And there was the hard-shelled kind. Refugees of the last Great War had brought them from the verdant hell of the Empire. Once a rare treat for sorcerous nobles, Aspyra's rich stores of flour had made them widely available. And the swirl of scandalous rumours had made them popular.
Rorvalen, sometimes called Houndslayer, bought hers up in the Fifth, far away from her hideout. Used as she was to hiding her body, face and ears behind the dark, hooded cloak, she had nonetheless waited until twilight filled the small bakery. She had waited until she could melt into the shadows.
Of all the things she had learned at Glitterscale Orphanage –
letters and numbers, scraping and thievery – she had never expected to even remember Father Trawlings' long sermons about divine flames and womanly purity. She certainly never had cared before. Yet something about the infernal, the forbidden cocks, made her skin crawl.
Probably won't even use it, she thought. But it was heavy, and the smell delightful.
"Ever used one?" she asked the woman behind the counter.
The other woman paled, then reddened. Green eyes peered from behind cute, blonde bangs. She looked around, then glanced at Rorvalen. Cast down her eyes and, finally, almost imperceptibly, nodded.
Rorvalen's heart was racing. It was racing when she paid the baker with shaking hands. And it was racing still when she entered the draketram. The carriage was almost empty, only the driver outside and a lonely drunk in front. The cock weighty in her arms. And her heart was racing still.
For two long bells, the emptying tram had struggled homewards. And the fresh bread smell from the paper-wrapped packet under her cloak had made her mouth water. Touching the outline, she trembled. Lifelike. No – better. Harder and blessed, maybe, by foreign gods. Demons of pleasure, sterner and wilder than mortal dick. A shudder gripped her. With wetness growing between her legs, she yearned to touch. But at any moment another passenger could enter.
Again, she traced her fingers along the hard-shelled cock. Flashing quick, she parted her cloak, and revealed the smooth, brown length. The driver took a sharp left turn, and she almost dropped it. Pointing it out inside the dimly lit store, she had not expected this much detail. Coiling veins, and the engorged head. It seemed oversized. Licking her lips, she stole one last glance. Then she hid it back away.
Outside the houses of the Seventh had passed. Large, dark obsidian; four storeys high and adorned with bronze and ivory. Now the carved sandstone of the Old Harbour lined the road.
Inside, the drunkard shifted but could not see her. With a shudder, she touched the baked dildo. Her fingers trembled when she wedged them under her belt and found her hungry wetness.
Suddenly, the driver rang his bell and the tram stopped. The man inside staggered upright. Their eyes met. Stumbling, he shuffled towards the door. And towards her. His fish-like eyes were always on her. She sat there, frozen. Despite the heavy cloak, she felt exposed. He took another floundering step and sniffed. Her cheeks were burning, and she did not dare to breathe. Then the door closed behind him.
Rorvalen exhaled. Her whole body was covered; he could not have seen. The stench of wine, stale and sour, filled the air. Her fingers smelled like gash, but even the subtle aroma of her perfume had lost against the vinegar.
Outside, the driver cracked his whip, and the two scaly beasts in front lurched forward. Gentle vibrations rocked the train as they drove past the bakeries and taverns along the Old Harbour. The smell of freshly baked cocks – lard, sugar and sage – was almost enough to drown out the reek of the tanneries. Almost.
Inside, she sat alone. And she could feel the tremors. The cock weighed heavy in her arms, and her fingers still ventured beneath her belt. She moaned, softly, through half-opened lips. Jolts ran along her spine. Lights rushed past her lidded eyes. She could feel the wetness on her fingertips. Warmth and need, and her longing unanswered.
The bell rang out again. The tram jerked and came to a sudden halt. Rorvalen's eyes flashed open. Her station. Made keenly aware of her situation, she hurried outside. The familiar rush, though heightened by shame. The relief of success, of survival. And the need – to celebrate, to fuck. Or at least to pleasure herself. Overconfidence.
Melting into darkness, Rorvalen listened.
The crack of the whip, and a roar. The drakes lurched forward, and the vehicle vanished amid smoky mist and drunken crowds. Voices, down the street. The sound of distant clamour where carved stone turned to brickwork, turned to straw-thatched mud-and-wood huts. There, among the churn – among the tanneries, scale-a-cup wine-sinks, and brothels – had she made her lair.
