Feature Writer: Phineas

Feature Title: WIZARD 17

Published: 19.09.2021

Story Codes: Erotic Horror

Synopsis: John must fight the war before enjoying the spoils.

Author’s Notes: Longer chapter this time — yay! Lots of action too, but it’s the sort that gets the blood pumping through a powerful climactic finish without the need for a sandwich or cigarette afterwards. Read on, my friends, I promise you’ll love it all the same! To the reader who said mobile doesn’t work beyond these links — I’m sorry! I’m not sure how to fix it, either, but I’ve had so many people being appreciative of them I decided to continue including them.

Wizard 17

The dragonkin had been unprepared for Jennaca to jump at the same time it pounced for her. She sailed under it and hacked her axe into the knee of the monster’s rear leg. Using the spinning momentum that gave her, her forward curving kukri sliced into the leg and sheared the rest of the way through the bone.

The dragonkin had collapsed when it landed. Jennaca fell on it, hammering her sword an axe against its thick leather and breaking bones even when the sharpened edges couldn’t cut through to the meat beneath. She danced around it as it thrashed and tried to strike out at her. One leap over the spear-bladed tail and then a well placed spin and two-step out of the range of a raking claw put her in place to deliver and underhanded swing that smashed her sword into the underside of the dragonkin’s jaw. Teeth and bone cracked and even the resilient hide dripped blood down her blade.

The skilled and ambidextrous huntress had her axe moving in a different arc. It crashed down on the top of the faux-demon’s head. One of the horns was shorn off by the strike and the edge of the axe buried itself through hide and into bone. The dragonkin’s head dropped to the ground like a stone falling off a cliff. The only difference was it didn’t bounce.

“One down,” Jennaca panted.

The other dragonkin hissed. Sasha roared back and feinted at one of them. The monster leaped back out of the way and then snarled when it realized it had been fooled.

Jennaca went after another one and Sasha darted to the left, attacking the dragonkin that thought she was distracted with the one she’d pretended to attack. John stayed in the middle of the path and began casting spells as rapidly as he could draw their forms and chant the words necessary to guide the magic into form and effect. Bolts of fire flew from his hands to singe their leathery hides. Raw power shaped into bolts of raw magic struck them and left raw pits in their hide where they struck. Another eldritch blast of electricity left one of the dragonkin’s hide scorched in a jagged scar.

Besieged by stinging magic, the dragonkin hissed, snarled, and threw themselves at Sasha and Jennaca in an attempt to reach John. The huntress and her furry friend proved too agile to be batted aside and too dangerous to be ignored. John kept up his assault, straining under the ordeal of calling up and channeling so much magic so rapidly. Seeing how minimally effective his spells were, John pulled more magic and altered a spell on the fly to flash-freeze water in the air into shards of ice that he flung at one of the dragonkin. The razor sharp icicles struck the beast in the neck and shoulder and burrowed into its hide before breaking under the pressure of the impact.

The dragonkin hissed so loudly it was nearly a roar. It drew it’s foreleg up and then ducked back as Jennaca’s sword licked out and glanced off its snout.

“Need something harder,” John muttered and looked around. His lips twisted as a new idea came to him. “Keep them busy!”

Jennaca pushed after the wounded dragonkin as it stepped back away from her. It dropped its wounded leg to the ground and they both discovered the wounds weren’t so bad after all. Water was already running down its hide as the spell holding it together had ended and it returned to its natural state.

The dragonkin swiped at her with its other forelimb and Jennaca had to spin and then throw herself to the side to avoid the tail whipping in to try and skewer her. She bumped into the monster’s side. A fleeting glimpse confirmed that Sasha kept the other two dragonkin busy, but it wouldn’t be long before one of them would be free of the stalemate and slip past the tiger to reach John.

The dragonkin’s rear leg kicked out at her and dug bloody furrows into her thigh. Jennaca cried out and jumped. She didn’t jump away, as her foe expected, she jumped up and rolled over in midair to land on the dragonkin’s other side. The monster’s long body curved away from her as it searched high and low for her on its left side. Jennaca hit it from the right with a mighty overhand chop of both sword and axe. One of the short spikes deflected her sword even though it cleaved the horn-like protrusion off. Her axe struck true and crushed one of the bones in the dragonkin’s spine.

