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Weary Wanderer

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Liquid Light—for he could think of no other way to describe the glowing sputum—sprayed across the marble tiles as a coarse cough shook through G’raha Tia’s body.

He brushed a stray lock of hair behind his ear with trembling fingers. His natural red was mostly gone, now.

Exhaustion and everlasting Light had bleached the color from his hair. Only his roots had been spared the worst but even they were pale these days—if the hairs that came away from his scalp were anything to go by.

Failure took its toll. It had been a spectacular one, too, as far as failures went.

Maybe not everything went wrong, but the worst thing that could have gone wrong, did. Now, two hundred years of contrivance and gods knew how many sacrifices later, he was the only one who remained to lament the attempt.

G’raha wiped away the dregs of aether that clung to the corner of his mouth as he sat up. He grimaced. Even the tiny half-hearted exertion against the pull of gravity made his joints creak and his muscles protest.

Everything ached, and not in a good way.

It might have done him some good to get up and stretch his legs. Circulation was bad enough as it was with half his body frozen in crystal.

That sort of freedom seemed little more than a distant dream, now. He was altogether too weak to even crawl out of the little nest of fabric scraps Alantin had built for him.

No. No. G’raha clutched his temples and shook his head as pain lanced through his skull. That thing wasn’t Alantin. Not anymore.

A resilient ember of hope yet burned in his breast. Pesky thing. No matter how hard he tried to grind it under his figurative heel it would return—as if to deny the truth of what he’d witnessed with his own eyes!

The Warrior of Darkness he’d known was dead. The hero he’d looked up to was gone. The friend he’d come to love in tender stolen moments between crises would never come back.

Alantin could never come back and that was the ineluctable, inescapable, undeniable truth. The Light had already devoured him.

And G’raha had stood helplessly by, watching it happen. He remembered the moment with sharp, painful clarity. An apology mouthed from across the way and then… Light.

Endless, rampant Light.

G’raha’s malnourished frame shook. He reached into the nest and retrieved a bolt of midnight blue fabric. He held it to his nose and breathed deeply.

It carried the scent of better days.

In some ways, G’raha had always known the scent. It was hard to forget. He’d just never been aware of it until one sweet evening of intimacy under the stars of the Crystarium’s first Night in a century.

He sighed. It felt wrong to be nostalgic when it was his fault such a night was never going to happen again in the world of the First.

He didn’t deserve the warm memory, even when all it left was a bitter taste on his tongue. He was still around, after all. No one else was.

Most of the people were gone, either eaten, turned, or dead. Those who survived were going to starve soon—if they hadn’t already.

The Scions had been the first victims of the end of the world. They had been so close to Alantin that when the dam broke, and the Light came roaring out of him, they were instantly remade into a new generation of Lightwardens.

So much much Light had spilled from Alantin, in fact, that even Emet-Selch had seemed caught off guard. If there was any silver lining in that harrowing moment, however thin, it was the look of utter bafflement on Emet-Selch’s face.

It was a justified confusion, granted. G’raha had struggled to believe what he was seeing, himself. Many times more aether than had been absorbed from the Lightwardens burst out of Alantin in the traumatic birth throes of the Warrior-That-Was.

In a way, G’raha owed his survival to Emet-Selch. The confounded Ascian had put up a barrier against the rampaging Light. The only reason G’raha wasn’t already out there, looting and pillaging the First as a Lightwarden, was because he’d been standing behind the bastard.

The crunch of gravel from nearby distracted G’raha from his thoughts. He looked up from the scrap of fabric in his hands and out over the Light-scorched ruins of Kholusia.

The Warrior-That-Was had built the nest of fabric scraps into a half-finished nook under the shade of a rocky-outcropping about halfway up from the base of Mt. Gulg’s sundered peak. Only a small portion of the space was tiled. The rest was bumpy, uneven earth.

After its birth, the Warrior-That-Was had spirited G’raha away from Emet-Selch with such speed the Ascian didn’t have the time to react. It had taken him to the peak—to the arena where they confronted Vauthry and where everything had started to fall apart.

There, the Warrior-That-Was had demonstrated its godlike power. A single almighty beam of light from the heavens swallowed the enormous Talos holding on to Mt. Gulg and reduced it to ashes in a matter of moments.

It had been at that moment when G’raha realized it wouldn’t do to call the Warrior-That-Was a Lightwarden. It was so much more than that.

Its mastery of the Light was absolute, its authority unquestionable. A warden protected. The Warrior-That-Was commanded.

Nay. Even now, G’raha was convinced. “Warden” was far too insufficient a term. It failed to encapsulate the sheer, terrible majesty of the Warrior-That-Was.

The Warrior-That-Was was a new kind of creature altogether. Not a warden but a monarch. A king. A sovereign.

The Light’s Sovereign.

G’raha shivered as he pulled back from the memory. He’d been stuck on Gulg, since, in probably the only corner of the world still spared from the endless Light.

The ground trembled as the Warrior-That-Was ambled up the nearby path. It liked to land further down the mountain before climbing up to visit G’raha in his nook.

The path led further up the mountain but G’raha had never seen the Warrior-That-Was head that way. Most of the time, when the Warrior-That-Was wanted to leave, it simply walked up to the cliff on the far side of the path from him and leaped off.

