Feature Writer: capn_doggy /
Feature Title:  Reluctant Redemption /
Story Codes: Devil Girl, Angel Girl, Monster Girl, Reluctance, First Time, Corruption, Lesbian, Transformation, Demon, Violence /
Synopsis: Angel transforms devil in lesbian reverse corruption short /


Reluctant Redemption

The snow fell from the sky. Pale white flakes kissing my ruby cheeks and ivory horns before turning into water that trickled down my crimson skin. They were close, I could taste the tang of their presence on the air as I kicked open the rotting door of a once holy cathedral. I shuddered at the thought, more at ease with its current broken shell than any previous opulence.

“This is it Zeke. Here is where I make my stand,” I said to the empty church, my words meant for ears of the dead, insane with the impossible hope that an answer would spring from lips long since silenced.

Alone. I am utterly and inevitably alone. Way to go Laylo.

The beast that lived in my soul and kept my heart beating with familiar fire loved the overwhelming odds of the desperate situation. It lived to bare its fangs to the universe, shouting into the void that, “I AM ALIVE!”

A greater part of me, the part that’d lived as prey for so many miles, was tired, hungry, and cold. Having reached the end of my strength so many leagues ago.

“Funny it should be here. I’m pretty sure my tether blade tasted blood for the first time not one hundred yards from this spot, sinking into the chest of a young angel. He seemed fresh to the front lines, golden wings outstretched in agony as I gave him a glorious death. I wonder sometimes, Zeke, if they hate us for what we do to them? Our way is not their way. Both societies so different that we grossly misinterpret the others interactions. I’m pretty sure this disconnect is what led to the war. Little good it does us now, the vanquished in this mutually destructive conflict. Would we, the Davonic act the same, if we knew then what I know now? I guess it doesn’t really matter… But still I wonder…” I muttered as sleep consumed me in her black clutches, taking my unresistant mind into the darkness.

My forehead lolled into a hard metal breastplate, bringing me halfway out of my exhausted sleep. The woman who’d picked me up barked orders I couldn’t understand through the haze blanketing my mind but my eyes still worked, half lidded though they were.

And what a visual feast it was.

The shining light of her halo reflected off the stained glass windows, coloring her soft face with bright pastels shadows. Her features were determined, and she hoisted me more securely into her arms without visible effort. She was lovely to the point that I hated her on sight, wishing I still held my tether dagger, so I could drag her screaming into the greatest death I’d ever given. Her golden brunette hair was braided securely. Swinging between her wings as she carried me from this place of death and ruin.

I could do nothing but die this sad cold death of undernourishment.

I have to do something. My very nature allowing nothing less.

Mustering my remaining strength, I opened my mouth and tried to savage her arm with my fangs; only to clang off of her silvery armor, a failure as I was in so many things recently.

Oh well. At least I tried and will die with a witness. Who knows, maybe she’ll see fit to grant me death herself? Wouldn’t that be grand to be cared for by someone like her…

My head rolled away from the woman, my neck losing all strength as I fell back into a restful sleep, safe in the arms of the enemy who’d relentlessly exterminated my people.

Unknown time passed.

Surprisingly I wasn’t killed; waking to a painful existence of aches and uncomfortableness.

This both confused and angered me.

Am I so loathsome to them that they refuse to give me my death? I’ll show them how worthy I am.

Unfortunately my body was not yet up to the task, my attempt at rising producing nothing more than a rustle of the cream comforter I was tucked under, muscles twitching feebly. The room smelled of burning vanilla, presumably from the candles illuminating the room from various places. Gritting my teeth, I tried once more to get out of the bed, a groan slipping from my lips after my overworked muscles refused to leverage me from my comfy prison. My noise must have alerted my capture because shortly after the attempt to move, the door to the room opened and the armored woman who carried me away from my would-be grave stepped through. She was still a vision of loveliness, tall with graceful limbs enfolded in a cotton blouse. Her shining copper wings looking impossibly soft as they drifted behind her. She graced me with a smile the made me want to rip out her spine and feed it to her. A bowl with steaming broth sat atop a tray that she set on the nightstand, nudging aside a hologram of what looked to be her and her mother. In the motes of stationary light my angel was standing at attention, a serious look on her face dressed in a suit of armor that looked entirely too large for her. Her mother looked on with pride while clutching the younger angel close, her eyes ringed with scowling wrinkles.

She reached out to take my temperature and I tried to jerk my head away, but only managed a barely noticeable tensing of my neck. She frowned at whatever she felt and reached for the spoon, her wings pulled tight, flat on her back, fluttering with concealed concern. The broth smelled delicious but I refused to open my mouth for her.

If she would deny me my death, then I see no need to cooperate with whatever inane plan she has. I don’t even think I want to kill her anymore, that’s how mad I am.

The twitching in my hand proved that to be a lie, every part of my being aching to sink my claws into her lovely form and write her name into my eternity. Unfortunately, the angel had her own ways around my defiance. She gave me a wry smile.

“You are weak,” she said and I bristled. “And how will you be able to kill me if you don’t regain your strength. The first step is getting some food into you. How long has it been since you have eaten?”

How dare she! I am a decorated scout, not some mewling hatchling to be coddled.

Words still eluded me however, so I just growled my unhappiness at her. Or, I tried to. It came out more like a plaintive whine from a wounded animal and made my cheeks blush. I continued to defiantly hold my mouth closed.

“Are you sure you don’t want any broth?” she asked, wafting the delicious smelling liquid in front of my nose, making my stomach growl. “I guess there’s no help for it.” She took a small dagger from her belt, sized more for a child than a warrior of her stature.

Where’s she going with this?

Like all Davonic’s I was innately curious and she drew me in with her not-so-subtle performance.

Is she finally going to kill me? Please say it’s true.

My eyes were locked onto the knife as she brought the blade to rest against her palm.

No! What is she doing?! Why would she show such weakness by doing that? If she wanted pain, surely she has a subordinate she could command. Self-harm is the worst of all crimes. If she asked I would gladly…

Suddenly her game became very clear, as the knife parted her pale flesh, creamy yellow blood trickling out of the shallow wound to saturate the air with its familiar, alluring scent. My eyes held my naked defiance as she forced me to look away. Without me consciously willing it, my mouth fell open, acquiescing to her care, showing her my weakness with my unwillingness to indulge her own. There was no way I would ever be willing to let this beautiful creature harm herself if I could help it. I missed her gentle smile as she steadily spooned the warm broth into my body. The food burned strangely going down my throat, sitting uncomfortably in my gut.

Probably some foreign seasoning to which I am not yet accustomed.

Warmth and weariness snuck up on me and I could no longer keep my eyes open. There was a foreign pressure on my lips. Words drifted in my head, heard but not understood, following me into the dark.

“You will eventually be mine. I will not let you cross through the pearly gates with your brethren, or my name isn’t Jenna.”

When next I woke, my strength had returned enough so that I could at least turn my head, no longer a total invalid. I relaxed into the bed, still frustrated by my weakness. I tested my limbs and found that I could move again. Albeit with the same alacrity as a one winged mermalan drake.

And if I can move. I can fight.

A grim smile stretched my cheeks as I forced my aching limbs to get off the bed, positioning myself off to the side behind the door, leaning my weight against the wall. A thin strip of cloth provided unnecessary and unusual modesty, wrapped as it was around my small breasts. Force of will was the only thing keeping me propped up as I waited for my angel to return. She didn’t disappoint, freezing in the doorway as she stared at my empty bed, wondering about my disappearance.

