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I idly listened to my secretary go over the

Îïóáëèêîâàíî: 2021-04-08 01:20:40
Ýòîò òåêñò äîñòóïåí ïî àäðåñó: http://ontext.info/139143


I idly listened to my secretary go over the minutia of all of the pointless things that someone of my political position was supposed to be informed of, even if I never used any of that information. The Amulet of Samarkand had been stolen. We had no idea who did it. Those two sentences summarized everything I cared about in her half an hour-long report chock full of what two politically connected, “powerful” random nobodies cared about. Why did I have to listen for ten minutes about what Rupert Devereaux wanted just because he was prime minister of our globe spanning magiocratic dictatorship?

Honestly, I spent most of that time doing a mix of sipping my tea – I was a proper British person and refused to allow that colonial mud called coffee inside of my mansion – plotting out how to deal with the three instances from canon plot that would present a danger to myself, and fantasizing about how nice it would be to bend Alice over my desk, hype up her skirt and plow her raw until all she could talk about was how great my dick was. Sadly she had never expressed interest in pursuing an intimate relationship with me, and as much as I wouldn’t get into legal trouble for raping her – there was legal precedent for magicians attacking commoner children with spirits, and the courts finding the children guilty of assault if they pursued legal action – or could just whip up an amulet to make her love me, I had enough morals to stay away from rape, both the physical and mental kind. Which really left just fantasizing about her and not acting on my emotions.

Of course, by this point in my narration, you are probably asking yourself a few question. Like, what is the Amulet of Samarkand? What is a Samarkand? Who is Alicia? Who am I?

Completely out of order, Samarkand is a nation that existed long ago. There isn’t much left from their time, but a few magical artifacts have survived the millennia. The Amulet of Samarkand is a magical amulet that they had created. It basically made you immune to magic. Technically it could be overpowered, but even some Great Spirits didn’t have the power to overwhelm its protections. Basically, there wasn’t a magician alive who could brute force through the amulet’s magical immunity. Of course, the amulet provided no protection against a clever magician rail gunning, say, a chair leg through your face, but most magicians lacked the creativity to use such “round about” methods in combat. Consequently, the amulet was considered a national treasure cum super weapon, and its theft was treated as a Big Deal.

Alicia was my personal secretary. She was a sixteen years old commoner – a word meaning she was both not a noble and not a magician – girl that I had hired for the role for reasons beyond her “maturity”. That said, she was a blond with long, lustrous hair, of middling height, light skin, and well-developed body. Of course, since she was a commoner and the concept of intellectual work for commoners had yet to be invented in our glorious empire, while I could go on about how she had smooth, flawless skin, it would be a pack of lines. She had calloused hands, and a number of small scars on her body from a life before coming to work for me.

Lastly, my name is Emyrs Merlin Ambrosius, a fourteen years old magician. And if you are wondering, yes, I didpick that name out for myself. That is something of a local tradition. We don’t actually have an official name – we are called “boy” or “girl” – until age 12 when our apprenticeship goes on to the next stage and we get to pick our own name.

Our 12thbirthday is when we perform our first official spirit summoning. Of course, some magicians are known to secretly start before then – often resulting in their gruesome and painful deaths – which allows them to perform far beyond expectations on their most august day. Like summoning a Marid – the highest ranked spirit that isn’t too powerful to actually beranked and classified – as I did. This can result in the phrase “advancing to the next stage of our apprenticeship” being a euphemism for getting a job in the government. Long story short, at age 14 I’m on the prime minister’s cabinet and head of the Department of City Planning. Basically, I’m responsible for picking and approving construction projects to improve our fair capital. I was initially planning to aim for Minister of Education, but I honestly couldn’t stomach ordering people to tech children the propaganda that passes for state sponsored truth in this country. I’m not patriotic enough to lie thathard.

So basically, I’m Merlin, a 14 years old Magician who is on the Prime Mister’s cabinet in a totalitarian dictatorship the size of Earth Zero’s British Empire (given that this is that British Empire, just slightly temporally displaced, and with magic).

Now you are probably wondering what I look like. To put that into context, first I have to explain our local culture. You see, ever since Gladstone told parliament to hand over supreme power to him at staff point and become our Glorious First Prime MinisterTM, we have had two dress styles amongst magicians that we all more or less adhere to.

First, is the more traditional style that was in vogue before Gladstone. It involves dressing all ‘mysterious’ and strange. Basically, like a witch or wizard from old legends. I would say they dress like slobs, but magicians that dress like this take great efforts to get just the right amount of crazy look down. In essence the entire point of this appearance is to impress commoners. They dress – and style their tomes and house – in ways that the non-magical associate with mystical power to impress their mystical power on them. Based on the fact that these are people with reality warping powers who dedicate one or more hours each day to their appearance to impress those without any talent for or knowledge of magic, you can probably guess that it is the talentless and weak magicians that fall into this category.

Second is the style popularized by Gladstone, because of his mid-life crisis. See, when most people start noticing that their mind isn’t as sharp as it used to be, their body is getting weaker, etc., they have a mid-life crisis. They do stupid stuff, buy expensive things, and try to reaffirm that they still matter. Gladstone, was the kind of guy that when fit didn’t bother all that much with his appearance. He just put on a suit, made sure it was well done and went about his day.

When hesuffered his mid-life crisis, he threw together a magical staff, then strolled into parliament and conquered the British government overnight, turning a democracy into a dictatorship. He then proceeded to wage war on the Holy Roman Empire, shattering it, single handedly leveled Paris to the ground – in the literal, “Paris no longer exists” sense – and conquered most of Europe in a few years. The British Empire. It exists because Gladstone had a mid-life crisis.

So, yeah. Basically, when all the “elite” magicians stopped shitting their pants at Gladstone’s mind bobbling power, they decided to start copying him. Now, you can recognize an elite magician by the fact that their magical tomes have boring and simply bindings – of the finest materials so that they can still show off their excessive wealth – and wear ridiculously expensive finely tailored suits of the finest make.

I figure this long rant should put into perspective my own mode of dress. I’m an athletically build, blond male of average height. Currently I’m wearing shorts, flip flops, and a t-shirt that says “#ChuuniLyfe”. I’m a strong believer in the business casual dress code.

“Thank you, Alicia.”

I told the girl as she finally finished narrating all of that nonsense. Normally a magician would use an Imp or some such for the role I was employing her in, but I felt it was best to maintain contact with the common folk to some degree or another. Plus, the view was much preferable this way. I was 14 years old. Hormones played a very important role in my decision making.

“So how long is it until I need to attend to business?”

She looked through my schedule, presumably checking to see what meetings there were that I could skip. Really, that was the trick to not being seen as a political threat by the prime minister; don’t spend all that time and effort cultivating too many connections.

“There is a meeting at nine to decide who will get the contract for repairing the houses destroyed by the rampaging Czech Marid last week.” Ah yes, I remembered that. Hearing about thatscandal hadn’t been boring last. “I believe you noted planning to award the contract to Merlin Industries.” Oh yes, the one advantage of being on the cabinet of this country. I could get away with blatant corruption to line my own pocket, so long as it didn’t inconvenience the prime minister.

“Thank you. Please make sure my car is prepared by quarter past eight. I will be in my office until then.”

With that I got up and left, only taking the time to acknowledge her nod and affirmation. It didn’t do to be impolite, but I wason a bit of a timer. Past me – right until an hour ago when I was memory dumped into this body – was woefully incompetent when it came to being a properly paranoid magician. Considering I had a deadline of two months until getting trapped in a sealed off room with a homicidal Greater Spirit whose very presence warped reality and lesser spirits – and worse, trying to get out of that meeting was liable to get me labeled as a conspirator of the ones who summoned it to try and end the government – that wouldn’t do at all. No, I quite liked living, which meant it was time to start munchkining up some epically bullshit equipment.

First though, will be a proper home security system.

I took a moment to stretch and catch my breath before looking over the summoning circle in my “office”. It really just had a single writing desk in the corner with a bookshelf next to it, and a very large empty space taking up by a number of summoning circles. Circles that I knewwere perfect. My past self may not have been a munchkin, but he was meticulous. Each circle had been checked for the tiniest flaws dozens of times over. I could close my eyes and reproduce any of the circles without a millimeter of error anywhere. And yet, I checked them again. Because when summoning a spirit, being right 99% of the time meant that once out of every hundred summons you got eaten alive by the spirit you tried summoning. And that was a Bad Thing.

After going over the circle for five minutes I was satisfied that there were no mistakes made. This was followed by me launching into a fifteen minutes long chant in eight different languages, each using between two and four dialects and intonations, each syllable perfectly times and pronounced. Finally, though, the summoning and binding was complete.

“Great Marid Hestia, Guardian of The Hearth, Defender of The Flame, Protector of The Throne” yeah, some magicians aren’t very creative in naming their locations “I summon and bind you to this place, I summon and bind you this mansion, I summon and bind you to this home. I charge you to bind it and keep it secure against all but myself and those that I invite in.”

And so did I bind a spirit that the ignorant back in Ancient Greece worshipped as a goddess – to be fair, she was one of the thirteen strongest spirit that their kings had access to across their centuries of supremacy – to protect my mansion. Of course, this was then followed by having to adjust and fine tune the defensive spells around the house. But at least this would serve as a good preliminary defense.

Once that was done, I still had a bit more time, so I summoned up the Marid Ra, and bound it to my house as well. Because I was a magician damn it, and I was going to have lighting when I wanted it, not when the sun told me I could have it.





AN: A bit more data dump about the setting, and quickly establishing the SI’s transition of life styles as a result of jumpchain memories. Planning to get started on writing actual plot next chapter.

Also, body mod has now been updated / added in. Also fixed some minor formatting issues on the Jump build

I let out a disappointed sigh as I sat in the back of my car. It wasn’t that the car was a bad model. Okay, I had no idea what the actual model was, but it was the currently most in fashion model amongst the London elite. Whatever the hell that was. I didn’t particularly care that much about cars, so long as they got me from point A to point B in a timely manner. Thatwas what I was taking issue with.

It wasn’t that the car was particularly slow as far as cars went. It wasn’t as if getting a better engine would let it drive any quicker through London’s streets. No, my issue was that it was a magician’s car, and it was 100% non-magical. Which meant it got restricted by this little thing called “physics” when determining how quickly it could get me somewhere.

Still, the car’s chassis is made out of iron. Djinn react poorly to iron, which would make it hard to reinforce. It can be done, but it might lead to a loss of performance. It might be more efficient to just design a ride from scratch and enchant that.

“Sebastian, while I’m having my meeting please look into where I can order a custom designed sleigh.”

“Of course, young master.”

My driver cum butler agreed in a professional tone without taking his eyes off the road. After all, he was being paid for being a skilled and safedriver, not for his great conversational skills. Sure, that would have helped, but he had one of the few jobs around that could not be easily replaced by summoning up a spirit or two. Not unless I wanted to die by car accident.

“What are you planning?”

Alice asked me in a tone that someone might ask their mentally unstable younger half-brother. Part of me wanted to be upset at the tone, but considering what I was planning was crazier than anything Harry Dresden pulled in the earlier books of his series, I felt her attitude was perfectly justified.

“Just thinking of updating our ride.” I honestly told her. “I would rather keep the details a surprise. Could I burrow a piece of paper though? I want to make a few quick notes so that I don’t forget.”

The thing about working for a crazy magician, was that you didn’t have the option of telling them “no” when they asked you to pass whatever resources they needed to start putting together their plans. So, no matter how reluctant was, Alicia gave me a paper and a pen so that I could start noting down a list of spirits I would be using for this experiment.

Though I will need to check my library to see if these spirits actually exist. If not, I will need to work with the spirit creation spells instead of the spirit summoning spells.

That wouldn’t be too hard. It just needed proper planning like everything summoning related.

“We are here sir.”

Sebastian interrupted me while I was still jotting down target named next to the drawing of a sleigh. I folded up and put away my notes in my pocket before climbing out of the car to face the unspeakable evil and corruption that was British politics and corporate lobbying.

“Behold! I have arrived!” I greeted the assembled crowd in a cheerful and extremely un-wizardly manner, moon walking out of the car, one hand covering my face while the other held a pimp cane. Once I got in front of the crowd I stopped, did a spin, and threw my hand off of my face, allowing my hair to below in the air for a moment. “Now then, let’s get this bid for who will repair the damage… On! The! Road!” I finished, gesticulating dramatically with my hands the entire time.

The damage in question was pretty much an entire city block’s worth of destroyed buildings. Notably, it was a commoner residential district, so the government didn’t give too many fucks about it. Especially since it was a cell of Czech spies releasing a Marid that had caused the destruction. A dozen commoners, injuries and many more rendered homeless to capture four foreign spies, each of at least middling skill as a magician? Why, that was practically a bargain!

Normally we wouldn’t even be having this building at all. Those who had their buildings destroyed would be responsible for fixing it. Well, that would have been the case under my predecessor. Given that repairing these buildings would have these men returning to the workforce quicker, I had some leeway in moving funds in my department to hire private contractors to repair the buildings. Not too much before people started questioning my sanity – a powerful magician walking around in a t-shirt and flip flops in the London winter while striking random poses mid-conversation for no reason as “eccentric”. The same magician giving handouts to the poor was brain dead and ripe for exploitation by his ambitious colleagues – but enough that a few companies came out to bid on the contract.

Overall, the crowd was broken down into three groups.

First were the victims of the Marid’s rampage. The commoners who had been made homeless and destitute and were treated to a front row seat of me making a mockery out of their suffering. They were here in case they needed to answer any questions – yes they would – to whomever won the bid for the contract – me, though Alicia would be asking them questions – and because they were being provided with free food and drinks on the government’s budget.

Second were the representatives of more traditional construction companies. These were companies run by commoners and hiring commoners. They basically built up buildings the good old-fashioned way via manual labor. The fucking losers. There were one or two representatives here that were rich but most had to work alongside the workers.

Third were the representatives of the more “sophisticated” construction companies. Basically, these were construction companies that had commoners as workers but magicians ran it. They were fewer in number, did the same quality work, and demanded a higher pay. However, between a combination of having better connections, and magicians preferring to have other magicians working on creating their mansions, they were significantly more successful at getting jobs.

Before I could continue explaining things Alicia politely coughed and stepped forward in front of me.

“Gentleman, I thank you for coming here on this most august day.” When the hell did she learn to use a word like ‘august’ in a sentence. “As I’m sure you have already read, there are two parts of the contract that are non-negotiable. First, to recuperate its costs, the government will own 20% of any house that is repaired under this contract. Second, to encourage quality work, a further 20% value of each repaired hour will be owned by the contracted company. Please see paperwork for details of what ownership entails. Third, the materials needed for repair have already been acquired by our department and will be provided free of charge on signing of the contract. Lastly, the contract will be awarded to whomever can complete the repairs in the quickest amount of time in exchange for the least sum of money.” She paused and turned a look at everyone. “Are there any questions before we being the bidding?”

In case it wasn’t blatantly obvious yet, allow me to spoiler things for you. I had rigged up the entire thing so that Merlin Industries – founded four days ago, CEO me, 0 employees – would end up being the most qualified to fill out the contract. After all, if you are awarding the contract to the most qualified company, you aren’t committing fraud.

Of course, everyone had the decency to read up on the terms before coming here. The homeless weren’t happy with it – they were expecting to get 60% of their houses back at best – but they weren’t in a position to argue. The others didn’t particularly care about property ownership, and were probably already planning on how to barely cobble something together, and threaten the poor victims into not complaining.

It was with those cheery thoughts that the bidding started. While the commoners only said how much they would like and how fast they could have it done, the magicians knew how to make their bids with a flair. Each of them gave a ten-minute-long speech peppered with hints about how important and well connected they were, and hinting at what kinds of kickbacks I could receive for accepting their deal.

I let the whole thing go on for a good hour before making my own bid.

“Fufufu. Truly your tactics are most impressive. However, they are lacking. There is not enough spirit! You will never beat me with that! Merlin Industries is willing to take the job no extra money, and we can finish the repairs in 12 hours!”

Those words killed all discussion, as people found themselves unable to compete with that. Based on their faces most wanted to call bullshit on what I had just said, but didn’t have the balls to publicly do so. After all, we lived in a dictatorship, and publicly calling a cabinet member a liar to his face without evidence was the sort of thing that got you into an honor duel to the death.

After five minutes of silence I eventually awarded the contract to myself. And then proceeded to excuse myself to the nearby summoning room while Alicia went to deal with the minutiae. Or in other words, basically go and talk to the people whose houses I would be repairing and try to see if they had any details they forgot to put down on paper. Or some such. Really, her job was “to maintain positive contact with the common folk because they just give me weird looks when I grace them with my youthful spirit”.

Now, when it comes to summoning spirits, there are three major factors to keep in mind.

The first is your magical talent. This, is simply something you are born with. It is why some of us have the honor of being taken from our parents when we are six, have all prior records of our existence physically destroyed with extreme prejudice, and given to a foster magician family who never met us before and for six years refuse to acknowledge any name for us beyond “boy” or “girl”, while others have the miserable fate of having to endure continued to be raised by the people who birthed them and raised them for the first six years of their life. While technically even commoners have this to some level, the difference between the average commoner and average magician is measured in orders of magnitude. Basically, the more talent you have, the more powerful your spells are for the same skill, effort and energy.

The second is magical knowledge and skill. This is knowing what words to say with what tone, as well as how to combine and weave the spells to reinforce tricks. Spirits beyond a certain point simply can’tbe summoned without sufficient amount of knowledge and skill, and the more knowledgeable and skilled you are, the fasteryou can perform the same summoning, as well as for less energy.

The last is your physical stamina. Reality isn’t a game where we have some mystical “mana” bar. Magic uses energy, and our body only has one kind of energy. What this means is that while magical talent, knowledge and skill determines whatyou can cast, talent and stamina determine how much it tires you and how often you can cast it. Stamina is what puts a limit on how long a magician can keep going.

And yes, this long rant did have a point. See, thanks to the perks I got for this jump, my magical talent is literally the best in the history of magic. My magical knowledge still has plenty to improve, but it is also rather decent. However, the true coup – and something I didn’t get to enjoy until today – is the body mod. Namely, the unlimited stamina. While other magicians had to weigh the cost in exhaustion and physical health of summoning and maintaining spirits, I no longer had to do that. The only limit for me from now on would be how many names I knew, and how long it to do the summoning. For Marids, that was still pretty long. For mere Djinn? Not so much.

So yeah, I took the advantages that I had and ran with it. Summoning a dozen Djinn at once was completely beyond the average magician. It would wipe out most Department Heads. I just set up a simple chain of summons, popping out a dozen Djinn to send them out to go constructing every ten minutes. In the ancient days, there were wizards who created their magical castles in a single day, without having nearly as ridiculous cheats as I did. A hundred or so regular apartments in half a day was a trivial task.

Of course, when five hours later I finally stopped summoning Djinn – summoning and giving commands non-stop for 5 hours straight is reallyfucking boring – I found that the previously homeless had taken some minor artistic liberties in describing their previous housing. And were looking to sell their not all out of place mansions, now that me having 20% ownership in the meant magicians couldn’t bully them into selling it cheap without picking a fight with me.

“I’m impressed young master. You have far exceeded my expectations.”

Alicia patronized me as we drove home. We ended up putting off ordering a sleigh to the next day as I was rather tired of this shit.

“No need for sarcasm. We got ripped off.”

“In an afternoon of work you became the 20% owner in what is probably one of the three highest class city blocks in all of London. That is hardly being ripped off.”

I gave her a glare. “Oh yes. I went from having more money than I am likely to spend in my life to having more money than I could finish spending in my life. Truly what an improvement.” I huffed and let out a truly adorable pout. “Really all that effort to flesh out my dramatic character and it is completely forgotten about. Not a singleperson was talking about my youthful spirit at the end of the day.”

I decided to take Alicia’s lack of reply as her giving a moment of silence to my poor and departed youthful spirit. Worry not youthful spirit, you shall return harder and faster as the Chuuni spirit!

When we got back home, I had three things I wanted to do. Have lunch, take a shower and sleep. Well, four if you included perverted stuff, but Alicia had still yet to express interest, so I was willing to settle for the first three. That said I had something I needed to quickly take care of before then.

“Alicia please bring my lunch to my office in half an hour. Then clear out my itinerary for the rest of the day.”

“You don’t have an itinerary for the rest of the day.”

“Excellent work. I see you have learned to start predicting my needs.”

With that riveting conversation, I entered my office and closed the door. This was something that I was going to need absolute and complete privacy and preparation for.

“Hey Ra, turn on lights.” The lights in my office turned on.

With my office well illuminated I walked into my summoning circle, and turned to face the circle where the demon in question would be summoned. It took only a few quick syllables chanted over half a minute to complete the summoning of one Hctib Elttil, Foliot of the tenth circle, and holder of my true name.

“Tim!” The Foliot roared at me, taking on the shape of a red dwarf with claws and horns. “How dare you summon the mighty Hctib Elttil, enchanter?”

Dear god, what was past me thinking, creating a new spirit and telling it his real name? Dude was a fucking moron. A fucking moron that got me 600 CP but still a fucking moron.

“Oh, great and mighty Elttil of the Hctib.” I spoke in a totally non-sarcastic, dramatic tone. “I wish to free myself of the chains that represent you possessing my true name. I would entreat you to accept being sealed into a small, well-hidden box until my demise, at which point you would be released back to continue being a Hctib in the world.”

“No-“

My house’s built in automated defenses didn’t wait for him to get past that word. The moment negotiations had failed, he became a hostile spirit in my mansion. A ray of sunlight shot up from the ground beneath him, vaporizing most of his body, leaving naught but small pieces. What were left were sucked into the vortex bomb – basically a temporary magical black hole that spirits of Djinn rank and above can create – ending the reign of Hctib Elttil before it could begin.

And thus there were no spirits left who could use my True Name against me.



AN: Since the SI mostly spends the next month making various trinkets, I figure I could just skip all of that to the time when he actually showcases one of those trinkets, and reveal the rest as appropriate to the story. If you disagree for some reason (you find the showing of the crafting interesting, you think revealing an item at the opportune moment without foreshadowing it is an asspull, etc.) please tell me and depending on overall input levels I can start writing those chapters as well.

“Your tea, my Lord.”

“Thank you.”

I took the offered drink from Alicia as I slowly looked over my work. It had been two weeks since I had acquired a sleigh up to my specifications - nearly a full month since the jump insertion - and I had spent nearly all of my free time upgrading the sleigh since then. It looked the exact same as before to mortal eyes.

Magicians though, weren’t so limited. Most magicians wore contact lenses, though some settles for glasses or monocles. These weren’t to help with bad eyesight. Rather they sealed Imps into the lenses, allowing them to see onto the first three out of seven extra planes. Of course only a loser settles for what everyone else is doing, so I sealed a pair of Afrits - one for each lense - into my contact lenses. One of their benefits was letting me see all seven extra planes. The other was that I could craft illusions like an Afrit would. I had initially been planning to create lenses that gave me heat vision, but “let’s give the thin film of plastic that is in direct contact with my eyeballs the ability to shoot plasma” seemed like a stupid idea even by my standards.

Through my contact lenses, the entire sleigh basically lit up in a kaleidoscope of shapes and colors. It reminded me a bit of the Christmas Tree Effect; the idea that a high level DnD character would look like an over decorated Christmas Tree when viewed under Detect Magic. It wasn’t too surprising considering how much stuff I had crammed into the thing.

“How is your project going, my Lord?”

She continued the polite conversation as I sipped my tea. It was at perfect temperature, because of course it was. Gladstone had someone created a pouch that always contained fifty gold coins; take one out, and another would appear inside. I had no idea how the fuck he had managed that - for decades, all of the best and brightest magicians in the Holy Roman Empire had wasted their lives away failing to convert iron to gold, and Gladstone just started creating it Ex Nihilo - but it had given me the idea for the cup of infinite tea. I had simply bound a pair of low level fire and water elementals to it, and made slight alterations to the water elemental. Now it was the Cup of Infinite Tea at the Perfect Temperature. Because I was British now, and I refused to suffer the indignity of not having perfect tea exactly when I wanted it.

“Well, it is finally done, so I think I can move on to my other projects soon.”

I just had one more months to do my preparations. Or find a good excuse to not be in Britain at all when the time came. Though that would be very suspicious given my habit until now of doing exactly zero traveling.

Alicia took a moment to inspect the sleigh. The one that looked exactly the same as when it was delivered to my mansion two weeks ago.

“So what does it do?” She finally asked.

“Well, you ride it. Think of it as a car just faster, and with a few extra features. Come on, get in. I will show you.”

The sleigh was more than big enough to fit both of us. It was wide enough to seat three people side by side, and had two rows of seats and an extra space behind the second row that could hold items. It had walls going around it, made of wood an inch thick. The entire thing was painted in a striped red and green pattern, with a reindeer painted on either side. There were a pair of doors that could be opened so that we could get in. The entire thing slid on a pair of wooden legs that stretched the entire length of the sleigh before curving up ahead and behind it.

I opened the door and got in to the front row seat on the left. Alicia got in on the other side while giving the sleigh a worried and uncertain look.

“Stop worrying so much.” I told her as I settled into the comfortable, cushy chair that cost most than a commoner’s monthly paycheck, and stretched out my legs. I grabbed the pair of reins that were sticking out of the top of the sleigh. “This is perfectly safe. Hohoho.” I lightly whipped the reins, causing the sleigh to rise a foot or so into the air. “See, harmless.”

The process of slowly floating out of the garage and into the streets took a bit of time, but at least it gave time for Alicia to become accustomed to the sensation. Really, it was such a shame that British magicians had a thing against flying. Flying using brooms, robes or carpets, the idea of magicians flying using objects had been around since before Solomon’s time. Even today there were some countries in the Middle East where magicians regularly used objects to fly. Hell, at some point a guy even made a flying castle for himself! However, apparently flying hurt the delicate local sensibilities, so people here didn’t engage in it much.

Once we exited the garage I whipped the reins again. The world bent and twisted, and then we were floating three miles above the city of London. A thought was enough to engage the cloaking on the sleigh; it wouldn’t hide us on the 4th and above planes, but Imps and Foliots wouldn’t be able to detect us anymore.

“Calm down.” I repeated to the suddenly ashen faced Alicia who was tightly gripping her seat. Huh, maybe I should have added in seat belts? I guess I could work on that next. “It is perfectly safe. We don’t even have to worry about the weather.”

That was true. One of the features I had added in was interior climate control. We could go from the freezing cold of the Arctic to the blazing heat of a desert in summer at noon without the temperature inside changing from a nice and comfy room temperature. Rain and wind would be deflected as well.

“How… how did we get up here?” She finally asked after taking more than a minute to calm down her breathing.

“Well, you know about seven league boots right?” She shook her head at that. “Right, okay. So there are these items called seven league boots. They let you travel 7 leagues - a little over 30 kilometers - in a single step. I basically applied same thing to the runners of my sleigh. So each time it moves, it can move up to 7 leagues in a direction I want. On that note have you ever been to the American colonies?”

She just gave me a strange look. “I have never been outside of London my lord. The Americas are thousands of kilometers away.”

“Six thousand or so, give or take.” I agreed. “We could get there in about three minutes if you want. Which actually makes a shopping trip there and back quicker than visiting the shopping district. You want to see if there is something you might want to buy for yourself or your parents in Boston? Or just some exotic sights you want to visit.”

You know, now that I’m making a note of this, I could do a lot of trading with this sleigh. Or just make a bunch more - without all of the built in weapons and defenses - and sell them to merchants for some really nice contracts. Giving a merchant the ability to make a trip in under five minutes that took his fastest competitor a month and a half was the kind of thing that gave them a ridiculous competitive edge. The kind of an edge they would be willing to sell quite a lot for. Hell, I don’t even need to sell them. Just rent them out so that I can keep bringing in a commission for as long as I can make and maintain them.

“Um, my lord, you are drooling.”

I quickly reached up and wiped away the drool. “Sorry. Was just imagining how much money I could make in intercontinental trade with a sleigh like this. So, about visiting America for a trip, are you interested?”

Alicia finally managed to regain a calm look.

“If that is my lord’s wish.”

I supposed that was a no. Or more accurately a “I don’t want to, but I’m afraid to say that”. Of course, I still had the option of taking her anyways, but unless I could how her a great time there it would just worsen her opinion of me. Plus reinforce the idea that she couldn’t say no to me.

Well, it wasn’t like I was all that interested in going to America anyways. I just wanted to take my sleigh for a ride. Maybe I can go pirate hunting sometime tonight instead.

“No, if you don’t want to that is fine. Let us return for now.” A flick of the reins and the world shifted. We were back in front of my garage and invisibly floated in once more. “I’m sorry for scaring you with this. I suppose I got too excited with my new toy.”

This was followed by a bit of awkward silence before I headed out to take a walk, and Alicia went to buy some food and supplies for the house. Sebastian would be driving her, so I would be left to travel via my own devices.

Well, not like I don’t have some other nice toys to try out.

I didn’t take too much with me. I had on a pair of seven league boots - hey, if I could put the enchantment on a sleigh, I could put them on shoes - an amulet to create a protective shield, a pair of earrings to keep me warm and repel the rain, a black, hooded robe that granted flight and had #OppaiGungunStyle written on the back in blue letters, a monocle, and a silver pimp cane with an emerald gem on the handle. Properly equipped, I went out to go and explore London at my leisure. I also did my best to ignore that I basically threw my entire plans for the day out the window and went to go sulking on my own because a girl didn’t want to go shopping in America with me, and what this implied about the control of my hormones on my actions. Instead I sipped from my Eternal Cup of Tea - the name was still a work in progress - and regretted not creating a magical top hat that I could wear while going on my stroll.

Eventually my walk led me to the Devereaux Park of Beauty, a public park formerly called by a different name that didn’t include the Prime Minister’s name in it. There, I sat down and gave my life until now some thought. I had spent my day artificing, got excited at creating a sleigh with the capabilities the F30 was supposed to have, tried to show off to a girl, got rejected, and proceeded to mope because my hormones are out of whack.

And what am I going to do tomorrow? The same exact thing?

I had basically spent the past month just making magic items and doing the bare minimum at my job. Occasionally doing a construction project.

I basically treated this as a vacation jump. Somewhere to pick up a modest amount of power, and then live in comfort in a low danger setting. While that is nice and all, I have literally set out to accomplish nothing beyond making awesome shit. Maybe I should change that?

That honestly might be more fun. My current plan was to wait for the plot to happen and then nuke it from orbit, but why wait? I could make my own plot.

Besides. As I told Alicia, my sleigh can take me to different continents in minutes. Why should I bother dealing with the problems here in London?

AN:
Not too sure how satisfied I am with the ending. It is mostly just the SI realizing he literally has no plans for 10 years besides go through the exact same motions, and figuring out he should maybe try doing something instead of just trolling around and waiting for canon to happen.

About the flying thing, it being common in other parts of the world but British magicians actively choosing to not engage in it is canon, and from the third book (Ptolemy’s Gate).

The bag of infinite money, and can’t do iron to gold transmutation are both from the second book (Golem’s Eye), though we never see the bag of infinite money in use. It was probably very magical - it was Gladstone’s money bag that he was entombed with - but it could have merely been a bag of holding, or something that teleported gold coins from his house into itself.

Seven League boots first appear in the first book (Amulet of Samarkand), but make appearances in all 3 books. They are also possibly one of the more bullshit OP items in the setting.






AN: This delay is brought to you by FGO, and me being. a lazy bum.

I watched Katherine “Kitty” Jones walk down the street. She was just a girl of my own – biological – age, and yet I was just watching her go without having approached her or spoken a single word to her, like some idiot that was in love. I mean, the signs weren’t all that different. I was hesitating approaching her because I was uncertain of her response.

The difference is, in my case a rejection would do a lot more harm than if I were just proposing that we bone.

Problem was that while she would develop the right kind of personality towards the end of canon, that was about 3 years down the line. That was a lot of time for personality growth in teenagers. I simply did not know if she had the right personality now.

A problem I will run into with anyone I try to recruit. Maybe I could adopt an orphan or something?

I shook my head, and dramatically whisked my cloak around me, activating its function to cloak me from sight. One step took me onto the roof tops, another took me across the city, and a third dropped me off in front of my house.

“Another wasted day ogling ass like a stalker?”

Inquired Athena as she came out of my library carrying a stack of books. She had the shape of a mature human woman, wearing a simple white toga. It didn’t show off any curves, but then neither was Athena interested in human on djinn sex, nor did I summon her because I was thatdesperate to wet my dick. No, one summons a spirit of knowledge of the highest class for help with research.

“I wasn’t ogling her ass. First, her ass wasn’t all that impressive. Second, I’m more into faces and chests than asses. I was assessing the viability of my plan.”

“Well, it is a stupid plan.” She told me. “So you can stop assessing it.”

I paused to give her a strange look. “Shouldn’t you be trying to get me to engage in stupid plans so that I die and you turn free?”

“Your plan is to recruit commoners, give them the ability to fight magicians, and hope they don’t go crazy as they pull off a revolution. Considering you are a) looking to commit treason, b) looking to recruit people into it who have been neither vetted for loyalty nor trained to keep a secret, your plan going wrong would involve the police or military being sent to murder you. Given the obscene hours you spend at home, coupled with the fact that I have been bound to protect your home, if your plan gets you killed, odds are I’m going down with you. I don’t hate you enough to want to die alongside you. So no, I would prefer if you avoided any suicidal plans for the time being.”

“You have a point.” I nodded. “The mansion has defenses, but no escape function in case it is attacked. I know magicians used to create flying castles. Do you think Heka would know the spells and tricks they used?”

“Probably. But he is currently working on collecting the references for creating sharp, pointy weapons and making them magical with Hephaestus and Vivien.”

I nodded. That was also important. Hmmm, maybe I was trying to go too fast with my plans if having four Marids specialized in various forms of knowledge couldn’t keep up with my research needs. Maybe I should start throwing around more brute force to get the job done faster?

“In that case tell him when he is done with that research to come find me. I will be setting up our artillery.”

“Artillery?” She asked, giving me a strange look. Which was really fucking strange to be getting from a djinn. Or so I have been told. It was a perfectly normal thing in my experience.

“Well, yes. If I’m going to have a flying mansion, it needs a some artillery pieces for defense. I know Gladstone managed to turn a staff into a weapon of doom by trapping a dozen or so Afrits into one tiny piece of it. I figure if I do the same thing to a much larger piece of wood, or the ground or something, I could get a similar effect, just much more stable. Or just trap a single Marid in there. I would lose like half the firepower compared to his staff, but have more control. I figure I should go for variety.”

Athena stared at me for a good half a minute before responding. “So, let me get this straight. You want to give this mansion the ability to fly, and arm it with enough firepower to take on pretty much the entire British army, so that, in case a couple dozen police officers might try to arrest you, you can fly the mansion away to safety.”

“Pretty much. If I can figure out intercontinental flight, we could set up in America and safely do… something there for a year or two.”

“You know what? This sounds like a brilliant plan. You should get working on it right away. I will send Heka to you as soon as he is done figuring out how to replicate Caliburn.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Sir, what is this?”

Alicia asked as she looked at the stack of money I had passed her. She had just arrived to work in the morning, and I had invited her into my office for a brief talk. I was wearing a white shirt that had the face of a blond teenage girl with an ahoge on it. Below her face was the text #FuteIsJustice. To complete the image, I had an owl sitting on my right shoulder.

In turn, Alicia was already dressed in a proper maid uniform and was doing her best to look prim and proper while awkwardly looking around the room that she was normally forbidden to enter.

“Either your severance package, or your bonus depending on how you chose to take things.”

“Severance package? Bonus? I’m sorry, sir. I do not know what those mean.”

Right. I forgot I live in a society where workers’ rights were so unheard of, they hadn’t even reached the point of being the punchline to a joke yet. Which, as someone filthy rich, wasn’t exactly a badthing for me.

“A bonus is extra money given on top of your paycheck in exchange for really good work, or performing tasks outside of what is expected of you.” I calmly explained. “A severance package on the other hand is money you might be paid when you are let go of from a job so that suddenly becoming unemployed doesn’t hurt your future prospects too badly.”

Alicia took a few seconds to digest that. Or at least I assumed that was what she was doing while looking back and forth between me and the pile of money worth more than what some commoners would make in a year of honest work. Eventually she seemed to reach a conclusion, and looked me in the eyes.

“Sir, are you paying me to sleep with you?”

Those words pretty suddenly cut off my train of thought. The loud cackling of the damned owl on my shoulder restarted it, and made me glare at her, causing her to shut up. I then calmly turned back to Alicia.

“My love life isn’t so desperate that I need to pay a fortune to get laid.”

“Are you sure, sir?”

Her eyes widened comically as she realized what she had just said, and she instinctively clapped her hands over her mouth, as if to take back the words. For my part, I grabbed my Cup of Eternal Tea – or whatever I ended up calling it – and took a slow, measured sip, before speaking in the most posh, British tone that I could.

“Quite certain my dear.”

“I’m sorry sir, it is just that you don’t strike me as very popular with women.” Alicia spoke up again in a rushed, panicked tone. “I mean, I wasn’t aware you spoke with women. I mean-“

“Alicia.” I interrupted her before my ego ended up taking even more damage. “Enough.”

“She does have a point though.” The owl on my shoulder spoke up. “Since you summoned me, the only women you spoke to were those that were paid to be around you, or those bound by magic to be around you.”

“You know Athena, I have always wondered. I know spirits eating other spirits makes them stronger, but is the boost temporary? Or if they feed enough, can they get a permanent strength gain? For example, if I fed you to an Imp, would it become a higher class of spirit?”

The bird decided to shut up at that and just calmly sit on my shoulders. Too bad for it, unlike Alicia it wasn’t a human, and therefore wasn’t getting out of receiving completely disproportionate retribution.

“Right, so back to the main topic.” I said, turning to Alicia. “Are you clear on what a bonus and severance package are?”

The girl nodded, apparently not trusting her own mouth to ask non-awkward questions.

“Normally I wouldn’t be offering these, but I’m soon going to be doing something slightly foolish. Some people, if looking at only some of the information in just the right way, might see it as treasonous. While my position is solid enough that I can survive any such claims without much problem, I can’t guarantee that you wouldn’t be dragged into it if you continued to work for me. So, I figured I would give you a chance to quit and look for a more stable position if you want to. Whether you stay or leave, the money is yours.”

She looked between me and the money, and then spent a minute considering before eventually responding.

“May I know what you plan to do sir?”

“Of course.” I nodded. That was a perfectly reasonable question. “I want to avoid most of the British country side getting burned to the ground, and the population of London being killed, raped, eaten alive by demons, or having other nasty things done to it until only a small fraction of broken survivors remain, as a result of foreigners invading our country. If history and those who have lived it can be used as a reference, we have around 4 decades before that happens if we continue on our current path. So I’m planning to have the prime minister removed from power, and our government replaced by a parliamentary system where commoners get a vote.”

I was genuinely uncertain as to how to read Alicia’s facial expressions. Horrified? Aroused? Confused?

“So, you plan to kill the prime minister, and over throw the government? Isn’t that treason?” She clarified.

“I suppose it can be seen that way from a certain point of view.” I admitted. “However, the actual number of deaths would be kept to a dozen though, and millions would be saved from the transition.”

“You want to overthrow the government while only killing a dozen people?” She asked as if she couldn’t believe the idiocy that I was spouting. “How? Why?”

Instead of speaking, I just reached over to a small golden bell on my desk, picked it up and shook it. Unlike nearly every single item of vague note I used, this golden bell was completely non-magical. However, the nonmagical metal was still able to produce a clear tone that was the signal for Thoth to enter.

He came in in the form of a tall, dark skinned man, floating above the ground. Around him floating six columns of books, each as tall as him. In his hands he carried a pair of scrolls. He wore no shirt, and only had a miniskirt on his lower body. I’m… honestly absolutely fucking clueless as to where his dress sense came from. Nor do I have any wish to know.

“Right, this is going to be a bit of a long discussion.” I told her. “Most of these books are historical records on ancient empires that you can check up in any public library. Inside them at the relevant sections are sheets of paper where the historical record is complimented by the personal experiences and memories of djinn who were alive at the time of the fall of those empires. They establish a pattern that has been going on in the world for over five thousand years at this point, and is still going strong. The scrolls, are my plan on how to avoid the cycle.”

And then I launched into an explanation of the cycle, citing examples and historical records as I went.

The short version is that our world had a consistent pattern.

You had a country whose magicians were better than everyone else’s. This would allow them to dominate all other nations, taking resources and artifacts, and enriching themselves by making others miserable. A lot of this wealth would be funneled into the education of the magicians, so that each generation became increasingly more talented. This allowed the magicians to dominate their own nation and the world around them all the more easily.

It wouldn’t be long until every other country despised the dominating country. But there was jack shit they could do about it. Similarly, the common folk would hate their rulers, but be powerless to resist. Until the magicians started throwing so much magic around, that commoners with magic resistance started popping up. Their numbers increase until you hit a critical point, and they lead a successful revolt to either overthrow, or weaken the government.

Other nations, seeing this chance would attack. Whomever is the second best, would end up leading the invasion. With the defenders dealing with rebellions, much of their army going on strike and such, they would be crushed too swiftly before they could start mounting resistance. By the time soldiers and citizens realized that maybe they should put the rebellion on hiatus because there are foreign armies raping their way to the capital, the foreign armies areat the capital. And then the capital gets overthrown. At this point there is a blood lusted, racist army led by human hating spirits rushing into the capital. They aren’t very friendly to the common folk just because they helped with the invasion.

Basically, everyone gets raped, murdered, enslaved, tortured, eaten, or some combination of the above. By the time the army leaves, only a small fraction of the capital’s population is still alive. The empire is destroyed, and is liable to spend decades or centuries trying to recover from the scars simply to become a functional nation.

The former second best who led the attack now becomes the dominating nation, and the cycle is restarted.

Britain became number 1 when Gladstone mercerized his way through Europe, and we were currently working our way up towards having enough magic resistant civilians to have a successful rebellion in about four decades or so. Or in other words, we had until then to replace the government with something that the civilians feel they can support. This would involve having to weaken the hatred between magicians and commoners.

“And that is where your plan comes in.” Alicia summarized. “You want to create a parliamentary system, so the commoners don’t want to violently overthrow the government. Presumably you want to then spend the next few decades working to mend the rifts?”

“Hell no. Despite my status as Uzriel’s gift to women – and anyone who claims otherwise is just repeating Fake News – my social skills outside the wooing of women are limited. I have in those scrolls the outlines for systems that could be used to start mending the rifts. However, they would need to be run by someone with more social charisma. Me? I want to spend the next few decades studying magic in peace in my library. I really would like to avoid politics as much as practically possible.”

The girl nodded, and seemed to take another bit to consider things. I didn’t blame her. She was sixteen and being bombarded with a rather well researched and detailed apocalypse warning. That was actually accurate. And she didn’t grow up in a culture where she was regularly exposed to these things.

“Aren’t you worried that I will take all of this information to the government and accuse you of treason?”

I relished the idea to be the one giving the ‘are you an idiot’ look, instead of being on the receiving end of it.

“Yes, I can just imagine the reactions of the police officers when they look between the super magician sitting in a mansion more heavily fortified than a military base, and the sixteen-year-old commoner girl carrying a large fortune that she swears she did not steal but was gifted to her by her boss when he fired her. The same boss she accuses of treason as soon as she was fired. I’m sure they would be very enthusiastic to take you at your word and try to arrest me.”

“I see your point.” She agreed, before scanning through the scrolls outlining my plan to fix things. The super-secret plans that should be kept on a need to know basis. That I was just showing my secretary for no reason what so ever. Apparently, I’m really bad at political intrigue. “I want in.”

Well, I guess I was keeping her on as a secretary.

“Okay. If you could compile a list of potential recruitment targets for each category, that would be very helpful. As well as decide what method you want to help out in. Please take the day to think it over. I have a few minor issues that I need to handle for the day. Then we can work on getting things running tomorrow.” With that, I turned to Athena. “Gladstone’s tomb is protected by a Withering Curse. Beyond that, his corpse is possessed by an Afrit of some power, charged with protecting his possessions. Tonight, after the tombs have closed, you are to break in, destroy the Afrit, and acquire all of his magic items. Return here before dawn without being followed, or leaving any tracks back here. I’m going to go and meet with Ms. Jessica Whitwell.”

It was always a good idea to establish positive relations with the second most powerful magician in London. Well, officially the first because no one wanted to officially admit that a goofball like me was number one. That, and I had some use for her.

“Shouldn’t you send someone more fit for a thieving-“

“You have mouthed off enough today.” I interrupted Athena. “If you succeed at the task, I will forgive the insults that you have said. If not, well, we have already figured out that the spirit of a dragon can be used in the place of a spirit of a wolf with the right preparations. I’m certain a spirit of a Greek Goddess would work just as well.”

The death threat shut her up nice and quick. That was good. I hoped she succeeded though. There were some interesting items in there that I wanted to study. Also, aside from the occasional insults, Athena was a witty person, whose companionship I would miss.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In my studies of history’s circles, I also ended up learning a bit about revolutions. See, while revolutions in dominant countries were doomed to either failure or being the harbingers of outside invasions, revolutions couldsucceed in second tier nations. This presented me with a lot of historical records I could find patterns in.

One of the patterns, was that when a revolution was successful, the more extreme branches of it ended up trying to take control, and go on a coolaid drinking spree. The other, was that if you had different rebel organizations at the same time, they had an annoying tendency to fight each other more than the government.

Both of those lead to one simple conclusion for me. If I wanted my revolution to be successful, more extremist revolutionaries – like The Resistance – needed to go. The solution of course, was simply to tell the Minister of Security how to find them, and let the fireworks play out. I figure the resulting fight would provide sufficient distraction for me to act a bit more freely.

“Ms. Whitwell, a pleasure to meet you.”

I smiled at the Minister as I casually strolled into her office. She had short, neatly trimmed white hair – despite her relatively young age – and what I supposed could be called a runner’s build. She was skinny but fit. Her face though was scrunched up in a serious manner as she glared at me.

“Common courtesy requires me to claim the same.” She replied in a terse manner. “Now, what is this about.”

“The Resistance. I was wondering if you were interested in learning how to find them.”

She glared at me. “I assure you, Merlin, no matter what grand beliefs you have about your abilities, we have the best Magicians in the city working on this task. We do not need your assistance.”

“I wasn’t planning to assist.” I corrected her, before taking out a pair of mirrors, one in a red frame and the other in a green frame. “These two mirrors are connected. One of them, the red one, can turn on a weak barrier that reflects rain from you.”

“You are invented a magical umbrella.” She noted in an annoyed tone. “And what makes you think that this will let us find The Resistance?”

“The Resistance are thieves who have been stealing any magic items they have the opportunity, without respect for its value. I’m not sure how they identify magic items. Maybe they once store a magician’s lenses. The point is, that they can identify magic items, but not what they do. If you make a few dozen copies of these, and hand them out to magicians known to be careless, and have them wander the streets, one or two will get stolen.”

She gave me a withering glare. “Congratulations. You have figured out how to get items stolen. This helps us how exactly?”

“The green mirror is a modified scrying glass.” I told her. “It has a decent range – around ten miles – but only works on the red mirror. It will always show you what is around the red mirror, and let you track down the red mirror.”

