New entry for the poll driven story “The Fall of Almerry Keep”

You can find the new entry below the break or find the current part of the series in its entirety HERE.

This section doesn’t have any sex but it does have a lot of important plot development/reorganizing of the story structure. After this entries should be a lot longer with two scenes playing out in different locations going forward. And it will probably be pretty obvious but I already have the end of this plotted out, right now all we are doing is having fun filling in the gaps between there and where we are now.

Before Dunla could object the temple began to shake violently. Looking up they could all see the trees and roots and vines that made up the walls and ceiling were withering and dying, causing the building to start to collapse.

The four girls all screamed, panicking and making a mad dash for safety as the temple fell apart around them. They had to dodge falling debris and focus on their feet to avoid tripping into the holes in the floor opening as the roots that had made it twisted and pulled themselves back into the earth.

As the temple fell in upon itself and was sucked into the earth each of them thought they were the only ones that had survived. But as the last of the temple was pulled down into the earth leaving only a clearing behind they were able to see each other standing on the sides of the empty clearing.

Gwynaetha screamed, sobbing in relief as she ran to Emiko. She jumped at the Kittaran, clinging to her. “I thought you didn’t make it out!”

“You both made it!” Resi called out happily, wiping tears from her eyes. “I thought… but it doesn’t matter, we all made it!”

Emiko stood in silence, staring past Gwynaetha as the girl clung to her. She was staring at the ground where the temple had disappeared with no emotion on her face.

“Wait,” Resi said, looking around. “Dunla? Dunla, where are you!”

“She didn’t make it out,” Emiko said, her voice devoid of emotion.

Gwynaetha let go of her and threw her hands over her mouth. “No. She had to have made it out!”

“She didn’t,” Emiko assured her.

“She can’t be dead,” Resi proclaimed defiantly.

“She’s not.”

The three girls turned and stared in disbelief at the person who had spoken. She stood in the forest, shadowed by the dense trees at the edge of the clearing they stood in. Only her eyes could be made out clearly, glowing in the darkness.

“Amoera?” Resi asked, taking a cautious step forward. “Is that you?”

“Yes,” Amoera replied, stepping out of the shadows into the moonlight illuminating the clearing. “Hello, girls. I’ve missed you all so much.”

The young Blood Elve was naked except for leather bondage cuffs on her wrists and ankles and a matching collar around her neck. She stood with confident poise they’d never seen in her, her hands clasped peacefully together at her front. She looked exactly like they remembered her except her skin was a darker shade of red, but even that wasn’t too odd. Her skin tone had always seemed to shift in different light, at times hiding her race.

Gwynaetha squealed in delight and ran to Amoera, jumping and throwing her arms around her. “Oh, Amoera! You have no idea how good is to see you. Are Teldy and Peare with you?” She let go of her, looking expectedly at her. The sadness she saw in the girl’s face left her stepping back in discomfort.

“No,” Amoera said slowly. “Teldy and Peare aren’t here. But I saved Teldy before she left the woods and the Forest Witch assured me Peare was saved too.”

Gwynaetha pulled back further just as the other two girls came to join them. “The Forest Witch saved Peare? Amoera, she’s evil.”

“The Forest Witch IS evil,” Amoera agreed. “But not my Faun.”

“Amoera, that doesn’t make any sense,” Resi said.

“How do you know Dunla is alive?” Emiko asked, pushing past the other two and crossing her arms as she glared at Amoera. “How do we even know your real. You could be an illusion or something masquerading as Amoera, just another cruel trick of the Forest Witch.”

“Emiko, stop,” Gwynaetha pleaded, placing a hand on the Kittaran’s shoulder.

“No,” the Emiko snapped, flinging her fluffy pink tail at the stocky girl to bat her away. “I won’t stop.” She turned to the others. “Don’t you get it? We don’t survive this. Maybe Dunla does, but us? The witch is toying with us.” She pointed behind her. “That’s just another cruel trick like the mirror was. I’m NOT falling for it this time. Maybe YOU both want what happened in there to happen again but I don’t.”