The Light had granted the Warrior-That-Was a body to rival even the eldest and most powerful of the Meracydians. His every motion exuded explosive strength, muscles rippling under a hide covered in tough, lustrous scales the color of alabaster.

Alantin had often japed about being half-dragon. Now, as the Warrior-That-Was, he had the body of a full dragon. And more, besides.

The transformation had done little to diminish the magnificence of the Warrior-That-Was. It looked every bit as glorious and awe-inspiring as Alantin had been, in life.

It was an unimaginable horror—a perversion of someone that had once been so good—but it was beautiful, too. So, so beautiful.

The Warrior-That-Was ambled up the path with the easy confidence of a creature that knew it ruled the world. Where it walked, the wicked porcelain claws that tipped its front paws carved deep gouges in the packed dirt and rang with an almost delicate tone when struck with small stones and bits of gravel in the dirt.

Its head crested the dip in the path and the searing gaze of its white eyes swiveled toward G’raha. The corners of its lips curled and it bared its teeth into a grin that might have been pleasant, were it not so menacing.

G’raha’s heart skipped a beat at the sight. The Light had rendered the Warrior-That-Was all but unrecognizable and yet, somewhere in there, was still something painfully familiar.

The Sovereign’s glossy scales, white like alabaster, glimmered in the sunlight as its expression resumed its usual semblance of noble serenity. It seemed aloof. Uninterested. But its gaze remained as discerning as Alantin’s ever was.

Above the Sovereign’s head floated a mangled crown made of gold. It rotated slowly, bobbing up and down in the midst of a small glittering cloud of gold fragments. A painful reminder that Alantin was dead and gone, however much G’raha’s heart ached for him not to be.

The crown itself was unadorned, possessing neither jewels nor engravings to mark its smooth surface. Absent the crushed metal spikes that would have otherwise been pointing straight up, it would have been little more than an unremarkable golden circlet though the main band was twisted and broken in half.

Two large horns framed the handsome, draconic face of the Warrior-That-Was. They curved down past his jaw before curling upward and tapering to points just above his snout on either side.

Each horn had an inch-thick band of solid gold cinched around the base, with a polished cap at the tip to match. Strands of thin gold chain of varying lengths were draped between the bands and the caps, forming the impression of a net of sorts.

Numerous charms in the shapes of stars and miniature suns dangled from the chains. They tinkled softly with the Sovereign’s every move, swaying every which way with its footfalls.

As the Warrior-That-Was climbed into full view, the glittering halo behind its head caught the daylight and shone. It slowly rotated through the air, glinting and glimmering as the Light shifted over the delicate gold filigree.

The halo was made of a central golden hoop about an inch thick and wide enough across that the Sovereign’s majestic horns fit comfortably within it when viewed from straight on.

Rays of sunlight cast in gold filigree radiated outward from the hoop. There were fourteen, in all. Most were broken—some, to the extent that only a few inches near the hoop remained. Only two were in perfect condition, and a third was almost pristine but for a small piece that had broken off the tip.

The halo swayed a bit as the Warrior-That-Was stretched its wings. Three pairs in resplendent white with feathers tipped in gold seemed to briefly blot out the Light.

They rose into the air, straining toward the heavens, one side after the other before they folded against the Sovereign’s back.

G’raha tensed as the Warrior-That-Was approached. Its sheer physicality exuded earth-shaking power. Every step, every footfall, was accompanied by the rippling of powerful muscles clad in glossy, lustrous alabaster scales.

Behind the Warrior-That-Was, a thick tail, just as muscular as the rest of it, scraped across the ground. It was tipped with a wicked gold barb resembling a feathered mace and was heavy enough to leave distinct grooves in the earth.

Despite the Sovereign’s undeniable beauty, it was clear in the way it held itself and the way it moved that it was a creature purpose-built for death and destruction.

G’raha was only so fortunate to have never had the dubious privilege of seeing the Warrior-That-Was in action. Never could he have imagined Calamity given flesh would look so beautiful and yet, here it was before him.

The ground shook as the Warrior-That-Was ambled up to G’raha’s nest. He chuckled as a scaly snout bumped against his side and snuffled his flank.

For as terrifying a beast as the Warrior-That-Was could be, it also had a surprising capacity for gentleness and playfulness.

Something was different today, though. The Sovereign recoiled from G’raha. Its brows furrowed before it leaned in for a second, more tentative sniff.

Scales scraped against crystal as the Warrior-That-Was nuzzled the side of G’raha’s neck. It pulled back again and made a distressed noise.

G’raha shook his head and sighed. He reached up and brushed his fingers over the Sovereign’s scaly cheek. “Oh, Alantin…” he murmured.

He didn’t even know if the Warrior-That-Was understood him. But talking to the Warrior-That-Was as if it were still his friend was an odd comfort. “So you’ve noticed at long last, it seems…”

The Warrior-That-Was whined at G’raha. He closed his eyes as a puff of hot air washed over his face. He supposed it had only been a matter of time before the Warrior-That-Was would notice the Light growing inside of him.

For a moment, the Sovereign stared at G’raha, as if it were hoping something would change. When nothing did, it gave an irritated snort and backed a few yalms away to pace.

The gilded spike at the tip of the Sovereign’s tail wore a shallow circular rut into the ground around him as he did. It was, quite frankly, maybe a little adorable.

After a few minutes of it, though, the Warrior-That-Was fixed its searing white eyes on G’raha and huffed as if to say “Stay there.” It then took a running jump off the side of the mountain and flew off to gods knew where.

