing.”

She deflates, “Oh, yes that would be alright too.”

“Is there a place I can keep my horse for the time being?”

“There’s a small stables behind the tavern and plenty of feed, given we’re short of horses now.”

“Thank you.”

“If you like, we’ll all be having dinner together at the tavern tonight, you’re welcome to join us. There’s plenty of drink here for the time being. We could also heat up a bath for you? It’s the least we could do as guests.”

“Ah... thank you...” You blink, a little unsettled but you can’t quite pin the source of it. It’s perfectly ordinary hospitality, but under these circumstances… maybe they just want to feel some normalcy. You rise from the table, “Then, Cybele, I’ll settle myself in and come around the tavern by nightfall. Hopefully the men won’t need to stay the night out in the forests.”

She just nods at you and you see yourself out, pondering. In the time it took for you to have that conversation, the sun had begun to bleed out across the sky, staining the spattered clouds red. It wouldn’t be too long at all before sunset, the shadows already growing longer and denser over the village. By chance, you glance towards the opened gates of the palisade only to see Aine push them shut with relative ease. You look to the giant, bulky hinges fixed to the gates. They slowly swing shut with respectable weight and she hefts a great bar and sets it in place. It had evidently done its job against this ‘beast’ well enough up until now. You look around at as much of the perimeter wall as you can see and sure enough there’s a smaller passage, tucked away and also barred. You could slip in and out of there if you needed to later tonight.

She turns back and looks at you over her shoulder. You nod, showing no hard feelings. She grins back. You make your way over to where your horse still stands, less nervous than before, but clearly skittish as it eyes the women. Along the way you pass by the twins, sitting out the front of one of their houses and chatting, one sitting on the outside railing, the other leaning up against it and facing out towards the village. You’re caught looking as they turn their heads to you. Their blue-green eyes glimmer with an almost carnal mischief as in unison they raise a hand each, folding three fingers in to spread the pointer and the index in a ‘v’ while poking their tongues out. You’re not entirely sure what the gesture means but what comes next you’re a little more familiar with. The free hand of one sister raises her skirt to flash her trimmed, blonde-tufted, puffy pussy while the free hand of the other sister pulls down the already deep cleavage of her top to reveal her perky breast and pale nipple. Those are gestures you understand a little better, granted you’re more used to them from slum brothels, n-not that you ever partake...

They giggle in unison as you trip over your feet and blush. Escaping the laughing women, you power walk away over to your horse in a fluster, snatching your sword from the wall it was embedded in along the way, not really thinking much at all as your mind remains frozen on that scene… no men, huh? You snap to before you run right into the poor, uncomfortable beast. For whatever reason, it eyes the two with no small trepidation. Patting its head and stroking its nose, more than unsettled yourself and eager to put that embarrassment behind you, you lead it towards the back of the other large building. It smells stronger of honey the closer you get. Just as Cybele said, the stables lay open and empty.

After getting it settled in, you return to the house you initially tied it to. You pick your pack up from where you left it and look around before entering the cabin, its lack of immediate inhabitants telling you it’s probably safely uninhabited. There weren’t too many left in the village, after all and those that did remain didn’t seem likely to be out and about.

It’s as humble as it looks from the outside. Some old trophies line the walls, from whoever owned it last, a decent sized deer’s head and a large antlered hare’s head. Asides from that it’s really quite bare and the furnishing isn’t much better. There’s a cabinet with some shelves and a chest of drawers, a table by the fireplace with some chairs and a bed at the other end. Well, not that it’s much different from what you have back home. One difference, however, is the number of candles lying around. The whole place carries with it the scent of beeswax. Setting your pack down on the table, you start to divest yourself your gear and armour. You’re suspicious of their story, but that’s twice now they’ve had the chance to do something about you if they wanted. Might as well get comfortable.

Reduced now to a shirt, boots and trousers with your armour laying neatly aside, you consider keeping your sword with you for a few moments, then figure keeping the knife strapped to your belt is precaution enough. After all the walls are sturdy and you’re not sure you’re going to get around to leaving them tonight. You might as well kill the time until dinner by starting your investigation here. Somehow you don’t feel like these missing men are going to turn up.

Feeling chilly, you take out your cloak and wrap it about you. You’re brought to recall the twins’ lack of coverage. Aren’t they cold? You shake your head and move over to the first draw of the chest and snoop around. There’s some cloth and candles in here, the next has some cutlery and dishware, the one down some other odds and ends, fairly simple, innocuous stuff. The cabinet’s a little more interesting, leaning against it is an unstrung bow and a quiver full of simple looking arrows. The first draw seems to have the tools needed to fletch and carve. The next one down’s just some cooking utensils and the one beneath that more sheets, but as you dig around you find a diary. Not expecting much, you flip it open and indeed don’t receive much.

The owner was a woodsman more than a lumberman. Though he worked part time at the mill as most men did, his main role with a few other men was to source the village’s meat and honey. There’s an interesting anecdote about forgetting to bring the herbs needed to smoke out the bees and make them lethargic and sluggish so they wouldn’t sting you even if you accidentally squished them. You lift your eyebrows a little, you suppose that would make for easy honeycomb harvesting. Apparently, they’ve gone to length in making sure the colony is protected and prosperous. You suppose that makes sense if you depend on them as much as the village seems to.

Not much else, some more anecdotes of some hunts, one man got injured, there was a moment’s drama and intrigue about hunting accidents but it was just a young boy’s mishap rather than an assassination attempt and the victim had his wounds dressed and healed without complication. Another where their hounds tracked a wounded deer for up to an hour. Even up until the end… no mention of any ‘beast’. Though the last entry does date to nearly two months ago. Contemplating this, you decide to stretch your legs, maybe check the perimeter for these markings Cybele claims exists.

You leave your room and the village is empty as ever. No, wait, Aine seems to be returning from chopping some firewood – by the bundles in her arms – and is headed towards the tavern. Good job. You make your way over to the smaller door you saw. No one seems to see you, so you slowly lift the bar out of -

“Hey.”

You jolt and the thing slips back down with another cringe worthy crash. You turn around – and look up – to see none other than Big Red somewhat invading your personal space. A little more collected this time, you can see… she’s well endowed up the front too, chest bulging under her simple tunic in a distinctly softer manner than her muscles. She also stands a head and a half taller than you, making talking to her with this proximity a pain in the neck. It does put you eye level with some other pleasant orbs though.

Your eyes glance over her upturned but thin-ish lips and her prominent but not too large, ever so faintly crooked nose before settling on those almond shaped golden eyes of hers. “Are you fond of that?” You ask somewhat dryly, talking to the pair of eyes looking back at you for now.

“Fond of what?” Her husky, breathy voice rolls out like burnt honey.

“Appearing behind me like that, surprising me.”

She tilts her head, “A little. I don’t get to stalk things very often, they’re usually guided to me for the kill, so…” she looks down at you and offers a toothy… snarl? You think it’s supposed to be a smile or a grin but she clearly doesn’t do it often. “It is kinda nice.”

You fight back a shudder, thoroughly not pleased with the comparisons, but you’re not really in a place to argue. “Well, would you mind giving me some warning? With this talk of a beast, I’m spooked enough as is.” You offer a wry smile, but she just tilts her head again, as if mulling on your words.

“Hmh. Then why are you heading out?” You can’t help but notice you failed to secure her promise of warnings. Sighing inwardly, you shrug.

“I was told there were tracks and markings on the walls outside. I grew up kinda rural and got some training tracking as a guard. I’m no expert, but I’d like to take a look for myself.”

“Sure.”

You don’t know if you should thank her for her permission. You turn around and open the door, stepping through and closing it behind you, infront of her face. Maybe a little rude, but you need the space. You let out a sigh and set out, looking for signs of anything. Sure enough, not even ten steps in, you spy faded imprints in the ground and large ones at that. There are some gouges in the palisade too, as she said there would be, although… You frown and squat down, reaching out to touch one.

“These are fresh.”

“Mm...” You respond. “Aah!” Your heart suddenly explodes in your chest as you jump away from the pretty, heroic yet still feminine face next to yours. You land much like the first time you met her, with your ass in the dirt and pointing at her. Only this time her response is a little different. Her eyes glimmer and her lips tremble. Is she laughing at you?! Your mouth drops open and it takes several moments to compose yourself. Slowly, you pick yourself up and dust yourself off, red faced and chewing over your words. Eventually you let it out as a sigh. “I asked for some warning.”

Her face straightens. “I’m sorry.” That… still isn’t really an answer, are you going to have to deal with this the entire time? She rises to her full height after you.

“Don’t you have to protect the others?”

“They’re fine inside the walls. You...” She pulls a face that practically screams her scepticism. “I’m worried.” Do you look that weak?!

“I am a guard, you know.” You can already tell that hers is the kind of personality you often leave to other guardsmen wherever you can. “I can handle myself.”

“I believe you.” Her face doesn’t really match up. Putting the woman from your mind, but keeping her presence in arms reach so she doesn’t startle you again, you return your focus to the gouges in the wall. Indeed, they look large enough, but… they’re all too fresh, as if they’d just happened. Although the footprints look plenty old enough. You scratch your head, perplexed and continue to circle the perimeter, coming to the large back gates of the village, only the back gates because you’d consider the side with the road that leads out of the forest to be the front of the village.

You look curiously down the wide and thick dirt road, distant memory niggling at your mind. “I take it that leads to the mill?”

“Yep, splits left and right, one heading down to the lake, the other heading upstream to the mill.” Aine sniffs the air, nose wrinkling cutely. “Dinner’s ready though and the sun’s about to set. You’ll have to check it out later.”

“Sure, let’s go.”

You head back around to the door and let yourself in, the redhead having to stoop behind you to make it through the frame. She shuts the door and bars it again, the village ostensibly safe once more from incursion. Things that don’t add up aside, clearly something made those marks.

You walk with Aine towards the tavern, the building now gushing sweet and savoury aromas. The moment you step in you’re practically smacked in the face by it. Your stomach growls. Cybele looks over, attracted by your entrance; she wears a cute but too-small apron that jealously hugs her curves as she stands by the fire, cooking.

The tavern is almost more a mead hall – true to function – there’s a sitting area either side with long tables and long bench seats. There are some stools by the bar and in the middle of the room is a large fire pit, the flames dancing high as smoke’s sucked up through the roof. Some benches line it, no doubt a place for people to congregate and chat as they drink. Aine busies herself with the stacked firewood by the corner of the room, taking an armful of decent sized cuts to add to the fire. Cybele calls out and waves, her immense jugs shaking.

“Ulvatr, take a seat, I’ll be serving up soon. Yulia!” She turns and calls back towards the bar, “Some mugs and mead please!” She gestures you to a table, so you take a seat somewhere in the middle of the table closest to the fire. No sooner had you settled, watching Aine stack wood into the flames than does the… purest girl you’d ever seen step out from behind the bar.

It’s the same girl you’d seen before, only it’s the rest of her now. Her skin is pale, almost too pale, pink enough in the warm light of the fire, but you’re sure if you saw her under the moonlight you’d question her health. It’s also perfect and unblemished, looking smooth and supple. Her pure white hair is long and straight with a decent bit of volume, some of it hiding a face that can only be described as angelic, piercing pale blue eyes peeking out from between her tresses. She wears a simple, thin white dress that hangs down by her ankles and wears a brown pair of shoes. Shame… it’s not really your thing by any measure but you’ve got an inexplicable desire to see her feet. She carries over a tray full of mugs and a tanker of mead and places it before you gracefully enough, but by the time you open your mouth to thank her she’s already darted off. She didn’t make eye contact even once.

You reach out for a mug, but just as your fingers brush the handle, the tavern door is practically kicked open and two nearly identical, brash voices come crashing in.

“Uwaah~ Smells good!”
“I’m starved! Gimme meat!”

They both turn to you, or so you presume. Your stubborn fixation on the mug before you can’t defend you from the burning heat of the two pairs of eyes boring into your back. These women… they kinda scare you. Not like Aine, she’s just imposing. What you feel from these two is the kinda relationship prey must feel from a predator. Sure enough, you hear the grinning chuckles before they flank you, sitting either side. You drink deep of the mead, feeling like you’ll need as much help as you can get. Still in sync, they reach for mugs of their own and bring them up, delicate throats bulging with liquid before they slam their mugs down with sighs.

They both turn to you and lean in, their shoulders leaning on your arms, with a breast brushing each. Their warm, honey-scented breath spills over you as they flagrantly violate your personal space and your eyes dart from vale of cleavage to vale as their natural perfumes strike deep into your primal urges. You gulp as their hands start to roam about your body. “So… new boy. You’ve seen our most precious parts before you even, like, learned our names.” “Don’t you think you should take some responsibility?” Before you can respond, the one to your left leans into your ear, breathing softly and making your spine tingle. “Hers looks just like mine. Wanna see?”

The way they both talk at you is honestly kind of overwhelming. You clear your throat. “Uh...”

“Tehe, just kiddin’” The other one responds and they both take another swig, though they still stick just as close, one hand running up your chest and the other slowly moving upwards from your knee as you feel extraordinarily hemmed in. “She’s Selene.” “And I’m Sylenna.”

You blink. “Wait, that doesn’t...” They both move again, lifting a hand to re-arrange their fringes, which, to your consternation, you realise is the only physical difference telling them apart. The girl with the fringe leaning from left to right is now the girl with the fringe leaning from right to left and vise versa. They both stare at you with hunger in their gazes.

“Now you know our names, isn’t it time to show us yours?”

You honestly just have the instinct to run away, but with them leaning their weight against both your sides, you can’t help but feel trapped. Your mouth blurts, mind churning to find something to say, but you regret it immediately, that subconscious question niggling in the back of your mind finding the perfect time and place to slip out. “So, uh… anyway. It’s just you girls here? A-all the men are out, huh?” You want to bash your face in.

The sisters swoon into you, resting their heads on your chest as they feign distress, two fingers tracing circles in your lap that just so happen to nearly touch, separated only by the growing bulge in your trousers. “It’s been horrible.” One brushes directly over it, while the other comes around to cup beneath, making you jolt as your loins lurch, stirred to passion. “There’s this big, strong, angry beast out there,” “And all the men are gone.” “we’ve been, like, aching for some one to come... and protect us.” They wrap their arms around yours and pull your hands down to their thighs each. “Aine’s nice but like, we need a strong man with a thick, hard sword” “How’s yours?” They pull your hands up their thighs, fingers sliding their dress up as your tips near their soft lower lips. “Can you use it well?” They twist a little in their seats, each throwing a thigh over your leg, half mounting you as you freeze in place. “Can you, like, last?” You gulp, fingers trembling, throat scratchy and dry, cock throbbing painfully against your trousers as even now their thighs fight each other to nudge and rub it.

A pair of hands descend either side of your head, fast enough you hear the soft whistle of wind.
“Haak!”
“Heuk!”

All four hands leave you, to cradle their respective foreheads. “Can’t you girls see you’re making him uncomfortable?” That soft voice rains down on you like grace from the heavens above.

“Uwah~, big sis is mad.”
“Maybe she’s jealous?” That sister got an extra smack.

With that admonishment you finally get a little more room to breathe, as they scoot aside, the one to your right scooting all the way off the edge of the bench and moving across to sit opposite her sister. You breathe a sigh of relief. “Thank y-”

“Oh, I’m sorry about them. They just like teasing, don’t take it to heart.” Cybele leans over you, pressing her prodigious bosom against the back of your head, her breasts almost wrapping around you as she reaches for the mug. In fact, she seems to almost be rubbing herself against you, as if to mark you with her own mature, matronly scent, yet… some old primitive intuition calls to mind a ripe, yet unplucked and untainted fruit. It does little to ease the tension in your pants. “Here, let me refill your drink.” It was barely touched. The twins snicker between themselves.

Cybele leaves and returns with your drink then leaves again, preparing the last of dinner while the white one, Yulia, flits about handing out plates and cutlery. You, for your part, attempt to drown your agitation in booze, hoping to lay your pipe to rest in a watery, alcoholic grave. Aine thumps down across from you, reaching for the mead before she’d even settled into her seat. For your part, nursing the delicious and sweet drink, you spend the majority of your time explicitly not looking at Sylenna and Selene, lest they continue to rile you up with hidden flashes. Aine, woefully astute, looks at the dynamic between the thee of you with a twinkle in her eye and your attempt to ignore the twins is probably only going to invite a renewed and more drastic offence later. In some respects they remind you of the delinquents of the city, only these two seem to be plotting a different end for this innocent, earnest guard.

Finally, Yulia takes a seat. It’s the furthest from you possible without moving to another table entirely and you can only take it as a shy, young girl already beset by a village in turmoil being cautious around a strange new man. Otherwise, your self esteem’s going to be this investigation’s first casualty. If there’s any consolation, she looks a little hesitant about it as it means sitting next to one of the twins, something you can tell she’s weary of and justifiably so as no sooner does her ass land on the bench than does the blonde wrap an arm about her shoulders and start whispering into her ear. The white girl goes red in the face and continuously shrinks into herself.

Cybele is the last to take her seat, right next to you as it so happens, after serving everything onto the table. The meal is multiple servings of what you’ll tentatively consider pork, though it is tougher and has a kind of gamier flavour that oddly enough compliments the thick golden honey glaze drizzled over it. Alongside the meat are some whole caramelised onions and garlic, hot bread saturated in melted butter and some fried mushrooms. It’s not until you’re on your second serving you notice that all the other girls have basically only eaten the meat, one or two picking at the vegetables if best. Are their diets okay? Isn’t it supposed to be more balanced than that?

Regardless, dinner passes and the girls filter off. Yulia dutifully clears the table as you’re left drinking with Cybele who’d unknowingly stuck herself to your side more securely than the twins had managed to. She leans more of her weight against you, the more the drink gets to her and you realize now you don’t even remember how much you’ve drunk yourself. The whole tavern’s warm enough to draw out sweat, as Aine had dumped a pile of wood into the firepit before leaving. The mead leaves a heavy but comfortable warmth in your belly and Cybele herself is hot, under the collar and literally, like a big soft curvy bedwarmer. You don’t know if it’s any one or a confluence of the three, but your muscles feel like they’ve melted down into a singular, amorphous molten blob.

You shake your head to try and clear it, not even consciously realising yet that she’d stolen your hand and wrapped it up in hers. Maybe you’ve had a little too much to drink. Maybe one more wouldn’t hurt. As the last of it drains down your throat, Cybele leans in and whispers into your ear, her voice low and sultry. “Come, dear. Yulia should have prepared the water by now.”

“Mmh.” You grunt distractedly. Water? She rises and pulls you up with her. Your muscles are entirely lax, yet despite it, she hefts your weight up with ease and steadies you with an arm around your back. Insensate, in a lull of supreme comfort you let her guide you up the tavern stairs, relying on each other as much as the walls to keep steady as you ascend. She leads you into a room, some kind of temporary lodging, is about all you can piece together. In the centre of the room is a large wooden bath that seems to have started its life as a big barrel before having it tragically cut in half. It’s already full of water, quite hot water at that, given the steam coming off it. The vapours fill the room, swirled about by cool night air coming in through the open window, through which the strong light of a nearly full moon shines through. A fat bar sits on the rim, a creamy whitish yellow and the size of your fist. Some kind of soap no doubt.

No sooner do you stumble into the room than do you feel Cybele’s soft hands all over you, divesting you of your clothes. Something vague and indistinct pops into your mind, a protestation of sorts, but before it leaves your lips, she runs her fingers through your hair and whispers into your ears, “Shhh shhhh...” You close your eyes and relax as she strokes your face. “You’ve come all this way for us, spent all day riding. Let me treat you how a host should.” Yeah, why not? You feel the cool air on your chest lick down your body as your trousers fall to the floor. Her soft gasp rouses you to some sort of wakefulness, but by the time you turn around, there’s another soft plop.