Just a little further…

The moment her foot crossed the threshold I leaped on her with all the fury my limbs possessed; which was not much. Essentially my entire ambush consisted of falling on her with my claws outstretched. She reacted like any trained warrior would, by clocking me in the chin with her elbow, grabbing my arm and throwing me over her shoulder onto my back. The breath wheezed out of my lungs, accompanying the rush of blood to my head, furthering my infatuation with my angel. Endorphins and other happy-time chemicals danced through my synapses as she finally found me worthy enough to hurt. She covered her mouth in remorse, obviously surprised at the events and dashing my short-lived hope that she’d decided to kill me. After the shock faded she graced me with a wry smile, crossing her arms beneath her breasts, her shaking wings the only indication of any lingering unease.

“Let’s get you back into bed,” she whispered gently in my ear as she crouched down and lifted me into her arms.

No. It wasn’t supposed to go like that. Stupid body!

“You need to regain your strength before you’ll have a chance to succeed at ravaging me.”

“Why?” I ground out, my voice thin but audible.

“Why what? Why am I tending to you? Why should Jenna, an warrior of renown and beauty that the bards still sing tales of her exploits, care for a gutter demon?” she asked with an jokingly sarcastic tone. Releasing her false grandstanding, she set me down on the bed and I nodded, serious as sin.

Soft amber eyes locking onto my slit orange ones. “Because I care about you, and think it would be a shame for you to perish.” She read my answering glare and chuckled dryly. “I understand that’s not the way of your people but, if given time, I think I might be able to get you to see things my way. Drink,” she said offering me a glass of water.

My glare only intensified, which only made her laugh harder as she tucked me in. My thirst got the best of me and I took it from her with a shaky hand, downing it in a single string of gulps. It burned going down, much like the broth before it. Coughing, I was concerned that my prolonged exposure to subzero air had harmed my lungs. I returned to glaring at Jenna hostilely, ashamed she’d once more seen a display of my weakness.

“You don’t like it, get stronger and do something about it,” she said, my strength fading as sleep overtook me once more.

I was startled awake by a presence looming over me in bed. My angel’s face swung into focus as she leaned down, touching our noses together.

“I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t, and I know you don’t understand… But I can’t resist any longer,” she confessed, nuzzling me as she brought our lips together. The kiss was the first I’d ever experienced, sending foreign sensation rushing through mouth and spreading through my body. Something in my gut stirred as I struggled to compartmentalize and analyze the feelings.

This isn’t right. I don’t like how strange this is.

My lips continued to tingle as she worked her mouth against mine, the sensations growing more potent yet no more understandable. It reminded me a little of the rush I got when triumphing in a sparring match as a young hatchling but concentrated, more intense. She withdrew both too soon and far too late, my heart hammered in my chest as she graced me with a small smile. I tried to head-butt her on instinct, but only managed to press my head against her breasts.

“Kill you,” I said thickly. My lips felt hot and swollen. Something alien stirred in my deepest places and I found I couldn’t look directly at her. She glanced at something above my head, a gorgeous smile pulling her cheeks up as she lent down and planted a kiss onto each of my horns.

“I know you will honey. Just gotta get that strength up first. And speaking of which.” She dangled a piece of smoked jerky in front of my face and I immediately started salivating; my stomach also decided to make its presence known, announcing its emptiness with a consuming fierceness. With a hand that shook with weakness, I reached slowly for it only to have Jenna pull it out of reach. She had a look I would later associate with lust in her eyes as she sultrily asked me to open wide. My hunger prevented me from obstinately refusing the sustenance, and I reluctantly opened my mouth for her.

Her eyes glittered with heat as she delicately laid the piece of meat onto my tongue. Trying to gnash her with my fangs for what I took to be mockery, I only managed to close my lips around her finger, inadvertently sucking on it for a moment as I focused on chewing the delicious meat. Eyes dripping with aroused heat followed my every move as Jenna watched me swallowed. She chased each piece of jerky with a sip of the burning water, payment for each subsequent piece of delicious meat.

She shuddered while I tilted my head to the side, looking for any additional fare. Pausing, she stared at something above my head for a moment, and odd look of mixed happiness and regret crossed her face as she retreated from the room, calling back over her shoulder.

“I’m gonna go make you a sandwich. I’ll be right back.”

After the sandwich she pulled a chair up next to the bed and began to tell me the tale of how her people had discovered ours, crossing the burning sea and establishing a settlement that’d expanded into a town. The town grew larger and, while not as pronounced as a demon’s, the angels seemed to also have a fair amount of curiosity as they began to explore this new continent. These pilgrims were the first to encounter the native demons. At first there was no conflict, the demon’s uncaring of the angels whose society didn’t operate in a manner we could understand.

“We attempted to trade with the demon’s and everything seemed to be going fine. Until a young demon found herself attracted to a young angel, a merchant by the name of Wilbert. She showed this attraction by sinking a dagger into his gut and filleting him like a fish. We were shocked and outraged by this affair, retreating into our homes and closing our doors but interest among the demons spread like wildfire. Something about the energy we give off triggers something in demons and we began to be regularly assaulted and beaten. Unable to watch our loved ones get tortured, we fought back.”

This was the first thing she’d said that made any sense in me. Conflict was the natural order of the world.

“What followed was the most self destructive culture clash I could imagine. See, angels are born to nurture and protect. To love and provide for the our loved ones, we are willing to do anything we can to make someone happy.”

Grimacing I sneered at such alien values.

Nurture? Protect? Ugh.

“See the angels possessed extreme technological superiority and often managed to capture the combative demons without much difficulty. No, the difficulties, those came later,” she said in a haunted voice. “As we interacted with your captured people we began to care about what they wanted. See, we desired them to be happy and when we asked them what that was do you know what they said?” she asked softly.

“Why are you telling me this? Why don’t you just kill me? Am I so unworthy?” I asked, frustrating spilling forth, making me voice my thoughts.

“Exactly,” she said, as if that explained everything. “Captured or killed in battle, either way the demon’s ended up dead. Encounters grew scarce and I feared we, in our benevolence, had performed a racial genocide heretofore unseen by our society.” She examined my face for a moment before speaking again. “That really doesn’t bother you, does it? The idea that you could be the last of the demon race?”

“No,” I said bluntly. “Why would it? I’ll rejoin the ones I care for and my blood brothers under the care of the Dark Mother once you finally stop pussyfooting around and kill me,” I growled at her, halfheartedly trying to goad her into attacking.

“What do you mean by the ones you care for?” she asked, her hand falling onto my thigh. She seemed ignorant of its positioning but I suspected we were each deeply aware of exactly what she was doing. The sensation that occurred when she kissed me reappeared, snaking through my veins, an unfamiliar warmth that was somehow… desirable? Shaking my head did little to clear it of such thoughts.

“Those I care for. The ones whose memory and essence I’ve taken into my own throughout my life. Do you think me so low that I would forget the ones I’ve freed from this world’s worlds torturous grasp? No wonder you will not kill me. You must think me a monster, killing for the pleasurable rush of blood without assuming the responsibility of caring for the souls of the departed.”

Her hand moved slightly and the warmth grew more potent, pooling in my gut and my nethers.