Resi and Gwynaetha looked at each other then looked at the Kittaran, confused and unsure what to say or do.

“Emiko, it’s okay,” Amoera said calmy.

The Kittaran whirled around and hissed angrily at Emiko. “You shut your fucking mouth, monster!”

Resi and Gwynaetha gasped. “I’ve never heard you swear,” one of them said. “I’ve never even heard you angry like that,” the other added.

Emiko turned back to them, eyes mad. “I just want it to be over,” she said, shaking as she began to sob hysterically. “You can’t understand what it’s been like for me as a Kittaran. Maybe if I’d been in heat I could handle it as well as you two have. But I’m not.”

Amoera stepped up to her and wrapped a calming arm around the Kittaran. For a moment the other two thought Emiko would pull away from the Blood Elve, maybe even attack her.

The moment passed and Emiko threw her arms around Amoera, clinging to her tightly and sobbing into her shoulder. “Gods, Amoera, I missed you. We all did. It really is you, isn’t it?”

Amoera held her and patted her back reassuringly. “I can make it better,” she told her. “I can’t save you, not yet, but I can make it better. Would you like that, Emiko?”

The Kittaran sniffled. “I don’t understand but yes. Please, Amoera, make it better.”

Amoera grabbed her face and held her in place while she kissed her. It was a long, deep, wet kiss that the Kittaran tried to pull away from at first, but the resistance quickly died and a moment later she was leaning into the kiss.

When Amoera pulled away Emiko stumbled back, gasping for air. “What did you do to me,” she asked, holding her chest and looking down at herself. “I saw a flash of crimson light when we were kissing and now I… I feel different.”

“You’re in heat,” Amoera said, smiling serenely. “Isn’t that what you wanted? You said if you were in heat it wouldn’t be as bad.”

All three girls backed away from Amoera and drew in close together.

“What happened to you?” Resi asked. “You’re different… What did the Forest Witch do to you?”

“She helped free me,” she replied. “I know that might be hard to believe but she helped me discover who I am. I’ve been so very happy here with her. I don’t expect you to understand that either, especially since you’ve come to kill her.”

“Amoera, where is Dunla,” Gwynaetha demanded, disturbed by everything her friend was saying.

“Dunla has business with the witch. But it’s going to be okay, the terrible Forest Witch has been appeased and my Faun is mostly in control right now. And I have dominion over my Faun and through that dominion I have control over the forest.”

She turned to look at it. “I didn’t understand it at first, but I think the forest and her aren’t separate things. I wasn’t with her long before I realized she wasn’t just a woman. She’s something more, much more. Not a god, but god-like. She’s tied to Alaria and limited in her powers by some rules I don’t think we could ever understand.

“The witch is going to be distracted by Dunla for quite some time,” she said as she turned back to face the others. “As long as she keeps her distracted I can try and assert control over the forest so I can save you all. Would you like that? Would you like me to save you like I saved Teldy?”

The three drew in close, holding each other. “Do we have a choice?” Resi asked.

“No,” Amoera said, smiling in a way that disturbed them all. “No, you do not.”

* * *

As the temple had started to crumble and the other girls had screamed and scattered Dunla had remained rooted to the ground, unable to move. Her sword had begun vibrating and her hands felt as if they were being fused to it. For a moment the blade had turned to glass and she’d seen her reflection in it as if it was a mirror. The blade shifted slightly and the reflection of her and the crumbling temple had disappeared, replaced by Amoera’s smiling face.

Then there had been a flash of crimson light and the world had felt as though it was being sucked into the sword. She had the strong unsettling feeling of being turned inside out then fell, landing with a thud on a hard floor.

