Under the Shadow of Night

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Chapter 37

Xanenax was beginning to regain consciousness as he heard footsteps approaching. The light click of boots and exaggerated movements of the blurry woman’s hips telegraphed her identity immediately.

“Iora,” Xanenax greeted, barely able to keep his eyelids open. “How’s Kira’thaz’s bedchamber? The floor warm enough for you?”

“Leave us,” Iora told the two verizin, gesturing with a Ferro Stone. “Go aid your brethren in the vestibule.” Immediately, the two monsters began to sprint with uncanny focus and soon disappeared from sight. “Lord Kira’thaz,” Iora continued, “has acquiesced to my desire to play with you.”

“Fuck off, lady. Already spoken for.”

Iora laughed “As amusing a prospect as you might be, that is not what I had in mind.” She traced the circumference of one meridium spike’s head, and a blue-black lightning coursed through it. Pain flashed throughout Xanenax’s consciousness and afterward, he could smell his flesh smoldering where it was impaled by the meridium. 

“Your mate and the boy have come, as expected,” Iora continued in her playfully sexy voice, “and Lord Kira’thaz wants you broken before they arrive.” 

“Bite me,” Xanenax replied.

“How about I cook you from the inside out instead, hmm?” Iora asked as she sent another pulse of lightning through the other spike.

Xanenax ground his teeth through the pain, chipping two of them.

Suddenly, fire erupted in the Capital, and a roar echoed throughout the city. A dragon with red scales flecked with gold flew into sight and began spewing fire below. An explosion shook the palace and jostled Xanenax in place, tearing open his fresh burns. The sensations of burnt and pierced flesh blended together to the point that Xanenax couldn’t recognize which was which anymore.

“Well,” Iora commented, pretending not to be shaken, “it seems your friends…”

“Have their own friends,” Xanenax finished, laughing despite the pain. “One of whom is a dragon.”

“Kira’thaz is going to kill all of you,” Iora spat and slapped Xanenax, her claws drawing blood. 

“Go ahead and do whatever you want,” Xanenax said as he coolly met her furious gaze.
“No matter what, you gambled on someone you don’t even believe in - and you lost.”

“My, my, tenacious to the end,” Iora teased, as she pulled Xanenax’s hair in lust and straddled herself on top of his hips. “Maybe you still have enough in you to prove entertaining.”



“Get the fuck off of him, you bitch!” Knel screamed across the throne room. She turned briefly to Eron. “Stay here.” Then, Knel darted across the floor, a guttural cry erupting from her lips as she raised her swords to skewer Iora as the succubus shifted off of Xanenax.

Iora smirked and waved her hands at Knel. Knel raised her swords defensively, but they simply dissolved.

“Wha-?” Knel started as Iora rushed her, unfurling a whip barbed with thorns, which she lashed around Knel’s arms and torso. Iora pulled Knel toward her. Knel resisted, attempting to break free of the whip, before letting the force propel her toward Iora, landing a kick on her temple. Iora hissed, and a purple energy flowed into the whip, causing the barbs to expand and pierce into Knel’s skin, infecting her with paralyzing toxins and debilitating magick. Sluggishly lunging toward Iora, Knel attempted to kick her again, but Iora dodged easily, knocked Knel’s feet from under her, and pulled on the whip to slam her into the ground. Then Iora grabbed Knel by the throat, her grip like a sea serpent, and slammed her into the ground again, stunning her. Lifting Knel easily, Iora ran with her and smashed her into the wall beside Xanenax, hard enough to make Knel choke up blood.

Iora’s hair splayed about her face, her eyes impossibly wide. “So, your slut wants to play? Well, I have never been one to say no to an appetizer,” she whispered. Iora’s elongated tongue slithered out, and she licked Knel’s neck and the side of her face, the chemicals in the succubus’ saliva sending an involuntary shiver up Knel’s spine. “Mmm… my brother would have enjoyed you.”

“I’m sorry, my love,” Knel gasped to Xanenax through Iora’s iron grip.

Xanenax looked at her with hopeless confusion. “Knel, I-”

Pouring all of her incensed emotion into the whip that bound her, Knel willed the whip to burst into conflagration, weakening it enough for her to break free. Then, Knel ripped the meridium spike closest to her out of Xanenax and thrust it beneath Iora’s chin, pushing the apex of the nail out through the top of Iora’s skull and causing her fangs to sever her tongue clean off. Xanenax gasped in pain just before Knel tore out the other meridium spike, and he fell to the floor. Then, Knel stabbed the second spike through Iora’s stomach, released a primal scream, and roundhouse kicked Iora to the side, knocking her over the balcony balustrade and into the burning streets below.

Immediately, Knel rushed to Xanenax’s side, evoking healing magick, and slowly, Xanenax’s wounds began sealing shut. 

“Are you alright?” she pleaded, fraught with concern.

“Guh-... I’m fine…” Xanenax replied. “Just remind me never to piss you off.”

David Rauenzahn

Edited: 29.07.2019

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