Am I sick? Have I contracted some strange disease that is causing me to react like this?

She didn’t say anything, seemingly deep in thought. “How many do you care for?”

“Twelve. Four demons and eight angels are sheltered in my soul,” I said solemnly, memories already pulled forth from the void in response to her questions.

“Would you like to share them with me?” she asked, removing the hand that was causing strange reactions within my flesh.

“That is a deeply personal thing to ask for,” I said, frowning. “But,” I cut her off before she could apologize. “It is right to provide them a last taste of the world if we are to depart it together.”

“Why do you say that?” She tensed up for reasons I could not comprehend in reaction to my words.

“I have been captured by my enemy. I know of no other way this could end,” I stated plainly, uncertain of her strange reaction. I continued sharing the souls I’d claimed to Jenna, “My first was a warrior, she had the greenest eyes I’d ever seen. I snuck up on her in the night, my acolyte blade pierced her flesh. She wheezed, reminding me to cover her mouth to prevent any further sounds from summoning reinforcements. A member of a rival clan whose territory we were invading, from the scars on her body and her equipment she favored sword and shield. She was six times blooded, her marks worn on her hip with pride. I carry her spirit with pride. The second was Destamon, he called my weak and slow, I dealt with him by sneaking…”

Jenna was impassive as I told the stories of the lives that my blade and hands had claimed, my success at stealth and cunning that had kept me alive after so many had died. Pausing only to sip some of the burning water to wet my parched lips and tongue. Altogether it was probably the longest stretch of time that I’d spent talking and I found it oddly comforting to speak with Jenna like this, without the usual posturing and maneuvering of my kin. It was growing late when she reluctantly left my room, hovering over the threshold, looking back at me while drumming her fingers on the wall. Whatever she’d been thinking of saying went unsaid as she left me. I felt better, more stable, than I had in a long time, rolling over and drawing the comforter tight to my still sore body.

Uneasy sleep dogged me all night and I tossed and turned in the unusually soft bed. In the morning I discovered a tiny feathery growth sprouted between my shoulder blades in the night. Writhing uncomfortably, I tried to scratch at the troublesome spot, my limbs a little stronger than yesterday.

Everyday, little by little, I regain my energy… Soon I will take you into my care Jenna. I will make you regret not killing me when you had the chance.

My fingers teased at the small feather for a moment before I realized what it was. Once I did, I grasped it and pulled it free with a wince. The blackish crimson blood and moisture was wicked away as I pulled it through two fingers, leaving a delicate black feather, perfectly formed, clutched in my scared fingers.

What is happening to me? I thought with despair.

It was this moment that Jenna returned from whatever she did when she wasn’t tormenting me with her presence. Her face had her usual joyful smile that bloomed whenever she saw me. My hand holding the feather instinctively darted under the blankets, hiding the grey feather from her sight.

As if sensing something was wrong, Jenna looked at me questioningly. “Is everything okay?”

“Yes, why wouldn’t it be?” I said, overly sarcastic. “I am trapped in a malnourished body in a tiny room just waiting for my captor to stop torturing me and put me out of my misery.” I glared at her so she would realize who I was talking about.

Jenna frowned and looked around the room questioningly. “What would it take to convince you to walk around the compound with me? Help, get you back into shape?”

I rolled my eyes. Before freezing sensing an opportunity. “Fine but you have to get me a thick wrap for my breasts.” Blood began trickled down my back out of the small and I feared if she took too long, my secret would be revealed, the sheer cloth she’d unnecessarily placed for modesty not enough to hide the blood.

She nodded happy enough about my easy acquiescence that she didn’t consider why I even asked, and turned to leave before pausing.

I’ve been discovered.

She looked like she was about to say something but her eyes darted to the space above my head. Her lips compressed into an enigmatic smile and she left without saying anything.

What is she looking at?

Waving my hand between my horns produced no discernible sensations. Jenna returned and I wrapped up my scabbing wound, a few companion feathers already poking their way through my skin. Pulling the fabric tight squished my new growths against my skin, prickling me with their uncomfortable fibers. I slipped the loose feather under the pillows of the bed, unwilling to throw it away.

Jenna took my hand and pulled me to my feet. Preoccupied, I was unresistant as she hooked her arm. I couldn’t figure out why I was so scared of her finding out about my changing body. Her skin was warm as I leaned against her for support, sending tingling sparks through my body that distracted me from examining my surroundings. Besides, it was only five minutes later that my body was so exhausted that Jenna was forced to support the majority of my body weight. We repeated the process every morning, Jenna painstakingly feeding me and exercising me back to health. Every morning I would rip out the old nights feathery growths between on my back. On the third morning I asked for a matching piece of cloth that she used to cover her torso that I would later learn is called a blouse. Jenna complied, which was good, because otherwise I wasn’t sure how I would be able to hide the bloodstains that dotted the wrap in dark blue streaks. Thus did we fall into a gentle rhythm that was disrupted on the my seventh night in her care.

My instincts roused me from sleep when someone surreptitiously opened the door to my room and slipped inside. Soft footsteps and harsh breathing grew louder the intruder drew close to the bed. A whiff of acrid alcohol drifted down to my nostrils. Ears straining, I relaxed my muscles, waiting for the right moment to move.


The breathing stopped and I rolled to the side at the exact moment a knife whistled through the air, stabbing the mattress. My heart beat a comfortable rhythm in my chest.

This… This, I can do.

There was no uncertainty about my body or my feelings toward Jenna. Just me, my adversary, and the glittering point of a knife between us.

“Bloodthirsty bitch,” the man slurred. “Why? You killed my son. He was my boy. And you killed him!” His speech was disjointed and he punctuated his words with clumsy strikes that I mostly avoided, even in my weakened state. Only a few of his weaving cuts carved new scars into my flesh. I bided my time, waiting for the perfect moment.

Then it happened, he overextended in a lunging stab. Ducking underneath his arm, I took control of his weapon and hooking an leg behind his ankle. Pushing forward, I felled the angel, his wings springing out wide as he slammed into the floor with a crash. Desperation imbued my claws with strength and I managed to pry the knife out of his hands. I was so focused on his weapon that I gave him the opening he needed to clock me in the jaw with a vicious rising hook. My tongue got caught between my teeth and burst like a ripe grape, filling my mouth with a sweet sanguine taste. The strength of the blow turned the angel over onto his chest and he was slowly pushing himself up, rising from the ground. My foot lashed into his side and I felt the distinctive crack of a snapped rib. Jumping forward, I grappled with the angel, wrapping my arm around his neck, his throat nestled into the crook of an elbow. Seeking better leverage, I hooked my ankles across his chest and arched back, pulling for all that I was worth, hoping to cut off the blood flow to his brain. Grinning ferally, I spat a wad of blood off to the side, my essence thrumming with anticipation at my victory, eagerly awaiting escorting this poor man into the care of the Dark Mother.

How would Jenna feel if I killed him? The thought sprung up from the depths of my brain unexpectedly.

I snarled, gritting my teeth and tightened my hold on his throat, feeling the cartilage constrict and shift.

Why would I care what she thinks?

His movements slowed, growing sluggish and strained. My lips pulled back in a silent snarl and I cocked my head to the side hauling back with all my strength.

I can’t do it.