It twisted toward her but its hind leg wasn’t working right now. The dragonkin dragged itself and Jennaca was able to hop on her good leg and stay safely away from its snapping teeth and front claws. The creature’s tail twitched and swung at her, but it wasn’t able to come around far enough to be a threat.

John latest magical assault was ready. Rocks ranging in size from John’s fist to his head slammed into the dragonkin. It twisted back as a small one hit its side hard enough for them to hear an audible crack. A larger stone pounded into its shoulder and then the largest one yet struck the dragonkin at the base of its jaw. It staggered, stunned by the blow.

Jennaca hit it from the other side with a flurry of blows while more stones launched by John’s magic bludgeoned it. Jennaca limped forward and struck the monster three times on its head and snout, dropping it to the ground with a heavy flop. It rolled onto her foot, trapping her. Jennaca tried to pull her foot out but the muscles in her injured leg seized and contracted. Agony burned through her leg and up into her back, dropping her to the ground and driving the air from her chest.

“Jen!” John shouted as she fell. He took a step toward her and then found himself twisting and falling to the side. He hit the ground with a grunt and slid more than rolled another couple of feet.

John twisted and got his arms under him in time to sense the dark shape towering over him. He growled and threw himself onto his back and blasted black infernal flames up into the creature above him.

The dragonkin leapt back and shook itself, trying to shake the demonic flames that clung to its head and climbed up towards its face. John climbed to his feet and scrambled back several steps. Sasha was fighting with the dragonkin she faced and Jennaca was struggling to pull her leg out from under the beast she’d killed. He was on his own. A glance back at the dragonkin confirmed the worst: the black flames were starting to flicker and die.

John started with his most familiar attack. Searing magical flames spouted from his hands and blasted the dragonkin before the last of his infernal fire dissipated. The dragon hissed and jumped, trying to avoid the magical assault.

John followed it up with a fresh surge of magic from the ether that gathered in his palm and, as soon as he held his left hand out and struck it with his right like flint on steel, the magic leapt forward in an electrical bolt that caught the crouching dragonkin in the middle of his back. The magic-and-man-made lightning arced down from there to the monster’s hindquarters, burning gray lines in its hide before the spell ground out.

The dragonkin’s rear legs trembled and jerked. It took a few staggering steps to try and regain control of itself. John barely had time to ready himself as the dragonkin leapt at him. It slammed into the largest magical shield John had ever created. He guided the monster up to the side, deflecting snapping teeth, slashing claws, and even a stabbing tail that still managed to punch a hole through John’s robe and graze his leg.

John staggered to the side from the force of the impact. His spell fluttered out of existence as he freed up the resources he needed for his next attempt to stop the dragonkin. The beasts were covered in thick hide and hard to kill. Other than Jennaca cracking skulls and spines, they struggled to cause lasting injury. Most of the dead dragonkin at Highpass that he’d seen had been gutted, slashed, or stabbed from beneath. The last time John had tried being under a dragonkin hadn’t worked out so well for him though.

The ground though, that was below his opponent.

The dragonkin spun around and sank its claws into the hard packed ground. It snarled and coiled its muscles to spring when John spoke the final words of his spell and visualized what he wanted. He thrust his hand, palm up, into the air. His fingers and thumb extended as his spell shaped the earth beneath the dragonkin and drove it upwards in five spires.

The dragonkin tried to leap away as soon as it felt the ground rumble but John’s spell was already breaking the surface. Sharpened spikes of compressed dirt and rock struck the monster. One speared a forelimb while another grazed its back leg. One missed entirely to the dragon’s kin’s left. The fourth and fifth spikes struck true, driving up into the creatures lower belly and the hollow or its left shoulder.

The scorched and scarred beast hissed and twisted, trying to break free of the earthy spears impaling it. John admired his handiwork even as he panted and swayed on his feet.

Sasha padded up to it and, without warning, lashed out a clawed paw that swatted the reptilian head to the side and left furrows in its face that poured blood to the ground three feet beneath it.