You gape, even as you sway on your feet, but the sight before you has you rooted to the floor. Her immaculate skin comes off a little more pale in the moonlight, almost glowing. Her hair, a light warm brown spills over her shoulders and chest, but doesn’t cover her pale pink nipples, already a little stiff in the cool air. Her belly has just enough fat that the desire to give it a bit of a squeeze is all consuming, but her waist is still slim enough to accentuate her wide hips. Her legs are surprisingly shapely for how soft the rest of her is, thighs deceivingly squishy to begin with, but that kind of thickness can only come about through a decent bit of muscle. A soft crown of brown hair sits atop her womanhood, the inner lips obscured by her puffy, almost chubby vulva.

She looks down at your hardening erection and smiles disarmingly, as if you weren’t a stunned deer. She doesn’t give the sobering, cool air time to snap you out of your haze, doing nothing untoward, just taking your hand and leading you to the bathtub. “Come, step in. Let me wash you. I hope you don’t mind an older woman like me, fufu~.”

You stumble as she guides you along, the booze working well to undermine your coordination. “I-I, no I...”

She places a finger to your lips. “Shhh. Relax.” She gently lowers you down into the hot water and slides in after you, sitting between you and the barrel, her breasts on your back, her thighs beside yours and her arms wrapping around your chest. A quiet, indistinct voice murmurs that you should be reacting here some how, but she’s almost warmer than the water and by the gods is she soft. With a tired sigh – more than just the day’s exhaustion, almost sighing out a lifetime’s stress – you abandon yourself fully, lying back against her chest and closing your eyes. You become a doll, for her to manipulate. She takes the soap from the rim and dips it in the water first before rubbing it up and down your arms, cooing softly and praising your muscles all the while, stroking you all over, ego included it would seem. She pushes you forwards and runs the soap over your back until there’s a dense lather, then the water splashes as she leans forwards herself, pressing her chest against you, moaning softly as she rubs her breasts up and down, spreading the soap around, twin peaks of hardness the only thing that isn’t soft about the woman.

With your eyes closed and your mind lost in warm, wet, bouncy clouds, you don’t even notice when or how long she’d been kissing along your neck and ears. Cybele’s slick, soft tongue slides saliva along the edge of your ear as she gives you kisses and licks around the rim, her hot syrupy breath oozing in and melting your spine while her hands dance over your chest, pinching and twisting your nipples gently before sliding lower and lower yet, over the muscular ridges of your stomach. Soapy, delicate digits gently massage and knead your balls. You don’t even realize how hard you are, until your very tip catches a few licks from the cool night air as the rippling water rocks and flows.

She moves you around and you look up blearily as you find your back to the warm but not soft at all wood of the barrel. A shadow cloaks you, her motherly form blocking the light of the moon, her unbelievably buxom silhouette glowing with it as she runs the soap all over her chest before you, a raging heat behind her gentle eyes. Her silken hair hangs about her features, half obscuring them but the sodden tips of the tresses stick to her skin. You watch, transfixed, hypnotised as she moans softly, pinching at her own nipples and running the soap between her breasts, over her soft belly and down lower yet, tantalising you all while her burning gaze drills into you, drinking hungrily every little reaction.

She places the soap aside, her body now like a giant curvy bar of it and she lifts your arms up and slips into your embrace, enough muscular cognisance returning to you to hold her tight, one hand running up her spine while the other slides down her side to sink into her delightfully large and plump rear, squeezing great handfuls of her cheeks. You’re consumed by the scents of honeyed soap and her natural womanly perfume, along with something else that seems to lurk beyond the bounds of perception. She moans into your ear as she holds you tight and drags herself up your body, her knees parting yours, spreading your legs for easier access; evidenced by the ease with which your cock, iron-hard and throbbing, slips between her silky, milky thighs.

Cybele shudders, biting her plump lower lip as she gives a whining sigh and buries her face in your chest, kissing and kissing and licking and giving you a little jolt as she lightly bites some skin. “I want you inside me so bad, so so bad.” The still pond turns to a turbulent tide as she thrusts her hips against you, thighs squeezing against your member. “But the others... it’s not my place to go first. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” She crosses her arms behind your back, a hand gripping your shoulder as she full-body humps you. “But… after those two, you must be pent up, right? I can’t smell any other women on you, it must have been a while… let me look after you and smother the flame they so cruelly lit.” That same quiet, vague part of you notes that her own addition to the earlier events wasn’t exactly innocent.

She leans back and reaches down, grabbing your hips and lifting you up while she slips under you. You flounder, belly tensing as it rises above the water to the chilling air, but your manhood just goes from one warm embrace to another. Your legs wrap around her instinctively and she smiles, practically drools with desire at the swollen, throbbing tip parting her large breasts as they sit, squished up against your hips. She looks to the doorway for a moment and raises a finger to her lips with a coy smile. You don’t notice, transfixed by her bosom yet you can’t even give them a grope, muscles like solid lead and utterly unresponsive, floating atop the waters along with the suds, numb though you briefly feel your elbows had come to settle and rest upon the rim.

“Ahh… I can’t resist. Just a taste.” She lifts a finger to her fringe, tucks it behind her ear before wrapping both arms around your hips and burying her face in her cleavage. You let out a low groan as she takes the head of your cock into her mouth. It’s absolutely flooded with hot saliva, her squishy, wet tongue sliding all around the glans while her deliriously soft bosom envelops your shaft. Cybele lets out a sweet, desirous moan with every bob of her head, swirling her tongue around in consistent circles, licking and flicking at and under your glans before sliding over your tip and gently tonguing the slit. You don’t know how long her lewd attentions last for, you yourself half gone to the wind, let alone your sense of time – submerged under the murky tides of intoxication. It seems to stretch to infinity, until it doesn’t, a groan issuing out from your lips. As your balls clench in the warm water and you explode in her mouth, her eyes fly wide in surprise and her mouth vibrates with a chuckle. She swallows and moans, tongue swirling and lapping at the dense stream of seed before she takes her lips from your cock, even as you continue cumming, spurting thicker than normal ropes of seed all over her face. The tip of your cock recedes into her breasts as she straightens up but that doesn’t stop you from filling the makeshift pussy between her tits and jetting a thick and final spurt up through them. She watches with unabashed adoration, eyes tracking as it rises up to her nose then splats down over her tits.

She gently lowers you into the water. Shivering, seeming to fight against herself as she clears the cum off her face with her finger and swallows it. “Ara~... I’ve made a mess.” She rises from the water, your seed still all over her tits. “Sit here for a moment darling...” She steps out of the bath and heads over to the door. You manage just enough strength to crane your neck and see her standing over Yulia, collapsed on the floor over a clear puddle with her dress around her hips and a hand crammed inside her pussy. The other hand reaches out, barely touching Cybele’s wrist as the older women holds her cum covered hand out, fingers sticky with your stuff scooped off her bust. Absolutely red faced, Yulia sucks on each finger individually, her small tongue slipping out to circle around as she licks them clean one by one, her own fingers still buried between her legs and moving rapidly.

That’s about all you manage to see, straining your neck. Your muscles give up and you relax back in the water, world growing dark around you as your eyelids grow heavy, unsure what you’re thinking, or if you’re even thinking at all.

 

* * * *

You awaken unbelievably refreshed and full of energy, taking in a huge, revitalising lungful of fresh air in a languorous yawn and slowly letting it go before you even open your eyes. Then, something clicks in your mind and you bolt wide awake, sitting upright. Your eyes dart around the room, but nothing’s familiar. Your heart thumps in your chest, but then the rest of your brain wakes up and the memories start flooding back in, prompting a relieved sigh. You’re in a spare cabin, in the village of Faraon. You met the village head, or the daughter of the late village head. You had a look around the perimeter, had some good food, had some even better drink and…

Nothing. Shaking your head, you look out the window, only to see the sun high in the sky. You must have had more than a few too many, seeing as how late you slept in and how little you remember of the night. The twins left and you were relieved. Yulia left and you were a little reluctant. Then… huh. Cybele and Aine must have carried you off to bed. Or rather, Aine probably did it all by her self. How embarrassing. Your face flushes crimson, when was the last time you got that drunk? And on the job too, what on earth were you thinking? Well, suffice it to say, it doesn’t look like the men returned.

You get up and get out of bed, finding yourself dressed in unfamiliar clothes. Your heart drops under the weight of a creeping dread. Frantic, your head darts around, to find your own clothes folded neatly with a note on top. Shakily, you make your way over to it and read the fell harbinger.

‘I hope you’re okay! How’s your head? You slipped and fell out of the bath, I heard the crash from upstairs and had to ask Aine to carry you to bed after I’d dried you off and dressed you up. I’m sorry! I hope you don’t mind, I didn’t look.. much.

-Cybele’

Ah, how sweet.

‘P.S. Nice cock and balls.
-Aine’

You sigh and crumple the note in your fist. Why? Why can you imagine her smug grin and her thumbs up? You resolve to end today with your dignity intact if not restored. No more drinking! No more than one, or two! At least there’s no hangover.

Stirred with this renewed resolve, you open the front door and take a step out, lifting an arm to shield your eyes from the sun’s glare. The village is still as empty as ever, but it’s a little less foreboding in the late morning than it is in the evening. Today you’ll start with another check of the perimeter, then ask around a little, get to know some of the other girls and see what they have to say of the situation. You’re a little worried about confronting the twins, but you’re a guard, you’ve got the mettle to stand up to two women... even if their eyes don’t really see the world so much as perpetually eyefuck it.

Speak of the devil, you spy something of an argument by the front door of the ealdorman’s house, or so it seems anyway, two agitated twins boxing in a flustered Cybele. One lunges forwards, half burying her face in the bigger woman’s bosom before groping it roughly.

“You did! You, like, totally did! I can smell it.”

Cybele raises a hand to her cheek bashfully, “Well, I didn’t go too far, honest. Ask Yulia. I just couldn’t help myself. It’s your own fault, in a way.”

They clench their fists and gnaw their teeth at her while she chuckles softly. “No fair! Yulia?!” “She went before us?!” “You know we were all waiting!”

Cybele rolls her eyes, “She only got a little taste.” The twins reel, clutching their own hefty chests. “Besides, do you know how hard it was to hold back? You know I’d never ignore the proper order, fufu I’m not ready to die just yet.”

As you approach, all three turn to you. Cybele smiles and waves and you wave back, or try to, before the other two appear before you and spin you around, frog marching you towards the tavern. “W-what’s going on?” You try to struggle, but they have a surprising amount of strength. You get the feeling… this isn’t a new sensation. You’re going to have to add a bit of muscle training before and after bed.

“We’re going to cook you breakfast!”
“Because big sis is being, like, totally mean and unfair right now!”

“W-what happened? I over heard a little bit, she... ate something?”

They stop a moment to look at each other. “Yeah! She ate something we were all, like, preparing to eat together.” “And she isn’t even meant to have the first bite!”

You shrug, “It sounds like she didn’t have that much though.” They both spin to glare at you, pouting.

“Ahh, whatever.” “You obviously wouldn’t get it.”

You shrug. They’re certainly easier to talk to when they’re worked up and distracted. “Any way... ‘big sis’... are you related?”

They both tilt their heads to your question, “Sorta?” “It’s kinda complicated.”

Well that isn’t helpful. Giving up, you enter the tavern and help them stoke the fire, digging around with some tongs to unearth some still-smouldering embers. You pile them together and sit some small sticks over and around them, while the twins go about rummaging through the kitchen. You lean over the pit and steadily blow and it doesn’t take long at all for the sticks to smoke and eventually ignite. You steadily build it up into a larger fire, large enough to start cooking over.

Here, Sylenna and Selene both boot you out, making you watch as they prepare food for you. They seem a little more subdued today, though you’re certain it’s only a matter of time before they start harassing you. You take the opportunity to strike while the iron’s cool, so to speak and hopefully skip out before they get handsy.

“What was it like, the first night you heard the beast?”

“Uhh… like, super scary.” “It was loud and stuff.” They crack eggs onto a pan over the fire and toss in some diced meat and vegetables.

“What did people do?”

“Um… I dunno?” “They went ‘aaah’, I guess...” What exactly are these answers?

“Do you remember when it attacked the wall?”

“It did?” One sister elbows the other, “O-ooh, it did. Yeah it was... um… hey, Ubelblatt, right? Are ya, like, single?” One of the twins turns to you, while gently stirring the fluffy golden eggs. “Gosh, it’s Ovulator, idiot.” The other sister rolls her eyes, then follows suit. “Anyway, are you?”

“...” You pinch the bridge of your nose. “It’s Ulvatr, and yes, I suppose.”

“Have ya, like, ever had sex before?” “Was she good?”

You blush. “She was fine, I mean yes. I… visited a... woman before a bandit subjugation raid, it was a long time ago.”

“Tcheh.” “Lame.”

You’d kick them, but they’re cooking your breakfast, so you suppose they can be forgiven this time. “So.” Half squatting, half kneeling, you warm your hands near the fire as the sisters work. “What do you two do around here?”

“Oh, we just kind of...” “… hang out?” “No wait. We, like, totally gathered a lot of honey a while ago.” “Yeah, sis Draughla got mad because we got all bitten so she gave us some herbs and stuff to burn.” Draughla?

Maybe questioning these two isn’t going to really get you anywhere. “Where do you think the men are?”

“Maybe they’re, like, still out searching.” “Maybe they’re all dead. What?”

“You girls don’t seem too concerned over it.”

The pair rise, carrying a plate of freshly cooked food with them. “Of course we are! Totally...” “Like, what do you take us for?” That’s probably the first deadpan expression you’ve seen on them. Certainly… the story of the beast seems to be… well, it’s bullshit. You can keep talking to the other girls… but you doubt you’ll get much of an answer. They move around the table to put the plate before you and go to sit down. “Sit infront of me, please.”

“Lame.”
“Boring.”

They do, though resting their chins on their hands as they watch you eat. It’s a little disconcerting, but you’re genuinely impressed with their cooking and the soft noises you make to show it puts a smug grin on both their faces, so you suppose they can be forgiven for staring at you as you eat. You can’t help but let your eyes begin to wander, specifically to their prominent and deep cleavage. They puff their chests out. “That’s quite the style you two have...”

“Totally.” “Wanna see more?”

“Are you not from here?”

“Oh, we were like, born here.” “Yeah, it’s just dad came from way way south and we were kinda brought up like this. I miss the sun.” “We should totally get Draughla to take us to the beach again.”

“Your father? Is… he missing too?”

“Nah, old geezer died way back.”

You blink, taken aback. You guess girls like this can only have come from a troubled childhood. “That’s the second time you mention a ‘Draughla’, who is that?”

“Oh, she’s like our m-” another elbow. “Our m...manager, yeah, she’s like a manager.”

“Oh?” your eyebrows rise. “What does she manage?”

“Shit.” One mutters under her breath, but you still hear it. “Uh, like, um…” One sister looks around, blue-green eye searching, as the other hidden behind her fringe isn’t seeing much. “C-candles. Yeah, Candles, we like, have a lot of beeswax from all the honey you see? She’s good with plants, we like infuse it into candles and soaps and stuff and every now and then we go around travelling to different towns to sell ‘em, one of the last ones was down south east, big city, lots of beaches. She chooses where to go.”

“I see.” About as believable as this ‘beast’. “Is she missing too?”

“Naah, she’s just kinda a weirdo.” “Hey!” “What, it’s true. She’s still, like, heaps cute though!” “You should say hi, hers is the house that smells like all the herbs. Just, like, remember to be heaps polite, okay?”

You tilt your head, “Sure...” Well at least it’s another character to question. You finish breakfast but before you’re able to clean up after yourself, the twins dart off with your stuff, divvying chores. You get the sense from their behaviour that leaving right now wouldn’t be appropriate and indeed, one soon brings out a kettle to brew over the fire before she joins her sister in cleaning up. You quietly watch them toil away, with tied ponytails and rolled sleeves. It’s fascinating watching them co-operate in quiet unison and before long they rejoin you at the table.

“Sorry for, like, taking so long.”
“Thanks for waiting.”

“It’s probably worth it.” You smile as they settle either side of you – an appropriate distance away this time – and place before you a mug of tea and a thick slice of bread with butter melted over it and a hefty slice of honeycomb on top. You could get used to this. Though you feel their eyes on you as you eat, it’s certainly not as bad as it could be. You turn to each after washing down the rich sweetness with the last mouthful of now-cooled tea. “Thank you, Selene, Sylenna. I really enjoyed that.”

Their cheeks tint a little, ““Our pleasure””, “Now get,” they start collecting the last of the dishes while one nudges you away from the table. “Go do your guard things, leave us to the tidying up.”

The twins let you leave relatively unmolested, except for a sneaky grope here and there as they usher you out of the tavern before closing the door on you with mischievous smiles. With food in your belly and a slight smile on your face, you yawn the last remnant of drowsiness out and give a great stretch under the warm and bright glow of the morning sun. The rays bring out the rich colour of the wooden buildings, only accentuated by whichever substance it is that coats it and protects it from the weather. The back gate’s open and Aine nowhere to be found. Yulia’s door and windows are wide open and she seems to be shuffling about in there and cleaning her cabin, while you spy Cybele out by the side of the ealdorman’s house hanging washing. You make a slight noise of surprise to yourself, as you catch the notion floating about that maybe waking up every day to this wouldn’t be so bad. Better than the surly face of the captain and the shallow, distant relationships you have back in Arnhem, surely.

Shaking your head slightly, you head off and away from the tavern and start your day. The first thing you do is dip out through the side door, to skirt about the palisade again. No new markings. No new footprints. No howling in the night that you recall either. You’re about to head back in, when you stop and back track a bit. It’s not true that there were no new footprints, it’s just that these ones are far, far smaller, so you missed them, looking for the giant dinner plates. These are about the size of a medium to large dog’s footprints… interesting. There’s quite a few too. They almost look like the larger prints, only much smaller in scale with a few differences here and there.

You rest on your haunches a bit, thinking to yourself and stroking your chin. Cybele said there used to be dogs, didn’t she? Indeed, you recall a few kennels, now that you think about it and the hunter’s diary mentioned hounds. It seems they’re still in the area. You head back into the village, some ideas for what you could do later tonight spinning in your head.

You wave at the twins who, true to their word, are more or less just hanging about gossiping. You nod to Aine who nods back and gestures a length with her hands and offers a thumbs up as she heads out of the village with an axe. You dip your head and hurry on by. You’ve got two options, really now… Yulia or this Draughla. Yulia’s a little shy, so you’re not sure you could get her to open up to you alone, that might take a little more familiarity between the two of you. So you follow your nose, trying to find the house that smells most of herbs.

You get through sniffing at about half the doors before you consider just asking them to point out the damn house to you. Just as you decide to stop sniffing and turn away, a door swings open and you’re met with a youngish girl, younger than the others, but not as young as Yulia. Maybe on that cusp between teen and adult. You stand there a little awkwardly, staring at her as she stares at you. Slowly, you lean back and stop sniffing.

“Hi.”

“...” She stays silent, regarding you steadily with her deep, deep blue eyes. Long, floor length black hair spills down and over her like a curtain, shrouding much of her face and chest. She wears what kind of looks like rags, tattered and frayed, this long black fabric of unknown origin hangs a little loose off her shoulders. It comes together at the front by a wolf head pendant just below her belly button, leaving a long and deep wedge of white down her front that reveals most of her belly, though the great silk rivers of her raven hair flow down it too. The incredibly deep cut reveals most of her modest bust, showing all but the nipples of her small breasts, just barely large enough to fit in your hand. You do a quick mental comparison and it seems she’s even flatter than Yulia.