Feeling sick, I let go. The man toppled forward, head hitting the floor with a dull thud, chest still rising and falling. I pushed myself away from him, scrabbling backward on my ass until my back hit the wall in the corner of the room. Kicking the knife caused it to skid across the floor, clattering under the dresser after careening off the wall. The thrill of combat screamed through my veins, doing little to counteract the rising self-hatred that my failure to kill brought me. An unnatural sensation pooled in my chest, bubbling up through my throat and spilling out in my eyes. Warmth crawled along my chest like lava worms across the ground, leaving chilled trails behind. My fingers rubbed along the lines and came away damp.

“What the…?” I whispered while the man gasped around his bruised throat.

It was this moment that the response to the noise rushed through the door in the form of Jenna, staring wide eyed at the scene. “Oh my… Jackson… are you okay?” she asked loudly, rushing over to tend to the fallen man. His bloodshot eyes blinked up at her, while she examined him for wounds. Finding nothing life-threatening she turned her attention to my huddled form. Her amber eyed stare met my tear stained cheeks and she gasped. Her appraisal wandered down, taking in my slashed up arms and blouse, as well as the uncovered bandages with their dried and crusty blood. Expression morphing into something unreadable, she abandoned her angelic comrade. The practiced, guarded facade chipped from her face in pieces, eroding with every step she took toward me, like a granite statue going through centuries of weathering.

First it was her eyes, softening and filling with something I’d started to understand was affection. Then it was her wings, they fluttered behind her in what I recognized as poorly restrained anger. Her lips were next, pinching into a fine line. She was only a couple of feet away when her hands curled into white knuckled fists before deliberately unclenching, one finger at a time.

Why does her anger make angry birds peck at my insides?

I turned away, weak, unable to face her wrath. Flinching when her silken flesh met my cheek, gently, but insistently, urging me to look up at her.

Something warm and bright blossomed in my heart at the caring look on her face, momentarily taking me away from this place. I wasn’t one to turn away from reality for long however, forcing myself to face the fact that I’d failed to kill the man when I had the chance.

As well as the reason for doing it.

Jerking my head out of her hand, I obstinately stared at the wall.

Jenna opened her mouth to say something but was interrupted by another angel filling the doorway in response to the noises from the tussle.

“Joshua, get Jackson to the infirmary,” she growled.

The man moved to help his now steadily breathing comrade, taking in his condition. “Flight leader, she’s obviously dangerous. You should-”

“Pinion,” she cut Joshua off with glacial menace. Her eyes narrowed, promising unspeakable and gratuitous violence.

My heart did a little pitter patter and I felt a dampness bloom between my legs.

Jenna paused, letting the name hang heavy in the air. “When I want your opinion, I will ask for it. Is that understood?”

“Yes, flight leader. Of course flight leader,” he said with obvious deference, his wings drooping low. Grunting, he struggled with the still woozy Jackson as they left the room.

Her hand met my cheek again and the warmth grew stronger. This time I didn’t let her make me face her, defiantly pulling away again.

“Talk to me,” she demanded in a growl.

My breath hitched in my chest and my breasts tingled, the frisson of excitement her dominance caused sparking through my body. I wanted to speak but the words caught in my throat.

She coughed, pinching her lips, the currents from her agitated wing flutters teasing my hair. “Please, tell me what happened?”

For some reason the gentle plea did more to draw the words from me than her command. “I couldn’t do it,” I said quietly, frustration and self-anger painting my words a vivid shade of bitterness. “I couldn’t kill him. I had the chance to… but I didn’t take it.”

“Why not?” The gusts from her wings increased as her worry and fear turned to excitement.

I froze, my head darting to look at her, frightened that she knew about her strange hold over me. There was no obvious joy in the emotional hooks she’d somehow set in my psyche. She didn’t seem to be lording over the way she’d managed to control my actions without being here. It also didn’t look like she planned to exploit this weakness in any manner, getting me to do her bidding.

Overall it left me confused.

What is going on?

The silence went on for entirely too long.

“It doesn’t matter,” Jenna said. “As long as you’re okay.” Then she did something I never would have expected.

She curled her arms around me, drawing me into her soft, vulnerable flesh. My claws flexed instinctively and I tensed for an instant; only to find that I had little desire to disembowel her. Instead I… relaxed? The tension melted from my limbs and I existed without future or past, engulfed entirely within the moment.

It felt… good.

My arms, without my conscious decision, curled around her waist. The embrace was comfort and warmth and safety like…

Sanctuary. Her arms feel like a sanctuary.

The light from the room darkened as she used her wings to create a canopy around us, a cocoon that cut off the rest of the world, leaving only the two of us.

“You are okay, right?” she asked, creating a little space so she could examine my face while leaving her wings where they were.

Physically, yes. Emotionally, not so much.

Regardless of my worries, I nodded my assent. My emotions felt fragile and cracked, like winter ice on a spring pond, just waiting for a rock to shatter me into oblivion. Jenna, however, accepted my answer and seemed content with the knowledge it had contained.

A word bubbled from my throat before I could capture it. “Ulaylo.” My eyes flew wide at what I’d given her.

“What?” she asked, not understanding.

In for a feather, in for a bird.

“Ulaylo. That’s my name. But you can call me Laylo.”

With my head down, I missed the radiant smile that burst across her face like a blooming firework across the night sky, making her achingly beautiful.

“Can you help me?” I asked sullenly, and I waited for Jenna to laugh.

She merely blinked, astonished. “Sure sweetie. What seems to be the problem?”

“I couldn’t kill him, I have these feelings I don’t know what to deal with, it’s like I’m on the edge of collapse.”

“What kind of feelings are you struggling with?” Jenna asked, concerned I was sick.

As she should be.

“There’s this ache. My vagina tightens and leaks this fluid while my nipples grow hard.

Jenna was speechless, a rosiness blooming on her cheeks and she audibly gulped, swallowing hard.

I winced.

That bad, huh?

“So there’s no cure,” I stated pursing my lips into an irritated scowl. “I probably got it during my exposure in the wilds while I was fleeing from you. How long do I have before it becomes fatal?”

Jenna shook her head. She tried to speak but it came out a dull wheeze before she swallowed again. “It’s not that kind of…” she trailed off, looking for the words. “It’s not fatal and there is a remedy…” she said it slowly like she was reluctant to provide the information.

“Is it painful? I know I’ve shown a lot of weakness recently but I swear I am tough enough to withstand the cure. I would do nearly anything to escape these maddening sensations.”

Red faced, she looked as if she was under the effects of a noonday sun in the Quemale desert facing down a sunspot salamander that liked to bask there.

Nasty buggers. They have the tendency to light themselves and everything around them on fire.

Jenna coughed awkwardly. “Just… touch it.”

“Really?” I peeled away the blouse, exposing my engorged and leaky folds of my sex. “Are you sure? My mother told me I shouldn’t mess with infections. Either they’d go away on their own or I’d have to lose the limb.”

She stifled a slightly crazed laugh. “It’s not… It’s not an infection. Just trust me, it’s not dangerous.”

I cocked my head, trying to capture her eyes but they were locked onto the slick petals of my labia. “Okay…” I said, suspicious of how strange she was acting. “It certainly feels dangerous.”

“I’ll just leave you to it then. Okay bye,” she called out over her shoulder, rushing from the room and closing the door loudly behind her.

What was that about?