The dragonkin lifted its head back up and hissed. Sasha darted under it and lifted her head so she could clamp her jaws down on the monster’s neck. She squeezed and gave a jerk of her head. Blood spurted onto the ground and into her fur. She gave it another jerk and then stepped back. The blood still ran, but it dripped from the monster instead of pulsing.


John turned, staggered and fell to one knee, and looked up. Zynga and Sadie were rushing down the path from the rise. Zynga held his spear as she ran, the haft dragging with every other step.

“Stop that! Ouch! That tickles! Sasha!”

John twisted and lurched back to his feet. Sasha had gone to Jennaca and she was… John stared and let a mad chuckle slip from his lips. Sasha was licking Jennaca’s leg where she’d been wounded. Blood ran steadily from the gouges and Jennaca was swatting at the tiger to make her stop. Sasha ignored her.

“Master, here,” Zynga said as she thrust John’s spear at him.

John leaned back out of the way of the point end of the spear, lost his balance and bumped into the dead dragonkin, and only then caught himself and jumped away from the impaled creature. He took his spear from Zynga and felt a boost of strength rush through him as soon as his fingers closed around it. He sucked in a deep breath and let it out, chasing the weariness in his body away and helping to clear the clouds of fatigue in his mind.

“Are you hurt?” Sadie asked as she skidded to a stop beside him.

“No… Jennaca is, help her.”

Sadie’s eyes widened and she turned until she saw Sasha and Jennaca. The tiger had moved to sit on Jennaca’s hand so she couldn’t stop her from licking the wound.

“Where are the others?” John asked.

Zynga gestured back up the path. “Over there, fighting.”

“Fighting? More dragonkin?”

Zynga nodded. “Big one too, he came down from the mines. Like what that girl said.”


“Yes, her. Stands on two feet, horrible breath, oh, and a really big axe. Might be a decent lesser demon, now that I think about it. A real demon, not one of these things.”

John cursed and ran back up the path. After two steps he realized that he felt better, but he really wasn’t. His leg burned where the dragonkin’s tail had slashed him and his body was sore from the battering he’d taken, however brief it had been. He growled and ignored it, struggling to continue his run until he reached the top of the rise.

He paused at the top and stared down. A lantern on the front of the tavern was the closest source of light for the three woman that had arranged themselves in a line. The light shown on the back of the three dragonkin and one large, upright, opponent faced them. A fourth dragonkin lay slumped on the ground behind the others, slain already. A handful of villagers had gathered in front of the tavern and watched the battle unfold.

John clenched his teeth. The villagers were behind the dragonkin, they should grab weapons and attack from behind! Even things up a bit.

John scowled and shook his head. They weren’t going to help. From the sounds of that fool mayor, they probably wanted John and his companions to lose. The darkness inside of him swelled and rose, causing a growl to sound in John’s throat.

Zynga looked at him, her eyes wide and an excited gleam in them. “Punish them, Master,” she urged him.

John searched the narrow valley floor until he found what he wanted. He traced the runes in the air and scribed the spell while speaking words of power to channel the mystical energies into it. The portal opened, granting him the magic he needed and filling the ethereal diagram. He guided the spell to a boulder on the side of the mountain and worked the magic to pull it free from the dirt that clung to the bottom and sides.

The rock, rose up, easily the size of a small horse, and began to move as John channeled more magic into the now-trembling spell form. The spell wasn’t designed for something this large. He was overwhelming the runes but he didn’t care. His people were under assault. He could smell their fear and pain even this far up the path from them.

John guided the boulder further and further, gravity and his magic speeding it up until the spell began to break apart at the unions of the lines. Magic flared and then, in less time than it took John to blink, it was gone. The rock plummeted down, struck the side of the valley with a sound of crashing thunder that made the ground tremble. The rock cracked and broke, as did others that were unfortunate enough to be in its way. A small landslide of rolling and bouncing rocks followed.

One of the dragonkin was swept away, though not without striking the next one and knocking it to the side. The upright dragonkin braced himself against the fusillade of rocks. They pelted him and drove him back and then knocked him over before the last of them settled around or on top of him.

The three warriors standing in front jumped back from the rock slide and stared in shock until they were certain it was over. The dragonkin scrambled to their feet and looked around, confused by the sudden events. The one that had been knocked away flopped around and climbed out from under some of the rocks. It returned, glaring at the rocks and limping around them.