Some time later, the Sovereign returned. It didn’t take the time to land at its usual spot some ways down the mountain and instead elected to alight right in front of G’raha. The ground shook from the impact.

Strips of what appeared to be jerky were held in the Sovereign’s toothy maw. It ambled forward and lowered its head to the ground next to G’raha’s nest. Gingerly, it spat the meat out onto the marble tiles.

G’raha’s stomach rumbled unhappily as he cast a sidelong glance at the meat. Though the peculiarities of his crystal-warped physique meant he didn’t strictly need to eat as he once did, it didn’t exempt him from eating at all.

It had been some time since last the Warrior-That-Was brought him food, so hunger had been gnawing at his insides for a while.

Still, G’raha hesitated. It didn’t take the sharpest mind to guess at what the jerky was made from. Little else survived in this world of Light eternal, and what little did would succumb to it sooner or later.

The question was how the jerky had come to be. He doubted there was anyone out there making it for the Warrior-That-Was.

The inescapable conclusion was that the Sovereign had made the jerky itself. And considering it never partook of the meat, it meant that the Warrior-That-Was did it solely for G’raha’s sake.

It was touching, in a strange way. Though the details were likely grisly, he couldn’t help but imagine the Warrior-That-Was delicately stripping pieces of meat from Sin Eater carcasses, laying them out to dry, and looking quite proud of itself.

The Warrior-That-Was crooned gently at G’raha, having probably mistaken the small smile on his lips as a good sign. Despite himself, he reached over and grabbed one of the pieces of jerky to humor it.

It was just a bit unsettling to have a pair of searing eyes watching him closely as he brought the piece of dried meat to his mouth. He tried not to make eye contact and bit the end of the piece of jerky off.

The meat was unseasoned—unsurprisingly—quite tough, and entirely too gamey. It wasn’t as unpleasant as G’raha thought it would be considering what it likely had been.

He chewed slowly and deliberately. The meat had no juice to speak of, whatsoever. Swallowing was an ordeal in and of itself but he could scarcely spit the jerky out while the Warrior-That-Was watched him.

It took no small amount of effort but G’raha managed to finish the one piece of jerky. Regretfully, even that turned out to be too much exertion, and he ended up dozing off soon thereafter.

He stirred to the sound of snuffling and a scaly snout poking at his side. What finally woke him, however, was the disgruntled noise the Warrior-That-Was made.

G’raha blinked blearily and looked up into the Sovereign’s piercing eyes. “Apologies, friend,” he murmured. “I don’t think this is something food can help with.”

Indeed, if anything, the jerky was making things worse. Now that he was aware of himself again, he could feel the Light boiling more aggressively than before—fed, no doubt, by the Sin Eater flesh he’d consumed.

The Sovereign was unhappy. The low, menacing growl that rippled out of him made G’raha tremble somewhat. Up above, the searing sky turned incandescent with fury.

Just as quickly as the fit of rage had come, it subsided. The Warrior-That-Was tilted its head back and whined despondently at the heavens.

The Light from overhead returned to its normal intensity as the Warrior-That-Was went to pace. It walked around in circles for quite some time before it flung itself off the cliffs without so much as a warning.

When it returned some time later, its snout glistened with moisture. Water dribbled out the sides of its maw and down its thick, muscular neck as it approached.

Water.

G’raha thought all the water would have been gone, now that the aether of the First was all but frozen in place. He couldn’t deny its presence, however, and his parched throat compelled him out of his nest.

He crawled forward and knelt in front of the Warrior-That-Was. He cupped his hands in front of him and the Warrior-That-Was leaned forward to allow water to drip from its mouth into his palms.

G’raha tilted his head back and drank. The water was lukewarm but mercifully cool compared to the heat of the endless Light bearing down upon the world.

More water spilled from the Sovereign’s maw. There was enough for G’raha to drink his fill and the Warrior-That-Was was careful enough not to go too fast for him.

“Thank you,” G’raha croaked, when his thirst was finally slaked. He felt oddly renewed. His throat didn’t feel desert-dry and his mouth no longer tasted of mud.

As much as the water had helped him not feel so terrible, G’raha could sense the Light inside him had not abated at all. If anything, it was agitated.

His relief was short-lived as the Light ate away at his insides. He fought for some time but knew it was a losing battle.

He pitched forward, prompting the Warrior-That-Was to back off in alarm. He hacked and coughed, his whole body trembling from the pain of it.

He struggled to contain the Light as it rampaged inside him. It threatened to break free, to put an end to the moment’s respite he’d been afforded.

Glowing white sputum splattered across the marble. It lingered for but a few moments before dissolving into the air.

A splitting pain struck G’raha between the eyes. When the fit of coughing finally subsided, he struck the ground with his fist, tilted his head to the endless Light, and screamed. All the pent-up rage, frustration, guilt, and self-pity that had been building in him day after day exploded from him in a full-throated bellow that rang off the unyielding rock of Mt. Gulg.

When he’d screamed himself hoarse, G’raha stayed on his hands and knees, trembling. Tears pricked at the corners of his eyes. And here he’d thought he’d wept himself dry, days ago.

He glanced at the Warrior-That-Was. Damned beast. Bringing him water. Giving him more tears to shed…

What was it Emet-Selch had said to Alantin before his transformation?