Pleased that I’d managed to throw a dagger into Jenna’s composure, I hopped to my feet, no longer fixating on what had happened with the attack and my failure to kill. I hummed jovially to myself. Reaching down, I snagged the hilt of the knife and deftly tossed it to sink to the hilt into the wall across the room.

A muffled, “What the fuck?” came through the wall but I paid it no mind.

I skipped once and flopped onto the bed, the wounds on my back from my daily feather removal stinging with the contact. Wincing, I tensed for a moment, before the pain began to blend with the heat coming from between my legs, swirling together until it was hard to tell the difference. Like a pair of runners racing, they pulled each other along, deepening and intensifying both.

What had Jenna told me to do?

Cautiously reaching out, my fingers pulled through the delicate folds of my labia.

Oh! Ohhhhhhh… This requires further exploration.

My vagina was soft and warm as it swallowed the delicate strokes of my fingers.

“Unngghh…” I grunted. My legs spread wider on their own accord and I felt no need to stop them. The chill did nothing to cool my rising ardor, the wet heat spilling constantly from my flesh. There was a sort of rocking motion to the feelings inside me, rising towards a distant peak before slipping back downward like a young hatchling trying to climb an icy slope; the feeling never fully receded, however, each ascent slightly higher and each trough not quit as low.

I varied the intensity and speed of the petting. Wincing, my claws pricked a little too firmly at a little knot of tangled nerves that crowned the top of my panting sex. Then I found it. A steady pulsing stroke stroke pause, stroke stroke pause, that pushed me steadily onward. The tension in my body began to vibrate, like a bow string wound too tight. Instinctive animalistic sounds spilled from my parted lips. My hips rocked forward and back, pressing into the air before the sodden comforter beneath my ass.

Almost… there. Just about… Ahhh!

With gleeful, joyful abandon, I reached the peak and threw myself into the arms of a shuddering, life-altering orgasm. The pleasure ricocheted through my body like sunlight through a crystal, refracting and splintering until my whole body was awash with mind numbing light. Whatever else was happening, there was no way I was going to regret this moment, these feelings.

As my arms curled seductively through the comforter, the smell of sex saturating the air, I could only hold one thought in my mind as I drifted off to sleep.

What would it feel like with Jenna?

Four days later, we’d fallen into an uneasy truce, although Jenna seemed less comfortable around me, which produced conflicting thoughts. I’d also stopped mutilating the burgeoning feathers as they sprouted, although I still kept them wrapped up, safely out of sight. She’d made no mention of the bandages since the night of the attack.

We were out on one of our strength building walks around town, taking advantage of the abnormally warm weather, when I spotted something out of the corner of my eye. I pretended to stumble, plucking the item from the ground and palming it carefully.

“Laylo, you okay?” she asked, offering me a hand.

I held the item close to my chest, and let her help me up. “I’m fine,” I said gruffly, trying to remain discrete.

“I think that’s enough for today. Let’s get you back to your room.” Hooking my elbow she helped me all the way back to my room, even going so far as to tuck me away in bed.

“Jenna,” I called out as she went to leave. “Do you think I could have a bit of that drink you like?”

“Silgen?” she clarified.

I nodded, not sure if that was its name but not truly caring either way.

“It’s very sweet, I don’t think you’ll like it.”

Sneering internally, I squashed down my pride. “Please.”

It was like I’d just lost to her in a sparring match, she was that happy that I’d reached out to her for assistance.

“Of course, I’ll get it right away,” she said, practically skipping from the room.

Right after she left, I looked at the small fungus still in my hand. It was an innocuous looking thing, walnut brown with white veins running across the surface. Prying the cap from the stem, I popped it into my mouth and swiftly began to chew, throwing the remainder under the bed.

Dangerous, but worth it if this works.

Jenna returned bearing a steaming cup of the silgen, her hands partially splashed with the liquid in her haste to return.

“Here you go,” she said handing me the cup.

I smiled in thanks, mouth full of the bitter mushroom mash. Bringing the cup’s rim just under my nose, I gave it an exploratory sniff.

Actually doesn’t smell too bad. Kind of appetizing I must admit.

Under Jenna’s curious watch, I tilted the cup to my mouth, keeping my lips closed. I slowly lowered the cup, opening my mouth just enough to let the liquid portion of the saliva mushroom mixture poison the drink.

I wrinkled my face with disgust and offered the cup back to her. She laughed, the sound glorious and bright. Smiling, she began to bring the cup to her mouth. Time felt sluggish and my spine felt cold.

Thoughts started to swirl in my head: How would it feel with her gone? To take her into my care?

The idea did not fill me with the same sort of glee that it once did.

I would no longer be able to see her face. Nor bask in her smile. The warmth she brings me when she says my name would be gone. As would the trill the dances down my spine under the feeling of her skin against mine.

Even the uncertainty I’d once loathed, was now oddly enthralling, almost endearing. After my experience with curing the strange symptoms her presence brought me, I found myself seeking it out, wanting to bath in her company and share time with her. My eyes faded to pinpricks of dread, the cup a mere six inches from her lips as she inhaled the pungently sweet scent of the drink, savoring it.

I’m sorry Dark Mother, I can’t stand the thought of losing her.

Lunging forward, I slapped the tainted drink out of Jenna’s astonished hands, sending it to shatter against the floor. We stood there, both surprised by the suddenness of my actions. I watched the question as it formed behind her eyes and I couldn’t take it.

Lashing out with unexpected violence, my knuckles caught her in the chin with a well placed cross. Staggering, she opened a path to escape and I wasn’t about to waste the opportunity. Mindlessly seeking a way out, peace from the thoughts that twisted through my brain, I made for the doorway. My claws dug two steps toward freedom, before a deceptively strong arm darted around my neck, cutting off my flight and securing me to her body in a single oil smooth motion.

“Hey there…” she whispered into my ear. Wings flapped once, helping to steady her as I struggled against her grasp. Her hold was ironically similar to the one I’d used to conquer her comrade, and I found myself similarly failing to escape from its effects. “What was that about?” she asked commonplace, as if she wasn’t currently cutting of the blood flow from my brain. Darkness encroached, spidering tendrils working inward from the outskirts of my peripherals.

My strength left me and I began to truly black out when she released the pressure, letting up just enough for me to retain my consciousness but not enough to regain any coordination. Tamed, Jenna maneuvered my docile body onto the bed where she released me, backing away in case I wanted to resume any further hostilities. The fight, however, had drained from my limbs and I buried my face in my pillow, my hands seeking out my touchstone feather underneath, caressing it out of sight while I awaited my interrogation.

Jenna seemed content to wait out my silence, her hip bumping against mine as she sat on the bed. Her fingers traced the unusual contours of my tiny bundled up wings. Pressing deeper, I stiffened as she encountered the aching flight muscles that were still forming beneath the surface of my flesh. Then she spread her fingers, her palms kneading, following the lines of my muscles, massaging away the growing pains. She remained silent, not asking any questions while gradually bringing me a relief that was almost as satisfying as combat. My throat went dry and I swallowed a bit of the acrid poison that remained in my mouth, realizing I might have to be the one the broach this uneasy armistice.

I opened my mouth to speak but was silenced when she rolled me over, planting my head into her lap. Staring up, my orange eyes met her kind amber ones.

“I’m here if you want to talk,” she said with understanding and affection, softly brushing my hair with her calloused fingers.