What she does have going for her though, is a wide pair of hips, a slim, mildly toned build, with faint definition along her obliques and thin enough to have a faint impression along the bottom of her sternum. Her belly’s quite pleasant now that you’re staring at it. And height. She might even be a little taller than the twins, though even with Cybele and much shorter than Aine. She stands near enough eye level with you, maybe a little more and of course, is stunningly beautiful, as all these girls suspiciously are. Usually it’s pretty uncommon for human women to look this good.

Having seemingly had her fill of staring into your eyes, she walks off into her room, leaving the door open. Is that an invitation? Dauntless, you stroll on in and quickly reduce that to a careful walk, given the interior except for some dim candles is near pitch black. You look out towards the window and it seems the dense black curtains play a role in that. You couldn’t quite smell it from outside, but as the door remains open and fresh air gushes in, the dense herbal… fumes that flow out are quite potent. She vanishes into the dark and you have to carefully search around to find her again.

You do this best by ear, there’s a slight scraping sound coming from one of the rooms. You find her in a study lined with shelves of all kinds of miscellaneous ingredients. She stands at a table, rags hugging her surprisingly large and shapely rear. You suppose that means her thighs are quite nice too. There’s a faint jiggle to her booty you can even see in this gloom as her shoulder jerks rhythmically, putting her core into it as she grinds something up at a stone mortar and pestle. You step up behind her and stand on your tip toes to look over her shoulder at what she’s doing. And… your… world… begins...to...spin.

Wordlessly and continuing what she was doing with the one hand, she reaches out with the other and gathers something, from somewhere and crams it into your mouth just before you collapse over her. You chew it instinctively and it’s bitter and disgusting, but your head’s already beginning to clear. She resumes grinding with both hands and now you can’t tell if it’s just your imagination, but there seems to be a laughing skull emanating from the now-paste in the mortar, mocking you. You look at Draughla from the corner of your eye and edge back a little nervously. You clear your throat and her head darts to look at you, her face expressionless, but you feel in those abyssal blue eyes a measure of chastisement at you disturbing the silence. “Oh, sorry.” You half whisper, half mouth. “I just wanted to introduce myself and ask a few questions, if that would be okay.”

She stops grinding and lets out a long slow sigh, before turning away and heading into another room. You tilt your head, not entirely sure how welcome you are, but as you chew the bitter medicine, you figure you’re not too unwelcome, so you decide to follow her. In the room over, she’s already seated at a table with a tea kettle and two cups laid out before her. She stares ahead patiently. You tip toe over and silently lower yourself into the chair, cringing as it creaks. “Uh, sorry for interrupting you.” She hasn’t moved an inch, but where you sit turns out to be precisely where she needs to look to make eye contact. She still doesn’t respond. She does, however, take up a cup and silently sip from it.

You decide to follow suit, eyes widening as you take a drink. “Wow, this is lovely.” Her cheeks colour a little. “Much better than the scoutsleaf brew I’m used to.” The colour goes and you get the vaguest impression of… disgust? “You don’t like scoutsleaf?” You probe and she slowly shakes her head to such a small degree that you think you might have imagined it. Hm. “I like it because it helped keep me alert on my journey here... could you make me something better?” You test. She slowly nods her head, still to such a small degree that you think you might have imagined it.

“Thank you. So you… are something of a herbalist?” She tilts her head slightly, then nods slightly. “You gave Selena and Sylenna the right herbs to sedate the bees?” Nod. “Do you think you could find a herb to burn that the beast wouldn’t like, so you can send people out of the village?” Shake. “Do you have any idea what kind of beast it could be?” Shake. “No one found any leavings, or fur?” Shake. “Have you seen the markings it left outside?” Nod. “Kind of weird, aren’t they, obviously larger than normal, but, something between wolf and wildcat and large dog.” Nod. “I’ve never seen anything like it.” Shrug. Did she just shrug at you? Now you just feel invalidated. “Have you heard the beast?” Nod. “Have you seen the beast?” Shake. “Has any body seen the beast?” Shake.

You take a moment to sort through your thoughts, inwardly thrilled to have such a patient cooperator. Lifting the cup to your lips, you take another drink. “Have you always lived here?” Nod. “Have you heard of anything like this before?” Shake. “What are you going to do if the men never return?” Silence. You can’t really gauge any kind of sentiment for or against from her, this time. “Will you leave here?” Shake.

Hmm. You’re not really getting anywhere. Maybe you should snoop around the other empty houses for some other clue. “Well, thank you for indulging me, the tea was lovely.” Nod. She just sits there, but you get the sense she’s waiting for you to leave. You rise and turn around, only to pause and turn back. “Did you have dinner last night?” Nod. “Did some one bring it to you?” Nod. “Would you like to have dinner with us?” Shake. “Would you like to have dinner with me?” … Nod. You smile. “I’ll see you later tonight then.”

You turn around this time and walk out. You don’t immediately jump into your investigation, first heading over to your horse and giving it some attention, making sure it has enough water and feed while you mull over your thoughts. Then you start to search the empty houses one by one, spending a good few hours doing so.

The first yields little, just a regular inhabitance, a single bed, but the articles of cloth suggest a husband, wife and child. There’s not even a diary here, although you can roughly piece together their daily life. There’s some sowing tools, but not enough to suggest it was any kind of business. There’s a small book by some woodcarved toys. It seems this was a rather ordinary family, the father working at the mill, the mother staying home and minding the kid and household, preparing dinner for him when he comes home.

Where is the woman though? The children and the men went missing, but according to the story the women are still here. Where’s this one? Did she leave with the men? At least you can verify that there were children here. Seems like something worth pursuing, it’s a little odd Cybele didn’t mention any of the other women vanishing. Certainly they weren’t among the drunks that vanished, or the people they sent out for help and certainly the six women here didn’t constitute all the women in the village. You shake your head. Since there’s nothing else here, you give the place one last quick gloss over before moving onto the next house.

It isn’t until the fourth in that you find something of substance and by this point, evening is already set in and slowly fading into night. It’s still a simple cabin, the same as any other, though there’s a neat collection of odds and ends and hanging by the door; a well worn travelling cloak, a fairly sturdy looking and beautifully carved walking staff, but… no boots from what you can find. A large map hangs on the wall, of patchwork leather, with a detailed layout of the forest drawn on it, with various points of interest. You’ve never seen anything like it, so you have no idea how accurate the map is, but you carefully study it all the same.

There’s also no bow or arrows or indications of any other work this person might have been involved with, no family. You do find a diary here, but that in and of itself isn’t the interesting thing, as you’d found another earlier and some letters, both mundane, both suddenly suddenly ending after the same day as the first diary you found. Although, one of the letters, interestingly, is only half written and references that morning, placing the dissapearancce somewhere in the afternoon or night.

It’s what’s in the diary that’s intriguing to you, ending some days earlier than the others. This person, Andrew as it’s written at the front, is something of a wanderer and surveyor. Their last entry details an earthquake that happened late at night. You stop reading there for a moment and think, looking back to the date. You might actually remember that one, you were on night watch that night and you recall feeling a few second’s tremors through the city’s walls. You continue reading. Apparently, no one else in the village was awake or if they were, they paid it no mind as it doesn’t come up in any of the other diaries and letters you’ve read.

This person decided to take it upon themselves the next day to walk along the mountain range nearest the village and see if any new fissures or caves had opened up. You quickly turn back to reference his map, Faraon being surprisingly set deeper into the forest than you’d thought, indeed closer to the mountains than Arnhem on the other side. If he was heading to check out the nearby mountains, he probably headed along the stream north that powers the sawmill and drains into the nearby lake.

And then… he didn’t write again. Their cloak and staff are here, which you might leave behind if you were only going for a short walk rather than a long journey, but their boots aren’t here. You suppose there’s every chance they were just wearing their boots when they and the rest of the village vanished, but if they were the first person to go missing, then the mountains might be a good lead.

Still, that will have to wait for later, first you’re going to share a meal with Draughla and maybe ask about the other women, then you’re going to see if you can find what left those smaller tracks you saw earlier this morning. If they’re what you think they are, then there’s no surprise they have attachment to the village, but what you don’t know is why they don’t just return, or why they left in the first place.

You put the diary down where you found it and leave the cabin just in time to see the two twins head into the tavern. You figure every one else except for Draughla would already be there. Dense shadows hang over the middle of the village, shrouding that tall statue, the sun too low and the moon not high enough to shine yet. You’ll probably have to take a candle with you so you don’t trip while carrying the food if it isn’t a bright night.

The tavern windows flicker with dim light as you make your way over. There are voices inside, but nothing that rises above or below normal conversation. With a faint creak, you open the beautiful and heavy tavern door and step in, heads turning to you as you do.

Cybele’s the first to call out, looking at you over the fire and smiling, “Take a seat, dinner’s nearly done!”

Your eyebrows raise as you deliberately ignore the twins patting the seat between them and sit next to Aine. “What is it tonight?”

“Venison and soup!” Comes her reply.

“Could you get me two portions on a platter or something? I won’t actually be sitting with you girls for dinner, I’m going to take some food over to Draughla.”

All four coo, Yulia somewhere behind the bar at the moment. Cybele is the first to react. “You were polite, weren’t you?”

“Of course I was.”

“She, like, is really impatient you know!”
“Yeah! Also, don’t yell, she hits.”

Aine scoffs “I’m pretty sure that’s just a you two problem.”

You nod, “I had no issues.”

The redhead grins, “Here’s a tip, there’s some distilled mead behind the bar, take some of the heavier stuff if you want her to loosen her lips.”

“Wait, she can talk?”

Cybele chuckles, “She’s just very selective with her words.” She offers Aine a thumbs up. “Not a bad plan.”

You take their advice on board, heading behind the somehow simple yet ornate wooden bar to take a look while Cybele lays out the platter for the two of you. Squatting down, you take stock. There are a number of murky bottles down here, of tints ranging from near clear, to greenish to brown. You pluck one at random, noting the same motif branded into wood stoppers encased in beeswax on all of them, a woodsman’s axe crossing over a stylised ‘F’. You briefly consider cracking it open to check, but decide against it. Might as well share the first taste with Draughla, worse case scenario you’ve just accidentally picked up a bottle of oil or something and you’ll have to duck back into the tavern.

Rising and heading back around to the front, you receive the platter off Cybele, cradling it in the crook of your arm while holding the bottle with your other hand. Still steaming, thick chunks of venison, browned around the outside lay about the perimeter of the tray, guarding two bowls in the centre sloshing with a browny orange liquid, specs of off-white, green, yellow and orange rising and falling intermittently.

She’s kind enough to escort you to the door, saving you the awkward juggle of trying to open it with two hands full and the night that greets you is brighter than the last, a great orb a sliver shy of full beams its silver luminescence over the village, casting the towering statue in an almost ethereal radiance. Cybele reaches a hand out and pats your butt, causing you to jolt forwards in surprise. “Go get her.”

You bluster a little as you defend yourself, “I-It’s just dinner, there’s no greater meaning behind it! Besides, it’s a chance to ask more about the beast and the disappearances.”

Her gentle eyes twinkle with an infuriating, presumed knowing. “Mhm, sure.” She turns and heads back inside, chuckling as you shout after her.

“It really isn’t like that!”

You’re left alone with your protestations and sigh. But then, something tickles deep within as you picture the gloomy woman and image after suggestive image pops up unbidden, of Cybele, the twins, Aine, even Yulia. They’re all kind of great in their own ways. Frankly, even if it was ‘like that’, you’ve no idea how you’re expected to pick between any of them. Shaking your head clear of these errant thoughts, you cross the well moon-lit village, the night bright enough to cast shadows along the way. Regardless of the maybe romantic, maybe not relationships slowly forming here, it’s getting to be about time you returned anyway. You have the whats and the whens, if not the whys and the hows. You’d rather discover the latter two as well, but if camping out tonight and venturing upstream tomorrow doesn’t turn up anything, it’d be high time for you to leave.

You step up to the door, scenting the herbal wafts from the outside this time around. Maybe they’re stronger, or you’re just expecting to smell them. You tap on the wood with the bottle, producing low, solid thunks. Draughla opens the door a moment later, the quip on your lips dying to a half whispered “Wow.” All the hair hanging down her front and over her face is gone, two thick braids instead looping around the side of her head to join in the middle at the back, turning into a singular lose ponytail, hanging chiefly over the rest of the hair that spills down her back. Both her looks and scent exude a refreshing quality, the clumping closer to the roots of her hair suggesting she’d only dried herself off and thrown something on after a bath not too long ago.

Her deep blue eyes gaze into yours steadily, though as you continue to gape a faint red blush crosses her cheeks. You can actually make out her face better, without all the hair in the way. Her eyes, though previously you’d only gotten a vague impression of the abyssal blue orbs, are actually a little conflicting with her personality. In shape they’re big and round, youthful and only not innocent or exuberant due to the general… sepulchral air she carries herself with. She has a cute, small and sloping upturned button nose and a pair of plump but not quite pouty cupid’s bow lips. You realize now, that even if it’s only in the vague resemblance of face and not in her bearing or stature, she’s a little like a darker Yulia. You wonder if there’s some relation there. Thinking about it, they’re both incredibly pale skinned with blue eyes, albeit light and dark. They could pass as sisters, just night and day versions of each other.

You eventually realize your rudeness, blushing and apologising but she only turns and strides inside, hair bouncing and hips swaying a little more than you recall they did earlier. Was that a smile at the corner of her lips? You shake your head and follow after, the atmosphere of the place causing you to gulp with apprehension. Shrouded in darkness, only odd collections of candles light the way, little islands of light amidst the dark sea, they bear a different, more intimate feel now, as if your intentions had slightly realigned, lulled by the atmosphere a little further away from more or less professional and closer to… personal interest.

The greatest of these islands is the table where you had tea together earlier in the day, a cluster in the centre and the rim more or less outlined. You make your way in and she silently, gracefully clears some room, rearranging candles to sit in clusters of threes with differing heights. You lay the platter and the bottle down and in the meantime she fetches plates, cutlery and some glasses.

Gentle puffs of night air blow across the room, making the candle light dance and bringing in just enough chill to offset the warmth of the small flames. More, in fact, just enough chill that a mouthful of good spirits would bring it back to equilibrium, confer the illusion of leaving the corporeal behind, a happy, medium oblivion. A state absent of heat and absent of the absence of heat with a little bit of an alcoholic float underneath it all. You both settle in at roughly the same moment, her deep gaze drawing your own in helplessly.

The two of you look at each other for a breathless while, faces flickering under the dim light. You’re the fist to break the silence, though you don’t want to, muttering in an almost hoarse whisper. “The food will get cold.” She nods. “But first...” You reach out to the bottle, fingers wrapping about the wooden stopper and handily cracking the wax, the wooden plug leaves the bottle with a resonant pop. Slowly at first and then gushing, the floral scent fills the air as you pour into her glass and yours.

This is all a bit… different from the casual dinner you were expecting. You clink glasses together with a resonant chime and she draws your eyes back into hers as you sip. It’s… unbelievably smooth, sweet and floral. You take a deep breath as you sip. It’s a bold, but mellow flavour, doesn’t burn on the way down, but warms the belly all the same. You close your eyes and let that breath loose and it’s like spring explodes in your mind. You can almost see, smell and hear the groves and small clusters of flowers about the forest, the bees revelling as the last snows melt. The warmth offsets the chill as you thought it may, body already beginning to relax in to the chair. Though, through your illusions, part of you still feels her deep blue orbs fixed solely on you.

You take another sip, letting it sit in your mouth a moment before swallowing then slowly opening your eyes. As you’d sensed, hers are still firmly trained on you. You smile, putting down your glass and lifting your spoon. “That’s pretty nice.” She nods and lifts one of the thick slices of venison with her fork over to her plate while you move one of the bowls closer to you and have a mouthful. It’s another dense collection of flavours, rich and earthy and mouth watering. “I spent some time today looking around the other houses to see what I could find, if anything. One of them belonged to some one who seemed to be a surveyor of sorts, they had a giant map of the forest hanging on their wall. Hand drawn. Did you know them?”

She’s still for a moment, then nods. “Did you notice when they vanished?” She shakes her head. “Going by the diary I found, it was a couple of days earlier than the rest. They were checking the nearby mountains for any new caves after an earthquake.” You grab for yourself a slice of venison and cut into it before dipping it into the soup. “I was thinking of having a look, seeing if they left any clues along the way. If this ‘beast’ got them, it might have left something behind to figure out what it is.” She nods.

You look down, poking idly at a square of meat with your fork. “I went to another house that had a family living in it. I realised something. So the children went missing and the men left to search – they’re missing now too. Where did the mother go?” You look up into those abyssal blue eyes.

She looks at you in silence, takes another sip of the distilled honey mead, then those pretty lips part. “You don’t seem too concerned...” her voice is nearly exactly what you’d imagine. Soft and half whispered, the faintest bit rusty from disuse but also a little bit deeper than you’d imagine, though not as mature as Cybele’s or as husky as Aine’s. Hers is like crumpled black satin. “Aren’t you afraid you’ll be trapped here forever with us?”

You relish in the sound of it for a split second before answering. “I’m not sure I believe this beast even exists.”

Draughla studies you for a moment, then the corner of her lips rise imperceptibly. “That wasn’t an answer.”

“Then, no.”

“You aren’t afraid you’ll be trapped, or you aren’t afraid of being trapped… with us? If it’s the former, I can only say you’re foolish. If it’s the latter...” She reaches slender, graceful fingers out to her cup and lifts it for another sip, swirling it while she finishes her sentence first. “There are five reasons… which did you pick?”

A pregnant kind of atmosphere settles between the two of you as you realise the notion isn’t exactly unamenable to you. But still, boyish fancies are just that, you’re here to do a job, not… them. But some aura of expectation about her, about this whole dinner seems to forbid the outright rejection of the notion. No, your face cycles through expressions as you come to the realisation that it’s something coming from within you that wants desperately to flirt with the notion. Maybe Cybele’s teasings were more than just that. You take a moment to readjust yourself, taking immense comfort in Draughla’s quiet patience. You feel like if this were the twins they wouldn’t give you the chance to gather yourself. You temporarily shove the tangled bundle of emotions aside and start with shaking your head, adopting a wry smile as you look at her, falling into a frivolous humour as you probe. “You’re wrong. There are six reasons by my count. And as far as I can tell, it isn’t any one of them in particular.”

Her thin and shapely black eyebrows rise. “Greedy. But that is Man. What of the life you’d leave behind? Who are you? It isn’t who you’ll be.”

You look down. Sip more soup, eat more meat, drink more drink. She also eats in silence, eyes never leaving yours as you consider. Again, you could end it here or… continue to humour her? Surely nothing’s going to actually come of this. Nothing can, right?

“I’m an only child. My father died years ago when I was a boy and my mother died once I became a man. I don’t have any land and the only thing waiting for me back home is my captain and he only wants the report I’ll bring.”

“You could have more.” Her quiet, shadowy voice practically drips with temptation.

You tilt your head. “How so?”

“Cybele is a fine and dependable girl, but she desperately needs some one to pamper and would do anything to feel needed. Anything.” You gulp. “Selene and Sylenna are...” She half frowns, “Energetic, but they flaunt their baser desires on their sleeves to compensate for their all consuming need for attention and approval. Let them feel noticed, validated and they’ll eat out of your hand. Aine is headstrong and confident in her abilities, but her joviality is a mask and she’s never felt confident in her own womanhood. Romance her like the woman she is and she’ll devote herself to you and your every need. Yulia… is the youngest and newest of us all. She’s sweet and observant but overthinks and gets tied up in her own head. She needs some one steady and dependable to lean on as she slowly finds herself. Be that pillar and she’ll build herself up around you, she’ll become a place where you can take refuge and she’ll let you guide where she grows.”

Your lascivious thoughts and frivolous notions ended as she began to speak of Selene, Sylenna and truly died as she moved on to the rest. You sit in a stunned silence as the conversation suddenly took a turn for the real – realer than you’d bargained for. It also served as a timely reminder that these are people, individuals with their own desires and needs. You even go back to reflect on Cybele, as lovely as each sounds on the surface, each deserves your sincere and dedicated care and consideration. No… she’s phrased it this way, but in the fist place, is it even your place to give it to them? Aren’t you presuming much?