Oh. Yes. The words spilled from G’raha’s lips unbidden. “Weary wanderer… No fight left to fight… No life left to live…”

The low snarl that issued from the Warrior-That-Was made G’raha swallow audibly. He’d not imagined that the words would elicit such a vicious reaction.

The Sovereign’s anger passed ere long. It approached him, posture hunched in a clear show of concern, but he didn’t want it coming any nearer.

G’raha held a hand up. Mercifully, the Warrior-That-Was stopped in its tracks. “Please, creature,” he croaked. “No. No… Alantin. If some shard of you yet survives within the beast… Let me go.

He sounded so pathetic and pitiful. Fear tightened around his heart as he begged. “I do not wish to become… not-me.

He closed his eyes. He had some aether yet. Enough to finish the job, at least.

Were he to find his end today, one way or another, he preferred it come on his own terms. Mustering what little strength remained at his disposal, he conjured a barrier around him.

It was a pathetic thing—a whisper-thin wall that would likely shatter should the Warrior-That-Was breathe in its general direction—but it was the best he could manage if he were to retain enough aether to take his life into his own hands.

G’raha looked into the Sovereign’s searing white eyes, searching for any sign of Alantin. He saw nothing. He sighed. “Thank you for everything, he murmured.”And… I’m sorry."

The Sovereign’s eyes narrowed. It batted a paw at the flimsy barrier G’raha had conjured. The probing attack was surprisingly gentle, causing little more than a subtle ripple in the currents of aether.

The low growl that rumbled out of the Sovereign’s chest made gravel dance around its feet. It was unhappy. Very unhappy.

To see the rage in its eyes gave G’raha pause. That singular moment of hesitation was all it took for the Warrior-That-Was to take advantage.

Before G’raha could react, the Warrior-That-Was launched itself forward with surprising speed. It crashed through the barrier as if it weren’t there at all.

The brief aetheric backlash stunned G’raha long enough for the Warrior-That-Was to sweep him into its arms. For such a large creature, it was appallingly fast.

The impact of the Sovereign’s pawn on his chest crushed the wind out of his lungs and before he could recover, he’d already been whisked high into the air.

G’raha had no idea where they were headed. The Light that stretched endlessly to the horizon was disorientating. He couldn’t tell what was up or down. He felt like he was spinning, tumbling endlessly through the air with each powerful wing beat.

The sensation didn’t pass until he caught sight of the ground again. What he saw gave him a start. The Warrior-That-Was was flying him to the peak of Mt. Gulg.

The Sovereign landed with a thunderous crash in the middle of the courtyard at the summit. It gently lowered him to the ground.

Once he’d regained his bearings, G’raha looked around. Things had changed since last he was here. The stone was scuffed and marked, no doubt from the Warrior-That-Was moving around, but of particular note were the odd structures that seemed to have sprung up around the place.

They were makeshift. Ramshackle. Barely held together but somehow stable. There were three small shelters, none better built than four posts with a sheet of wood perched on top as a roof.

His eyes widened when he realized what the structures had been built to shelter. Buckets. Pails. Barrels. Water. A substantial amount hidden away from the endless Light.

For him.

G’raha cast his eyes elsewhere. In a corner of the courtyard bathed by intense Light was a set of fallen pillars. Each one had strips of meat draped over it. Improvised drying racks.

Toward the back of the courtyard was another structure. It was better built than the others. It had a proper roof, for one, and had the beginnings of what could have been a second nest ensconced within it.

He turned to the Warrior-That-Was in shock. “Alantin, what… What is this?”

He knew the answer. He wasn’t going to get an answer from the Warrior-That-Was but he had to ask.

It was for him.

And he didn’t deserve it.

Before G’raha could say anything else, pain so agonizing it made his mind go blank lanced through his body. His muscles locked up and he fell to his knees, coughing up more glowing Light.

The roar the Sovereign unleashed made the very platform under G’raha’s hands and knees tremble. Its fury was palpable, thick and smothering in the air.

G’raha wished he could comfort the Warrior-That-Was but his body refused to move. It was too late for him now. His aether was spent. The moment to take his own fate into his hands had passed.

Whether he wanted to or not, he was going to succumb to the Light today. He could already feel its cloying tendrils spreading through his body.

The Warrior-That-Was stomped over, its every footfall shaking the very earth. It slipped its snout under G’raha and flipped him over onto his back.

G’raha landed with a grunt a few feet away. The pain was such that he barely even noticed the rough treatment.

The Warrior-That-Was approached again. It lowered its head toward him and he reached up to stroke the side of its neck as it rubbed its cheek against his.

He didn’t have enough strength to do even that. His arm fell bonelessly to his side before long.

The Warrior-That-Was huffed. It seemed angry, still, but there was resignation in the set of its shoulders as it nuzzled into the crook of his neck.

G’raha flinched as he felt a rough, wet tongue slide up the side of his neck. The forked tip flicked at the jagged border between crystal and flesh before continuing up to trace the angle of his jaw.

Something other than Light stirred in G’raha’s gut.

It wasn’t revulsion.

A faint flush spread from G’raha’s cheeks down his neck and over his clavicles as the forked tongue swept back and forth over his skin. Little by little, the Sovereign licked his face clean of sweat and grime.