As she scrambled back to her feet she struggled to make sense of the world around her. The crumbling temple was gone and instead she was standing in a cluttered cabin, at least that was what she thought at first. The air was still and she felt neither heat nor cold. When she tried to focus on something, a table or shelf or even a wall in the distance, it would shimmer and distort like a mirror turned at a strange angle.

“Hello?” she called out. “Amoera?” she added, remembering the glimpse of her she’d seen in her sword.

She held it up, looking at it curiously. Aside from her, it was the only thing that seemed to be real. She could also feel that the sword was different. It felt more powerful in her hands and the blade was more reflective than it once had been.

“The mirror,” she gasped. “I remember sucking the remains of the mirror into the sword. It felt like that’s what I needed to do to destroy. But did I?” She looked at the world around her again. “It’s like I’m inside a world on the other side of a mirror. Or maybe I’m inside the sword? Whatever it is, there has to be a way out.”

Looking around more slowly she realized there was one thing in the room that didn’t shift and distort when she looked at it. A full body mirror, the same size as the one she’d shattered but with a much different frame. She went to it, reaching out to run her hand along the ornate frame. It was beautiful and carved with skill that would be breathtaking if its presence didn’t feel so unsettling.

“A sword,” she whispered, tracing the outline of the blade carved into the top of the frame. “My sword.” She looked down at her sword and watched as it vibrated, feeling it being pulled towards the mirror.

The mirror had been showing her a reflection of herself and the strange mirror dimension she seemed to be trapped in but once her sword had its moment of connection with the mirror the glass rippled and changed. Suddenly the mirror’s surface was more like a pane of glass. On the other side was the cabin she was standing in, only real.

“I’m inside the reflection of a mirror that’s in the witch’s cabin,” she realized, gripping the sword tighter. The glass rippled again, fading and becoming a shimmering portal. “This is my chance.”

Dunla tried going through the portal. The world felt like it was being inverted through her, her perception of reality twisted and reshaped as she stepped from the world inside the mirror back into the real world. Once she’d begun it was less like she was stepping through and more like she was being sucked through. At the last moment she’d felt resistance. The sword couldn’t be pulled through the mirror with her. Feeling as though her hand would be ripped off if she held on any longer she let go of it.

Dunla tumbled into the Forest Witch’s cabin, landing with a loud thud on her hands and knees.

“Hello, pretty-pretty,” the Forest Witch said calmly standing nearby so Dunla hadn’t been able to see her from inside the mirror.

Dunla scrambled to her feet, knocking things off a nearby table as she did. She began looking around franticly for anything she could use as a weapon.

“Please, there is no need for that. It is not yet time for the pretty-pretty to kill this Forest Witch. Besides, she knows she can’t kill me till she has her nasty sword back.”

Dunla calmed down slightly but backed further away from the witch. “What are you going to do to me?” she demanded.

“For now I only wish to talk,” the witch replied, holding her hands up to show she meant no harm. “Will the pretty-pretty come and sit?” She waved to a round table in the center of the room that had a crystal ball sitting on it. “Two chairs,” she said, pointing at them. “One for the witch, one for her guest.”

Dunla narrowed her eyes in distrust. “This is just another trick.”

“No trick,” the witch said, shaking her head. “Please, let us sit and talk.”

More out of curiosity than anything Dunla went to the table and sat. She remained tense, ready to leap away or lunge at the witch at the first sign of an attack.

“We must make a deal,” the witch said as she sat across from Dunla. “The pretty-pretty wants her nasty sword back so she can kill this Forest Witch while the witch wants a little more time to enjoy existing in this world. I will agree to give the sword back when the time for my death is right if you stay and be my plaything for a time.” She paused, tilting her head and giving the girl an appraising look. “You understand what I mean when I say I wish to use you as a plaything?”

Dunla was surprised to feel her face flush. After what she’d endured in the forest so far such a suggestion should have felt like nothing. But this IS different. This is more intimate and… less deadly? No, it was never deadly. She can’t kill. But there is not the same kind of threat here in this cabin as I felt outside in the forest.