She chuckles, as if reading your mind. “Don’t you worry your head over that.”

You look to her, taking some strange comfort in her almost enigmatic presence. Sure, she’s perhaps a hair taller than you, but for a girl so slight of frame, if large of rear, she certainly feels… big, at the moment. More. An almost moth-like, but very human curiosity takes you. “And what about you?”

Her lips slip into a crooked smile. “You want to learn how to wind me about your finger?” She pushes her plate away and rises from the table, giving a great stretch in the moonlight beaming in through the window, and you can’t help but marvel that even her armpits look nice. She either takes close care of her body hair, or she doesn’t have any to begin with. She sighs, looking wistfully and almost reproachfully at the moon. “Me? I’m just looking for a man who can make my family happy. Do that.” And she turns back with a beautiful smile, “And I’ll be your everything.” You sit there, stunned, prompting a soft laugh from her. “But it’s to early to talk of all this. You haven’t even discovered the secret of the beast yet. Go do your playing and your probing, but keep my words in the back of your mind. Upset my girls and you’ll upset me.”

For a moment that vague apparition beyond her becomes clearer. You see beyond her apparent age, you see beyond her slight and womanly form, to something greater. Something older. You don’t know why, the words popped into your mind, but you can’t resist, blurting them out. “Is the ‘beast’ even real?”

She just smiles noncommittally and points towards the door. “Something happened here. Find out what it was. And leave the drink, I’m quite fond of it.”

With such a clear order, there’s nothing to it but to pick up the platter and be on your way, put the entire strange event out of mind and let it soak for a bit. You feel like that discussion will always stay with you. Of course, you don’t leave before stuffing another chunk of venison into your mouth then waving goodbye behind you with your free hand. You make it through her dark hallway of dim candles and out into the village proper. It’s almost brighter than it was before, the moon high in the sky and close, blaring its brilliance all over. The tavern is quiet but still lit and dim lights issue from the twins’ cabins, but not the village head’s or… come to think of it, you don’t know where Aine lives.

You take the platter into the tavern, only to find Yulia with her hair tied back in a loose ponytail, on her knees by a large bucket of water, cleaning the dishes. Your entrance startles her a little, as she looks up at you with her wide, bright and innocent eyes. They really do look similar, although looking closely, there are small differences in her face, little differences to the shape of her eyes, nose and mouth that set them apart. “You doing that all by yourself? Want a hand? Where are the others?” She starts and you can see her inwardly war with her desire to flee and her duty to finish what she started.

“N-no, it’s okay. I’ll be alright,” She buries her face in her chest, not meeting your eyes as she continues to furiously scrub. “The others left, sis Selene and sis Sylenna went back to their rooms and Aine took Cybele up to bathe. I-I figured I might as well clean the dishes. J-just leave yours by the side, please and I’ll get to them too.” You roll your sleeves up, her absolute adamance in not facing you meaning it comes as a surprise to her when you gently grasp her upper arm. It startles her bad enough she actually meets your gaze. She has beautiful, bright eyes that sadly divert aside almost immediately.

You offer a soft smile. “Please, it’s only fair.”

“O… Okay then...” She meekly scoots aside to sit near the fire and watches silently as you clean the rest of her dishes, then move onto yours, a thick silence hanging over the two of you for a time, except for the soft splashing of water and the muted clatter of plates. “U-Um!” She jolts, not expecting her own voice to come out so loud. “S-sorry…. Aren’t you scared? I-I mean, it’s just…” Her eyes turn downcast as you look up at her and she fidgets with her wrist in her hand. “Every one’s gone. It’s just us now, a-and... it might be back at any moment to take the rest of us. But… you don’t look afraid at all...”

You pause a moment, before continuing to clean up in the bucket of water. “Why do you think no one else is afraid?”

“That’s because they’re…” she pauses, looking like she’s holding herself back from speaking, here eyes shifting aside as she starts over. “That’s because they’re stronger than I am… m-mentally, I mean. And physically, too… I think...”

You let out a pensive hum. “Then do you think that I’m stronger than you? Mentally and physically, I mean.” You give her a playful, almost teasing smile.

She shrinks into herself. “Maybe?...”

You shake your head, “I don’t feel it. People find comfort in being together. Perhaps they’re not afraid precisely because they have each other? And they aren’t afraid because they can rely on each other, because they know they aren’t alone. Are you afraid because you feel like you’re alone?”

She curls further in on herself. “I-I guess… Yeah...”

You reach a hand out, “Do you want to be afraid and alone together?”

She slowly looks up, big eyes looking from you to your hand and back to you. She bursts into a soft chime-like laughter as she reaches her hand out, gently taking yours in hers. “Ye-heh-, Yeah…” She gradually settles down, cheeks reddening but her eyes holding your gaze, “I do.”

You grin and give her hand a soft squeeze, “Perfect. I’ll have to ask you to walk me home after this, then. I’m too scared to go out alone.”

She giggles and lets go. “Sure.” You continue washing the dishes, not feeling the need to say anything, though her attitude has taken a marked turn for the better, as if a burden’s lifted from her shoulders. She doesn’t spend all her time looking at you, but she doesn’t look away when your eyes meet, either, merely returning a smile.

She gets up at one point to get a fresh, dry rag for you to wipe your hands on as you finish washing the dishes. You rise and stretch, placing the left over food in a bowl and covering over it with a plate. That can be tomorrow’s breakfast. Washing your hands one last time in the soapy water, you flick them dry into the fire. When she returns holding a fluffy looking cloth, you take it gratefully, drying your hands off before placing it back behind the bar.

Looking over the area one last time to make sure you’re not missing anything you turn to the pure girl, smiling, and you hold your hand out. “Come, walk me home.”

Yulia shyly looks down with a smile so wide, it’s still visible at her cheeks. She reaches her hand out, only to cry out in surprise as you tug her forwards and out towards the village. “W-why are you leading?!”

You laugh, “I didn’t say who’s home.”

She makes a half-disgusted, half-coy noise, but stumbles along after you all the same, gripping your hand tightly and walking slow enough that you’re forced to slow down several paces. Like this, hand in hand, the two of you take a probably… definitely unnecessarily long walk through the village, though on the other hand it’s ample opportunity to admire her under the moonlight. With her almost too-pale skin and stark white hair, she’s like a silvery beacon in the night. If you didn’t have her soft, warm hand in yours you’d think she was a ghost, or spirit. A fire burns in your chest and your hand warms up as you can’t help but imagine her naked, or perhaps caught out in a sudden cloudburst, fussing over her see-through white dress, pink nipples pressing against the soaked fabric.

Time seems to stop for a while and she either doesn’t notice or doesn’t mind the glances you keep shooting her way, equally as enamoured with you, the two of you walking in such a daze that both your fantasies are almost palpable. Eventually you make it to her front door, drawing an end to the little moment. You’re the first to speak, turning to her. “Alright... I don’t feel so scared any more, so I can make it to my cabin from here.” You smile at her. “Goodnight, Yulia.”

Head down, she nods. “Mm… night.” You let her hand go and turn around, about to walk away when you feel her soft hands grab yours again, “U-Ulvatr!”

“Hmm?-mm!” Your eyes fly wide, as she sticks herself to you the moment you turn around. Her soft lips press against your own and her budding bosom squishes up against your chest, so close – and with relatively so little breast in the way; she is the second smallest in that department behind Draughla – you can feel her heart hammering away in her chest frantically. Your expression of surprise softening into a far gentler one, you wrap your arms around her back, neither too high nor too low, making her melt into your chest. Her wildly thundering heart starts to calm down.

It’s a chaste affair, no tongue – yet – you just revel in her softness, holding her tight, but not too tight, almost scared for how small she feels in your arms. You take a deep breath through through the nose as you kiss and let it out slowly, savouring the smell of her, the fresh scent in her hair, the sweet, almost floral scent of her skin.

You hold her, until she suddenly drops an inch or two and only now do you realize she was standing on the tips of her toes. Smiling down, you bring a hand up from behind to stroke her hair. Her eyes look glazed over as you run your fingers through, until clarity comes into them like a runaway carriage and she flushes red from her neck to the tips of her ears. With astounding strength, enough to make you stumble back a few steps, she pushes herself out of your embrace and sprints into her cabin, slamming the door behind her with such a crash that some distant birds release their startled cries.

You’re left reeling in many senses of the word, before a silly grin takes you. You bring a finger up to your lips, remembering the softness of hers, before taking it down and licking across them instinctively. Your spine shudders a little as you suddenly feel two pairs of envious, rage filled eyes burn into your skull and back, but you figure it’s just your imagination, surely. You turn around and head to your own cabin with an undeniable spring in your step, not even that slight sense of menacing dampening your heart as you begin to feel like maybe stepping into this village is the best thing you’ve ever done.

You head in and mess around for a bit, still immersed in a giddy kind of nature as you prepare yourself for the night ahead. You polish and sharpen your knife, clean your gear, put on a thicker shirt and wrap your cloak around you. On second thought, you take it off, then take your thicker shirt off to put the thinner one back on and then the thicker one over it and then the cape. After all you’re going to be stationary for quite a bit, might as well stay warm and comfortable through the night.

***

With enough time passed that every one should be either asleep or minding their own businesses in their own homes, you head to your window and silently jump out, skulking around behind your cabin and sticking close to the palisade as you make your way to the smaller door and silently lift the bar out of the way. Sincerely hoping no one comes along and puts it back in the dead of night, you head out and quietly close the door behind you.

By the strong light of the moon, you look for any fresh tracks and see that there are none yet, just those from a day ago. Thankful, you follow the old tracks to where they’re densest and then look for a tree to climb and settle in as you wait. It’s a good branch this one, thick and extends almost vertical out of the trunk, high up, but not so high you couldn’t comfortably hang from it and then drop with maybe a roll to disperse the shock.

You settle in and stare at the moon. The change of pace and the peace has your thoughts drifting back to Draughla’s… ‘proposition’ for lack of a better word. You find yourself mulling it over, perhaps some subconscious churning rising to the fore. You still have to return to Arnhem and report at some point, probably sooner rather than later or they’ll just send other people. Your expression shifts to a slight frown as the notion niggles at your heart. You don’t know when you started considering it ‘yours’ - probably when you stumbled alone into this near-empty village of six very available women – but the idea of other people stepping between you and the girls is… untenable. But then, how drastic are these emotions. It’s been what, two days? Yet you feel so strongly already. Maybe you should return soon, put some space between yourself and this place, to really analyse this. But… something tells you that they just might not be here when you return.

Your discussion with her cut a little deeper than the pretence of this admittedly flimsy story of some ‘beast’. The question of what actually happened here, you realise with a startle, doesn’t really matter to you as much as the question of where you stand with these girls does. Her soft, whispered silky tones echo in your ear, ‘Aren’t you afraid you’ll be trapped here forever?’ With them?… You’re really not.

The scuttle of paws breaks your reverie and you hold your breath, looking down at the village for the source of the noise. Our from the underbrush, six of seven dogs appear, like silent spectres. Their brown and gold coat has the aura of glory lingering about it, though current times seem to have seen it muddied and frayed. Their coat looks unusually thick and their stature is such that they’d stand shoulder height with a large man’s hip handily. Their build is fairly thickset, but not quite what you’d call stocky and from the way they sniff around you can tell they rely quite keenly on their noses. In fact, that’s a bit of trivia you’d long held, the Faraon Bloodhound is famed for its nose. Your brows furrow at the sight of the beasts and their rancour. How queer, that they all face towards the village and issue a few low growls of discontent, their tails hanging limply while they hunch.

A strange mix of anger and fear. You take special note of that, as the only scents inside the village should belong to the girls and yourself. And your horse but for a breed as well trained as this, they shouldn’t take any issue to the scent of a horse at all. They keep a healthy distance from the walls and circle around the perimeter, one bold enough to get near the door you excited, which then followed your scent all the way up to the tree. Thankfully you were well hidden. They continue to pace for another twenty or so minutes, before uniformly returning where they came from. All, you note keenly, in the same direction.

Tensing and relaxing your muscles, you stretch and roll your joints before spinning in your seat, balancing yourself on the branch with your hands and slowly dropping down it, hanging, then falling with a quiet and muted thud. You swiftly pursue the dogs as silently as you can, skirting some ways around the outside of the village before diving into the dense underbrush, quickly finding something of a game trail. It’s well tread, and under what moonlight filters through the canopy, you can read their tracks clear as day, back and forth over and over. You slowly make your way down it, as to not arouse suspicion from up ahead. No doubt they’d be weary of you, given that whatever it is they smell of the village that unsettles them so likely exists on you too.

You cross streams and felled trees, following the natural gradient of the land for about ten minutes careful walk, so six or so at a brisk one and maybe three at a run. This isn’t even the extent of their trail, tracks leading far ahead, but something causes you to stop. And it isn’t the stench of death, carcasses are not too unusual in the woods. It’s… moonlight. You pass by tall and great trees, part underbrush to find the corpse of a Faraon hound just a ways off the path. Embedded in its side, now peeking through weather-beaten, ripped and gnawed at skin and sunbleached rib and maggot infested flesh… is an arrow.

Or the head of one anyway, the shaft snapped by frantic jaws no doubt, before the poor creature bled out internally. You don’t know what could force Faraon hounds to flee from the defence of their owners, steadfast as they are, but you would guess if anything could do it, it would be magic and by the state of this faintly glowing elven arrowhead, you wouldn’t doubt it for a moment. You retrieve it and wipe it clean of semi-dry gunk on the matted fur, not that it needed it. Disgusting yes, but you could probably lick the thing now and be none the worse for it, so undefilable is the metal that even now, after sitting in gore and the weather for months, the finish looks no worse for wear. A broad, curved and kind of thick arrow head that tapers to a razor sharp point all over, grooves cut into the metal to work some miraculous effect unfathomable to you. You can only identify it through your chance encounter at the markets one day, as a handful were sold as curiosity. It wasn’t the same by any means, different shape, different markings, probably an entirely different purpose, but something about the aesthetic is similar and deeply… elven. Pompous, almost, who had the breadth of lifespan and experience to bother making an arrow head a work of art?

The smell beginning to get to you a bit, you stand up and make your way back to the village. Elves and missing people. Caves. If it all adds up, it paints a convincing picture, the only mystery then is, why were the six women spared… or were they even from the village at all? Did they somehow leave the gouges on the walls, the tracks in the soil? You keep it all to the back of your head for now, walking back to sleep on your tangled mind. A more pressing question gnaws at you. So what if they weren’t? They’re here now.

The door is thankfully unbarred and you slip in silently, carefully dropping the bar down so that none are the wiser and making your way back to your window. You tuck the arrow safely away in your pack and head over to bed, divesting yourself of the two outer layers of clothing before you lie down, worming your way in under the rough, cold sheets with a heavy sigh and despite your worries, some small excitement to see their faces tomorrow.

Sleep doesn’t come easy, conjectures churning over in your brain like you churn beneath the sheets, eventually tossing your pillow across the room and lying face down on the mattress. You turn your head to the side with a sigh and close your eyes.

* * * *

“Ulvatr… Ulvatr… Wake up...” A gentle hand brushes through your hair and a gentler voice rouses you to wakefulness. Blearily, you open your eyes, stomach already clenching painfully as it grits its bloodied teeth and rues the fact that it can’t force your brain out of its slumber with a solid thumping, with all the delicious scents of breakfast lingering about. You awaken in softness, a pair of large, smooth thighs beneath your head and you open your eyes to a soft looking apron’d belly and roll your head upwards, eyes tracing further up her stomach to the two prodigious mounds that… completely block any further sight. As if noting the predicament, Cybele leans forwards and down, mighty bosom heaving hypnotically with the movement as she smiles down at you, tucking a wavy brown lock behind her ear. “Good morning, sleepyhead. O-Oh… oh my, fufu~” Of course it didn’t work, but you don’t mind her breasts in your face, if not for the damned layer of cloth.

You groan and feign sleepy wilfulness, rolling towards the matronly woman and pulling an arm out from under you, wrapping it and the other about her hips as you bury your face in the crook between her belly and thighs. “Five more minutes.”

“Fufufu~ If you wish.” From the vaguely reminiscent wake up routine you expected chiding in response to that… this is nice. And new, in fact it seems a little forward of the woman, but then perhaps your reaction is the strange one, to just go along with it. Her hand returns to your head, fingers brushing at your hair and you sincerely feel yourself slipping back into slumber. Regretfully, hatefully, you tear yourself from that state. You give Cybele a parting squeeze and roll back over, sitting up and making her gasp as you ‘accidentally’ brush her breasts as you do so. Breakfast is getting cold.

You let out a yawn and get out of bed. She remains there, smiling and upon your small one person table is a plate piled with meat, fried eggs, sausages, fried vegetables, bread and cheese, with a pot of honey and a glass of orange juice, not that you can tell the juice comes from oranges, just that the juice itself is orange. You understand now, why your stomach hates you. Cybele chuckles at the audible protests of the organ. “Sorry, I was just going to bring you breakfast, but you looked so innocent sleeping, I couldn’t resist.”

You pluck a tomato from the plate with your fingers and pop it into your mouth as you look at her, swallowing before speaking. “I am innocent.” She doesn’t offer anything other than a knowing look. Disregarding her accusations for now, with gusto you take a seat and begin to dig in, almost forgetting the woman on your bed. “My, you have quite an appetite today. Are you planning anything big, mister investigator?”

You take a break from dipping the sausage in the honey to look at her before nodding seriously. She smiles and comes over, lifting the hem of her skirt and flashing quite a bit of leg as she dabs at your chin. You’d ordinarily resist, this behaviour that hearkens back to over two decades prior, but then you recall Draughla’s words regarding the fussy, doting woman. Well, it isn’t so bad. “Yes, one of the houses I searched belonged to the surveyor uh, what was their name again?”

“Oh yes,” her eyes shift aside, “Alfred or something.” You smile and nod. Sorry Andrew. Either you didn’t have much of a presence, or your village truly has been overrun by squatters. At least she got the first letter right.

“Yeah, they went up to investigate the mountains after an earthquake two months back to check if there were any new fissures and caves that opened up. Or at least, their diary said they would. After that it seems like they disappeared. The first of the disappearances, actually. It seems like that’s where the beast started. It’s nearly two months old now, but there might be clues.”

She gasps. “Do be careful.”

You wave a hand dismissively, “I’ll be fine, I’ll be back well before sunset.” Besides, it’s not like the ‘beast’ is real. She nods and sits quietly with you as you scoff breakfast down, clearly pleased you’re enjoying her food, but also present enough to avert her eyes as much as she can, so she isn’t staring at you as you eat. Not that you mind but, well… it is a little odd.

Perhaps against the betterment of your dental health, you finish the hearty meal by downing the last of the honey and sit back against your chair with a sigh before rising and turning to Cybele, who herself rises. You offer her a smile. “Thank you. It was really delicious. Do you want a hand cleaning up?”

Her eyes narrow into slits as she smiles graciously, but your back clenches with a sense of danger. “No, dear, that’s quite alright.” Still, maybe feeling emboldened from the night before, you decide to take a leaf out of Yulia’s book. Stepping up to the soft woman and realising now she stands half a head taller than you, you tilt your head up to deliver a quick kiss on her cheek.

“Thanks for looking after me.”

“A-ah.. M-my my my, fufufu~...” You throw on your outer shirt and cloak and snatch up your pack and walk out, leaving the glowing red and malfunctioning mature woman behind in the small wooden cabin. You’re up early enough this time around to hear a rhythmic thwacking from behind the tavern. With belly fed and mostly dressed in your gear, you’re all set to head upstream towards the mountains at any moment, so a little food prep from the tavern and a little idling around can’t hurt.