The woman finally got it. “So, you want them to steal items that have an inbuilt method to be located.”

“Exactly.” I nodded in agreement. “I’m not sure about the exact numbers you will need, but these items are simple to make. You can have an apprentice make a few copies in a day. It isn’t a very expensive trick and should let you catch The Resistance easily.”

Jessica nodded. “And what do you want?”

“For you to remove The Resistance. Now, my only question is, can you do it, or do I need to go to Duvall for assistance?”

Duvall was the local Police Chief. He was also a werewolf. As was every single police officer. I mean, it was good that we were not going into the “treating werewolves as subhuman monsters” racist direction that Harry Potter went in, but I don’t think “you must be a werewolf to be a police officer” was any better of a policy.

The point though, was that Duvall was Jessica’s political rival. They were constantly trying to one up each other. Whichever of them managed to capture The Resistance would gain a significant edge over the other. Neither would risk the other gaining an edge.

“There is no need to worry. My Department should have no problems cleaning up this petty annoyance.”

“Thank you, Ms. Whitney. I wish you luck in your endeavor.”

With that, I turned around and walked out of her office. Hmmm, I wonder if I could recruit Duvall’s apprentice away from under him. She was supposed to be a feisty beauty.





AN:
Since some people said I should show what the crafting process looked like and others wanted to skip it, I gave it a try of showing two different types here. I hope this will get me more definite results of whether I should include more or less scenes like this. Was it good? Bad? The worst piece of diction you have seen outside of Twilight? The greatest piece of writing since Stephen King? Did you skip the whole thing? Please feel free to be as blunt as you can be.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sadly, the plan to have a meeting the next morning did not exactly work out. As it turns out, sending a Marid who knows exactly what to expect against an Afrit who is notexpecting an attack results in a horribly one-sided curb stomp battle. Athena had no problems recovering Gladstone’s items is what I am saying. That said, “someone stole the most powerful magical item on the entire continent” is the sort of thing that gets the Prime Minister to drag his entire cabinet and much of the rest of the upper echelons of the government out early in the morning. Which is how I ended up standing in front of a cemetery slash museum half an hour before the crack of dawn with most of the “movers and shakers” of Britain.

Based on the reactions of others, it was probably cold, wet and windy. I wouldn’t know. I had a charmed necklace that kept me warm, and used a low power shield to repel the rain and wind. So, for me it was dry and warm with a nice gentle breeze. Sure, I wasn’t the only one to have the senses to make a magical item of convenience, but it was still rather embarrassing to see the majority shivering in the wind like some muggles.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Rupert was yelling at Whitwall and Duvall and demanding immediate results in capturing whomever had done this. Yeah, good fucking luck to that. I also wasn’t sure how he was figuring he could keep his position if Whitwall didsomehow acquire the staff.

I just want to get home and study the pouch of infinite money.

Was it a bag of holding that only displayed 50 coins at any time? Did it somehow teleport coins into itself from elsewhere? Or did it create coins out of nothing? I didn’t know, and I wanted to learn and maybe replicate it. But instead I had to stand here as the Prime Monkey berated people who were not me.

If I wasn’t responsible for this waste of time, I would be planning out how to catch and punish whomever was responsible for this.

Eventually the Prime Fatso finally managed to stop his yelling at the heads of the security and police and turned towards us.

“Not only the Amulet of Samarkand, but even the Staff of Gladstone has been stolen, only weeks apart!” He loudly yelled in a tone that wasn’t quitea hissy fit. “The perpetrator must have been a magician aiming to topple our glorious government. This cannot be allowed.”

It isn’t about whether you allow it or not. They have already happened.

“I want you all to redouble your efforts to find the thief. I expect every single one of you to hand in a written report, by the end of week of what you have done to find the thieves, and what you have achieved.” For the record, today was Thursday. Assuming he meant Sunday night, that gave us four days to start getting results. “Now, get to it. Duvall, Whitwall, Merlin. You three stay.”

Okay, I was just realizing that there was the slight possibility that I might nothave thought things through when I asked Athena to steal a staff I neither wanted nor needed. Well, on the bright side, I was probably derailing canon plans like crazy.

Others took no time in vacating the premises. No one mentioned the fact that they had been dragged out here from London at a ridiculous hour, just to stand around for over an hour on end, before being given a few sentences of instructions and told to piss off. I mean, seriously. What was even the point of meeting here, aside from for the dramatics? No, everyone was too scared for the Prime Minister’s wrath to voice those words.

“You three.” The Prime Minister addressed us once only we were left. “I have a second task for you. Once the thief is found, he will most definitely fight. And he will have both the Amulet of Samarkand and Gladstone’s Staff. It will be the job of you three to ensure that he is taken down. Merlin, I have put up with a lotof your petty childishness because I believed you would be capable of handling situations like this. Do notdisappoint me. Duvall, Whitwall, the two of you have always argued as to which of your departments was best suited to protect our fair city. This is your chance to prove yourselves.”

“Prime Minister, may I review the site for any evidence?”

I decided to ask as another plan formulated in my head. It sounded like a fun plan, that could not possibly go wrong.

“You think you will find something that we missed?” Duvall demanded. “You think you could find something that the best in my department could not find?”

“Me? Oh, don’t be ridiculous. Idon’t have the senses or training to find anything you missed. However, tell me Mr. Duvall. Are you aware that spirits become stronger and gain better senses the more powerful they are?”

Duvall snorted. “Why are you bothering our time with something so basic?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “I’m a better magician than you. In fact, I’m a better magician than your entire department combined. I figured it would be obvious I could summon better spirits than you can. Now hush, and let the big boys work.”

The man growled this time, like an enraged animal. His nails started extending for a moment before he caught himself. I just snorted. Werewolves. They were barely better than rabid animals. And yet magicians kept insisting on using them as police.

Well, I should get to work instead of laughing at the damn mongrel.

There are, as a general rule, tricks to speed up a summoning. Usually they are a bad idea, as while they make the summoning quicker, they also weaken the bindings compared to a proper ritual. There are three ways to mitigate this. One, is to summon up a creature you have regularly bound. The sheer familiarity will lessen the “penalty” that you experience. The second option, is to summon something much weaker than what you can normally handle. If you can throw around enough power to summon Afrits with a full and proper ritual, you can drag over an Imp with just a quick word and gesture, and it won’t be escaping. The third option is to not summon something from the other side. Rather, say, summon something from across town to your side

Having not made the appropriate preparations, I ended up going with option 2, and only option two. It didn’t help that I was trying to show off so I didn’t give a proper and long chant. Well that, and I was partially doing this so I didn’t have back up while doing a summoning.

“Bartimaeus, Queezle, come forth.”

Smoke poured forth out of the ground to my right. A while wind emerged to my left, lightning bolts jumping around back and forth in the earth. A moment later the smoke started to condense, turning into fog before starting to take on a form. The whirlwind similarly gained definition as it compressed itself, becoming a living creature. Soon, a full-grown hell cat was prowling back and forth to my right, while a tall red demon that reminded me of the Japanese Oni was glaring down at me to my left.

“Bartimaeus, Queezle, I, Emyr Merlin Ambrosius, bind you to my will, and charge you with a task.” I commanded them. “Guard me from all harm until I complete my next two summoning and bindings.”

The two spirits shuddered as the binding was completed. They did not seem to be happy, but that did not matter. Attempting to disobey the bindings would literally tear them to pieces, killing the in the process.

“So, Ambro. That is your name, right? Emy Ambro?” Bartimaeus, the red oni spirit, asked me in a snide tone. “You seem to be in quite a hurry here. No witty banter? Not going to ask what I can do for you? I am the great Barti-“

“The Staff of Gladstone was just stolen.” I interrupted the spirit before it could go into a rant about how great it used to be. “From what I remember of your histories, both of you have seen it in action before. You were in fact on the wrong side of it if I remember correctly?”

“Yes, nasty piece of work that.” Bartimaeus agreed. “Not a toy for a kid like you. What, are you jealous that someone got to steal it before you?”

I snorted before replying. “I was one of those charged with finding and retrieving it. Now, my plan was to summon up a pair of Marid who specialize in theft and trickery – Hermes and Loki – to locate it for me and help me retrieve it. I just wanted the two of you to stand guard where I summon them up, and then allow you to return home. However, if you feel that letting me summon in piece is beneath your well historied dignity, I will be happy to change that order and send you out to retrieve the staff for me. I’m sure a spirit of your great experience would have no trouble overpowering a mere magician armed with that staff.”

The great cat stopped pacing in front of me and immediately started pacing around me instead. It truly was a great beast, at tall as I was, and proportionately long. It had a great majestic golden orange coat, and a long and powerful tail that flickering back and forth as it paced. “Worry not, master. This humble servant shall do her duty and guard you doing your summoning, even if Bartimaeus wishes to go off and chase glory.”

The oni had also changed behavior, transforming until it was a Roman legionary, standing at attention. “Glory is over rated.” It said in a crisp and professional tone. “I will be honored to guard you while you complete your summoning.”

I nodded, and reached into a pouch on my side to pull out the silver dust, candles, and other summoning tools I always carried on me. A magician had to be an idiot to not be prepared to throw down a summoning circle at a moment’s notice. And while I was many things – a bumbling fool amongst them – an idiot wasn’t one of those things. A fool or a moron maybe, but not an idiot.

Sadly, making the summoning circles was notsomething I could do with just a flick of the wrist. Nor was it something that I could task to my summons without risking them inserting a slight error in there to try and kill me. Assuming they even knew the right circle composition. No, I had to craft the circle by hand, stick, and silver. It was a long and boring process, drawing the circle in the ground, taking well over half an hour. In the entire time nothing exciting happened. Just double and triple checking everything while Duvall and his men continued to fail at their jobs as they “investigated” the crime scene, probably destroying whatever evidence had been there in the process. It was a good thing my plans did not actually require any evidence.

When I finally finished the circle, it took even more time to finish binding both spirits in question. Over all, it was early morning by the time I had the spirits Hermes and Loki standing in front of me, awaiting my orders, and Bartimaeus and Queezle were finally let go. Whitwall and Duvall had long since left to go do something else to help them in the search.

Hmmm, maybe I should pull an Odin and just have a pair of Marids sit on my shoulders disguised as birds as I walk around. It would certainly make things quicker.

“I would say good morning, but it isn’t exactly a pleasant day.”

“Yes, a morning without any sun and the rain just pouring down. Seems like a very… British morning.” Loki commented. He had taken on the shape of a three eyed horse. A very malethree eyed horse. I knew, because he was wall enough that his maleness was at eye height for me. And giving me insecurity issues. Like, really big ones.

“All time in this world in unpleasant.” Hermes remarked. He had taken on the form of a foot-long red snake with wings that was flying around in the sky. “So what task do you require, oh master, that you would summon two of the greatest spirits to complete it.”

“Someone robbed the tomb of Gladstone, a British magician of some renown.” I started with a sentence that was technically accurate. “The government is currently freaking out about the loss of his staff, known as the most powerful British made magic item on the continent. I want you to investigate the site of the incident and find out everything that you can. Don’t tell your results to anyone, or communicate them in anyway. In six hours, I will summon you to my mansion, and you can tell me there and then.”

“Just investigation?” Loki neighed. “You would summon two gods to simply investigate a crime scene? What are you playing at little mortal?”

I shrugged. I would say I shrugged nonchalantly, but I gave myself a 0% chance of fooling these two. “No one could find any actionable evidence. I figured you two would have the best odds of finding something to work with. If this is beyond your skills, I could find something more brute forcy for you to do.”

The spirits grumbled, but eventually they got down to going in and investigating the crime scene. I just let out a tired sigh at finally being done with this mess, and turned around to walk back home. Now I had six hours to get things done before I had to deal with this mess again.

Four days. I need to wrap everything up within four days. Then I should be able to rest and take things easy again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I got back home a minute later, everyone was already waiting for me. They had been for over an hour apparently, but did their best to put on smiles and pretend to not be bothered by it. That was the nice thing about a magiocracy. A magician is never late. Nor is he ever early. Everyone else is late or early.

“Hello everyone.” I addressed Alicia and the group of spirits. “Thank you for waiting. Now, I believe we have two tasks to complete. The first is to turn Alicia into the first of the dragonborn, the second is to properly arm her. Which should we start with first?”

“Um, can I ask a question?” Alicia timidly asked. She was wearing a patient’s gown from a modern hospital and nothing else. Were she to turn around, I would be given an unobstructed view of her cute tush.

“Go ahead.” I nodded, not minding the interruption.

“Why are the newly transformed called dragonborn? If it is based on the werewolf transformation, shouldn’t they be called weredragons?”

“That is an excellent question.”

I wasn’t sure if it was, but congratulating people for asking the most basic of questions was supposed to be a key presentation skill.

“I have three major reasons to differentiate them. First, I don’t want any associations between my dragonborn and Duvall’s werewolves. The dragonborn are supposed to help the commoners, and build a positive rapport with them. Duvall’s werewolves are absolutely despites. For verygood reason. I don’t want this to be seen as more of the same, or an improvement to the current shitty system, but a completely new start. Second, werewolves transition between humans and wolves. They can be humans with wolf instincts, wolves with a human mind, or somewhere in between. Dragonborn will be different. They won’t be able to turn into dragons. Instead, they will simply be able to draw on the strength of dragons. Third, dragonborn sounds a lot more awesome than weredragon does.”

Yes, this was the first stage of my plan.

Going back in history, at some point in ancient Egypt, a magician had observed how deadly and vicious wolves were. He wondered if he could combine his soldiers with wolf spirits to make them equally deadly and vicious. That part isn’t all that surprising. Humanity has been trying to imitate “deadly predators” ever since we grew a brain and surpassed those creatures. He ended up succeeding, creating the first werewolves. And then his soldiers ended up being too vicious and killed him.

For some reason, magicians throughout history keep looking back at this experiment and going “what a brilliant experiment. What a great success”, and replicating the spell. These warriors that have lost their discipline and self-control, are then usually given the job of a police force. Because obviously you want the people most likely to commit beatings, rape and murder to be guarding the common folk from beatings, rape and murder. And people say Harry Potter wizards lack common sense.

This is relevant here, because Britain follows the exact same policing model. All of our police are werewolves. And this is nothelping with public support of the government. Apparently having your child eaten alive by a police officer doesn’t make you supportive of the government that gave him the ability to eat your child alive. Who knew?

That said, the actual spell work isn’t all that bad. It is actually a pretty ingenious piece of work. It wipes away all of the spirit’s mind and personality before merging it with a human, so a human can gain a degree of a spirit’s power and senses without losing their mind. The only problem was that they insist on using wolf spirits. Presumably because those aren’t too difficult to summon and bind.

Athena had dug up the spell work for me. It hadn’t been too hard. As I said, nearly every major civilization in history made excessive use of it. From there, it had taken us a bit of time together to break down the ritual and make alterations to it. Now, we were using a spirit of a dragon, and were much more thorough in the personality wipe of the spirit. Sadly, this meant that our new breed of police couldn’t transform into dragons, breathe fire, or fly. On the other hand, they were stronger and tougher than regular mortals, had better senses, and kept their own personality.

And now Alicia would be the first of these dragonborn, a group of elite warriors created to protect commoners and to fight injustice wherever they encounter it.

I wish we had been able to find a teenage blond girl called Altria or Artoria that I could have turned into the first dragonborn.

Well, no use crying over spilled references. Alicia already knew what to do, and stripped before lying down in the middle of the magical circle while I did one final check in case the previous nine checks ended up missing any flaws in it. While I could always find a new assistant, that did not mean I shouldn’t take every measure possible to avoid killing her.

“Are you sure about this?”

I asked her one last time. If you were going to create a super soldier, be absolutelysure about his or her consent before getting started. You didn’t want a pissed super soldier going after you, interrupting your crowing about how much of a genius you were. So I waited for her assent before getting started.

Alicia was lying, spread eagle, in the middle of four concentric circles. At the same time, at each of the four cardinal directions, there were four items – a lit brazier, a bowl of earth, a bowl of wine and a glass bottle – each with a trapped minor elemental of one of the four elements in it. Dragons, after all, were majestic creatures of all four elements. Some might say they were nature itself. Of course, some were bloody idiots who could not tell the difference between reality and poetry. To complete the rule of four, there were also four spirits at each of the positions between the cardinal directions. Normally they would leave, but Athena, Thoth, Heka and Vivien were all interested in the workings of this ritual. There was a reason that history recorded them as divinity of magic and knowledge after all.

Taking one final moment to center myself, I started humming. Normally, magicians perform summons via chanting and speaking. That said, there was a reason that we had mandatory schooling in music as we grew up. Some rituals, simply worked better when formed as a song or a dance than a chant. There was power in music, as much as even thinking that thought made me want to throw up. And so, instead of taking up a chant, my humming grew louder, as I started to tap out a rhythm with my foot. The light in the room flickered as the flames moved in tune to the beat, and the air took on a subtle, almost magicaltaste to it.

My humming turned into a simple song, almost animalistic in its nature, as what would sound like various meaningless sounds came out of my mouth as I started clapping my hands and moving my body more actively. The earth in the bowls started beating as if they were drums, matching my rhythms as the music picked up its tempo. Soon as I was swaying from side to side, a breeze moving back and forth along with me as the air became wet and humid, to the degree that a light fog appeared.

As the music grew louder, I started moving more and more, and soon I was dancing around the circle, whopping and whirling as I went. The air followed my motions, flowing and twisting until there was a small whirl storm of mist, air, lightning and some dust spinning above Alicia, spinning faster and faster, and growing bigger and bigger as my actions continued. Finally, when the whirl storm was big enough, I started singing.

My voice maybe a lilting, pleasing note as it flowed through the air. Or the music coming out of my throat did, for it was no longer myvoice that was being song, but something else. It was both human and spiritual, as if there were a spirit singing alongside me on the other side, in the spirit world, and our voices were crossing the boundaries to each other’s worlds.

The song itself was in a language whose name has seen been lost to the passage of time. It was primal and basic, yet infinitely beautiful. I would almost say it was primordial. What I sang was both a prayer and a demand, for the language was too simple to differentiate between the two. It both requested and demanded that the divine serpent – or a dragon – descend into Alicia. The same prayer, the same command came over and over, becoming louder, more real with each passage of my tone, until on the seventh repeat, I jumped and landed where I had started my dance, slamming my hand down onto the ground as with one, final, thunderous noise, the music ended.

As my hand descended, so this the whirl storm, slamming into Alicia in a very literal sense as my hand clapped the ground. She didn’t scream or twitch in pair. The storm harmlessly flowed into and through her, subtly twisting her features, something making them both more real as well as ethereal. Scars, bruises and callouses from a life as a commoner healed themselves, imperfections throughout her body smoothing themselves out as they were removed, leaving behind smooth, flawless skin. Her limbs shrank as fat was absorbed into her, before expanding as her muscles grew, and then shrank again as the muscles compressed upon themselves, until they were the same size as before. Her butt shrank slightly as the extra flap disappeared, gaining a firmness she had lacked before. Her chest too, expanded, gaining an extra centimeter or two, bouncing back and forth in a hypnotic pattern that practically screamed the loss of any sagging it might have suffered before.

Having passed through her, the storm flew out of her, exiting her skin, and blew away from her. As it passed by each circle, one of each of its elements was lost, until it reached the fourth and last circle, and even the wind itself disappeared, bringing the ritual to an end.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After the ritual Alicia ended up going to the kitchen to eat before crashing and sleeping. She probably didn’t need it, but I didn’t actually have a pressing need for her yet, so it was best to have her up at full capacity. Sadly, I did not have the same option. As the local saying went, there is no rest for the handsome magician. Or at least that was the socially acceptable version of the saying around these parts.

So while Alicia was off resting, I had gone into room set aside as Hephaestus’s forge. It was, an interesting place to say the least. There were a couple of magic circles set up for the inevitable summoning, but beyond that was a metal anvil – with a trapped earth elemental to better help it manipulate metal – the actual forge – kept warm by trapped fire elementals – Hephaestus’s hammer – with a trapped air elemental for removing or adding gaseous impurities – and a few other similar tools.

None of the spirits trapped in these items were all that earth shatteringly impressive – they were all just Djinn – but it had still taken a while to set up the facilities. On the other hand, it gave options for forging that otherwise did not exist in the world.

In a non-magical setting, you never did something idiotic like melting down metal to flow into a mold before letting it freeze. Well you could, but then you would get a complete piece of shit. Steel was basically iron with a small amount of impurities in it. The amount and type of impurities determined the properties of the steel.

If you melt down iron and let it cool down in air, it will have an uneven amount of impurities in it. They won’t be the impurities you want. Basically, you will have a roughly sword shaped piece of metal with absolutely ridiculous differences in metal quality throughout the object. You might even get an air bubble or two in there. The resulting metal would be pretty much useless without a shit ton of work.

With magic, things were different. As Hephaestus took piles of iron ingots and started melting them, I put on a pair of gloves. One had a trapped air elemental, another had a trapped earth elemental. Between the two gloves, I could casually add and remove impurities to the metal, insuring that we let it cool into a specific shape, the quality of the steel was exactly the same throughout the item. A simple amulet with a water elemental trapped in it allowed me to keep cool during the process.

Once the melting and shape setting was done, next came actual properblacksmithing. Namely, I stood back as Hephaestus used a combination of his hammer, anvil and forge to beat the sword into a proper shape. It had been roughlyin a sword shape, but the surface was still uneven, and its blade was about as sharp as Duvall’s wit. Hephaestus fixed that, his enchanted items also making some fine tunings to the metal composition in case it was needed.

This was a process I could not directly help with, so I stood back, and set about summoning instead. The chant was nothing specific. All of the preparations had already been made by this point. The circles were done perfectly, although I didcheck them twice more before starting the summoning. I wasn’t in a rush, so I didn’t even need to cut any corners. It was a boring, standard summoning that I took my time on so that I finished around the same time as Hephaestus did.

The sword was still warm when an earth and fire elemental, each about as powerful as an Afrit, popped up in each of the summoning circles. I didn’t even check what shapes they had taken, simply flowed into the next chant and quickly found them into the blade of the sword.

Iron weakens the power of a spirit. As such, an iron weapon that has a spirit trapped in it will not show close to as much magical power as the spirit itself. However, that was fine. I wasn’t giving the sword any powerful attacks yet. The earth elemental was bound as a way to reinforce the strength of the blade, simply keeping it eternally sharp and harder to break. The fire elemental gave it an affinity to fire, making it harder to melt, and so that it could lessen the effects of heat and electricity flowing through it on its wielder.

Binding done, I stepped back to observe our handy-work. It honestly, wasn’t all that impressive. It was a beautiful, silver broad sword that was incredibly sharp, but at the end of the day it was a pointy piece of metal.

Vivien finally came forward, and set to work crafting a handle for the blade. Hephaestus in the meantime went to collect a bag of gold and a few other minor metals. Silver was rather infamous as a powerful magic repellent metal. Gold on the other hand was an excellent magical conductor. While it didn’t make spells more powerful, it made it easier to channel the magic through gold. The other metals were to slightly help with this property. As he started melting them, I set about doing my next summoning.

This one was simple. I was a bit tempted to completely dump canon down the drain by summoning up Bartimaeus, but I withheld the urge. Pretty much anyDjinn would do for this purpose, and who knows, the smart mouth might be useful for something. And if not? I could take him. So instead I pulled up the first Djinn of no significance that came to mind, and bound it to the sword handle even as Vivien was crafting it, without giving it a chance to speak. I wasn’t in the mood to hear the opinions of objects.

The handle essentially flew together under Vivien’s ministration, a beautifully crafted leather handle interwoven with some metal that had an opal gem at the very end. It was into this gem that the Djinn was bound, suppressing all of its abilities, but its skills at illusions. It would be able to make the sword appear different; make the sword invisible, look like a flaming sword, look like a walking stick, etc. It couldn’t actually changethe sword, but only hide it.

As we completed the binding, Hephaestus completed the last of his tasks. The gold had been flown into grooves he had carved into the blade and solidified there, impurities removed, even as the gold perfectly bonded to the steel using complex metallurgic magic that few spirits could replicate. The end result was a sword that was actually beautiful, a silver blade with golden runes etched upon either side of it. Of course, for now the runes were actually meaningless. Giving them meaning and completing the process was my job, and then the blade would be done.

To prepare the process, Vivien grabbed the sword and walked over to a large stone that was sitting in the corner of the room, in the middle of a summoning circle. She then stabbed it through the stone, before walking back, leaving the sword behind.

“You can begin.”

I nodded, and started to chant again. Two more summons. Two more summons and then I could take a five-minute breather. Maybe get a bite to eat, and take a piss.

This pair of summons took quite a bit of time. What I called up were, essential a pair of hurricanes. Each was an air elemental with status comparable to that of a Marid. They had less versatility than the average Marid, but more power to themselves. It was, quite frankly a ridiculous amount of power, and it took a lot of focus to bind them to my sword. One would be bound to the runes on each side of the sword, a complementary pair. The runes were connected through the weapon’s handle, connecting the power of the two spirits, balancing them. The wielder would be able to draw on the power of both or not.

A weapon that can command the winds. The weapon of a king if you asked anyone else. God, and I am going to need to produce these by the dozensmore of these. Why did I think this was the low effort option again?

Still, finally with a dramatical whirlwind that disappeared to leave behind the sword in the stone, the process was done. The sword was created, and I could finally rest. Until however long I had before I had promised to summon up Loki and Hermes. A quick look at my watch told me I had fifteen minutes. Not really enough for a proper meal.

“God, I hate being busy. Need to find a way to lose responsibilities.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“So, what did you find?”

I asked Hermes and Loki after I finished calling them up. I had only taken my time to get back to my office before starting the summons. Alicia was entering the office though, bringing me my breakfast slash lunch slash tea time meal. Sadly, she had put clothes back on.

“Thank you, Alicia.” I started with the sandwich that she had brought, and started munching on it, and fuck common courtesy.

“There wasn’t too much of a lead.” Hermes said. “Whomever it was that did it, didn’t cover their tracks so much as created so many tracks that they were impossible to follow. Entire walls were missing, having been either burned to ashes, or destroyed in vortex orbs. The entire room that Gladstone was supposedly resting in, was destroyed by over two hundred vortex bombs. From what we can tell, the only way anyone knowsthat the man’s staff was stolen is because the destruction of it would have leveled the entire cemetery. As for the rest of his trinkets, it is only an educated guess that they were stolen instead of destroyed.”

“Do you have any clues who might have done this?”

“A commoner with enough vortex bombs could have done it if they got through the other protections. Or a very thorough spirit. Given all the werewolves that trudged back and forth to the ruins of the crypt, any evidence of a human – commoner or magician – passing through would have been destroyed. In short, there is absolutely no evidence who might have done it.”

“I see.” I nodded, and took a moment to lick my hands after finishing my sandwich, and then drowned by tea. Finally, I wasn’t starving. “So you have no idea who might have done it.”

“No, we don’t.” Loki agreed. He, like Hermes had taken on the form of a man in a suit. A deathly pale man to Hermes’s tanned man. “We can make some deductions, that they either wielded great power or spent months preparing the tools for this, but we cannot help you track them down.”

“Excellent.” I nodded. “That means my plans can go ahead.”

“Ah, so you were the one who stole it.” The two spirits spoke up as one as soon as I said that. “I assume it was Athena on the young woman’s shoulder who performed the theft?” Hermes finished.

I pouted as my chance to monologue about the flawless execution of my brilliant “plan” that I literally made up on the spot and had only inconvenienced me so far. Damn spoil sports.

“Yes, indeed it was me.” I agreed. “Now, within the end of this week I shall execute the next part of my plan. I want the two of you to help with that. Once that is done, I shall release you and allow you to rest. However, as two tricksters, I shall be requiring your assistance in making this go off flawlessly.”

The two spirits nodded, and then I launched into an explanation of my plan. When I finished, I heard the sound of seven faces meeting seven palms. Looking around, I was able to confirm that Loki, Hermes and Athena had all grown second heads, and Athena – the owl – had also grown a pair of human arms, just so they could face palm twice.

“So, allow me to get this straight.” Loki said after a full minute of silence. “Your plan, after having acquired a weapon powerful enough to overthrow the government, is to hide it in the estate of this Simon Lovelace – a man part of a separate conspiracy to take over the government – so that you can lead the Prime Minister to him and catch him red handed with the staff of doom. At this point, you are going to fight Simon, armed with both the staff of doom and the Amulet of Samarkand – which he had previously stolen – that makes him immune to magic, and his mercenary backup who is naturally immune to magic, extra durable, can see through illusions and has training in sword fighting. You will in turn have the back up of one Alicia, a commoner with no combat training but superhuman physical abilities who will be, and I quote, “armed up the wazoo with magical gear”. Between the two of you, you will defeat and slay Simon and this mercenary, somehow.”

Loki dramatically paused, just to confirm that he had not missed something.

“At this point, armed with both the Staff of Gladstone and Amulet of Samarkand, you will proceed to hand these over to the government, so that you can improve your reputation in the government. Using your improved reputation, you can then start a new department that will compete with the police while trying to gain the approval of commoners through making their lives better. After two or three years of building up your forces, you will then use thoseto overthrow the president – who is now armed, by you, with two mythical level artifacts – and take over the government. After this, you will then replace the government with a republic slash representative democracy, and work on improving the lives of commoners.”

When he finished, I heard a heavy drinking sound and looked over to see Alicia chugging down the bottle of wine that she had brought for me. Joke was on her though. With her new constitution, she could no longer get drunk on mortal drinks.

“I shall be honest.” Loki continued. “Normally us spirits are happy to let our masters engage in plans that have a high likelihood of getting them killed, as it allows us to return home quicker. However, in this case since the plan involves me having to join you in fighting two people, one custom born to kill spirits and magician and the other whom you are going to custom arm to do the exact same, I would like to make some suggestions for improving this plan.”

“If I can start?” Athena spoke up. Hermes and Loki just gave her a go-ahead gesture. “Some of my previous masters have found that it helps if they have a five-year-old adviser. They can then run all plans by the five-year-old adviser, and don’t enact a plan so long as the five-year-old can find any flaws in it.”

“It might be faster to simply throw out the plan.” Hermes commented. “To honest master, it would be faster and safer for you to blow up this Simon’s mansion from a safe distance using the Staff. You can then grab the Amulet from the ashes, and take over the government. Then just start implementing your policies, and within a year or two, you should be able to safely transition into a republic. It wouldn’t be too difficult to train up the right community leaders in that time and ensure most of them get elected.”

“But, that requires me to become Prime Minister. That sounds like a lot of work.”

“Far less work than this plan of yours.” Loki pointed out.

“I like this plan.” Alicia added. “I’m sure you would make a great Prime Minister.”

“But-“

“Sir, women find Prime Ministers very attractive.” Alicia’s words shut me up. “I know my mother and many of her friends fantasize or used to fantasize about Minister Devereaux. It should be the same for many others. Just imagine, all those women letting you use them for your pleasure behind their husbands’ backs. Then, when you get them pregnant, their husbands can raise them, believing the kids to be their own.”

That, honestly sounded very tempting. Even if part of me suspected it was at least a creative interpretation of the truth, I had the body of a teenage guy. Certain words simply made me react.

“If you want someone younger, I have a sister a year older.” Alicia continued, moving behind me to slowly massage my shoulders, while positioning herself so that my head rested in her cleavage. “Think about it. I know a lot of guys dream about a mother-daughter threesome. Or two sisters at once. Or a mother-daughter-daughter foursome. All you have to do, is accept rule of the largest empire in the world.”

“Very well.” I agreed at last. Some fights just weren’t worth fighting. “However, we need some way to demonstrate the power of my creations. If I want the government to be stable when I take it by force, I need people to understand that my rule isn’t built on the staff and amulet. That even if someone takes those from me, I still possess true, overwhelming power.”

“So that is why you wished to fight Simon.” Hermes said. “I suppose that has some level of sense. Very well. Athena, you studied tactics and strategy. Perhaps you could help us come up with something?”

“Of course.” Athena quickly agreed. “After all, I shall have to be engaged in the fight. I shall ensure that it is our victory.”


AN:
On the SI claiming to be a better magician than Duvall’s entire police department. In book 2, it took the entire department multiple hours to stop a rampaging Afrit. And in the end, it was a freaking Golem that did it in. Something like summoning a Marid isn’t something that Duvall, with the full support of his government could do if he only has a couple of hours to work. So, yes, through some perks on the jump doc being OP as fuck, the statement is fully accurate. Not very politic, but accurate.

For comparison, in Book 3 we encounter Harold Button, a researcher, aka an “incurable eccentric”. He basically regularly summoned Marids to ask them questions, though when he messed up one summoning he ended up losing a leg. So yeah, the SI isn’t the only one who makes the entire police department look like a bunch of hacks. There is, in canon, a cripple who is a better magician than they are.

For the quick and dirty summoning, we see in Book 1 and Book 3 Natheniel summoning Bartimaeus across town. We also see in Book 1 and Book 3, Whitwell summoning her favorite spirits with just a gesture when they weren’t already summoned.

For the ritual, there were 0 references I could go off of in the first three books. Music being something all magicians had to learn is canon, but what an actual ritual looks like? I made that part up.

As the SI guessed, Alicia is taking some artistic liberties with the truth. She figures the SI taking over the government and working to implement a democracy is much better for everyone she cares about than letting the current government continue. Also, after she went home yesterday having been paid a rather ridiculous amount for “services above and beyond the job requirements”, everyone assumed she has been banging her boss, and the sex was just thatgood. At this point her sexual prospects outside of him and Darwin Award contenders aren’t very good.

Also, there is a very strong "Wait! My boss wants me to do what!? Quick, distract him with pussy!" thing going on there. She does not want to be dragged into that fight. Like, at all.





AN: Not sure I'm fully satisfied with this chapter. The SI basically came loaded for nearly exactly what his enemies could bring to bear, which kind of removed a lot of the tension. On the other hand, didn't want him bumbling around like even more of an idiot.

Overall, we ended up deciding on a few simple objectives I needed to achieve.

First, I needed to (re-)acquire Gladstone’s Staff and the Amulet of Samarkand. If you want to become a dictator, you need to make sure some other magician isn’t running around with the equivalent of a magical nuke and nuke resistant shield.

Second, Simon and the mercenary – I honestly can’t recall his name – needed to die. Well, assuming the mercenary showed up. We needed to plan for both contingencies. Now, despite one having an item making him immune to magic and the other merely being highly resistant to magic, they weren’t unbeatable. I just needed to find a way through those defenses. And the mercenary’s Seven League Boots. Seriously those boots were OP, and everyone else’s should be nerfed. Mine were perfectly fine and balanced though.

Third, I needed to appear untouchable. It wasn’t enough to win dramatically by the skin of my teeth. That would end the impression that if someone can just get the staff and amulet they would have a shot at taking me out. No, I needed to show that even with the staff and amulet, a magician would stand absolutely no chance against me. That… was going to be hard. The Staff of Gladstone wasn’t a toy. It packed a mean punch.

Lastly, all of this had to happen in front of an audience. Not only couldn’t I just level Simon’s estate with a sneak attack, I had to be seenbeating him in a fair fight. Well, as fair as a fight can be when one guy has two magical items and wasn’t expecting it, and the other is wearing over a dozen and was expecting the fight. The point was I would have an audience. Thankfully I didn’t have to keep my audience alive; that was their job.

Given all of this, my plan of attack was notto fly in on Santa’s Sleigh, and nuke the mansion while invisible from over ten miles in the air. Well that, and because vaporizing a decent fraction of the city as collateral damage would be bad for the economy and my reputation. Also, Alicia insisted it would be morally wrong.

And that was how I ended up leading a group of government officials towards the mansion of one Simon Lovelace.

If we go by the logic that Authority Equals Asskicking, our team make up was pretty solid. We had the Prime Minister, Rupert Devereaux following right behind me. The man had short cropped brown hair that was neatly kept, had on a perfectly tailored suit over her semi-athletic frame, walked with a confident stagger even as he moved to confront the man he believed was trying to steal his government. Despite the danger, aside from the absolute necessities – two no name police mutts in front as meat shields and me leading – he was at the front and leading the procession.

To either side of him were Duvall and Whitwell, the two rival Heads of state security departments. Henry Duvall looked like an extra hairy ape in a suit as always. While his suit was immaculate, it only accentuated the “buffoon making a pretense at culture” impression. Behind him walked his apprentice, Jane Farrar, a cute girl of sixteen who had the good fortune of being the wrong gender to be turned into a werewolf, despite being second in command of our so-called police force. She was nearly of a height with me, somewhat athletic in build, and wearing a freaking dress – though thank whatever deity I’m supposed to thank she wore no high hells – that promised a fun, wardrobe malfunction themed distraction during the upcoming fight. Duvall had eight more of his werepolice fanning out around us, because aside from being a savage, the guy was a little bitch who wasn’t willing to walk into a fight without excessive protection.

Whitwell on the other hand, did not bring any human back up. She brought neither apprentice nor subordinates from her department. Instead, aside from the customary Imp that every magician but me had on their shoulder – and was of so little value that it was a waste of breath to mention in most situations – she had a pair of Djinn, each nearly at the level of an Afrit, walking behind her. The two creatures had the shape of a pair of prowling cats, ready to rip her enemies to shreds at but a single gesture.

Behind that came nearly a dozen more politicians, each of them considered powerful and highly competent. Each of them highly placed in government for their magical abilities. Each of them here more as witness to Simon’s crimes and how Rupert dealt with traitors, than actually to fight. No, the fighting was supposed to be done by Whitwell, Team Mutt, and me.

Last and certainly most importantly, there was me. Most of my body was covered in a dark black robe that fluttered around me. To state the blatantly obvious, it had an air elemental trapped in it, granting me flight, and localized wind generation. On my hands were black gloves with runes woven onto them in golden threads. The boots I wore were my trusty Seven League Boots. I had contact lenses on my eyes to see through illusions, as was traditional. Over my right eye I had an eyepatch that was designed so that I could see through it normally. I wore a pair of golden earrings that would automatically generate shields to provide protection against attacks. On my neck was an amulet to provide protection against discomfort created by weather conditions. On my shoulders sat a pair of three eyed crows, each of them a Marid in disguise. Finally, in my right hand I carried an iron spear decorated with golden runes that cackled with electricity as I moved.

Of course, I wasn’t buck naked beneath my Odin cosplay. Beneath it was a combination of metal and leather armor that was also enchanted with various protection spells to make me more likely to survive whatever ended up getting tossed in my general direction.

I had been hoping to have Alicia tag along with me with her new sword, but a number of problems had come up. First, I had spent all of my time creating mydefensive gear, so she would have ended up lacking sufficient protective equipment. Second, she was very vehement about not wanting to join this expedition. So, in essence, the success of failure of this entire plan rested on my very manly shoulders. Sure, some might argue that it rested on the shoulders of myself and the two super crows, but since the crows were resting on my shoulders, I figure the statement was still accurate.

The last part of the set up was making sure we could quickly find the Staff of Gladstone at Simon’s place. That was handled by Hermes having dropped it off right next to the Amulet of Samarkand two hours ago. Sealed up so that it couldn’t be used or moved until five minutes ago. What? I wasn’t going to give my opponent the time to actually figure out how to use the staff of doom beyond the very basics.

When we arrived at the mansion, I spotted a somewhat familiar spirit – as in I had summoned him once – working on sneaking through the barrier. That took me back for a loop as I tried to figure out the timing of things before shrugging it off. I didn’t have time to contemplate this, or to slow down. I needed to appear strong and confident, both in front of the ministers, and the handful of commoners observing our procession from a safe distance.

“Are you certain of this?” Rupert asked once again. “Do you truly believe Lovelace would steal the staff?”

No. The man was an incompetent buffoon working with a group of half-wits to pull off a coup. His odds of successfully stealing the staff are so low as to not be worth considering.

I nodded, projecting as much confidence as I could. “My demon tracked the staff’s signature to here. It couldn’t pinpoint it with more accuracy without breaching the barriers though.”

Rupert shook his head tiredly. “I always mistrusted that boy. Still, it is a shame when one’s suspicions about today’s youth are proven true.” I found myself pausing for a moment at the pure grandfatherly aura the man was projecting. “Very well, let us resolve this mess. Lovelace’s death will be a loss, but we I can always find a replacement for him.” And there went the grandfatherly aura.

The two police leading our procession went to knock on the barrier, when I suddenly felt a massive built up of power from within the mansion. Some members of our party were too stupid to realize that openly walking down the streets towards the mansion of a guy who had just committed treason isn’t the sort of thing that does not get noticed by the traitor. Consequently, when Simon started to build up for an attack, they panicked. The rest of us reacted instantly to the incombine threat.

I stepped in front of the Prime Minister and grabbed my spear with both hands, the arcane word to unlock its power rolling off of my tongue. Wind picked up around me, electricity arcing through the air. Power gathered in my spear, and I prepared to counter the blast from Gladstone’s staff.

From the corner of my eyes I noticed Whitwell motion to her spirits, having them fan out, even as she prepared her own spell for whatever plan that she had. On the other side of me Duvall started growing hair and nails, letting out an angry growl. Presumably he was preparing his own spell fueled by primal rage or something.

The two officers, apparently being commoners turned werewolves, didn’t notice the magical build up and knocked on the gate. And then a deep howl, one that reverberated with magic itself resounded from within the mansion.

Wait… What? Is that a summoning horn? Oh, fuck me. This was not part of the plan.

Honestly, I had not forgotten about the summoning horn. It was just that Simon didn’t use it at this point in canon, so I forgot to account for the possibility that he might have it on hand. This… really put a crank in the plans.

Summoning horns, were basically thequick and dirty way of summoning. With them, you didn’t summon a specific spirit and bind it so that it didn’t murderize you before leaving. Instead, it ripped a hole in reality, and any spirit small enough that was nearby simply got dragged through. It only took seconds, didn’t require a circle or any skill, and you could get dozens or hundreds of spirits for the power cost of one. You just didn’t get any spirits stronger than the strongest you could summon. The only downside was that you couldn’t control them, and you were at ground zero of the outpouring of dozens of homicidal spirits. A downside fixed by the Amulet of Samarkand.

Okay, calm down. This might not be a complete disaster yet.

If I could get to the horn, I could undo the hole, and reverse the summoning. Preferably before too many commoners got munched on by spirits. Besides, with only Simon’s talents, Loki and Hermes would slaughter their way through any horde he could drag up. No, the issue was if Simon wasn’t alone. If my actions had caused them to happen to meet up today. In that case? There was the possibility that they had summoned up a spirit that could turn London into Atlantis: Sink Harder edition.

“Is that a summoning horn?”

Rupert’s question knocked me out of my Heroic Inner MonologueTM. And so, having no plan, an enemy with an army with a magical semi-fortress, and a giant blasting stick, I did the most obvious thing. I released all of the magic stored up in my spear.

Gungir, was not a toy. I had crafted it after studying Gladstone’s Staff to be my take on the staff of legend. Whereas Gladstone, weakened in his old age, had been forced to summon Afrits to staff his staff, I used Marids. Where Gladstone used a wooden staff to better channel the power, I used a steal spear to stabilize it, and made up for the consequent loss of power by summoning more spirits. Overall, I would not say my spear was superior. It was neither more powerful, nor provided more control. However, it was in no way inferior to the staff either. And whereas Gladstone wielded his staff when old age was making his abilities decline, my powers were at their prime. Whatever feat of power hecould do, I could do better.

With a mighty roar of thunder, a bolt of blindingly bright lightning shot out of my spear. It barely flew a few feet before forking and splitting, first into two, then four, and eventually dozens of bolts that pounded Simon’s mansion like Zeus a married woman with similarly explosive results.

The mansion did to survive the attack. It did not resist it. One moment there was a magically protected mansion. Then a bright flash of light and a roar of thunder, and all that was left was a burning ruin.

A few figures stood up in the ruins.

Two were spirits – probably Simon’s favorite minions Faquari and Jabor – given the way their bodies extended into the higher plans. As well as the way one of them – a red skinned man with a jackal’s face – tossed a nearly two meters long, flaming wooden beam at us, the attack being deflected by one of Whitwell’s spirits jumping forward and blasting it away.

Two more were humans. One stood unharmed, leaning on a staff, while a shield he had tossed up kept him unharmed. Not so much as ashes had touched his neat little suit. The staff radiated power, almost as much as the amulet around his neck. Far more than the horn in his left hand.

The Staff of Gladstone, Amulet of Samarkand, and a Summoning Horn.

The other human figure had to push himself to his feet. He wore something that looked like a jacket that had gone through a blender and set on fire. The man himself, a big burly figure, appeared to move without injury, casually tossing aside pieces of wood that had landed on him as he pushed himself to his feet. He then drew a long sword and grasped it in both hands, as if ready to fight.

Those two weren’t what worried me though. What worried me was the tear in reality that was growing in size near staff dude.

“Hello, Prime Mister. Fine evening we are having, isn’t it?” Simon casually spoke up, projecting his voice all the way towards us. His staff started cackling, gathering what power he could safely handle. “I was wondering if you would be amenable to surrendering your seat to me.”

“Lovelace, my boy. It truly saddens me to see a young magician like you steep to such depredations.” Rupert once again spoke in a sad, grandfatherly voice. Despite being in his thirties. “I am afraid I must ask you to come with us and face justice.”

“Shame.” That was all Lovelace said before pointing his staff at the Prime Minister and trying to turn him into Prime BBQ.

Unfortunately, I was in the inconvenient position of being between the lightning bolt and said Prime Minister. Fortunately, I had also been gathering power in my spear and released it right back at Lovelace. The two bolts of lightning smashed into another with terrifying force. All that was needed was having me and Lovelace yelling for no reason to turn this into a perfect anime moment.

Naturally, my lightning bolt was bigger and better than Lovelace’s, blasting through it to strike him. Only to be negated out of existence as it got close to touching him. Yeah, even if I had come here tonight planning for this exact situation, that was still frustrating.

I didn’t have time to contemplate the unfortunate situation as suddenly there was a man wearing burnt rags standing next to me, slashing a steel sword at my face. This would have been bad, had I not given Hermes and Loki orders for this exactpossibility. Amongst dozens of others contingencies. I didn’t even need to react. Before the sword had traveled more than a few centimeters, the mercenary was hit by dozens of small vortex spheres, the min-black holes tearing into him and tossing him back, smashing into a house to the right of us hard enough to make it collapse.

While the man was resistantto damage, he wasn’t immuneto it. His resistance was low enough that in canon Bartimaeus, a mere Djinn had been able to affect him. He didn’t have defenses that could hold up to a pair of Marids for long.

“A Hero kills with his eyes.”

As I uttered the words, my eyepatch burned to ashes, a powerful beam of fire shot shooting out of it, and smashed into the mercenary’s feet as he was lying in the rubble. Against a normal human they would have melted through his legs in an instant and gouged a hole in the ground. The mercenary had enough resistance to not have his legs burned off in the fraction of a second the attack lasted. His boots did not fare so well. Flames hot enough to vaporize steel burned both of his boots, breaking the enchantments on them and releasing the trapped spirits. Explosively.