There was a part of me that wanted to look away, ashamed for some reason at what I’d planned to do. “I put something into your stupid drink,” I said in the same tone of voice that a child would use when being forced to admit they’d raided the food pantry.

“Ahhhh,” she said in understanding, her nails scratching soothingly at my scalp. “Your sudden weakness today was a ruse. You must have found something outside.”

We lapsed into another uneasy silence. Uneasy for me, at least, as I refused to confirm her reasoning. She seemed comfortable sitting there, contemplating the events of the day.

“Why did you stop? I didn’t suspect a thing. Your plan would have worked,” she prodded gently for more information, looking for some insight into my actions.

I have no idea what to say. I don’t know why I didn’t go through with it.

Pausing, I thought about it some more.

No. That’s a lie. She’s why I didn’t do it.

Embarrassed for the first time in my life, my face blushed scarlet.

But I can’t tell that to her. Too shameful.

She must have read something of my mind from my expression, an inscrutable smile pulling at her cheeks while her eyes twinkled with mirth.

“It’s not like that,” I muttered unconvincingly. “I just didn’t like the way it was happening. I wanted to really sink my teeth into your flesh. Taste your blood while I did it. I still plan to kill you one day,” I lied poorly through frustratedly clenched teeth.

Her smile widened and she clearly didn’t believe my words. “Sure honey. Sure.”

Firm hands continued their entrancing work, slowly lulling me into a state of passivity as the bud of pleasure began to bloom in my gut, arousal growing stronger each second I spent in her presence.

I looked up into her face and was stunned by her beauty. Her wings giving her a backdrop of white, working in tandem with the golden halo that floated above her head, lending her features a mystical appearance.


A moment of surprised blinking between the two of us later, and I realized that those words had slipped from my lips.

The blush grew wider and the muscles in my back twitching under burgeoning instincts, seeking to flutter my undersized and confined wings. Her finger curled around one of my horns and the heat in her eyes matched the one that grew in my gut. She pulled my wet noodle body into a kiss and a pod of joy bubble in my chest, bursting with effervescence and spread through my veins.

I felt inebriated under the sensations forced upon me, and the words pried their way free from my lips once Jenna released them.

“You helped guide me through my other thing, maybe you can help with this,” I said, palm coving over and tenderly rubbing my puffed up mons.

A beautiful rose color bloomed across her perfect cheeks and her wings pulled tight to her back before loosening into their more relaxed positioning.

I decided to continue.

“I have… feelings for you. Something I’m not used to. It’s like I want you to be happy and I care about your well-being. It makes my heart feel heavy, like it’s has to work twice as hard to beat in my chest. When you kiss me, it makes my vagina wet, and those sensations swell, making me want to touch myself. I seem to think about you all the time, wondering what you’re doing, whether or not you’re happy, if you’re thinking of me as well. You’re like a nabothian grub, digging in under my skin, looking for a warm place to hatch your eggs and I can’t seem to rid myself of you. I don’t even know if I want to.”

I paused, taking a deep breath. The expected wetness bloomed between my legs at her proximity and I wanted to throw my body on top of her and grind my pussy against her flesh. Closing my eyes, a plaintive whine built up behind my throat. Nails dug into her skin when my hand found the delicate skin of her thighs at the junction where they peered out from under her blouse.

She gasped and I looked up to meet her eyes. Her halo pulsed with demure light that almost matched the frenzied beating of my heart.

“Do you know what that is? It’s almost painful but it makes me scared. I hate feeling scared.” My voice quieted. “But I don’t hate this.”

“Oh, Laylo. You sweet gentle woman.”

“I am no such thing!” I gasped, outraged at the insult.

Jenna merely smiled, catching my wrists before I could claw her, using her superior strength to stretch them out above my head. She kissed the vulnerable hollow of my throat and all thoughts of violence evaporated from my brain.

Ohhhh. Do that again.

Holding me tight, she kissed her way down my flesh, sprinkling words between the gentle presses of her lips. “My… Dear… Powerful… Wonderful… Unique… Dangerous… Untamable… Laylo… That… Sounds… Like… Love.”

I feel very tamable right now. Like a pet scarlon cat, collar around my neck, mouth wide for food scraps, twin tails wrapped around my chest as I lean into the head scratches.

Jenna’s mouth reached the weeping petals of my sex and I arched my back off the bed as her tongue wiggled through the outer portions of my folds. My toes curled, arching my feet almost painfully, my body reacting to the uncontrollable excitement Jenna forced into it. I wanted to talk, to tell her to slow down but the words hitched, stopped at the gate of my throat, coming out instead as a breathless whine. Something in me wanted to protest, it was too much, too fast, but my body had other ideas, reveling in the sensations brought forth by her clever tongue. My scalp tingled, the follicles tightening as Jenna continued laving my folds with her tongue.

Overly hot, my breath poured from my lungs like overworked bellows in a forge, desperately trying to quench the heat that’d infected my spine. Through it all, Jenna never let up, her fingers biting into my thighs, forcing her head deeper, closer, to my core. The hard nubs of my nipples pressed into the cloth of my wrap, rubbing pleasurably while my body writhed like a serpent. Relentless, Jenna pressed onward. Something convulsed inside me in response, a trembling wave released to cascade throughout my muscles, my pussy clenching down in blissful agony. It was the greatest thing I’d ever felt in my life. Eclipsing my confused fumbling from before, it was concentrated ecstasy, a pulse that reverberated from my groin to my head, down to my toes, and up to my fingers, the orgasm consuming me.

Never end. Please never end.

Unfortunately, the joyful throb faded from my body. I groaned and twisted like a cat waking up from a nap, control of my muscles returning to me. A satisfied smile sprung to my lips as my musing was confirmed.

I was right, it was better with Jenna.

Awareness of my body slowly intruded on the haze of contentment. Stiflingly hot in all these unnecessary clothes, I decided the time for hiding was over, pulling the blouse over my head and tossing it to the floor. My sweat drenched skin enjoyed the additional contact with the cooler air of the room. Jenna rose from between my legs, standing with me next to the bed. I took a deep draught from the cup of water that sat on the nightstand.

Doesn’t burn as much on the way down, I thought, smacking my lips as my body processed the needed hydration. Must mean I am actually getting better.

Frowning, Jenna stepped closer to me, tapping the fabric that wrapped around my upper torso and wings. “What’s this about and why is it stained with blood?” She seemed concerned.

“Here, I’ll show you.” Hopping off the bed, I layed on the floor, stretching out my hand and hooking the pile of bloody black feathers and a few hints of bone I’d scraped from my flesh of my back from where I’d hidden them. “I’ve been having these weird growths from my back, but it became such a nuisance that I’ve kinda stopped doing it.”

Speechless, Jenna held a shaky hand toward the pile, her hand jerking back in a flinch before she made contact. She turned her attention from the mound of ravaged feathers to my face. A curious mix of horror and guilt crossed her face, her still trembling hand laying a finger on the bandages.

“May-” Her voice was weak and she had to swallow to get it working properly. “May I see.”


She reached delicately plucked at the tucked in end as if I were a porcelain doll that could break at the silent touch.

“Here, let me,” I said impatiently. Using my claw, I sliced through all the layers of the cloth in one easy stroke. The parted fabric fell to the floor behind me, landing on the pile of gristle. I rolled my shoulders, my wings tasting freedom for the first time.