Most of the dragonlights on Piss Alley were dead. Tar-less, and without crystals. Long shadows loomed over the narrow road. She liked it that way. Soft-stepped if a bit bow-legged, she slid down the street, to her blind alley. Pausing, she listened. Nothing.
She danced the three-step-and-jump downwards, until she reached the door to her bolthole.
Sea-wind blew the smell of salt and fish-guts up from the bay. She turned the keys on the lock to her cellar-den and loosened the inner tripwires. The door clicked shut behind her, and she locked the bolts tight. A perfumed candle, lit in a hurry, would cleanse away the stench of harbour and tanneries.
Even the weak light was almost bright enough to illuminate her whole room. There was a small wooden table with a lonesome chair. There was the straw mattress on the floor, her bed, piled high with blankets and pillows. There was the sack where she kept her foodstuffs, and what few utensils she possessed. And there was the metal-bound chest with the expensive lock where she stored her clothes and necessities. Finally, there was the cold fireplace.
Candle in hand, she approached the kitchen part. In the sack she found tinder, kindling and her box with Tatters' nash. She took one of the three remaining balls. Chewing on the spicy gum, she knelt by the pit. Moving aside the grating and her soot-black pot, she stacked up twigs and logs.
The hungry candle-flame consumed first straw, then wood. Soon warmth flowed from the small fire and chased away the creeping cold. With a sigh, she cast off the heavy cloak. She wore a tight buttoned blue-black blouse underneath. And black-blue pants, with dark-brown soft-soled boots. On her waist rode a thin, night-grey belt where she stored her coin-purse, her tools and keys, and the small feysilver dagger. A strand of black-dyed hair fell in front of her eyes, and she tamed the wild locks enough to hide her ears.
She put down the bread dildo on the table, and exhaled. A comfy glow filled the room, and the grimy filth of the outside world seemed far away. Soon.
Her window – wooden slats and shearpad paper, placed in the single light shaft up to Piss Alley – was unmolested. Clean white, save the songbird she had doodled on the lower right corner. She moved them aside. Behind, the iron bars held firm. Chewing, she controlled the wire release. The hidden mechanism wailed, and she decided that she would need to oil the lock bolt soon.
Next, she checked the thin flour-lines and found them undisturbed. And the hair she had wedged into the gap of the loose floorboard where she kept her actual valuables was still there. Rorvalen allowed herself to relax.
Yesterday, she had bought some wine and the earthen jug was only half-emptied. She retrieved it and a tin cup from her satchel. The baked cock loomed large. Her gum joined the sticky mass of others under the tabletop. She took a drink. Sour berries and a hint of burnt nuts. The sharp aftertaste of her nash.
She picked up her dildo, and smirked. In the soft and safe light of her own home it seemed silly. No longer strange, nor forbidden, just an oversized tool for bored housewives. With a grunt, she refilled her cup. Up to the brim.
"So stupid," she heard herself whisper. She sipped more wine, then even more. On her red-stained tongue, she tasted salt. Herbs; thyme, or maybe elflove. Yeasty, crunchy, moreish bread. She scraped her teeth along the length but resisted the urge to bite deep into the savoury crust.
Instead, she fingered, prodded and probed at the spit-wet spots. The baked cock remained firm.
"Still," she mumbled, "this cannot be sanitary." Or wholesome. And I'd hate to explain this to a healer. More wine. The baker uses it. And I bought it. If only...
She used to own certain etchings, and a whole book filled with dirty stories. Then the Wassermann heist went tits-up, and she had had to leave her old hideout behind. Now the guard owned them all.
Dildo in hand, Rorvalen closed her eyes. Smiling, she imagined them: Two guardsmen, younger and better built than the usual flatfoots, stealing into lock-up, cocks in hand.
The sounds of the city outside were muffled, but she could hear the turning of the wheels and the grinding of the distant tram against the rail. As the train shifted, so did her thoughts.
The passengers in her car were young and beautiful. No cold, no drunks, and the smell of perfume and young lust – not cheap wine. In front of her were two lovers, entwined in passion. The woman to her side, clad in the newest fashion, she had modelled after a former lover.
Moaning, she lifted the bread knob. A little peek, not enough to chase away her passengers, but enough to see it, almost lifelike, in her hands. She opened her mouth and wrapped her lips around it.