My cloak automatically produced a whirlwind to block the shockwave coming at us. The others in my party had to manually activate their protective shields, but anyone too idiotic to pull even that much off wouldn’t be worth acknowledging. Much of the ruined house got scattered, and even the neighboring houses shook from the explosion, while the mercenary went tumbling through the air. As he landed Loki and Hermes flew off of my shoulder, following their orders to kill the menace. Now that his boots were gone, he could no longer run. His life was over.

Of course, the opposing party wasn’t idle during this time. Simon’s pair of spirits shot flux spheres at us, but they were counted by Whitwell’s spirits. In the meantime, the man himself had helped up a trio of his companions, who started to run away from us. Their presence made me worried.

And then a giant, transparent arm fisted reality through its new, giant gaping hole, and my worries were confirmed.

“Whitwell, take care of the spirits. Duvall, capture the runners. I will handle Lovelace and his summon.”

I gave the order in a hurried and clipped tone. I didn’t have time to play things out here. To make this a heroic fight. I needed to win, whether by the skin of my teeth or not, or London was going to look like Lovecraft’s wet dream. Already, reality was getting torn and distorted near the violent fisting it had received. Fire turned into glass. Or ice. Or flowers. In some places, it turned into glass flowers. Broken pieces of houses turned into sand, cupcakes, and twisted sculptures. If the spirit was fully summoned, if it was given time to expand its power, the same would happen to all of London.

“You can’t handle me.” Simon said with a sneer as he tossed a lightning bolt at me.

I blocked the attack, once again pitting spear against staff. Genius magician against middling scrub. I wasn’t worried about the clash. I knew I would win. Instead, I took that time to collect myself, ready myself for what had to be done.

As soon as his lightning strike ended, I moved. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t put “moved” in italics. All I did was take a small step with my right foot. However, that was enough to place me meters behind Lovelace, the gaping hole in reality no longer anywhere close to a direct line connecting does.

“Hey Simon,” I started, reaching into my robe and pulling out a handgun. He turned with my sudden voice, but it was too late for him. “Have you ever heard of a railgun?” And then I pulled the trigger.

Simon wasn’t considered a talented magician for nothing. Even when caught by surprise, he still managed to summon a defensive shield with his full strength behind it. A small sputter of a lightning even flew from his staff at me, though my own defenses were more than up to the task of deflecting such a light blow. Simon wasn’t so lucky with his defenses.

As I had said, this gun wasn’t a regular gun. The gun did not use gunpowder. Instead, a trapped spirit in the bullet would release lightning when the trigger was pulled. This lightning would travel in a loop through the gun, using electromagnetic induction to create a magnetic force that fired the pure iron bullet at “fuck you” speeds. To deal with recoil, part of the gun would fly back when the bullet was fired. And not be stopped, making the weapon a one-shot wonder. Also, it made it dangerous to stand directly behind the gun, so it had to be held to the side, and a minor illusion was needed to show what was directly down the gun’s sight to the user.

Overall, it was a very expensive and complicated piece of equipment for a single use weapon. That said, when the iron bullet went up against Simon’s magical defenses, they shattered so fast they might as well have not existed. The bullet hit Simon in the right lung, deforming even as it easily zipped through puny human flesh. However, as it went through his body it distorted enough that the spells trapping the spirit shattered, releasing it with an explosive blast of lightning powerful enough to make his entire upper body explode.

Or at least that was what would have happened if the guy had not been wearing the Amulet of Samarkand. Instead, the lightning fizzled out as soon as it reached his flesh, not warming it up in the slightest. It had no issues melting the exploding bullet, so that when it exited his body, it drilled a giant cone out of his body. I knew this because when Simon collapsed on his face crying like a little bitch, I got a front row view of the injury.

Figuring it would be rude to let him continue suffering – also because you don’t ever leave your enemies for dead – I took a step to end up next to him, and stabbed in in the heart. And then the left lung. And then the neck. Then, once I recovered the Amulet from his body, I vaporized his head with lightning. Just in case he tried coming back as a zombie. Because that would suck.

Putting the Amulet on, I finally had the time to look across the rest of the battlefield.

Ramuthra, the Great Spirit coming out of the hole in reality was, at this point, half way through. I could see his upper body, but that was fine. That still gave me a minute or so before he fully emerged, and even if he did, he couldn’t hurt me anymore.

Whitwell seemed unharmed, standing where Simon’s spirits used to be. I wasn’t sure if she killed them, or his death trapped them. My money was on her killing them.

Duvall had caught up to the three runners, but by the looks of things he wasn’t the one that had killed them. I would give credit to that to the spirit that looked like a young, half naked middle eastern body standing in the middle of their decapacitated corpses. He was awkwardly waving at me while everyone was looking at me in a combination of fear, respect, lust (I might have been imagining that one), and horror.

“Hi.” The new spirit said. “My master ordered me to help recover the Amulet of Samarkand. I’m on your side.”

“I understand.” I said, my words cutting off Rupert as he opened his mouth. “What is your master’s name? I would like to send him my regards.”

As I spoke, I reached down to Simon’s corpse and recovered the Summoning Horn. With this, a 12-year-old Nathaniel, who had barely started summoning, and was on his last legs had been able to dismiss a fully summoned Ramuthra. Since I couldn’t get tired, and the creature wasn’t fully summoned, it only took a minor effort to break the summoning and end this incident. Once more, coming armed and prepared for your enemy’s exact attacks and defenses wins the day.

The spirit shrugged its shoulders. “He didn’t get around to telling me before sending me on this task.”

I nodded, pieces about his identity finally slotting into place. “Very well, Bartimaeus. Bring along your master to the ministry tomorrow and I will reward him. You can go now.”

“Now, Merlin, that would be my-“ a lightning bolt hit the Prime Minister, cutting him off as he was vaporized.

“Oh, by the way I’m the new Prime Minister now. I hope no one has an issue with that.”

Well, Duvall probably does. I mean, I didinsult him quite openly before. Honestly, I was hoping to take this fight as an opportunity to quietly off him. Shame the whole Summoning Horn threw off my plans. Well, at least he had the common sense to not protest my takeover.





AN:
Spoiler / Warning: This chapter contains Not Safe For Work content (inexperienced teenager sex, and awkward conversation surrounding it).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Prime Minister’s office – my office now – was excessively large and expensively furbished. Traditionally, after a takeover, I was supposed to throw out all of the things my predecessor had decorated the place with, and add my own character to it. Considering said predecessor even had a penmade out of actual fucking gold, I figured my “character” could be cheap and frugal, and I could avoid spending a literal fortune replacing all of this really expensive stuff with equally expensive stuff that I would never look at.

Though I wonder if I should sell off some of it. On the other hand, wealth is supposed to be a show of power for some reason. Eh, I should probably let someone else figure it out.

Although as I sat myself down on the chair behind Rupert’s desk, I couldn’t help but frown at his “throne”. Sure, the chair itself looked majestic – some expensive wood decorated with gold and jewelry – and was rather comfortable, but that was it. It had no build in heating or cooling function. The jewelry in it was purely decorative. Not a single ruby in the chair was capable of launching a death ray at a verbal command from me. The thing didn’t even have a built-in scrying function!

Maybe that was something that I could do. I could sell all the expensive crap here to buy cheaper stuff and magic up the place. That could be fun. Assuming I could find the time for it.

Sadly, I probably wouldn’t. It was only a couple of hours after my glorious coup, and I was already looking at all the crap I would be having to do. So, I took my seat in the office chair, set down my spear on my right and Gladstone’s Staff on my left, and started looking through Rupert’s papers while waiting for my appointments.

I didn’t have to wait long. Five minutes in, I heard a knock on the door, and Alicia opened it. She was wearing a dress that while not custom fitted to her, was the closest fit for h\er size that we could find. The top was prim and proper, while the bottom was a rather short miniskirt with stockings that reached up to the thighs. I was trying to see if I could make Zettai Ryouiki a thing here. Thankfully she wasn’t wearing high heels. Looks like she had listened to all my whining about how fucking stupid I thought those crimes against reason and logic were.

“Sir, Ms. Whitwell, Mr. Duvall, and Ms. Farrar are here to see you.”

“Thank you, Alicia. Thank you to all three of you for coming so quickly. Please come in, take a seat.”

Alicia closed the door as the three of them pulled out seats from along the wall, all of them expensive, but not nearly as comfy as my throne. Also, a bit shorter than my throne. Pointless power plays much, Rupert? They were still dressed the same way as they had been for the fight. All of us were. Sudden and violent government transitions were busy times. We did not have time for petty things like changing clothes that weren’t even dirty.

“Prime Minister, the position suits you.”

I gave a polite nod at Whitwell’s compliment before replying. “I would say that is the biggest lie I ever heard, but I have heard people complementing Rupert’s skills at the job. I’m a fourteen-year-old boy who get the job because he can toss around the largest lightning bolts. I’m certain we can all agree I am not particularly qualified for this position, the three of you are just merely too polite to say it out loud.”

Whitwell and Duvall looked a bit uncomfortable at that. Farrar – or Jane since she was closer to my age – just looked at me straight. “Then why did you take the job if you weren’t qualified for it?”

Duvall hissed in anger at his apprentice. That was a rather logical move. Under Rupert, such questions were liable to get bothof them killed. I just smiled. After all, having her asking the questions made this conversation go more smoothly.

“Because Prime Minister Rupert was even less qualified. Because I have visions I would like to see enacted, and this is the fastest way to achieve them. Also, because there are some serious dangers our government is steering towards that no one else seems to pick up on, and this seemed like an effective way to force people to listen to me. And yes, I willexpand on those dangers in a few days when the time is right. But first; how goes capturing The Resistance?”

Duvall went on a long speech going over all that they were doing. Basically, lots of harassing commoners, and producing no results.

“We have started to put the mirrors you have suggested into production.” Whitwell said. “We had to put them on hold because of the Staff incident, but now that that is solved, I’m confident that we can have enough produced in a few more days to use them. After that, it won’t take long to catch The Resistance.”

“So, they aren’t caught yet.” I summarized. “Good. In that case I can use them as a demonstration for you three.”

“A demonstration, Minister?” Whitwell asked.

“The Resistance are led by a man named Terence E. Pennyfeather. He runs a business, and employs the other Resistance members – rebellious youths – in his business. There is no need to find them. You should be able to round them all up tomorrow. However, you should be careful.”

Duvall scoffed at that. And honestly, much as I hated the concept of a werewolf police, he kind of had a point. Their resilience did all of jack shit against having their necks ripped out by a wolf.

“Well, Whitwell, Jane, the two of you should. While The Resistance are composed of commoners, they all have something called resilience. If you find a spirit old enough that was around when any of the great empires fell, they could tell you about it. However, the key note is that they are resistant to magic and spirits to varying degrees. The weakest of them could beat an Imp, while the strongest might take a handful of hits from a Djinn before going down. Not really a danger to your life if you know to expect it, but it can be dangerous if they take you from surprise. Beyond that, some of them can see onto the other planes. What this means, is that they can see through illusions, the disguises of spirits, or even spirits that are hidden. How you scope them out and track them should take this into account.”

They all had looks of disbelief, but none of them were willing to question me to my face. More was the shape. I wouldn’t have minded having someone willing to question me behind closed doors in a position of power.

“I can see you don’t believe me. That is why I’m having all three of you working on this mission, instead of just quickly taking care of the problem. I need you all to understand that this resilience is something that exists, and the only way for you to believe me, is to see it in person.”

“Should we capture them?” Duvall asked. “If they have found a way to obtain such power, do you wish to have their method tortured out of them?”

I shook my head. “They didn’t find a way to gain this power. They were born with it. I will go into a longer explanation of this before all ministers in a few days. However, suffice to say, that this is something that will simply continue happening in larger and larger numbers unless we change our way of life to an unacceptable degree. We need to plan and prepare for it, and for that, I need all three of you to believe in it beyond the shadow of a doubt.”

“Hence, sending us to hunt down The Resistance.” Whitwell nodded.

“Yes. That said, they are still untrained commoners. I’m certain now that you know this, you will have no trouble with them. So, I would instead like to turn to a few other projects I have in line. I would like to present them to you while they are in the drafting stage, so that I can get your ideas and opinions, and incorporate them.”

All three of them sat up straighter at that, and started to pay close attention. This was something that they all had experience in, and was well within their field of understanding after all.

“First I would like to make a slight reformation to our system of using werewolves for police. Now yes, I understand that Gladstone implemented our werewolf police system. However, the man had just fought a war at that point. In a war, you want aggressive soldiers, because if you kill 90% of the enemy’s population, burn all of their infrastructure and make off with all of their money, that is a great victory. In policing, killing 10% of your population is an economic disaster. Stealing the people’s money hurts the government in the long run. In short, I don’t believe the increased aggression from becoming a werewolf is good for a job as a police officer.”

“So, you wish to replace us?” Duvall asked, a low growl in his voice that I chose to ignore.

“No, just make changes.” I corrected before he could go on a rent. If he did, I would have to punish him or “look weak”, because idiots around here didn’t understand what weak or strong meant. Punishing him would hurt our working relationship. “I’m sure you have seen my assistant, Alicia. Four days ago, I managed to seal a dragon spirit into her. While she can’t turn into a dragon, her physical capabilities are far in excess of a wolf. A bit of fine tuning the ritual, toning it down to wyvern spirits, and having multiple magicians working on it would allow our future police to be wyvern blooded. Without the spirit infringing on their emotions.”

Whitwell nodded. “Transitioning the police from werewolves to were-dragons will take time. Years to recruit and train enough officers. Do you intend to keep the werewolves paid in the meantime and then replace them?”

I shook my head. “No, that would be stupid. That would only create a large, unified group with fighting resistance who hate the government.” Killing them was an option if worst came to worst though. “On the other hand, I can’t make them wyvern blooded. The wolf spirit would interfere with that. All that I can do is rituals to tame the wolf spirit.”

“Tame?” Duvall asked. “You wish to tame us?”

Yes. Though in a different meaning between you and your apprentice.

“Thousands of years ago, humanity tamed wolves and turned them into dogs. Would you argue that the greatest hunting dog breeds are in any way inferior to wolves?”

For the record, the answer was no. A proper guard dog had all of the power of a wolf, just tamed by discipline and loyalty.

“So you would put collars on us and train us to-“

I cut him off by lifting up a stack of papers from the desk, and slapping it down in front of him. About five centimeters from where I had picked it up. They were a stack of papers I had brought from home, specifically for this conversation.

“Actually, I just designed a ritual to replace the wolf spirit with a foo dog spirit. The two are similar enough for the transition to be possible. The ritual requires multiple magicians working together, but we have a big government.”

Honestly, ‘replace’ wasn’t entirely the correct term. It might be more correct to say it blended the two spirits, or altered the first spirit to become more like the first. Or something. There was an entire page dedicated to explaining the entire mechanics, and I wasn’t going to try and summarize it into a single, sound bite phrase. The point was that it worked, and it worked our homicidal police problem in the short term.

“We aregoing through with this ritual.” I told him. “As much as I would prefer to work withyou, I am still the Prime Dictator of this empire. My word carries more weight than your discomfort. So, unless you have a practicalcomplaint, or have an alternative suggestion, this will be the final plan. Look it over today. If you don’t have any suggested changes, then bring me a list of magicians you would like to help implement the ritual. I will try to set a schedule so we can get this done as fast as possible.”

Duvall took a deep breath before acquiescing to my demand, and taking the stack of papers. Hopefully we could do this without too much trouble. I reallydidn’t want to have the actions of the werepolice associated with me. Well, unless some idiot started a war in the empire. Then it might be a practical idea to send in the police to take care of them.

“Aside from that, I’m sorry Duvall, but I’m moving Jane out of your department, and putting her as the head of a new department I’m starting.”

The three of them started as this. Not surprising since it came out of nowhere. Though Whitwell gave Jane a knowing look a moment later, apparently having come to some conclusion of her own.

“Before I get into what the department does, Ms. Whitwell I have a question. How often do commoners report the presence of spies to your department? How often are these reports accurate?”

She blinked it that. “We get many reports about suspicious foreigners. However, rarely do these bear out. Most spies know how to ingratiate themselves with the commoners.”

“I see.” I nodded. “And how often would you say these commoners might have suspicions about these spies, but don’t report them because they like them?”

“Almost always.” Whitwell said immediately. “There is always evidence of their crimes.”

“So, our commoners trust foreigners more than they trust our government’s security services.” I nodded. That was what I was expecting. Though I doubted everyspy had some evidence in plain sight. “Well Ms. Jane Farrad, your department will be in charge of Public Relations. In short, you will be responsible for improving the opinion of commoners about our government. Unlike the usual cut throat system our government has, here success will require working withinstead of againstmany of other department heads.”

“Isn’t that already handled by Internal Affairs and the Information Ministry?” Jane asked.

“They are related, but not directly. The Information Ministry for example is responsible for what truths or lies are spread to the public, and how. Your job, would be more akin to figuring out what actualchanges commoners would like, how much doing that would raise approval with some and lower it with others, figuring out what departments could handle it, and then working with them to calculate how much it would cost before deciding whether it is worth doing or not. To put it more simply, your job is to find the cheapest bribes that will get us the highest level of middle to long term commoner satisfaction. After all, if we just spread lies, eventually the truth will come out. If we actually improve their situation, there will be no lies to be discovered.”

“A fine idea.” Whitwell nodded. “However, how would you propose she go about learning what commoners want, and how happy it would make them?”

“That, is why I’m putting someone so young and without much of a reputation in charge of the department.” I told Whitwell. “She is a new face, so with just a bit of investment of the right behavior, Ms. Farrad can easily sell the right character of an approachable and friendly magician that has their best interest in mind. The trick is to staff the department entirely with young, idealistic appearing magicians that can sell that same character?”

“Sell a character?” Jane asked. “What do you mean.”

“Basically, put on an act. Behave in the right way to give the impression of the personality that you want.”

“And how would I present the right character?” She continued. “Forgive me Minister, but I do not have any experience interacting with commoners.”

And thank the heavens for that.

It would be really awkward if six months after founding this department, some fucked up past activities came to light about her. Having to suppress something like that would be a pretty big nightmare. Always better to start with someone without a shady past.

“For that, you would partially need to staff your department with magicians who have experience interacting with commoners on a positive note. There won’t be many, but there should be a few. You could learn from them some appropriate mannerisms and basics. That said, some basic things would be, to not talk down to them. Don’t sneer, look down your nose at them, or insult them. Just call them Mr., Ms., or Mrs. Whatever their name is when starting interactions. Don’t make them call you fancy titles. People are inherently trusting towards those who are friendly to them.

“Beyond that, well I don’t think you will have many results in the first few months. You should use that time to build connections. Find places where a lot of commoners tend to gather. Bars are popular with most, but not all. Become friendly with the heads of those places. Maybe have your subordinates go drinking at those places occasionally. Don’t have them sit at a table as a group, but see if they can join tables of commoners. Initially they will be distrustful of you, but there might be one or two commoners at a bar who, after they get drunk, start complaining about the police, Duvall, me or the government in general. Do notpunish them or this, or become upset over it. Instead, urge your subordinates to show sympathy, and let the drunk went. Maybe ask for some details. If you do that, eventually people will learn that they can take those complaints to them. You can then get a preliminary aggregation of how many people care about a given topic.”

“Commoners should not complain about the government.” Whitwell said. “They should know their place.”

“Maybe that would be ideal.” It would at least give me less freaking work, which would be lovely. “However, they complain. That is a fact of life. For thousands of years, governments have tried to stop complaints. All that resulted in was commoners learning to complain where the government could not hear, and morepeople complaining about more things. Practically speaking, it is less expensive to be friendly, let them air the complaints, and address some of them. So long as our commoners are fed, entertained busy, and their lives are improving, they will be happy. Bread, circus and jobs. So long as we can get them those three things, our country will continue to grow richer, and remain secure.”

Or at least that was the story I was going with. This wasn’t an audience to whom I could sell the whole “commoners are people too, so let’s not be dicks mmkay” speech. After all, they considered magicians people and were happily dicks – or cunts since we are being politically correct – to each other. No, I needed to sell it to them as a cost and benefit analysis.

I paused for a moment, as I realized I had just recommended she run a department, where the entire job description was drinking and listening to bitching.

“Something that might produce quicker results and help in getting trust, would be to have your subordinates help out around the city. A task that would be a day long labor by a commoner could be done in an hour by a Djinn or a Foliot in many cases. For example, if a man is struggling to repair his house, having their spirits do the repair work while they chat with the man instead could be useful. It would help with the people’s distrust of both magicians and spirits, and make it more likely for them to talk to your subordinates. As an added bonus, it would make commoners more likely to listen to what your people say. So long as you don’t have your subordinates distort the truth too much, they could help out the Ministry of Information on spreading the government’s view on things.”

We went over a few more details behind them. Department sizes and budgets, but the three left and the next set of ministers came in. I didn’t have much to do with most for now, though I did ask our Minister of Education to forward me an outline plus detailed plan of what is taught in each year to commoners. I needed to review the propaganda taught there to see what changes I would need to make.

With that done, I could get back to reviewing all of Rupert’s papers. While London was stable, I needed to get a handle on our foreign situation before foreign actors started acting.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Hard day today, sir?”

I looked up as Alicia came in. I had been at the paperwork for hours, making notes and goals. It was already late at night.

“Yes, it was rather exhausting.” I said, looking at the woman who was partially to blame for my current situation. You know what? Fuck it.“Come here.” I told her, motioning with my hand in a “come hither” motion.

Alicia blinked, but obeyed, coming over to my side.

As soon as she was next to me I pulled her into my lap, one hand resting on her thigh and the other on her shoulder, and locked lips with her. She hadindicated yesterday that she was fine with this once I was Prime Minister, and I was honestly too tired and annoyed to beat around the topic.

Sadly, despite what power fantasy smut fics told me, Alicia didn’t react by moaning into my kiss, going as wet as if she had just gone swimming, and turning into putty in my hands. Instead, she reacted by freezing up f in surprise, and then instinctively pulling back for a moment before stopping again.

Reluctantly, I broke the kiss and pulled back from her, letting go of her thigh. “Sorry about that. I shouldn’t have been forceful like that.” Alicia looked shocked and uncertain as I pushed her to her feet, speaking again before things could get more awkward. “Go ahead and head home for today. I will pack up myself before heading out.”

The girl looked down at her feet and fidgeted awkwardly. “Sir, I’m sorry-“

“Alicia, don’t worry about it. Please, just go home for tonight.”

She hesitated for another second before bowing and exiting the room, politely closing the door behind me. As soon as she was gone, I collapsed into my chair with a frustrated sigh.

Well, I fucked that one up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was very early morning, on my second day of office. And I already wanted to take a vacation. I pretty much hated the job, did not need the pay check, and had just fucked up one of the reasons for taking the job. So instead of sleeping, or getting ready for a very early day, I was just lying there in my bed.

I wasn’t lying there moping or feeling sorry for myself though. That was something that a loser would do. Instead, I was planning out what enchantments and rituals I wanted to toss together. Of course, the realization that it might be weeksbefore I had the time to try all of them was rather depressing. Not as depressing as the knowledge that today was the day of the Ministry Ball, and I was supposed to host that thing, now that the previous Prime Minister expired and pushed his job unto me. The bastard.

I was busy trying to figure out a schedule for my enchanting, figuring out what was necessary and what would be for run, when there was a soft knocking on my door. Which was strange, because the only ones in this house should be myself and some spirits. The only other human with access was Alicia, and considering this was my bedroom and it was four in the morning, I didn’t think she would be here.

“Come in.”

I sat up as I spoke, my bedsheet only covering my lower body. While the British night wasn’t particularly warm, even summer – or so I thought, I wouldn’t actually know – I wasn’t actually wearing anything. Trapping a spirit in your bedroom to keep it at the perfect temperature – adjustable with a word – was nice like that.

Two people entered the room. One was Alicia, blushing and looking awkward as she walked in. Another was a girl that was slightly taller than her, and had a similar face, though with somewhat shorter hair, with some fat on her body, smaller breasts, and a more weathered look to her. Both of the girls were clean shaved. I could tell, because they were buck naked.

“Prime Minister, my name is Caroline, and I’m Alicia’s elder sister. I would like to apologize for the misunderstanding that my sister caused yesterday.” The girl I had never met before said, putting her hands together and giving a polite bow. She then quietly looked up at her sister, and indicated with her head for Alicia to do her part.

“I’m sorry, sir.”

Alicia said, more awkward than I had ever seen her except for the first few days she worked for me, when she seemed to be scared of every action.

“Truth be told, whenever I read stories about some young magician taking a commoner girl and having his way with her, I fantasized about being that girl. Last night, I wanted you to force me over my protests, and make me a woman. Yourwoman.” She paused, and looked down for a moment. “I did not realize that not telling you my fantasy would cause you to pull back in fear of hurting me.”

Well, this had suddenly gotten awkward. “I see. I’m sorry for misunderstanding things. Still, why come here naked at four in the morning, instead of waiting until work in a few hours.”

“My fiancée always fantasized about me waking me up with a blowjob.” Caroline answers as she walked over to me, swaying her hips as she went, before kneeling down before me. “We thought all men did.” Without another word she removed my blanked completely, and kissed my half erect dick. “If only he had half your muscles, I wouldn’t mind waking him up like that once.” And then she kissed my dick again, before starting to lick it.

Thank you, body mod. Also, if there is a next time, I should probably shave down there first.

My focus on the first blowjob I received in this body was diverted by Alicia walked up to me, cupping my face, and locking lips with me. She moaned into my mouth as my hands reached up to grab his breast and ass. We continued, lips locked that for a short time while Caroline took me in her mouth, before Alicia finally pulled back.

“Sir… Merlin, I am yours. You do not need to romance me or ask my permission. Whenever you wish to have me as your woman, you can have me. All I ask is that I can always be yours.” And then she kissed me again.

I would love to write poetry about how we kissed, the fight our tongues waged, or whatever a skilled author might write about. However, they would be a pack of lives. Although I dated in my previous life, I did not have much experience. In this life, in this world, neither of us had any experience. It wasn’t the experienced kill of two skilled lovers. It was just a kill of two people that wanted to be close together. Well as close together as we could be while her sister was taking my cock in her mouth.

The three of us continued like that, me and Alicia kissing while I groped her, and Caroline sucking me off until I came in her mouth.

The elder girl smiled as she pulled back, and opened her mouth, showing my seed deposited there before standing up and pulling her sister away from me. Without a word the two of them kissed, moaning into each other’s mouth as they shared my seed, their breast pressed up against each other, and their hands roaming against each other’s body.

Their kissing was sloppy, letting both seed and saliva leak out of their mouths, dropping onto their breasts. Eventually they pulled apart with a gulp, swallowing what of my seed was still in their mouths.

“Merlin, will you make me a woman?” Alicia asked after glancing down and noting that Merlin Jr. was active and ready for duty once again.

She moved to sit in my lap as soon as I nodded my assent, immediately impaling herself on my dick. Both Caroline and I winced as her face twisted in pain, neither of us having expected her to start by impaling herself to the hilt on her first time. I quickly grabbed her hips to stop her moving before she made it worse.

“Relax.” I said. “Don’t move until it no longer hurts.”

“Even once it stops hurting, you should take it slower.” Caroline added as she moved around and hugged me from behind, pressing her chest against my back. “Next time I will show you how to do … I didn’t realize silk beds could feel this good. Or a mattress could feel this comfortable. Do you mind sharing your bed with me sometime?” She added, slowly bouncing on my bed, her breasts massaging me.

Alicia sputtered. “Can we please keep focus?”

“What? It is a really nice bed. Honestly, if John had a bed this nice I would be spreading my legs much more often for him, instead of the bare minimum necessary to maintain the engagement.”

“Is John your fiancée? You don’t seem to like him.”

Hmmm. Caroline hummed in response to my question. “I don’t. He isn’t a very good fiancée. He is fat, rarely bathes, isn’t very loving, and the only reason he has remained faithful is that none of the girls he tries to flirt with show interest.”

“If you don’t love him, why are you engaged?”

Caroline snorted. “We are commoners. We don’t have the money to marry for love. We marry for necessity. He has enough money to make it worth being his wife, but not enough to be worth being his mistress, and he isn’t attractive outside of his money. So my parents got me engaged to him, but no one wants to be his lover.”

Well, magicians or nobles don’t marry for love either. They marry for power. I think marrying someone you love might be a myth in this world.

“You seem quite open in telling me that your main interest in guys is their money.”

“And power.” Caroline added. “You are literally the most powerful man in the world. You don’t ever have to worry about someone else more powerful coming along and taking your women. If you took me you could be assured of my faithfulness, since everything I want in a man, you have.”

“I don’t think I have much time in my love for romantic entanglements right now.”

Caroline snorted. “Even if you were, you would probably be aiming for a magician or a noble. No, that isn’t what I’m offering. Instead, would you like me as a live-in maid? I can cook, clean and take care of the house. Then if you are ever interested, I’m always at hand for a quick – or long – fuck.”

“Excuse me.” Alicia interrupted us. “Could you not do a job interview with my boss while he is inside of me?”

“But that is when he is in the best mood!” Caroline protested, causing Alicia to pout. “Sorry, I will stop now.”

“I’m also sor-“

Alicia cut off my apology by kissing me, and slowly starting to rock her hips back and forth.

You know what? I’m fine with this. I’m fine with pretending this awkward situation didn’t happen, and having sex instead. Even if her lips taste a bit salty.

I moved my hands from her hips to groping her ass and kissed her back, before moving down and kissing her neck. Given the way Alicia was moaning, she appreciated the fact. That or that my dick was finally moving inside of her.

We basically just went like that for a bit. She bounced on my dick and I kissed and groped her for a few minutes, and then I came inside of her. It was quick, messy, clumsy and embarrassing. Also, it felt really good and satisfying.

After we got over the afterglow, the three of us moved into my oversized bath to clear ourselves before the start of the workday. While there, Caroline demonstrated for Alicia how to have sex in a nonpainful way, and we discussed her contract. Starting tomorrow, she would be working at my house as a maid. For today she had to tell her boss she was quitting, pick out a room she would be sleeping in, and go pick out a bed she would like me to buy for her. That and tell her fiancée that she would now be sleeping with her new boss, and her contract stipulated she couldn’t sleep with other men. That sounded like it would be an awkward conversation.

AN:
So, timeline wise, we are about 1 day into book 1. In terms of stations of canon, About the only thing that hasn’t either be visited in a different manner or butterflied away are the ministry ball (next chapter) and the American Revolution (~2 years from now). We are pretty much entering uncharted territory.

I will let everyone guess for themselves how truthful Caroline is being regarding her soon to be ex-fiancée. I have literally no plans to ever have the SI encounter him, so the story will never clarify how much of what she said was truth or a lie, beyond the fact that yes, she was engaged, and probably no longer a virgin.






AN:
Happy New Years! I tried to get this done in time for New Years. Also warning: more NSFW content!

“Hello, Ms. Cathcart.” I spoke from behind my desk as Amanda Cathcart, a noble lady who was in the unfortunate position of being known to have been intimate with some little-known magician called Simon Lovelace entered my office. “I’m glad you could make it on such short notice, so early in the day.” It was seven in the morning, and she was my first appointment for the day.

“Thank you for inviting me, Prime Minister. It is my pleasure to be at your service.”

She had short cropped black hair, and normally wore elegant, fashionable dresses decorated with a few, arcane looking trinkets – usually with no magical power – on her person. Beyond that, I remembered her having a youthful, and beautiful look or someone who ate to make sure she did not grow fat, and never had to work.

Of course, aside from the hair, none of that was true right now. She had a haggard and stressed look, as if she had trouble sleeping after learning that her lover had been planning a coup behind her back, got caught and brutally murdered in public. And that his executioner was now the new Prime Minister. The investigators visiting her mansion and finding a summoning trap conveniently located exactly where the entire ministry was supposed to have a party in 3 days did not help matters. Basically, people were expecting me to either execute her out of hand, or maybe get in some jolly bit of torturing first. So yeah, she had trouble sleeping or resting.

Her sense of clothing had changed as well. She did not wear an elegant dress but… Okay, she basically looked like an expensive whore. Her white dress clung rather tightly to her figure, the skirt was short and had cuts on the side to expose the legs, she wore rather high heels – seriously, what was it with people and finding high heels boner inducing – and the top of her dress popped up her breasts. There was also a low neckline to expose her cleavage. And she gave a rather low bow when greeting me, in case I did not get enough of a view of her breasts or something.

“Good, because I will be needing your services.” I nodded, not bothering to hint in any way that she might take a seat. “Amanda, can I call you Amanda? Amanda, you are in what some might describe a bit of a pickle. Simon had that whole coup thing he was launching, and while I’m certain that you were unaware of that giant summoning circle in your house, most magicians want me to make an example of you. The nobles probably prefer that I didn’t, but not enough to voice such thoughts anywhere that someone who could tell me might hear it. Now, I couldjust ignore the voices asking for your death, but that would make me look weak, and this isn’t the right timing for that to happen. So that leaves me three options. Killing you, punishing you, and can you guess what the third one might be?”

She blinked at the sudden, rather blunt outline of her situation. After a moment though she seemed to come to a decision and collected herself.

“To take me as your mistress?”

“Sorry but no.” I shook my head. “The last option is having you work for me. I specifically did not tell anyone how I discovered Simon had the staff so that I could fill in the blanks with lies that best served my political purposes. For example, if the two of us had already been working together on a plan I had in the works, why it is only natural that while I was discussing it at your house I might discover Simon’s little trap. Then voila, you are no longer his collaborator, but an assistant in ending his despicable treachery.”

Granted, spreading the message that I learned about it while busy playing NTR Hero with Simon’s lover could work just as well here. However, quite frankly Alicia and Caroline would probably be less of a pain – and cheaper both financially and politically – as lovers than Amanda would be. Also, taking her as a lover would lose me an important political tool.

“And what would this job entail?”

“I am glad you asked.” I told her, lifting up a stack of papers from my desk. She came up, and took them and took a few steps back. “There you will find my multi-generational plan to steal all of the best magicians and talent from our colonies, weakening them and strengthening us in the process so that current rebellious attitudes become less dangerous. The nobility plays a large role in this. Of course, for that I need some nobles to encourage the system to their fellows, and willingly participate in it. Which is where you would come in.”

“You want me to become a role model for the system.” Amanda said, grasping my point.

“That, and finding other nobles who would be willing to be the first pioneers. I would like more than just 1 success story to point to. So, what do you say? Are you interested in at least hearing out the proposal?”

She was naturally interested. Or at least had enough survival instincts to not reject out of hand the plan of the Prime Minister that he had obviously put a lot of effort into figuring out. That tended to be the kind of action that resulted in errors existing between head and body.

“Right, the major idea is simple. Our colonies already have a similar system to here where-“

A knock interrupted me. After I acknowledged it, Alicia shyly poked in her head. “Sir, there is are a pair of magicians, Mr. Underwood, and his apprentice Mr. Mandrake, here to see you. They say that you asked their spirit, one Bartimaeus to see you today.”

I nodded. “Thank you, Alicia.”

The I muttered a few quick words, and summoned Queezle. The spirit took the form of a two tailed hell cat that was on fire, and floating in the air.

“Alicia, please guide Queezle to the magicians. Queezle, Alicia will guide you to a pair of magicians. They should have a spirit with them. Please confirm whether it is Bartimaeus. If they do not have a spirit with them, please ask them to summon Bartimaeus. After that, please lead them to the waiting area.”

“Of course, sir.” Spirit and mistress nodded – Alicia giving Amanda a glare – before exiting the room.

“Right, sorry about that. Just a minor loose end regarding the Simon incident.”

“I understand sir. You must have a lot of important things to attend to.”

“Thank you. Now, as I was saying, our colonies already practice a system where children are checked for magical talent, and separated from their families at a young age. I wish to make two changes to it.

“First, the most talented children would instead be shipped directly to London, taught English, and trained here by a British magician. They would be raised as a full-blooded British magician, with all of the rights and privileges and such, their previous culture and nationality tossed out along with their name. This is something that could be handled entirely by magicians. All you would need to do is to convince your fellow nobles not to discriminate against these children. We want them to fully think of themselves as British, and that means being treated as British, not American, Indian, African, Chinese or whatever else.

“Second, I want to offer their best magicians a chance to become British. The process is simple. Every year from all of our colonies we would accept a certain number of the very best magicians who can speak English. They would be given the choice to come to give up their nationality, come to Britain, become British citizens, and marry a noble. This naturally means the number we can take a year depends on how many nobles are participating in this. Over all, the idea would be having the colonies lose both their most talented, and smartest and hardest working magicians. We would gain one group who think entirely British, and another who bring with them the best of their culture’s magical styles that we can incorporate into our own if it is good enough. It would strengthen Britain, weaken the colonies, and have the give the youthful magicians there both the ambition and opportunity to become British.

“Of course, there would be a few other controls to the thing. Children of nobles won’t be nobles unless they are born of a union such as this. Noble children of these unions must marry British magicians to maintain their nobility. And we would allow commoners with the greatest accomplishments to obtain nobility.

“In short, I want to turn the nobility into the glue that connects all parts of our empire. Commoners can become nobles. Foreign blood can become British through marrying nobles. Local magicians marry nobles. Everyone would be connected. Now, make no mistake. This plan willbe implemented. The question is, will you assist me?”

Amanda looked horrified. It wasn't too surprising, considering I was pretty much taking a giant, metaphorical dump over parts of her culture. My behaviour probably wasn't all that different from that of many two bit dictators back home. Well, except that I wasn't a two bit dictator. I was a high quality dictator.

“Of course, Minister. Your wish is my command.” Amanda said after a minute of silence. Now she wouldn’t die, but she would be forced to marry someone that wasn’t even British. At least she would get a list of choices. A short list. “May I have permission to take some time to read through the details before figuring out my approach?”

“Of course.” I nodded. “Please come back in a week at the same time. Until then you only need to read it over and consider it. You don’t yet need to take any action.”

“thank you, Minister.”

She bowed and left. As she did, I got up and grabbed my spear. The staff had been put into the secure storage at the bottom of the ministry building. It was time to steal myself a potential apprentice. Shame he had chosen the name John Mandrake. I could have recommended he pick Anakin Skywalker.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It appeared that John – or Nathenial as his birthname went – had brought along Bartimaeus, considering he and his master were waiting for me in the waiting area, with Queezle and Bartimaeus standing nearby.

Arthur Underwood was a wholly unimpressive specimen of a magician. He had a wild hair that in a movie would scream ‘mad scientist’. I would say that in real life it indicated being too lazy to use a comb, except his hair was ‘wild’ in a rather unnatural way. As if he had spent time to look like this. His coat also was old and frayed, but gave off the wild man impression. He even had a long beard. In essence, Underwood went to great efforts to pull off the crazy man of the wild style of magician impression. Which on its own was an indicator that he was rather subpar as a magician. Still, the man was Minister of Internal Affairs, which meant that he had some political talent.

His charge, John Mandrake was a 12 years old child who had just chosen his name today. He was rather talented to have pulled off summoning a Djinn of Bartimaeus’s level at his age. That said, he was short – or maybe of a normal size for his age, I wasn’t sure – and also wore cheap clothes. At least he didn’t seem to waste time trying to make himself look more like a magician.

Both of them had stood up as soon as they saw me enter.

“Mr. Underwood, Mr. Mandrake, thank you for coming.” I shook each of their hands as I greeted them. “Thank you for sending your Djinn to assist us yesterday in ending Simon’s treachery.” There was so much bullshit in that statement, that being able to say it with a straight face showed I was a true politician.

“Thank you for meeting us, Prime Minister.” Underwood said with good cheer and a smile. “It was our pleasure to do our civic duty.”

“Quite.” I nodded. “I also apologize for insisting that you bring the Djinn in question, but I did not wish to end up rewarding the wrong person.”

“Very understandable Prime Minister. And a most sensitive choice too.” Underwood was nodding and grinning like a fool, seemingly quite happy to be acknowledged. John was just standing in the back, doing his best to be seen and not heard.

“So, did you bring young Mr. Mandrake here to show him how our government is working afterwards?” I asked, indicating to the boy. “I understand he just reached the age where he would receive his first government position.”

“Ah, yes, that is also the case, Minister.” Underwood nodded. “Though it is also because it was my apprentice who summoned the Djinn.”

I pretended to be surprised. I wasn’t sure if he bought it, or assumed I had a completely out of this world information source. Well, if he did, he would have assumed correctly. “Indeed? To summon a Djinn of this level at the age when most would be summoning their first Imp? You have quite the prodigy here Mr. Underwood. You must be proud to have raised such a fine apprentice.”

“Yes, it was hard work,” Underwood continued our conversation’s pattern of lying with a straight face, “but I couldn’t be prouder of the boy.” From what I recalled of the books, that was even true.

“That is good. It is important to cherish the bond between the Master and their Apprentice.” There was a momentary silence after that, as we all stood in the socially mandated moment of respect for my master who expired because due to flatulence induced summoning mishap. “So, Mr. Mandrake,” I started, turning to the boy. “What ambitions might you have for government office? Any departments you were hoping to join?”

The glare that had been building in John’s eyes until now disappeared. “I’m not quite certain, sir. I would like to work where I could put my talents to the best use. I was hoping for maybe working in one of our security ministries where I could protect our country.”

I nodded at that. “I see. That is something that will be rather easy to arrange.” Of course, as Prime Minister, getting him a job in anyministry was a tad bit on the easy side. “Now, yesterday I started a creation of a new Ministry called the Ministry of Public Relations. It would be a ministry who would work with a number of other ministries, including our various security ministries as well as your master’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, in a sense making sure that they are all on the same page and working towards the same goal.”

Both of them listened politely and attentively as I started giving my sales pitch.

“I am wondering if you would be interested in joining it. Everyone would be new to it, so there would be plenty of room for an ambitious, hardworking and talented man like yourself to grow. You would also have a good deal of opportunity to create your own contacts while still working with your master. There would be a lot of career opportunities if you go there. There is also…” I paused for a moment. “I will be honest. You two are the first ones I am telling this next part to. Could I have your agreement not to spread it around for a few more hours? I would like to make a big reveal about it at the ball tonight. Of course, you could spread it around there to show off your knowledge to others.”

“Of course, Prime Minister.” Underwood eagerly nodded. “You can trust us to keep a secret.”

“As my master said, sir.” John said politely. In a bit too, neutral manner when he said ‘master’. “We will always do our duty.”

“Thank you.” I nodded. “You see, I’m looking to recruit three magicians to be my, well, not quite apprentices but that is the best word for it. The difference between this and a regular apprenticeship would be – aside from me having three of them – that instead of adopting a child to raise as my apprentice, I would instead be training another magician’s apprentice. They would also still serve as the apprentice of their previous master. It would be a hard work load, something that only the truly talented and hardworking could manage.

“That said, aside from the not-inconsiderable status that being known as the Prime Minister’s apprentice would bring, they would also be learning my magical knowledge, including a few rituals that I designed myself. They would also be working major rituals that I can’t handle on my own alongside myself. If you manage to become one of the three, you could end up creating another Amulet of Samarkand alongside myself and your fellow apprentices. Lastly, I intend to create two copies of Gladstone’s Staff, and will be handing out the staves to these three apprentices as a symbol of their status and position.”

Well, there is the sparkling desire in the kid’s eyes. He was barely staying still and not jumping up and down going ‘oh, me, me, me. Pick me.’ Underwood was more professionally still, although shock and desire was still visible on his face.

“And how will you be picking these apprentices, sir?” John asked in a polite tone, as soon as he got himself under control.

“A most excellent question.” I nodded. “You see, I will be looking for a few key traits in these apprentices. First, they must be young, talented and hardworking. Second, they must display intelligence and the ability to learn and discover. Third, they must be willing and able to work alongside myself. Lastly, they must be able to work with and collaborate with other magicians. I’m looking for true leaders here, those that can rise to the top by leading others towards a goal and achieving something grand together, instead of pushing others down.

“Of course, quite conveniently, these are all skills you will have ample opportunity to display if you end up in the Ministry of Public Relations. Well, due to the number of traits I’m looking at, I will likely be making my final selections a year from now. This will give people plenty of time both to shine, as well as for me to see if their moments of brilliance are just luck, or signs of true brilliance. That said, because of how long people will have, it is perfectly possible for someone outside of the PR Ministry to make a name for themselves and become one of the apprentices. I don’t want to force you into working in Public Relations if you do not want to.

“That said, I would like it if you could send me a message sometime in the next week as to what department or ministry you would like to work in. No need to give the answer right now. Think it over, and give me your answer once you have found the place that is right for you. Wherever it is, I will make sure you get a good job there. It is the least I can do after your help last night.”

“Thank you, sir.” John thanked me with a short bow. “Truly, thank you.”

“Yes, quite. Now, wherever you go, I will be watching your career with interest. I expect great things from you, Mr. Mandrake.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“And to you, Mr. Underwood. Once again, thank you for coming today. You have raised a truly excellent apprentice.”

“Thank you again, sir.”

Once we finished our culturally mandated circle jerk offs and shook hands, I nodded at the door.

“Now, I’m truly sorry but I have another meeting I must get to. However, before you leave, Mr. Underwood I would appreciate it if you could schedule with my secretary sometime this week, preferably as early as possible, for a meeting, so that we could go over the needs and goals of your department in some detail. While my predecessor had some paperwork to that effect, I find that sometimes going over things in person can give a better understanding to all of the details and nuances that I’m sure you are much more familiar with.”

“Of course, Minister. I shall get on it right away.”

“Quite. Well, I hope to see you both soon, and have a good day.”

With that, we shook hands again and I exited the room to get back to my office for my next meeting. Checking the clock on the wall, there wasn’t enough time for a between meeting blow job from Alicia.

I might have to cut down on this whole sleep thing if I want to get my work done and still have time for magic every day. Well, I don’t need to sleep every day.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I looked down at the collars that I was holding in my hand. It was a rather beautiful piece, a black collar with 4 large jewels of various collars implanted in it, and four more smaller jewels around each of the main jewels. The rest of the space was decorated with runic lettering in gold and silver.

The thing had also contained an enchantment similar in nature to – but different from – the one that Nefertiti’s Amulet had. It was a brilliant piece of work in my opinion, though it had taken me half an hour to do. Which meant that I spent my entire lunch break enchanting a pretty collar I could gift a girl, instead of eating.

Well, if she likes it enough to accept it, it will have been worth it.

Right, gotta stay positive. Besides, today everyone left early so that they could get ready for the ball. I could grab a bite to eat then. Or I might find a different opportunity to eat it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“What did you wish to show me, Minister?” Jane asked as she stood uncertainly behind my desk.

She had come in earlier today along with Whitwell and Duvall to report on the results of the raid of The Resistance. The results were better than I feared, worse than I hoped. They had, naturally, doubted my whole resilience spiel, and ended up scoping out the place via Imps. They got detected, and The Resistance made a run for it. Their spells hadn’t worked as well as expected, though the police turning into wolves and chasing them down had caught most of the runners.

The leader – an old man whose name officially became beneath my notice as of now – was caught, along with most of his employees. Two of them had escaped, though their faces and names were known, making it rather easy to send out a wanted notice for them.

The captured ones were being sent to The Tower for interrogation. That is, they would be tortured to death, and any information they told would be noted down.

Basically, as if today, The Resistance was over.

