Story:Holy Opposites Chapter 37
Chapter Thirty Seven:
I writhed in my vision. I felt a blast of heat over my body from the mouth of a creature I couldn’t see. The illusion was ever shifting, but by now, I suspected Asmodeus was done trying to convince me it was real. This was probably just sport to him. I forced back my revulsion at this casual violation and dug deep in my piety.
I stared up at the monster ravaging me and glared my indifference towards it. I glared my hate towards its unseen master, with the ironclad weight of my faith. “Ryaire has shown me how useless and prideful you are, you ugly son of a bitch,” I snarled through the illusion. “Release me! I’ll never be tricked by this puerile nonsense!”
Asmodeus’ voice appeared at the back of my mind, and despite my words, my skin crawled. “Tricked? What do you mean? I’m not trying to trick you at all.”
“You’re being given what you want! You can’t hide your thoughts from me, little devil. You are of me. You are from me. I own you.”
“I gave my soul and my allegiance to Ryaire!” I said scornfully. “She loves me, and I love her!”
“No, she uses you, and you latched on to her, because she needs you more than I did,” Asmodeus said dismissively. He still sounded so irritatingly calm. I felt the urge to retch as my illusory self arched her back in pleasure. A massive devil made of shadow and flame was driving rods into me, filling my every orifice. I felt the sensations of torture and fought it off. My nature makes me particularly sensitive to any stimulation, even the nonconsensual. Resisting Asmodeus was hard enough, even if he was only sparing me the most distant attention.
“I spent three years in her shadow, you worthless failure,” I bit off. The sensations the illusory me felt were as real as if they were happening to my waking body. I felt sensations through my wings and tail, even though I lacked them in my real body. “I love her. She’s my mother.”
“You have no mother. You are the product of a river of blood in a laboratory floor.” Asmodeus’ voice grew pensive. “I wonder what you would think if you got to see your sisters, unmasked. You’ve met two already. They pity you. They’ve visited you in disguise twice, and I imagine they’d do it again. They’re much better than you, you know.”
“You’re a lying sack of shit.”
“They’ve been harvesting all this time, if you’re curious. Eighty. Eighty souls for the furnaces. More than you’ve taken, of course. They’ve accomplished so much.”
I laughed. “You think you can make me feel weak because my evil sisters have hurt more people than me? You threw me out the fucking window!”
“And while you were lounging about like an indolent cat in the laps of nymphs in the Arbor of Innocence, they were doing as they were built to do. I wonder how you would have fared if you tried to stop them?”
“I’d have died, and then I’d have accomplished nothing,” I shot back, though his words stung. I had spent a lot of time just getting back rubs and napping.
“Ah, yes. Luxuriating in the palm of your new mistress’ hand. Of course. You know, for somebody who claims to be principled, little slut, you do seem to lack principles. If you didn’t go about claiming to be something you’re not, you wouldn’t be seeing this illusion right now!” His voice turned dark with cruel glee. “After all, I am showing you what you claim you hate.”
I couldn’t fight back against that point. It was his most potent weapon. He, better than any other devil, understood that mortals deny that which they crave. Still, I knew better than to let him in under my skin. I struggled against his control. In my mind, I called out for Ryaire to deliver me.
“And now crawling to your enslaver. You know full well she isn’t coming.”
“She’s blocked you before, ugly,” I reminded him. “She’ll come.”
“No. She knows you’re dying, and she’s leaving you to it. Why else would the dear target of your lust, this Aasimar, abandon you? I will tell you: direct orders.”
“See, now I know you’re full of shit,” I said scornfully. “He would never.”
“Then where is he?” Asmodeus’ voice in my head grew sharper. “He is nowhere near you. You’re dying alone on the floor of a psychic’s office.”
I pushed back against the illusion. It was still shifting to ever-more lurid images of my personal violation, but this newest one was so intense, my resolve flagged for a long moment. I was riding a man, and he was writhing in agony and pleasure as I slowly murdered him with my sex. My tail thrashed in delight and predatory hunger as I defiled him and extracted his soul a bit more with each sensuous rock of my hips.
