Feature Writer: Phineas

Feature Title: WIZARD 8

Published: 14.07.2021

Story Codes: Erotic Horror

Synopsis: Adding to John’s band of friends with benefits.

Author’s Notes: From a hastily abandoned village in the hills to the promise of survivors, John’s life is growing more complicated by the moment. Not to mention the promise of adding to his band of friends with benefits.

Wizard 8

“We found someone!” Helleen shouted down the street.

John and the others turned to see the tall woman waving at them. Jennaca came behind her with her shoulder under the arm of a young woman that was struggling to keep up. Weston was behind them with a body slung over his shoulder. Sasha walked beside Jennaca with her nose in her air to sniff out any threats.

Sadie darted forward but John caught her arm and stopped her. She jerked to a halt and went from shock to glaring at him. She jerked her arm out of his grasp.

“You’re too important to risk,” John tried to mollify her. “Artesia–”

“No, I’m not leaving your side.”

John rolled his eyes and turned to Matthew.

Matthew smirked and turned. “Come on, let’s escort these ladies back!”

“Weston’s not a lady,” Troy pointed out while hurrying to catch up.

“Neither’s Helleen, but don’t tell her I said that,” Matthew responded.

Amos, Hector, and Roderick joined the rush and met them up down the road. Amos scooped up the young woman Jennaca was helping in his arms and they hurried back to the wagons. Once there Roxanne hopped out with a wince to make room for the girl to be set down in the back of a wagon. Weston’s charge, an older man, was laid down beside her.

“Found them in a root cellar,” Jennaca told them. “A barrel full of water was wedged over the top, we had to smash it apart after we heard Arika calling for help.”

“Arika?” John asked.

“That’s the girl’s name,” Jennaca said.

“Of course,” John said and turned to see Sadie hovering over the old man. She held her holy symbol in one hand while she inspected him. John’s eyes were drawn to the religious artifact and found his inner demon starting to writhe. He shook his head and pushed it back down.

“You okay?” Jennaca asked.

John nodded. “Yeah, just had a case of the chills, you know?”


John shrugged and smiled.

She nodded at Roxanne. “So, did you…”

“That’s hardly appropriate.”

Jennaca ignored his gentle reproach. “I’ve seen that limp before. I’ve walked that limp before.”

“It wasn’t planned,” John mumbled.

“I believe you,” she assured him. “At least, on your part.”

John coughed away a chuckled and turned back to the survivors.

Roxanne was tending to the girl and trying to keep her from guzzling the water in the skin she held. “Drink slow or you’ll make yourself sick,” Roxanne warned.

“She said they’d been trapped for days,” Helleen said. “The old man’s her grandfather. They were supposed to hide with their family but something happened after they went down. They heard the crash and then screaming. Since then it’s been silent until we showed up.”

“They were in a root cellar and couldn’t find any food?” John asked.

“Food, yes. No water though,” Helleen pointed out.

“Ah,” John grunted.

The girl, Arika, sat up straighter and looked around. She focused on her grandfather and started to reach for him. Roxanne caught her and held her back.

“Not yet, sweetie. Let Sadie tend to him. She works miracles, just you wait and see,” Roxanne soothed her.

Arika hesitated and then looked at Roxanne. She took the imposing warrior woman in and blinked her eyes. She looked to the others, noting Helleen and Roxanne were twins before taking in the others. Her eyes fell on Jennaca and her shoulders relaxed at last.

Jennaca slipped between the gladiators and moved close to her. She took the girl’s hand and said, “You’re safe now.”

She stiffened and shook her head. “No… none of us are safe!”

Amidst the confused mutterings John spoke loudly enough to cut through and ask, “Safe from what?”

Arika’s eyes went to John and stayed there. Her jaw worked a few times before she made sound come out of it. “The… the demons. They came for us all. They used to just kill animals or people out wandering. Traders… hunters… woodsman…”

“Demons?” John asked. He forced the darkness down and made himself relax. “What sort of demons?”

“I… I don’t know,” she said. “I heard them scratching above us. I heard whispers or hisses or something. Then they scream. No, not a scream… they roar.”

John glanced at Sasha. “Like a plains tiger?”

“No… it’s different.”

“But you haven’t seen one?”

She shook her head and shivered.

John frowned. “I’ve never heard of demons acting like this.”

“Demons wouldn’t act like this,” Zynga confirmed as she walked up behind him. “Oh, the terror would be fun for them, but they wouldn’t have the patience to carry them away. They’d rip the people apart here and now and enjoy the sport of it.”

“Sport?” the girl asked.

“To them, yes,” John agreed.