After receiving the report, I had sent off Duvall and Whitwell to call off their people that had gone to question the families of the two runners, and to not molest those families. That never actually produced results, just resentment. After that, they were free to go back to doing their regular work, though once they extracted the location of the stolen items, they would need to send a team to recover those.

Considering The Resistance hadn’t stolen anything of notable value, I wasn’t too worried about an item or two possibly going missing.

With all of that said, I had asked Jane to stay behind, as there was something I wished to show her.

Jane was wearing a proper business dress with a modest skirt, and sensible boots appropriate for having to run on London’s streets. She seemed confused as to why she had been singled out, but beyond that, there was no sign of hesitation around her. She also had an Imp on her shoulder that was doing its best to not make eye contact with Vivian who was sitting on my shoulder in mouse form; Loki and Hermes had been sent back to the other plane for a few days of rest and recovery.

“A ritual that I developed while searching for an alternative to our current werewolf system.” I told her. “While it is an improvement over the old method in every way, and in fact is superior even to the dragonblooded ritual, it is significantly expensive and time consuming. I was wondering if you would be interested in undergoing it. To become the last and greatest werewolf of Britain.”

Jane just looked at me with a calmed, practiced political stare. It seemed she had readied herself somewhat for my craziness. “What would be the difference between this and becoming a traditional werewolf, sir?”

“What is the difference between a Djinn and an Imp? Both are spirits made from the same matter, in theory capable of the same spells. So, what is the difference?”

Jane answered slowly, as if unsure where I was going with this. “A Djinn is smarter, bigger, far more powerful-“

“Well, my answer is the same.” I interrupted her. “You don’t have the increased aggression and suppressed reasoning of a regular werewolf transformation. You don’t transform into a wolf so much as a giant wolf shaped beast, and can tap into part of that part even as a human. In every way, you would be stronger, smarter and faster if you did this ritual than became a regular werewolf. The difference is big enough you would probably need a new name to describe it. I guess you could say this is my offer to make you the first Fenrir.”

“The god slaying wolf from Norse mythology, sir?”

“The very same.” I agreed. “So, are you interested?”

“Of course, sir.”

Huh, I wonder if she agreed because I was the Prime Minister and I was obviously excited to try this, or because she was actually interested. Eh, it didn’t matter. Not with what I was planning.

We arrived in one of the side rooms to the office – I still had trouble believing some idiot wasted money on getting multiple – where I had the ritual circle set up.

“Please strip, put this on, and lie down in the circle.” I told her, handing her the collar I had completed today. “This will suppress the great wolf spirit, both making the ritual safer, and allowing you to maintain control after the transformation. It is also why this ritual is so expensive.”

Jane nodded, and followed my instructions. She was of a similar age to Alicia, but had a better body than pre-transformation Alicia did. Now that she was naked, I could see the signs of her having worked hard – far harder than most magicians ever did – to get her body fit. It was the endurance kind of fit too, the kind that best served magicians. It results in smaller breasts than one would prefer, but a naturally tight ass.

“Are you ready?” I asked her, giving her one last chance to back out.

“Ready.” She agreed.

Then I started the ritual. It was almost the same as the ritual I had used on Alicia. The song and dance were slightly different, with there being more animalistic howls in place of cavemen grunts at places. Also, at the climax, instead of an elemental tornado, it was a giant, fifteen feet tall wolf composed of the elements that slammed into her, to complete her transformation.

Jane sat up as her body started to change, and looked at me. I saw a spot of yellow appear in the center of her eyes before starting to spread, until her pupils lost their previous color and became yellow. Her muscles grew and then shrunk, tightening. Two of her canines grew. Her breasts grew slightly larger, though they were still on the small side. Her skin became smoother. Over all, the physical change wasn’t much.

And then, she grinned.

She stood up, her ears turning into wolf ears, and a wolf tail growing out of her back. Her tail swung back and forth from side to side as she walked swayed towards me in a calm and confident manner, moving like a predator. Well maybe a predator who worked part time as a hooker given the way she was making her breasts and ass move with every step she took.

I stood and waited for her to reach me, truthfully a bit worried as to whether the spell work would be sufficiently adjusted by the collar that she was wearing.

My worries turned out to be unfounded, as she she reached me she draped herself over my body, taking a moment to sniff and lick my neck. She then let go and sat down in front of me, and started to happily rob her head against my crotch. I reached down and scratched the back of her ears, something that she reacted quite happily to.

I petted like that for a minute or so before she moved to undo my pants. Pulling her back by the hair was enough to stop her, making her obediently sit back and look up at me with puppy dog eyes.

“Not here. I want to finally mark the Minister’s desk as my own.”

That brought a wolfish grin to her face. “Of course, master. I shall prepare myself right away.”

She then jumped up and quickly left the room, moving just slow enough that she could give me a show with her swaying hips.

“Well, it looks like the collar was a success.”

Jane Farrad had officially become my bitch.

Smiling in satisfaction, I followed her out into my office. There, she had already taken my stacks of papers off of my desk onto my chair, and bent herself over the desk, legs spread and one hand between her legs, openly spreading her pussy lips for me.

“Master,” she pleaded as I walked up behind her. “Please. Claim your bitch.”

Huh. I wonder if her being in heat will be a constant effect, or just a temporary result of the ritual. Well, I have almost ten more years to figure it out.

I didn’t bother getting undressed. I just unzipped my pants, and pulled out my balls and already hard dick, placing the lip against her already wet and open pussy lips. I slid it back and forth, getting it nice and wet, occasionally dipping in just the tip until Jane was moaning with need.

“Please, Master. Claim me.” She repeated.

I assented, grabbing her hips thrusting deep into her. Her pleading turned into a moan of pleasure, even as I felt myself push through some resistance. Glancing down, I noticed blood was slowly dripping down her legs.

Okay, I call bullshit. There is no way her hymen didn’t get torn given her active lifestyle. Did the ritual healing all of the minor things in her body also heal the hymen? I suppose I could test it with Caroline.

Plans for science made, I focused back on the task at hand. Namely, fucking my little wolf girl silly. I started to pull out and thrust into her, not bothering to start with a slow and easy pace. Jane was in too much ecstasy to complain, and quickly starting moving her hips in tempo with my own.

After a bit, I grabbed the back of her head with one hand and her tail with the other, pulling on both until she was almost standing, back against my chest, her hands supporting her on the desk.

“You are mine, Jane. My woman, my bitch.”

They weren’t the most romantic words, though given how they made Jane’s cunt tighten as she came, apparently, she disagreed. In fact, I had to slow down and almost stop so that she didn’t end up milking me right then and there.

“Hmmmm. I am yours.”

She hummed, before letting go of the desk to grasp my head, and pull me into a kiss. She started slowly rocking her hips back and forth at the same time, her pussy loosening her vice like grip enough for me to start moving as well.

“Your bitch in heat.”

It was official. This woman does not have the slightest grasp of romance… Though there was a good chance that was entirely my fault. Oh, well. It isn’t like she would complain.

Having decided that, I pushed her back down, shoving her face first down onto the desk. One hand lifted up a leg, spreading it sideways onto the desk, while the other grabbed her tail and roughly pulled it back as I once again started pounding into her as hard as I could.

Jane just moaned in pleasure as she was forcefully used, her claws biting into the desk and leaving scars as they were dragged back and forth. I continued like that for a minute before reaching my peak, and with one final grunt and thrust, emptied myself inside of her. She seemed to enjoy being poured full of cum as she came once more, letting out a throaty moan, even as she clenched down on me once again.

She lay like that, clamped around me for near a quarter of a minute before finally letting go. As soon as I pulled out, she pushed off of the desk and turned around, getting on her knees and took my entire length into her mouth in one quick go.

The blowjob she gave was rather clumsy. She simply moved her mouth back and forth on my dick, humming all of the while. It still felt really good. It only took a short while before I grabbed her by the back of the hair and roughly fucked her in the face.

She looked up at me with adoring eyes, one hand sliding in between her legs as I used her like that, quickly cuming once again, this time in her throat.

Jane gulped it all down, then pulled back to show me an empty mouth, before grinning up at me. I grinned back, pulled her up for another kiss. The kiss didn’t last long – the taste of my seed was a bit of a turn off – before I broke it off, and sat down, pulling her down with me. I lay my back against the desk, hand across her back while she draped herself across by chest, and we settled down for a post-fuck cuddle.

We sat there for a few minutes, basking in the afterglow. Well, I was basking in the afterglow, while one hand played with her breast. She was more basking in my scent, her fingers slowly sliding in and out of herself.

“Jane.” She perked up at my voice, eager to please. “I want you to be my date to the ball tonight. Get dressed, go home, clean yourself up, and come to the ball looking presentable. That means hiding the wolf tail and ears, cute at they are.”

“Of course, mas-“

I cut her off with a kiss. “None of that. You will be my date tonight, and my lover from now in. You can call me Minister or sir in an official setting. In an official setting, just call me Merlin or Emyrs.”

The rate at which her fingers plunged into her increased. “Yes, Emyrs.” And then she kissed me. As she did, her fingers stopped, fully thrust deep into her while she arched her back and moaned into my mouth.

“You are beautiful.” One more kiss, and then I pulled away. “Now go. We both need to be presentable, and on time tonight. Oh, and before I forget; it would hurt your career and my plans for you to get pregnant right now.” Yeah, I honestly wasn’t sure which of those two would be more important to her. Best to list both. “Make sure to take measures so that you aren’t pregnant. In fact, take those measures regularly, since I would like to make a regular habit of doing things like this.”

She nodded, and left to get dressed while I adjusted my clothes, and cleaned up the area. By which I mean I summoned up a pair of Foliots whose names weren’t in any government records – I had checked – and had them clean up the place. Then, I sat back against the desk and watched the reverse strip tease of my new lover, her panties getting stained by my seed leaking out of her even as she put them on.

I felt a bit bad for the mind control, but with the importance I was giving our PR department, it only made sense that I made sure the head of it was completely loyal to me. Besides, it wasn’t all bad for Jane. In the future she would become my apprentice. She would gain one of the Magician’s Staffs – or whatever the hell we ended up calling Gladdy’s Staff and its copies – and had much of Fenrir’s power on staff. She would become one of the most powerful magicians in the world, and wield more power than her other master could ever even theoretically possess. She had a bright future ahead of her, just one where disloyalty wasn’t a possibility.

When I left the office a few minutes after a very cheerfully grinning Jane, Alicia gave me a knowing look but didn’t say anything. She just quietly followed me out of the ministry building, where she slid up against me, breasts pressed against my back, and let me take us back home with a single step of my Seven League Boots. Despite having her own copy of the boots.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not too much happened at the ball. I went there dressed in a proper suit for the first time in something like the last 2 years of my life. Jane was dressed in a beautiful red dress with a deep neck line, and a skirt that was long enough to be proper, but short enough to be easily pushed up. She drew quite a few eyes when she greeted me with a kiss, and then clung to my side the entire time.

Given the way many of the ladies were looking at her, I realized that asking her to be my date made me miss out on being able to fuck my way through half the single ladies here. It was apparently cool to sleep with me now. I was going to have to get used to that.

Anyways, the two of us met, we kissed, and then I went around greeting everyone. They congratulated me on my new position, I said something complementary, and went on to the next person. It was all very tiring and pointless.

One thing I didnote though was how many people had showed up in shirts and clothes that Iwould have worn here had I not been made Prime Minister. I especially congratulated those people on their fine taste – especially if they had a funny line on their shirt – and apologized for not wearing my own.

The night ended when I announced the major highlights of my glorious reign so far; The Resistance was destroyed, I would be starting a new PR department, and I would soon be looking for three apprentices, and what that entailed. That was followed by congratulating them all for what a great government they ran, and all that boring jazz. I honestly just copied Rupert’s prepared speech, and edited out the no longer applicable parts of it.

AN:
And thus, the SI collects the third member of his planned harem. At the cost of the death of the spirit Fenrir. Poor Fenrir, we hardly knew ye. Mostly because I killed you off without even introducing you.

Yes, the SI is rather hypocritical. “I shall create a republic but slowly giving up power to various groups so that they are in balance”. “Now, let me just sure I control key members of each of the groups”.

Well, we have finally hit the point where I can start doing short time skips and start moving the plot again. The SI started putting things in motion, now it is waiting for those things to go through.






AN:
Trigger warning: bad shit happens.

While I could easily play the dictator when it came to internal politics, things changed quite a bit in the realm of foreign relations. Here, I couldn’t just dictate what would happen and have everyone follow through. I was supposed to play nice and negotiate. Really, the entire thing tempted me to reconsider my position on not mind controlling people. I already slipped up once with Jane, what was another couple dozen times?

Everyone was trying to test me. They were all trying to push just a bit with this treaty or that, asking for “just a small” concession here and there. All while offering nothing of value in return. How the hell was I supposed to establish friendly relations with them, when they weren’t even willing to try?

Of course, that wasn’t the worst part. No, those tests just required me to learn to politely tell them that they weren’t getting anything for free. No, the worst were countries who actually violated treaties in small manners, seeing how far they could push before I struck back. My Ministers told me that this was how the game was played, but honestly? Fuck that.

A few days back, I had started up an orphanage. The plan had been to create more as we gained the staff to take care of them. If you ran the numbers the drop in crimes from the kids no longer living on the streets more than paid for the wages of the staff, even just from a purely economic perspective. And that wasn’t looking at the long term; children learned their beliefs at school, at home, and at their friends. Once they grew up, their beliefs became very hard to dispel. These orphans? They would be to government run schools. Their ‘parents’ would be government sponsored employees. Their friends would be other kids at the orphanage. You couldn’t ask for a better indoctrination system than a well-funded and well-run orphanage. Once these children grew up, they would-be hard-working employees with important skills, who had beliefs in line with my vision.

Or at least that had been the plan until these Czech fuckers decided to test me.

They were still upset at Gladstone shattering their empire a century and a half back. Rather than getting over it, they kept sending spies into Britain to cause problems. The “game” as politicians caused it. This time, their spies ending up using Djinn to set the orphanage on fire. Over three dozen children between ages of 5 and 10 were burned alive. The two who had managed to get out of the building had had their legs torn off by the Djinn waiting outside, and then left to die in the grass.

The spies who caused the incident had been caught – and confessed their relationship under interrogation – but the Czechs were playing the denial and no evidence game. My Ministers were mostly suggesting the equivalent of a strongly suggested letter. Short of starting a war, we could maybe kick out a few of their diplomats. Show our displeasure, but not do anything.

After all, who cares about a few dozen nameless, commoner children. It lets them send the message to the people that I can’t protect them, won’t protect them, by not targeting someone important enough that I have to act. After all, wars are expensive. Even Britain can’t just go to war willy nilly with the Czechs.

“And you still insist you had nothing to do with this travesty Mr. Ambassador?” I asked once more from the fat man in his late fifties that was the Czech ambassador. He had a name, but unless to me he was just a faceless tub of lard that I couldn’t kill for reputational reasons. “We have confessions from your spies. We have the identity papers yourgovernment supplied to get them here.”

“Careful where you make accusations, Minister.” The ambassador’s tone was firm as he glared down at me. “As we-“

“Or what?” I interrupted him. “A foreign government sponsored assault on a government institute and our children? These constitute acts of war. If you are willing to start with these, where are you going to escalate because of my accusations?”

“My boy, there is no need to lose your calm.” The ambassador spoke. “I understand you are undertaking a job beyond your capabilities, but you should take care how you speak. There are treaties for these things.”

“Treaties that you blatantly violated.”

I took a deep breath and sighed. This wasn’t getting anywhere. Worse, him admitting to it wouldn’t get anywhere. There was no way he would accept his government paying a cost exorbitant enough that they would never consider it again.

Not unless I take it by force.

“Please follow me, Mr. Ambassador. I believe a demonstration of Britain’s will to protect its people is in order.”

I stood as I spoke, and calmly marched out of the office. The ambassador blistered as he followed me, but I ignored him.

“Alicia dear, please ask Ms. Farrad and a journalist from the paper to meet me at the stairs of the ministry in five minutes. After that, please guide the ambassador here to the same place. There is something back home that I need to collect.”

With that I marched off, my Boots carrying me faster than a human could keep up with. Alicia could command the office Imps to send messages, so I didn’t believe she would have any issues getting everyone there. After that, it would be entirely my show.

It was when I returned to the steps of the Ministry with my sleigh that I realized that I might be going somewhat overboard here. I didhave the option of backing down, and simply playing the game as it went. It would definitely cause less deaths.

But more deaths in my citizens.

That was the crux of the problem. I might hate the job, but I wasthe Prime Minister of Britain. At the end of the day, it was myjob to protect my citizens. I might delegate tasks, but the failures of my ministers were my failures. And if I didn’t have the strength to shield them, then I had to stop them from being attacked in the first place. No matter the cost that other countries had to pay.

“What is this? Britain’s newest invention?”

“Get in.” I told them, ignoring the Ambassador’s question.

Jane took the seat by my side, happily leaning her body against me. Alicia pouted at that before quickly climbing in at my other side, causing me and Jane to have to scoot over so that she could drape herself across my other side. It would have been a bit of a tight fit with three of us normally, but since we didn’t mind lying against each other it worked out. I honestly had only meant for the other three to get in, but before I could voice that thought, hands started massaging my thighs and I changed my mind. Alicia had started first, but Jane apparently took that as a challenge. I guess her presence might make this trip better. And give me a perspective of how commoners might see my actions.That the ambassador appeared upset at the behavior was only a bonus.

The journalist was a middle-aged man in a worn well-worn robe. He did not strike a very impressive appearance, having a long, unkempt beards and a scrawny look. Still, that was fine, I only needed him here to record. He, along with the ambassador got into the back seats.

“I’m sorry but I did not catch your name.”

“It is Amicus Parker, sir.”

“Mr. Parker, is it. Thank you for taking the time to come here. I would like you to record what I’m about to show our ambassador here, and then discuss with Ms. Farad how to best present it to the public in the next edition of our paper.”

“Of course, sir. What should I be looking for?”

I grinned. “Oh, you will know it when you see it. Hohoho.” A flick of the wrist had us miles in the air. Another, and we were moving miles every second down south towards my demonstration area. Towards Prague.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After London, Prague was a wholly unimpressive city. Even a couple of miles up in the air, it was easy to spot the graveyards. They were most of the city. The rest was more rundown or weathered buildings than what would be expected in the capital of a nations that regularly challenged Britain as well.

“Gentlemen, ladies, welcome to Prague.”

“So you have managed to create a device that can cross great distances in seconds?” The ambassador asked. “Impressive. However, I do not see how this relates to our prior discussion.”

“Ambassador-“ I paused for a moment to stop Alicia who was trying to pop my dick out of my pants. I really don’t think getting a hand job in the middle of this speech would be appropriate. “Prague appears to believe that it can kill British citizens, children, whenever it wants because we do not have the will to strike that. That you can shake your swords at us and we will back down, afraid of the cost of war.”

By this point spirits down below had noticed us, and started flying up at us.

“I’m here to tell you that you are wrong. No cost is too great to pay for the life of my citizens. I will go to any means necessary to defend them. That does not mean just avenging them, but avenging them so far that no one else tries again.”

I stood and turned around to look at the ambassador. He appeared worried, but hadn’t started acting yet. It was too late I guess.

“You asked about this sleigh ambassador. This sleigh is my answer to that dilemma. It is a creation based on the words of the great philosopher, Tony Stark. ‘The greatest weapon isn’t the one that you have to use multiple times. It also isn’t the one you never have to use. It is a weapon you only have to use once, because your enemies will never dare challenge you again.” The ambassador finally realized what I was planning. However, attempts to physically tackle me failed against my shield. Had he tried a spirit or a spell, I had the Amulet of Samarkand. So I ignored him and dramatically raised both my hands up to my sides. “Mr. Ambassador, I present to you; Santa’s Sleigh.”

I should have probably checked if a philosopher named Tony Stark ever existed before I started attributing quotes to him. Then again, I did just make up this speech on the spot.

As I spoke the last words, the sleigh activated the 6 weapons on its bottom. Each of them was a simple stake that had a single Marid tier fire or lightning elemental trapped in it. They all fired simultaneously, the charge they had built up simultaneously released in blasts of lightning and fire. The sleigh shook from the strain as firestorms and lightning bolts clashed down on below.

Below us the spirits that had come in charging were all killed as the air itself was set on fire. In the city below, buildings exploded as lightning struck them, pieces of them flying around to level their neighbors. The fire raged in the air for seconds before ending, leaving behind a city with a few destroyed buildings and small fires, and an air space completely clear of hostiles.

And then the second wave came.

I’m… I’m not going to describe what happened. I’m not proud of what I did. It was a calculated maneuver; other nations would also be thinking to test us like this, striking at my citizens to see how many we would let them harm. With this, with a clear message that if they attack us we will go full trigger-happy pyromaniac sociopath on their cities, they probably wouldn’t. The Czechs were the only ones to do it so far. Everyone else could just deride the Czechs for their barbarity and loudly claim that they would never do something like this.

Prague would be lost, but no one else would have to die.

Unless the Czechs wish to avenge their citizens.

If that happened, I didn’t think I was going to be able to sleep in peace for a while. If I could do that now.

No time for that. If I look weak, the retarded sharks will smell tomato juice, think it is blood, and attack. All of the innocents killed here would have died for nothing, as I would be forced to resort to killing more.

“Mr. Ambassador, please be so kind as to deliver a message from me to your government.” I said to the man who had collapsed back into his seat and was just staring in horror at this point. “If they publicly admitted to the strike on the orphanage, apologize for the treaty violations that they have caused, and thank Britain for its calm and measured response, we can continue to have peace. If not, both our countries have committed acts of war, and I would be forced to finish what you started.”

“Calm and measured?” The ambassador asked. “You destroyed our capital! You destroyed our government! There is no government for me to go back to!”

I shrugged. Yeah, that would be a minor bug, but I’m sure they can figure it out.

“Have you ever heard the saying ‘Men should be treated generously or destroyed, because they take revenge for slight injuries – for heavy ones they cannot.’? As a protector of my people I do not have the right to stand aside when my people are harmed. You forced me to react. And if I am going to attack you, I will most certainly do it in a way to ensure you will not strike back. Now, if your government is truly gone, I suggest you get started on quickly form a new government, tell them what an idiot the last bunch of people were, and publicly apologize for their actions.”

Looking over, I noticed that the journalist we have brought along, had transitioned from horror to gleefully recording everything that we were saying. Well, at least he worked for the state-controlled newspaper so I knew he wouldn’t put a “The Prime Minister is a Monster” spin on things. Even if such a spin would be uncomfortably accurate.

“So, Mr. Ambassador. Would you prefer we go down and let you out here at Prague? Or would you like me to take you back to London? Whichever is most convenient to you. I would hate to be rude.”

“London is fine.” The ambassador stammered out. “I must get into contact with my staff there before returning back home.”

“Completely understandable. Well, let us return.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“So, what did you think?” I asked the two girls. We were in my office now, having dropped off the ambassador for him to presumably call off his spies, while the journalist went off to compile his notes. “How badly did I mess things up?”

“You did not intend to blow up Prague?” Alicia asked confused. “It certainly looked like that was your intention.”

“I should not have blown up Prague. It was done from a combination of anger, and not seeing a better solution. A better politician would have found a way to solve this problem more ethically.”

“I do not see what you are upset about.” Jane nodded. “You have demonstrated your overwhelming strength. Prague has been a thorn in our sides for over a hundred years, that was simply too troublesome to destroy. Now they are gone, and none of our enemies will dare so openly to oppose you.”

“And the hundreds of thousands of dead don’t bother you?”

“It makes me hot and bothered.” Jane replied, moving close and sliding my hand up her skirt to show that she wasn’t lying. “As it will most of our magicians. Once more we have shown Britain’s overwhelming superiority and cowered our enemies. All is right with the world. Next time, you should probably evacuate our spies from a city before we hit it first. Not that they had any value outside of providing information on Prague.”

Great, I had a girlfriend who was turned on by mass murder. I needed a better political advisor. Though finding one that I could trust without mind control might not be possible.

“Jane, do you know what is the difference between a war hero and a mass murderer?”

“We praise the hero and arrest the murderer?” Jane answered in response confused.

“What about you, Alicia. Do you know the difference?”

“A hero is someone with great accomplishments.” Alicia said. “While the mass murderer is a criminal.”

“It is a matter of perspective.” I told them. “A war hero fights on your side. A mass murderer fights against you. Even if this action makes me a hero in Britain, our enemies will see me as a monster.”

“Isn’t that for the best?” Alicia asked as she came up to me and hugged me from behind. “The people won’t care that foreigners hate you. All they will care about is that you can keep them safe. If this will stop other nations from attacking us, isn’t that a good thing? I do not remember if I ever cared about what was happening in Birmingham. Why should I care about what happened to Prague? Didn’t they attack us first?”

I suppose that was one way to look at it. Of course, a diplomatic stance built on being the only side with nukes only worked until others figured out how to produce nukes. This would all be so much easier if we had something like the Geneva Convention and people followed it. Except that only worked when most nations agreed that laws of war were a good idea that should be enforced with overwhelming power.

“Yes, Prague attacked us first, but all other foreign nations were going to challenge us in some minor way or another. That is just the nature of a transition of power. It is basically considered tradition and how the game is played.”

“A game?” Alicia growled. “They consider killing children a game?”

“Well, they killed commoners that weren’t their citizens. I think it was mostly to show the world my weakness by destroying something I built. I’m not sure if those deaths registered for them.”

“Then why should we care about their deaths?” Alicia’s hands tightened around my waist. “You don’t have to care about others. Just care about us. Isn’t that enough for you?”

Well, I guess I could do that. Gets a bit too close to tribalism for my tastes, but nothing I can do about it.

“Thank you, both of you. Please help Mr. Parker write up the article for tomorrow’s paper. I want it to be entirely truthful, but presented in a way that it would garner the approval of both magicians and commoners.”

“Merlin, can that wait?” Jane asked in a pleading tone. “I want you inside of me right now.”

“Tonight. Come home with me tonight. I will ask that you wait until then.”

Jane whined with need, but accepted my request, leaving the office with Alicia to do as I asked. I let out a tired breath before sitting down in my chair, and trying to figure out what to do next. I would need to make sure that the plan with building the orphanages – and ensuring a quality control system existed – went through. I would need to run through the numbers again to make sure we had enough Imps and Foliots watching over the kids to avoid any cases of bullying or abuse.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Thank you for coming, Mr. Franklin. Now, what can I do for you?”

I didn’t stand up to greet the diplomat from our American colonies. Part of it was showing a difference in status. I was the head of the British Empire. He just represented one of our territories. Part of it was that I was annoyed at him coming in so late at night, when I was getting ready to leave. Mostly though, Jane had just started sucking me off, and I didn’t want to pull out of her mouth while we shook hands. So I merely greeted him from behind my desk and let him take a seat as well.

The American diplomat, Mr. Franklin was young, as far as men in these positions go. He was in his early thirties, fit, and quite friendly and charismatic. He had a well-tailored suit, and managed to give off an air of both professionalism and approachability. He was the kind of guy that radiated ‘I am your friend’ and made you want to help him out.

Or at least that was usually the case. Right now he looked a bit nervous.

“Thank you for having me, Prime Minister. It is an honor to finally meet you in person. I must congratulate you for your ascension to the position of…”

Blah, blah, blah. He went on and on with the niceties, with me interjecting a simple “thank you” or grunt as appropriate, while waiting for him to just get on with it. Apparently, Jane felt the same way, as she stopped just sitting there, and started bobbing her head up and down once more. Hopefully the desk was thick enough to stop any sounds from reaching Franklin.

“Thank you once more, Mr. Franklin.” I said, pausing as if to increase the tension. In reality, Jane has just take me in her mouth all the way to the hilt, and started humming, requiring me to focus before I could talk again. “However, perhaps we could move on to the purpose of this meeting?”

And preferably before the way Jane had started licking me makes me forget why I care about this meeting.

“Of course, Minister. You see, I had heard a funny rumor perpetuated by the Czech Ambassdor, Mr. Dvorak, that you had destroyed Prague using a weapon called Satan’s Sleigh.”

I gave a moment to consider my response. Well, by tomorrow it would be in the news, so I might as well go with the truth. “Those rumors are mostly accurate.” I admitted. “The sleigh is called Santa’s Sleigh, not Satan’s Sleigh. Beyond that, I made it before I became Prime Minister, not as a weapon, but as a fast pace aerial vehicle to let me go traveling across the world. All weaponry installed were designed purely for self-defense purposes.”

“Self-defense?” Franklin asked. “You designed a weapon capable of wiping out a city for self-defense? What were you planning to defend yourself against?”

I shrugged. “Whatever I might encounter. It is always better to have too powerful a weapon and not use it at full power, then to run into Cthulhu and not have a powerful enough weapon…”

God damnit. Instead of taking my sleigh for a publicized attack run, I could have just snuck in, summoned up Cthulhu, and snuck back out. This is why I shouldn’t make plans on a whim while pissed off.

“I… see.” Franklin spoke in an uncertain tone. “May I ask why you felt the need to destroy Prague?”

“Of course.”

I leaned back in my chair and closed my eyes for a moment as if thinking. In reality, I was just trying to control my facial expression while blowing a load in Jane’s mouth.

“There are a great many countries Britain interacts with.” I started. “Some of them are our friends, while others are our enemies pretending to be our allies because they are too weak. When I became Prime Minister, it was inevitable that many of them would be idiots who would smell weakness where it did not exist, and attack us. The Czechs were merely the first, burning to death British children like barbarians who cannot tell the difference between atrocity and strength. I destroyed Prague so that others would not make the same mistake of attacking my people.”

“Truly a foolish and despicable thing for them to do.” Franklin quickly said. “The American colonies find their actions most disgraceful and wicked. I’m sure you understand that we hold nothing but the greatest friendship for the Empire in our hearts, and will always stand with you.”

Yeah, maybe.

Or more realistically, the only reason the Czechs were able to strike this fast was because of their close physical proximity. It had been a week since my ‘coronation’. It would take months for the news to even reach America, and a few more months for any instructions they give to get back. In short, it would have been physically impossible for America – or our African or Indian holdings – to pull off an act like this so quickly in response. That said, that was the point of my action. Strike hard and fast before others can attack me, and then they have the chance to claim they never harbored ill feelings for us, and there would be peace.

“Thank you, Mr. Franklin. Your words truly warm my heart. Britain is very happy for the friendship of our most valuable colonies.”

“Of course, Prime Minister. We are only doing our civic duty.” The ambassador paused at this point. “Though while I am already here, I understand that you had plans to make changes to our trade tariffs?”

“Ah, yes, that. Just a few trifling things really.” I agreed. “Please give me a moment to find the right papers.”

It took me a few moments to find the right stack of papers. While I was doing that, Jane had put my dick back in my pants, and was rubbing her head against my crotch.

“Here we are. There are a lot more details on the papers, but I can give you a brief summary. In short, during the last decade, the colonies were a larger expense for our empire than they were a revenue. As I understand, this came mostly as a result of a lot of smuggling that circumvented our tariffs. My predecessor responded by trying to institute new taxes, which weren’t particularly popular over in America, and were just as easily circumvented, indicating that ‘more taxes’ is not a valid solution to this problem. Would this summary be accurate?”

“In broad strokes, Minister.” Franklin nodded. “You must understand, that it is only a few who are bulking the system, and most people back home love the Empire.”

“Excellent. And I would like to keep things that way.” I spoke, interrupting him before he could go on a rant. “Therefore, I would like to try my own solution, one that I believe might be more popular. First, I would like to remove any taxes my predecessor’s government instituted for America in the past ten years, effective in a little over six months. At the same time, I will be instituting a new system, where ships with the Sigil of Merlin – described on page 3 of the stack – will not be required to pay any tariffs or taxes when trading in Britain, the Americas, Africa or India. Representatives from our other holdings will be informed next week together at a meeting you will also be invited to, that I highly suggest you attend.”

“Merchant ships that will not have to pay taxes or tariffs?” Franklin asked. “That shall give them an unfair advantage.”

“Nonsense.” I shook my head. “Each government will be provided, each year, with a number of Sigils in proportion to how many tariffs we collected there, each Sigil valid for a total of 2 years. As it will be the governments handing out the Sigils, they will merely have to do so in a fair manner. Perhaps an auction?”

“And you believe that this will solve the problem of smuggling?” Franklin asked.

“Each nation will be rewarded for collecting more tariffs. I believe the incentives will drive them to enforce it on their own, solving our smuggling problem.”

Of course, that was all a pile of bovine manure. However, I was young and inexperienced enough for it to be realistic that I had such a naïve and simplistic view of things.

“If all representatives agree to the system, each will receive 2 Sigils that will be valid at the start of this system, but only for 1 year, to give everyone a fair chance. Mr. Franklin, you said that America was our friend. Could we trust America’s support in this matter?”

“Of course, Prime Minister. I shall be happy to support you.”

Doubtless, he was imagining going back home as the hero who got rid of a decade’s worth of hated taxes. The poor, naïve fool. Though I was notlooking forward to all of the negotiating I would have to do next week. I will need to inform my Ministers of the actualplan, and get the best diplomats to assist me there.

“Well, it was a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Franklin. I hope we can continue such positive relations in the future.”

“Of course, Minister. It was-“

And then we had a five-minute-long back patting before he finally left.

“So, do you think he knew and kept quiet out of politeness, or were you quiet enough?”

“He knew.” Jane responded immediately, climbing out of the desk. “I could hear and smell him reacting to the act. I think he just didn’t want to piss off the magician who, at 14, has accomplishments to his name unrivaled by any since Gladstone.”

“I suppose so.” I agreed, one hand sliding under her skirt and slipping into her wet folds. “That was fun. Still, we need to sound proof this desk if we want to do this more often.”

“And expand the space.” Jane added. “I wanted to turn around and spear myself on your dick, but there wasn’t enough space. Also, I think Alicia might get jealous if I never let her down there.” She leaned back against the table, spreading her legs so I could more readily slide my fingers in.

“I will find a way to pull that off.” I agreed. “So, what did you think of the meeting.”

“Your decision seems, ah, foolish.” She said immediately. “Canceling the taxes for a plan that has no hope of success will, hmm, scream weakness to everyone. I ass-ah-ume you have some not completely obvious plan. Knowing-ah you, it involves throwing a lot of magic at the problem until a ridiculous plan is enough to win at everything forever.”

“Not entirely inaccurate.” I agreed. “Though it is nothing complicated. On my own, on a first try, I was able to give a sleigh the ability to fly and move upwards of 20 miles a second without having to suffer the side effects of such fast movement. Over the next six months, the government will complete two giant ships. With the assistance of yourself and some other talented and trustworthy magicians, we can then enchant those ships, and use them for government run trading.”

I paused for a moment to take my hand out and turn Jane around so that she was facing the desk, hiked her skirt up to her waist, and slid my finger in once more.

“Trading by ships is profitable despite the long voyages, and the costs and dangers associated. So how profitable do you think it will become if a ship can fly from Britain to America in under five minutes, without an increase in the daily cost of operations or wages? It can make the same time from here to India. So long as the ships are government run, all of the profits from trade will come to us. After all, why bother trying to stop their smugglers when I can simply out trade them.”

“That-ah, won’t be, ah, popular with them.”

“It won’t be popular with the smugglers.” I agreed, stopping my fingering just as Jane was about to reach her first orgasm. “But it will make all foreign goods many times cheaper. It might be very popular with most of their citizens. Though enough about politics. Would you like me to take you home and fuck you in my bed right away, or would you like to walk home with me through the streets of London while my seed leaks out of you?”

“Take me here.” She begged. “I want to walk through London smelling of you.”

“Very well.” I happily agreed, taking out my dick once more to take her from behind.

As I sheathed myself in Jane I took a moment to wonder if I should take Alicia on a date sometime. After all, it would be unfair to her if I only spent time like this with Jane.

AN:
So, the SI’s actions are less than ideal. Because, as it turns out, the ability to warp reality to your whims does notmake you good at politics or qualified to lead a government. Nor does armchair generaling together a ‘new and better form of government’ make you good at actually implementing it, or dealing with the reality of politics.

Basically, the SI has no business actually running a country. Of course, most of the people running the country have no business doing the job that they have, since that is basically Standard Operating Procedure here.





As it turns out, when you call for a meeting with a group of diplomats a week after taking your biggest rival’s diplomat on a fly-by-nuking of their capital because he was pissing you off, pretty much every single diplomat is going to show up. Especially when the diplomats you are calling in are representing various colonies of yours.

Were it not for my actions a week ago, many of them would have found perfectly reasonable excuses to not show up. Anything from being sick, to being in Scotland on a trip when they got the message would be using. Any excuse given would be perfectly socially acceptable to delay the meeting by just a few days. An innocent show of power, as well as “testing my strength” and how far they could push me. Prague changed that. The Czechs had tested me. No one else was stupid enough to do so.

“Thank you for meeting me.”

I smiled at the diplomats that looked as if they were observing a tantrum prone child armed with nukes. Really, in hindsight simply murdering the Czech leadership and their families might have been more efficient.

“After the unfortunate passing of my predecessor, I find myself wishing to change course on some of his policies. I was hoping we could discuss trade relations between our nations.”

Of course, this entire line of speech was just polite face-saving bullshit. My Trade Minister and his department had met with these same honorable folks constantly for the past week to hash out all of the details of the agreement. All of the major agreements had already been decided. We were just meeting to bicker over minor details. This way, I could claim that I had negotiated this trade deal, and advertise my hard work to the populace. They could go home and brag about how they had negotiated and drawn concessions from the Prime Minister of Britain. Meanwhile my Trade Minister got a nice bonus, and increased job security. Yeah, he basically got the short end of the stick here.

“Of course, Minister.” The diplomat from the Americas agreed. “I would once again like to assure you that we are doing our best to contain smugglers.”

I very politely did not snort. Some around the table weren’t as polite. It was a poorly kept secret that much of the American leadership had dealings with smugglers. I would be highly surprised if they weren’t actively assisting in smuggling efforts.

“I understand, of course.” I nodded with my best polite smile. Really, I was doing my best to be polite at this meeting. I had even put on a proper suit and everything! I mean sure, my tie was probably capable of murdering all of them without taking them by surprise, but it was a damn polite looking tie. “I realize that catching smugglers is a difficult task. It is only natural that our American colonies struggle where others have no such issue.” Okay, so I made a basic pretense at politeness.

“Yes, quite.” The diplomat from India, our biggest colony and potentially biggest trading partner nodded. “It takes a degree of culture and organization to deal with smuggling on a scale. We could assist you there if you wish?”

I took a moment to adjust my monocle and sip my tea as I watched a group of ambassadors proceed to trade some extremely thinly veiled insults. Ah yes, magicians. Even when their job is to work together, they can’t help trying to undermine each other. Not that I was complaining right now. Their inability to present a united front had been what allowed my suggestion to go through with only minor revisions – well, I got all of what I wanted, even if in a barely recognizable form – even if my Minister had to work his ass off.

“Gentleman, if I may interrupt?” I asked once everyone had gotten a chance to send a barb or three at their various ‘equals’. Please, as if they were all of equal value. “Now, I understand that tariffs are a rather delicate matter. We all wish to maintain the superiority of our national businesses. On the other hand, trade is very valuable. Trading makes us all richer. Which is why I would like to make a new proposal.”

A trio of Foliots came in and started passing around packages of papers. All of the diplomats politely took their copies and gave a pretense at reading it, despite having probably memorized the entire thing word for word. Appearances had to be maintained after all.

“Now, I understand that Britain has had a tariff on all trades passing through our colonies. While it has been a very profitable arrangement for Britain, it has done much to stifle trade and growth. I also understand that some of your people find such arrangements to be distasteful?”

Yes, nothing pisses on your sovereignty quite like having to pay country A taxes because you trade with country B. Well, having country A dictate your laws does, but too fucking bad on that score. I wasn’t giving away the power to dictate their laws without something very good in exchange. Like all magicians ever born in their countries would be immediately given to us, and some enforcement mechanisms that I could trust without a doubt.

“Nothing that could not be handled.” The Indian diplomat spoke, ignoring the protests that were starting to spark up in his country over British rule. “The people always find something to complain about.”

Yes. Usually though they complained about what magician raped or killed whom in their family. Not over taxes.

“Truly?” Asked the South African diplomat. “Ever since we started to punish protesters with slavery to the Americas, we have had no issues with protests. We found it to be a rather effective method. It is quite profitable for the country, and people prone to protests are removed from the populace before they can start making children and teaching them their stupidity.”

“That said, the Minister is most correct.” The Australian diplomat spoke up before they could convince me to keep the tariffs. “While the people know to keep quiet, there is dissatisfaction with the tariffs.”

A lot of people quickly nodded along now that taking that position no longer broadcasted weakness. That, or they were all playing me like a bunch of puppet masters. I wasn’t going to rule that out. Or, well, trying to play me. When the stuff you could pull off was ridiculous enough, you could make a massive profit even from a supposedly disadvantageous trade deal.

“Yes, quite.” I spoke off to cut them off once more. “Now then, what I propose is that we all enter a single, Common Market. The concept is simple. There will be no tariffs of any sort when trading between our countries. So long as a ship leaves one of our ports and enters another of our ports, it shall not be taxed. To avoid various potential abuses, we will normalize our trade relations to all other nations to a single standard as well. Of course, due to the dangers of smugglers abusing this – such as merchants falsely claiming from where they came from to avoid tariffs – we shall have to seriously punish any such criminals and those assisting them. As you can see outlined on pages 7 through 16.”

Granted, there were other points as well. Namely, while you couldn’t be taxed for what goods you brought, you could be charged for taking up time and space at a port, though no discrimination between ships from our nations, foreigners had to be charged higher, and other such protectionist policies applied. Also, because such money was necessary to maintain ports.

“Ah yes, I had some concerns about that.” I wasn’t surprised that the American diplomat spoke up. He had apparently made a number of protests to the 10 pages worth of punishments for smuggling. “While I understand punishing smugglers, wouldn’t executing anyone – including the nobility – who supported them and taking all of their wealth excessive?”

A number of voices exclaimed at that. All were strongly opposed to it, but none were too worried. I think my attempt at putting something distasteful in there, and letting them argue me out of it was a bit too transparent.

Oh, well. Now, let’s see where this road leads.

“Well, if you all feel that way, what levels of punishment would you feel most appropriate?”

That at least had them not speaking all together as one but starting a discussion. That was good. Indicated that they didn’t come here with a fully coordinated attack planned out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In the end, to the surprise of absolutely no one, we ended up with a “compromise” where people assisting or working with smugglers would barely get a slap on the wrist, as handed out by the local government. That was fine. The portions of the treaty outlining the transfer of magical children to Britain from their nations had been accepted.

Now, the changes will become active in a year. I just need to get our shipping industry up and running by then.

Sadly, the system of having a small handful of super special ships per country wasn’t accepted. I could have easily forced it through, but that would have bred resentment. In canon, the American Rebellion started in 2 years from now. There were minor rebellions going on in India around the same time. Finding ways to make the populace less pissed at me would be a good idea.

Well, at least I got enough of a fleet up and running to fix our projection of force capabilities.

Really. Months before we hear of events in America, and a few more months to respond? How the hell are you supposed to fight a war like that? No wonder the colonists thought it safe to rebel.

No, the only way Britain was losing any colonies was through voluntary relinquishment through treaties and peaceful negotiations. Not through wars.

The point though, was that due to significant change of plans, I was here at our shipyards, observing our ships under construction. I had a few Afrits, as well as police under Jane guarding me, along with a few more observers.

“So, we can’t build more ships than this in the next ten months?” I asked the harbormaster, just for confirmation.

“No, Minister. It takes a few months to build a single ship, and this can not be made any faster. The wood simply needs a certain amount of time to set and dry if it is to be of any use. To create proper, true vessels, we need to seal Djinn into the keel afterwards, and that is something only skilled magicians can do.”

“I see.” I nodded. “However, the time to create a ship is far less than ten months. What is stopping us from creating more at the same time? What is it that we lack?”

It was time to start approaching problems not like a demigod on a sugar rush, but an engineer. Identify problem. Find where the error or bottleneck is. Optimize location of error or bottleneck. Probably by throwing a ton of magic at it.

“It is a combination of things, sir.” The Harbor Master said with a feeling of awkwardness. He was a rather chubby man, dressed in a simple sailor captain’s outfit. In his hand was his hat that had been perfectly pristine when I arrived, but was being wrinkled and crushed to hell and back in his hands as he physically cringed at possibly disappointing me. “Our largest limitation is space. We only have so many buildings to build ships in sir. However, even if we solved that issue, we only buy enough materials and hire enough staff to handle building ships for the space that we do have.”

I hmmm’d quietly to myself in acknowledgement. I couldn’t make extra wood grow, if we wanted more materials, the relevant industries and imports would need to be pushed.

“If we gained enough space and materials, what fraction of your workers have enough experience to guide the ship building process? If we hired enough untrained workers, how far could we then push up production?”

The Harbor Master shook his head. “Not many. Most are specialized in singular tasks. Only a few have mastered the art of crafting an entire ship.”

That would be troublesome to work around. Maybe if I set up something like an assembly line, and did a fast track for training those responsible for putting everything together? Even if a single ship took twice as long to make, if I could grossly parallelize the process, it might speed things up.

“I see.” I nodded, taking out a notebook and a pen. “I would most appreciate it if you could go over the process with me.”

It appeared that the agreement wasn’t quite as big of a goldmine as I had thought. It was turning out to be more of a gamble to see if we could ramp up production and preparations enough. And by “we” I meant “I”. Because the entire plan was relying on me pulling off even more miracles. Really, I needed to start coming up with better plans.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Andula Novàk was the new ambassador from the Czechs. They had moved fast to form a new government in reaction to the lightning fueled nuking, and send a new ambassador to sue for peace. Surprisingly quickly in fact. I had had to check with my Foreign Relations Department to figure out how they managed to get enough of a new government up and running enough to settle on a diplomatic position and send out diplomats within 2 weeks.

Apparently, the Czechs did not have as uniform of a government as Britain pretended to have. There was the “Rah Rah Fight the Powah” group that had been in power until now. Most of their foreign relations had been summarized as sticking it to the British and showing that they were still a world power. Then there was the other major faction, who argued for peace and reconciliation with their neighbor who could crush them out of existence if they got too annoyed.

Until recently, the reconciliation approach hadn’t been too popular over the party asserting Czech national pride and importance. In fact, their position had been bad enough, that most of the party’s leadership wasn’t even in Prague. Newspapers frequently insulted them as limp dicked wimps or claimed that their life aspirations were to suck Minister Rupert’s – my predecessor’s – cock.

And then some idiot went and blew up Prague. Suddenly, the party in charge had their leadership beheaded, much of the nation’s economy and military power went the way of the dodo, and the civilian populace got a first-hand account of exactly what the war with Britain that the military hawks had been advocating would look like. Namely a sudden cessation in their continued existence.

Suddenly the Suck British Cock Party – and no, that was not their official name – gained a great deal of popularity. There were still many who wanted to wage war – in fact many of them were more eager for war now – but most of the populace was suddenly in favor of the party whose rise to power would not lead them to no longer living.

And so, within 2 weeks of me becoming a mass murderer – before the Czechs even decided on their new capital – they had sent an ambassador to negotiate for peace with me.