Roxanne gambled and ran toward it. The dragonkin leapt sideways to get away from her and bring itself to face her properly, only to have it land on the loose stones that had tumbled down. Roxanne shield slammed its flailing claws to drive them back and then slammed her studded mace down on the dragonkin’s head. She struck it a second time to make sure and leapt back.

The creature jerked a few times and lay still on the stones.

The other dragonkin hissed and started to go to the aid of the fallen but Helleen’s spear and driving into the side of its neck made it snap at the spear and spin back to face her. The other dragonkin couldn’t get away without risking Artesia coming up behind it.

The dragonkin were outnumbered as soon as Roxanne turned and flanked them. They snarled and hissed, dropping into defensive roles. Helleen pushed forward with her spear and remembered to move with Artesia so she didn’t overextend and let the dragonkin inside her weapon’s reach.

Roxanne, freshly confident from her victory, rushed in to attack a distracted dragonkin. She didn’t see the tail in the dark until it was too late. It speared her shield arm to her side and then ripped the bony blade out and sent Roxanne staggering back. She tripped over a rock and crashed onto the dragonkin she’d brained with her mace.

“Rox!” Helleen howled.

“Hold!” Artesia shouted.

Helleen had already taken a step but Artesia’s voice was so powerful and deep she froze and then took a step back. The other dragonkin made a lunge for her but Artesia kicked it’s clawed hand so it just missed Helleen’s retreating leg. It snapped at Artesia and earned a clout to the nose with the edge of her blade that carved a notch in its hide.

John jogged down the path heading to join them. Helleen, distracted by her sister, had her spear swatted out of her hand. She reached for her sword and had it half drawn when the dragonkin leapt on her and pushed her to the ground with it landing on top of her.

Artesia turned and sliced across too late. She missed the pouncing beast’s side and back but she did catch it’s tail. The final third of the prehensile weapon flopped in the air and hung by a narrow band of flesh. Blood sprayed across the ground.

Artesia was rocked by the other dragonkin claw striking her thigh. Her greave held up but the force of the impact shook her body and wrenched her back around. She felt her back pop in a few places and let out a guttural grunt. She staggered to recover and only a few swipes with her sword kept the dragonkin from pursuing her and leaving her in the same position Helleen found herself in.

Helleen fought back against the monster on top of her. It hissed angrily above her as its injured tail whipped back and forth and rained blood down on all of them. Helleen held a claw in place against her chain covered bodice and tried to ignore the tips of its claws that poked through the rings and scratched her belly in spite of the sturdy leather. Her other hand pushed against the marginally softer underside of the dragonkin’s neck to keep its mouth away.

Another figure lurched out of the darkness to her left. Helleen’s eyes widened and she shifted her head to the right to use the dragonkin as a shield. It worked! She felt the monster shudder on top of her and then felt a second and a third strike.

Three hits? Whoever attacked her wasn’t attacking, they were attacking the dragonkin. Helleen pushed harder and found the dragonkin wasn’t fighting anymore. Then again, it weighed a lot and her arm was getting tired!

She rolled it off and found her sister kneeling beside her. Roxanne saw her and closed her eyes. Her head swung forward and then snapped back up. She opened her eyes again and locked gazes with Helleen while her mace fell from her fingers. Roxanne fell forward again and caught herself with her now free hand. Her arm didn’t stop her, it only slowed her descent. She toppled forward on the dead dragonkin, landing on her mangled left arm and letting out a pitiful cry.

Helleen struggled to rise but her legs were trapped under the bulk of the beast.

Artesia got her balance and her wind back. The loose feeling in her back she ignored for now. It was just her and the dragonkin. He had a bloody nose and she had… well, she didn’t know what was wrong with her. The dragonkin rushed at her though, coming forward in hops that let it swipe and slash at her with its claws.

She jumped back the first time and felt her back tighten and cramp. She clenched her teeth and tightened her core, imaging her torso as an unyielding tree trunk. The dragonkin advanced again, swiping with its other claw this time.

Artesia met the swing with her sword. The blade deflected off a claw and buried into the meat where the fingers met. She yanked her sword out and through, sawing deeper into the cleft. It jerked its claw back and held it in mid-air long enough to hiss at her.