Taken by the whims of curiosity, you head towards the noise, making a mental note to check the feed and water for your by now surely very bored horse. You round the corner of the building and another meaty thwack takes your eyes to the large woman wielding a proportionally small axe. She doesn’t look too happy about it either, squatting too low and standing too close as she swings the thing. Still, never mind that, she’s swinging away and splitting firewood like brittle twigs. Ignoring her strength, the cuts don’t look like she’s brute forcing it, each split down the grain with perfect accuracy like they’d been peeled apart.

She doesn’t notice you at first, giving you ample time to tend to the horse and admire her physique. The simple short sleeved tunic she wears has been rolled and tucked up beneath her bust, revealing a low cut on her pants and a veritable feast for the eyes, toned and tight muscles that not only don’t detract from but wonderfully enhance her feminine shape, slim waist and wide hips. Her abs tighten as she draws herself to height and flex as she swings down, the crunching of her stomach channelling the fine beads of sweat into small rivulets down her tight belly.

Her ass flexes against her pants as she drops too low for comfort to accommodate the short block and she lets off a girly grunt and all the muscles along her arms clench and strain as she fights against her own power at the very last. She didn’t look like she was putting any real strength into it, but just her form alone conveys enough power do to some damage if she doesn’t actively hold back. You’ve no doubt she’d otherwise split the chopping block. You should see about finding a bigger block and a bigger axe for her. You should also see about letting her know how much you appreciate the look, her long fiery hair roughly tied up in a ponytail behind her, she strikes the heroic figure. But, now’s not the time or place for that and you’re still presuming a lot of things. For your mind to keep jumping there… At any rate you’re really not too sure how the others feel. Cybele seems open to it, the twins would probably jump you the moment you even look like you’re about to make a move. But Aine? All your interactions have basically boiled down to banter. You feel torn momentarily, between hesitation and Draughla’s suggestive temptations.

Shaking your head clear of these complications and deciding to interact with Aine for the sake of interacting with Aine, you walk over towards her and she freezes as soon as she notices you. Then she splits into a grin, thunking the axe into the wood one handed as she nonchalantly unrolls and lets her tunic drop and lets her hair loose. “Hey, what’cha up to?”

You smile back, though inwardly you’re a little sad to lose the eye candy. “About to head upstream to check out some stuff.”

“Ooh, interesting. Want me to come with?”

“Nah, I’ll be alright. You’re doing some fine work here anyway,” You cast an eye over the small woodpile she’s cut.

“Ah, just getting in some practice in case the uh... men never return. Start on the small stuff, work your way up to the giant trees, you know?” She runs a hand through her hair, the sweat on her brow sticking her fringe back.

“Yeah. You looked pretty, by the way. With your hair tied up.”

Her face grows a shade redder though to be honest it was already somewhat flushed. Even if she wasn’t putting much force into it, moving your body like that gets the blood flowing. She looks away and rubs her nose. “Ah… thanks. You too, I-I mean, thanks...I think you should be saying that sorta stuff to Cybele or the twins though...”

Your eyebrows rise. “Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you.”

She waves her hands infront of her, “N-no! You didn’t, it’s just…”

You smile, “I mean, it’s true.”

She turns away and waves a dismissive hand at you, “Go on, go away guard boy, go do your job. I bet Draughla put you up to this, anyway.”

You chuckle as you begin walking away, “A little. But I think you know I’m not just making it up.”

She doesn’t respond, watching you as you go. You dip around the corner and wait a minute, before poking your head around again. She’s tied her hair up again, more neatly this time and is checking her blushing reflection out on the polished axe head. It’s a start.

You quickly dip into the tavern to stash some food and then make your way out to the smaller door for convenience’s sake, openly this time. Exiting the other side of the wood palisade, you skirt around towards the village’s back door, heading up the wide road cut into the forest. It doesn’t take long at all to hit the stream, in fact, by the time you see the rushing waters, you can still look back and spy the tips of the wooden palisade. The road here splits into an intersection, heading left and heading right. Left is further down stream, and given that the stream from here runs in a fairly straight manner, you can already spy the glimmering blue of the lake in the far distance from between the trees and shrubs crowding the stream’s banks.

Stooping, you kneel down amidst the soil and the gravel of water polished stones to scoop up a handful of the clear, chilled waters. No doubt so cool because they descend from those permanently snow capped peaks. Filtered through so much rock and sand, the water here is quite clear and clean, it’s taste crisp. Though you’ll hold off on drinking any more, given there’s really no telling until it’s too late. You fill a water skin, maybe you’ll have cause to light a fire and boil it clean.

Standing back up, you stroll on up the path, soon passing by the large and open faced mill. Its great sawband rests inert and the giant wheel isn’t turning. You sincerely hope that’s because they ended operation and not because it ran itself broken once the men disappeared. If you do decide to stay, you’ll have to get the lumber shipping again. Strictly speaking, no one cares what happens to Faraon, so long as the wood keeps flowing. It’s your only shot at keeping the place.

Looking it over, asides from some forest litter buildup, nothing seems to be damaged. And for the rudimentary stuff, you have some hazy memories, but if any of the finer mechanisms are damaged you’ll have to find an expert, or pour through the village hopping one of the residents was an expert and was kind enough to write down all his knowledge. Shaking your head and leaving the inspection of the mill to a later date, you head on up the path, or rather, the lack of a path as you head upstream where they’ve evidently had no reason to pave. That’s another thing, you’ll have to search for where they were harvesting lumber from, what part of the forest.

It doesn’t take long to lay eyes upon the mountains, though perhaps it’s more accurate to say it doesn’t take long for the trees to grow thin enough to open up your view. All along the way you haven’t noticed anything especially out of place. Nothing seems to have waylaid the surveyor along his path, or if they did, there’s no trace of it now. Still, you press on, nearly climbing now as the stream grows steep, rushing down now, no doubt to the benefit of the waterwheel below.

You come up to the rocky face of a steep incline, suddenly a more literal climb than just resting your palm on your knees as you take great steps. The stream here turns into a waterfall, racing down the crags in the rock. Despite this, the towering trees of the forest still loom over you, presenting a faultless line of dark, lush green. This forms another intersection of sorts. Do you start heading north along the mountain range or south? You take a quick scour around at first, seeing nothing of note, nothing to direct you. Thus trusting your gut, you head south.

You stick close to the craggy face as you can, reasoning that here’s where the caves’ll open, though not so close you can’t see some way up the mountainside. After all, the fissures could have appeared higher too. This means your line isn’t so straight, weaving up and down in elevation as you scour the land, eventually broaching the treeline entirely until it creeps back to hug the mountains further ahead. You walk this direction for around an hour, seeing a lot of beautiful landscape, but not so many caves.

Well, that isn’t strictly true, but seeing as how you could see the back of the one cave you did find and all the animal matter littering the floor, you figure that’s not the kind of cave the surveyor was concerned about. It is the cave you’re concerned about though, in a different sense, so you swiftly move on by lest the thing that left those bones and furs returns to deal with this fleshy interloper. You might be able to handle a pack of wolves insofar as that means intimidating them off and beating a safe retreat. A mundane, normal bear? No thanks. A monstrous bear, as animals in the depths of untouched lands can sometimes be?… still no thanks. You’re just a guard, leave that kind of thing to heroes and teams of adventurers or other monstergirls.

You continue trekking down your way, grazing a little and taking tiny bites of some of the food you’d brought along to forestall that weak mid-morning hunger. Grim clouds in the sky swim by swiftly and quite a wind kicks up through the trees, but for now asides from ominous – and not literal – rumblings from the weather, there seems to be no threat of rain. As pleasant as you find the current, almost electric atmosphere to be, it would be wise to hurry along. It’s about when you start to consider turning back that you finally stumble over a yawning crack in the ground, not literally thankfully. You almost missed it, hidden behind a tall and jagged outcropping, but certain angles just so happen to betray its existence to your approach.

Cautiously venturing forth, you walk up the sharp ascent and look down into the dark void. You can’t see much. Is this the place? You realize now how ridiculous your idea was when… well, extrapolated out to the entire mountain range. Did he walk this way or that? For how long? Shaking your head, you start to inspect the cave entrance. Maybe there’s something, anything.

You turn up nothing even after half an hour of careful search. Sighing and a little sweaty, you sit down in the shadow of the cave. You cast a tentative glance over your shoulder into the yawning abyss. Should you venture deeper? You sigh again and look out over the forest, then leap to your feet. There, just above the exit is a marking carved into the stone, a great ‘X’ that seems to have been chiselled out. You frown at it, then turn back around. Looks like you do need to head down.

You’re more than a little apprehensive, seeing as how this is likely how the last fellow vanished, but you push on all the same, curiosity demands it. Kneeling, you fish around your pack for a candle and strike your flint against it for a humble flame. Holding it aloft, you venture into the darkness, walking at ease at some points and shimmying sideways at others as you head deeper into the damp earth.

After point, you have to lift a hand over your candle, protecting the flame and diminishing the light, but it’s still preferable to extinguishing it entirely in the air current. You reason you’re getting nearer to a larger opening. Just at that moment, you spy a brownish mound at the very peripheries of your shortened vision. Your free hand flies to the knife at your hip, but it doesn’t move. Carefully toeing closer, you see it’s a pack. There’s a larger mound by it, a jutting and roundish stone, with some stuff scattered about it messily, like some one had taken a rest here only to be startled off by something.

This is about as conclusive evidence as you’re liable to get, you presume. You head on over and nudge the pack upright with your foot, the thing full of rope and implements, a rolled up blanket, some cookware, a small hatchet. That latter could have been useful to the poor soul’s defence. There’s a small notebook on the floor, open with the shattered remains of a pencil by it. Tipping the candle over the rock, you create a puddle of molten wax to sit the candle in, blowing on the puddle to cool it before carefully letting go, freeing yourself a hand now.

Sitting next to the candle on the somewhat smooth rock, you lean down to pick up the notebook and start from the last entry, a large inked gash running down it as the author’s hand slipped. Maybe by whatever surprise it is that had them make a mess of their belongings. You flip it around momentarily to look at the front and sure enough it belongs to an Andrew. You flip it back over and start reading the last page.

They keep a neat system, beginning with the date and the broader purpose of the day, before getting into their findings. They walked for about one and a half hours north and had doubled back to go another two south before returning, or that was the plan. What follows is a list of oddities they thought fit to mention, new game trails, nice huddlings of particularly straight trees. Territorial markings of particularly formidable beasts, cave shelters. And lastly, this very crack in the earth.

They ventured far deeper into it than you had before back tracking. The path descends for a while yet, before almost abruptly dropping off into a cavern. They describe otherworldly scenes of luminescent plants, mushrooms and cave moss. They describe glowing sapphire waters and accidentally spying a fair dark elven maiden taking a bath in one, though they’re confident that they slipped away undetected. Here the entry ends and you imagine they weren’t as undetected as they’d presumed.

Well. You rise to your feet. No better time to get moving than now, then. Setting off at a brisk pace, as brisk as you can having nicked the poor man’s pack and carrying your own, your make your way back to the surface and towards the village and far far away from bathing maidens who’ll snatch you away.

 

* * * *

By the time you lay eyes upon the large back gates of the village once more, the midday sun is already high in the sky and past it’s apex. You don’t feel too worn down, having sat by the stream for a bit and boiled up some water to refill your canteen with. Or, rather, your new canteen, courtesy the lost surveyor. The rest and hydration did much to restore your vigour, but you’re still looking forwards to eating and resting for a bit before… riding back. You sigh, reluctant, but it’s necessary. You’ve enough information now to have found out what happened to the village. Dark Elven slave raids, uncommon but not unheard of. They usually predate on travelling caravans – less can go wrong, more chance of a bloodless victory – but a brand new fissure opening up near an isolated village in the woods is probably too tempting a target to pass up on.

What you don’t know, is what exactly you’ll be reporting. You’ll have to agonise over it later, as the rustling of branches to your right interrupts your train of thought. All you know for sure is that you want to protect what you’ve had these few days. Neither elven raid nor ‘beast’ will suffice as justification enough, both demanding the outside world to come marching in to take over the situation.

You turn to the noise, only to see the twins leaving the woods, both of them surprised to see you, wrists hanging lazily over the backs of long poles rested upon their shoulders, laden with two large wooden buckets each. As you approach the blonde beauties, the scent of sweetness becomes overpowering. You peer into the buckets curiously, though wooden stoppers block the opening.

“Hey, you’re back. Guess the beast, like, didn’t eat you.”
“Yet.” The other sniggers.

“Yeah, found what I was looking for.” You shrug the packs off your shoulders and show the new one off, before resting them at your feet for the time being, glad to have been relieved of the weight.

Both pairs of blonde eyebrows rise as their pretty eyes go wide, though through their fringes you can only spy one of each. “Wait, seriously?” “I thought it was like, totally fa-ow!” One sister hobbled and limping, clutching her shin, the other retracts her foot like nothing happened. “Eeeeh~, so that did you find?” The fussing sister looks up at this too, keenly interested.

You pale, or try to, hopefully by trying real hard you can make your body listen. Your voice deepens as you affect a shaken tone. “It was horrible. All that was left is this pack I found, stuff strewn everywhere. The pack was just barely hanging from a tree that was just barely standing. It looked like something huge ripped a chunk out of it. The earth was torn up and bones were all over the place, picked dry by the elements but the dirt was still stained with blood. It was grizzly.” You shudder.

They both look at you blankly before one tilts her head in concern. “Don’t, like, start an acting career or anything okay? Really, being a guard isn’t lame at all, it’s pretty cool and, like, manly and stuff. Responsible. Girls like that.” You try and hide yourself within yourself as she awkwardly tries to make you feel better, but then a sudden, loud thump startles you both. Your head jerks over to the source of the noise, where one sister’s dropped her buckets, both landing upright, thankfully, as she lifts her hands to her mouth. Her one visible eye stares at you widely.

“Gosh, you must have, like, been absolutely terrified.” She almost looks like she’s about to cry and two incredulous gazes hone in on her.

“Seriously?” Her sister blurts dryly and you’re inclined to agree, but before you can open your mouth the frightened one leaps at you and buries her face in your chest, nearly knocking you off balance.

“I’m so glad you’re safe and stuff!” Your eyes go wide in surprise as you feel her leg slip between yours, her soft thigh pressing up against your trousers. She’s leapt into you with a hug, buried her face in your chest, but one arm of hers wraps around your back and the other slips under your shirt as she blatantly takes advantage of the situation to feel you up.

“Ah! Hey! I was, like, totally worried too!” The other drops her buckets and joins in, tipping you off balance and sending the three of you crashing down, with the two girls on top of you, their legs and yours a tangled mess. The first sister grins as she looks down at you, almost drooling, hands restlessly roaming your body. “We have to, like, check for any injuries.” “Yeah, don’t move, you might have hurt your head or something.” They shamelessly begin to grope for your top and you catch each offending hand by the wrist, quickly thinking how you can distract them and the first thing you rely on is your nose. It’s a little obvious by the scent, but you ask anyway.

“So, uh, w-what were you out getting?”

“Hm?” “Oh! Like, honey and stuff.” “Yeah...” One sister’s eyes begin to glow and you feel a sudden spike of apprehension. “Wanna try some?”

Before you have a chance to respond, she darts off to a fallen bucket and takes the lid off, thick gooey strands of honey falling from the lid back down into the bucket. She dips two fingers in and scoops a dripping glob before returning, but in the meantime, the other sister had surreptitiously occupied more of you, slipping both legs in between yours but she almost gets knocked flying by a brutal hip check by the returning sister who settles back down over you. “Here. Have a taste, it’s delicious. Say ahh~”

Your mouth opens involuntarily, part listening to her command, part bafflement and your utter inability to keep up with the situation. Before her fingers make it to your mouth though, they get stolen, as her sister chomps down and sucks all the honey off, before turning to you. “Ahhn~” Her mouth opens, thick golden honey beginning to ooze down her hanging tongue.

“No you don’t!” The other sister comes to your rescue, sealing her mouth with a kiss, no doubt trying to steal the honey back. They begin fighting, hands locking as they wrestle with their lips sealed, breasts pressing together. You take advantage of the distraction to scuttle as far back as you can and without you inbetween them, the sisters collapse, limbs entangling as they snowball the honey in their mouths.

You watch the display a moment before shaking your head speechlessly and standing up very stiffly. You fetch your packs and head into the village, leaving the two to their play-fighting. The moment you enter, you see Yulia pacing about the statue, a hand placed on her neck and the other firmly holding her elbow as she frowns deeply and gnaws her bottom lip. She brightens and rushes to you the moment she sees you. “Are you okay?!” You jolt in place as for the third time in as many minutes, a woman’s thrown herself at you. “They didn’t hurt you, did they? You were gone so long!”

If your ears could perk, these words would do it. Your eyes narrow as you steady your voice, recovering your expression before she looks back up at you, “Who’s they?”

Her mouth opens and her cheeks flush a little while her pale blue eyes nervously shift away. “T-they, the uh, beast.”

“They, the beast?” Yulia has always seemed like she doesn’t quite fit in. From her interactions with the twins – though you recognise that they’re difficult personalities to get along with – to her very own words, where she draws clear mental separations between herself and the others. What were the exact words Draughla used? ‘Youngest and newest’. You took ‘new’ to mean inexperienced, but what if you took it a little more literally?

She nods her head and you look down at her. “Would you mind coming to my room?” She tilts her head, but then suddenly goes red. “I-I don’t mean anything by it,” you flounder, heating up yourself. “I just want to talk.”

“Oh... Okay then...” Is it just your imagination, or is she leaning more of her weight into you? You step back, and take her over to your cabin, where you lay the packs down, meanwhile she takes a set on your bed, fidgeting and blushing. Pulling up a chair, you sit infront of her.

“Sorry for bothering you and thanks for coming over.”

She swiftly waves her hands, “No, no I-I don’t mind! I mean, thank you for inviting me.” She blushes and looks down again, making you grin.

“So, I’m just a little curious. You’ve lived here all your life, haven’t you?” She nods, making an affirming sound in her throat.

“U-un… My parents passed away when I was young, so I was raised by the an old woman who ran the tavern... Agnes.” She looks sad and you know better than to ask right now.

“Do you remember Andrew?” She nods again. “I found his diary, the entries stopped earlier than all the other writings I found. Was he the first to vanish?”

She tilts her head, frowning her pretty face, before her eyes go wide. “Y-yeah! Now that you mention it, it’s not strange for him to go missing for days at a time and in every thing else that happened, it completely slipped my mind, but I last saw him days before the attack-” She shuts her mouth, lips pressed tight as she shoots a look at you.

You ignore her, pretending to hear nothing, “Do you know where he went?” She lets loose a small sigh of relief before shaking her head. “The diary mentioned him heading up to the mountains after the earthquake, looking for any caves that might have opened up. I found his pack inside one of them. Do you think they might have got him?”

Her eyes cloud over a little as she subconsciously nods, missing your own little slip, though yours is more deliberate than hers was. “I found something interesting in the forest. One moment.” Rising, you move over to your pack and take out the elven arrow head. Sitting back down, you open your hand and show her. “Have you seen anything like this?”

Her eyes go wide and she leans back, clutching the sheets with a quiet strangled gasp. “N-no… no...” She shakes her head rapidly and you close your fist around the arrow head. Still shaken, she visibly calms down throat working as she swallows a nervous mouthful.

The two of you sit in silence for a moment. “You were there, weren’t you?” You reach across, placing a hand over hers, where it sits upon her thigh. “When the dark elves attacked.” She starts to shake and two beads roll down her cheek. Her hand twists in your grasp ans her fingers interlace with yours. You give her hand a reassuring squeeze.