Novàk was a man in his early forties who looked moderately fit. He had a cheerful, smiling face, well-trimmed, short black blond hair, and was wearing a suit that was undone to show beneath it a shirt with the word ‘#Peace’ on it. He also appeared to be a mixture of friendly and nervous, constantly bowing at he introduced himself.

He had brought along his wife – a woman slightly taller than him in a fancy blue dress, disgustingly tall high heels, and wearing enough jewelry that I felt it tacky given how little magic was radiating from them – as was traditional, as well as his daughter. His daughter was a year or two older than me, and was wearing a scandalously short skirt, knee high socks, a shirt with a rather deep cleavage that pushed up her breasts, and was taking every opportunity given to smile at me. She had beautiful, curvy, blonde long hair, brown eyes, and a rather pretty smile.

I can’t help but get the impression that the Suck British Cock Party isn’t entirely an insult in this case.

Well, at least it made negotiating easier.

“Thank you for coming Mr. Novàk, Mrs. Novàk, Ms. Novàk.”

“Of course, Minister Ambrosius.” He gave me another smile and bow as he shook my hand, before his wife did the same. His daughter curtsied in a way that gave me a nice view down her breasts, and also made Jane growl next to my ear. Really, had I known they were planning to go the honey trap route, I might have brought someone other than Jane along as my plus one to this meeting. “It is a pleasure to be here in this beautiful country. We are hoping that we could clear up that terrible misunderstanding that lead to the retaliation against Prague as soon as possible.”

“Of course.” I gave a nod, as a team of Djinn taking on the forms of maid and butlers pulled out the chairs for us. We all sat down around an overly fancy table probably worth more than an honest, hardworking British family made in a month, surrounded by similarly stupidly expensive chairs. At least they were very comfortable chairs with air cushions and a self-heating function. “I am also hoping we can end this issue without any more bloodshed.”

As I spoke, Jane only kept one hand on the table, placing the other in my lap. Glancing over at her, I could see her giving a victorious grin at the young Ms. Novàk. Yeah, maybe bringing someone else along might have caused less problems here.

“I am glad to hear that.” Novàk seemed to cheer up at my response, as if a great weight was lifted off of his shoulders. “The Czech Republic would like to officially apologize for our transgressions against British sovereignty and her people. We have already sent the orders to all of our agents to temporarily leave Britain and only come back once they pass a British background check. The government back home will also be putting their official apology in the newspaper next week.”

I did my best to suppress a grimace at that. “I thank your government for acting so quickly Mr. Ambassador. That being the case, I would like to-“ I paused for a few seconds to collect my thoughts. Eventually I decided to go for broke. I had already gone way off of the beaten track anyway. “Can I speak with you frankly Ms. Ambassador?”

They looked surprised but nodded. “Of course, Minister. Please, speak as if you were among friends.”

“Your previous administration wasn’t the friendliest of fellows to my nation.” I decided to start off by stating the obvious and well known using the regular British method of gross understatement. “I am hoping that your current administration will develop a friendlier, more mutually beneficial relationship to our country. On the other hand, I’m worried that such actions may not necessarily be popular with the Czech populace. I would prefer to avoid your opposition returning to command in a few years on a tide of indignation and anti-British hate.”

Well, that was about as nicely as I was able to phrase things. Really though, it was true. I could make the current Czech government bend over backwards to please me in whatever way I wanted so that they could avoid a reenactment of our war done on a speed run. However, that would eventually result in them being overthrown by a party whose sole platform was “fuck the British”. And unless said party was run entirely by hot, nubile women, I would prefer such a party to not get into power.

The words got a few surprised looks from around the table. Even from Jane. She might have been magically enchanted to be my bitch – both in the metaphysical sense, and the very literal sense of being a female werewolf – but apparently, she still had her own ideas of how politics should be conducted. And I was shitting all of those ideas of projecting the image of a strong ruler.

“I thank you for your worries Minister Ambrosius.” Novàk said at last. “May I ask if you had some suggestions?”

“Of course.” I paused, steepled my fingers, and took another deep breath to collect myself. Some things were just not easy to voice out loud, no matter how necessary. “I believe that your populace must see that a friendly alliance with Britain is beneficial to you. That the Czech government can gain more in diplomacy from a position of friendship than pretending a position of strength. This would mean granting the Czechs a… I guess you could call it a Win. A concession that carries great symbolic weight with your populace, even if it is rather minor in practical terms. Is there such a thing that I can give you? Some concession that would placate your citizens for the time being?”

Given the look Jane was giving me, apparently it was possible to disappoint a girl enough that she makes you sleep on the couch even if you are her boss, and she is mind controlled into obedience. That was an interesting point I was going to have to record in my journal.

As it turned out, in this world the concept of the head of a world spanning empire making concessions to its stupidly weaker neighbor after casually bitch slapping their government around, was rather unheard of. The ambassador and his family just stared at me in confusion for half a minute before the ambassador started stammering out some things.

“Well, yes. I believe there are a few things that have been brought up over time-“

It took us a bit to work out the details. There were a number of items of great historical significance to the Czech Empire that Gladstone had blatantly pilfered in the name of British Imperialism. I had to knock off anything with military value – I was trying to make their government look good, not arm them – but agreed to let them have the rest as a gesture of friendship. There was also a tentative agreement to cut down all British spying action to simply spying instead of government sanctioned assassinations and terror strikes. Everyone politely ignored the fact that when the Czechs launched a government sanctioned terror strike I vaporized their capital and ordered them to cut that shit out, but when Britain did it they just politely asked us to please stop bullying them.

“Thank you for your understanding, Minister.” Novàk bowed to me once more once we had gone through all of the details. His daughter and wife were doing their best to continue smiling and nodding along, but their eyes had started glazing over as we spent over two hours going through the most pointless of minutiae. Even if it was important stuff. Their daughter – I still hadn’t gotten her name – only reacted with a glare whenever Jane touched or hugged me intimately.

“Of course, Ambassador Novàk. If you have just a bit more time, there is one more thing I would like to cover.” Well, if I gave them a win, I might as well get something out of this. It wouldn’t necessarily be a “win” for me, but it might help our economies. “A week ago, we entered into something called a Common Market with our colonies. I was wondering if the Czech Republic would be interested in entering into a similar relationship-“

Ah yes, the advantages of being able to unilaterally decide who did or did not get added to our common market. Not that I had an issue with others being added into it. Really, if it were up to me, I would want the entire world to be shoved into the Common Market.

The Ambassador of course agreed to the suggestion. It was an agreement that put them on almost equal footing with us. And besides, he was from the Appease Britain faction. Odds were, his marching orders had been to agree to whatever I suggested, even some much less fair deals than this.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“That is a mountain.” Alicia remarked as we stood, looking the British country side.

“Yes, it is a mountain.” I agreed to the obvious statement.

“That is a mountain.” She repeated herself. “Why is the mountain flying?”

“I’m not sure if that constitutes flying actually.” I politely corrected her, taking joy in giving the blessings of knowledge to those less fortunate. “It is only rising at about a foot or so a second. It is probably closer to simply floating.”

Caroline snorted as she stood on my other side. “Why is the mountain floating, sir?”

“Because I sealed a number of Air Elementals into it until it could lift itself.”

The girls just gave me a look at my none answer and huffed in disgust. I just grinned. Okay, so I was being an ass. Well, sue me. I had just finished cutting a mountain and making it fly up into the sky, leaving perfectly flat ground below! I was in too good a mood not to enjoy the moment for a bit.

“The Harbor Master said that we needed more space to build ships.” I started. “At the same time, our country is full of hills, which limits the amount of viable farming land. A short while back when I was reading up on old histories, I realized that I could solve both problems with one miracle.”

“Isn’t the saying two birds with one stone?” Caroline asked innocently. “When did you start referring to what you pulled off as miracles?”

As she spoke, the mountain started slowly rotating in the air even as it continued to lift on up off of the ground, flying up towards the clouds.

“When I figured out how to build flying mountains to carry our government industries.”

“Didn’t you say it was floating not-“

“I was being facetious. Now hush.” I cut Alicia off. “Anyways, looking over the history of Ancient Egypt – back when they did not suck – there were a number of mages that build floating castles in the clouds. Not being of any strategic purpose, but simply because it looked awesome. So, I figured I could do the same with a hill.”

“Not a mountain?” Caroline asked.

“I’m honestly not sure where the cutoff between a hill and a mountain is, so I’m just using the two terms interchangeably. You are going to have to ask an actual geologist to figure out if that is a hill or a mountain. Preferably before they hear me calling it a mountain if you want an honest answer out of them.”

Caroline nodded. “So, how does the floating, upside down mountain solve your two problems?” See, this was why I liked Caroline. She already knew the answer – it wasn’t too complicated – but she still asked these questions so that I could properly monologue without sounding like I was just doing it to hear the sound of my own voice. She was a really nice girl like that.

“Well, for farming, the area under the hill can now be turned into farmland. I think. I’m not sure how they would go about making it fertile, if they can’t do that, someone will find some use for it that you couldn’t use a hill for. As for space to build ships, I figure since I’m going to be commissioning flying ships anyway, they could build it on top of a series of floating hills.

“The hills would serve as a system of airbases from which my air force of trade vassals and military ships would be both constructed and launched. Once the entire thing is built up, we can spread them out over the world to create a more interconnected system that helps with projection of both power and trade.”

“And then you shall rule the world. Muhaha. Ha.”

I slapped Caroline on the ass for that response. Then squeezed her ass. It was a very squeezable ass.

“You make me sound like an evil dark lord.”

“A horny dark lord.” Alicia muttered. “So, how is this supposed to help with your plan to increase commoner influence in government.”

“It isn’t.” I spoke in a fully neutral tone. “It is a seprate, tangential development to that.” Yes, let us ignore the fact that I forgot to work on the plan to reinstate Parliament for the past month while I was working on creating my floating hill. If I am sufficiently vague, they won’t pick up on my mistake.

“So how are people going to live up on the hill?” Caroline asked. “How would they get food and water?”

“Food would need to be imported from down on the ground, unless grown up there.” I said. “Water would be generated by eternal water fountains. Houses from earth and stone, along with a system of roads will be built over the next two days by spirits. There will also be a large greenhouse with spirits of light trapped inside where they can try to grow their food. Honestly, the whole thing has been planned out and the designs are written out already back in my office.” That was part of why this whole thing had taken so long. Few people in government had the relevant experience when it came to designing a settlement like this from scratch.

Of course, now that the designs were done, they were just one more example of British supremacy to show the world.





AN: I got to celebrate the end of my Christmas vacation with a 9 day work week. I don’t feel up to doing a more serious chapter this week, so I decided to start writing up the second jump. This jump (Chronicles of Narnia) will go much more quickly than the others. Since the SI is cockblocked by Jesuslion from getting involved in the plot, or with anything vaguely important, it should be finished up in 3~4 chapters at the most (planned out at 3).

Chapters for Bartimaeus will continue as I feel up to it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“What are you doing?” A lion’s voice thundered out from behind me.

I turned to see a majestic lion stalking towards me. Aslan - also known as Lionjesus (where is your God now?TM) - strolled towards me with a casual, feline grace, his each and every breath making the air rumble with majestic power now that he was no longer trying to be stealthy. He was a big, even for a lion, and had a perfectly done mane, presumably the result of some sympathetic magic from being a walking Jesus allegory.

Each step he took caused grass to grow and small flowers to bloom along his feet. Here in the land of ever winter, I’m sure that his whole “create a very short lived path of flowers” trick would have been very impressive. Except not for what I was doing right now.

I, being the master or restraint and reasonable use of my powers, had taken advantage of the fact that, in the end, all magic is the same, to summon up four Marid level Spring Spirits. Because those were a thing when you became a seasonal witch or wizard. Yeah.

Anyways, I had summoned up four Spring Spirits, and had them set about converting winter into spring. The entire thing was done by abusing the seasonal cycle which made a winter to spring transition easier than the reverse to overpower the winter witch’s spell in a local area. Then, I had set about growing myself a fort. As in, I had literally started making the local flora start to grow into the shape of a fort.

It was a slow going process, necessitating sealing a Spring Djinn into the walls at specific times to maintain the effect, but the results were that I was sitting on a throne made out of thousands of flowers - the Floral Throne - sipping from a magical cup, as the fort grew into existence around me, and small springs popped up. Some small animals had already shown up and started making a nest here on the account of this being the only place for a stupidly long distance that had encountered a state of “not winter” in the past I don’t know how many decades.

“Hmmm?” I hummed innocently at the great feline. “I’m just sipping some tea while building myself a new home.”

If, like me, you have had a pet cat before, you might assume that a cat’s facial expressions were limited to “I am cute! Please me, slave!”, “I am pleased, slave!”, “I am displeased, slave!”, and “I care not for your suffering, slave!”. If Aslan was anything to go by, then apparently cats were much more expressive than that. They also had a “your antics tire me, slave!” facial expression. That was an entire 325% more facial expressions than what I knew them to have!

“I told you, you were not to interfere!” Aslan thundered. “The prophecies have dictated that it is not you, who are to defeat the Winter Witch, but the five children.”

I nodded, taking a calm sip of my tea. “I got it, I got it. Chill my man. I have no interest in facing off against anyone juiced up on Narratavium. I just got tired of the scenery back home, and decided to move here.”

“Got tired of the scenery.” The lion repeated. “You got tired of the scenery, so you moved into the middle of a forest where nothing happens, and are rebuilding your castle to look the exact same as the home you left behind.”

“Not exactly the same.” I disagreed. “There is a few kilograms less of paperwork here, greatly improving the chi and temporal energies of the area. No longer does the dark, ruinous crowd of medieval bureaucracy hang over my home like the most vile of dark sorceries. I am free now! Free, to sleep and eat and laze around all day reading books and making artifacts beyond peer like a NEET!”

Aslan just gave me a look, taking a moment to glance at my magical tea cup that had the words “NEETificer” inscribed on it, below which was the picture of a cat in a wizard hat and wizard robe waving its paw to make a wand. The entire thing was set to the semi-transparent background of a d20 dice.

It clashed a bit with my manly pink top hat, bright green tuxedo, and yellow pimp cane, all decorated with flowers. As in, actual fucking flowers, not having flower like imagery woven into them like some pansy ass loser. I was the Wizard of Spring, and if I wanted flowers growing out of my metal pimp cane, there will be flowers growing out of my pimp cane. I naturally had some amulets, rings and other such weapons hidden beneath the clothing, but in terms of pure proper appearances, I looked like a right proper gentleman. Assuming said gentleman’s mother was a dryad.

“Have you considered seeing a psychologist?” Aslan said in the most deadpan voice possible.

“Yeah, I did.” Psychologists were important. They helped keep you sane and rational. “Right here.” I picked up the decidedly non-magical rubber duck that was sitting next to me, and pointed at it. “I figure if rubber ducks can help you with programming, they can help talk you through other problems. Rubber ducks are love. Rubber ducks are life.”

I really regretted not having a phone I could use to take a picture of the divine lion face palming. As it stood, I had to settle for adjusting my monocle, and taking a sip from my tea.

“I came here to warn you that it is not your place to interfere in things that are to be, and will be.” Aslan spoke at last, once he had collected himself. “You may defend yourself, but only so long as you do not intrude upon her territory.”

“That is fine, I’m not here to interfere in local politics.” I agreed immediately. “I specifically chose an area that she hadn’t come near for over a decade to build my fort for just that reason. I even sent her a letter explaining things so that she understand that so long as she leaves me alone, I won’t be forced to spank her.” I paused, deliberately putting a finger to my lips, as if in thought. “That said, I must confess to having never met her, so I don’t know what her personality is like. Do you think she would have gotten my ‘frigid bitch’ pun?”

Aslan just let out a long, put upon sigh. “I shall not interfere in your business so long as you stay within your fort. However, influence the world too far, and there will be a reckoning.” With those final words, he proweld out of here.

I just snickered and went back to snipping my tea.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“What are you up to?”

I was working on my book, “Goetia: A Grimoire for Summoning Pantheons, by Merlin”, when the words were spoken. I momentarily ignored the voice to put the finishing touches on the sentence that I was working on.

The book was, in many ways my greatest creation so far. It was something that was only made possible through a combination of three systems of magic - spirit summoning from two separate worlds, and the local seasonal magic - with one of those systems not even belonging to the local multiverse. Once it was completed, it would be the authoritative guide on binding gods, goddesses, fairy kings and fairy queens. Of course, due to the nature of the advertising business, it needed to look suitably majestic.

The cover was made out of a magical variant of mahogany that had taken a team of spirits and fairies weeks to perfect and develop. It had been inspired by the DnD concept of Iron Wood, except we had started out with mahogany because that was a fancy and expensive wood. The pages too were parchment instead of more modern paper, and once again made out of magical wood custom developed for this project. In fact, the exact makeup of the parchment varied from section to section of the book as it was thematically appropriate. You couldn’t write the summoning and binding instructions for the Egyptian pantheon on the same material as for the Celtic pantheon and not come off as a cheapskate after all.

Aside from pointlessly fancy materials, the book and each of the pages were also decorated with fancy symbols of incredible precision, pentagrams, elemental bindings, and formulae for summoning taking on an artistic form as they were woven into the pages in a multitude of colors. In essence each page was designed and delicately crafted to perfection before it was deemed ready. The slightest error or inefficiency would result in the page being torn up and burned so that I could try again.

The result of course, was that the entire thing was rather slow going. It took multiple days to finish up just a single page, but at least it was fun work, and felt well rewarding.

Even if, after another jump or two the entire thing might be a tad out dated. Well, I can always rename it to “Deity Summoning for Dummies”

“I am relaxing in my warm, well aired house, writing a book.” I said, having finished the page and looked up.

At the doorstep of my plant fortress - well inside of my tiny domain - stood a tall woman. She was the Winter Witch, the local Ice Queen in a very literal sense. Her personality was bad enough I would have made a frigid bitch joke, but I had already done that before and doing it twice would ruin my reputation as the master of witty repertoire. Now, when I said that Jadis - the Winter Witch - was tall, I meant that in the “look down at basketball players” sense. She was really, inhumanely large. Which wasn’t all that strange, because she wasn’t exactly human.

The witchy bitch was wearing a very thick fur coat, and I honestly wasn’t sure whether the animal she got it from had been skinned alive or not. Or whether or not it was actually dead or not. I mean, given that this was Jadis we were talking about, I wasn’t going to rule out the poor animal being alive and simply being threatened into working at a fur coat unless it wanted to be skinned alive.

She had some fancy little crown on her hand, and a few pieces of jewelry more worthy of a rich merchant’s daughter than a “queen”. Of course, her country was piss poor, indicated gross incompetence in the leadership. I guess that was what happened when you became monarch by having the biggest spells to throw around. Seriously, what kind of a moron did that?

Overall, her outfit wouldn’t have been close to enough to keep a regular mortal warm in the weather outside of my domain. In here though, where the recommended clothing was a t-shirt and some swim trunks? It was rather much. Of course, she seemed to be trying to make do by projecting an aura of winter about herself. Or maybe she naturally gave off an aura of cold and winter? Or maybe that was a consequence of covering a fucking continent in winter for decades on end? I honestly didn’t know.

She had brought along with her an entourage of minions. There was a pack of gray wolves with thick fur that looked lean, mean and hungry. They were prowling around, growling at anything nearby, but always moving back to stay near their master. None actually looked up at her, and they all flinched when she turned in their general direction.

Beyond that there were a bunch of… I’m honestly just going to describe them as furries and call it a day. They looked like the hate children of various animals with humans. They also scored a “toss a single Djinn at the whole group and forget they existed” on my threat-o-meter, which meant that until they started actually saying or doing something of important, I couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge them beyond what I had already done. Honestly, at least the wolves looked like they could be used for food, and their fur for decoration. At least they were good for something.

Compared to Ms. Avatar of winter, the little fortress I was sitting in practically screamed spring. It had finished growing, and now had flowers and fruits of all kinds growing out of its walls, floors and ceilings. There were a great many walls and rooms but no floor plans. With the fortress housing literally hundreds of spirits, the walls and rooms shifted to accommodate myself and my guests. If I wanted to get somewhere I would just walk in a straight line and walls would form in the walls allowing me to pass through.

The spirits trapped in the walls, floor and ceiling generated both sunlight and water, keeping the inside nice and warm with beautiful springs popping out of the walls at regular intervals to make a living experience here as comfortable as possible.

Of course, as much as there was plenty supplied here, there was also plenty that was consumed. As soon as the animals learned that there was somewhere where they didn’t have to choose between freezing and starving to death, they had started flocking here. Now there were a whole host of birds, rabbits, mice and other cute critters moving through and sleeping in my fortress at all times of day. Of course, my bed was restricted to myself. Well, myself and cats. A mere servant race does not simply order their feline masters off of the bed.

Of course, the fortress was not all good news. Seasonal magic also had emotional impacts, and when you created a seasonal fortress, those effects were going to come out in full. Where summer magic made people hot headed and winter magic made them depressed, spring magic made them horny. That means that all of the little critters - as well as bigger critters for that matter - that passed through my place were constantly trying to reproduce.

Now, I’m not a prude. I understand that reproduction is natural. I don’t even take much of an issue with my magic making me horny. What I take issue with, is when it does so without a single human woman around. The closest I had to a human woman would be the animal people. So unless I was willing to expand my furry strike zone way beyond ‘bunny girl’, my own home was constantly making me horny, while I didn’t have so much as anyone I would enjoy ogling, and all of my guests kept reminding me that they didn’t have issues finding partners. Truly, these were Archmage Problems.

“You build a fortress in my domain!” Jadis started yelling in response to my excessively polite statement. The hundreds of birds that had been sitting around in the clearing took flight at the noise, rising high up into the air. “You carve out a land of eternal spring in my domain! You take away my slaves! And then you have the gall to ignore me so that you can write a book?”

“Well, to be fair, it is a very fun book to write.” I reasoned rather calmly. “Besides, as one of the wise, it is my duty to bless future generations with my brilliant wisdom.”

“You are wearing a skirt.” She retorted. “A man wearing a skirt does not get to be one of the wise.”

“It is not a skirt.” I shot back. “Not that there would be wrong with a man wearing a skirt. However, this is not a skirt. It is a kilt!” A pink kilt too. Which made it extra manly. Also the breeze underneath was quite nice.

“Yes, a ‘kilt’. You are wearing a kilt and nothing else.”

“~Iiii’m too sexy for my shirt. Too sexy for my shirt. So sexy it hurts~”

She gave me a long, flat look. “No.” She said at last. “I am not dealing with this. Aslan warned me to just ignore your minor eccentricities, and for once, I will take his advice.”

Wait. Did I just start turning Jadis towards the good side? Damn, I hope that didn’t upset Jesuslion. It was by accident!

“Your taste in clothing aside,” Jadis said in a more normal tone. As if she were forcefully suppressing what emotions she had. “I am here to discuss you carving out a chunk of my territory as your own.”

I shrugged my shoulders in an uncaring matter, flexing my well muscled body that I had done all of jack shit to earn. Thank you, body mod. “You weren’t using the land, so I claimed it by squatters rights. I specifically chose somewhere that you showed no interest in, and had no relevance in any prophecies. Personally I suggest just giving it up as a lost cause. Or, you could fight me for it, Though I must warn you. While Aslan forbids me from interfering in your little chess match, I am allowed to defend myself. If we were to fight here, you would lose, badly. Now, run along little girl. Shoo, shoo.”

Okay, so I’m not exactly a mastermind at taunting villains into attacking me. Especially when I’m too ambivalent about fighting them to bother giving it any thought whatsoever.

“You think I will just let you-”

Whatever she was going to say was interrupted by the hundred odd birds her yelling had initially sent into the air performing a series of shitting runs on her. The first wave was a half dozen who swooped down and rose so that their shit impacted the back of her head. The next wave was strategically timed to release their loads just as she had turned around, striking her in the face and on her clothes. The rest followed up in waves from all sides, dropping their bombs on both her and her minions in a quick flurry. Then, once all of the bombs had been dropped, the birds flew off in holes that opened in the walls and ceilings before Jadis could retaliate.

“Well, that was unfortunate.” I remarked. “It looks like your ex-patriots don’t like you.”

Then again, ex-pats were always like that. Ungrateful bastards that happily forgot about their old home to become a citizen of a new and better country. I would know. I was an expat in my first life after all.

The winter witch didn’t say a word. She just let out a low growl, and treated me to a front row show of how to clean shit off of yourself by flash freezing it to the double digit kelvins, and then flexing it off with superhuman strength. The stupidly sub-zero air around Jadis gave an interesting contrast to the heated rage that was on her face.

“You look upset.” I told her.

“I will kill you.” She growled. Her minions started prowling forward towards my subjects as she spoke, some of them already drooling and salivating at the promise of a meal.

I just tsk’d, as wines shot up out of the ground and the walls, trapping them. Spears of ice tore through those that came near Jadis, but all of her minions that had stepped far from her were all tied up. Reinforcing the notion that they were too pathetic to bother acknowledging.

“Now, now. None of that. You are a guest here, and that means following certain rules. Like, not attacking others beneath my roof.”

A cold wind whipped through the place after I spoke the words. Only to be countered by a warm wind.

Bitch please. You might be far better than me at seasonal magic, but I have literally hundreds of Djinn powering this fortress. Even if you can overpower me, you can’t overpower them using a magic system that has great AoE by absolute shit single-target output.

“Rules of hospitality?” Jadis asked in an ice cold tone. “Your birds attacked me!”

“Yes, they did shit all over the rules.” I agreed. “Which is why they have been kicked out of the fortress for the next month.” They would have to make do with eating berries from the trees growing outside. “However, that does not give you the right to attack others in my territory. Or to commit murder.”

“You should be more careful wizard.” She replied in the same ice tone. “I am your queen, and-”

“~Hakuna Matata~”

“What?”

Her tone turned to confused as I stood up and casually started strolling down towards her. The animals around us had stopped whatever they were doing as the words had exited my mouth, and were now paying close attention.

“~Hakuna Matata!~” I sang again. “~What a wonderful phrase.~”

“~Hakuna Matata~” The rabbits around me took up, bouncing their heads up and down in rhythm. “Ain’t no passing craze~”

“~It means no worries, for the rest of your days~” The rabbits and I sang together, while what birds hadn’t bombed Jadis and her crew flew around chirping in joy.

“~It’s our problem free philosophy~” The fortress sang out in a low baritone voice, because yes, I had been bored enough to teach it a few disney songs.

“~Hakuna Matata~”

The last one was song by a stream of small faeries that came flying out of everywhere, as if summoned into existence by the music. Because they were. They might not have any combat potential, each of them being only a couple centimeters tall, but their high pitched voices as they flew out glowing were very cute. They also made some very pretty lights.

Jadis took a moment to glare at her minions that had started humming along from all the magic in the air - a very literal turn of phrase here - before responding. “Did you truly need to sing a song to express that you don’t care about the consequences? You are giving all of us magic users a bad name.”

“Would you have preferred I talk about your anger issues?” I asked with an amused grin. “Because in my opinion, you need to learn to ~let it go~!”

“Nope. That is it. I’m done. I’m out.”

Forgetting all semblance of dignity, Jadis turned on her heels and marched out before she had to deal with more crazy wizard nonsense. In her haste, she didn’t bother to free her tied up minions. Assuming she had even remembered she had them. I knew it took me a minute after she left to recall their existence. And I was looking in their general direction.

“Ah, well. So, who is up for a song?”

“Oh, me!”, “Me!”, “Me too!”

With the enthusiastic participation of all of the fairies, we launched into a group singing of ‘Make a Citizen Out of You’. It didn’t take long before Jadis’s former minions joined in. And that was how I gained some wolves and a bunch of carnivorous furries as citizens.

AN:
Rubber Duck Debugging is an actual thing for finding (some) bugs in the code





AN:
2nd Narnia chapter. Next chapter will be the last Narnia chapter. This will be a short jump (well as short as being 2/3rd of the way through after 10k words can be). Decided to experiment a bit with having larger time jumps in this post. Not sure how intelligible this post is as a result. Probably won’t try it again.

Lucy was a nice kid for her age. I think. I’m honestly not all that familiar with what 9 year old British kids were like during the Blitz. However, considering she wasn’t insulting me or acting like a spoiled brat whining about not having things, she was much better behaved than I was at her age. I would say that had to count for something, but honestly that was such a low standard that it barely even qualified as one.

Lucy was a short little brat with brown hair reaching down to below her shoulders. She was wearing simple clothes appropriate for playing indoors in the summer. A thin short and pants basically. Though all were long sleeved as was proper and modest in the ass backwards primitive time that she came from.

She was currently sipping a hot cup of tea while sitting in my house. She had shown up in Narnia half an hour ago, appearing next to a lamp post in the middle of no freezing winter. As she explained it to me, having spotted the giant fortress of spring a short distance away she had headed for it, demonstrating that she at least had something vaguely verging on common sense.

She was one of a group of 4 siblings that were staying with her family outside of London. They had started playing hide and seek, and she ended up hiding in a closet that took her here to Narnia. Of great import to the topic at hand, was that she was one of a group of four prophesied humans that might save Narnia from Jadis. Assuming all four of them worked together.

Some would at this point possibly note what a strange coincidence it was that my fortress was located such a short distance away from the lamp post marking where the children might arrive. Some could shut their mouths and keep their observations to themselves.

“Can I ask you a question?” Lucy asked as she looked up at me awkwardly.

“Well, technically that was already a question.” I helpfully started to educate the girl. “In case asking questions is permitted, you could just ask without requesting permission. Alternatively, if questions are not allowed, then that question would already be a violation of the rules. Furthermore, if you were granted a limited number of questions, than that question would have made you lose one. I suppose if you were feeling the need to ask permission out of politeness, a proper phrasing would be ‘I would like to request permission to ask you a question, oh Great Merlin.’ That said, I most graciously give you my permission to ask a question, though in the future you do not need it.”

I take back what I said about Lucy being a nice kid. Given the grumbling noises she made under her breath, she was a bad kid pretending to be a nice one.

“Why does this place look, so… well, poorly made?” Lucy asked. “The flowers look like they were made from plastic. The snow is as cold as snow, but looks a little off. The satyrs look like humans wearing costumes.”

Man, what was wrong with children these days. Stumble through a gate to a world in a completely different dimension? Introduced to magic that can literally change seasons on a continental scale? Meet talking animals? Complain about how it all doesn’t look as pretty as you want it to.

“That is because they are magical.”

I replied, before picking up a cane that was sitting next to me and waving it. A hologram of Earth appeared floating between us, with blank lines running up and down it, as if it were one of those cheap, shitty holograms from the original Star Wars trilogy.

“From what you have told me, your planet Earth no longer has magic. Humans are inherently bad at accepting reality being different from how they believe it should be. In your case and others from Earth, this involves not expecting magic. Even when someone says they believe in magic, could they actually describe what magic is and not be wrong? In short, when you see, hear, smell, taste or feel something magical, your mind tries to reject it, and pretend that the magic is fake. However, it can’t, not fully because what it is rejecting is there. So it lies to you, telling you something is both real and fake. The result is an incomplete feeling or object that looks far more disappointing than it is in reality.”

Of course, all of that was a complete load of bullshit. However it sounded better than explaining to her that her world looked disappointing because I wanted to be able to talk to non-intelligent animals, and so I sacrificed the world’s appearance for that power. Also sounded a lot less selfish.

“Is there any way to fix this?”

I shrugged. I honestly hadn’t cared enough to consider the problem before. “I am uncertain. It might well be an unchangeable fact from you growing up on Earth. Or spending enough time in Narnia might broaden your horizons enough for you to accept magic at a more innate level. If you wanted my advice, I would suggest studying and learning magic. There is nothing quite like wielding magic to learn to accept magic.”

Lucy nodded, sipped at her cup of hot chocolate, and then looked down in surprise. “This isn’t tea.” She remarked.

“No, it isn’t.” I agreed. “It is hot chocolate.”

“But it was tea before.”

“See, this was what I’m saying.” I went back to my original point. “I’m a wizard. That is a magical cup. Obviously the rules you are used to are only marginally applicable in this case. And yet something as simple as tea changing into hot chocolate surprises you. I mean, haven’t you ever read the Bible with that Mexican fellow, Jesus, turning water into wine?”

Lucy paused, the nine year old giving me an inquisitive stare with the look of a child who was fully convinced that she was right and that I was wrong. “Wasn’t Jesus Jewish?”

“That is what the Zionist Conspiracy would like you to believe, yes.” I agreed. “Anyone with a passing familiarity with Mexico would realise that Jesus is a Mexican name. However the Zionists have spread their roots so far into governments that they have managed to convince everyone that Jesus was a Jew.”

“The Zionist Conspiracy? Mom and dad always said such a thing didn’t exist. That it was all a lie made up as an excuse to target innocent Jews.”

“Did they also claim that magic did not exist?” I asked her. “Would they believe that talking animals, or a different world you can reach through a wardrobe exist?” I waited for her to shake her head from my flawless argument. “The truths of the world are hidden from you. Just because everyone tells you something is wrong doesn’t mean that it isn’t correct. The Zionists are real. They just hide themselves as they control both sides of this war, moving themselves towards dominion.”

Lucy nodded at my statement, accepting my brilliant font of wisdom. Too bad for her it was complete bullshit. I mean, the whole ‘Jesus was actually Mexican’ thing should have made that obvious, but just in case some complete buffoon was reading my memoires, I figured I should make that clear.

We stayed in comfortable silence like that for a few minutes, Lucy sipping at her hot chocolate and warming up after having walked in the freezing cold. That or regaining her strength from the long hike. Me, I was taking notes on a piece of paper, planning out the next page of my grimoire.

“Can you teach me?” Lucy eventually piped up.

“Hmmm? Teach you?”

“Magic.” She clarified. “Can you teach me magic?”

I sighed, and put down my cup of tea. Instead of answering directly, I snapped a finger, and waited for a cloak to fly over to me, and handed it to her. “Put that on and follow me.”

Lucy looked at me strangely but followed my instructions. As soon as her cloak was on her, she rose a couple of feet into the air, and floated there. That only lasted for a few seconds, her blinking in shock before she started to move around in the air, whooping in joy.

“Come along, Lucy. This will probably be best if I show you.”

Saying those words, holding onto my cane of illusions, I rose into the air, and flew up. I moved at a slow speed so that it was easy for her to follow me, gateways opening in the ceilings of the rooms and walls as we flew up along the fortress. Eventually, we came to a stop in front of a huge stone, taller than either of us and even wider around, that had a silver and gold sword stabbed into it. The room we were in was large, taking up the entirety of the floor. Not that much could be seen, since there was a mist that covered the entire room except within a couple of meters of the stone.

“This is Bestcalibur, the Sword in the Stone. A great and mighty weapon able to save this world, my creation, and also the reason I am not allowed to help you or those under the deprivations of Jadis.”

“The Sword in the Stone? You mean Excalibur?”

I shook my head. “Excalibur was wielded by King Arthur. It was his mark of office as king. And while I provided advice to the Round Table while I was still a magician back in Britain, I did not bring it with me when I came to this world.”

“The Round Table!?” Lucy asked in an exclamation. “Wait, you are that Merlin?”

“What other Merlins are there?” I asked. “I was the greatest magician that Britain had ever produced, and helped rule it when Earth still had magic, yes.”

“Really? What was King Arthur like?”

“Well, first it would be Queen Arthur. Artoria was a girl, though she had to pretend to a boy because people were idiots back then, and believed that girls were inferior to boys. Don’t listen to someone if they tell you that. It is complete nonsense. Aside from having bigger muscles, there is nothing that boys are better at than girls.”

Lucy frowned. “Wait, if King Arthur was a girl, how did she get her sister pregnant?”

I pointed at a red vial that was on a shelf at the edge of the roof. A shelf that had been inside of the mist until it retreated enough to reveal said shelf. “A potion that… well… If you are ever interested then you should try out the potion along with your sister. I am told it is a very magical experience.”

As I stopped pointing at the shelf the mist came back, covering it up once more. “That said, we are getting a bit off topic. This sword was something I created as a replica of the original Excalibur. It wields the power to sunder any defenses the Winter Witch can create, and can defend against any attack she might use. It is a weapon of great magical powerful that could save Narnia. However, as majestic and wonderful as magic is, it isn’t without cost. Magic isn’t a muscle where the bigger it is the harder you can hit, and that is it. Magic comes not from muscles, but thoughts. Ideas. Stories. In a way, magic is the power of the narrative.”

“The narrative? What is that?”

“It is both the flow of a story and reality.” I told her, and paused, trying to find the right phrase. “Have you ever read any stories that talk about prophecies? Or a chosen one who is to save the girl?”

Lucy nodded. “You mean like King Arthur? She was destined to draw the sword in the stone and so became a great king?”

“Yes, exactly like that.” I agreed. “Reality normally doesn’t work like that. Prophecies, fate, destiny. These are just words with no weight behind them. Your will, your decisions, your actions. These are things that determine how far you get. With magic, it is different. Magic is the power of stories, but it also means that it is bound to the rules of stories. The stronger you are with magic, the more the laws of stories restrict you.

“I am the wizard who creates the British king. I can not raise kings and queens outside of Britain or dispose of evil sorcerers or sorceresses. I can make all the items that I wish, but I may not gift them or trade them to others. I can not teach you, because the story of Merlin does not have him teaching you.

“I am telling you this Lucy, because I want you to understand. If you truly dedicate yourself, you can learn magic even without the help of others. However, the more you become a witch - good or evil - from the stories, the more you end up playing by the rules of stories.”

It was a long rant. It was maybe beyond the understanding of a nine-year old. That was fine. I had put power into my words. The magic in them wouldn’t change her feelings or actions. It would merely help her remember two things; that I could not give the items away as gifts and that I could not sell them. Those were things that she would never forget, and in time, who knows what use she would make of them.

“Now, I’m told that most people dream about flying. So why don’t we go outside and have fun flying around the place?”

With a little encouragement, Lucy agreed to go flying with me. Within a minute she forgot that she was following me around, and I casually flew after her as she enjoyed being airborne. Yes, after all she was just a 9 year old girl. If I wanted to remain in her good graces, letting her have fun should be enough.

Eventually our flight ended up taking us towards a crowd of glittering balls of light that were flying around. The balls of light were of many colors, changing colors over time.

“These are faeries.” I told Lucy before she could even ask. “Well, minor faeries. True faeries are human sized, look fully humans, and are dangerous. These are more pixies, and they are friendly.”

“They are so adorable.” Lucy agreed, scooping one into her hands and rubbing it against her face. The pixie in question started purring like a cat.

“Although pixies are small, they are magical. They have also been known to teach humans some of their magic in the past.”

Lucy perked up at that. “Do you think they could teach me?”

I shrugged. “You should ask them. They are but guests in my home, and I can not dictate their actions.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Peter frowned as he looked at the fortress from outside. The wizard - Merlin he claimed to be - had repeated what he had told Lucy. That he could not help them directly. War with the White Witch was about to start, and Merlin refused to help because that wasn’t how a story would go.

Peter was a sensible boy. He was a well educated British youth of 13, who was learned in the ways of science and research. He was willing to accept the existence of magic - science dictated that he accept the evidence before himself - but that did not mean he was willing to accept that reality moved according to the narrative of stories. Merlin had recreated Excalibur, and Peter would use it to defeat Jadis and save Narnia and his family even if he had to steal the sword.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I let out a distinctively evil laugh as I watched Peter use the wines running along my castle to start and scale it. Yes, I couldn’t just hand him an artifact that would let him save Narnia without any effort. That would be direct interference. However, if he was going to break into my place and steal it? Well, that wasn’t my action. And since maiming or killing him would also be direct interference, it wasn’t like I could stop him, now was it?

So I sat back, sipped a bit of fine wine, and watched as he slowly crawled along up the fortress. Of course, my artifact of doom needed sufficient defenses, and I couldn’t exactly turn those off either. Poor Peter was going to have to struggle and suffer if he was to acquire that sword.

Ah, well. Not my problem.

I put down my glass of wine and moved away from the adult sized mirror I was using for scrying purposes. It was showing Peter cursing as the thorn of one of the vines he had grabbed ended up giving his hand a scratch. It was probably painful, but it was harmless enough. The thing was way overdosed with the magic of spring. Peter’s injuries would heal quickly. Had it been an animal being hurt by them, they would quickly come under my control. With Jadis, the spring magic would devour and neutralize her winter magic. It was a great defensive measure here in Narnina. Too bad Peter was exploiting a small loophole in my defenses known as “being human”.

I ignored Peter for a short while, walking over a summoning circle that I had set up. Now that the situation was no longer requiring delicate manipulations, I could have some fun.

The summoning didn’t take more than a few minutes. Once it was complete, what stood there wasn’t a spirit as usual, but a dryad. A cheap, BBC knock off dryad. Where a dryad normally had hair made out of flowers, she looked like she had braided hair that was painted green and was decorated with a wreath of flowers. Where a dryad normally had a body made of flora, she looked like a naked human woman who was painted green. Where a dryad was supposed to have supernatural beauty, she merely looked like an early twenties supermodel with a large, firm set of breasts, clear green eyes, a modest sized and firm ass, and a well toned stomach. In short, instead of getting an 11/10 beauty, I got a 9/10 beauty. Truly these 100 CP drawbacks occasionally gave me a mild inconvenience.

“Master, how may be of service?” She asked, coming down to a knee with a motion that made her breasts bounce in a hypnotizing motion. Already I could see that her nipples had hardened, assuming they weren’t already hard when I had summoned her up.

“You are to sexually pleasure me while I use scrying for entertainment.” I told her, before going into an extra five minutes of fine print that insured she didn’t kill me, plant seeds in my stomach, or did other nasty things to me.

“Of course, master.”

She agreed, coming to her feet and sauntering out of the circle. I noted that her thighs were already dark and damp, and she was rather clean shaven down there. Assuming she even grew hair down there. I didn’t really take much time to contemplate it as she came up to me and kissed me, hands moving to explore my body and undress me.

“Just leave it all to me, master.”

I wordlessly nodded, slowly backing up until I reached my chair and sat back down. The dryad had managed to disrobe me by this time, and happily dropped to her knees to attend to my manhood, toying with and licking it, while I looked back upon Peter’s progress. As he continued his climb, he cut himself more and more on the vines. This caused him to start slipping further and further into the fortress’s walls, making vines bite into him more often as he was starting to move around blindly. It wouldn’t be long before he was fully swallowed up, and had to face the other defenses.

“Hey, listen! If a girl likes you, you should stick your dick in her!”

The shout of the pixie that had appeared behind Peter made him fumble, and slam his palm directly down on a particularly large thorn. He let out an extremely girly yell as the fortress’s wall completely opened up, making him fall inside, while the pixie cheerfully followed him in.

“Hey, listen! You should be quiet when sneaking around!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Peter ended up stumbling out of the wall, and into a hilly meadow. The meadow stretched on until the horizon, the walls of the fortress he was supposed to be inside of nowhere to be seen. Of course, since the grass felt like damp paper on his feet, and the horizon was only a couple of hundred feet away in any direction before his vision became blurry, chances were very good that this view was just magic. Seriously, what was the point of illusion magic if it always looked like junk?

Deciding to just go through whatever nonsense this was, Peter turned towards the two slightly blurry figures in the room.

One of the figures was Merlin. However, he looked older than the young wizard Peter had encountered, a young adult to the boy of Peter’s own age. His hair was also fabulous, longer, fabolous, wavier and absolutely fabulous.

Peter blinked as he reviewed that thought. Why did he keep thinking of the hair as fabulous? What did fabulous even mean?

“Arthur, I ask of you-”

He cut off the train of thought as Fabulous Merlin (Farlin?) started talking in a lilting voice. Well, if a musically challenged person tried to sing in a lilting voice. It all came out a bit awkward.

“Which is mightier? the sword or the sheath?”

The other person - presumably this Arthur - was a young, blond fourteen year old girl in light blue armor. The armor appeared somewhat cheap, but had it been the greatest masterpiece ever forged, it would have still looked like an inferior product next to its wearer. If this was truly the King Arthur that Merlin claimed was a woman, Peter was certain the entire country must have been blind to be convinced that she was a man. Or well, that would be the case were it not for Merlin. Next to that fabulous hair, even a pretty girl like this wasn’t all that special.

Enough with the hair!

“The sword.” Arthur - no, didn’t Merlin say her name was Artoria - said with confidence as she hefted a golden sword into the air. “The sword is the mightiest.”

“Wrong! It is the spear that is the mightiest!” Merlin yelled as he twacked her on the head with his wooden staff. A staff he hadn’t been holding until a moment ago.

Artoria pouted and glared while rubbing her head. “But you didn’t ask about a spear!” She protested. “You asked between a sword and a sheath!”

“Have you learned nothing of what I have taught you?” Merlin yelled at her and shook the staff in the air. “When it comes to matters of war, you must always expect your opponent to cheat, and therefore you must cheat harder than he will! Your opponent will bring a gun to a knife fight, so you ride a tank to a knife fight.”

Artoria, a fourteen year old girl from before the middle ages looked perplexed at the absolute nonsense that Merlin was yelling.

“Merlin, what is a gun or a tank?”

“Weapons from a future, more civilized era.” Merlin said dismissively. “Point is, Arthur, that you must always cheat. Never just select from the weapons in front of you. Always ask yourself if there is a hidden weapon you can find somewhere that would let you kill your enemies harder.”

“I understand, master.” Artoria nodded at those words. “I shall bear this in mind. Still, is this not in contradiction to the rules of chivalry?”

Merlin snorted. “The rules of chivalry are a lie the victors made up to make themselves sound better. After all, if your opponents are dead, there will be no one to contradict you when you tell a tall tale about how they were a raping and murdering monster, and how when you, the great knight of justice and piety came upon them your aura of holiness was so great that even their sword wept at the beauty and shattered itself lest it be forced to slay you. Even if the reality was that you stabbed them to death from behind while they were rescuing a child that you paid to pretend to be drowning from a river. Of course, you should hire bards to help you make the tale from dramatic and believable, but that is just common sense.”

The world shifted, the vision changing. As it did, Peter realized that the ground underneath his feet was moving, dragging him along. Before he had time to fully react to this, he found himself in the middle of a battlefield.

Peter, Susan, Lucy and Edmund had often laughed and joked about magic, ridiculing it for not being as realistic as reality. They had sometimes even complained that even when a robe or a cloak borrowed from Merlin let them fly, it made the experience seem hollow and less impressive somehow. At this moment, Peter no longer felt that way. In fact, he was very glad that the magic around him wasn’t completely realistic. That the corpses and pieces of humans around him were obviously fakes, was the only reason he could keep his food in his stomach.

Initially he said he stood on a battlefield. But that was wrong. He stood atop a mass grave that was on fire, while two young girls - both of them looking like Artoria - clashed. One was wielding a dark black sword and wearing red armor. She was screaming in rage but getting nowhere as her opponent - wearing the same blue armor she had worn in the previous image - was using a long spear with twice the reach to bat her around.

“It is over, Mordred.” Artoria said with great confidence as she used her spear to knock back Mordred before the dark knight ever got within striking range. “I have the bigger reach. You can not win. Your rebellion is over.”