The woman-at-arms thrust her sword forward, trying to take advantage of her momentum. The creature jerked to the side and let the sword glance off the side of its head. It turned before Artesia could pull back and clamped its teeth down on the blade. Artesia scowled and tugged on her sword. The dragonkin held it fast and then, with a twist of its head and flex of its powerful jaws, it snapped the blade off just above the hilt.

Artesia stumbled back and tripped. She fell on her bottom but all she knew was a flaring agony that raced up her back. The dragonkin lunged forward and then stopped when it realized something was wrong. It snapped its jaw in mid air but couldn’t dislodge the section of blade that her wedged itself across the roof of its mouth between its teeth.

She drew her dagger and slammed it into the chest of the creature. It pulled back, trying to get away from her but Artesia wouldn’t let it. She caught its hind leg between hers and locked her ankle together, trapping it and dragging her with it. She felt like her entire body was a raw stump being ground against a salty beach. Nothing mattered except the pain and the knowledge that she had to hold on or die.

The dragonkin tripped on her gripping legs and fell back on its haunch. Artesia flung and arm around its neck and pulled herself close enough to slam her knife into its chest again. She managed another stab while it tried to get a hand between them and push her away. Artesia grimaced as a claw narrowly missed her eye and creased the side of her head. It snagged her elongated ear and ripped through the tip, all without dislodging her.

Artesia twisted and push with her dagger, sawing deeper through the thinner hide of the beast’s underside. She felt the vibration of bone an twisted the blade the other way, sliding deeper moving easier now. She worked the blade back and forth until the dragonkin realized it could not dislodge her. It dropped on top of her instead.

Artesia coughed loudly. The air in lungs exploded through her mouth and nose, burning her throat in the process with the force of it. The dagger trapped between them was driven into the dragonkin’s chest so far that even the hilt tore through the hide. The pommel ground against Artesia’s hauberk and pinched her cruelly.

Artesia lay there, stunned and struggling to breath. She was lying on something, either a bed of stabbing rocks or maybe even Roxanne’s mace. That or she’d fallen in a campfire. She couldn’t move though, the dragonkin had her pinned down and any thoughts of escape made her hurt almost as much as her body already did.

Helleen managed to sit up and was struggling to free herself from the dragonkin when she saw a rock rise and roll away from the pile in the middle of the pass. More rocks moved and then, slowly, a dark shape rose to its hands and knees. It lifted its head and met her gaze with dark, cold eyes.

“Fuck me,” Helleen breathed.

The creature lifted itself up to stand on its feet, a long shaft with a wicked curving axe blade on one end. It rose to its full height just as another shape materialized out of the darkness behind it. Helleen gasped as the massive creature lifted the axe up and then jerked.

Helleen stared, startled and expecting the blade to drop on her like an executioner’s axe. No, this creature’s axe was larger. But still it didn’t fall. Wait– there it went… but it fell from the monster’s hands and clattered across the rocks.

The bigger brother to the dragonkin staggered backward a half step and then fell to its knees. It kept going, catching itself on its hands for a moment and then falling the rest of the way forward so it’s face was on the dragonkin that was on her legs.

Now she could see a man standing triumphant behind the creature, a spear held in both hands and a strange non-light surrounding him in an aura that she couldn’t exactly see so much as feel. The aura faded, pulling back into the man and she realized with a start that she was staring at her Master.

John ripped his spear out of the dragonkinman– dragonman– and met her eyes before glancing to her right and left.

“Thank you, milord,” Helleen whispered. She chose milord only because she knew he wouldn’t want her to call him by his proper title… Master.

“Are you all right?” he asked as he stepped around the pile of bodies and looked down at Roxanne. Her eyes were open, barely, and she was reaching across her body to clutch her side with her good arm.

“I’m stuck,” she said. “They’re heavy, but I’ll be fine. Rox got stabbed… it looked bad.”

John nodded and turned. Jennaca was running full out down the path and Sadie was hurrying along behind her, her dress clutched in her hands to give her legs room to move faster. John reached out to brush a tear off of Roxanne’s cheek with his thumb. “Rest, you did well. Sadie will be here in a moment.”