Ryaire had done a masterful job extracting my intrinsic evil from my soul, but this appealed to me on a purely physical level. My flesh ached for this calculated act of torture. I felt the movement of my body as instinctively as if I were there. I felt each rock, the terrified thrashing of his arms and the eager movement of his hips. His body fought my touch and sought more at once.
I was the perfect predator I was designed to be in that moment and I had never felt more afraid.
Axio slowly walked up the stairs with the last of the unconscious children in his arms. Triera was sitting cross-legged next to the portal, clearly waiting for him before she would go. Axio set the child in the hands of a waiting Watch officer, who promptly walked through the portal.
The Paladin squeezed his shoulder. “I’m heading back to get Cavria now, okay? Grandfather will want to see you alive and well. You should go.”
“No, I’ll go help with Cavria.” Triera stood up and fell in behind her brother. “I want to help if I can.” She rubbed her arms, shivering a little. “It’s so cold down here.”
To Axio, it was room temperature, at least. She was clearly not quite over her shock. He set one huge hand on her back and gently guided her down the hallway. “If you’re uncomfortable, you should stay…” He trailed off as he suddenly realized something. “Triera, I just remembered… Cavria’s fairly badly hurt. You don’t want to see her like this.”
Triera looked up in concern. “What? What’s wrong?”
“She took a bad hit. Her armor got mangled,” Axio said, which was true. “Like I said, you don’t want to see her like this. She wouldn’t want to be seen like this, either.”
“Can I just poke my head in?” Triera pressured.
“Axio!” Luanea said, poking her head out of Vorthane’s office door. “The fever’s getting worse.”
Axio sighed under his breath. His work wasn’t done. “All right.” Then a thought worked its way through his exhaustion. “Wait. A fever, though?” he asked. “Our bond to Ryaire renders us immune to disease.”
Luanea shrugged helplessly. “Then I don’t know what ails her.”
Axio quickly walked past his sister and entered the office. He rushed to Cavria’s side and sank to his knees. He pulled one glove free and rested it on her head. “Ryaire’s love, she’s on fire!” he said. “This is no fever, not this fast.”
Behind him, Triera leaned around the corner of the window and clapped her hands over her mouth. Her brother and Luanea were still huddled around Cavria, but Triera had an unobstructed line of view. Cavria wasn’t a pimply, pale human, she was a fiend!
“W-what? Axio?” she asked, her voice shaking. “What are you doing?”
Axio clenched his jaw. His sister was in no shape to be yelled at for her lack of privacy. “Triera, I told you to stay in the hall,” he said coldly. “Now, come in and shut the door.”
Triera did so, now physically shaking. “She… she’s a demon?”
“A devil, now be silent.” Axio ran his hand over her bare face, frowning. “There’s definitely something wrong here. Does anybody have any protection from evil spells available?”
Luanea and Doshellas shook their heads. Axio grunted. “I think she’s having a vision,” Axio said urgently. “We need to get somebody here who can cast the spell.”
“What about her glyph?” Luanea asked.
“I can’t cast a spell bound to her own body!” Axio said. “Damn. Somebody go get Solen. We have to hope he has it prepared today.”
“Does… does grandpa know about this?” Triera asked.
“He does, and I want you to tell nobody, understand? Not even Mother and Father,” Axio said. “They will know eventually, but not yet. This is Cavria’s story to tell them.” He looked around for the remains of Cavria’s armor, and his eyes settled on the holy symbol of Ryaire on her punctured torso armor. He remembered Ryaire’s words in his dream. “This may help,” he said. He grabbed the badge from the armor and pressed it against his partner’s bare collarbone.
In my horrid vision, I felt a sudden disconnect between the sensations my illusory body was feeling and my own, conscious mind. Relief surged through me like a wave of cooling water. I didn’t know where it was coming from, but I clung to it with my entire mind’s might.