“Why!” Mordred screamed, jumping to her feet, only to be smacked down. “Why, father? Why do you hate me? Do you truly despise me so that you would take your country to war rather than acknowledge me?”

“Artoria never hated Mordred.” The sudden words coming out from next to his ear made Peter jump to the side. When he looked back, Merlin was floating there, looking at the two girls as they yelled at each other while fighting. “She never felt anything in particular for Mordred. She hated herself for her part in giving birth to Mordred. A king must not fail, she believed. And yet she had failed, and Mordred was a reminder of that failure. It was the inability to accept that imperfection that lead to the destruction of her country.”

“Merlin?” Peter asked. “Why are you here?”

Merlin shook his head as he floated there. “Truly a shame. In seeking to be a perfect king, Artoria never learned how to confront and fix failure.” He pointed at the fight, dragging Peter’s eyes back to a scene of father stabbing son to death. “Killing his own child because he did not know how to fix mistakes.”

The vision darkened then and disappeared, leaving behind just a blank fog. The only thing Peter could see were himself and Merlin. Well, the illusion of Merlin. As his eyes focused on the wizard, Peter once more realized that this Merlin wasn’t as real as the one he had met a scant few hours ago. It wasn’t even in the “magic has poor CG support” sense that Merlin once claimed, though Peter admittedly didn’t understand what that had meant. No, he meant Merlin was less real in the sense that he wavered in a non-existent air, as if he were made out of mist that had just taken on the wizard’s shape.

“Remember, young adventurer.” The mist Merlin spoke again. “Incest may be wrong, but two wrongs make a right. Mordred would have made a shit king, but had Artoria reacted to the demand not by ignoring it, but by stabbing Mordred with her magical meat spear, she could have avoided stabbing him with her magical wood spear. More importantly, she could have avoided a war that led to the destruction of all of her country’s armies, and its inevitable demise.”

Before Peter could ask any questions, the image of Merlin wavered and disappeared, leaving behind only the blank mist.

The boy stood there, confused at the nonsense he had heard, while the mist slowly retreated away from him, as if swallowed up by the fortress, until he was standing in an empty room, with but a single door leading out of it.

“Hey, listen!” The sudden voice made Peter jump and whirl around, only to find the faery from outside, floating behind him. “You should search a room for treasure before exiting it.”

“But, this room is empty.”

It was. He turned around twice more, but there was nothing in the entire room except him, the faery, and the door. Eventually shrugging off the faery’s words as nonsense, he went over to the door, and turned the round handle to open it. Except, when he pulled on the handle it came out, the knob transforming until it turned into a wooden sword handle. Attached to the handle was a thin, pointy blade.

“Hey, listen! You use a rapier by stabbing people with the pointy end!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The dryad was sitting in my lap as the two of us watched Peter use his rapier and a shield to fight his way through a dozen floating fur balls with tiny claws, that exploded in a puff of smoke when defeated. It wasn’t the first time he had gone through the mess, and he had picked up a good pace by now. All of the spring magic coursing through his body was constantly healing him as he went, allowing him to maintain his strength and health as he kept going for hours on end.

So far he had been through dozens of mirages showing “historical” mistakes of King Artoria, where a mirage of “me” explained her mistakes. They… served no purpose whatsoever actually. However, given the amount of care that had gone into making all of them, and their regularity, I was fairly certain that anyone going through this trial would assume they constituted some sort of puzzle one was meant to solve.

“Shouldn’t you be stopping him?” The dryad - or Nyrn as she called herself - asked me. “He has already taken dozens of magical items from you.”

“I would prefer to continue cuddling.” I replied, wrapping my hands around her waist. One hand trailed down to between her thighs, and started playing with her clit. My dick was already inside her - she called it sensual cuddling - and the way she shuddered felt really nice. “Besides, those items aren’t all that valuable. So long as no one steals my grimoire, it should all be fine.”

“You are insatiable.” She laughed, leaning in to kiss me, before resting my head on her breasts. “So what is in that Grimoire to make it so valuable?”

“Stuff.” I evaded for once. “Private stuff that I would rather not get out.”

See, I could have common sense and not blabber anything to go a girl just because I was inside of her. I would only blabber most things.

“Well, that was specific.” At least she didn’t press the situation, even if her tone practically screamed disappointment. “So, the sword the young boy is working his way up to stealing. Why is it called Bestcalibur?”

“It is from a myth from their world. The Sword in the Stone, Excalibur.” I started, happy for the sudden change in topic. “I tried to recreate the sword. And, well I made a rather bitching sword from a purely objective point of view. So I wanted the name to represent that. However Bitchcalibur sounds rather sexist, and Bexcalibur sounds stupid. So I went with Bestcalibur.”

I wasn’t sure if she was laughing at me or my witty wit… Probably the wit. It was very witty. However, her laughter was beautiful, and I enjoyed listening to it either way. Especially since it made her breasts shake in an rather fun manner.

“So, I take it Bestcalibur is the strongest weapon that you have?”

“No, that would be my Spear of Destiny knock off that Peter ignored because he thought it was a mop. Weren’t you listening to the mirage Merlin that explained how the hidden spear is the best weapon?”

“Wait. Those mirages actually were true.”

“Eh.” I raised one hand and waved it in a ‘so-so’ manner. The hand that wasn’t playing with her lower regions. “If you spout enough nonsense, occasionally you will say something true by pure accident.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The morning sun illuminated the planes as two armied faced off against one another. One was the army of dwarves and “evil” creatures lead by the White Witch. The other was the army of “good” creatures lead by Peter and his siblings. Originally Susan and Lucy had stayed behind to watch over Aslan’s dead body, but when he had resurrected with the dawn they had used the magical items that Peter had “requisitioned without prior notice” from Merlin to fly back here.

“They have three times our number.”

Peter glanced at the centaur next to him, and just smiled. It was true that they were outnumbered, but they had a few nice weapons on their side. He hadn’t been able to bring along nearly enough weapons to arm the entire army. However it had been enough to arm over a dozen of them, whereas the other side only had the magic of the White Witch.

“There is no need to worry. We will reverse the situation soon enough. Just tell the archers to start shooting once a large number of the enemy dies.”

“And how exactly do you intend to do that?”

Peter grinned. “Magic.”

At that moment, a loud horn resounded on the other side. A moment later, the White Witch’s chariot, pulled by a pair of polar bears started to advance forward, leading her entire army. It took them a few seconds to pick up the pace, but soon enough the army was charging at them. The whole situation just made Peter laugh.

He raised his sword, Bestcalibur glowing in the light. Fools would only see the bladed weapon and laugh at it, saying it was unimpressive, that it didn’t even look like a real sword. Of course it didn’t. Bestcalibur might have had the form of a sword. It might have had a metal blade. However it wasn’t meant for smashing and stabbing.

“He who so draweth this sword, shall have a most Bitching sword. So recited the Merlin.” Peter chanted, twirling his sword around in the air. “And those who looked upon the sword knew it to be true, for indeed it was a most Bitching sword. For twas, Bestcalibur!”

Shouting the last word, he swung his arm down, and stabbed the sword deep into the ground. For a moment, nothing happened. The army that had been charging at them this entire time, continued to move closer, now easily in bow and arrow range, coming at them unopposed. And then, the world shook.

Bestcalibur was, in a way, a one shot wonder. It had a great deal of power, however it was designed to release all of that power in one blast. Once fired, it would have to be reloaded to work. This simplicity of design was what allowed it to have great power even while a muggle like Peter could use it. Even so, had Peter not gone on a day long, non-stop quest through Merlin’s fortress while vines constantly pumped spring magic into him, he never would have developed the magical resilience to survive the action that he took here. He could feel his body shake from the feedback of the power that Bestcalibur released into him.

For all its grandeur, the weapon’s design was simple. It stored dozens of Afrit and some Marid level Spring Elementals inside of itself. When it was used, they all fulfilled the one command that they had; use their full power against the wielder’s enemies, assuming said enemies didn’t include Merlin or someone that he had slept with recently. Upon fulfilling the command, the spirits would be released to return to their homes until summoned again.

The creatures next to Peter were starting to give him worried looks before the earth shook. They stumbled. The army charging at them stumbled, some falling to the ground. And then huge vines and branches shot out of the ground, assaulting the White Witch’s army. Their charge was cut off as an entire wall of spiked vines rose up before the army, leaving just enough empty spaces that they could slowly trickle through. Not that most would have the chance for that.

Many of the branches came out of the ground beneath creatures, skewering them through the stomach, or taking off arms and legs. Vines that missed targets swung back around to wrap around those nearest, drawing blood along dozens of deep stab wounds. Within seconds hundreds were slain, and many more were severely wounded. Those were the lucky ones.

Along with the vines and branches came spores. Spores that took root inside of those that breathed them in, and started to grow there, and while having flowers grow inside of someone did not sound as vicious as having spikes rupture them through the lungs, it was just as deadly as their throats were blocked, blood vessels were cut off, and their energy was stolen by the flowers.

Those that survived, were stuck in a crowd that could move neither forward nor back, as there were the dead - both standing and lying down - spread throughout, slowing down passage in any direction. They were essentially trapped, unable to attack or retreat. And they were in range of the archers.

“So, still think we are outnumbered?”

Peter asked with a grin, even as drops of blood formed at his eyes. He pushed himself to his feet, to stand majestically, only for his legs to buckle under him. Strong hands caught him, and he looked up to see a centaur holding him, a look of confidence in his face.

“Not once our archers are through with them.”

Many would go on to talk about the glorious victory that was won that day. Of great evil defeated and slain by might and blade, or rapid wit and dashing heroics.

The bards were paid a great sum to spin and weave those lies. For in truth, only a small pittance of Jadis’s army, heavily injured and badly outnumbered, made it out of the trap. Perhaps Jadis herself was the only one without injury by the time they had managed to free themselves. So, in a way, the tales of the great fight of Aslan and Jadis were no exaggerations. However, for the rest? Twelve fliers with wands that shot lightning, or rings that threw up storms backing up a fresh army three times the size of their injured enemies? There was no fight. The enemy’s morale was broken long before they had even left the trap. They simply broke, running or surrendering as they each wished.

And thus did end the reign of the White Witch Jadis, without the interference of Merlin. For he did not in any way help or assist either side. He was merely a victim of Peter’s thug like behavior, a poor, innocent wizard who had the products of his hard work stolen by a boy with an entitlement complex.

Of course, he was too busy getting laid with hotter chicks than Peter would ever have a chance with to care about such trivialities.






AN:
Last chapter of Narnia. We have about 9 years to cover, so expect only an overview of major events here. Also, the SI narrates in a sarcastic manner occasionally. Just wanted to mention that, in case someone had missed it in all of the chapters until now.

Being a midwife sucked. Especially when you had no training as a doctor or physician of any kind, or any experience at midwifery. On the other hand, I had magic and was the only one vaguely familiar with human births - mostly by having a rather complete education - so when High Queen Peter ended up giving birth nine months after his coronation, I was called on to act as the midwife.

Also, Aslan might have figured that the whole thing was my fault. Which was plainly ridiculous.

It was true that a side effect of Bestcalibur I had forgotten to mention was that it genderbent the wielder. However, the gender change normally only lasted a few days. Was it my fault that Peter, high on Spring Magic, decided to try riding some centaurs? Obviously not! Given how addicted she was to riding centaurs, what happened was clearly no fault of mine. In fact, the magic having a safety setting to not switch genders if the target is pregnant was an act of pure responsibility on my part! Not that people appeared to agree with me.

And so that was how I was here, helping Peter through the process of giving birth to a centaur foal. Or whatever a baby centaur was called.

“Come on, Peter. Keep pushing.” I encouraged him, using magic to increase the stretchiness and durability of his body. The head of the foal was already through, it was now just the horse body that remained. “This is more painful for me than it is for you, yet you don’t see me giving up.”

Given the slap that Queen Susan gave me, that was apparently not an appropriate thing to say in this situation.

“What?” I asked, turning around to face her. “This is absolutely disgusting.”

Susan gave me a blank look. “I know. Now imagine having to go through that.” She shuddered. “I would rather watch than to suffer it.”

Okay, she had a point. I imagined being in Peter’s position. Of losing my penis for nine months straight. It sounded horrible. Although I had a feeling, being cursed with a vagina was not what Susan’s issue with the situation was. “So does that mean you don’t want any children?”

The girl blushed, looked away and mumbled something.

“Sorry, I can’t hear you.”

“Oh, God! It hurts!”

“Quiet, Peter!” / “Shut up, Peter!”

Susan and I yelled at him together when he started bitching as soon as the painkilling effect of my spell wore off. We were having a conversation here! Interrupting us like that was just so rude!

“Can I have children without giving birth?”

I snapped a finger and one of my medical potions flew off of a cabinet and into my hand. “This is a manhood potion. It will turn girls into boys. Drink it, and you can have all the children you want without any of this pregnancy nonsense.”

“Please! It hurts!”

I let out a sigh and turn back to the brat bitching over having to do what every single mother in the world had had to do. And almost turned back around again. Seriously, child births are disgusting. Still, unlike a certain someone - Peter - I proceeded to act like an adult and actually do my part, tossing down magic so that his body could better adjust to the process. After a few seconds of ministrations, Peter calmed down and got back to grunting and pushing.

Sadly, Peter’s participation did not last long. It wasn’t more than a few seconds before he had once again stopped pushing. Glancing over at him, I noticed that he had a dazed look in his eyes, and was drooling. Following his line of light, my eyes landed on a blushing Susan - who had apparently drunk the potion I had given her - and her bitch breaker that was standing at attention.

Oh yeah, that would do it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I watched King Susan hug the new born Prince Timothy, Peter’s second child, and first with Susan.

Unlike his older sister - by less than a year - Equinia, Timothy was fully human, and this made him the heir to the throne. Because Aslan was racist and had made it so that only humans could rule Narnia. Despite the total human population in Narnia being only five at this point. All of them white, ruling over dark skinned animals. Yeah, I think I’m just going to stop there, because this metaphor was becoming deeply uncomfortable.
Of course, it wasn’t all fun and games. Like his elder sister, I ended up being the midwife for Timothy. I didn’t know what Aslan’s game was, forcing me to take this role, but I most certainly did not appreciate it. Of course, given that he was a Jesus expy with a hotline to God and the ability to destroy this world, I was willing to bow to him on the little things like this.

Not that I would not have my revenge. But it would be subtle, and unexpected.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I came out of my fortress to check on my gardens that I grew outside. Although it was no longer a nation of eternal winter, the fact was that my crops were magical, which made it popular for others to take a bit here and there as dessert. I did not mind too much. It was the spirits bound to the land who did the work of growing the crops. So long as there was enough for me, as well as enough to last me in case something went horribly wrong, others were free to take what they needed.

Of course, only a small bit here and there being taken was only true for most of my crops. Once more, like every day of the past few months, most of my catnip supplies had been devoured.

I used an area 17 feet by 17 feet to grow the catnip. I had started this 3 months ago, but for the last two months only Aslan had been eating it. Others did not dare take what the lion had marked as its own. Even so, the entire thing had to be regrown on a daily basis, and I had to occasionally expand the area where the plant grew as the lion constantly demanded more and more.

The catnip wasn’t just regular catnip. Yes, it was magical, but that wasn’t my greatest idea. Instead, the plant had been genetically and magically spliced together with an opium plant. It was, basically magical opium catnip, and there was a good deal of chance that Aslan was addicted to it. Or at least that was what his shaking body and erratic behavior if he didn’t get any indicated.

Force me to act as a midwife, do you? Let’s see how you deal with being forced to go cold turkey.

Instead of regrowing the plants to their original size, I grabbed the spirit in the ground and released it, allowing it to return to the Other Place. The results were rather immediate. The ground had long since been ripped free of any and all nutrients present in it, the magic of the spirit the only thing allowing the plants to grow. With the spirit gone, I could feel what little remained of the plants withering to death right before my eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Looking at Zeus riding a winged Hydra as he fought Cthulthu and Aslan, I couldn’t help but feel how absolute petty Aslan was.

When he had found out that I would no longer be supplying his addiction, instead of acting like a grown up and facing his own weakness, he lasted but a single day before coming in to break my stuff in some misdirected rage. I would have said that he had just completely lost his mind, except that he had made for a straight path to my Grimoire and shredded some of its pages. What Aslan may have planned to do after that would forever go unknown as he got to learn first hand what exactly my Grimoire was.

Most Grimoires are nothing more than instruction manuals. They tell you how to cast spells, and might detail the theory behind spells. Some, go a step further, and help you direct your magic in casting your cells. For example, such a Grimoire on rune magic might have pages where the rune is mythically inscribed so that you could use that page as a focus to cast the effect of the rune without having to draw it yourself. My Grimoire, went a step further than that.

Rather than, say, writing down how to summon a spirit, or even just inscribing the summoning circles into the pages, what I had done was actually summon and bind the spirits named on pages into those pages. So, for example, the page that gave instructions on summoning Zeus already had Zeus trapped in it, but could be used as a focus to resummon him without any preparation, were he to be released back to the Other Place. The point of this had been, to allow me to use the book to tap into the abilities of the spirits simply by turning to the right page, instead of having to take the time to summon them when I might not have such time.

Unfortunately, Aslan had to go and be an asshole and break some pages, releasing Zeus, Hydra and Cthulthu.

I had just gotten down the stairs to greet Aslan when I saw him tear open pages in my Grimoire. I immediately flew back up, getting the hell away from the epicenter of the destruction.

Zeus took on the form of a mortal man, were a mortal man to float in the air and cackle with lightning. He wore a Greek toga, stood near two meters tall, and had a great white beard.

Cthulthu was a humanoid creature of purple skin with a many limbed octopus for a face, that was over ten meters tall, and well built. Dark black water fell off of its form, rotting and melting anything that it fell upon.

The Hydra was a bright pink creature towering even over Cthulthu with its nine snake like heads. Its actual main body was shorter, standing only at Cthulthu’s waist. It also had two large wings growing off of its sides that collided and pushed through the walls of my keep, even as the creature’s heads smashed through multiple floors of the building.

Normally a spirit, once unsealed would immediately return to the Other Place. With my Grimoire such was not the case. Each spirit sealed inside was also given the command to kill anyone who freed it that wasn’t me. Without anything to power it, the command wasn’t permanent; it would only last but a few minutes. However, those few minutes would be enough to destroy this keep.

Cthulthu moved first, as with a might roar it sprayed its dark, black water everywhere. Aslan was able to somehow dodge while I merely brought up a shield, however Zeus and Hydra were hit by the attack, their bodies giving off smoke from the corrosion.

The two spirits retaliated at the same time, Zeus tossing a pair of lightning bolts. One struck Cthulthu, smashing the mighty spirit into and through the walls of my keep. The other was dodged by Aslan but exploded the ground where he had stood, carving a giant trench in it and sending ground and rocks flying. The Hydra in turn struck nine times, once with each hand, Three bit down on Cthulhu, releasing flames out of its mouth, while another three blew waves of fire at Aslan. The last three heads bit into the keep and pulled it forward, using it as a bludgeon to smash down upon Cthulhu.

The keep did not take this lying down. Large vines shot out of both the building and the ground, attacking both lion and spirits from hundreds of directions, entrapping them and constricting them.

Before I could get down to spectating the four assholes as they destroyed all that I had built, I heard a scream and looked up to see Nyrn falling down. She appeared to be less scared of the fall, than what she was falling towards. For myself, I was worried about the impact of trying to catch such a weight as it fell. And so with a chant I dismissed her, sending her back to safety just as she passed me by.

Now what?

In my few seconds of distraction the four combatant had freed themselves, and the keep was now smoldering, partially melted, and on fire. Zeus had mounted the Hydra and the two were fighting in tandem, Zeus handling long ranged attacks while the Hydra did melee bites and mid ranged fire cones. Cthulhu had turned the ground around him into a dark swamp that large black tentacles shot out of, attacking those around him. Aslan was running around, seemingly confused as to what the hell his irresponsible destruction of a perfectly safe artifact had caused.

After a moment more of observing the destruction of just three spirits, I cam to a simple conclusion; if any more joined the fight, the collateral damage would end up being more than just my domain. And that was probably a bad thing.

Took me freaking years to complete that book.

Chants in half a dozen languages flew from my tongue as, far up safely in the air, I released all of the bindings on my Grimoire, freeing all of the spirits trapped within and banishing them back to the Other Place.

With the spirits that were strengthening the book gone, it took only a fraction of a second before simply being near the combat caused it to be reduced to ashes, the destruction happening so fast that I honestly wasn’t sure what had destroyed it, just that the book was gone for good. I would have to remake it from scratch if I wanted it ever again.

While I was destroying years of my work, Aslan take leaped past Cthulthu, clawing open the back of the spirit’s neck. The spirit roared, though Aslan did not get off entirely unscratched as his paw appeared to be letting out smoke from coming into contact with the dark fluid.

He had no time to attend to his injuries as a dozen black tentacles shot after him, carving rotten trenches through the ground as he dodged their attacks.

Well, I’m sure that Aslan can take care of this. Besides, the spirits will disappear in a few minutes.

Rather than get close and risk getting hurt, I decided to hang back and watch the fight. I was rather upset about all of my created items that were in the now ruined fortress after all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I looked down at Edmund’s barely conscious body. His shirt was torn and dirty, but still in one piece. His pants however were missing, and given how charred his pants looked, had probably been burned off of him. He was in a great deal of pain, and were it not for Lucy’s spell keeping him conscious, would have fallen into blissful unconsciousness.

“So, what do you want me to do about this?”

“Heal him. Duh.”

I looked at the now 15 year old girl. “If you cared so much about this well being, why did you burn his lower body? I can still feel your magic on him. Why are you keeping him conscious?”

Lucy folded her hands beneath her breasts and let out a mighty hum. The action highlighted assets that were modest for her age. She had a cute face to go with it though, and was the exemplar of perfect hygiene; even if magic couldn’t make her prettier than she was, it could remove all physical defects she had. Really, had it been at the start of this jump when my body was 13, I would have hit that at least once or twice by now. Now that my body had grown back up and my hormones were more under control, the idea was just disturbing. She was just a child, and now that my body didn’t want me to tap everything under the sun, I preferred to avoid pedophelia.

“He wanted me to bear his child, like Peter does for Susan.” Lucy said. Yes, after all this time Peter was still a girl. All it would take was a week of not being pregnant to turn back into a boy. But no, as soon as she gave birth, she went and got knocked right back up by Susan again. And I had to act as midwife for every single fucking child. Because fucking Aslan. “I said no, he didn’t take it well. My spells said no, he cried like a bitch.”

I nodded. That seemed like a very reasonable course of action. “Let me guess. He saw Peter and Susan’s example and thought you two having the same thing would be perfectly normal?”

Lucy made a disgusted face. “Yes. Which is just, ew. Why can’t Susan come on to me like that? What does Peter have that makes him a better woman than me?”

“Lucy, are you seriously asking me for relationship advice?”

“Sorry, just complaining.”

I nodded. “Right. So since he deserved this, why are you asking me to heal him?”

“Because Aslan said that I should.” Lucy pouted again. “He insisted that this situation is your fault, so you should fix it.”

Bloody lion.

“Do you think it would count as fixing things if I switched both your genders? Then he could bear your child like he wanted to.”

“Ewwwww. No, no, no way.” Lucy shook her head. “If he wants to get pregnant I can drag a satyr in here, but I’m not doing that.”

I shrugged. “Well, you should consider changing his gender anyways. He can’t force himself on you like that if he isn’t a he.”

Without those words said, I went over to Edmund and started healing him. It was a bit of a long process, but at the end of it her skin was unblemished and unharmed. She glared at us angrily, and was about to scream when I waved my hand, putting her to sleep.

“Enchanted sleep?” Lucy asked.

“Yeah, I didn’t feel like dealing with him. Her. Whatever. You can explain things to your brother when he wakes up tomorrow. Now shoo, the wizard who isn’t your master but whose books you keep borrowing has work to do.”

“You just want to bang some dryads again.”

“I will have you know, banging dryads is a great and noble calling.”

“True.” Lucy agreed. “Hey, do you mind if I stay and borrow Rose? She is great with stress relief.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was nearing midnight as Lucy sat in the library, reading a book on magic. Her pet faery served as her lamp, floating above her shoulder to provide illumination.

The girl was wearing a light night gown, the white color of it making her easy to see in the library. It also did little to hide her figure that had grown greatly over the last few years. She had learned enough magic to enhance the development of her body, making her breasts larger and fuller than they would have been. She could not directly make herself prettier, but boosting her health was still an option. And a fit young teen in perfect health simply looked attractive.

I was wearing a simple dark blue night robe, made of cotton and comfortable, but easy to remove.

I casually strolled towards her, the slippers I was wearing causing my steps to make no sound as I moved towards her, counting down the seconds until midnight. Just as the countdown hit midnight in my head I reached out and tapped the girl on the shoulder.

“Hey, Merlin.”

She hat a cute voice, and a pretty blush on her cheeks as she looked up at me. From the corner of her eyes I could see her rubbing her thighs together, the dried liquid on her fingers telling me that she had been entertaining herself not too long ago.

“Hey, Lucy. Happy birthday.”

I leaned down and kissed the girl that had turned 18 just seconds ago, taking what in all likelihood was her first kiss. She did not protest at all, eagerly leaning into the kiss, and moaning into it as I used a hand to cup her breast.

Usually I enjoyed a bit of foreplay. Lucy appeared to disagree. She eagerly opened up my robe and grasped my dick with one hand, while using her other to guide my free hand up her gown and to her wet crotch. By the time we broke our kiss, saliva trailing between our lips, she was eagerly jerking her off while I was plunging two fingers in and out of her.

“Thank you. Now fuck me.”

Putting action to her words, she got up, turned back around, brushed the table clear of books, and lay down on it. She then hiked up her nightgown to her waist, and reached between her legs to spread open her pussy lips.

“No foreplay. No romance. Just fuck me.”

Well, I guess this wasn’t all that surprising. She had been studying and living in a fortress of spring magic. That it drove her horny as hell was only natural. Normally I might have contemplated the series of effects that allowed her to last until now before just jumping a random animal person, but I had bigger priorities.

I lined up my dick behind her, and without any warning or preparation thrust inside, sheathing myself to the hilt, trusting in the spring magic to make the passage smooth and painless. She let out a long, throaty moan of pleasure that turned into a series of short, quick moans as I immediately started thrusting in and out of her. As she said, this was no romance or foreplay. Just fucking like animals.

I reach forward, roughly grabbing and mauling at her breasts, even as she pushed herself up to give me better access, moving her hips in rhythm to my own.

We simply went at it like that, fucking rough and quick for a few minutes before we both came, her womb eagerly accepting my seed.

As I pulled out of her, I quickly cast a contraception spell, preferring to avoid the issue of any progeny popping up for now. As I did, I idly noted that her chair was lying on the ground, presumably knocked over sometime while I was taking her.

“Well, that was a fun birthday present.” Lucy admitted. “Unless Susan gives it a shot I don’t think I will get a better one.”

“Was?” I gave her a confused look. “We still have almost eight hours until the party starts.” Because the birthday celebration of royalty started early in the morning and went on all day. They were like little kids like that.

Lucy grinned at that, and without a word dropped to her knees, taking my length into her mouth. Immediately she started choking, and had to spit it out, apparently being rather inexperienced in such things.

Well, that was fine. We had plenty of time for her to learn.

In the end, we ended up being almost late to the party, and Lucy had trouble walking, and could not concentrate on anything. It caused the royal family quite a bit of embarrassment with the animal folk. Neither of us regretted a second of it. Though to be fair, it wasn’t like I was one to care all that much about the opinions of animals in general.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“So, this is it.” Aslan remarked as he appeared before me.

“This is what?” I asked, looking up from the magical text I was studying.

“Hmmmm.” Lucy moaned around my cock, sending nice vibrations down the length.

We were in my private library I had picked up in Bartimaeus Sequence. The one had had magical texts from both worlds that I had been to, and would continue to update itself as I traveled.

I was wearing my travel clothes, a comfortable dark blue robe, along with jeans and a shirt. Of course, since they were my clothes, despite being a casual outfit they were enchanted to a better degree than the battle outfits of most dragon hunters. But that was just a perk of being a world class enchanter.

My pants were pulled down and Lucy was sitting between my legs, happily sucking on my cock. The moaned greeting and a side glance was all the acknowledgement she gave Aslan before going back to the sucking.

Her hair had grown long, reaching to near her waist. It was kept in a ponytail behind her hand. She wasn’t wearing anything up top, her rather sizable bust free to bounce as she moved back and forth. Her short skirt was hiked up, finger sliding in and out of her wet cunt.

“It is time for you to go.” The lion repeated in a deep, majestic rumble. Well, as majestic as you can get when the person you are talking to is getting sucked off.

“Oh, the ten years are up already? Could you wait another five to ten minutes while we finish?”

Aslan gave out a roar, and I was ripped out of reality, hurled into the world of trees. The world connecting all of the worlds. Aslan was there with me, but Lucy wasn’t, my poor, innocent penis left to dangle sadly in the air.

“No! I have put up with your presence for ten years! No more! I shall now tell you my lesson, and then you shall leave, to plague some other, poor, unfortunate soul.”

“But what if I plague someone who isn’t poor or unfortunate? Like, say, the Devil.”

“Then I shall weep for the Devil.”

“Jerk. Fine, tell me what message I was supposed to learn.”

The lion glared at me. “That you must take responsibility to for your creations and what they cause.”

I blinked. “You were trying to teach me that? Really? Also, where was the biblical symbolism?”

“I. Kept. Instructing. You. To. Fix. Your. Errors.” Aslan spoke in a slow, deliberate manner, as if to a particularly dimwitted child. “Yet you still did not pick up on my message.”

“Yes, but what does this have to do with the lack of religious symbolism?”

“There was religious symbolism. You just did not notice it!” The lion roared. Then tossed me out of his multiverse. And that is how I ended up in front of Jumpchan, dick out and standing erect, ready for action.

AN:
I don’t actually dislike Edmund. He just happened to draw the short straw. In canon he was a 11 year old boy who “betrayed good” by going with the pretty lady when he didn’t actually know what was going on. He would then go on to redeem himself. Here, the betrayal happened, but because of Merlin, there was no chance for redemption. The problems simply got solved. So while the animals respect the other three kids, they dislike Edmund. His siblings still love him, but starting ~9 months after the great battle Peter and Susan are usually off with each other banging like rabbits, while Lucy spends much of her time at Merlin’s place learning magic. That leaves Edmund all by himself surrounded by subjects who tolerate his existence because of who he is related to. That doesn’t help his personal growth compared to canon. Then, there is no one to give him the birds and bees talk, or a talk on how to approach girls, and from what he can see no one has issues with the Peter x Susan incest. So the Lucy incident happens.

Basically, it is all Merlin’s fault.

And does ends our journey through Narnia. Next jump will be either Dragon Age (doing both jumps in order) or Gate. However, next chapter will be an update to Bartimaeus, since I need to progress that story as well.






AN: First Dragon Age Origin post. Build for it is finalized. SI brings in Lucy from prior jump as a companion and gains 2 more companions. He ends up Self Inserting as the younger son of the Arl of Denerim, the capital of Ferelden, the country where the first game takes place.

“My lord, may I have a moment of your time?”

I looked up from my office desk and the dreaded paperwork that was upon it as Bianca walked in and almost cried out in joy. Denerim was a nice place by the standards of Ferelden. Which… wasn’t really much of a standard. Ferelden was significantly less well off or technologically developed than my British Empire had been. Which meant that I did not enjoy anywhere near the luxuries I had enjoyed back home, and yet I still had to deal with a bunch of paperwork. Though since I didn’t conquer a world spanning empire, it was significantly less paperwork.

Still. I miss Narnia. And trolling Jesuslion.

So, when Bianca came in asking to interrupt my work, I was very eager to agree.

“Of course, Bianca. What do you need?”

Bianca was an Elven Ninja Bard Maid. Because Jumpchain companion descriptions. She was dressed as a common servant, having grown up in Denerim’s local Alienage – a term for the run-down shithole section of the city that elves are forced to live in segregation from humans – before scoring a job as a servant in my father’s household. Now that he had gone off to fight at Ostagar, she basically served me.

The girl’s clothing wasn’t very flattering. Unlike most elves in the Alienage, she wasn’t wearing rags, but the work clothes of our maids. Which, honestly were rather distasteful where I was concerned. Long skirts and full sleeve upper portions made out of a course material that easily stained, but was durable so that it had to be replaced infrequently. It was done in unappealing light brown colors to make the stains harder to spot. After all, elven servants were there to get the job done, not to be seen, so clothing that let them do the job as cheaply as possible was best.

The girl herself wasn’t all that impressive looking either. She was dirty, a consequence of living in a world where washing once a month would be a luxury for those living in the Alienage. Her hair was blonde dirtied enough to look green that was trimmed short so that despite being messy it could be maintained to some degree and didn’t get in the way. Her body had some muscles but was skinny, a consequence of a life where thee simple meals was a luxury.

Overall, no part of her really screamed badass assassin elf. Which was probably necessary for being a good assassin. Still, it wasn’t like I was supposed to know about her assassination or fighting skills. Both having weapons and knowing how to fight was a crime punishable by death for an elf. So, I never actually indicated that I knew she had those skills.

“The elder wished to inform you that the Alienage will be holding a wedding in a week’s time. A pair of elven maidens will be arriving from another Alienage.”

“Okay.” I nodded, honestly not recalling what the exact necessary legal process was here. I was assuming ‘don’t stick your dick in the brides’ was considered a polite action on my part but beyond that? No clue. “Do you need my permission for this, or is he just informing me out of politeness?”

“No, my lord.” She shook her head. “He just wished to inform you of it, and hoped for your blessings. He also wished me to inform you that while you are naturally invited, we fear that we do not have the ability to create a ceremony worthy of your presence, and that while we would be honored by your presence, we would not be able to honor you back with treatment fitting of one of your station.”

I nodded. That was a rather roundabout way of asking me to not show up at the event.

“I understand. You can have the day of the wedding, as well as the days before and after off. Don’t worry, you will still get pay for those days.” It wasn’t too hard to be ‘generous’ like this when elves got paid a fraction of what humans did for the same work. “Although I do have a request. I have some tasks to attend to, and will be out of Denerim for those days. I would prefer it if the Elder could keep the Alienage in line and insure that no crimes are committed on those days. I would be rather annoyed if I had some messes to clean up when I get back.”

Not annoyed enough to actually punish innocents, but annoyed if I was going to have to celebrate my accomplishment with bureaucratic bullshit.

“I understand my lord.” Bianca bowed. “I shall inform the elder of your request.”

“Oh, Bianca, one more thing.” I stopped her as she had turned to leave. “Inform the kitchens that they should supply celebratory food for the wedding. Tell them that the order came from me, and that if they don’t believe you, I will be going down there later in the day to confirm the order. I just figure you would have a better idea at figuring out what sort of food would be appropriate for this sort of thing.”

She blinked, bowed, thanked me and left.

Now, all that left me with was deciding what to do about the wedding.

If I remembered the canon timeline right, one of the elves from the Alienage that was getting married was also a trained fighter. Given that a grand total of one pair of siblings was descended from a Dalish elf, that meant that Bianca’s brother was getting married. Which meant that my older brother was probably going to show up to the wedding kidnap the brides and bridesmaids, and have a fun little gang raping session. Which would be bad. Not bad enough for the elves to rebel or even throw up a protest, but there was the whole human decency angle.

As for personally showing up to discourage him, even aside from the whole family relation thing, just the fact that I was a human probably meant that they preferred if I did not show up at the wedding. So, unless I wanted to piss off a bunch of elves – and likely suffer no consequences at all – I should just let things go on on their own.

Well, it isn’t like there aren’t a whole host of things that I need to attend to.

The first, and most important of those was my library. The library full of magical books that were glowing. That I had to hide unless I wanted the Chantry hunting my ass.

Then, there was my brother who, well to be quite frank, needed to have an accident. Along with all of his friends. I wasn’t sure how to arrange that though. Killing him was trivially easy. Doing it so that no one innocent had fingers pointed at them was a bit harder. Mind controlling him into suicide was an option, but the magic on him could be detected, which would lead to a hunt for a bloodmage in Denerim.

Then, I needed to track down the location of Haven and duke it out with a giant Dragon for an awesome fight scene. I needed to prepare for that fight first.

So many things to do.

Tired of the thinking I went to hunt down Lucy, my loyal hound Alistair happily trotting along my side. Alistair was a Mabari Hound, a dog unique to Ferelden. They were intelligent, loyal, and tough as hell. One was as tall as a dwarf, and bred from the ground up for war. They were the most socially acceptable pet in Ferelden, both in high society and the battle field. Mine, was a bit more special than usual, having the full capabilities of a trained Templar – a warrior with anti-mage capabilities – Reaper – a warrior that drew strength from injury – and a Champion – a warrior who inspired allies and brought fear to enemies – despite his status as a dog. He had no collar on him, as I could always trust him to be at my side.

I ended up finding Lucy in my room, sitting on my bed. Given the frowns of the maids I passed on the way there, they did not approve of the ‘barbarian Chasind’ being so forward with the Lord of the house. It was the Lord’s prerogative to inform the servants of their interest, not the other way around. A servant could hint at it, yes, but not be so forward as to wait in the other’s bed without an invite.

Not that either of us cared much about such propriety.

“Hello Lucy.” I greeted her as I walked into my room, closing the door.

Lucy looked rather changed by the transition. She still had the same face, but it had become rougher, harder, and less clean. Her beautiful, well-kept hair was messier and dirtier. Her body had put on a significant amount of muscle. She was wearing clothing made of fur that displayed a decent amount of leg and cleavage which wasn’t actually all that unusual for her. She was still recognizable, but as if she had been through a couple years of wild, hard living. That was natural. In this world, she had just arrived in Denerim a couple of days ago, when my local self ended up immediately bringing her to the mansion as his new guard.

Chasind were a tribal people who lived to the South of Ferelden, as the most Southern edge of the continent. It was from their tribe that Andraste’s husband came, and that was about their entire claim to glory. Civilized folk looked down on them as savage barbarians, and they lived according to their own ways.

That said, it was considered exotic to have a Chasind guard, so long as they could be trusted to remain honest. It was an even better sign of status if said guard was female and obviously doubling as your fuck toy on the side. Which was why me just grabbing her off of the streets and claiming her had raised no issues. Well, at least not until I got engaged or something.

Not that I paid much attention to her right now. I was instead focused on the other door in my room that lead to the library. The very glowing library that servants would be cleaning sometime today or tomorrow.

“That is bad.”

“Yup.” She agreed. “I’m not sure if it is possible to cover that up.”

I considered a few options. I could throw up a veil, toss together a mind control object that made servants dismiss it, or something. But there would be a time crunch, and it would be a temporary solution. Once it was found out, Templars would be raiding the mansion, and we would have to escalate to all-out war with the Chantry.

“We are going to have to burn it down.”

“You sure?” She asked me in surprise. “Aren’t there are a lot of spells there about local magics? Books you haven’t read yet?”

“The Chantry is the sole religious organization for half the continent.” I told her. “And approximately half of their belief can be summarized as “Thou Shalt Not Suffer the Magician to Not Suffer”. They have a literal army to enforce this edict. If we fought there, far too many people would die.”

Even as I spoke, I was already going through the motions to set up a quick summoning. I only needed a handful of Foliots and Djinn to handle things quickly. Thankfully the library had magically appeared there, so even if it disappeared people would think I had only destroyed half a dozen books.

“Besides, it will respawn at the next jump. We can study it then. For now. Well, there are other things we might end up busy with.”

There was at least 1 Waifu that I wanted to fuck and collect. And 1 major sacrilege to commit. One that I was rather disappointed wasn’t an option in-game, even if I understood the reasoning.

“What things?” Lucy asked as she watched eight spirits appear, and start to take apart the library on my command, careful to make sure no fire or smoke spread beyond the room. “What are you planning?”

“The same thing that I always plan. Saving the world by trolling people.”

She gave me an unamused look. “Yeah, no. Unless you want to be sticking it in people that consider bathing a luxury, you are cutting down on both the trolling and the cryptic nonsense. So, if you want to spill your load inside of clean pussy, then spill. What are we going to do?”

I pouted a bit, but naturally capitulated, and told her the plans for the week.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Denerim was crap as far as human cities went[1]. That was Bartimaeus’s opinion as he crawled along the grounds as a rat, one of dozens of such spies sent out to look for organized crime. Whether they would find organized crime or not wasn’t a question as far as Bartimaeus was concerned. Whether they would find organized crime aside from the city guard was a more relevant question, but not too hard a chance.

1 said:

There were a lot of people packed together. Most were poor, many desperate, and plenty jure purely opportunistic. With how easy it was to bribe or scare off the guard, you only needed a handful of idiots with daggers to start a criminal enterprise. They did not even have a proper sewage system, or a system in place to dispose of dead bodies in a timely manner.

Consequently, he didn’t spend too long traveling around looking for some hidden group of criminals. Instead he walked into the central market[2], climbed atop a building and settled down there to wait.

2 said:

A small, poorly maintained location where most stores were congregated into a single area. None sold anything vaguely magical or even hinting at magical. Half spoiled foods and poorly made clothes were traded around like they were great treasures.

It did not take too long to find what he wanted. A group of men walked up to a woman and dragged her into an alley. The guards in the place scrupulously looked away and ignored her muffled cries as she was dragged away[3].

3 said:

Clearly they were big enough to gather a big group and bribe the guards, but they were stupid enough to act in the open and rely on those bribes. Just the kind of group that could be easily believed to attack some nobles to show how tough they were.

Perfect.

He ran along the building, fading out of view even as he took on a more comfortable form and floated after them. If he just managed to get a good look at their members, behavior, and base of activity his job would be done.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brother Genitivi was a cleric of the Chantry, the regional version of the Catholic Church. They worshiped the Maker – God – and Andraste – Jesus with tits who married God and was burned instead of crucified – and had a very strong anti-magic stance. Where Brother Genitivi was important was that he had been researching the Ashes of Andraste, which was kind of like the Holy Grail if said grail actually existed, kept Jesus’s blood fresh, and said blood had magical super healing properties.

Now granted, there were many people looking for the Ashes. What made Brother Genitivi special, was that he managed to find their location. He had been commissioned by the Earl of Redcliff’s wife, an idiot Orlesian – basically think stereotype France – who funded his research. I was here to get the location from him before a bunch of cultists who couldn’t tell the difference between a Dragon and a dead human kidnapped him and tried to hide the evidence.

Genitivi’s home was a bit of a shack. It was straight across from the Gnawed Noble Tavern in the better part of town, but it still was in dire need of repair. Like pretty much all of the city.

“Hello, sorry to disturb you.” I lied as I strolled into the building.

I was unarmed, dressed in a casual noble’s clothing as I strolled forward. Next to me and a step behind walked Lucy, still dressed in her Chasind clothes, and wearing a Great Sword on her back. Not that she needed it, but she had magic that allowed her to fight with it. Besides, it helped with the impression of her being a barbarian guard cum cum dumpster. On either side of us was a Mabari hound. On my side was Aleistar, and Queezle was next to Lucy.

“You can’t come in- I mean, how can I help you my lord?” A well-built man in his early twenties wearing common clothes came out from within the building, cutting off his protests when he noticed my clothing.

“I am Merlin Kendells, son of Urien Kendells.” I spoke in a haughty tone. “You have heard of him, yes? Earl of Denerim and all?”

“Of course, my Lord.” The man bowed, looking from side to side furtively in an anxious manner. “How can I be of help?”

“I am here to see Brother Genitivi about his research.”

“I’m t-terribly s-sorry my lo-lord.” He stammered out. “But Brother Genitivi has left for that research. I can tell you when he gets back?”

“I see- and you are?”

“I am Weylon, milord. I am his apprentice.”

“I see.” I nodded, as if his name mattered. “Well, Weylon, do you know where Brother Genitivi went?”

He shook his head. “I’m sorry milord, but he did not tell me.”

I snorted. Yeah, the guy was getting a massive commission from the Arl of Redcliff’s wife, but told no one of his research. Riiiight. “Well, that is fine. I’m sure he left some notes behind to indicate where he might have gone.”

With that I walked past the guy, heading deeper into the building. He tried to stop me, but Lucy grabbed him and shoved him back up against a wall. I ignored his protests as I rounded the corner to come across a recently killed body.

That was unfortunate. In the game, after Genitivi was kidnapped, the cultists send a mage to kill his apprentice, toss the body in the back of the shop and pretend to be the apprentice. For some reason. I wasn’t sure why they kept the body rotting there for literal weeks instead of just burning all of his research and disappearing or something. Well, they mostly did it to direct knights to their deaths because they were ultra-vindictive assholes, who took others finding them to be a deadly insult.

“Really?” I asked him in an incredulous tone. “You kill someone and then just leave him here to rot? Haven’t you ever heard of hiding the evidence?”

My response was a blast of air as he knocked back Lucy and the Mabari from around himself. He twisted his hands, gathering magical power into it. “I’m sorr-“ and then he fell to the ground as Alistair hit him with an anti-magic strike.

“No, I’m sorry Cultist. That I could not get here fast enough to save the real Weylon.” I spoke slowly, evenly, only glancing at him from the corner of my eyes as I scanned the paper on the table until I found the location of Haven. The hidden enclave of murderers where the Ashes of Andraste – basically Jesus with tits who married God – was located there, along with a High Dragon, though really it was the Ashes that truly mattered.

The man tried to stand and fight, but Queezle grew a tentacle and stabbed him through the shoulder, pinning him to the wall.

“Don’t worry though. No one back home will blame you for your failure. By the time I’m done, Haven’s population will be zero.” I took a bit to collect all papers on the desk, putting them in a pouch before turning to Queezle. “Kill him. Remove the bodies.”

Yes, if you were going to commit murder, you should do it like a professional. Not leave a corpse lying behind your desk for weeks on end and hoping the city is enough of a shit hole that people don’t notice the stench.

“Come along Lucy, Alistair. We are done here.”

“That was quick.” Lucy noted. “I thought this would be an adventure.”

“I have too much foreknowledge.” I replied. “I know all of the right moves ahead of time. Now when we are going through Ozammar to find the Anvil of the Void, that will be an adventure. And it shall suck.”






AN: Just as a reminder, this story is narrated from Merlin’s point of view.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Vaughan Kendells was not a nice man. He was not a well liked man. He was the first son of the Arl of Denerim, set to inherit governorship of the capital. This gave him a large amount of latitude with his treatment of commoners, and plenty of sons of lesser nobles that followed him around, befriending him through such lovely bonding activities as gang rape and murder.

However, outside of his circle of sycophants he was not well liked. The commoners feared him or hated him. The elves feared him and despised him. Most of the nobility considered him trash. His parents ignored him and considered him an embarrassment. His younger brother, the witty, charming, handsome and brilliant Merlin, who was not a Mage, thought that he was better off dead. Not that the genius of the family ever voiced such opinions of course, he was much too smart a fellow to indicate such to anyone else. No, the best son in the Kendells family played the role of the obedient younger sibling that tolerated his elder’s stupidity out of familial duty.