“I understand,” Dunla said, suddenly feeling self-conscious about being naked. She moved her chair closer to the table so the witch couldn’t see below her belly and crossed her arms over her chest to hide her small breasts. “But I’m not agreeing, not yet at least.”

“The pretty-pretty needs a better deal, the Forest Witch understands. The witch agrees to tell the pretty-pretty things she knows, to even show some of them to her in the crystal ball. In between playful fun she will learn things.”

“Playful fun?” Dunla scoffed. “Like what you did to us in the forest? Like what came out of the mirror?”

“No,” the witch said, shaking her head. “Not like that. That was The Forest Witch. She was angered when you refused her off. But she’s been sated. Sitting across from you is the Faun, Amoera’s Faun.”

Dunla’s eyes grew large. “What have you done to her?”

The witch shook her head again. “It is what she did to me. The Amoera tamed the Faun. She has dominion over her and when I am the Faun she has dominion over my forest as well. Amoera sent you to me to distract me while she saves the others. She wants you to remain with me till all three are free from the dark fate they, and everyone in the keep, are destined for.

“I see the pretty-pretty biting her lip. She did that before when she struggled to believe my offer. It was The Faun that made the offer and it was no trick, but it’s too late for that. My death is unavoidable now and I’ve made my peace with that. I want only a little more time. Amoera wants time to save her friends and I want time to enjoy existing a bit longer, but more than that I want time to gather my power so that after you kill me I will be able to finish two final tasks.”

“What tasks?” Dunla demanded, choosing for the time to believe everything the woman was telling her.

“A revenge against a former ally who threatened my precious Amoera. And then after that a final gift to a lover. You see, my lover shall decide one of her friends is not worth saving but after the chance to save her is gone she will regret it. I want to have the power to save her friend as a parting gift of my love.”

“You’re talking about Amoera, she’s your lover. But which one of us is she going to decide isn’t worth saving?”

“Isn’t it obvious,” the witch asked, perplexed Dunla didn’t know. “You, dear girl. Amoera does not understand you are destined to kill me. She thinks after saving the others she can save you and that I have never been in any danger. When you kill me in front of her she will be furious and will try to kill you, but she won’t be able to. You’ve power in you that matches hers for now and the love you have for each other will be too great for either to kill the other.”

Dunla stared into the witch’s eyes, unsure how much to believe but wanting every word to be true. “How would you use the last of your power to save me?”

“Does the pretty-pretty truly wish to know such things? You understand as a Forest Witch I know things. I knew what could have been if you’d accepted my first offer to leave, and I knew when it was too late to make the offer again.”

“Why?” Dunla asked, uncovering her breasts and gripping the edge of the table. “I… I think I believe you now. So why is it too late? We could leave!” She tilted her head to the side and read the pained expression on the witch’s face. “You’re not the master here, are you? It was some fluke that you had the power to make that offer to not just free us but aid us as well.”

“No Forest Witch is her own master. Yet when Amoera tamed me and won me from my old master I had a moment of freedom when I WAS master of my fate. I could have done all I promised and more. But as I said, it is too late now.”

“But why?”

“How long do you think you’ve been in more forest?”

Dunla blinked, caught off guard by the sudden change in topic. “I guess maybe two days at the most? The sun hasn’t risen but I don’t think that matters, time moves differently here.”

“You are right,” the witch told her, “time does move differently here. My forest is a place of magic where the laws of reality are less strict. Time here can go faster or slower than that outside. Till now it’s gone slower.”

She put her hands on the crystal ball. It filled with sparking red mist that soon pulled back to reveal images. “Do you know these three women?”

Dunla stared, watching the three women on horseback talking, an army of Sisterhood of Righteousness soldiers marching behind them. “The middle one looks like Commander Eldenbrow, only… I don’t know, I want to say older but Silver Elves don’t really age that way.”

“It is her mother.”