She finally looked away from him. Fresh tears ran down her cheeks. “My dad made sure we were safe then he must have pulled the barrel over. He said there was no time… he…he…”

“It’s all right,” Jennaca said and pulled the girl in for a hug. Arika broke down and sobbed into her shoulder.

John backed away and turned to find Artesia staring at him. “They’re not demons,” he said softly.

Artesia nodded. “What then?”

“I don’t know,” he admitted. “A town full of people and not a single body. Just blood here and there.”

“The scratching makes sense, we’ve seen proof of their claws,” Artesia said.

Matthew joined John and Artesia. “What do you make of it?”

John opened his mouth to respond but Jennaca called for him first.

“John, there are others!”

John turned to face them. “Others? Other demons or… other what?”

“Tell him,” Jennaca urged the old man.

“He needs rest,” Sadie snapped. “He can talk later.”

“No… no, it’s all right,” the pale man said. Arika was sitting beside him and holding his hand. The tears in her eyes were happy tears for a change now that Sadie had used her magic to pull him back from the brink of death.

“Other villages,” the man began. As he spoke his voice gained strength. “In the mountains there are a few small towns set up where they began mining. We heard one found a strong gold vein but we haven’t seen much come through Rock Haven before runners between the villages have been warning of people going missing. Some made it and complained that the mountains had changed. They were quieter. Darker. Soon enough the men and woman that carried news and supplies between villages started going out in pairs and then threesomes to protect each other.”

“Wise,” John mumbled.

“One day a man made it to town. Just one. He was winded and hurt, but I’ll never forget his eyes. He was haunted by what he’d seen and no amount of hurt would slow him down. He wouldn’t stop going on about demons that stole his friends– the two men that were his companions. He barely got away. Said they were black as pitch and as long as a man… longer, since they had tails that were more dangerous than a spear.”

“Saints protect us,” Sadie murmured and kissed her holy symbol.

“We nursed him back to health and did what we could to keep him away from the others. He was going madder and madder each day, you see…”

“What happened to him?” Matthew asked.

The old man shook his head. “I don’t know. I expect the same that happened to everyone else. Killed. Taken. It’s all the same. You need to leave, all of you. Head back south and take Arika with you.”

“We’ll take you too,” Sadie said. “Don’t worry about that.”

He shook his head, “I’m an old man, I’d slow you down.”

“Grandpa, don’t say that!” Arika hissed.

“We have wagons and horses,” Sadie assured him.

“I need to know where these villages are,” John interrupted them.

The old man looked at him. He lifted himself up on his arm and studied John before asking, “Rock Haven had thirty seven able bodied men. Every one of them could face down a goblin or wolf. These are hard men… men and women. They don’t run from a fight and they don’t make things up. Oh sure, maybe some are liars or worse, but in these lands if you can’t fend for yourself and work the hard jobs, you don’t last long. Whatever it was that came here isn’t something you’ll be able to fight off in your fancy robe.”

“I’ve got a lot more going for me than a fancy robe,” John said.

“He’s a wizard,” Jennaca boasted. “More importantly, he’s got Artesia and me at his side.”

The man looked at the three. “All right, assuming you know what your doing is one thing, but there’s enough of those things to take every man, woman, and child in Rock Haven. How will three fare against dozens?”

“We’ve got Sasha too,” Jennaca said.


Sasha roared from where she was lying in the middle of the road.

The man started and sat up so he could look around and see her. He chuckled and shook his head. “Didn’t expect that… but still, to hear it these things are close to your tiger’s size. You want to live, you turn back south now.”

“John… these people… they were taken alive. Captured. For what?” Jennaca asked.

John pressed his lips together and then nodded. “I expect we’d best find out.”

“You’re going?” Matthew asked. “In spite of what you heard?”

“Don’t feel challenged by us. Maybe we’re the mad ones? Or maybe the people of this town and the others need help? Your crew are gladiators, not soldiers. Not warriors. Skilled, yes, but this isn’t the kind of fighting you know well. Take Arika and her grandfather south. See them safe.”

Matthew lifted his head when John spoke of the difference in skill his people possessed. “We can fight whatever this is, don’t you doubt milord.”

John nodded. “I don’t doubt that at all, but I’d hate for any of your people to be hurt or killed on what might be a fool’s errand.”

Matthew chewed the words over and nodded. “We’ll think on it. It’s late, should we take up lodging in a house here or return to the wilds and circle our wagons?”

“In town,” Artesia said. “Easier to defend in a single building.”

“What about the horses?” Troy asked.

“The tavern has as table. We make that our camp,” Matthew said. He counted off the men in his troop and John and his companions. “Five to a watch.”