They were still little things, maybe a third the size of Jenna’s more impressive white ones. But they’d been growing steadily and I had no doubt that they would soon reach a similarly impressive span. Organized black feathers were arranged in neat little rows spread across the triple jointed structure that was made of hollow bones that were surprisingly hardy for their light weight. With care, Jenna reached around and stroked my downy feathers with the tips of her rigid pinions. They were a little sensitive and twitched instinctively under the attention, blowing a few strands of hair annoyingly in front of my face.

Cause that won’t be annoying at all, I thought sarcastically. Now I know why Jenna always wears her hair secured in a braid.

Jenna covered her mouth with a hand, tears slipping delicately from her eyes. “They’re beautiful. Exotic.”

I couldn’t help but preen a little under the praise. An urge grew in my stomach, brought forth by Jenna’s obvious vulnerability, and, like all my race, I had very little impulse control. I pounced, lunging forward in an attack. Slipping through her defense, I opened my mouth and placed my fangs at the delicate skin of her neck. She gulped and the delicate aroma of fear sprang up, tantalizing with the delicate way it seasoned her natural scent. Red marks sprung up behind my fangs as I scrapped them along her creamy flesh. She quivered once and I planted a delicate kiss into her soft skin. She’d shown me that there was something better than the rending of flesh in a victorious combat, and I wasn’t one to deny my new insight. Jenna, melted into me with a vibrating moan, her scent twisting once more with something similar to my own arousal slipped from her under the Sapphic caresses of my claws.

“I want you Jenna,” I said in between licks and nips of her delicious flesh.

“Please. Yes. Please,” she begged, throwing a log onto the bonfire of desire that burned in my gut and sex.

That was all I’d needed, pushing her onto the edge of the bed and falling to my knees. Growling, I slashed at the blouse that kept her modest, revealing her wanton slit for me, already dripping with her arousal. What I lacked in skill and experience, I made up for with enthusiasm. I knew I was a quick learner and I had one advantage that’d proven valuable to me over the years, an instinctive mastery of reading body language. Every lick gave me additional data, new insight into the way that her body worked, the mechanisms that made it hum.

Her juice was sweet, but that didn’t turn me off the way sugary things normally would. Instead, it planted roots, reaching through my chest, buzzing pleasantly on the way to my wings, nourishing them and encouraging them to grow. My back ached, the curious feathery appendages furling and unfurling, their growth kicked into overdrive. I continued lapping, ignoring the changes to my own flesh.

My tongue worked diligently, Jenna’s sweet exhalations proof that I was doing something correctly. I paused in my work, slotting my chin into her damp cleft and looked up the curve of her stomach, between her breasts, to stare at her face. Jenna seemed slightly crazed and I couldn’t help but tease a little, “How’s it going? You look like you’re having fun. Am I doing okay? If you had to rate me on a scale of one to five, where would I land?” I asked smugly. “Cause I think I’m doing fairly well.”

“You,” she growled, narrowing her eyes.

Sticking my tongue out at her, I mocked her a little happy to make her wait. Jenna saw the opportunity and took it. Using my horns as handles, she forced my tongue back to her sex. Her folds muffled my chuckles while I returned to enjoying the taste of her. There was this patch inside pussy, a short distance back, that didn’t quite feel like the rest. Every time I touched it, her entire body stiffened like she’d been tossed into a bed of electric eels. It was like a button that dispensed pleasure every time I pressed it.

So I did.


“So wild. So sweet. Love this. Love you,” she panted.

I still didn’t exactly understand what that meant, but the idea that she felt some of the same things that I felt about her pushed me to strive harder. I slowly racked my brain, trying to figure out what I could do to make this even better.

Then it hit me. Or, teased me, as it happened.

My breasts scraped against the side of the bed, hard nipples pressing against the soft fabric. The sensations from that trickled through my skin, bringing with them awareness of a new erogenous zone. Reaching up, my claws first parted her blouse fully from neck to groin, before pinched at the dusty pink flesh of her nips. Squealing like a stuck pig, Jenna did not have the reaction I expected and I backed off a bit. Chewing off profanities, she rubbed the smarting aureola, the angry red skin not enjoying the abuse.

When she looked down at me, she did not show condemnation or anger, just fading pain and an eagerness to return to what we’d been doing. I felt my inexperience keenly, wanting to retreat and regroup, no longer in control of the situation. Jenna, however, had no intention of letting such a thing happen. Her ankles hooked around my neck, settling between my shoulder blades. Thrusting forward, she tapped her still sodden pussy against my cheek, as if she seeked to draw my attention to it.

The sad thing was, it worked.

Her dripping folds managed to enthrall me. The sight, the smell, the warmth, and the lingering tastes enough for me to dive back in to finish the job. Lapping at her nethers like a faithful hound, I pressed harder, forcing her onward toward that sweet release, I felt building with every muscle twitch.

“Lay. Oh my Lay. So good,” she cried.

My claws bit into the back of the blouse, rending the fabric even more, gravity forcing it to fall off her arms in twin pieces that would never again hide her from me.

“Keep doing that. Naughty, wicked, sinfully wondrous tongue,” she bleated nonsensically.

Laughter and declarations of foolishness would’ve filled my mouth had it not been otherwise occupied. Her thighs quivered and her stomach flexed, the muscles tight and beautiful on her skin, showing off the work she’d put into the martial training necessary to sculpt such majesty. Nuzzling at the mass of nerves at the top of her sex, her breath hitched and I knew I’d discovered a new toy with which to play.

Although that one should’ve been obvious, based on my experience with my own flesh.

Fiddling with those two areas, both the fun button and the patch of pussy. The latter I’d decided to call feel good spot, or g-spot for short, I was quickly forcing her to succumb to the same helplessness she’d subjected me to withstand.

Instead of crying out like I’d wanted her to, she instead slipped into a silent scream, her neck muscles tense as she threw her head back and rolled her hips forward in one continuous thrust. Unevenly gushing, her pussy spasmed and dripped cum onto my tongue and mouth, dribbling down my chin and neck, onto my breasts. An almost identical look pulled our lips into tired smiles. Jenna leaned back onto her bed, eyes wide like she couldn’t believe what had just happened. I retracted my tongue from Jenna’s slit and laid my forearms across her still trembling thighs. Smug and satisfied, I crawled up her body to lay next to her on the bed where we both fell asleep.

The next morning, Jenna had a surprise for me.

“Hello, there,” she said softly. “How’re you feeling?”

A cat’s yawn threatened to spill my spirit from my mouth before I responded. Propping myself up, I rolled my shoulders and twisted my back a bit. “Good. Everything feels fine. Almost back to normal.” My wings swished, turning my statement almost immediately into a lie. “Fairly normal,” I amended.

She looked relieved and a little nervous. “I’m glad.” She fiddled with the comforter, pulling at the fabric with her hands. “I have something for you. We found you cradling it in the church when we rescued you. Jackson wanted to destroy it but I kept it safe for you.” Opening the drawer on the nightstand she reached in and pulled out the most-

I looked at Jenna.

The second most important thing in my life. My tether blade.

Holding out my claws, Jenna placed the weapon in my hand. Reverently tracing the sinister looking blade, I reacquainted myself with my old friend, my palm and fingers fitting the grip perfectly. Rolling the blade in my hand, I remained silent for a spell before looking up at Jenna.