“Then those other two women must be the twins,” Dunla said. “One of them is the most skilled fire mage in the Sisterhood, the other the best ice mage.”

The image in the crystal pulled out, showing the marching army from above as it approached a forest. “Much time has passed outside the forest. The army is nearly here and once they arrive the fire mage will burn it. You see how they seem to slow now? The magic flames that shall wipe my forest from Alaria will not begin till the moment you kill me. It will seem that dawn has come to the forest then, but it will be the fading of my powers combined with mage fire consuming the trees. Of course, she will only be able to do so because you’ve killed me, which you know how to do.”

“Yes,” Dunla said, the last doubt she’d felt about it slipping away. “I kill your body with the sword and then I must burn this cabin down, only then will your power be broken.”

The Forest Witch nodded. “That is one way, the way YOU will kill me.” She leaned back and closed her eyes, taking a long slow calming breath. “Will you agree to the deal?” she finally asked when she opened her eyes.

“You won’t harm me while I’m your… plaything?”

“Harm you? No. Although our play may become rough and there may be pain. But you will not be ‘harmed’. If you agree to be my plaything you are agreeing to do as I say until the time comes for it to end.”

Dunla glanced at the mirror. The sword floated just on the other side, close but out of reach. She knew she would not be able to retrieve the sword, but she wasn’t sure if the Forest Witch was the power that controlled that. “You will be doing sexual things to me, that is how you will ‘play’ with me?”

The witch nodded. “I normally know how the pretty-pretties will answer. But not you, Dunla Dhuarcain. I don’t get to know your answers ahead of time.”

“What happens if I refuse?”

The Forest Witch pointed to the front door. “You will be sent from my cabin and returned to the woods. Things will go back to how they were. Amoera will need to find a new way to distract me so she can save the others. She may not. The mirror is tied to the sword now and the sword is tied to you. If you leave my cabin both will find you and although I do not know it for certain I must assume you’d be able to pull the sword from the mirror whenever you wanted. But in the woods the sword can only protect you so much, you’ve already seen that.”

Dunla bit her lip, looking from the mirror to the Faun to the door. “If I agree Amoera saves the others? If I agree it is certain I’ll kill you and one day you’ll save me from whatever dark fate you say the others in the keep will suffer?”

“Yes,” the Forest Witch replied, her body tensing. She sat up straight. “You have made your choice?”

Dunla stood up, standing with all her height and staring fiercely down at the witch. For a few moments nothing of the girl was left, only a fierce warrior facing down their foe on the field of battle. “I have decided,” she said coldly. “You look scared. I bet you haven’t looked scared very often. You are afraid of how things will play out if I walk out the door.”

“Yes,” the witch whispered, averting her eyes.

Dunla reached out and grabbed the Faun’s chin, lifting her face to make her look at her. “You are an evil monster. But I can see you have made your peace with your death. I do not understand what you and Amoera have and I don’t think I want to, but I can see she’s changed you. She does that, doesn’t she?”

“The pet makes others feel things, feel them strongly. It is her destiny.”

Without warning Dunla dropped to one knee beside the Forest Witch. She bowed her head as though she was submitting to a lord. “I accept your agreement. You shall have your time and you shall have me. Amoera shall have the time to have dominion over the forest and save the others. And when the time is right…”

“You will kill me,” the witch finished. “Look at me, please. Thank you Dunla Dhuarcain. I do not know what whims shall take me as we play, but know I intend to make the most of every moment I have left.”

“What will you do with me first?” Dunla asked. There was no fear in her voice, only a hint of eagerness.

Whether the eagerness was for what would come at the end of her temporary servitude to the witch or whether it was for what would happen in between the Forest Witch did not know. But she would find out.

When the story returns to Amoera and the three girls how will she begin to work to ‘save’ them? (Choose up to 6 options from this poll)

When the story returns to the Forest Witch and Dunla how will their playtime go? (Choose up to 2 options from this poll)

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