John nodded. “I’ll agree to that.”

“Blasim, take Troy, Roderick, and Amos and see what you can do to secure the stables,” Matthew said. “George, Weston, and Helleen get those wagons and horses secured.”

“Let’s take the tavern,” John said to his companions. “See what we can do in there.”

“Sasha won’t much care for staying inside,” Jennaca warned as she followed him to the tavern.

“It’s up to you,” John said. “Or, since she’s your friend and not your pet, it’s up to her.”

Jennaca beamed a smile at him. “Keep talking like that and you’re going to struggle to find time to spend with girls like Roxanne.”

“Why’s that?”

“You’ll have to kick me out of your bed to make room for her!”

John chuckled. “Could just get a bigger bed?”

Artesia snorted and looked away.

“I hadn’t thought of that,” Jennaca mused. She nodded and fought to keep the smile off her face. “Leave it to you.”

They reached the tavern and studied the door and windows before heading inside. A low rumble served as a warning for John to hold the door open for Sasha to walk through. She made a place for herself in the middle of the room and flopped down on her side. Her back bumped against a chair and slid it into the table it belonged to, moving both a half a foot away from her.

“Hope I never get in her way,” Artesia muttered.

“No kidding,” John said. “Check the back, Jennaca see what we can do to keep the door and windows secure. I’ll check upstairs. Zyn– where’d she go?”

“I saw her with Roxanne,” Jennaca said.

John raised an eyebrow and then chuckled. “All right, let’s get to work.”

They went their separate ways and fortified the doors and windows of the tavern as best the supplies at hand allowed. By the time they were finished and returned to the common room the gladiators had joined them save for four that stayed outside to watch the stables and tavern. Jennaca opted to keep first watch on the inside of the tavern.

They bedded down in the tavern’s rooms or on bedrolls in the common room and settled in for the night. A fire burned in the hearth, giving the tavern light and warmth that had been missing for days. It almost felt like a normal stopover on a long journey, save for the threat of the unknown demons that might be lurking in the dark.

“My lord, wake up,” Artesia roused John from his slumber. He sat up in bed and swung his legs out, sensing urgency in her tone. He rose without noticing Artesia glance at his thick cock. She looked away, blushing, and moved to stand outside his room while he pulled his robe on and set his magic to refreshing his body.

“Something wrong?” John asked when he opened the door and stepped out.

“They’re gone,” she said.

“Matthew took his crew back to the south?”

“No, my lord, they’re still with us.”

“Then who? Wait… the girl and her grandfather?”

“Yes, my lord.”

John stared at her a moment. “Nobody saw them leave?”

She shook her head.


“I checked on them this morning. Their room was empty.”

John let out a breath. “They could have gone on their own, they didn’t need to sneak out.”

“I checked all the windows and doors, no one came in unless all the guards on one of the shifts fell asleep. I took this morning’s watch and I’m sure I was awake.”

“Is anything missing? Food, water, money, equipment… anything?”


John swore. “Does anyone else know?”

“I spoke to you first. The others are only beginning to waken.”

“Thank you, Artesia… I guess let’s go.”

“My lord…”

John stopped at the head of the stairs and turned back to face her. “Yes?”

“This is… strange. All of it,” she said. “The abandoned town. The two survivors. Now they’re gone too… I don’t like it.”

“Nor do I, but there are missing townsfolk. Two more missing now, I suppose.”


“So… what do you mean?”

“Why must we risk our lives for them? We don’t know them. We should leave this place.”

“Abandon them?”

She nodded. “My job is to protect you, my lord, not to rescue townsfolk that have been captured by demons, imaginary or otherwise.”

“I’ve never known you to be afraid before.”

“A foe that captures instead of kills… Why? You say it is no demon and I believe you, but no animal captures prey alive. They kill to feast or kill to protect.”

John nodded. “The fear you have for that fate coming to us… I imagine you’ve been captured already or someone dear to you has been?”

“No one is dear to me,” she grumbled.

“Okay, imagine I was captured and taken. What then?”

She sighed. “I’d come after you.”

“As I would for you, my friend.”

She shrugged. “Very well, my lord. I had to at least try.”

“Thank you.”

Her brow furrowed.

“Thank you for coming to me and talking. For sharing your thoughts. I cherish them and always want to know them… especially if you disagree with me.”

She hesitated and nodded. “Yes, my lord.”

John smiled. “Don’t worry, Artesia, this won’t be the end of us.”

“What about the others?” she asked. “Jennaca, Roxanne, or the rest.”