After a few moments, she gathers herself well enough to talk, sniffing and clearing her throat. “G-give me a moment, please...” She gets up and dashes out. You lift a hand and go to call out to her, but think better of it. Though, you’re not sure if you should have let the crying girl run out of your cabin, that’s a bad look.

She returns a few moments later, holding a whole elven arrow in her shaking hands, feathers and all. Her eyes are still a little red, but she’s not crying, instead her cheeks go red as well. The splashes of red look great on her, you note somewhat guiltily. She points to your bed. “Sit.” Eyebrow quirking, you rise off your chair and sit on the bed. “M-Move back.” She mumbles, softly. Baffled, you scoot back in onto your bed to await her next command and she climbs on to sit in between your legs, curling her knees up to her chest. “N-now hold me...”

You’re happy to oblige, arms wrapping about her chest. She rests her cheek against one arm and hugs the other to her while she slowly rotates the arrow with her free hand. “I was hiding.” She wiggles and nuzzles back into you. “I didn’t know what else to do. It was late in the afternoon and I was just putting some tools away in a shed behind the tavern when I suddenly heard a lot of noise and noticed some figures jump over the fence. There was a quick fight in the middle of the village, but it was over in seconds. T-then they started rounding every one in the village up. I didn’t see much past that, because some how… in the fighting... this shot right through the shed door like it was paper and it went right into my stomach, almost out my back… I-I don’t think it was on purpose, I don’t really know what happened. No one came looking for me, s-so I don’t think they even knew which way their arrow went. Then…” She suddenly stops.

You look down as she twists around to meet your eyes. She quickly looks back around. “Then I sat there… cold and bleeding to death. I don’t know for how long. All I know is shortly before I felt it go dark, some women I’d never seen before opened the door and lifted me out, cleaned me up and they must have put medicine in my wound... They’ve been here ever since.”

“Do you mind if I take this arrow?”

She lets out a long sigh and lifts your arms up before hopping off the bed. “Are you going to leave, now that you know?” She hands it out to you, sadness etched on her delicate features.

You take it and slide off the bed to walk over to your pack, putting the full arrow and the other broken arrow away. “Yeah. I have to report something.” You turn back to her, “But I’ll be… back...” The cabin’s empty. Sighing, you head back over to the bed and thump down across it before spreading out, trying to think of the best solution. All the way until it’s time to leave.

 

* * * *

Packing the last of your stuff, putting on the last of your armour and hanging your sword by your belt, you close up your packs and heft them over your shoulder. If you leave now, you’ll make it back to Arnhem shortly before nightfall. Then, captain permitting, you can be back as early as the following day. Turning around, you go to head out the door, when a soft rapping comes from it. You startle, stopping just short of the door, then taking a step back. “Ah, come in.”

“I-I can’t...” Comes Cybele’s muffled voice. Curious, you put the packs down and open the door, only to see the buxom maiden holding a platter packed full of food. She smiles at you and slips past, laying it down on the table. You look out the door, only to see four heads darting back behind corners. Across from the village, Draughla looks at you through her open door, her expression unreadable. You slowly close the door, more than a little flummoxed.

“We won’t be having the usual dinner, so I thought I’d make you a big late lunch instead.”

Well… you can always eat first. Stomach growling in anticipation, you take your gloves off and sit down, grinning at Cybele. “It looks delicious.” There’s a large buttered sandwich in the middle made from thick bread, surrounded by a spread of meat and fresh fruit and vegetables, or at least, those fit to be served raw. Chunks of cheese and thick sauces that are closer to a pulpy mush than any liquid sauce. Aside, is a large mug of mead, perfect to was hit all down with. As for riding while drunk… you doubt this much will get you tipsy, not to mention the amount of food you’ll be eating. For that matter, you dig in.

Again, she takes a seat on your bed, her hands folded in her lap. You can’t help but notice out of the corner of her eye a certain… offness about her. She seems distracted and is breathing heavily. The hands in her lap clench as she fights something back. “Don’t leave.” She blurts out suddenly, leaning forth with intensity.

You cast your gaze over to her and slowly shake your head, finishing your mouthful. “I have to. If I don’t, they’ll send some one else sooner or later.”

She opens her mouth to argue, but pauses, taking a deep breath and regaining her composure. “Sorry. You’re right. That isn’t actually what I came here to say, the words just kind of escaped me.” She rises from the bed and heads over to your door. “‘If you want to learn the mystery of the ‘beast’, then you should stay tonight. If you don’t, then you should leave before sunset and never return, for we won’t be here for you anymore.’ That’s what Draughla said.” She turns back to you with a gentle smile, “And if you’re thinking of staying, then be sure to eat up. That’s from me.”

She leaves and quietly closes the door behind her, while you pick up a fruit and bite into it… Looks like you’re staying another night.

* * * *

The rest of the evening was strange, no doubt. You stripped yourself of your armour and went back to a shirt and trousers. When you went to the tavern to deal with your dishes, there was a note telling you to take a bath. Well, it politely informed you that there was one prepared, though you have no idea what to make of it. It was a nice bath, for what it’s worth. And when you left the tavern, the village was exceptionally… quiet. Almost like the first evening you arrived. You happened to catch the twins on their way back from… somewhere, their hair soaked and skin glistening. They were strange too, quiet, subdued. One almost looked like she was going to make for you, but the other grabbed her wrist just in time and hauled her back into her cabin, slamming the door shut. Yulia wouldn’t answer you, Aine was nowhere to be seen. You knocked on Draughla’s door, but she only opened hers a crack and told you to be a good boy and go to bed.

It wasn’t even sundown yet. Wholly baffled, you checked on your horse and made sure to replace his feed. You considered going for a walk, but the two main gates were barred and shut and the third smaller door had an axe slammed into the wood above the bar, locking it in place and with some considerate security, given you couldn’t wiggle the axe back out. You kind of took the hint.

Entirely, absolutely confused, the only thing left was for you to do as you were told and head back to your cabin. Of course, not before snagging a mug and a barrel of mead. Like that you spent the rest of the evening sipping away and reading through Andrew’s journal, slowly beginning to know the forest like the back of your hand, though you know information like this is subject to change on a daily basis.

Eventually, the light of the dying day wasn’t enough, so you lit some candles and continued reading, until the moon arose. You stare at it for a moment, almost feeling like you should be squinting, given its exceptional, yet soft brightness. Tonight’s a full moon.

You turn your gaze back to your book and turn the-

“AAH-AAA-AAHHG-AH-AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGH”

The frightening and familiar shriek splits the air of the early night, followed by an immense crash. A smaller one sounds as you fall out of your chair and scramble to your feet, drawing your sword from its scabbard as it rests against the bed, sheath clattering on the floor as you kick the door open, heading towards Yulia’s cabin.

Your feet barely touch the ground, but they sure as hell touch the door. Closed and locked, you plant both boots into it and break the latch apart, flinging the thick wooden door wide open with a loud crash. Although it’s a graceless mad scramble, you’re back on your feet almost as if you’d landed on them, searching around the room with your blade at the ready. The furniture is an absolute mess, like a whirlwind of claws had torn through, deep gouges all over the wood and a large man sized hole’s busted out the considerably thick wall of the cabin. Still a supreme testament to the craftsmanship that the wall hasn’t collapsed.

Just as you head towards it, a chorus of howls surround you, one starting and then bleeding into the other and then the next as they all join in, to the point where you can’t even tell how many voices there are. You dash out of the building through the hole, but asides from the tail end of the howl, there’s nothing and it’s silent. You get a shudder up and down your spine as you feel a primal fear needle into your brain. Something looks at you from behind, above, in front and below, in fact, as beads of sweat roll down your brow and your muscles all lock in tension, it feels like the eyes are staring at you from the inside.

You work your hoarse voice. “YULIA!! AINE! DRAUGLA!” Your screams die in the night and you clench the hilt of your sword so hard your knuckles turn white. You begin to stalk around the side of the cabin, to face the village proper, but it’s just as still. You try to figure out what to do, where to go… A shadow flickers in your periphery and you spin in place, sword gleaming in the moonlight like silver as you back up towards the statue.

Suddenly, spinning so rapidly your vision swims, you swing at the giggle coming from behind, floating hauntingly on the wind. Then, the world starts to turn, slipping as the ground rises up to meet you.

“Sorry~”

* * * *

When you open your eyes, you can’t even tell if they’re really open; deep, deep, abyssal blue orbs consume your vision. An utter deluge of sensation threatens to rip your mind away. The rustle in your head as claws lightly scrape your scalp, while thick fluffy fur smooths over your hair. The warm breath in your mind as some one behind whispers “Good boy, good boy” in between licking and kissing your ears. The cool night air on your bare skin. The needy moans and wet smacks from below as two mouths slavishly worship at your sack, monopolising a nut each as their tongues swirl around and around the heavier than usual orbs. The almost crushingly tight walls soaking your throbbing, rock hard length. The reek of sex hangs heavy in the air, making your head swim in the heady philtre and every fleshy clap of your hips clashing is accompanied by a wet squelch as the frothing mess of juices about your base is washed down your scrotum by fresher lusts, while the insatiable mouths below moan with relish and redouble their efforts.

The abyss sea broadens as you make more sense of the scene around you. You see the whites of these devouring eyes, you see the youthful, feminine lashes at odds with the sheer command dwelling deep within those depths. Then your eyes are drawn up to two large, fluffy black ears. Not for long, her forehead all but crashes into yours and you lose yourself within her all over again, while she plants those shapely lips upon your own. You taste Draughla’s sweet kiss for all of a fraction of a moment before her warm tongue plunges into your mouth and she leans her weight against you. Then you taste a whole lot more. Your dead arms spring to life as they sink into and grope her huge callipygian ass while you explore her mouth, when your tongue isn’t locked up in battle with hers that is, flicking over sharp canines and rows of formidable teeth.

Your cock flexes inside her depths as she settles her fat ass fully in your lap and begins to grind against your hips with worryingly bone-creaking strength. You instinctively thrust up into her already flooded pussy and groan your pleasure into her lips, but she remains deathly silent and impassive, for all the good that does as her slender belly clenches and her inner muscles squeeze their ardour with every rippling fold that kisses your manhood.

Her hips just gyrate in your lap in infinite spirals, range of movement shrinking then expanding before she works her wide hips up and down, slapping her cheeks against your drenched thighs. All the while just as your cock’s enveloped in her loving pussy, you’re imprisoned in her silent gaze, no matter how hard you squeeze or grope her rear as it rocks against you.

Your hands begin to roam as you dive more aggressively into the kiss, your eyes glaring unflinchingly into hers. Sliding over her sinful curves, hands coming unbelievably close together as you trace up the line of her slender waist. You can only tell the effect you have on her as your fingers find and tease her small, sensitive breasts by the sudden tightness wringing your shaft and the desire with which the pair of tongues below lap up the new deluge. She does shock you a little with a nip to the lower lip in response, though asides from that there’s no other outward tell that she’s feeling anything.

The incessant milking of her hot passage combined with the tender lust and devotion of two you suspect to be the twins down below – only they could be so in-sync – quickly brings you to climax. Your hands quickly dart back down to her ass, to press her hips tight against you, squish her pussy up to your base and grind as you dump your load into her. Only, one hand misses, not grabbing an overflowing hand-and-a-half-full of cheek, but… wrapping around the base of her whooshing, wagging fluffy black tail.

Her spine goes rigid and she breaks her kiss as her thighs clench around you and her pussy spasms. “Ah~” The oh so quiet gasp stills the room, so much so that practically all you can hear is the boiling of your loins as your swollen balls clench, popping out of the mouths and leaving behind twin desperate, dispirited cries as your cock distends inside Draughla’s pussy, tip grinding against her cervix and demanding entry or at the least ensuring you’re about to blast her uterus with hot human seed.

Her eyes still engulf yours, swimming with a near insane intensity as she weathers her climax unblinkingly, her pussy devouring dense rope after rope of viscous cum that packs into her womb, swelling it beyond fullness, as you belatedly realize this isn’t even the first load you’ve dumped into her. Still, you’re far from testing her limits of capacity, even as her belly swells a little against you, as can be attested to by the disappointed, hungry whines from the two mouths that have again latched to you balls and are currently going without their drippy, sticky treat.

“Haa~” Draughla’s sweet sigh rolls over you like grace from the heavens and you jerk just the little bit inside her, putting more pressure on her cervix as you grow harder, not that you’re rewarded with another of her spellbinding noises.

“Well… now you know,” Her soft whisper-voice flows through your ear, tingling your brain, while you look her over, from the wagging tail now slowing down, to the large twitching black ears atop her head. “The ‘beast’ was beside you all along.” She grins, perhaps the most extreme expression you’ve seen from her yet. “Surprised?”

“I had no idea. You’re wolfgirls? Was it all an illusion?” There’s a round of giggling.

“Close. No, our human forms aren’t lies.” Your eyes widen.

“...Werewolves?”

“Indeed.”

“So...” You wrack your head, an arduous task given how your other head just got wracked. “You all moved in after the attack?”

“Shhh…” She places a soft paw pad against your lips. “Leave the boring stuff to later, dear.”

You nod, only to notice a certain bounciness behind your head. You twist back, to see the woman patting your head and intermittently whispering into your ears is Cybele. She smiles gently and grasps your chin with her soft, brown furred claw and gives you a sloppy kiss, until you’re left to the point of suffocating, while Draughla quietly sits in your lap, your cock still lodged hard inside her and maybe even a little harder now. When you finally break the kiss, Cybele licks her lips and raises her hand to her cheek. “Fufufu~ I hope you don’t mind if I steal you away at some point after all this, just so I can taste you all over~”

Draughla raises an eyebrow as she feels you twitch inside her. “I think he’d like that. Now… I’d say I’ve had enough. For now.” Her own slender, graceful black furred claw rests over her slightly swollen belly and she works her leg out from where it was trapped between your thighs and Cybele’s. With it, she shakily rises off your cock, resting a claw on your shoulder and failing to stifle a quiet moan as her thick, supple thighs shake while your swollen cock scrapes along her sensitive walls, her own passage so tight as to cling needily to you on the way out, revealing a slim band of her pink insides. It’s a stark juxtaposition to her pale and hairless puffy lips.

With a lewd pop your cock springs free, bobbing about in place and throbbing, far more swollen than you’d ever seen it, with crisscrossing veins bulging and tinted a little worryingly dark. You look from the brutal thing, to her cute tight pussy then up to her eyes. She rests the fluffy back of her claw against your cheek, nail drawing a line as her eyes drift over your features adoringly. “I just gave you a little push along, my alpha. Soon you won’t need it, but for tonight… we’ve all been so hungry, for so long. Without my medicine, I’m afraid you’ll have shrivelled up by the end of it. And not in the fun way.” With her two feet on the ground, she carefully steps around the twins, patting each on the head as she passes. “Well, I’ve had my fill, for now. Have fun my daughters.” With her soft announcement of withdrawal, you already feel the twins fighting over who gets your cock first, mostly in the way they jostle to have it down their throat to lap up the juices. Draughla walks out of the room, a small, tiny dribble of cum running down her thighs, black tail swishing behind.

You finally get the chance to look around, eyes first drawn to the two gleaming blue-green orbs burning holes into you as the twins finally settled on sharing your cock, running their fat lips up and down your length, tongues cooperating at times and fighting at others to bring your pulsing member to a spitshine. Reaching out, you pat their heads and stroke their perky blonde furred ears. It seems, as you look around, all the girls have the same coloured fur as they do hair. Cybele that rich warm brown, as you look across the room to another bed you see Aine grinning at you, one arm across Yulia’s chest, groping the quivering pure white wolfess’ budding bosom while another of her large, thick red furred paws rubs as the far smaller wolf’s clit, Yulia’s natural propensity to curl up helping her none as the bigger woman’s breasts rest on her head, while Yulia gnaws a knuckle, lissom thighs clenching around the broad forearm.

Suddenly, the world starts to tilt as Cybele shuffles around into a better position behind you. You’re laid down in her lap and she brings one of her giant breasts to your face, nipple already leaking milk. “Here~ Drink up. You heard Draughla, you don’t want to shrivel up now, do you? I assure you, you’re going to need your energy~”

You gulp and then you gulp again as her weeping nipple is pushed into your mouth and spurts of warm milk fill it. You feel strength fill you as you suckle from the she-wolf’s tit, you almost feel so great you could found an empire. Her big soft fluffy claw keeps stroking through your hair as the twins below begin to take turns deepthroating you. They can’t compete in how deep they go, their full lips kissing your base each time, so they change to compete over how long they can stay there, until one starts smugly holding the other’s heads down as they choke, gag and splutter on your cock as it bulges their throat out.

The room is still a swirling miasma of sex, the sheets beneath and behind you smelling of arousal, the twins pooling their anticipation all over the floor and Yulia staining the sheets beneath her with her love juices as Aine relentlessly teases her clit. The sounds from it all are a carnal cacophony, filling your head with images as Cybele’s milk fills your belly, switching over to another nipple while she hugs you close and soothes you. You feel she’d love nothing more than to stroke your cock in hand, but a pair of greedy throats have been fighting over it all the while, their chins already frothy with the bubbled remnants of your union with the alpha female of the pack.

Your pleasant period of rest comes to an abrupt end as the twins start fighting again, this time without your cock lodged in their throat. “L-like, I’m the oldest, okay?!” “No way, I am.” “Nuh uh, we, like, totally have the papers to prove it, Sylenna came out of the womb first.” “I’m Sylenna!” “No you’re not.” Taking her nipple out of your mouth, Cybele chuckles and slips out from under you, letting you lay back on the bed.

“What have I told you girls about sharing? Play nice now,” She adopts an evil grin, “I’m going to help Yulia with that bully Aine.” She slips off the bed and practically leaps at the pair, amidst a round of giggling and gruff objections followed by husky moans, but you don’t get the pleasure of seeing it, as the twins take their place over you, one sitting down on your thighs while the other sits on your face. You’re abruptly made to realize the kind of night you’re in for, as you’re met face to pussy with the absolutely sopping proof of their all consuming arousal.

The one straddling your thighs wastes no time in angling your cock into her soaked slit and she takes you to the hilt with ease, her folds not as tight as Draughla’s, but instead softer and more precise in attacking your sensitive spots with her inner muscles. Almost practised. The incestuous relationship in your imaginings only making you harder for how likely factual it is. And it’s not hard at all to imagine, sensorily deprived as you are of sight, hearing and smell as the other sister sits on your face and muffles your ears with her thighs. As for what you do sense, all you can smell and taste is her sex.

She grinds on your face, thighs clenching as she makes a slippery mess all over you and into your mouth, you almost can’t believe how wet she is but then the pool of lubrication you thrust through each time the other sister bounces on your cock suggests it’s real enough as her copious excitement coats your crotch. Groping around blindly, you manage to grab a hold of her hips, but then the way your wrists are grabbed and your hands are brought up to grope a firm and perky pair of large breasts tells you the sister riding you is currently hunched over and probably making out with the other sister riding you. You just barely hear a coo from beyond the thigh prison as your cock throbs inside her drenched channel to the imagery.

You’re only relieved of your intercural internment in short gasps of air and upswells of lurid moaning and wet slapping before your senses are engulfed in wet pussy again. It doesn’t take long at all for her near frictionless bouncing to spur you to orgasm, your cock already sensitive enough from the past few. A claw closes around your balls, kneading the testicles gently as you blow your load hilted inside of her.

Suddenly, you’re released and pulled up to your knees as the sisters shuffle around, the bead creaking and groaning with the movement as you find yourself staring down a spread pussy, the clit looking painfully hard as her engorged lips spread, tufted crown of pubes matted in fem-cum and her inner thighs gleaming. The sister you just creampied is now feeding that cum to the other via face sitting, she’s gone the extra mile and collected the laid out sister’s ankles and tucked them under her arms, hiking her legs up by her ears, which seems to be an easy feat for the flexible woman. Both holes wink at you and the sister with the free mouth moans as she gets eaten out from below. She takes a deep, quivering breath and smirks at you. “It’d be, like, totally hilarious if you fucked her ass, but I think she wants you to breed her pussy.”