As a result of these, no one found it particularly surprising when, while Vaughan and his friends were strolling through the streets, they were assaulted by a group of armed thugs, their guards - those that did not heroically run away - quickly killed, and were beaten, stabbed, neutered, and left for dead. Certainly no one would have suspected the young, innocent, naive, friendly and harmless Merlin of committing such a heinous, if well deserving, crime.

The young Merlin, honest and loyal brother that he was, immediately assembled the guards and set out to avenge his brother in the absence of his father.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I couldn’t help but feel that my march into battle would have looked much more heroic if I wasn’t limping along at the head of a group of 20 guards. Next to me were Alistair and Lucy, though she was now wearing proper mid-weight armor. There hadn’t been time to fit full plate armor for her. I had one that I was wearing, but then I was the Arl’s son. There was a sword on my waist, and it truly disgusted me how common, simple, and unenchanted the thing was. Not like the round wooden shield I had “found” in my room made of some clearly magical wood with protective enchantments on it.

Of course, while all official records would claim that I was at the front of the formation, there were in truth two more people - a man and a woman - in leather armor leading the pack. They each had a bow and arrows on their back, and a pair of long swords made of Veridium on their hips.

Supposedly these were the two who had tracked down the location of the criminal scum that had beaten and mutilated my kind and beloved brother, leaving him to bleed out on the streets like some animal that he totally wasn’t. In truth they were a pair of Marids because I was most certainly not breaking into a gang’s hideout, backed up by guards that I can’t use magic in front of, without having some proper backup along. That would be stupid.

We had no trouble finding the hideout. That wasn’t too surprising. The Djinn that had stolen the weapons of the gang and taken on their forms had left a good bit of evidence leading up to here.

It was a simple building, in one of the poorer parts of Denerim. It was rundown, but every building was rundown here. The people were also scared, quickly clearing the fuck off of the streets when they noticed a procession of over twenty heavily armed man rapidly marching - with one rapidly limping using a walking stick - down the street. All of them were dirty and wearing rags, but I had trouble telling how far down the poor hole they were. Denerim wasn’t exactly a shining beacon of well living.

The building that the gang was holing up in was a former warehouse, presumably from back when crime wasn’t quite so rampant in this area. It now sat, officially unused, though prior scouting via spirits told me that they kept stolen and smuggled goods in here. It also had the basement where the illegal stuff that guards weren’t prone to ignoring - kidnapped people and such - were kept.

Just as we were arriving, two men covered in blood came out the door in a panic, saw us, and tried to run for it. They only made it three steps before each had an arrow lodged in their neck, making them fall to the ground bleeding to death.

The male Marid put away his bow and drew his swords, the guards following suit in arming themselves as we slowly approached the door. I let the magic of the Arcane Warrior flow through me, my hand tightening around the walking stick that I was using, suddenly a dozen ideas on how to wield it as a weapon flashing through my head. Once we reached the door, I took a step back, and waited for two guards to bash it down, letting the two Marids go in first before following them.

There were five more men in there, all wearing poorly maintained leather armor covered in blood, and holding weapons still bloody from the slaying of my brother and his friends. They looked a mixture of confused and frightened.

“Stop!” Yelled the guy in the center who looked to be in charge. “We didn’t-”

He got an arrow to the knee for his troubles. As he fell down screaming, Alistair bounded up to him and tore his throat out, silencing him forever.

One of the criminals in the back raised his crossbow, only to find the duel wielding Marid up in his face before he could fire a single shot. He was unhanded with a single swing of a sword, screaming in pain as he dropped his weapon and bled out from his wrists. A sword in the gut, followed by a twist and pulling it out further robbed him of the ability of coherent speech, or chances of survival.

I could follow there far out of the corners of my eyes before one of the men came at me with a mace and a shield. My limp didn’t allow me to duck and weave with ease, even if I weren’t wearing heavy armor. So instead when he swung his weapon I snapped out with my shield, striking him in the wrist with superhuman force reinforced further by magic, breaking it with ease.

He staggered back in pain, too poorly trained to just ignore the pain. By the time he collected himself my walking stick was hooked behind his knee and I swung up, unbalancing him and making him fall to the ground with a heavy thud. He let out a gasp of pain as the air was driven from his lungs, and then a quiet croaking noise as I stepped on him with an armored boot. A walking stick through the right eye put him out of his misery.

Looking around the room, I noticed that another criminal was dead by Arrow In The Face Syndrome, while the last one had been heroically stabbed to death by five guardsmen, as the rest took defensive positions at key points in the room.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t fair how I was ragging on the guards. These were the private guards of my family, it wasn’t like they were the lack wits in the city guards. Besides, I would be surprised if the entire “battle” had taken a quarter of a minute. It was pretty impressive that they had managed to secure the room from hidden attackers in that time.

“There should be more of them.” I spoke matter of factly.

“Down here, milord.” The female Marid spoke up immediately, indicating a trap door. The only other exit out of this room beyond the door. Yes, I had had extensive pre-battle scouting done before staging the murder and leading the assault on this place. “A hidden passage.”

“Very well, let us go forth, and clean out this filth.” With that overly dramatic sentence, I hobbled over to the trap door, waiting for everyone to get there, before following the sword wielding Marid and Alistair through.

Climbing down through a trapdoor in heavy armor with a limp because you thought it would be funny to have that as a drawback was not fun. Especially when one arm was occupied holding a shield and a walking staff. Still, appearances had to be maintained, and while I was now the new heir by default, taking part in a military raid like this would be helpful with securing my standing. We lived in a feudal world, and at least in Ferelden, nobles who couldn’t fight were looked down upon. With my limp, I had to show that I could be in the thick of a fight.
Once we had descended, we once more took up a march scouring the place room by room.

The two Marids were able to “find” and disarm any traps we came across. In truth, most of the work was done by the 4 Djinn moving ahead of us, but it wasn’t like the guards were able to notice a team of invisible mice.

The fighting was simple and quick work. Our opponents were criminals who had been put to sleep and woke up covered in blood, and holding recently bloody weapons, confused about what was going on. They did somehow figure out that they were being framed for something, but considering we did not give any of them that we encountered a chance to speak before brutally murdering them, they were unable to even formulate the protests that would have fallen on deaf ears.

It took nearly half an hour of careful, slow work, but we ended up cleaning out the entire place. At which point came the hard work.

All of the bodies had to be collected, double checked to be dead - generally by stabbing them in the heart - and stripped of weapons and armor to be stored separately. The valuables on their persons were kept by the guards stripping them. We also had to collect all of the goods here and sort out the valuables that would be taken back from the mansion from those that would be too much effort to carry and store, and would be handed out to the masses. There, a mixture of the fact that they had been given 2 sovereigns, gold coins, before this mission - a copy of Gladstone’s pouch that always had 50 gold coins in it made it really easy to bribe in a gold based economy - and a fear of being punished for theft, ensured that the guards remained honest and did not pocket any of the goods.

Last and most importantly, was the main reason that I chose this group of criminals to be framed for the murder. Their kidnapping victims.

“Milord, what do you wish to have done with them?”

One of the guards asked as he came up with me. He was a senior guard in our household, having served for near two decades now. His armor showed it, being properly fitted and in good repair, even as it was coated in the blood of men he had killed without hesitation. It also meant that he had served that long, always loyal and obedient to the whims of my family, whomever the orders may have come from, or what they might have been.

“We could take them back to the mansion, but we don’t have anyone who could help them.” While not strictly true - our servants had a disturbing amount of experience getting rape victims to get over it and get back to work - it was definitely a problem I did not feel capable of managing. So I was going to offload it to somehow who could. “Take four guards with you, and take them to the Chantry. Tell them the situation and see if they can provide help.”

“As you say, milord.” He stood straight and saluted me, before turning back to the group of beaten women huddling amongst themselves. “You heard the Lord! Up, up with you!”

Maybe it might be a good idea to put our house guard through some basic sensitivity training?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The elven wedding ended up being delayed. It was felt that it would be tacky to have a wedding the same week that such a bright and beloved man had died. Or to put it into less bullshit politic talk, they did not wish to bring down on my wrath on them by throwing an Alienage wide celebration pretty much right outside of my mansion while I was in mourning.

I appreciated it. Really, I did. Not that I was in mourning, or would have been upset at the wedding, but not punishing them for it would have hurt my social standing and reputation.

Meanwhile I was stuck in my room in solitude, before a large painting of Andraste, praying for my brother’s soul. And if, while I was kneeling on the floor offering my supplications to Andraste, Lucy happened to be standing in front of me, her wet pussy located before my mouth that was offering the supplications? I was just mourning his death the way he had lived. By defiling all traditions and principles that society holds sacred for momentary, transient pleasure. Granted, I was doing it for the pleasure of others, instead of myself, which inherently made me a better person than him, so he shouldn’t have any reason to complain.

Lucy let out a low moan through her muffled lips as she bit down on her shirt. I lapped up some of the liquid that she splattered over my face before moving back and sitting down on the bed.

“So, are the plans for Haven still set to go as scheduled?”

I shook my head. “Would not be proper. I’m supposed to be showing remorse and loss for my brother. Any sort of activity not related to running the city, or honoring him in some way wouldn't be appropriate right now. We are going to have to push it back a week or two.”

“Hmmm.” She hummed as she stripped, exposing her naked, well toned body before getting on her knees and crawling over to me. “And what are we going to do in that time?” She didn’t wait for my reply before fishing my dick out of my pants, seemingly entranced by it.

“Sex and murder.” I told her, hand wrapping around her hair even as she lovingly licked my cock. “Lots and lots of murder.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“You wished to see me, milord?”

Bianca asked as she entered my office with a bow. She glanced from side to side, but there would be no one that she could see, besides Alistair who, to be fair, was a deadly enough threat to keep people weary. She was wearing the same maid uniform as before, one that I would have had replaced with a sexier and newer design if not for the fear that people would assume that I was a pervert, which was true, and that maids had to fear me, which was not true.

“Yes, Bianca, please come in and close the door. I would rather others not hear what about what goes on in here.”

She paused for a moment but then complied, closing the door and standing before it nervously. “Milord?”

“I’m sure you have heard of my brother’s unfortunate demise by now, yes?”

“I have milord.” She said in the most demure tone she could manage. “I am sorry to hear for your loss.” Given the smile that was tugging at her lips, I was going to call that a flat out lie.

“Thank you.” I nodded, and gave a moment of silence for my brother. “While he has already been avenged, his death has highlighted something for me; the gangs in Denerim are getting out of control. Violence has always been at a level that is hard to tolerate, but now they have gone beyond that. These criminal scum need to be put down.”

“Of course, milord.” She said, clearly confused as to why the fuck I was talking to an elven maid about this. And not, say, other nobles. Or at least my guards whose job it was. “It is as you say.”

“Which is why I wish to hire you and your brother.”

“Milord?” Did I say she was confused before? Oh, no, she was only mildly perplexed before. She was confused now. “I do not understand.” Which made sense. After all, she was already working for me as a servant.

“Bianca, guards are going to be hunting down gangs with extreme interest throughout the city. Now, when was the last time you heard about a crime crackdown where the alienage wasn’t one of the first places searched?” I paused for a moment and ran what I had said over in my head. “No, sorry, that was a stupid question. When was the last time you heard about a crime crackdown that didn’t start at the alienage?”

“I don’t know, milord.” She said, still perplexed. “I can’t recall any such events.”

“Exactly.” I nodded. Just because there wasn’t a single elf amongst the gang of noble murdering scum wouldn’t mean that elves wouldn’t be at the very top of the suspect list for criminal activities related to this. For some reason. “So what do you think the odds are that they wouldn’t find the pair of daggers or the crossbow that you and your brother inherited from your mother? You know, the weapons that you have been keeping in your house ever since she died?”

Her posture went stiff. Her face went from a look of confusion to fright. As mentioned before, for an elf to have a weapon without permission was a crime whose minimum sentence was death. To be caught with the weapon in her house would be a death sentence for herself, her brother, and her father. She glanced around the room, before her eyes landed on Alistair, eyes half closed but watching her as he lay by my side, and her posture slackened as her body took on a defeated look.

“What do you wish of me, milord?”

“As I said, I want to hire you and your brother as guards.” I reached into my pouch, and pulled out a golden Sovereign. “Your hiring bonus if you both agree to join. You would both be paid the same amount as the other household guards - whose wages are all being increased to a more reasonable level - without being subjected to the standard elven discount.”

I flicked the gold coin at her, watching her catch it with a stunned look. Commoner humans practically never saw gold coins in their lives. Commoner elves? They were happy to come across a silver coin. She held it tightly to her bosom, as if afraid that it would disappear.

“According to the law, elves that serve a noble are allowed to have weapons with that noble’s permission.” It was the ‘hired elven murderers’ loophole in the law. “This way you can keep your familial weapons. Otherwise I suppose you could always throw them into the river or something, but I’m guessing they have value as a familial heritage.” I shrugged. “Well, think about it, talk to your brother, and tell me your answer tomorrow. For now, keep the gold coin. If either of you isn’t interested, you can bring it back with your answer.”

“Thank you, milord.” She gave an awkward courtesy, pocketed the gold going between her breasts, tried her best to give me a smile, and then left.

As I watched her go, I wondered about what she would do. Would she come back? Ditch the weapons? Or take the money and run for it? Depending on her actions, life could end up interesting for me.

Well, that was for the future. I should first focus on tonight and the work that I had to do.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At the bottom of the totem pole - as I measured it in terms of how dangerous they were - of criminal organizations here in Denerim were just a bunch of idiotic youths who grabbed some weapons and thought that that made them tough. They went around threatening, and demanding “respect” and all that idiotic nonsense, delusional about their own importance.

Next up the totem pole, were groups that had veterans. These were mostly outfits ranging from those run by a handful of mercenary or former mercenaries, or composed entirely of people with actual military experience. What this meant, was that they were armed, and knew how to fight. It wasn’t as if the organization and discipline was much better than the previous group. Militaries at this time had shit discipline and organization compared to modern forces, and these were people who had left that life for whatever reason, probably because of an aversion of the hardness of the life or the amount of structure that there was. Still, they were aware of which end of a sword was pointy, how to stab with it, and had learned through blood and sweat to not hesitate in combat.

Further up the totem pole were gangs that had mages in them. A mage on their own, wasn’t a particular threat to a serious group. Even without templars, a mage could be put down easily if you came prepared and knew what you were doing. A mage that had meat shields between them and your guys with arrows though? They could put the hurt on your group. Mages who knew what they were doing could completely rewrite the rules of the battlefield at the squad combat level. One who had protections against being shut down ensured that you were fighting their allies at a handicap.

At the top of the totem pole were of course the foreign actors. A group of Orlesian bards sent by their whore of an empress might be here. Or a group of Antivan crows. Professionals at this game so good that they started getting international job offers.

Naturally I was doing my best to start out of the way of the last category of criminal organizations for now. I had things to take care of, and I did not want to waste my time playing cat and mouse with people who made a living at it. Especially since once I started, I couldn’t stop if I ever wanted to be sure that I could sleep in peace. Asf or the first two categories, mundane guards in sufficient number, with sufficient gear could handle those. Especially when given proper information.

The third group - those that had mages - were the ones that caught my personal attention. Criminal mages had an annoying tendency to become blood mages, and really, having someone who practiced blood sacrifice to get stronger living in your city was just bad business. I was honestly planning to call down the Chantry on most of them. Whichever side won, I would benefit. However, not yet. After all, blood mages were a group of rare people that I could run some experiments on, that I wouldn’t feel bad using for those experiments.

“You know, you probably shouldn’t talk about blood mages like they were all capital E Evil, considering you are a blood mage, and are teaching me how to be one too.” Lucy whispered to me as we moved through the streets.

We were both armed for combat. That was to say, we were wearing the robes of magicians, enchanted with flight and invisibility. On our arms were bracers enchanted with shield spells in case of attacks. Beneath it we wore leather armor that had Afrits sealed in it, doing a quick and dirty reproduction of the spells that produced the Amulet of Samarkand. Both of us had simple swords at our sides, and were carrying magical staves that I had sealed an Afrit into; Marids would have taken too long, and Afrits provided more than enough fire power. On each of our shoulders were a pair of ravens, each a Djinn, ready to be unleashed at a moment’s notice.

We were following a trio of Mabari, two Djinn in the front and Alistair marching behind them, while a group of 12 Foliots in the form of mice scurried ahead to scout out the area, and prepare for sneak attacking some criminals.

“Lucy, I am a hypocrite.” I said in a perfectly monotone voice as we floated along, above the rooftops, invisible and safe. “Just because I am doing something wrong doesn’t mean I won’t call out others for doing it. Afterall, I’m special, so it isn’t wrong when I do it.”

Lucy just sighed. “I’m not sure where to start on correcting that argument.”

“No where.” I patiently told her. “Not correcting someone when they are correct is generally the good way to go about it.”

“Ah, whatever.” She threw up her hands in frustration, an action only visible because we both had contact lenses that let us see through basic illusions. “Let’s just go murder a bunch of poor people driven to a life of crime, and torture a magic user to death in the name of science.”

“That is my girl.” I gave her a hug and a peck on the cheeks, ignoring the glare she gave me.

She pushed me off as we go the right alley, the dogs stopping at the corner while the mice went on ahead. Lucy and I followed up in the skies, stopping above the roof of our target as we started to scan for any magic.

We were in one of the nicer parts of the city, though not the area merchants lived in. Rather, it was the area they might frequent. Here was where the well to do merchants set up their homes and businesses. Just a short distance away was the Pearl, the high class brothel of Denerim. And God - or Maker as the local cursing went - had it been embarrassing when Lucy had asked to visit it and I had to ask the guards to figure out the way there. Not that I had issues with prostitution mind, but a noble’s son had quicker and easier ways to scratch that itch than going all the way to a high class brothel, or collecting the money for such a trip.

Point aside, the streets were clean. By the standards of Denerim. The shit was taken away leaving only stains on the ground, and there were no bodies lying around. There was still trash around, but it was mostly shoved up against the walls.

A number of buildings also had guards in front of them, meaning that we couldn’t just kill the two guards standing in front of our target building and go inside. Well we could, but it would raise an alarm. That would be inconvenient. I didn’t want anyone asking questions about what I was doing here. Shutting them up would require actual effort.

“I can’t detect any spells outside.”

Lucy summarized from next to me. I had to agree with that assessment. There was a little bit of magic going on inside, but little enough that Templars could walk by while actively scanning the place and not notice anything. Still, it meant that casting magic outside here could alert those inside to an attack. Of course, we weren’t getting inside without making a ruckus or using a magic. In the end, it was best to alert those who were about to die compared to those I wanted to stay away.

“Agreed. That might change soon. Call the dogs, enter the building as soon as the guards do.”

As I said that, I took out a cheap but clean steel dagger, and sliced my wrist. Blood magic required blood, but it didn’t require you to be dramatic about it. Sure ramming a dagger through your hand in the middle of combat was much more impressive, but it also seemed like it might hurt like a bitch, and would fuck up your ability to use that hand. I much preferred to just draw blood and then quickly heal the wound. Magic meant that I didn’t even have to put up with cutting marks all up and down my wrist.

It took just a second’s chant to make the two guards stiffen, and turn around, opening the door. As they did, the three Mabari rushed in, and Lucy and I flew down, entering the building behind our meatshield. Two of the mice entered the building, transformed into a pair of guards and stepped out, closing the door behind them, while the other four went inside at the front of the procession.

Of course, the two mind controlled guards found themselves having to answer awkward questions from their four compatriots sitting in the room, two reaching for their swords while the two in the back pointed their crossbows. Questions like “why are you coming in early?”. “Why didn’t you signal ahead of time?”, “What are those three Mabari doing here?”, and “By the Maker! Why did you explode in a fountain of blood!?”

Presumably there would have been more questions after that, except the four ravens decided they didn’t feel like being raven, and turned into various mythological monsters, ripping the poor, criminal guards to pieces.

“You know, I thought you brought me along because you needed the back up.” Lucy remarked. “So far I have done nothing, and you haven’t even tried to fight.”

“Hmmm, you have a point.” I agreed. “If you want, you could go back and get a nap. I mostly invited you to make it a bonding exercise, but if you aren’t enjoying yourself, that just leaves having sex here as a way to make it a bonding exercise, and I would rather not fuck amidst a pile of corpses. Just, totes not my fetish.”

“Totes? Really? Totes? You realize how stupid that sounds right?”

“Hey, I’m still figuring out my groove here.” I protested. “Mesa needsa try many things to figures out what fits mesa best.”

“Can’t you just talk like a normal person?”

“Do I, at all, give the impression of being in anyway normal to you?”

“You are quite normal in bed.”

I gasped, clasping a hand to my heart. “Now that was a low blow.”

“More of a small blow.”

We probably would have continued more, except at that point a crossbow bolt thudded into the wall near me. I turned to look to find a trio of men with crossbows falling down, having had their manhood bitten off by Mabari. There were more men with swords and armor coming in behind them, and the dogs were backing up to give themselves more space to fight. The Afrit didn’t appear eager to match people armored in steel with their fists. It appeared that Lucy and I had argued until we ended up losing both the element of surprise and the initiative.

“Ah, well. Grease.”

With that simple word, the guards went from a bunch of guys armed and ready for trouble coming up the stairs to a bunch of guys in armor with metal boots marching up stairs slippery with oil. It took just one of them slipping for all of them to end up in a tangle of limbs atop each other.

“Flame Blast.”

Lucy’s spell following up mine turned them into a bunch of guys lying in a tangle of limbs and on fire. That wasn’t a very healthy position to be in.

“Walking Bomb.”

A single one of them had the life drained out of them, killing them. Then he exploded, taking all of his comrades with him.

“Well, that was messy.” I noted, even as the spirits set about draining the fire away to make sure that the building didn’t burn down. “You four.” I pointed at the four former ravens who were now a minotaur, a sphynx, a tengu, and a beholder. And could I just say, that was a really messed up combination? Because it was. “Go scout ahead so we don’t get attacked again. You don’t have to engage if you find someone, but if someone engages us, attack them from behind.”

The four immediately nodded, turned into clouds of vapor, and flew off to their tasks.

“So Lucy, you feel like coming along, or are you going to head back.”

She considered it for a moment before shaking her head. “I think I’m going to check in on Bianca. Her sister in law is pretty cute too. I wonder if I can seduce her. She looks like she would be fun in a threesome.”

“I’m trying to establish friendly relations with Bianca. Cucking her brother won’t help with them.”

“So sleep with her too. She can’t protest about you fucking her sister in law if she is doing the same in a foursome.”

Well, I supposed that could work. Not sure how I would pull that off though, but I could always try at least.

“Well, good luck with your stalking.”

“It isn’t stalking you philistine. It is voyeurism.”

I laughed as she flew off before landing next to Alistair, and petting my adorable dog. I let the two Afrit walk slightly ahead of us as we went to explore the building.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I won’t bore you with the details of the fights. As we got further into the tunnels, the more just tossing vortex bombs at problems and ripping our opponents to pieces became a solution. I felt bad about mass slaughtering the Mabari, but I hadn’t brought along the resources to experiment with altering the imprinting they had on themselves. Plus I think Alistair would be jealous if he had to share me. Well, unless it was with a bunch of bitches.

“Maybe next time boy.” I petted him consolingly. “We will get you a proper harem next time.”

He woofed in agreement as we passed the pile of bodies, four unfortunate Foliots getting tasked with cleaning up the mess that we left behind, and disposing of the corpses. They would get help once we moved on to removing the various smuggled and stolen goods, but until then they were on their own.

Eventually we reached the end of the building, a singular room where stood the head of the organization. He was a blood mage in his early fifties, wearing a dark black robe covered in red patches of dried blood, as well as a rather large, still wet patch of fresh blood. He held a large wooden staff as tall as himself in one hand, and was clutching a bloody dagger in the other. At his feet was a corpse of a beaten and battered woman, dead presumably of the large hole where her heart used to be. As a product of this great sacrifice, there stood proudly a pair of Rage Demons, essentially two fire elementals that almost managed to take on a humanoid form, slightly taller than a man, and with barely any intelligence. They glared at me with great malevo-

You know what? Fuck it. I can’t do this. They were two barely sentient balls of mildly hot fire. Had a twelve year old summoned them up with a bit of silver dust and some incense and bound them to his will? That would have been impressive. For a man with near on 4 decades of experience with the arcane arts to require a sacrifice of a human life to barely control them? I was quite tempted to just kill the fucker on the stop and damn how it would turn my night into a waste of time.

“Why have you come, intruder?”

He yelled in an overly dramatic croak even as I took in the eight guards that stood protecting him. Eight 100% mortal guards, because Heaven Forbid - or would that be Golden City Forbid? - that a mage practicing the art of demon summoning be able to conjuring up some demons to act as his guards.

“Because you are a blood mage in Denerim, and you aren’t a hot woman.” I told him. Really, just because his very presence was a stain on the pride of mages everywhere didn’t mean that I had to be rude. “I will go after them too in due time. But well, you know how it is when you do an experiment. The first few samples always go wrong, usually in painful methods. And it would be just rude and wasteful to subject them to that. So, congratulations, you get to be tortured to death. But it shall be for SCIENCE!”

At the same time that I yelled, I pointed my staff forward. The mage’s lips moved in a chant in response, his own hands moving around as he shook his staff and bloodied knife. The two demons rushed forward, tossing a pair of fireballs at me. And I do mean fireballs. Not a small sphere of fire that explodes in an explosion like a grenade. Simply a soccer ball sized orb of fire that burns. The guards also leaned forward, moving to rush at me, now that the talking had clearly ended.

None of it mattered.

One moment there were 8 mortal guards, standing amongst chairs and tables. The next moment, there were a trio of two meter wide black orbs that contracted in on themselves, leaving behind torn chunks of wood and stone from where the tables, chairs or floor were at the edge of the spheres. There was nothing left of the guards.

The two fireballs impacted against my shields, and did all of jack shit. Did not even have the decency to break my shields so that I could field test the protections of my armor. Or weaken my shields.

A single Djinn - the Minotaur - smashed into the two Rage Demons, his body growing in height as he rushed until his pair of bullish horns were gouging holes in the ceilings. His hands grew very un-bull-like claws as he clasped them around the throats of the two demons, lifting them above the mage and smashing them into the wall behind him. The two demons let out screeches in futility as the life was squeezed out of them, and their necks torn out.

The mage completed his chant, uninterrupted by the noise, and raised his staff with a scream of satisfaction.

My eyes widened in unpleasant surprise as air froze solid around me, and started to squeeze me. Crushing Prison was a powerful spell that simultaneously trapped the target, removing their ability to move, fight, or act, and dealt significant physical damage to them over time. In a fight, getting hit by this unless you were a “boss” pretty much meant that you died.

Of course, the fact that I could casually dictate for you the specific effects and dangers of the spell should indicate that I knew of it ahead of time, and therefore would clearly be equipped to handle it. So no, an actual danger to myself wasn’t why I was surprised. It was that this mage had been able to cast the spell at all. I had grossly underestimated the man, and while I didn’t get hurt by this now, that could get me killed in the future.

I raised a hand, my two shields pushing out against the Crushing Prison. One of the shields shattered, as did the offensive spell, but my motion was unhalted, unopposed as I pointed my hand hand at the mage and flicked my wrist.

A simple wave of telekinetic force threw him sideways, making his hip strike a table and caused him to flip over, landing on the ground. Before he could get up, I landed next to him, and put him to sleep with a simple kick to the head. I needed him alive, not in good mental health. So long as it didn’t kill him in the next couple of hours, I didn’t particularly care if he ended up with a concussion or not.

“Right. You two”, I pointed to the two Afrits in the shape of Mabari still “take on any form you want, and search this place for magical items or valuables. If you find anything, make sure they are undamaged, and bring them here if it is safe for me. If not, keep them where they are, and tell me about the later. You four-” I said, pointing at the four Djinn, “guard me while I set up this ritual. Foliots, help your companions in cleaning up the mess that we made.”

They all set to work, while I set up the experiment. By which I meant that I made the Tengu Djinn strip the mage of anything and everything - checking any cavities he might have hidden things in - and tie him down spread eagle on the floor. The Minotaur Djinn cleared out all tables and chairs around the area. I swear the things were practically set up to make it as hard to move through the room as possible. Almost as if they were there to delay someone getting to the mage.

I didn’t really have much to do. I put a gag in the mage’s mouth so that he wouldn’t bite his tongue if he woke up, grew some wood out of the ground to reinforce his bindings and holding him down, and once I was sure that he was fully immobilized - I made sure he couldn’t even move his fingers - dropped a Heal, Regeneration and Rejuvenation on him, healing him to full health.

The man groaned into the gag as his eyes fluttered open, but he couldn’t even shake himself from side to side. However, he got a full view as I put on a thick, protective pair of gloves, and pulled out a pouch. When I reached into it, my fingers came out blue, covered in Lyrium. The blood mage started to scream into the gag, but I ignored it and got to work, painting a pentagram on his forehead, and a more complex series of lines on his chest and body.

Lyrium was basically liquid mana. It grew as solid crystals in the ground. As in, they literally grew. But once collected, it could be sold as dust, which could be purified into a liquid. People weren’t sure of exactly what it was, whether it was a magical fungus or the blood of a Titan predating the Old Gods of Tevinter and the Elves. What mattered was the properties that it had. Mages could use it to refill their mana. Templars could use it to power their anti-mage abilities. Dwarves and Tranquil could use it for Enchanting, the creation of magical items.

Beyond its uses though, Lyrium was dangerous. The only ones who could safely touch it were the Dwarves and Tranquil who did not dream. Who had no connection to the Fade. Even they could not touch it in large quantities safely without developing mental problems. Anyone else was quickly driven crazy or killed by direct Lyrium expose. It was why only the Dwarves and Tranquil could use it for enchanting. Why only Dwarves could safely mine it.

However, just because it was dangerous did not mean that people did not experiment. Over in Tevinter, a Magister - a ruler of the local Mageocracy - had recently etched lyrium runes onto one of his elven slaves, Fenris. The pain of the process had given Fenris amnesia, robbing him of his memories. However, in exchange he gave anti-magic abilities superior to a Templar, and the ability to enhance his physical capabilities. He had been turned into an insane, barely controlled weapon capable of scaring the other Magisters with the danger that he posed.

Personally I was trying to replicate the experiment, with some modifications. Also, I was hoping to figure out a way to make it not drive the target into having no memories beyond how hard they hated me. But, for that I needed a bunch of disposable targets to experiment on first. Ones that I wouldn’t mind driving insane, as I would just kill afterwards.

Given how the mage attempted to scream and struggle, the process was painful for him.

“Don’t worry. It will be over soon.” I reassured him. “We are almost a third of the way done.”

He did not seem to understand what I was saying as he continued to attempt to move. The most he could do is open and close his eyes and scream. I ignored it. Given the amount of innocents that he had killed, he had long since lost all rights to mercy and forgiveness.

Eventually, I finished, and stood up to enjoy my work. The man had stopped trying to struggle, and was just looking up at the ceiling, tears streaming down his eyes. There was a pentagram within a circle on his forehead, and half a dozen interconnected runes of lyrium on his body.

“Excellent. Now, we just need to do a possession.”

Generally, there are various requirements for summoning demons or spirits. The exact requirements differ from world to world, system to system. Summoning up the spirits of this world though, was trivially easy. Most demons wanted to enter a mortal body and enjoy the human world. You didn’t even need to know their name. Simply open up a passage whereby one could enter a mortal body, and those nearby will practically rush to get to be the one to possess the poor human.

As such, it took only a few seconds to open a small window to the Fade, and a few more before a Rage Demon had entered the mage’s body. At this point though, the spell of my pentagram trapped him, binding him to my will.

“Stay still.” I ordered him, even as another wave of my arm removed the wood holding him down. The Djinn around me stirred, the orders on them causing me to get ready to defend me if needed. “Remove your gag and bindings.”

The Abomination - the official term of a Mage possessed by a Demon - did as ordered, setting his body alight. His skin went unharmed, even as he was surrounded by a fire hot enough to scorch the stone beneath him. The gag in his mouth and clothes around his wrists and legs did not fare nearly as well, burning to ashes in moments.

“Kneel before me.” I watched with clinical eyes as my orders were obeyed, even as the Abomination’s muscles twitched to disobey me. “I am your lord and master. Do you understand that?”

“I do...my Lord.” The Abomination of Rage growled out, his mouth seemingly moving against his will.

“Good. Now, do you have access to the abilities and powers of the Mage, on top of your own?”

“I do, my Lord. Would you like me to show you?”

“No. You will not use any magic without my express permission.”

He growled, and howled at me, attempting to breath fire, but the flame died inches from his lips in a small wisp.

“Can you tap into the power of the runes on your chest?”

“No.” He growled. “I can not my Lord.”

Hmmm. Did he not figure out how to do it yet, or was that part of the experiment a failure? Would a smarter Demon have a better chance to figure it out?

“I understand. Now, do you have the Mage’s memories?”

“No, my Lord.”

I sighed. This was a failure then. Maybe I should figure out memory preservation before toying with the runes. At least in this world, just having a pet abomination or ten on staff would already make me a serious power even without all else I had access to.

“I understand.” I turned back to the four Djinn around me. “Kill him. Devour both the spirit and his soul. Then clean up the mess.”

I walked away as the Djinn jumped to the task, heading over to the Mage’s clothes and items. Maybe there would be something interesting in there and today wouldn’t have been a waste of sleeping hours.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AN: and so Merlin starts to knock down obstacles, and prop up his own pieces to manoeuvre with. He has a few weeks until Arl Howe shows up at his mansion to try and kill him.






Bianca and her brother - Hakan - accepted my request to become a part of my guards.

Lucy said it ended up putting a strain on Hakan’s marriage with his fiancee though, even before they had gotten married. Apparently most elves in the Alienage grew up with the belief that they should stay away from weapons, and especially stay away from the attention of nobles. Hakan’s decision to not throw away the last reminders of his mother spat in the face of those survival instincts. Of course, having a woman that he didn’t even want to marry yell at him to not do what he decided on only made him more stubborn and confident that he had made the right choice.

Overall, Hakan did not strike a very imposing or impressive figure. He carried their family crossbow on his back, while Bianca had the two Dalish daggers of stabbiness. She looked nice in the fitted leather armor I had gotten her - she needed to build up the strength and stamina before she could use proper guard armor, and it would interfere with her going all ninja in combat - especially after I had had her taken a shower. Struck me more as a ‘hired killer’ than a guard and defender, but that was fine.

As for Hakan, well he was skinny and underfed like his sister. Like her, he didn’t have the muscles or build to look intimidating in his leather armor. Unlike her though, she lacked the boobs and feminine face to still make the appearance look good. But I guess that was what you got when you put someone malnourished in armor. I could only hope that the whole ‘angry elf with a weapon’ thing would intimidate people.

Of course, they weren’t the only people in the room.

There were also a number of house guards, as well as a group of Djinn and Afrits pretending to be 3 bands of mercenaries called the Lusty Wolves, the Playful Kittens - a seemingly all female mercenary band - and the Mounting Centaurs. We also had some Mabari from the Kernels with us, as well as Lucy in the back near the two elves.

“I will keep this short.” I spoke as I stood in front of my the room, leaning on a walking stick even as I wore heavy plate armor. “Denerim has always had a gang problems. Criminals - thieves, rapists, murderers - thinking that they own the city or can flaunt our laws. I am ashamed to say that many nobles - including my own family - ignored them, so long as they did not disturb our own activities. Not only did this lead to the suffering of the common folk, these criminals have grown bold. Bold enough to murder my own brother in cold bold in the middle of a street!”

And if the murder had actually been done by criminals instead of a group of summoned spirits, I would be buying them beers instead of using this as an excuse to clean up the streets.

Bianca and Hakan looked uncomfortable as they protested against the brutal and undeserved murder of my kind, caring and brilliant brother by these common thugs. Odds were fairly good that when the entire Alienage had gotten drunk from “sadness over the tragic loss”, they had actually been celebrating. Quietly at home so as to not force me to pretend to be upset at them.

“This will no longer be tolerated!” I started pacing back and forth, gesticulating as I spoke. “Their barbarism against decent and honest common folk will no longer be tolerated!”

Nor will it be tolerated against the 90 % of the common folk population who are not honest.

“That is why I have set up a network to start tracking down these gangs. Some of them employ mages; their locations have been sent to the chantry to root them out.”

In hindsight delaying taking care of this problem so that I could experiment a bit more had been foolish. You do not fuck around with criminal mages, especially not blood mages. You stamp them out where they exist, they go back and cut off the heads of the corpses and set them all on fire, just to be sure. Besides, these were people who drew power from human sacrifice. Letting them exist a week longer so that I could experiment would result in that many more people being ritually killed.

Given how often I change up my plans, I can’t help but wonder if I’m bipolar. Did I take a bipolarity weakness and forget about it? … Nah, probably just the side effect of only considering the consequences of my actions after I had started acting on them.

“For the rest, we will be striking their bases, one and two at a time using superior numbers to crush them. We have two goals; to completely dismantle these groups, as well as to avoid any casualties. That means we will be going in carefully. It is preferable to let some of our foes escape than risk serious injury.”

After all, it was expensive to become a serious criminal gang. And those resources could not be moved easily. The hit to a reputation would also hurt their connections. Though to minimize strains, I made sure to start striking at the less connected gangs first. This way any nobles would have time to notice what was going on and pull out their investments. I was hoping to minimize pissing off too many of them. Though if any got seriously upset? Well, I would just have to deal with them personally.

“That said, we will be moving in a quick and organized manner to maintain the element of surprise. We will be striking the first large gang as a group. From there, we will split up and strike places one at a time as according to the plan that I have already discussed with the leaders of each squad.”

Granted, I fully expected at least one or two of those leaders - if not all - to be receiving bribes on the side and would have passed on this information. That was fine. If the gangs dispersed and hid in their homes, it just made it easier for spirits to murder them in their sleep without raising an alarm.

I now run Denerim. That means I need to get the city into a shape that I don’t find insulting. Even if that ends up delaying my fun plans.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Great Cleansing of Denerim did not even last a week. By the second day, many gangs had gotten the hint and dispersed, going into hiding and abandoning their bases. By the third day, organized crime had gone completely into hiding.

A lot of the more powerful groups got out of the purge unharmed. Only to end dead in their beds, stabbed through the eyes with their own ribs, or with their heads sitting on their dining tables. That ended up finally putting rage and fear into these groups, upset over the violation of unwritten rules that kept the peace in Denerim. Or whatever other bullshit they sprouted. Frankly, but the time they grokked on that they were being hunted in their homes, two days had passed - that was what happened when you went into hiding, you didn’t know what happened to others who were hiding - and only a small fraction of them remained, too dispersed to even have time to organize. The smart ones ended up leaving the city, while the dumber ones stayed and died.

Of course, it wasn’t as if incessant killing of these criminal groups was enough to stop all crime in Denerim.

A lot of crime came from children or people who were starving, and just needed a few coppers or a slice of bread to survive the next day. Since I refused to chop off the hands of starving children and watch them bleed to death over a very small meal, our crackdown did not help with this type of crime.

Other crime came from the official city guards - as opposed to my house’s guards that I had led around - who were as corrupt as a medieval city guard. Sadly a lot of them were bastard sons of nobles, so excessive violence was also not a politically acceptable option. Or at least that was what people told me.

All of this was not even getting into crimes of passion, or just general violence that came from poor people growing up in a society where they didn’t learn any better.

All were institutional problems that could not be fixed with the pointy end of a sword, or a snap of one’s finger and a flexing of magical power. Well, not unless one wanted an Exalted March - the local version of the Crusade - declared on one’s person.

Which was why I had ended up having the idiotic idea of having a meeting with Anora, the queen of Ferelden.

“Thank you for meeting me, your majesty.”

I greeted the young queen with a courteous bow while subtly checking out her supple breasts, covered as they were by her clothes. And by subtly, I meant that my eyes were on her face the entire time. I was simply wearing scrying glasses that projecting said bountiful view onto themselves, allowing me to check her out at the same time. What? What was the purpose of magic if you couldn’t use it to be a pervert with maximum efficiency?

Anora wasn’t some great saint of beauty. Nor was she ugly precisely. She had a rather comely face, unmarred by any injury, but also rather lacking in all but the most basic of makeup, aside from some eyeshadow. Presumably her maids were too tired to make an attempt at prettying up her face after having to put her hair into the ridiculous braid spun around the back of her head that she kept her long, blond hair in. Long blond hair that was kept wrapped up so that it looked shorter than shoulder length. Except, instead of cutting it to shoulder length like a sane person, she maintained this illusion with a hairstyle that presumably took an hour or more work each day.

She had on expensive and modest clothes, a dress of light blue that left much up to the imagination, with its arms colored pink. She had a wide band of golden silk wrapped around her waist, and another, thinner one around the collars of her dress, because heaven forbid that someone might through some divine providence catch a brief glimpse of her lower neck. Not that I was sure why they would want to. While her breasts were rather large and bountiful - or at least the relevant area of her dress had two large mounds in it - they had already started sagging, hanging somewhat lower than might be ideal.

In contrast to her, I wore simple pants and a sweater, the whole set in a combination of crimson red and dark blue that created a clashing and rather poor image in my humble opinion. Still, it was all the rage these days, and at least the material was of fine make so it didn’t feel bad to wear. I also had the Amulet of Samarkand around my neck beneath it, a ruby-tipped pimp cane, and two golden rings in case I was forced to defend myself.

“Greeting, young Merlin. I am sorry to hear about your brother? It was such a shame, what happened to him.”

Her voice as she spoke was rather chilly and disapproving. I took a moment to run the situation through my head. My brother was brutally murdered in a hereto unknown level of blatant criminal violence. Then, I, the main beneficiary of his brutal murder, immediately move in with maximum efficiency to eliminate anyone that might have been related to committing the murder.

Okay, I can see how it looks like I might have killed him to become the heir.

It was completely ridiculous of course. I killed him so that I wouldn’t have to feel bad about all the people he was hurting while carrying my name. As if I would kill for a political position. Please! I would be willing to murder to not have this position. You know, so long as someone vaguely competent would be taking my place.

“I thank you for your kind words, your grace.” And I will be sure to return them when your husband comes down with a terminal case of death by father-in-law. “I’m sure he would have been honored to hear that he was in your thoughts.” Well, ‘honored’ wasn’t the word I would associate with my brother, and her thoughts wasn’t how he would prefer to be inside of her.

“Quite.” She agreed with a raised eyebrow.

Wait. Was this the part in the social niceties where I was supposed to complement her? Oh, damn. Quick brain, think of something… Okay, now think of something that is socially appropriate.

“May I ask how the war is going your grace? Last I heard, your husband, with your father’s advice, was heroically leading our nation to victory against the Blight. However, I have been rather preoccupied recently, and am ashamed to say I haven’t heard much news of the front.”

“Yes, I have heard about your preoccupation.” She noted in a grim tone. “You have caused quite a stir in the city, marching around with your, ah, soldiers, valiantly slaying common criminals.” She paused, and let out a huff of annoyance. “The news is still much as you have heard. My husband and father continue to crush the Darkspawn beneath their valor and cunning. Much as you have done here in the streets of Denerim, though I understand the Darkspawn are slightly stronger than the average street thug.”

Yup, she totally did not like me. “No all of us can be as brave and loyal as the mighty Loghain Mac Tir, your majesty.”

“I can see that.” She replied in a clipped tone. She paused for a moment, as if weighing her options, before turning around. “Come with me, Heir Kendells. We can discuss whatever it is that you wish in my room.” She spoke before marching up with at a steady pace that I had trouble keeping up with my limp. As I did, I studiously ignored the eight guards following along. Or the two maids walking with a level of grace and stealth more appropriate on assassins.

And so we left the entryway of the palace, a simply decorated structure made of thick and hardy stone. The rugs we walked on were fancily decorated, but they were also thick and tough, capable of enduring the wear and tear of traveling feet. There were a few paintings in the hallways, but far more guards and standing armors. The impression it sent was less ‘look at how refined and sophisticated our wealth makes us’, and more ‘look at how good we are at murdering you’. Really, if it weren’t for how open the main hallway of the palace was - a necessity so that more nobles could fit in to yell at each other during a Landsmeet - I would have called the place a castle instead.

The room Anora guided me to was different though.

On a first glance, it did not appear to be designed for tactical advantage in a fight. It had a long table in the middle, fit to hold over a dozen people that only had a little bit of tea and cookies at both ends of it. It was made of wood, and carved with various images of wartime heroics. The plates and cups themselves were silver and also carved in a fancy manner. The chairs were well decorated, and had cushions for comfort.

The rest of the wide room was rather open, with plenty of space to walk around. One wall was dominated by a large window half covered in gold colored curtains that allowed in the light. The rest were decorated by paintings of Ferelden’s kings and various heroic achievements of theirs. There was also a painting of Andraste, directly opposite the window, placed high and right behind Anora as she took a seat.

It looked like even if she didn’t like me, I at least had enough status to deserve a proper reception. Though if things were like this, it might be intelligent to not antagonize her so much.

“You may sit.” She intoned in a regal manner, waiting for me to take a seat before sipping her drink. “So, what is it that you wished to discuss?”

“I was hoping to cut down crime in Denerim.”

“I thought that was the purpose of your roving murder band?” She raised an eyebrow in a… fuck it, my life was messed up enough without trying to read motives into each word and action. She raised an eyebrow, trying to hint at something I supposed. “Certainly you weren’t doing it just to play soldier.”

“Groups of mens with swords stabbing and threatening people are only responsible for some crimes. Many crimes are done by the desperate; the hungry and the poor, who have to make a decision between stealing some food, and starving to death. I’m not comfortable going around killing people because they have no food.”

“But you were comfortable killing those organized gangs?”

“Very.” I nodded. “They weren’t just murderers of my brother. They were destabilizing Denerim, and making the bad lives of the common folk even worse.”

“A noble who cares about the common folk. How rare.” Her tone was rather dry as she spoke, presumably meant to imply something. “And I suppose you have a plan on how to solve this problem?”

“Of course!”

No, I’m just here to both of our time. Of course I have a plan! While I don’t mind wasting your time, my time is valuable.

“It isn’t anything complicated. Whether the poor receive food for honest work, are just given food, or steal it, so long as they are not dying, they are consuming around the same amount of food. The food stores of Denerim don’t start decreasing slower just because some of our citizens are getting their food via crime. The difference is that they are also causing harm at the same time. Hurting others, making people have to hire more guards whose sole job is to stop thefts, making businesses less productive. If you just run the numbers, you will find that simply handing out food to these people so that they don’t have to steal it would make the city better off.

“Of course, such a plan has a problems. For one, it would encourage the common folk to be lazy. To not work and simply receive government handouts. It would create resentment in those who work for their meals. Similar issues. So, instead I suggest the third option; hiring them. We start various government programs where we hire lots of these common folk to improve the place. Repair the roads. Develop proper sewage systems. Clear out abandoned buildings so that they can be rebuilt. There are a lot of tasks that could be done to improve the city. We would be lowering crime at the same time.”

“I see.” Anora nodded, having finished her tea while I was talking. She had been nibbling on a cookie, and was halfway done with it. I took a sip of my own tea now that I had a chance. “And I suppose you wish for the crown to pay for this project of yours?”