Axio laid his hand over his friend’s heart and prayed. He forced a day’s worth of exhaustion and horror out of his mind with an effort and began a prayer of protection over Cavria. ‘Lady Ryaire, Mother of the Sacrificed, I beg your aid for another.’ He grasped his own holy symbol in his other hand, and turned his eyes to the dark ceiling above, and the Astral Sea beyond. ‘Cavria is suffering,’ he spoke in his mind. ‘Please, guide her back to us, and relieve her of her burden. I suspect Asmodeus, who has no claim to her soul any longer, is tormenting her. I beg for you to rescue her from the grips of her torture, or show me how to do it myself.’
I forced my mind’s eye away from the scene of defilement playing out beneath me and tried with all my might to look up. I forced my illusory self, inch by inch, to disregard my ecstasy and stop. Nothing worked. My false self kept bouncing on my victim’s helpless, eager body, until I felt a sudden sense of clamping, somewhere deep inside me. My victim howled as I ripped his soul out of his body in one last orgasm; I felt myself climax, and I screamed my horror as my illusory self screamed its pleasure. I felt his soul rush into my body with his seed, and slide easily into the Hells through my womb. His body shriveled to a spindly mass of dry skin and bones. The cool sense of relief had not faded, and I held onto it with my mind’s full might. I could feel the orgiastic delight of my illusory self, and had I not had that blessed sliver of sanctuary in myself to which I could cling, I would have been lost to my own evil.
“Your resistance is utterly without meaning,” Asmodeus said darkly. “I own you. It means nothing.”
“I hate you!” I screamed. I felt shame and disgust wrack my mind as my illusory self gave the corpse between its legs a coquettish wink and wriggle of the hips.
“I couldn’t care less. You’re my slave. What regard does the master hold for his property, beyond its simple utility? I am your God, you are but the least of my pawns… ah, but for loyal service…” he said, and I felt my illusory head turn. I whimpered in horror as I saw dozens of men chained to the floor, each helpless and naked, straining to escape their bonds but eager to service me. It was everything my High Succubus senses could want, and everything Cavria the Paladin wanted to reject. “Such rewards for loyalty, little slave, oh yes,” Asmodeus said. “Such rewards…”
Axio finished his prayer, but Cavria’s thrashing and mewling grew worse. Triera looked down at her friend in deepening concern. Axio set his ear to Cavria’s lips and growled when he heard what she was whispering. “She’s begging for something to stop,” he said darkly. “Asmodeus is giving her a vision, I knew it.”
“What can we do?” Triera asked nervously.
Axio drew in a deep breath and sighed as he realized what needed to be done. “If protection from evil didn’t release her from the spell, only one thing will.” He drew his knife and closed his eyes. “Forgive me,” he whispered. Triera gasped in shock, and the two drow looked away.
The Aasimar felt tears in his eyes as he drove the dagger into Cavria’s shoulder. The Succubus cried out in pain and bucked against the floor. Her eyes flew open and she thrashed, clawing at Axio and Luanea with her bloodied hands.
“NO! NO! KEEP THEM AWAY!” she screamed, eyes flooded with tears. She doubled over and vomited on the floor. Luanea had to spring back to avoid it; the contents of her stomach were laced with blood. The stone shard in her gut shifted from her movement, and Cavria collapsed as the shock of her wounds caught up to her frenzied mind.
Axio grabbed her un-wounded shoulder and her chin, and forced her eyes to meet his. The hellfire in her pupils blazed in pure terror as he met them with his own heavenly blue. “Cavria, you will listen to me!” he roared. “LISTEN! Asmodeus is NOT torturing you. You are badly injured on the floor of a Baneite’s office, and you are with friends!”