Though the Warrior-That-Was paid no particular attention to being gentle with his tongue, G’raha nevertheless found the whole thing surprisingly tender. It was an odd thing to be receiving a tongue bath from the greatest Sin Eater to have ever lived, but then again, today had been an exercise in the surreal.

G’raha still hadn’t quite processed that the Warrior-That-Was had built a shelter for him. With supplies, at that!

The whole thing felt oddly wholesome until the Warrior-That-Was took to “cleaning” his hair. It wasn’t the hair, necessarily, that caused trouble.

Rather, it was what else the Sovereign did while it was up there. It had done things to his ears only a prehensile, forked tongue could. Unspeakable things that left him straining helplessly in the tatters of his pants.

G’raha didn’t know whether to feel terrified or elated. It probably didn’t matter, in the end.

He could guess where this intimate attention was going but he didn’t have the strength to fight it. Nor did he particularly want to.

It was an odd thing, to crave intimacy from a creature that was supposed to be mindlessly violent and hungry for aether. He couldn’t help it, though. He’d been so starved of affection for so long.

G’raha froze as he felt the tip of the Sovereign’s claw graze his skin. It hooked under the collar of his tunic, which had seen better days, and sliced through the fabric to the bottom hem with relative ease.

He looked up and saw the Warrior-That-Was staring at him with an inscrutable expression. It peeled the tattered cloth from his torso with a care and precision he wouldn’t have thought it capable of.

When it was done, the Sovereign had bared every inch of G’raha’s upper body it could. Then, the tongue bath continued.

G’raha shivered as the coarse texture of the creature’s tongue slid up the middle of his body. It carefully caressed his smooth stomach and swept over his chest.

The Warrior-That-Was licked each clavicle in turn. It bathed every inch of his skin with the heat of its tongue, even wrapping it around his individual fingers.

Be it flesh or crystal, the Sovereign fastidiously tongued all of G’raha clean. Its prehensile tongue slipped into places nothing else might have ever reached, into the little grooves and crevices of G’raha’s smooth musculature.

Just when he thought the Warrior-That-Was had finished—as it had pulled away with what seemed to be a self-satisfied huff—it went back in and playfully flicked the twin tips of its forked tongue at his nipple.

G’raha’s back arched off the ground. A soft moan escaped his lips. The intimacy of the tongue bath had primed him with arousal and the creature’s mischief had done nothing to diminish the inexplicable lust he felt.

Light be damned. What he would give to know what was going on in the head of the Sovereign. More to the point, he mostly wanted to know how far the creature was willing to take this.

“All the way,” it seemed, was the answer. His breeches—or what remained of them, anyway—were cut away ere long.

His erection sprang free, eliciting a low groan. It pointed mostly straight upward, but his cock had enough of a curve to it that when the glob of pre-cum beading at the tip finally fell, it dripped onto his stomach instead of rolling down his length.

With G’raha’s bottoms out of the way, the Sovereign resumed its tongue-bath. It started from the bottom, this time, and G’raha somehow found the strength to cover his mouth as the Sovereign’s tongue swept over the sole of his foot.

The Warrior-That-Was worked its way up, inch by inch, lovingly cleaning G’raha’s dust-covered skin with its tongue.

The closer it got to his groin, the harder G’raha’s arousal strained. He thought it might go all the way but it stopped just short and moved on to the other leg.

The process repeated. The Sovereign’s tongue slipped into the cracks at the sole of G’raha’s foot. The forked tip slid between his toes and carefully caressed them.

Only when it was satisfied G’raha’s legs were clean did the Warrior-That-Was move on.

G’raha hissed when the creature’s tongue swept into his groin. On instinct, he eased his legs apart, his tail swishing from side to side under him.

His cock ached. A single droplet of pre-cum beaded at the tip, glistening in the eternal Light that bathed the peak of Mt. Gulg.

He gasped, breath hitching in his throat as he felt the Sovereign’s tongue pass just under his balls. His whole body tensed as the warmth then crept further down between his legs.

A moan spilled out of him before he could control it. The forked tendrils at the tip of the Sovereign’s tongue massaged his taint, sending little shocks of pleasure up his spine and straight to the tip of his straining erection.

G’raha’s toes curled as the Warrior-That-Was eased its long, prehensile tongue even deeper. He could feel the creature’s hot breath in the cleft of his ass, wafting over his entrance.

The Warrior-That-Was lapped at him, roughly and enthusiastically. The coarse texture of its tongue rubbing back and forth across his hole over and over again made it twitch.

The twin tendrils at the forked tip teased his hole gently, easing him open little by little until they could slip inside him. G’raha writhed, his hole clenching and unclenching around the Sovereign’s tongue as it pushed inside him.

“Nnnh… Alantin, please…” G’raha whined. His back arched and his cock throbbed. The sensation of the Sovereign’s tongue squirming around inside of him almost too much.

As woefully ignored as the arousal between his legs had been, the Sovereign’s tongue alone was enough to bring him to the edge. And then, it found that spot inside of him and a low keening cry spilled from his throat.

G’raha’s elbows dug into the stone floor of the courtyard as his back arched off the ground. His cock twitched and throbbed. Pleasure, intense and overwhelming, washed over him.

The forked tendrils at the tip of the Sovereign’s tongue continued to massage the sensitive button inside G’raha until his mind went blank from the sheer torturous bliss of it all. For a moment that felt like an eternity, he forgot about all the aches and pains of his body, awash instead in pure pleasure that took him to the edge but never quite brought him over.