The phantom beside her had noticed. A knowing wink from violet eyes, that familiar glint, and the other spread her legs. The skirt, luxurious dark silk, was pushed aside and revealed bedewed lips. Thick, and fleshy, and ever-so-slightly widened.
Metal pressed against her knee. Her legs were likewise parted, and now the dagger was logged between her and the chair. The dildo almost dropped from her hand when she tried to strip off, eyes half-closed, the cumbersome belt.
That smile. Always clever, and always almost mocking. She would have delighted in her clumsy moves. Her half-blind fumbling, alone in the empty room. Smiling, the other licked the juice from her hand, and blew her a kiss. In her mind, Rorvalen caught it.
The belt hit the floor. Tumbled, and scrapped against the legs of the chair. Rorvalen sneaked another peek, and undid the buttons on her pants and blouse.
The couple in front had gone wild. The woman had torn away her skimpy clothes and had mounted her lover. Her large breasts swayed in generous swings, and Rorvalen recognised the cute face of the baker. Now caught in throes of lust.
Her pants slid down. She tore of her blouse and shirt, and she threw them away. The cold, firm hardness of the dildo massaged her skin, and nestled between her tits. She teased open her pussy, and almost gagged herself on its length.
Beside her, the fashionable passenger was breathing heavily. A bawdy red tongue lolled between the scarlet lips. Familiar fingers flitted, flashed like lighting. Rorvalen was almost ready to share.
The driver wore a legion dress jacket, and nothing else. He walked, bow-legged, and with his cock erect, towards her. She recognised his face from her etchings. Centurion takes Imperial slut in the ruins of Tir Osten.
Gasping, she impaled herself on spit-slick dick. Sat on the edge of her chair, she filled herself. It was large, larger perhaps than any man she had known, but not painful. She pushed it deeper, pulled back, then went in again, and faster. The bell rang, but the driver's seat was empty.
Bells were ringing. Her left ear was twitching. And the outer tripwire snapped apart. Stupid. Her eyes opened wide. Metallic clattering as the bells hit the pavement. Rorvalen, controlling her breathing, could hear the footsteps in the alley outside. One person, the clickety-clack of stiletto heels. A woman.
Instincts kicked in, and training took over. She slammed the slickened cock down on the table and pulled up her pants. In one swift motion, she rolled over and picked up discarded clothing in passing. Belt in hand, she reached the wall by the door. The steps were close now. Clickety-clack. With trembling fingers, she closed the last button. Drew the slim dagger. If forced, the door would open to the other side. And allow her a sneak attack.
Clickety-clack. A knock. Then another.
"Who's there?" Rorvalen tried to sound calm.
"Rory? Is that you?"
She recognised the voice. And the pet name. "Liv?"
"Don't call me that," the other said, but laughed.
Rorvalen was not quite ready to relax. "How did we last part?"
"You always were delightfully paranoid," the voice behind the door sounded amused.
"How did we last part?" Rory was anything but.
" When last we parted, you promised that you would help me track down a former associate of yours, and then stole my purse and horse and left me behind."
"Right." The thief paused. "So, it is you. Say, you're not still angry about that?"
"I didn't blow down your door - now did I?"
"You did not."
"And you know I could."
Rorvalen turned the key and undid the bolts.
Outside, it was raining. Thick drops fell from the skies, and washed smoky soot from billowing forges and tar-fuelled manufactories. But not a single drop touched the frilly, white and jet-black dress of Livia Aemilia. The grime of the street had neither stained the lace of her pantyhose, nor tarnished her shiny, black high-heeled boots.
"I've been thinking about you," said Rory, and stepped aside. "Come inside. Please, come on in."
"Naughty you." Liv sniffed and entered. She wore her hair shorter now, but the knowing glint in her eyes was the same as ever. "It's good to be missed."
"Please." Rorvalen pointed at her chair, but the other declined with her trademark smile.
Livia instead sat down on the table, with her legs just far enough apart to suggest impropriety. A glimpse of garter. She placed down her satchel and stole Rory's cup. "Disgusting vintage," she mumbled.
"Business has been slow," Rorvalen said, and took the chair. "You look well."
"Tricks of the trade," Livia said, "but thank you." She smiled.
Rorvalen had never figured out how her former lover's charms worked, exactly. Back when they had lain side by side, she had seen that she was larger than the mage. Dressed in her full regalia, however, Livia cut an imposing figure. Not large, certainly not oversized, but impressive.