You can’t help but grin at that, ego fluffed in all the ways. Settling in, you grab your achingly hard cock and rub it along her slit before plunging in to the hilt and leaning over her. You bury your hands into her bosom to prop yourself up as you start to make out with the other sister while watching out of the corner of your eye as Aine moans on all fours, Yulia’s legs wrapped her head, forcing the bigger wolf to eat her out while Cybele kneels behind and eats her out.

You truly, really honestly and sincerely hate the fact that you can’t be fucking them all at once. Redoubling your efforts and venting your frustrations, you start pounding hard into the slut-sister below, making her scream ecstasy into her sibling’s pussy as her legs quiver in orgasm and her walls writhe around you. You take both hands from her breasts, bracing yourself by groping the other sister while your free hand pinches and rubs at the clit standing proud and alone as you pound the hole below it.

With your swollen sack slapping against her ass with each body rocking thrust and the other sister sloppily whining into your kiss as she endures through her own orgasm, you only last a few more thrusts before you bury yourself balls deep and dump whatever you’d managed to regenerate into her womb. Which is a lot, go figure. No wonder Cybele insisted on you drinking from her. Your nuts tighten against her ass rhythmically, the clenching spasms working through you ‘till the last rope. Then, shakily you pull out, resting a moment before sliding off the bed and giving the ass of the sister you just came inside a slap on your way off.

Cybele had already prepared Yulia for you on the other bed; Aine lying off to the side, idly masturbating as she prepares herself for a show. The bigger, buxom, matronly wolf has laid on her back and spread her legs for you, showing off her leaking, needy and hair-crowned womanhood, but what draws your eye – for now – is the pristine white form currently burying its face between Cybele’s tits. Perhaps feeling your eyes on her tight, bald lower lips, her thighs begin to quiver as you make your way over. She flinches as she feels you mount the bed and yelps into Cybele’s bosom as you lay a hand on her ass.

The more mature wolf smiles gently at you. “You can mess me up all you like, but please be gentle with her. Her… purity’s still intact. We checked.” She shoots a naughty glance over to the grinning Aine. “The rest of us… well,” She blushes, “We’ve been around long enough to find some toys… you should see their collection.” She tilts her head to the currently sixty-nineing blondes. You nod absentmindedly, waves of lust crashing riotously through your brain as blood courses through your over-erect cock. You drink in the sight before you, two tails wagging softly, two asses and inviting entrances laid bare as before you, each a drastic other end of the spectrum. Small, tight twat and big soft slit.

Placing both hands on Yulia’s ass, you gently stroke her smooth, soft skin, her shapely globes jiggling as she tenses bodily when you first touch her, then relaxes. She then tenses again as your cock brushes her hot slick lips but you’re not trying to penetrate yet, fingers running up her slender spine as you lean over her, stroking her silken hair and whispering into her fluffy ear. “Yulia… please look at me.” She freezes, then slowly stops trying to crush Cybele with her hug. You lean back on your haunches as she slowly straightens herself up and then rigidly turns to you, though given the position it’s a little awkward and you have to almost lean around her.

Her entire face is bright red, her beautiful pale blue eyes swimming. You smile warmly at her and reach a hand out, stroking her cheek. “I’m returning the kiss.” Her lips tremble, quirking into a smile as she closes her eyes and leans in against you. It starts like the last, but before you can make the move, she boldly pushes her tongue into your mouth, nervously exploring for the first time. You wrap your arms around her, one hand caressing one of her modest breasts while the other strokes her belly. You hear a wistful sigh from beside, but pay no attention, diving wholly into lavishing all the love of that moment onto Yulia. She herself lifts a claw up to caress your chin, while the other reaches down behind her to tentatively touch your throbbing member, flinching as if scared off at first, then tremblingly wrapping her furry digits about it.

Your hand on her belly slides lower, gently rubbing at her clit and making her moan into the kiss, not that she really needs it with how wet she is but you do it all the same for her. She eventually breaks the heavy smooching, panting and licking her lips. She looks you dead in the eye, “Ulvatr, I… I want you inside me, please...” Ahh, she asks so sweetly. You give her a final peck on the cheeks and move your hands to her hips. She lays back down over Cybele and wraps her arms around the comforting woman, who almost immediately starts stroking her hair in that motherly way of hers.

With your marital duties at hand, you grab the base of your cock and settle the tip in between her folds, revealing the first pink as you part her outer labia. Slowly and carefully, you begin to push in. Yulia whimpers and moans, her fluffy white tail going rigid as you stretch her virgin entrance, head finally and arduously popping into her constricting cunt and you’re rewarded with a heartmelting cry as her already tight passage becomes near impossible to thrust through. Something deep within your psyche fervently revels at the faint tearing sensation as you pierce her hymen, forever claiming her your own in the most primal of ways, an untrodden territory that will be solely your purview now and forevermore. A gush of femcum spurts out over your length and Cybele chuckles as the smaller white wolf clenches her arms around her, her thighs shaking in orgasm.

You stay there a moment, gently stroking her hips and ass while inwardly wincing as your tip is practically crushed in her entrance. At least if you were all the way inside her the pressure would feel more spread out. She comes down off her orgasm and tries to rock her hips back to no avail, positioned as she is with little range of motion, Cybele’s big thighs in the way. Still, you feel her bucking and take it for the tacit entreaty it is, slowly sinking deeper into her hot, still-twitching folds. The copious lubrication on your own shaft meets the pure need seeping from her womanhood and makes the passage easier.

After what feels like an eternity as you slowly fill her, the tip of your cock butts up against her cervix and there’s still a painfully neglected inch ‘till your base. Stroking the curve of her rump, you halt a moment before pushing deeper and stretching her out. Yulia cries out into Cybele’s bosom, in a sweet voice tinted with pain but mostly drenched in rapture. All of a sudden, her slick vice grip crushes around your shaft as another orgasm wracks through her.

You grit your teeth as her inexperienced passage clenches and milks your length, never before used muscles sputtering to life with all the nuance and inherent knowledge of a mammoth shattering through an aeons ice wall of successful breeding. Determined not to blow your load inside her just yet, you distract yourself with her slender, supple body, leaning over her back and propping yourself up by an arm while the other slides up her side, fingers wiggling between her chest and Cybele’s to grab one of her budding breasts that fit perfectly in the hand, while you lay kisses up her neck. You both gasp as something gives, your hips pressing into hers and balls splatting against Cybele’s scaldingly hot cunt while Yulia goes rigid in shock, something about the angle or the added weight, popping your head past the tight ring of her cervix and directly penetrating her virgin womb in the kind of way only monstergirls are built to take.

You can actually hear her sweet moans and cries now, still muffled but much clearer. You give a quiet grunt, the knowledge and sensation of her vestal sanctum being plundered by your swollen shaft proving too much for you. You utter an exasperated apology, wanting to have made her first experience last a little longer, but she doesn’t seem to care, one hand finding yours upon her breast and forcibly threading her fingers through, while she twists her head and torso enough to face you, her face completely red and eyes hazy. “Fill me~ Breed me~ I want your babies...” She launches into a hot passionate kiss as your lust kicks into overdrive, testes clenching almost painfully as your loins jet virile seed directly into her womb.

You don’t even think her second orgasm fully ended, slammed straight up into the third as your hot cum fills her corridors and her inner muscles finally find some coordination, milking you in tandem with the tense flexing of your swollen cock to inhumanly orgasmic effect. You lose track of how many of the pulsing ropes you’ve shot into her depths, reduced to simply squeezing her hand and trying to ride out the ecstasy as you lavish half-insensate kisses upon her graceful and slender pale neck.

The moment passes, infinite and infinitesimal, eternal even, as some small part of you feels like it’ll be lost in this moment forever. You let out a relieved sigh and slowly rise off her as you pull out, cumming another weak squirt as your head pops out of the tight ring of her cervix and smears your seed over her inner walls. You’d expect to be deflated after all that, but either it’s whatever Draughla fed you, or it’s something in the air, which, maybe just an illusion to your bleary gaze, seems almost tinted pink. Surely an illusion, though as you fill your shuddery lungs with the lustful atmosphere, you feel yourself only grow harder, more invigorated.

Taking the moment’s post nut clarity to look around, you reason that this unfamiliar place is probably one of the rooms, if not the main bedroom of the ealdorman’s manor. Rich furniture lines the walls and… You picture those deep blue eyes glimmering at you with a sneaky kind of mirth. Candles sit on all manner of surface, lighting the room dimly, but you’re pretty sure ordinary candles don’t burn with pink flames. Taking another deep breath, you pull all the way out of Yulia and plant your fat cock in between her cheeks, stroking and groping them, even as your hot rod throbs with vigour between.

Leaning back down and running hands up her back, you reach her shoulders and move down her slender arms, fingers wrapping about her elbows as you then pull her from Cybele’s bosom. She’s almost limp in your arms and as you let her elbows go, you have to catch her as she lurches forth a bit. But, with your arms around her chest you pull her all the way upright into a hug, where she looks up at you with a silly smile on her face, her hips still weakly quivering as she endures the trailing aftershocks of her orgasm. “A-am I pregnant now?”

Smiling, you brush some errant strands of pure white hair from her face and peck her on the lips, “Gods I hope so. But if not, we can always work on it later.” You look past Yulia to Cybele, who’s massaging her breasts, thoroughly enjoying the show and intensely anticipating her tern judging by the constant stream of excitement coating the sheets. You grow harder against Yulia’s back just thinking about it. You plant another kiss on the young werewolf’s shoulder as she shudders, her snow white claws reading down to stroke at her newly deflowered lower lips as you lock eyes with the matronly woman.

Thrusting your hips back, you slip out of the cleft trapping your cock against Yulia and line up with Cybele’s miring hot cunt, only to be slammed in to the hilt as a pair of powerful, brown fluffy legs clinch around your waist. The bigger woman’s great tits quake with the jolt and she gives you an uncharacteristically mischievous look, suggestive and smokey, the tussled hair spreading all around her head and over the sheets like tendrils completing the look. “Breed me. I need you to fuck me hard, dear, like I’m nothing more than your personal cumdump.”

Your loins clench in response to her words and your manhood rises to her challenge, starting to violently rut her sodden folds. Yulia, recovered now, enjoys the sensation of the rough pounding going on behind her and the way her body jolts, making her perky breasts jiggle but she ultimately leaves the two of you to go at it, grinning and pecking you on the cheek before wiggling out of your grasp to go entertain Aine. You feel a little empty with noting in your arms, but the sensation fades as a pair of claws grab you and tug you down.

You land in Cybele’s milk-slicked bust and instinctively wrap your arms around her. So this is how Yulia felt. Your hips thrust and rock madly as your glans scrapes and fucks past the soft, hot pleated folds of the hyper-nubile woman beneath you. Honestly, the queer notion abruptly pops into your mind. You wish you had more hands. You wish you could grab and squeeze her softness all over. She, however, has no issues in the way she envelops you with her arms and legs and sinks you into her bosom. Without Yulia in the way, her knees come up and her heels dig into your ass, pushing you in harder, deeper.

She cries out and moans in a deliriously lewd voice, her tail thumping the bed as you pound her ass into it. A claw returns to its rightful place patting your head and she gently coaxes you over to a nipple. Latching your lips around it, you begin to drink long and deep of her warm, thick milk, one hand reaching up to sink into her breast, while the other reaches down to sink into her ass, entrusting all your weight to her chest.

You rut against her, each jolt making her breath hitch and her moans hike in pitch as her soft body ripples with the impact. Your stomach is like a bottomless pit, the milk practically vanishing the moment it enters, your hungry body immediately converting it all into potent virility and stamina. Her passage caresses around you, nowhere near the tightness of Yuria’s pussy, but also far hotter and while maybe not wetter, the overall sensation is… squishier if you had to wrangle a word. It also feels… right. Like you never want to leave, a kind of perverted return.

You lower your hips and angle them upwards, cock grinding hard against her walls as she assists you in fucking her brains out and your miraculously full balls slap wetly and heavy against her large soft ass all while she gently coos under her breath and strokes your head. “That’s a good boy, drink up. I’m real close baby, fuck me harder....”

You can’t help but growl in the back of your throat, her words eliciting a primal reaction from you as you sink your teeth into her nipple and a shrill peal of ecstasy spills from her lips as her thighs crush down around you, forcing you deeper inside her, mashing her fat soft pussy flat. A thicker stream of milk bursts into your mouth as her walls spasm around your shaft, your eyes going wide at the sudden tightness as she cums.

Her legs utterly pin you in place as her sopping tunnel quivers and writhes, each fold sucking and kissing along your length like a thousand small, hot tongues. You really can’t help but to completely relax in her tight embrace and spill it all inside her greedy, hungry womb. You jolt a little as you feel a furry foot press against your balls, massaging them with pressure as they clench, dumping thick loads of cum to paint the walls of her uterus the colour of your lusts. Your heart hammers in your chest as you clutch the big, soft woman tight and through it all, her gentle strokes and cooing never falter, though after her initial cry they do gain a wavering quality, as if she’s doing her best to hold it all in.

Her searing hole milks the last of your load and you feel every single muscle in your body relax as you sink into her softness, recovering for the moment. You don’t even resist as she gently moves your head to the other breast and pops her leaky nipple in your mouth. “You’re not done yet, husband, dear.” She leans down and whispers. “Don’t forget Aine.” You nod, a part of you supremely reluctant to leave the soft bed of flesh and the headpats, but a man’s duty never rests and the other part of you has been waiting for this since the big girl scared the shit out of you when you first stepped into the village. Shakily, you extract yourself from her leg-lock and marvel at her swollen, puffy pussy so recently ravished. It’s enough to make you want to bury yourself back in, but alas. A giant red claw wraps around your shoulder and you’re lifted off your feet, off the bed and thrown – as gently as that word can be used – against the nearby wall.

You don’t mind, you needed something to lean on as your strength returned to you, which you seem to feel it doing by the second. You flinch, however, as a red, furry heel embeds itself by your head. Your eyes flicker to it, only to see the solid wood split. You gulp and slowly turn your head to the culprit.

Aine looms over you in every sense of the word, one thick muscular leg planted on the ground, bushy long crimson tail wagging by her knee, the other planted into the wall by your head. An elbow rests on her outstretched knee as she bends over you, forcing you to tilt your head all the way up to met her in the eyes. “Hey. My turn.” Her golden orbs gleam with unabashed hunger and your trail down from there, to the two pendulous tits each larger then her head – meaning far larger than yours – the thick, fat bud of her nipple standing prominently over a modestly sized puffy areola; a deeper shade of pink, her skin nowhere near as bronzed as the twins’ but getting here.

Beneath her prodigious bust are her rippling abs and below that, a wild mane of crimson pubes growing at the peak of her mons. You don’t know if it’s manicured or just a quirk, but the lips of her pussy are bare, just like Cybele’s and the twins’. Copious streams of girlcum coat, nay, layer up over her inner thighs and Aine’s breasts heave with every laboured, aroused breath. You can almost see the heat radiating off her pussy and can definitely smell her heat. In fact, penned in by her form like this, it’s almost overwhelming and your cock’s back to beading and dripping precum in no time. You take a deep breath and fire enters your eyes. You’ve not forgotten Draughla’s words, no!

You reach your hands out, one on her hip, the other starting at the top of her thigh and sliding down. She watches you predatorily, even as you step in a little, resting your bicep against the underside of her thick thigh, while your hand splays out over her lower back. Her eyes go wide. “W-wait, you can’t-!” You step in further, overbalancing her and lifting her other leg up at the same time, forcing her to lean over you as to not fall, clinging and crying out in a girlish manner.

Her weight is almost enough to make you buckle and certainly enough to make you stagger. You make shaky but sure steps towards the bed, lifting the giant red wolf and laying her down as gracefully you can. She flops down like a sack of grain amidst the protesting cries of the bedframe, legs spread and bewilderment in her eyes. You dust your hands as you grin at her, proud in your achievements. She opens her mouth to say something, but you’re already kneeling, resting your arms on her thighs as you bury your face between.

Your lips meet her fairer pair with a wet squelch, your tongue eagerly seeking out her depths and roaming about her walls. The intense, heady, vaguely tangy, vaguely salty musk hits you like a stone slab and alights a raging heat within you. Alternating between circling her walls and drawing figures with your tongue, to wrapping your lips around and licking, flicking at her stiff clit, you give your all into it and she responds with rapture. Your eyes widen with nervousness and anticipation as her powerful thighs close in and trap you in place as she begins to moan and buck her hips against your face. You’re sure she could crush logs with these things. You shelf the worry, surely she’s in better control of her strength than that. Right?

Her paw comes down to rest on your head, claws scratching at your scalp lightly as she holds you in place and thrusts against your head, meanwhile it’s all you can do to keep sucking and licking away. In no time, her powerful thighs begin to shake and a gush of girlcum fills your mouth, her sweet, high pitched moans and gasps flowing from her lips like honey. You’re released all at once, her thighs flopping weakly either side of you, legs hanging off the bed. Wiping your mouth, you rise to your feet, ogling her muscled, sweaty form as she pants with her mouth open and her tongue out, forearm over her eyes, tall fluffy red ears flicking and big bushy red tail laying limp under her.

You climb up onto the bed and settle down with her legs lifted over your hips, resting your cock on her drooling lower lips. You run your hands over her abs, up the ridges and into her soft but firm breasts. You lean over her and whisper into her ear, “You look so beautiful right now.” Slowly, gently you remove the claw from her face, revealing a deep red flush and teary eyes, while her lips quiver pressed together. “Such a pretty wife...” You brush a finger over her lips. “May I?...” You’re mostly asking the rhetorical question for her sake, as to not overwhelm her, but it is also true she could send you flying across the room with a single arm.

Her eyes waver nervously, before she nods her head and your lips meet hers in a chaste kiss. She lifts a paw to your chest and strokes across your breast, while another drapes over your back. She lifts her chin, craning her neck up to the kiss as she opens her mouth and invites your tongue inside. You stay there, cock drooling anticipation into the red tufts of her crown while you explore her mouth and gently scratch her ears, intermittently interrupting the kiss to whisper words like ‘cute’ and ‘pretty’. By the time you’re done, with the way she’s panting you almost suspect she’s close to orgasm already.

You line yourself up and sink in the first inch or two easily, before the going becomes exponentially harder. She’s vice-tight inside, but it doesn’t feel like Yulia did, more like her formidable muscles are all clenching, crushing her passage. Indeed, she’s staring at you worriedly, gnawing on a knuckle. Chuckling, you reach your arms out and take hold of hers, fingers sinking into the dense red fluff. Hauling with all your might, you lift the big woman’s torso up and wrap your arms around her back as she gives a soft cry. You didn’t think it possible, but her face grows even redder as she’s brought up to such close and intimate proximity, though given her size you have to tilt your head back to see it; you’re actually head to shoulder height in this position. Perfect for dipping your head down into her mountainous breasts, but also good to laying kisses along her shoulders and neck.

This is what you start with, as her arms tightly wrap around you in turn. “Just relax, Aine.” You kiss her collarbone, “Calm down and I’ll make you feel good.” Your words seem to have the desired placating effect as her passage loosens, allowing you to slowly sink in until you’re truly joining hips. Your spine quivers a little, with equal parts pleasure and trepidation and blood rushes to your swelling member as if sensing your fear and rallying the red troops. You’re sure you’re just exaggerating it in your mind, she can’t actually squeeze your dick off… right?