He mewled, not quite sure if he was desperate for release or for more. His wordless pleas fell on deaf ears and ere long the Warrior-That-Was pulled its tongue out of his hole, eliciting a disappointed whine that spilled from him before he could restrain it.

The Warrior-That-Was nudged G’raha’s legs further apart with its nose. Before he knew it, a scaly snout was nuzzling his balls.

Hells, he thought to himself, as his sack draped over the end of the Sovereign’s muzzle, its breath was hot.

He leaned up and watched his balls bounce as the Warrior-That-Was sniffed him and winced when it opened its maw—razor-sharp teeth and all—to take both into its mouth.

Between the heat of the Sovereign’s mouth and the sensation of its tongue lovingly caressing each ball in turn, G’raha felt as if he’d stuck his sack through a wall and into a sauna. It was warm and damp and, surprisingly, nice.

The Warrior-That-Was toyed with G’raha’s balls for a few minutes. It slathered them with spit and tugged on them playfully with its tongue. G’raha whined whenever that happened as the Sovereign wasn’t particularly gentle with them.

Before long, the Warrior-That-Was pulled away and G’raha sighed in a mixture of relief and disappointment. His balls were hot and dripping with spit when they fell out of the Sovereign’s mouth.

The reprieve was brief as the Warrior-That-Was leaned forward and licked a stripe up along the underside of G’raha’s cock. Its rough tongue swept up from the base of his hardness to the tip, the forked tendrils at the end wrapping loosely around his girth.

A low moan escaped G’raha as the Warrior-That-Was cleaned his cock as meticulously as it had the rest of his body. It wasn’t gentle, by any stretch of the imagination.

If anything, it was even more meticulous. Its coarse tongue rubbed up and down along the sides of his shaft until his length glistened with spit.

The forked tendrils worked under the crown of his glans and playfully cleaned the sensitive head. They even flicked at the tip, slurping up the copious amounts of pre-cum spilling out of him.

By the time the Warrior-That-Was pulled away, G’raha was trembling. The Sovereign had teased him for only a few short minutes but it had felt like an eternity of torment.

He made to reach for his cock—propriety be damned—but his fingers went still as the Warrior-That-Was growled in warning. Carefully, he lowered his hand back to his side.

The arousal made it hard to think but it hadn’t turned him dumb. He still had enough of his wits about him to know he shouldn’t challenge a creature that could squish him like a bug if it wanted.

Still, he was desperate. “Alantin…” he whined, cock pulsing between his legs. “Please…

The Warrior-That-Was huffed. It drew up to its full height and bared its teeth. Not in any menacing way, though.

Hells, G’raha thought to himself, as he realized. Is that a grin? It must have been.

His eyes nearly bugged out of his head as the Sovereign’s enormous erection dropped into view. It must have been pinned between the ground and its belly while it was lying down and cleaning G’raha’s legs off.

It was a total shock. He’d not been aware Sin Eaters were even capable of arousal. He’d not known they could have genitalia.

Then again, the Sovereign was special. Perhaps this was something unique to its singular existence.

Whatever.

The details didn’t matter. The Sovereign was impressively and beautifully endowed. Moreover, it was undeniably aroused.

Suddenly, the prospect of turning into a Sin Eater didn’t seem half-bad. G’raha didn’t know what the Warrior-That-Was intended to do with the veritable siege weapon dangling between its legs but he was sure he wouldn’t survive it if it came anywhere near his ass.

He swallowed audibly as the Warrior-That-Was walked over him. Its prodigious cock swung pendulously from side to side with its gait, flinging thick, viscous strands of pre-cum left and right.

The heft of the Sovereign’s cock was such that the head dangled low enough to almost graze G’raha’s cheek even when the Sovereign was standing at its full height. It was so close—hovering but a handful of inches off his face—he could feel the heat radiating from it.

It was a cock unlike any G’raha had seen in his life—not that he’d seen many, for that matter. It seemed armored, covered in glossy, overlapping shapes molded to the shape of the cock.

Each plate had a small notch along the bottom, forming a small, triangular space between it and the next plate. Soft, fleshy spines poked through the holes from underneath, forming a central ridge along the underside of the Sovereign’s cock.

The smooth scales that covered the Sovereign’s endowment stopped short of the head. The glans was fleshy—the same alabaster as the rest of the Sovereign’s body—and tapered at the tip.

Had the Sovereign’s erection been pointing upward, the glob of pre-cum beading at the end of it would have rolled down the underside. Not so, this time.

This time, the bead of pre-cum grew and grew in front of G’raha’s eyes until it could no longer support itself against gravity. It dripped down, leaving a glistening strand in its wake.

G’raha couldn’t move out of the way. The glob of pre-cum landed on his face. It was hot—almost uncomfortably so—and didn’t cool off for a while.

The Warrior-That-Was extended its wings as if to shade G’raha from the merciless Light. As if the mere bulk of its body did not do so already.

The whole thing seemed more akin to a peacock fanning out its feathers to impress a mate, in G’raha’s estimation. A shame, then, that he could see little more than the shadows the Sovereign’s wings cast on the ground.

Once it had stretched its wings, the Warrior-That-Was shook its body from side to side. The motion flung ropes of pre-cum right into G’raha’s face.

G’raha was stunned, for a moment, once the Warrior-That-Was stopped. His face was utterly drenched in slowly cooling pre-cum.