Black hair. Natural, probably, and Rorvalen remembered. Big breasts. She did not care but had to remember. Each strap, each chased clasp of the mage's dress drew eyes, showed off her bounty. None could forget.
Her violet eyes: Bright and burning. Bottomless pools of light. Mesmerizing, fey-touched.
Livia's complexion appeared porcelain white. Looking at it now, Rory struggled to remember her in the morning's twilight. She had seen her; naked and with make-up and glamours smeared by passion. Tawny skin underneath; beautiful, but common among the inhabitants of the City. Wrinkles, age, and laughter had then marked her eyes and the corners of her mouth.
Rorvalen blinked. She could either look at her or remember her. Never both. There was jewellery. Earrings and a necklace. Maybe an armband? Dizzying shapes, and a power Rory did not quite understand.
"I wish you wouldn't – you look well."
"Gee, thanks." A vulpine smile and a subtle shift. "Now, sit tight and listen." Livia stretched, and the fabric of her dress tightened. Her body looked safe. Safe and inviting.
Rorvalen felt herself obey. Dumbstruck. The sorceress smiled like a cat. Rorvalen felt like prey.
"I have a job for you." Liv swirled around the wine, then set down the cup.
Rory nodded. "Business has been slow. Tell me what I can..." A crunching bite interrupted her.
With her thumb, Livia wiped away the crumbs from the edges of her mouth. Rory gawped. Again, the sorceress bit into the bread dildo, and swallowed the tip whole.
"You're... . I had – you're... ," Rorvalen searched for words, but could not look away.
The other woman looked content. Happy, even. A saint-like smile of pure innocence, and dainty bites. She nibbled on cock, elegant and brutal at the same time. She chewed and swallowed with delight.
"Tell me." Rory could feel nipples poking against her shirt. Jolting warmth tingled, coursed through her body. She dared not look and could not look away. The fabric was coarse to the touch.
"Gladly," Livia set down the half-eaten cock in a vaguely vulgar motion and opened her satchel. "In a week's time, there will be a party at the Tarhweed Mansion. I have the plans here, and I have a list of staff. Have you heard about Melorsina's Falcon?"
Rorvalen shook her head. "I know about the Cloaked Huntress, of course, but I've never heard nothing about a falcon."
"I am not surprised." Livia produced another paper. A bird of prey, sketched in rough strokes. In the margins beside, its measurements. "Small enough to fit into a side-pouch. It is supposed to be made from liquid moonlight," she raised her hands, "do not look at me. I have not seen it either. We think some kind of white or silvery metal. Texture may be like diviner's silver, or like mercury."
"Mhm." Rorvalen had already moved on to the plans. The designs were familiar. She picked up the staff list and smiled. "Job like this is impossible, usually. I am, however, very good. And besides, how could a patriot such as myself refuse the Obsidian Eye?"
Livia darted at her. One moment, she was sat on the table, looking bored. The next, she had placed her hand around Rory's neck and her foot between the thief's legs. A loud exhale, her breath hot on Rorvalen's face. Then she bowed down, just a few inches, and hissed: "You know nothing. Are we clear?"
"Good." She relaxed the pressure on Rorvalen's throat, but continued to tower over her. She smelled like lilac, and her boot was still pressed against the inside of the thief's thigh. "You are too clever for your own good, dear. And as far as this job is concerned, I am a common lowlife, and I am in it because I like pretty things – or some other bullshit reason."
Rory could feel herself shifting. She nodded, all too eager. Grinding, she pushed herself against the other's leg. Looking up, she saw that knowing, mocking smile. And felt her pushing back. "I... ." Hard leather and knotted laces rubbed against her. Desperate, she chafed herself. She pried open her core, and let it invade her pussy. Gasping, she inched closer. The gentle friction made her wild. Drove her randy. Then Livia seized her head.
The sorceress leaned down and pressed her lips against the thief's. A firm, familiar tongue invaded Rory's begging mouth. They danced, until she had stolen away her breath.
"More," Rorvalen whispered. Nibbling, fuck-starved, on the sorceress' open mouth, she tasted bread, wine – and herself. And between Livia's luscious lips, opened wide, she found more.
With a sucking sound, Liv broke away. Their wrestling tongues parted, and Rory kissed air. The other nuzzled herself against Rory's cheek. Scraped her earlobe with teasing teeth, and sucked on her neck.