My mind snapped to full consciousness at the sound of my friend’s thunderous words. I stared into his faceted gemstone eyes and felt his absolute confidence. It was like a balm on my soul. I sobbed as he held my chin in his grip, and I felt his other hand leave my shoulder and caress my cheek. “We’re here,” he said, quieter. “You’re with us.”
I screwed my eyes shut and wept. My stomach heaved in shame again as the images of Asmodeus’ temptations played through them, as vivid as they had been when I had first lived them. Axio slid a hand under my head and cradled me in his lap. “I know you’re hurt, my friend,” he said softly. “We’ll get you someplace safe. Someplace you can heal.”
The two of us sat there alone for a long time. The others had left to help with the evacuation, and to send Kyria to loot discreetly the cache of spell scrolls. We would have to sell them to finance the repairs to our equipment, and to help cover the costs of this expedition.
I didn’t worry about that, though. I lay there in Axio’s shadow, drinking the Heal potion Suivi had brought me. He had gone, now, to help Solen with Triera and the other children. Doshellas and Luanea would be off later, having their own wounds treated in the Eilistraeean temple. We two Ryairans were alone.
When I finished the potion, the stone shards fell out of my body. The scraps of metal and cloth from my armor also dropped out of the closing wound, and I was restored again. Axio released my hand, and I rose to crouch on my knees. “I… feel better,” I said distantly. “Thank you, Axio.”
He nodded and sat down in the chair before the dead cleric’s desk. “You’re welcome, my friend.”
I sighed and ground my hands into my eyes. “I was… Asmodeus was torturing me again.”
“I gathered. I’m sorry.”
“He told me Ryaire had abandoned me.”
Axio nodded. “She hasn’t.”
“She didn’t respond to my prayers,” I confessed.
“Nor mine,” he said, surprising me. “I wasn’t expecting her to. Not visibly. I suspect she helped me by letting me hear your words.”
He leaned forward in the chair and helped me stand. “Yes. When you were writhing on the ground, I heard you whisper words. ‘Help me, stop it, go away,’” he recited. “That was how I knew you were being tortured, instead of just delirious with pain from your injury. That, and Paladins of our rank are immune to most diseases.”
“So you knew to jolt me with the knife,” Cavria said. “I was… last time he did this while I was awake, taking my Oath of Devotion, she helped me right away.”
“Last time, you were in a place of holy and pure worship of her,” Axio reminded me. “You were standing in her light, reciting her Oath, swearing your mind, body, and soul to her eternally. She had vastly greater power over you there than in the office of a torture factory.”
I sighed. “Of course. You’re right. I… I should thank her in my prayers tonight.”
He smiled. “Your faith inspires me, my friend.” He stood too. “Now… let’s loot this place barren and be rid of it. The very air here stinks of evil.”
The two of us started turning the room over, plundering anything of value we could find. We claimed everything we found as our spoils, and it was a fair price for the sheer effort and pain of our campaign. I grabbed coins, weapons, scrolls, trophies, potions, and maps. Axio took the psy-reactive metal slats off the old cleric’s body, along with a psychically enhanced dagger from his belt. When we had loaded all our booty up in the cases of the pillows from the old cleric’s couch, we took off, leaving him to rot.
“How about you, Axio?” I asked. “You… those kids, that couldn’t have been easy.”
He turned his eyes to the floor. “It wasn’t.”
He had let the pressure of my torment and his sister’s needs distract him, but now, he was feeling it all rush back. I knew how he felt.
|The tale of the Holy Opposites ||
|Arc 1: | Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 |
Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10
|Arc 2: | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 |
Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18 | Chapter 19 | Chapter 20
Chapter 21 | Chapter 22 | Chapter 23 | Chapter 24 | Chapter 25
|Arc 3: | Chapter 26 | Chapter 27 | Chapter 28 | Chapter 29 | Chapter 30|
|Arc 4: | Chapter 31 | Chapter 32 | Chapter 33 | Chapter 34 | Chapter 35 |
Chapter 36 | Chapter 37 | Chapter 38 | Chapter 39 | Glossary