He couldn’t help but laugh at the ridiculousness of it. And he laughed until the weight of the Sovereign’s cock landed right on top of him.

The sheer heft of the damn thing knocked the wind out of his lungs and when he took a deep breath to replenish it, a thick and intoxicating musk flooded into his nose and lungs. He couldn’t help but groan, his own arousal pulsing between his legs as the scent went straight to his brain, settling as a pleasant haze around his thoughts.

Something was obviously wrong about this picture. The biology just wasn’t compatible. But G’raha was so aroused he didn’t care. Or rather, he couldn’t care. His arousal strained almost painfully against the underside of the massive cock bearing down on him from above.

Hells, G’raha muttered under his breath. He really was going to do this.

The Warrior-That-Was shuffled back somewhat. Its cock slid over G’raha’s naked body as it did so. The soft spines on the underside felt amazing as they brushed over his skin, leaving trails of heat in their wake.

Once the Warrior-That-Was had adjusted its positioning, the fat, tapered head of its cock was right next to G’raha’s face. So close to the source of the hot, salty-sweet nectar, the musk was even thicker—even more intoxicating.

G’raha could tell he was going to regret this, but if he was going to turn into a Sin Eater anyway, he figured he might as well enjoy his last few moments.

With a low groan, he wrapped his arms around the substantial girth of the Sovereign’s cock. He used the leverage to slide himself under the head, leaning up to rub his cheek against the leaking slit at the tip.

The pre-cum was hot, viscous, and slippery. It clung to his skin like nothing else and smelled of pure, distilled masculinity.

His ears and tail twitched as he covered his face in pre-cum. He pressed his lips against the slit and thrust his tongue inside.

He wasn’t prepared for the salty-sweet flavor that coated his tongue. His back arched off the ground, pressing his cock against the meat of the creature’s erection.

The pre-cum tasted like pure sex in his mouth. Why it tasted so good, he couldn’t fathom. Nor could he rouse his natural curiosity to figure it out.

All he could think of was getting more. Fortunately, there seemed to be an endless supply and he eagerly gulped every mouthful down.

The Warrior-That-Was cooed encouragingly. It thrust its hips, gently bucking the huge cock into G’raha’s face.

The motion forced more pre-cum down G’raha’s throat. Some of it even went up his nose but he didn’t care. It just made the scent of the Sovereign’s musk stronger.

Face and body flushed with arousal, G’raha tightened his arms around the Sovereign’s monstrous cock. It was so big even moving his arms up and down he could only stroke the head.

He wrapped his legs around the shaft as well for good measure. In doing so, he pressed his body flush against the hot, hard flesh of the Sovereign’s cock and it was a sensation beyond compare.

G’raha moaned into the slit at the tip of the Sovereign’s cock. With every mouthful of pre-cum that slid down the back of his throat, his arousal burned only hotter.

He bucked his hips, humping his cock against the glossy scales along the underside of the Sovereign’s cock. The smooth, hard surface felt amazing against his erection, especially as his pre-cum coated it in slick.

The Warrior-That-Was thrust its hips, too. As G’raha humped into its cock, it humped its cock into him. The sheer weight of it pressed him against the ground, and the force of its pumping made him slide back and forth across the stone.

G’raha moaned. He was so aroused. His cock was so hard. Even had he wanted to, he could not have stopped his hips from rubbing his cock against the underside of the Sovereign’s hardness.

He gave in to the lust pumping in his veins. All the thoughts and worries and regrets of the past fled from his mind as arousal reigned supreme.

He felt as if he allowed himself to regress into some sort of primitive beast. He was even growling as he used his body to masturbate the Sovereign’s cock.

The only concern in his head was the pursuit of carnal pleasure. He could think of nothing else and he was grateful for it.

For the first time in a while, he was free of guilt. The selfish part of him was glad he wouldn’t be plagued with regret in his final moments.

G’raha moaned. The Sovereign’s cock throbbed. He felt a bulge travel up its length, pressing out against his limbs before it reached the tip and gushed out in a thick glob of pre-cum that soaked his face and head.

The Sovereign’s thrusting became more insistent after that. G’raha’s, too. There was a subtle shift in the energy of the situation that both of them seemed to somehow sense.

G’raha groaned. He felt like he was going to explode. His tail swished from side to side, his hole flexing as his cock pulsed against the heat of the Warrior-That-Was.

The Warrior-That-Was growled and pawed at the ground. Its cock throbbed and swelled.

G’raha could feel it. The creature’s orgasm was imminent. His, too. Part of him was afraid. Another part was elated.

A particularly forceful twitch lifted G’raha clean off the ground as the Sovereign’s cock flexed. He clung on for dear life and groaned as he slammed back down onto the stone.

The Warrior-That-Was roared. Its body tensed. Its claws dug into the stone as its cock pulsed in G’raha’s grip, growing hotter and harder with every moment that passed.

G’raha moaned and tilted his head back. As the creature’s orgasm rushed up its throbbing shaft, his own slammed into him.

His back arched off the ground, his tail going stiff as his toes curled. He squeezed his arms and legs around the Sovereign’s cock. He pressed his hips as hard as he could against the thick meat, grinding his cock into the smooth scales.

A loud cry tore itself from his throat as he came. Thick ropes of hot cum spurted out of him. His balls churned and all the pent-up arousal and frustration forcefully shot from the tip of his cock.