John tilted his head. “Why did you single out Roxanne?”

“Isn’t she one of yours now?” she asked. “After yesterday…”

John chuckled. “You knew?”

She raised an eyebrow.

He chuckled again. “Fair enough. I don’t know whether Roxanne will join us or not. There’s her sister too.”

Artesia snorted. “Like you couldn’t seduce her too.”

John sighed. “True… but are they worthy? Are they good enough?”

“Helleen, perhaps,” she said. “Both need to learn how to fight.”

“There’s more to joining us than fighting,” John pointed out.

“Can’t you insure their loyalty with your… powers?”

“Perhaps, but I wouldn’t want to,” John said. “That’s slavery, not service. I don’t want slaves, I want people like you. People that think for themselves and sometime disagree with me.”

“Often times,” Artesia admitted.

John laughed. “Even often… but you’re still here,” he pointed out.

“So I am,” she said.

John smiled. “Come on, Arika and her grandfather are gone… what was his name?”

She shrugged.

“Ah well. I hope they live long and boring lives,” he said. “Let’s go find out what Matthew has decided, I want to be off and see if we can’t find one of those other villages before dusk.”

Artesia bowed her head, “My lord.”

John descended the stairs and found Jennaca lounged on her back, her head using Sasha’s side as a pillow. Sasha was looking around and met John’s gaze. Her mouth opened and stretched wide in a yawn that displayed teeth nearly long enough to be daggers.

“Good morning,” John greeted her. “Is anyone else awake?”

“Waking slowly,” Jennaca said.

“Ugh, already?” Helleen groaned. She was lying on a bedroll near Jennaca’s feet. Roxanne was on Helleen’s other side and lifted her head to look around.

“Too fucking early,” Roxanne muttered and dropped her head down again.

“We survived the night!” Mathew shouted as he came down the stairs. “Another day of staring death in the face and saying, ‘Not today you old prick!'”

John turned and smiled. “The day is early though.”

Matthew joined him in the common room. “That it is… are you still bound and determined to go into those mountains?”

“I am,” John said.

“And your companions?”

“We’re with him,” Jennaca said.

“Were my lord goes, I go,” Artesia confirmed.

“Better than a long, dull life,” Zynga said, drawing everyone to notice she was sitting on the edge of the bar.

Matthew sighed and saw both Roxanne and Helleen watching him with keen interest.

The sound of fresh boots on the stairs drew their eyes to a woman’s legs that soon revealed Sadie coming down the stairs. She was dressed for the road and had her pack in one hand at her side. She stopped when she saw them all watching her.

“Ah, Sadie, perfect timing,” Matthew said. “I was just about to offer to escort young miss Arika and her grandfather to safer lands.”

Roxanne and Helleen sucked in breaths. Sadie frowned and looked past Matthew to John.

“Uh, about that,” John said. “They’ve already left. Sometime in the night, it seems… but no one knows when or how.”

Matthew’s mouth opened and shut.

“They snuck away?” Blasim asked as he sat up in his bedroll.

“Seems that way,” John said.

“Good,” Sadie said and continued down the stairs. “No reason we can’t go after the townsfolk then. We saw enough blood and violence I’m sure some of them are hurt… or will be.”

“If there are even any survivors,” Matthew said. He shook his head. “This isn’t smart money.”

Roxanne sat up and looked to John. Helleen looked to both John and Jennaca. Zynga hopped off the bar and walked over past the twins and brushed her fingers across Roxanne’s shoulder. Roxanne’s eyes went to the halfling’s thick bottom and a little color filled her cheeks.

“Damn,” Matthew muttered when he saw that three of his crew had made up their minds. He nodded. “They did saw they found a gold mine?”

John smirked. “Indeed they did. I suppose any survivors would pay a handsome bounty to have it returned to them.”

Matthew nodded. “I suppose they might. All right, we’re with you, Lord John.”

John’s smile faltered when he saw the shadow pass over Sadie’s face. It was gone in a moment and she looked as beautiful and distant as ever. He needed to find out what that was about… if time permitted.

“We’ll need to leave the wagons,” Artesia said. “The mountains don’t favor them at all.”

John nodded. “I won’t leave the horses and wagons to whatever chance throws at them.”

“For the best, that. I hate to think of poor George huffing and puffing through the mountains. I’ll leave some lads behind to watch them and keep the place warm and cozy for our return.”

John smiled and saw Zynga snickering as she looked at him. “What?”

“Nothing, Master,” she said. “Just imagining you with a cigar in your mouth and complimenting yourself on how you love it when a plan comes together.”

John blinked a few times before asking, “What’s a cigar?”


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