“Do you know why these are called tether blades? Or why they are so important to Davonic kind?”

“Not really. I understand they are used more for cultural events than things than battle,” she said, going back to fiddling with the blanket, her body thrumming with tension. “Though they are perfectly capable of taking a life in a pinch.”

“Yes. They are called tether blades because they are a link to our possessions. The Davonic tend to be nomadic, we don’t settle down easily. We seem to travel light, do we not? Only taking what possessions we can carry with us on our backs. Facing the harsh world with only the Dark Mother to look over us. Yes?”

I waited a beat, running my thumb along the sharp edge of the blade until it bit in tasting blood just like the first time I’d pulled it from the forge.

“That is a lie.”

I allowed the black red blood to bead on my thumb before directing it into a channel on the side of the blade. The dagger began to vibrate and, in a smooth practiced thrust, I pushed the tether blade forward. Jenna gasped. Starting at the tip, the blade began to vanish as I continued pressing to onward until everything up to the hilt was gone from sight. Once this was done, I shifted my grip and forced the blade downward, leaving a jagged navy blue tear in the air, the edges puckered and angry, thrumming with energy. Releasing the blade, I thrust my hand forward into my personal pocket dimension where I stored my things. Rooting around, I found what I was looking and pulled it out. Closing the portal and retrieving my blade.

Opening my palm, I showed off the small tarnished white object to Jenna. “This is a tooth from a fel wolf. The creature I slew in my hunt to prove my maturity.”

Shifting my hip forward, I showed her the three jagged scars that ran four inches from hip bone back towards my ass.

“It was a wonderfully harrowing experience and I took this tooth as my totem.”

Without warning, I jabbed the tooth forward into Jenna’s pale thigh. She gasped, and watched wide eyed as I bent of and place my mouth over the puncture wound, drawing the milky amber liquid into my mouth. It tasted slightly of metal and ash as I captured a mouthful. My orange eyes flared as I rose. Pressing my thumb over my tongue, I gathered the necessary blood on my digit. Jenna watched me warily as I drew a line across her forehead, sweeping curves along her cheekbone, and pressed three bloody dots along her throat, two in the hollows and one slightly elevated right in the middle.

Lovely. She’s so lovely.

I swallowed the remainder of the blood, the taste less appetizing than acquiring and using it had been.

“What just happened?” Jenna asked. Reaching up, she went to touch the drying blood with exploring fingers.

My hand interceded before she could smudge my work. “I claimed you. Marked you as my own through blood freely given.”

“I wouldn’t exactly say fully free. I mean-”

I cut her off with a scowl.

“Hm. So what now?”

Looking at her expectantly, I remained silent.

Clueless. She’s completely clueless.

“I claimed you. Took you for my own. Is there anything you’d like to do?”

She still had a puzzled expression, narrowing her eyes as she tried to decipher what I was trying to imply.

Then I dropped the tooth in her lap.

Finally, understanding dawned on her face as she grasped the sharp incisor. She pointed at it and raised a brow. I favored her with a small nod and held out my forearm and turned my head so she could properly surprise me.

And surprise me she did. Instead of using the proffered arm, she slid the point of the fang into a meaty section of my breast. Gasping, my wings instinctively snapped out, making me seem larger in an attempt to intimidate what threatened me. Distaste and desire battled each other for dominance on Jenna’s face as she lowered her mouth to the flesh on my tit. Her lips formed a seal and she let her tongue play along the taut skin of my breast for a moment before she suckled, capturing a mouthful of blood. Dipping her thumb she brought it from her mouth, the pad dripping with crimson black blood. Bringing it up, she prepared to draw on my face but she paused, uncertain of how to proceed.

“There’s no wrong way, just do what you think is right,” I reassured her.

My orange slitted eyes were riveted to hers while they traced the planes and curves of my face, analyzing and imagining how she would leave her mark. Confidence grew and she began to paint. Her tongue slipping out the side of her mouth as she bit it in concentration. She started with twin lines, like tear marks that started below my eyes, curling slightly at their tips to point towards the corners of my lips. A dot was applied to the point of my chin, right in the middle. Like I’d done with her, she drew a horizontal line along my forehead but she elaborated on it by crossing the ‘t’ with a line that dropped down the center between my eyes. Cocking her head, she examined her work critically and found it acceptable.

“There,” she declared confidently. “Now you are mine.”

“Was I ever not?” I teased, recalling the way she’d carried me from the ruined church.

Smiling, she seemingly thought it over for a moment. “No I don’t suppose so. Ever since I found you in that church, this was always how it was going to end.”

“Yes. But,” I said, my claws delicately stroking the marks I’d left in her skin. “While you caught me when I was down. I managed to take you down while at full- *Cough* -full strength. I clai-*Cough* – claimed you for my own.” The coughing wouldn’t stop. My lungs burned and I couldn’t seem to find my breath.

“Are you okay? Lay! Ulaylo?!” Her voice followed my down into the void, her phantom hands grasping desperately at my clammy skin.

Five Days Later

The rain drizzled from the air, matching the somber mood of the occasion. Jenna marched firmly up to a podium. On the ground in front of her was a plain looking ceramic urn. Within the urn were ashes from the ceremonial cremation from the night before.

“The woman in front of us was not very well liked, but she was dear to me. As many of you know, she was not one for overly elaborate words. Therefore, in memory of her I will keep this short. Love well and live freely. Salud to the deceased.”

“Salud to the deceased,” the crowd echoed morosely.

As Jenna left the podium, Jackson approached from the side, hat in proverbial hand.

“Jen, I’m sorry for your loss. I feel I must apologize for my actions last week. It was uncalled for. Especially with everything that’s happened. I just-”

“Save it Jackson. I’m in no mood,” I barked out gruffly.

Jackson winced and his wings drooped low, the feather tips almost brushing the ground. He turned and left me alone. The crowd gradually dispersed until only two were left.

Jenna fell to her knees and sobbed into her hands.


“I’m sad I did not get the chance to meet her, she sounds like a formidable woman,” I said, unsure of how to deal with the situation. In Davonic culture, death is not something to mourn, nor is it something to be celebrated, it is merely a facet of life. But Jenna’s grief was palpable and placed me on edge, uncertain about how I could help her with this.

“It wasn’t exactly a surprise. She’d been sick for so long and she didn’t want me visiting. Said I shouldn’t, ‘waste my life at her side’. Still… it hurts.” She hugged her arms to her chest and I couldn’t resist the urge to wrap myself around her back like a cloak, protecting her from the elements the way I couldn’t for her grief. My ebony wings sheltered us, creating an igloo of warmth.

“Thank you Lay. I’m glad you’re here with me.”

“I love you Jenna. I’m sure your mother was very proud of how fierce and strong you are.”

Jenna chuckled and I was glad to see some of the sadness fall from her eyes. “Love you too Lay. Mom would’ve liked you almost as much as I do.”

We stayed that way, warm in each others embrace, the muted thumps of the rain a soothing music. We swayed together.

How about it Zeke? Turns out it wasn’t the end after all. If only you could see me now… I wonder what other twists the Dark Mother has in store for me.

Jenna captured my lips in a gentle, reassuring kiss, and I closed my eyes, content for the moment to just exist. “How about we try not to ingest any more poison mushrooms? Mmkay?”

Smiling, I knew everything would be okay.

“No promises,” I murmured into her cheek.


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