G’raha’s orgasm was so forceful, one of the shots landed on the ground well past his shoulder. The others splattered against the Sovereign’s cock, instead.

Shortly after G’raha’s orgasm peaked, the Sovereign’s began. Thick Sin Eater cum spat out the end of the tapered cock.

Because he’d tilted his head back, G’raha’s didn’t take the first shot directly to the face. It still landed on him, though, and if the Sovereign’s pre-cum had been hot, its cum was searing.

The heat tore a scream out of G’raha’s throat. His arms and legs fell away from the Sovereign’s cock as he writhed in agony.

His legs kicked out as he clawed at his face. His hands burned as he tried to scoop the molten cum off his skin.

By letting go of the Sovereign’s cock, though, he gave the Sin Eater a chance to reposition. The second shot of cum slammed into his stomach with such force he couldn’t help but grunt.

The dull pain of the impact didn’t last long. It was rather quickly replaced by the sensation of G’raha’s bare skin boiling in the emission.

G’raha didn’t have the time to react. The Sovereign’s orgasm hit in earnest. Shot after shot of boiling cum splattered over his naked body with no reprieve.

He tried to scream but a shot hit him in the face. The force pushed cum into his nose and down his throat. Some even seeped into his stomach and lungs. He burned from the inside, and not even screams were allowed him.

For what felt like an eternity, G’raha writhed in a pool of cum hotter than he imagined even the Hells could be. Pain was his everything, and everything was his pain.

The searing heat of the Sovereign’s emission seeped into the very core of G’raha’s being. It burned him away little by little.

All his hopes and dreams, his worries and regrets, were burned away. The only thing that was spared was the core of him—the part that made him, him.

He felt as if he was being cleansed, purged of all his mortal attachments. It hurt. It hurt so bad. But part of him was also glad for it.

The agony built and built. With every labored breath he sucked through his clenched teeth, he felt more and more of his sorrows burn away. Little by little, he forgot the things he’d known, the life he’d lived, the friends he’d made. He lost it all to the cleansing pain.

All that was left, buried in the ashes, were the things that formed the core of him. He was G’raha, kind, inquisitive, thirsty for adventure, and loyal to a fault. But he felt light. Unburdened. Cleansed.

The agony faded to nothingness, and with it, the frantic whirl of G’raha’s incoherent thoughts. He was left adrift. Peaceful. He felt like he was floating on a bed of clouds.

He felt empty. Hollowed out. There was a void inside of him where all the substance had been, once, but no longer.

Into that space, all the Light he’d been holding back so far began to spread. It stretched its tendrils across his body, filling the gaping chasm that the cleansing fire had left behind.

After what felt like an eternity, G’raha opened his eyes. He was still lying in a pool of cum but it was only lukewarm now, instead of searing.

The Sovereign was nearby, curled up on the ground and watching closely. Its expression visibly brightened when it saw G’raha had woken, but it made no move to approach.

As he was looking that way, G’raha noticed that something was different about him. He held a hand out in front of his face and saw his skin was the same alabaster shade of a Sin Eater’s.

The terror and alarm he thought he should have felt at the discovery never came. Instead, he felt indifferent about it. Moreover, he felt strong, for the first time in a while.

He managed to sit up without anything creaking or aching. His body felt light. His arms and legs felt limber.

He looked down at his body. The rest of him was the same alabaster color as his arm. He was leaner and fitter than he had ever been in his life. It was as if the Light had taken his body and remade it into its ideal form.

G’raha should have been disgusted with what he’d become but he was glad. He’d thought himself ready to die, but he knew now it was all a self-delusion.

He had never wanted to die. He was happy to be alive. There were things he wanted to do, adventures he wanted to have.

The Light hadn’t burned away those parts of him. If anything, it had reinforced them. It had burned away his sense of duty and martyrdom, instead giving him a reason to focus on himself, to be selfish for once.

He… liked it.

One thing G’raha didn’t understand, though, was why he was still G’raha. Sin Eaters were supposed to lose their minds to the Light, but he hadn’t.

It begged the question of whether he was a Sin Eater. He certainly looked the part. He just didn’t feel it.

The answer, if he had to guess, lay with the Warrior-That-Was. The creature had done something. Maybe it had guided the Light as it consumed G’raha.

It had seemed odd that a wild, devouring force like the Light would steer away from the core elements of his personality while burning away all of the parts that burdened him. It must have been directed.

G’raha chuckled to himself. He reached down to tug at the burgeoning erection between his legs. There was time enough to chase those answers later, he supposed.

There would be time enough for anything he wanted to do later. For now, he had a moment to indulge. The first one in a long while. He intended to take full advantage.

As he watched his fingers slide languidly up and down his pale cock, he noticed a small patch of scales growing in at the base of his wrist. He cast a glance at the Warrior-That-Was, which seemed rather amused with itself, and realized his transformation was far from over.

He’d wondered if he might one day be able to take the Sovereign’s cock with his new Sin Eater body. Now, it was all but certain.

Perhaps he’d grow to one day become as resplendent as the Warrior-That-Was. Unlikely, though. Everything paled in comparison to the glory of the Light’s Sovereign.

At best, G’raha imagined he would obtain a body worthy of the Sovereign’s consort. Maybe this whole Sin Eater business wasn’t as bad as he’d convinced himself it was.