Fingers crossed behind her back, you start gently thrusting away, her tight insides gripping to you on the way out and pushing against on the way in, each displacing ample lubrication as your glans parts and scrapes her folds, each one seeming to send its own little signal of bliss arcing up her spine. Your hands move down her sculpted back, instead sliding down to caress and splay their fingers across her large, brawny behind. She makes a sweet little noise with every thrust and you clench your ass cheeks as her sounds begin to grow in crescendo, then… a teeth gritting, muffled, whimpered diminuendo.

You brace for impact, but it honestly isn’t that bad. You breathe a secret sigh of relief as her muscles clamp down around your cock, completely arresting movement, but not pinching it off at least, your own hardness combating the powerful constriction as her inner muscles ripple in orgasm and copious juices spurt out of her near hermetic seal to soak your balls. You’re actually, now, a little more concerned about your back and hips as she spasms, clutching you powerfully close with her arms and thighs. She weathers through it with her eyes squeezed shut, quietly whining in blissful agony through her nose in short sweet bursts while her tall fluffy ears flick and quiver.

Eventually she weathers through her climax and opens her misty, swimming golden eyes, looking down at you with pure love as she tilts your head back and moves in for a kiss. Your tongues coil together as you regain the leeway to continue thrusting, gently pushing your hips against hers, cock sawing through her tightening passage, as the over-stimulation to her still post-climax sensitive walls reduces her sense of control, muscles unable to truly relax, so tautly wound.

Fine by you, the added grip utterly superfluous when it comes to pleasure, but pushing you quicker to the precipice all the same. Your cock throbs in her depths as you begin to pick up pace despite yourself, balls swinging and clapping wetly against her skin as you brace your thighs and thrust harder and faster from below, groaning through your nose as your mouth is occupied, until it’s your turn to shudder against her and squeeze her tight. Your lust boils over, the churning hot seed spurting out in thick ropes as you breed the last and final womb of the night, having claimed each of the girls for yourself. Maybe that fact in the back of your mind is working some mischief in your loins in addition to whatever concoction Draughla gave you while you were out, because your latest climax is also the greatest in both quantity and duration. Aine breaks the kiss to cry aloud in ecstasy at the sensation of the gushing cum flooding her womb beyond her limits. Even her tightness isn’t enough to lock it all in and as you feel her abs swell just the faintest bit, a fair amount of it spills back over your balls and onto the bedsheets, making a giant mess.

Muscles weakening, she lets you go and falls back, breasts heaving pleasantly as she bounces on the bed, mattress sinking in a respectable way. “J-just… Just give me a moment.” She pleads, pussy still quivering around you. Smiling a little tiredly, you pat her hips as you slowly pull out.

“Sure, whenever you’re ready.” Some part of you knows for sure, that one or two rounds each isn’t going to be enough for tonight. You send a silent prayer out for Draughla to hurry back, because you’re going to need some help here… and another turn at that ass.

You step back from the bed and take stock of the room. The candles burnt half down now and your cock still rock solid and dripping mixed fluids. Aine’s a little out of it before you, Yulia is sitting at the bed and was slowly rubbing herself as she watched you breed the bigger wolf. The twins are still making out and scissoring while the big motherly wolf seems to have gone missing.

Stretching a little, you walk over to Yulia, stopping just short of your drooling cock booping her in the nose. For her part she blushes deep red and stares at it, transfixed. “Where’s Cybele?”

She doesn’t take her eyes off it. “She said she was going to get some snacks and will be back in a bit...” reaching a delicate hand out she just barely manages to wrap her fingers all the way around your cock and lift it, her mouth open and drooling, tongue hanging out as she makes a lewd little moan and starts to clean you off, beginning with licking clean your balls. You let out a quiet groan and she flinches as she feels your cock spurt precum over her head. Reaching down, you scratch her ears gently while she licks all over your shaft before taking it into her mouth and struggling to fit more than the head, small wet tongue running circles around the glans.

***

From there… the rest of the night is a bit of a blur. In fact, its’ a lot of a blur and to be perfectly honest you’re not entirely sure it was just one night. Time in that room seemed to lose all meaning. Yulia did her level best to please you with her mouth and you rewarded her by cumming over her face and breasts. The twins, ever hungry for more, boasted their own skills and offered to show Yulia how it’s done. Curious, you obliged them and they laid atop eachother, heads hanging over the bed, with mouths wide open invitingly. You headed over and hilted yourself in the topmost throat in a single, seamless, fluid motion while your nuts were enveloped by the mouth of the other.

While you were facefucking the twins, Cybele had returned with some food, so you took a short break to refuel, meanwhile the redhead and brunette got into an argument about their breasts which could only be concluded with a joint boobjob, so they argued and fairly convincingly with much bouncing at that. You personally don’t think something as random as who’s cleavage got covered in more cum can really determine a winner. Aine’s prize was to have you fuck her abs, which was a new, but pleasant sensation and only ended in coating the underside of her tits this time.

Yulia propped her up on all fours to the egging guidance of the twins, but her muscles gave out halfway though the rapid pounding you gave her ass, laying there prone as you continued to dick her tight ass into oblivion. No sooner had you pulled out of her tight, now-leaking hole than did Cybele, neglected for too long, beckon you over and pull her ankles back to her fluffy ears and demand a baby. You did your best to fulfil this wish as the twins massaged and licked your balls, going so many rounds with her, that her soft belly began to fill out with cum.

You weren’t even given a breather after that before Aine pinned you to the mattress and rode you, all the way until Draughla returned, mischief in her eyes as she swirled about a vial in her hands. She said it was temporary, but in hindsight you’re still a little larger than before, but not as large as the behemoth of a cock you grew immediately after. Draughla was the only one able to take it fully and easily, hungrily pushing you back onto the bed and greedily settling her fat ass in your lap while toying with the bulge just below her sternum. In fact it was an almost perfect outline of your cock to the amazement of all the other girls, thanks to how slender the elder wolf is. She managed to lift herself off and impale herself again on your enormous cock exactly three times before you got to hear what it sounded like when Draughla howled in orgasm.

The twins, absolutely fixated, but not quite there yet, opted for a full bodyjob, grinding their pussies against your swollen length and pressing their chests together around the head while they took turns tonguing the tip before their faces were absolutely blasted with cum. Cybele all but tackled them off you after that and demanded you hollow her out, while she knelt with her face down and her ass up. At some points you actually felt yourself butting against the bed through her stomach. Aine was game to give it a go, but if you thought she was tight before, she was excruciatingly tight now, so after much coaxing it in, you laid on your sides together face to face, gently rocking the monster into her. In retrospect, it makes sense the biggest girl would also be able to take it. Draughla on the other hand… you had an all new kind of respect for her after that.

You think, vaguely recall falling into a tangled pile of limbs as the very end of it all, lying on Cybele with Selene and Sylenna stuck to your sides and Yulia curled up on your chest, while Aine spooned one of the sisters. You don’t recall where Draughla ended up, but despite it all you feel like you never really tapped into the bottom of her lusts, as abyssal as her eyes. She probably left to let you all sleep it off.

* * * *

You awaken to what is now a truly familiar sensation, though you get from the subtle differences in nuance that it isn’t Sylenna or Selene’s throat you’re balls deep in. Opening your eyes, head swimming from the night before, you look down to find Draughla’s pale pink lips around your base, her soft hand delicately kneading your balls as you pump thick strings of cum down into her stomach. She smiles around the cock lodged in her throat and pulls back, leaving your member spotless as her lips pass. She stops a moment with her lips still sealed around the head, her tongue swirling around the glans as she swallows repeatedly, before relinquishing you with a pop.

You look at your not so little fellow, just a little bit bigger and a little bit thicker than you recall, but… “Uh… was I dreaming, or...”

Her lips curl into the faintest smile and she climbs up your body to settle down with her head nestled in your shoulder. You notice now, the room’s empty but for the two of you. “There’s plenty left over if you want more.” A slender hand rests just below her chest as she reminisces. “It was amazing but… it’s amazing regardless and if I couldn’t fit it in my mouth anymore I’d be quite unhappy, so it’s just temporary. I don’t even have what you’d need for a permanent draught anyway.”

“Oh...” You shake your head, brain feeling a little fluffy and throat a little scratchy. “I’m surprised I’m not dead.”

“We made sure you drank plenty of fluids… Cybele is over the moon,” she giggles softly, “She can finally serve you milk without you asking questions.”

You blink, right, moon. You look Draughla over, seeing the same dark haired, somewhat gloomy looking girl, but no cute ears or fluffy tail. “Oh, is this what you want to see?” Her lips split into a smug grin, revealing sharp canines as ears and a tail pop out of nowhere. The thick black fluffy bush starts to wag lazily, but her arms are still human. She notes your confusion. “Partial transformation, my alpha. At will, too. Comes with age and experience. I wager it will take another ten… no, with their aptitude twenty years for the twins to get the knack of it. For now, the other girls are entirely beholden to the phases of the moon.” She pauses and chuckles, “But if that changes, Cybele might overtake them in the pack.”

You have a rudimentary knowledge of wolves and their pack hierarchy. “Wait, isn’t Cybele-”

“You’d think so, but no. The twins have been with me for longer.” She puts on an air of exasperation, “I’d hoped they’d mature. Then Cybele, then Aine and finally sweet Yulia. She’s the newest to being a werewolf, just like she’s newest to being a woman.”

“Then that medicine she told me about...”

A soft chuckle, “I turned her. The fever was beyond my ability to treat, especially with what I had on me at the time. It was the only way to save her, I couldn’t just watch. Even then, after becoming a werewolf, she was so far gone she was still bedridden for the next few weeks. Of course, now a wound like that will heal within the day, but at the time she was just too weak.”

“How did you all get here anyway?”

“We used to roam, wherever the whim took me. We were in the area when the attack happened and I smelled the scent of human flesh and spilled blood. By the time we arrived, it was all already over and the only scent left was Yulia dying in the shed. I have no idea what happened to the others, the scent of blood lingered around the back of the village, but it was pretty weak, whatever it was didn’t bleed much, just that initial wound. We tracked the scents all the way into the caves and given the arrow stuck in Yulia, it was pretty obvious what happened.”

“Wow… you all figured it out that quick huh.”

She smiles wryly. “It was fun watching you search. Also, I must thank you for how gentle you were with Yulia. She still relives the attack in her dreams.”

You shake your head and look up at the ceiling. “I was just listening to your advice...” Maybe forgetting the nature of the woman in your arms, maybe acting bold despite it, you lean over to kiss her head while giving her ears scratches. Draughla sighs and wiggles in closer to you. What’da’ya know, she loves it. “Ah. I forgot.” She reaches a hand up and brushes your cheek, fingers finding your earlobe – and twisting.

“Ah-ah-ah-ow-ow-ow-ow-owww, what was that for?” You look at her, hurt in many senses.

“That was for not knowing your place.”

“S-sorry.” You mutter as you take your hand away, only for her to place it back on her head.

“I didn’t say stop.” Her lips twitch as she looks at your blatant confusion. “I wasn’t talking about that at all. I’m your mate and you’re my Alpha. You can push my face down into the dirt and fuck me infront of the whole village and I’d still love it. You can touch me wherever and whenever you want. What I’m talking about is how you nearly left, taking all the burden onto yourself without asking for help, when you’re just a foolish, darling young man, in over his head.”

You flush red, but… you suppose she’s right. In hindsight, she always came off as… more than she appeared. Maybe you couldn’t have approached the others, but with her, the pretences were already hanging by a thread. You could have broken them off and saved yourself a surprise, although… where’s the fun in that? “I’m sorry.” She leans over your chest and gives your red, throbbing ear a soft kiss.

“Good. Now… you have something to say?”

You sigh, “I still don’t know what I’ll say to keep all this… keep every one away. Granted,” You grin, “I was a little distracted last night.”

“They don’t care about what you say… they care about what you can show them.” You tilt your head as you look into her deep blue eyes. “Lumber. It’s why you’re here, it’s why they care. Deliver the lumber and everything goes back to normal.”

You nod, “Of course, I’d already thought of that, but… there’s only the one carriage. After that… we’ll need to get the mill back up and running. Also I still have to deliver some kind of satisfactory report.”

She frowns. “That is an issue.”

“I know a thing or two, but without the people there’s no way we can harvest enough for ongoing trade.” Her frown loosens as she smiles slightly.

“That is less of an issue. Come. I might as well show you the very last mystery of the Faraon ‘beast’ while I’m at it.” Taking your hand, she tugs you out of bed and down the stairs. You pass by the kitchen along the way, where Cybele stands naked, cooking. Your feet stop and you’re forcibly yanked away. “You can fuck her all you want later.” You gulp and stumble along with Draughla, but not before Cybele looks over her shoulder to wink at you, spreading her legs while bending over slightly and giving her hips a wiggle. You trip over your feet and are rather humiliatingly dragged the rest of the way out of the building while you hear Cybele’s laughter from the house.

Draughla drops you in the middle of the village and looks down, face impassive, but you get the sense none to impressed. “That’s what you get for not paying attention.”

Red faced, you mumble, “That’s not my fault.” Clearing your throat, you rise to speaking volume. “So what are we doing out here?”

She simply looks at you and nothing happens at first, before great flares of darkness erupt from her skin, shrouding her form in no time and growing with such immense pressure you stumble back multiple steps, until all that’s there before you is an immense void of darkness in the middle of the village that then… explodes, soundlessly, revealing a gigantic, sleek black wolf shaking its head. For some reason though… you feel no fear. Well, that explains who left the markings outside the village. To think, you’d already lain the ‘beast’ of Faraon before you even knew what it truly was. Draughla’s voice enters your head. “You’ll want to block your ears.”

Doing so and supremely confused, you watch the great wolf lift its head and are blown off your feet as it begins to howl.

“AAAWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooo~~”

The tail bounces back off the mountains. Great flocks of birds rise from all over the forest, blanketing the sky as a black cloud and in the far far distance, a soft rumble returns as snow collapses off the edge of a mountain peak and begins to slide. You wince, ears still ringing and every head pops out in the village.

“What was that?” The great wolf dissolves into shadow, then Draughla.

“You’re shouting dear.”

You open and close your mouth, feeling your ears pop. “Oh, sorry.”

“That was… hmm what did those mages call it… the Call of the Pack Mother.”

“Pack Mother?”

She smiles, “Me.”

“What does it do?”

“It calls to every member of my pack. There are quite a few from across the years, through a variety of circumstances. I’ve called to them for two reasons. First,” She reaches out and takes hold of your hand, “To announce our Alpha. There will be some...” Her face darkens into a glower, “Old hags that arrive that will make a fuss over how long it’s taken. You are free to hit them. Secondly, is to announce the creation of a new Den. Namely, Faraon. Some will choose to stay and if it’s people you need, then it’s people you’ll have. I have no idea what all of my daughters have gotten up to since leaving to start their own packs. Who knows, maybe there’ll be some useful hands among them.”

She turns to the other girls. “You’ll all have to move into the manor I’m afraid, if we’re to make room.”

You squirm, a little awkward at the sudden development. “There won’t be any issues with the sudden influx of people?”

Draughla looks to you and actually smiles reassuringly. “None. For werewolves, the pack hierarchy is final. You are the Alpha. Of course, if you let it go to your head then I’m going to lock you inside and ride you until I’m satisfied.” She nonchalantly studies her nails, “I hear from some of my acquaintances that losing three to four decades in the bedroom does wonders to readjust the perspectives and attitudes of rebellious boys.”

You shudder. That’s... longer than you’ve been alive. You turn towards the large carriage collecting dust by the side of the village. “How long until they get here? We won’t be able to pull it ourselves. Even if we could, it would look… suspicious.”

“Depending on how close, within a week. If they’re far, then maybe a month. The range of that call shouldn’t exceed half a year’s travel.”

“We’ll need to return before then. Today, ideally.” You frown, puzzling it through to yourself.

Draughla shrugs, “You have a horse.”

“There’s no way it can pull that by itself.”

“I’ll concoct some stimulants, it’ll be fine,” She waves her hand dismissively and walks off.

 

* * * *

A month had passed since you delivered the first shipment and a fortnight since the last. One more was due to head off tomorrow. You look up at Draughla from the comfort of her lap and meet her deep gaze. You smile up at her and she stares back as she strokes your head. The back-drop of a bright blue, cloud spattered sky doesn’t quite mesh with the dreary woman. Nor does her skill at negotiations, but you suppose that’s secretly ancient young women for you. You’d arrived in Arnhem alright, though the overdrawn horse looked like it could use a few days rest after it all. You delivered the bullshit ‘report’ that both you and Draughla had worked on together and then you resigned. The old captain was quite envious about that.

Draughla used a percentage of the would be profits to wrangle up a few more horses for appearances as you took the stock to the nearby city of Amroth. Some alone time with her was amazing, but you really did begin to miss the others. By the time the two of you returned, there were already plenty of new faces. One of which had even operated a lumber mill down south. Perfect. He was about every stereotype of a lumberman you could think of. As you chatted over drinks, even his meeting with his wolf wife was something out of a folk tale.

Now, the village was practically swarming with people, mostly couples, a few singles. So busy in fact, that the palisade had been knocked down and the village was in the process of expansion. As for contesting with the wilderness of the forest without the tall wooden walls… for obvious reasons, nothing dared to test the village and you never saw the hounds again. It’s sad, but as the number of werewolves grew, the beasts of the woods took to steering clearer. Well… You roll back over to continue watching the humiliation of some elves. It didn’t stop some people.

A party of dark elves had returned to the village a week ago, astounded to find it occupied again, but happy to raid it once more. Cybele and the twins didn’t even break a sweat. Turns out that whole ‘control your powers’ thing is helped along by a steady diet of creampies. You have nothing more to show for it yet, sadly, but you won’t stop trying until you see their bellies bulge with little lives.

You cast a pitying glance to the elven captain, currently naked with her legs spread before the whole village, wrists and ankles tied and mounted on the crotch of the tall woodsman statue. Yulia was busy frolicking among the other dark elves, defacing their… faces with a pigment Draughla brewed up. It should be relatively temporary. You’re glad to see the vast difference from the shivering girl who was too scared to even approach them to this one now who gleefully torments them. Although, you’re now mildly terrified of her now, as it was her idea to strip them all and tie them all up in various humiliating positions. A pair of them are even lashed together with their heads in each other’s privates and very, very displeased about it.

You clear your throat, a little concerned. Even you’ve heard of the tales of elven pride. “Is this really okay?”

“So what if it isn’t? It’s hilarious. Also, we need to let them know that this isn’t some weak human village ripe for plundering. We’re able to defend ourselves now. If we don’t show a hard stance, they’ll just keep coming back. A steady supply of lumber in the under dark is like gold to them. A human village a stone’s throw from their caves is their goldmine.”

You nod and look back to Yulia. “Are the original inhabitants ever going to return?” You think to the old woman the young wolf spent many a night gushing to you over.

“Unlikely. Some will win their freedom, some won’t bother. The majority of those who do will have been changed into forms unfit for the surface anymore.”

“...Do you think they have good lives down there?”

“As slaves? I suppose so. They’ll be protected, fed if they work.”

“If they don’t?”

“They’ll starve, obviously. They don’t have a pack of werewolves looking after them.”

“I am a great guard.”

She rolls her eyes. “Of the bedroom.”

“So what kind of work do they do?”

“Whatever jobs the city needs to fill. They don’t work you to death in the mines, if that’s what you mean. From what I hear anyway. Unless you’re a miner by trade I suppose. Basically, dark elven slavery is no different from a more personal, abrupt and somewhat alarming regime change. You’re still owned by who ever it is at the top, except now they’re fucking you in the fun way.”

“Hm...” You lapse into silence, thinking a myriad thoughts of what the future holds for yourself and this village. If the lumber’s so valuable, the elves won’t give up on it and if they can’t take it, they’ll have to buy it. That could see the village begin to grow in a completely different direction with an influx of underworld wealth. You stretch and yawn and roll over, burying your face directly into Draughla’s lap. All you do know, is whatever happens, you won’t be alone for it.