Roxanne forced her eyes open and she tried to smile. She nodded and coughed, then squeezed her eyes shut a moment as a spasm of pain tormented her.

John moved to grab Helleen under the arms. She heard him grunt as he strained to pull her out from under the carcasses. She winced as her ankle was bent before she finally popped free and was able to move again.

“Thanks,” Helleen panted.

John grunted and moved over to grab the dragonkin on top of Artesia. He could see her arms moving and trying to dislodge the beast, but the catches in her breath told him she was in dire shape as well. He grabbed the dragonkin and pulled on it, dragging it slowly off of Artesia to the side and then moving to pull its lower body off as well. He stared down at Artesia and offered his hand to her.

Artesia looked up at him and shivered. She winced and let a breath whistle through her teeth.

“You’re hurt,” John stated.

She hesitated and then risked a nod. “My back.”

John’s eyes widened. “Can you feel your legs?”

She gave him a twisted smile. “I feel them all right. Feel like I’ve been spitted and I’m being roasted over a fire.”

John nodded. “Okay… don’t move. Sadie will tend to do you next.”

“Good idea,” Artesia said. “You’re going to handle the rest of them?”

John looked around. “I don’t see any more.”

She tried to lift her head but let it drop back to the ground when it proved too painful to move. “Okay. Good job, my lord.”

“I even used my spear once,” John tried to lighten the mood.

“You stabbed him in the back.”

“Still counts.”

Artesia rolled her eyes.

He turned back and saw Sadie cut away Roxanne’s ruined tunic. She placed her hand on the woman’s side and prayed while holding her holy symbol. A soft glow emanated from the amulet and Roxanne’s breathing grew easier. Sadie tugged her ruined shirt back up and tended to her arm next, channeling Eile’s blessing into the torn flesh and rejoining rent muscles and tendons until even the skin looked fresh and new.

Sadie sat back on her calves for a moment and then looked up at John.

He turned and looked at Artesia. “Her back,” he said

She nodded and rose to her feet. She dropped down beside her and looked over. “I’ll tend to your back in a minute,” she said and reached out the gently press her hand along the gouge in the side of Artesia’s head.

When she finished Artesia smiled and said, “Thank you. I didn’t even notice it until you mended it.”

“The bone was laid bare and your ear was nearly cut off.”

“Could have let the ear go,” Artesia said.

“No, it’s part of what makes you beautiful,” Sadie insisted. “Now did they cut you or something?”

“No, just… I got twisted wrong and something popped. Then I felt all… well, loose. The pain came a little later. Then it really hit when I fell on my arse.”

“Can you move?”

“Of course,” Artesia said. “I may cry like a sandling and curse like a sailor though.”

Sadie smiled. “I won’t tell anyone if you do.”

“I won’t care,” Artesia admitted. “I’ve never felt pain like this.”

“I need to take your armor off.”

“What?” Artesia hissed.

“I have to see the wound. See it… and touch it with my bare hands.”

“It’s inside,” Artesia argue. “I didn’t get cut.”

“All the same, it must be my flesh against yours.”

Artesia took a moment and then gave a curt nod. She winced at the effort. “I’ll need help, I think… and, um, privacy.”

“Of course,” Sadie said. She turned and saw Helleen kneeling next to her sister. Roxanne was struggling to stay awake. Healing grievous wounds was an exhausting ordeal. More so for the person being healed, but it took its toll on Sadie too.

John stepped up beside them and squatted down. “I’ll help,” he said.

“All right,” Sadie said and moved to her other side. “We should have a plank to put her on and carry her.”

“I have a better idea,” John said.

He closed his eyes a moment before nodding to himself. He focused and traced out a spell in the air above her. He pulled the magic into it and made Artesia gasp as she felt herself lifted off the ground. She moved without moving. Her body lifted in perfect support as it had when she’d been laying on the ground.

Zynga scooped up Artesia’s fallen dagger and fell in step with the others. Jennaca put her hand on Sasha’s back and lightly ruffled the tiger’s fur. The people gathered in front of it stared at them until it occurred to them they were returning. They all fled back inside save for Karl, the tavern’s owner. He waited out front and held the door open for them without saying a word.


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