“Nonsense.” I shook my head. “Due to my recent activities, I have seized a large amount of contraband. I figured House Kendells could run this project. After sending all weapons among the contraband to the nation’s armory, I can use the rest to pay for a number of projects. Any profits derived from them can then be cycled back into more projects. After all, as Arl of Denerim, it is my task to run the city. It is merely that as the capital of the nation I need the crown’s permission for such projects.”

Of course, me being able to run the entire project would mean I would be free to hire elves from the Alienage and pay them fair prices. That it would help me get into Bianca’s pants without force, threat or buying my way in was just icing on the cake… and most of the cake besides.

“And I suppose House Kendells would take a small amount of profits off the top?” Anora asked in an innocent tone. “Nothing just of course, just enough to be fair.”

I shrugged. This was a nation where national finances were measured in the thousands of gold coins. I could casually whip that up in an hour. Making a profit off of this venture - beyond the form of elven pussy - did not even make the list of my priorities. Well, maybe as a way to justify why I suddenly had so much gold coins. Maybe.

“As Arl of Denerim, merely improving the lives of my citizens is profit enough.” I told her.

The bitch rolled her eyes at that. I bit into a cookie. “Of course, I’m sure.” She said in a tone that had a touch of condescension in it. “The crown finds your plan pleasing. In fact, it finds it so pleasing that the crown will be implementing it instead. Bring your acquired contraband and loot to the palace, and we shall take care of things.”

Ah, the stealing the idea and the credit for helping the people venture. Eh, that means you still have to do all of the work. Jokes on you. “Of course, your majesty.” I gave her a small nod of my head. “I shall have it done within the next two days.”

After that we both exchanged a few pleasantries and then I left, having a mutually beneficial agreement where I did nothing, and my city improved. Yes, life was good as a noble.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Of course, the fact that my projects back in Denerim had been hijacked meant that I was free to raid Haven.

“Really? This is where they buried female Jesus?” Lucy asked as the two of us appeared on a snowy mountain in the middle of nowhere. “At least this Urn of Sacred Ashes is real, right?”

“No, I took us to freeze our assess in the middle of nowhere, and fight a bunch of cultists and a Dragon for a bunch of ashes that don’t exist.” I rolled my eyes. “Yes, it exists. And just a pinch can heal anything short of death. Though that isn’t why we aren’t getting it.”

“I know.” She said, grabbing hold of her staff. “I remember the plan.” Even as we spoke, a warm wind blew and the snow stopped falling. The snow stopped melting at our feet, and grass started growing around us. “I’m just not sure how much benefit we will derive from it.”

“I don’t either. I don’t have any references to go off of, except for the words of one cultist who couldn’t tell the difference between fem!Jesus and a Dragon.”

It was just the three of us; me, Lucy and Alistair. Neither of us was wearing our usual outfit.

Lucy for her part had gone shopping in the Wonders of Thedas, a store for mages and magical goods being run in Denerim. Turns out no one bats an eye when a young girl - known to work for a noble - buys some Tevinter mage clothes, claiming her master wants to roleplay fucking a Tevinter mage into submission. That was how she had gotten the Reaper’s Vestments, a traditional Tevinter mage outfit worn by a famous apostate that had been long on the run. It had warm, fur shoulder pads, leather bracers, no sleeves, a short skirt with thigh high socks, a modest neckline, and the entire outfit was a mix of blue and brown with golden strings and rings tying it all together. Of much greater interest, was that it had been heavily enchanted, granting a resistance to magic in general, fire on top of that, acted as powerful armor, made the wearer more agile when dodging, as well as heartier. The Ring of Ages - a golden ring that granted resistance to all of the elements - and Wintersbreath - a powerful wooden staff releasing a small bit of cold that granted resistance to cold, and increased cold damage - were just the icing on top.

Of course, I had enchanted all three items. The staff had been easy enough. I had simply sealed in an Afrit level Water Elemental, increasing the power of the staff’s attacks, and its ability to increase cold and water based spells. The Vestment had an Afrit level Air Elemental trapped in it, capable of manipulating air both to help her move as well as to defend against attacks. The Ring had a regular Marid trapped in it, bound to drain any hostile magic directed at her.

Beyond that was the cloak from before, allowing her flight and invisibility. She also had contact lenses allowing her to see magic and see through illusions. It was not close to a complete set, but it ought to be enough for what we were here to do. Heaven knows, she was probably better armed than the Warden might be at the end game when facing the Archdemon.

For myself, I was wearing the safe equipment as I had on the night of the first raid. None of that fancy heavy armor nonsense. Just magical resistance, invisibility, flight, magical shields, and a staff of doom. The only addition were a pair of earrings bound with powerful spirits to replicate an effect that Jane had performed in the canon books. It was something I should have done on the first night instead of blood magic. The ability to befuddle the target’s mind, make them wish to please you, obey you. Not as dramatic, but far more subtle than blood magic.

Lastly was Alistair. Naturally his collar had also been enchanted, granting him magical resistance. He also had two runes in war paints done on him, one granting him flight, and the other invisibility and the ability to create illusions of Mabari. Really, it was a shame I hadn’t gotten him the Assassin specialization to top things off.

“So this might have been a waste of time?”

I cocked my head, counting things up. “Enough materials for 2 sets of Drake Armor. Multiple mages to experiment on. An amulet that improves blood magic. An Arcane Warrior sword that you can channel magic through. A motherfucking Dragon. And various miscellaneous items. No, even without the Urn, this place can be quite profitable.”

“Is your experiment on mages really that valuable?”

“Maybe in the medium run. Making your enemies into your obedient servants by turning them into souped up Abominations has to have some uses. So ready to do this?”

“What? Desecrate an ancient and sacred temple for quick material gain?” Lucy grinned as she lifted off the ground and started to slowly float above it. By this point, the snow had completely melted around us, that there was a ten meters wide patch of flowers growing where we stood. “Sure. Sounds like fun.”

“There is also the fact that once we clear out the temple we can take over it.” I pointed out. “Just trap a few spirits in it, and we can have a sapient temple serving us where we can magic it up.”

“Okay, that is a good point.” Suddenly she was much more eager. “Okay, let’s do this then.”

I grinned. “Sure. Just follow my lead. We need to handle things diplomatically.”

Both of my companions snorted at the notion. Honestly, that was a bit upsetting. I thought Mabari were supposed to be more loyal than that.

It didn’t take long until we were flying over Haven, the people coming out to observe the strange weather. Haven was a small town. Not that that was surprising. It was located atop of a mountain, with limited farmland. It was also rather cold here, further limiting their ability to farm food. They were also a town that insisted on absolute separation from the outside world, which robbed them of the ability to import food. All in all, Haven had trouble producing food for its current population, let alone growing. Really, the only time the people here ate well was when an outsider came by, and ended up taking a dive into the cooking pots.

I ignored the few malnourished locals and the bleeding and stumbling Redcliff guard walking around the hovels of the town, instead observing the area. There were 4 paths leading out of the town proper. There was the road down the mountain, a poorly maintained, long, winding path that was one could use to travel to the outside world. There was another path that led out to the cemetery, though there were only a few tombstones there. Considering this town had been here for a little over 900 years, I felt fairly confident that the vast majority of people did not end up getting buried there, though I had no idea what the criteria was for being deserving of an eternal resting place. The third path led to the nearby farms where they grew their food. Presumably they had extra stores in case of a poor harvest or some disaster, else pure statistics would have ensure they died out long before now. The last path was straight and wide, even having stairs as it led further up the mountain. There were tall wooden archers across it at various positions, clearing marking it as a path of importance. At the end of said path sat a small church, the most well maintained and fanciest building in town, made out of stone and glass.

It was to the church that we flew, soaring undetected through the sky and bypassing the men hidden along the path and watching for any strangers that might be stumbling into the village.

This being a religious village, it wasn’t that surprising that there was a sermon going on, with most of the citizens gathered inside. I considered pausing for a moment to listen to the preaching going on, before recalling that I was a godless heathen. Instead, I broke my invisibility, put on a pair of sunglasses, kicked open the door and strolled inside.

“What up, me homies?”

Everyone just stared in pure awe at my rapier sharp wit. Lucy and Alistair joined in at my side, though only Lucy broke invisibility. Alistair created an illusionary Mabari on my right, and strolled on my left.

“Stranger. Why do you interrupt the prayers of the faithful?

The priest was a middle aged man, in his early forties. He was hearty and strong. He had the robe and staff of a Tevinter mage, but the muscles of a serious athlete. At the very least he wasn’t suffering from malnourishment in this village. Around him stood the ‘faithful’, a gathering of common farm folk wearing simple clothing that were stepping away from, but glaring at us.

“I’m a noble.” I told him with a shrug. “Being a dick to people for no reason is practically in the social contract.” I flashed him a smile, but he didn’t give me one in return. Eh, not everyone can have a sense of humor. “I’m here to defile blast my way through Andraste’s temple, steal her Ashes, mind control the Dragon that you all believe is her reborn, and ride off into the sunset like a conquering asshole.”

“Hero.” Lucy interrupted. “You mean conquering hero.”

“Isn’t that just another word for asshole?”

“No, heroes accomplish grand things. Assholes are just jerks.”

“So heroes are basically very successful assholes?”

“That, and they are on your side.” She agreed. “If they aren’t on your side they are just assholes.”

“Ah, gotcha.” I turned back to the priest. “And fly off into the sunset like a conquering hero. So, I was wondering if you could tell me which way it was to her temple?”

“Kill them.” The priest yelled, drawing upon his magic.

The innocent worshippers around us all stood back, as if uncertain of what to do. Sure they were normally quite fine with rushing in to beat an innocent traveler to death and cannibalize him, but that was when they weren’t under the effect of hostile mental magic telling them to chill out.

Too bad the priest was too powerful to be put under by such a wide area effect. Instead, Alistair had to growl, neutralizing his spell, and making him stagger. Before he could recover, I whacked him in the stomach, knocking the air out of him. A trio of wooden branches shot out of the ground, wrapping around him, and trapping him immobile. Lucy disarmed him, while one branch wrapped around his mouth, stopping him from speaking.

“I’m terribly sorry about all of this.” I said in a sincere tone. Or at least it would sound sincere to their befuddled minds. “I’m certain that this is all just a terrible misunderstanding. I would appreciate it if you could all leave so that I can discuss things with your priest in peace.”

“But we haven’t had third mass yet.” A woman protested, looking rather upset at the idea.

“I’m sorry.” I apologized, giving them all a bow. “I’m sure Andraste and the Maker will forgive you given the circumstances. Please, you can continue where you left off tomorrow, when everything will return to normal.”

They all nodded at that, and slowly filed out. The priest’s eyes scanned from side to side in a wild look, moans coming through his wooden gag, as if trying to say something. Presumably to stop his suicide squad’s exodus.

“Is this fine?” Lucy asked once they exited. “Now that they are gone, they will warn the warriors outside.”

“I would rather not kill them when I am in the wrong. Now, if they come back armed and rearing for a fight, then they will be in the wrong, and my conscience won’t have any issues.”

“If you say so.” Lucy shrugged, and waved her staff, shooting a blast of water at the wall and the door that froze it. “I still would prefer not to get interrupted.”

“Same.”

I agreed, pulling out a small bit of Lyrium from my pocket. It was true that the Enchanting perk only gave me a limited around of Lyrium, but nothing was stopping me from buying more at the Wonders of Thedas. Or keeping some of the Lyrium that had been in our loot. This time I used a brush coated in the Lyrium.

“So, father. Can I call you father? Excellent.” I smiled down at the kind and understanding man. “So, father. The last time I turned a mage into an Abomination, I used a Rage demon. It worked well enough, and I managed to bind the demon to my will, but it wasn’t very intelligent, you know?”

He let out somewhat louder moans in understanding. That, or it was because my Lyrium coated paint brush had touched his forehead.

“Oh, don’t worry about the Lyrium brush. It won’t hurt a bit.” I paused for a moment as I looked at the tears in his eyes. “Or I guess not. I take that back. Don’t worry Father, it will hurt like a bitch.”

“I don’t think that is as comforting as you were hoping it to be.” Lucy noted from behind me as she observed the process.

“Well, I wasn’t going to die to him.” I said, getting back to my work. “So, where was I? Ah, yes. Rage Abominations make for stupid Abominations. Now, I’m sure you understand the importance of having intelligent minions. That meant that I couldn’t work with Rage Abominations. Not out of mages, that is just a waste of resources. So, I needed to find a smarter species of demons to use. The problem with that, of course, is that a smarter Abomination might find a way through my bindings. So, I had to figure out a way to get a smarter demon who would not try to slip its bonds.”

I paused there, stepping back to observe my work. The pentagram on his forehead was perfect, and it was contained in a perfect circle for extra containment. I nodded in satisfaction. Now I just needed to add some basic decorations.

“So then, I did the logical thing. There were four species of demons, and I considered all of them. After a bit of thought, I ended up arriving at the Sloth Demon. It is stronger than a Rage Demon - not exactly what one would call an achievement - but more importantly, they are both more powerful, and too lazy to think their ways around a binding. It is a brilliantly logical conclusion if I say so myself.”

The priest had started drooling at this point, and his body had stopped struggling, simply crying where he knelt, tied up by magical vines.

“So, congratulations, you get to be a Sloth Abomination.”

As I finished my work, I started chanting, growing flowers out of the ground. It took a minute, but eventually they formed a circle and pentagram around the priest, and another pair of circles around myself and Lucy. Sloth Demons were powerful after all. There was no need to be careless.

People started banging on the door at this point, but I ignored it and started chanting. It wasn’t like a group of regular humans could easily break down Lucy’s idea. It was more practical to take my time doing this experiment properly.

Like with most summonings, there was nothing grand or majestic about it. Just one guy standing in position, doing a rote recitation of voices and words. It wasn’t some great ritual to work a miracle, simply calling up a spirit from beyond reality. Neither was there a dramatic light or sound when the summoning finished. The priest’s eyes simply rolled into the back of his head, and then rolled back out again. The pentagram and circle that had been drawn in Lyrium on his head burned into his skin, branding him with the mark in a bright blue tattoo.

“Hello, Abomination Eirik.” I waved a hand, and the vine in his mouth shifted, twitching out of it, allowing him to speak. “Can you hear me?”

“I hear you, mage.” He growled out in a slow, deep tone. “Why have you bound me?”

“I am now your master.” I told him, calmly. Behind me, axes had started being introduced to the door and ice behind it, cracking and cutting into them. Huh, looked like they did bring back a bunch of warriors to attack us. Shame. “I bind you to protect me, and to obey me in all matters.”

The Abomination growled, its eyes glowing an emerald yellow color before it quieted. “As you wish, my master.” The eyes continued to glow though, and as they did the Lyrium lines on its forehead changed color, turning green as well.

“Very good.” I nodded, and stepped out of my circle. “You may now release yourself. The mage girl next to me - Lucy - and the Mabari next to me - Alistair - are my allies and are not to be harmed.”

“As you wish.” The Sloth Abomination agreed readily, and casually stood up, ripping apart the vines holding it until now as if they were not there. He lifted his hand, his dropped staff flying into it, before strolling out of the circle to stand before me. “What do you wish of me?”

“Do you have the mage’s memories? Do you have access to his power?”

“Yes, my master. I know and can do all that the little mage could.”

“Good.” I nodded. It was so kind of Father Eirik to provide me with all of his knowledge about Haven and the real temple up on ahead. “Is Brother Genitivi here?”

Eirik pointed at a wall in the church. “There is a hidden door there. He is behind it. He had been lamed, but kept alive.”

“I see.” I wasn’t sure what to do with that knowledge exactly. Having Abomination Eirik with me meant that I did not need Genitivi to let me into the temple, but I didn’t want to just kill off the guy either. “When the people of Haven break through here, make sure they don’t bother us. I don’t care if you kill them or just disperse them, but remove their ability or drive to hinder us.”

“As you wish.”

Eirik nodded, and lifting his staff, chanted to create a Glyph of Repulsion behind the door. Then, he stood back, leaned on his staff, and waited.

“Lucy, could you go and get Brother Genitivi?”

“Sure. Come on Alistair.”

The girl nodded cheerfully, easily commanding my Mabari along as if it was her he had been imprinted on. Honestly, it was almost like the dog had decided that Lucy was my wife or something.

I ignored the politicking with the religious fanatic charity case, instead focusing on observing how my newest project performed in battle. He did not disappoint.

The local warriors were Reapers. This was a rare style of combat involving the use of Blood Magic by non-Mages. At least the local version involved imbibing Dragon Blood to gain a fraction of a Dragon’s potential, and then forcefully pushing one’s body to fulfill that power. The result could simply be described as gaining great power at the cost of destroying one’s body. It had a few other tricks, like drawing on death around oneself to gain strength, but the point was that a Reaper was able to temporarily gain superhuman capabilities by shaving away their life.

When the door finally shattered, a trio of Repears burst through, ignoring the fragments of wood and ice as they sailed through the air, screaming war cries as they swung their swords and axes. Their faces and bodies distorted as they passed over the Glyph of Repulsion, but their momentum was too great, forcing their way through the Glyph, even as their cries turned to confusion as they flew at Eirik, the local priest.

And then Abomination Eirik cast a Glyph of Paralysis. The two Glyphs touched and practically exploded in a shockwave of magic that flew through the room and out into the air, paralyzing anyone that it came into contact with. Or at least, that was how it was supposed to work. Abomination Eirik shrugged it off without issue. The magic did not even touch me. Everyone else - even Alistair and Lucy - were frozen in place.

“Sleep.”

The Abomination’s voice boomed through the place, and the village’s attackers stopped struggling against their bindings, dropping to sleep even as they stood, held in the air by magic.

“Nightmare.”

Another spell cast, and the fight was over. Some of them woke up screaming. Most, never woke up at all, their minds simply crushed by the pair of spells. The Abomination turned back to me, a grin on his face.

“It is done.”

And it was. When the paralysis wore off, none stayed behind. Those few that were still conscious left as quickly as they could. I would not say they ran - some could only crawl, too scared to remember how to even walk - but they all did their best to get as far away from the literal demon of nightmares as they could.

“I get the feeling we are going to have to have a talk about morals and humane treatment of our enemies.” I noted, doing my best to keep the horror of being the responsible one in a partnership out of my voice. I was not used to this feeling! “For now, good job. Now, what do you know about Haven’s defenses and how to get through?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brother Genitivi gave the impression of an old man. He probably wasn’t even in his fifties though, rather his lifestyle was a lot more book learning, and a lot less hard work, as compared to Father Eirik. Which made it really fucking impressive that he hiked all the way up a mountain covered in snow and without a proper road, by himself, carrying all of his gear.

Yeah, the guy was quite obsessed about locating Andraste’s Ashes.

He was also a really big freaking problem. He wasn’t a fighter or a criminal. He was an honest, likeable fellow. There wasn’t a crime I could pin on him to justify giving him a concussion, let alone killing him. On the other hand, the guy recognized my face. Which meant, that at the very minimum he would know that the new Arl of Denerim was a mage. Something I didn’t want spreading around. If I ended up using the Ashes for my own benefit, he would also have no reason to not fuck me over.

“Thank you, young man. This is very kind of you.”

However, wanting to hide my crimes was not a good reason to kill an innocent man. Which was why I was kneeling next to him, my hands glowing as I set his bent and broken knee back into position. Given how badly it had been broken, even with basic magical healing he should have had a limp for life. I was a Spirit Healer though, and that tended to help when it came to healing more serious injuries.

“It is no trouble Brother. Only doing what is right.”

Even if that meant healing the guy who thought that I had used blood magic to turn a mage into an Abomination and bind him to my will. Which was absolutely ridiculous. I had used magic from out of this world - having come from beyond the Fade - to summon and bind the demon into the mage. Which, was actually worse as far as the Chantry was concerned, than being a ‘mere’ blood mage.

“Still, I thank you once more.” He said, stretching out his legs and testing them. “Now, if you don’t mind me asking, what is a fine, upstanding, young blood mage like yourself doing here in Haven?”

“I heard you were doing research into the Urn of Sacred Ashes, and wanted to talk to you about it.” I told him the complete truth, merely leaving out a few minor details like where I got the knowledge from, or how I only wanted to ask about the geographic location of Haven. “When I got there, I found your apprentice, Wyld killed by a cultist from here. I took care of the cultist, but things got busy in Denerim right afterwards - my brother was assassinated, crime was going out of control - so it took me some time before I could make it here.”

“And you came all this way to talk to me?”

“Not really.” I admitted. “I was just interested in seeing the Urn of Ashes, exploring the temple, and riding the local High Dragon. I have to enjoy the springtime of my youth while it lasts.”

“Yes, he is always this insane.” Lucy said from the side while she watched us. “He is mostly harmless if you aren’t evil though.”

“Mostly harmless?” The good brother asked as he finally stood up, and tested his newly healed leg. “What do you mean mostly?”

Lucy shrugged. “He might give you a challenge but he won’t force you to take it. If you do, it will suck, but the reward will more than make up for the suffering.”

“I see.” Brother Genitivi nodded. “So you won’t kill or torture me?”

“No.” I shook my head. “Though I would prefer if you did not reveal my nature and activities to others.”

He shook his head. “While I am grateful for what you have done, I am a Brother of the Chantry.” He paused, looking me over. “You look like a nice boy. I can put in a good word for you. Especially if you helped retrieve the Urn of Sacred Ashes, I’m sure we could convince the Chantry to forgive you for being a blood mage. You would have to go the Circle of Magi, but it isn’t a bad left.”

“That is most unfortunate.” I turned and started walking towards the back door of the church, all of them following me. “Were you to reveal such a thing, a great many people would die.”

“Is that a threat?” His tone was suddenly hard and harsh. “After all that talk about caring about innocents, you already threaten them with death?”

I shook my head. “It isn’t a threat. Were I to claim I would kill them, or order them killed, that would be a threat. However, that is not what I am saying. I have no interest in bringing harm to innocents. However, Arl Rendon Howe, when he comes to Denerim after having wiped out the Cousland family? He will attempt to hurt a great many innocents. And if I am not there to stop him, he will succeed.” I paused, stopped and turned to look at him. “I will not stop you if you wish to tell the Chantry. However, when Howe comes, blood flows in the street and the poor die by the hundreds, you will know that you caused that. Now, if you don’t mind, I have wish to explore the Sacred Urn of a millenia old woman.”





“So, this is the main temple? It isn’t very impressive.”

I voiced my criticism near immediately after we entered the grand temple. There had been a complex mechanical puzzle serving as a key on the door, but Abomination Eirik was more than capable of opening it. That wasn’t my issue. My issue was with the actual temple itself.

Certainly the hallways of the temple were large. You could march a dozen soldiers down the place and the only obstacle would be the many people wide brazier in the middle of the hall. However, this large size didn’t scream magnificence. It screamed emptiness. It may have been magnificent if filled with people, but without it, it gave off the impression of being lacking.

There were tall, wide columns going down the sides of the hallway, but not many other decorations. Some parts of the temple were cracked and broken, as if the people living here were too lazy to repair it. Or had forgotten how to do so. Which, considering their ancestors were able to build this temple, would be just sad.

“It is a centuries old temple built to hold the Ashes of the prophet.” Genitivi protested. “I never thought I would see it in my life.”

“Actually, it isn’t.” I immediately corrected him. “This is the main temple meant for the teeming masses. If you go to the very end - probably fighting through an army of Dragon worshipping cultists - there is an exit to further up the mountain. A Dragon resides there. If you get through the Dragon, you can reach the true temple where Andraste’s Ashes are kept. Granted, it is guarded by a ghost of one of her companions, and you have to pass a series of trials or be brutally murdered, but if you pass those, then and only then, you are worthy of worshipping Andraste in the resting place of her ashes.”

“You seem to be quite familiar with this place.” Brother Genitivi noted. “Despite having only just arrived.”

“I have my sources.”

We walked for a short bit before the old man stopped, to start exploring the various ancient pieces of rubble located there. “Go on ahead, there is no need to wait up for me.” He said, as he picked up a vase, going on about how ancient and historical the thing was. I resisted the urge to grab it from him and scratch a penis on it. “I am certain you would be much better at dealing with traps than myself.”

I shrugged. “If you say so.” Then, I turned to my pet Abomination. “So, what kind of countermeasures against unwanted guests are there?”

Eirik just pointed behind a set of pillars on either side of us the large brazier near the end of the hallway, that was a short distance from us. Then, he pointed up the stairs just behind the brazier. “Ambush. Humans and drakes.”

Screaming lunatics came rushing out from behind the columns as soon as their presence was revealed. There were half a dozen on either side, armed with swords and axes, plus one mage. Had we gone any further, we would have been hit from behind. Of bigger concern was the quadruplet of archers that came out from hiding atop the stairs, taking position on the flat stop in the middle to shoot down at us.

“Capture the mage, kill the rest.”

I took the time to give the order, even as both Lucy and I flew into the air. Lucy went invisible and flew up towards where the archers were being protected by two more men with swords and shields to take care of that problem.

Eirik threw a fireball at one group of the reapers, the explosion in their midst setting them on fire and knocking them down. The other group reached him at this point, only to stagger back as he used Mind Blast to release a wave of psychic shockwaves that directly assaulted their minds.

The enemy mage raised a protective Mana Barrier around himself, a spell that would negate any magic striking him at the cost of his own mana. He didn’t get a chance for a second round of spells as an invisible, flying Mabari slapped into his chest, knocking him down, and proceeded to start maiming his hands.

Arrows pinked off of my protective shield, their iron tips weakening it but not enough to break through. I ignored them for the moment, instead focusing on the reapers endangering my pet Abomination, even as I contemplated how much time I had wasted giving orders instead of acting. Really, this was the sort of idiocy that gave me a headache whenever I saw it in a movie, TV show or book.

I pulled out a dagger and quickly slit my wrist. Then, before the reapers had the time to collect themselves, drew on my life force and threw down a powerful spell to boil the blood in their bodies. It was one of a very small number of spells that I knew that had no friendly fire, allowing me to hit every reaper around Eirik without harming him. Then, I turned around and flew at the group of archers, letting Eirik mob up here.

The archers were not doing too well. That tended to happen when an invisible, flying mage is shooting two feet long, half a foot wide ice spikes at you. Really, I couldn’t help but get the feeling that I might have gone too far in enhancing Lucy’s staff. It was a good feeling.

Two of the archers were already dead by ice spike to the neck and face respectively. One more was clutching at the spike in his liver, the area and his clothes around it seemingly frozen so that he didn’t have to worry about blood loss, though death by hypothermia appeared to be a legitimate concern, and he had lost control of a good bit of his muscles. The last archer stood behind the two guards with raised shields, seemingly trying to put them between him and where he believed Lucy to be, even as he fired an arrow into the air. It didn’t even come close to hitting her.

“Cone of Cold.”

As Lucy chanted, a cone of frost shot from her fingers, slamming into the three humans and passing over them in an instant. They all stopped, frozen in place, icicles forming on their bodies and places where they held metal - or any exposed region really - suffering from burns. I did not envy them the frost burn that their faces suffered.

They still lived though, so I landed behind them, a long wooden spike forming in my free hand, and proceeded to stab them each in the back of the neck. They fell over dead, while Lucy put another ice spike into the injured guy.

I glanced around to find that the fight was over. The only one left was the mage, and he was trapped in a Force Prison, a variant of Force Cage that did not crush the victim, but instead protected them from all harm while also keeping them trapped. Alistair was standing next to the mage, ready to knock him over if he got out again.

“Exce-”

My victory speech was cut short with a screeching cry, as four Drakes - male Dragons that hadn’t gotten around to growing wings yet, and were simply lizards a person and a half tall - appeared at the top of the stairs. Next to them were more reapers. Presumably, the second half of the ambush that came running as soon as they heard the noise. Looked like it was a good thing we managed to take out the first set of foes in mere seconds.

Well, this is annoying.

The reapers coming at us were armored differently than the rest. Namely, they appeared to be wearing extra thick fur clothing, as if they figured that standing next to Drakes would have them hit by AoE cold attacks, so they should wear some protection against the cold. Given that they were working alongside giant, fire breathing lizards, I was going to put money on them having some protection against fire as well.

With the Drakes, the issue was that I wanted to collect their scales, so I needed to defeat them while limiting the damage. Normally the answer would be crowd control, except the local magic wasn’t very good at AoE crowd control. Possibilities existed, but they were the highest levels of spells. This limited my options to getting in up close and chopping away with a sword, or using out of context tricks.

Out of context it is.

As the group of attacks came rushing down, I tapped the side of my sunglasses. A powerful cone of sunlight blasted out of it, into the eyes and onto the bodies of the reapers and their Drakes. Immediately, their orderly rush turned into chaos.

All of the attackers were blinded at once. Though their fire protections saved them from the first degree burns an unprotected human would have gotten, their eyes had no such protection against the high intensity light. The pain and blindness took them by surprise, which was not conductive to them making it down a long set of stairs - some covered in ice - while running. Their screams of pain turned into the thudding sounds of bodies falling and sliding down stairs.

“Telekinetic Weapons. Combat Magic.”

I cast the two spells and drew my sword, even as the drakes and men slid down below me on the stairs. Telekinetic Weapons was, to be frank, a horribly misnamed spell. It didn’t make your weapons fly around telekinetically to murder your opponents. Instead, it coated your blade and that of your allies in a thin coating of mana that made them better at slicing through armor. Combat Magic on the other hand, simply gave my skill and power with a melee weapon commensurate with my magical capability. Sadly I wasn’t some divine savant of the local magical system, but I had talent, and thanks to body mod, but base stats were already ridiculous.

Armed and ready, I descended on my opponents, even as they ended up in a pile of bodies at the bottom of the stairs, clustered together at the front of the brazier. I certainly did not envy the humans at the bottom of the pile, assuming they survived having a what was likely a few tons of giant lizard lying on top of them. Before they could recover, I closed in, and decapitated the top most of the drakes.

My sword, not being designed for being wielded by an idiot with superhuman strength, did not survive anymore than the Drake did, breaking in half at the strikes. I frowned as I looked down at the stump of a sword that was left, before ramming it into the eyes of another Drake and leaving it there. At least that creature was guaranteed to remain blind now.

It let out a great scream at the wound, striking out with unexpected speed and blasting out a cone of fire. The flames washed off of my shields, dispersed across the ground and the pile of bodies before me. The Drakes came out completely unharmed, but the humans were not so unfortunate, adding light burns to their accumulated injuries. The powerful lunge and bite also did not shatter my shields, but it did push me back, sending me flying into the air where I managed to collect myself.

My companions did not remain inactive. Lucy tossed ice daggers at one of the Drakes, poking large holes in its body. The Abomination in turn tossed down a fireball, exploding the group and setting them more on fire. Presumably, the thinking was that if someone was merely resistant, not immune, to fire, they just needed to be burned longer and harder. That, or it was only interested in doing the minimum required of it, since it then went back to keeping the mage cultist contained.

I deactivated the two spells that I had active, and pointed my staff at the least harmed Drake. It seemed to be the only enemy that was recovering from the shock of the attacks. So I hit it with a vortex bomb.

“Boom. Head shot.”

Apparently mere Drakes were not up to surviving a mini black hole to the face. Granted, it completely destroyed its skull and any resources from there, but in hindsight, the dozens of flights long slide down the stairs, followed by the crash at the bottom probably hadn’t done the quality of the resources any favors. Really, it might save me time and effort to give up on the Drake Scale armor all together. Not like I particularly needed it anyway.

“So, is there a reason that we are fighting them?” Lucy asked as she flew up next to me, continuing to rain spears of ice down on our enemies.

“Well, they are our enemies. They want to kill us, and act on that desire. So they die.”

“No, I mean, why are we the ones fighting them?” She said, pointing at the two of us. “Why not just, I don’t know, call up Cthulhu and let him sort things out? Where is our army of spirits?”

“Well, I knew Brother Genitivi was he-” I stopped talking as I realized how stupid I had been being.

“You didn’t want to appear before Chantry boy.” Lucy summarized. “Because the whole creating Abominations and binding them to your way, or the thing that we are about to do to the Ashes of Andraste that I’m only vaguely alluding to because of your obsession with this,” she paused to make air quotes, “‘4th wall’ clearly doesn’t scream capital E Evil Blood Mage.”

“Well, when you actually spell it out, it doesn’t sound a bit really fucking stupid.”

“Right.” She agreed, the spells from our two staffs finishing up the last of our foes. “So, how about you create another Abomination, and then we get around to solving our military problem.”

“Sure. Just let’s make sure we don’t get interrupted first.”

We flew down over to Abomination Eirik, landing next to him and the now sleeping mage that was getting stripped completely of anything and everything. I decided to join in on the proactivity, drawing a dagger and stepping behind him to shave his hair as I talked.

“So, are there anymore of them waiting out here?”

“There are none.” The Abomination said.

“How long will it be before the next batch arrives?”

“They rotate guard positions every six hours. We should still have a couple of hours until the next group shows up.”

“Good.” I nodded. “Guard against any interruptions just in case. On that note, what is this guy’s name?”

“His name is Petros, but people call him Frosty.” The Abomination replied.

Huh. I wasn’t sure where the name came from. Frosty was bald - courtesy of yours truly - with a lack of flab but also a lack of developed muscles. Really, once stripped of his warm clothing, he seemed to be in need of a more calorie intensive diet. Beyond that he was short - just over five feet - and carrying many scars and burns. Definitely not stereotypical mage material.

“Where did the name come from?”

“When he was fourteen, a group of girls built a snowman, and dared him to fuck it. They offered to sleep with him if he did.” The Abomination said, showing a sadistic grin. “The boy was a virgin, so of course he agreed. I remember lecturing him on his stupidity while healing the frostburn on his manhood and balls. While I was able to save his manliness, he had trouble peeing, let alone with more rigorous usage of the tool for the next few months. He got stuck with the name by the girls when they found out he couldn’t collect his prize. The name stuck around.”

“Wow, people in this town are dicks.” Lucy commented, before turning to me. “Do you think we can pick up these girls on the way home? They sound like they would make fun maids.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

“Well, okay, no, that would be stupid.” She admitted. “I just thought that doing stupid things was our modus operandi for Haven, and wanted to get in on the planning. Sorry, didn’t realize stupid plans were your job.”

I sighed. “You aren’t going to let go of this are you?”

“I will, eventually. Presumably when something more interesting I can focus on comes along. So if you want me to stop taunting you, go forth and make my life interesting.”

“Should have brought Bianca.” I muttered, even as I cast the spell to grow vines that wrapped around our sleeping prisoner, stretching out his arms and keeping him in place. “She would be more respectful.”

“Or run screaming about the evil Blood Magics.” Lucy pointed out. “You are going to have to fuck her brains out until she is too hooked on sex to give it up before she will overlook the Blood Magic thing. Well that, or show that it can be of good to her people. I don’t think they care too much for the Chantry’s teachings.”

I took a deep breath, contemplating my choices that led to this position. Really, I just wanted a harem of beautiful, intelligent and powerful women with their own personalities and desires who were willing to speak up for their beliefs and desires, that took a minimal amount of work and effort to manage. Was that too much to ask for?

“Just go help Eirik make sure this doesn’t get interrupted.” I told her. “Alistair, help her please.”

With that, I turned to our captive, stuffed one of his socks in his mouth, and was about to wake him, but the smell did the job for her. He blinked, and his eyes shot around in horror, but vine branches held his head in place, not letting him move.

“Hello Thedas and welcome to another episode of Making and Binding Abominations. This is your host, Merlin the Mage of Flowers speaking. Joining us today is our star of the evening, Frosty the Frostburn!”

Frosty let out low groans around the branch in his mouth.

“Now, on our last episode we saw a Sloth Demon being used to create an obedient and bound Abomination. Sadly our experiment drove Father Eirik insane with the pain, and ended up leaving the demon in control of the resulting abomination. Today we will be attempting to move closer to solving these problems.”

I took out a paint brush and some black ink from my pockets. Dipping the brush in the ink, I started painting symbols on Frosty’s forehead.

“Our biggest problems appear to be the less than stellar reaction of a Lyrium solution to direct contact with human skin. Therefore, in the next few episodes we will be exploring the viability of using various alchemical mixtures as a coating between the Lyrium solution and human skin. Our goal is to find a solution that still lets the Lyrium’s effect through, but stops the harm that it induces. For our first experiment, we will be starting with regular ink. Although the use of a mix of blood and ink was considered, unfortunately we did not have anyone we were willing to drain of blood on hand when preparing for this experiment. So we will be going the more methodical route of trying purer samples before attempting mixtures.”

Frosty made some very expressive grunts that didn’t get him any further to escaping.

“Now, some in our audience might be wondering why we are bothering with Lyrium at all. After all, random hacks back in Britain managed to pull off a spirit possession and merger without using any Lyrium, and succeeded to the first try. Can’t I just do the same? After all, I am the Magnificent Merlin! Surely replicating the efforts of mere third rate mongrels should not be beyond me? The answer, my most astute audience, is one of control. My colleagues in Britain in the timeline that did not happen, ended up simply locking the soul of the mage and the spirit together and pitting them against each other in a contest for dominance. This constitutes fucking stupid design.

“When you are trying to create a super magician, you do not use a procedure where you gamble as to whether he remains himself, or gets taken over by some demon that wants you and most of humanity dead. You make absolutely fucking sure that the demon does not gain control of the driver’s seat. That, my friends is where Lyrium comes in. With a Lyrium circle, we are able to ensure that even if the demon gains control, it is bound to our commands, creating an Abomination that can not rebel against our orders. The next step then, is naturally to adjust the Lyrium bindings so that the demon or spirit is bound to the will of the one they are summoned into. To deprive them of a fight for dominance by making them incapable of fighting.”

I finished up the ink sigil on his forehead, and so sealed up the ever full inkwell and put it away, before using an ever full water container to clean the brush. I made sure to take my time and to be as thorough as possible. If I was going to sacrifice a crazy cultist on the altar of SCIENCE, the least I could do was to make sure that the experiment wasn’t ruined because I tried to rush the process of cleaning the tools. That was just basic respect.

“Now, since last time we gave the Sloth Abomination a try, this episode we will be attempting a possession using a Desire Demon. This is purely to see if certain types of demons are easier to bind and contain, and not for any ulterior motivates.”

Having finished the cleaning, I emptied out my water container, letting it rinse out a few times over before putting it away. Finally I took out my Lyrium, and liberally coated my brush with it. Once it was prepared, I moved over to Frosty and got ready to mark him.

“Now, as mentioned before, our last guest, Father Eirik was driven insane from the pain of having the Lyrium painted directly on his skin. Or perhaps the magical energies of the Lyrium burned out his connections to the Fade. We can not know at this time, although that is certainly a very interesting avenue for future research.”

As my brush touched the still wet ink, Frosty let out a pained groaned.

“Interesting. Here we can note that Frosty still finds the indirect application of Lyrium painful to himself. However, his reaction is much muted compared to what we saw from Father Eirik. Is this a superior pain tolerance or greater mental fortitude? Or have we stumbled upon a direction towards a proper solution? Only time and more experiments will tell.”

After that, I just continued the experiment in quiet, only occasionally piping up to make one observation or another. It took some time, but eventually I finished the inscriptions upon Frosty. He was still conscious and aware, though clearly in a great deal of pain when I performed a chanting to summon a Desire Demon into him.

The summoning itself went fine. Summoning a demon into a body that wanted to possess a body and practically leaped at the chance was easy. Binding them wasn’t much harder, the action something that they simply did not expect. A contest of wills, or a direct clash of magical power as Blood Mages are wont to do? Sure, they might expect that. However the unbreakable chains of a summoning circle that did not need to be maintained once cast? Demons here did not expect that, and so even as the Desire Demon crushed the will of Frosty, his eyes taking on a red glow and his skin cackling with magical energy, her own will ended up becoming bound to mine.

“Another failure.”

I noted in a partial disappointment. On the bright side, at least I did not have to put down an Abomination that I had just created because I had the bright idea of powering up my enemy. Even if that was what a successful experiment would look like.

At least I only need a single success before I can move on to more willing subjects.

“Arise my new minion.” I gave the order as a slight exertion of will killed the magic that was making the vines holding her strong enough to hold an Abomination. “Also, pick a new name for yourself. I’m not calling you Frosty the Abomination.”

He wordlessly complied, flexing newly enhanced muscles to rip and tear the branches off of himself before standing to full height before me. He gave me a glare, but could not hurt me. Such option was denied to him by the very circle branded into his head.

“Derise, my master.” He said after a minute long staring contest. “I shall be Abomination Desire.”

“Very well Derise. Here are your marching orders-”

I will save you the time of not relating a fifteen minute long lawyer talk worth of marching orders that had him bound to my will, followed by Lucy’s, without the ability to hurt either or us or our allies except under specific circumstances, and yatty yatty yah. It was basically a very long winded order of when and under what circumstances he could act against whom that ensured he would not harm my allies or friends, without giving him an excuse to stand back and watch in case someone backstabbed me.

“Eirik and Derise. Protect me while I summon up some assistance.”

I gave the order, even as flowers started popping up out of the ground, forming a series of summoning circles. I double and triple checked the circles, making sure that they were perfect, before considering who and what I wanted to summon up. If I was going to do this, I would need to be sufficiently thorough to do this properly.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I will not bore you with a play by play summary of our “adventure” through the rest of the temple. While it was well guarded, containing many well placed guards familiar with the terraina and using traps, it was, at the end of the day, a temple that could be cleared by a team of 4 highly skilled local adventurers working in coordination. My army was led by 2 Pride Demons and 2 Afrit, backed up by lessers of their kind, including invisible Foliot scouts that were a complete Out of Context Problem for the locals.

We basically crushed all opposition without issue, moving through the temple almost as quickly as if there had been no opposition at all. The only times we stopped were when we looted our opponents for any valuables - rare as it was - or when we captured a mage that I would then turn into an Abomination.

Not that there were all that many chances for me to create Abominations. We only encountered 2 further Mages, a Blood Mage cultist and an Arcane Warrior. I summoned a Sloth Demon and a Spirit of Valor into them, thinking it fitting. Well no, a Pride Demon would have been more fitting for the Blood Mage, but the risk of doing that was beyond what I was willing to take for now.

They gave their names, but at this point I had 4 Abominations, and the only difference between them was that one could poke people with pointy, sharp objects. I figured referring to them by individual names in my summary of events would just confuse people.

Lucy and my pet Abominations never ended up having to fight at all. They were all far too valuable to risk without need after all. Instead, Lucy spend the entire time hanging at the back with me, chatting with a pair of Desire Demons that were clear in expressing their desires for human hosts, and eager to pay for said hosts with sexual services.

Of biggest note was likely our loot, what little of it that there was.

There were some incomplete sets of enchanted armor that I wasn’t particularly interested in.

There was the Arcane Warrior’s blade, a sword that you could channel spells through, that the Abomination got to keep for now. I would be exploring how to replicate that enchantment in time.

There was also a huge two-handed axe made of Silverite that we got from the last room that was full of cultists. It was decently enchanted to increase will power, and do more damage when hitting vital spots. I kept that for myself.

There was Lifedrinker, an Amulet that increased the power of a mage, but only worked for Blood Mages. I took that for myself. Lastly, there was a rune - a pre-enchanted item that could be inserted into weapon or armor to give the item magical properties - that would increase resistance to spells that I found to be of interest.

Beyond that, a pair of Djinn had the honor of carrying around the scales of Drakes that they had harvested for my future armor.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When we left the caverns that the temple had led to to arrive at the clearing outside, that was further up the mountains. It was a short walk from here to the true temple that housed Andraste’s Ashes. Of course, there was a High Dragon flying around in the air above us, which put a bit of a damper on our plans.

At this point, I feel it necessary to elaborate on the variety of local Dragons, and clarify what a High Dragon actually is.

Most of dragons that are born end up being male. You can have dozens of male dragonlings for every female that is born. However, the males of the species are also far less impressive than the females.

Most dragons start off as Dragonlings. They are the size of a full grown deer, and look like a thin and sinewy lizard. They are basically the draconic equivalent of babies, staying with their mothers to be fed, as they aren’t very powerful, and have a tendency of die in large numbers.

Male dragonlings that grow older become Drakes. They have hardened scales and widened bodies, being larger and tougher than Dragonlings. Basically, imagine a lizard the size of a Rhinoceros, or about the same strength, but with much stronger scales than the Rhinoceros’s skin. Also, they breathe fire. Drakes tend to seek out High Dragons, and fight for the privilege of joining a High Dragon’s battle harem. That said, while powerful, they can be managed by those with the right skill - usually someone dabbling in Blood Magic - and kept as dangerous pets. Their scales are very valuable and their blood serve as potent reagents for Blood Magic, making them valuable pets. More valuable than the slaves that are liable to be burned to death while taking care of them.

Female dragonlings take longer to grow up, but grow into Dragons, followed by Mature Dragons, High Dragons, and Great Dragons. Dragons, are slightly larger than Drakes, and have wings. They are also highly possessive of their territory and nest, ruling it as the absolute king. Their blood is much more potent a magical reagent than that of Drakes. As Dragons get older, they simply grow in size, power, and the amount of natural magic that they possess. A High Dragon is between 40 and 50 feet long, possessing a head the size of a grown man. They also possess great life spans, able to lay eggs only once a century and yet still give birth multiple times in their life. A Great Dragon is even bigger. They have also not been seen in over 9 centuries, and the potency of their blood in magic compares to mortal blood in the same way that FOOF would compare to flour in flammability.

What flew in the air above us was merely a High Dragon. A creature centuries old, who possessed the intelligence of a regular animal, and yet was able to convince an entire village of fanatic cultists into twisting their previous religion until they worshipped here, by her mere presence. Simply drinking a drop or two of her blood was enough for a warrior to be able to permanently tap into the power of the reapers. And yet for all that, she was just a dumb, overgrown lizard with wings that breathed fire.

“You lot.” I pointed at half of my spirit force. “Go ahead to the temple, kill the guardian spirit, and remove all obstacles to the Ashes. Do not harm, touch, go near, violate, distort, or in any way affect the Ashes themselves.”

I had already given them an outline of the challenges. First would be a guardian spirit, one of Andraste’s past companions coming back as a ghost to guard her. Second would be a room full of wraiths asking riddles about her history. One could either answer the riddles, or murder the wraiths. Third would be a room with puzzle blocks to create a bridge one could cross. Fourth they would have to face copies of themselves, created by the temple. Last of all, was a ring of fire that you could pass either by being naked, or by destroying the magic fueling it.

It was only the fourth trial that worried me. All the other trials I could just bypass with OCP or superior firepower. However, fighting a group that contained a copy of myself? When I didn’t have any guarantees that it wasn’t a 100% accurate replicate? Fuck that noise. I would let the small army of demons and spirits think their way around the trial. Once they got to the Ashes, they could let us in through the back door from the room with the Ashes, so that I could bypass that trial. Honestly, it was that or straight up doing a Nanoha style dungeon bypass.

“The rest of you. We are going to capture a High Dragon.”

Despite their great majesty, High Dragons were certainly beatable. Until the start of the century people believed them extinct, because teams of Antivian hunters, maybe numbering up to two dozen, went around hunting them down for sport, honor, reputation, fame and money. Of course, capturing them alive was slightly more difficult, but I had more than two dozen beings with me, and not were mere muggles.

“Spellbloom.”

An Abomination started the buffing with that spell. It was a simple spell that lasted 30 seconds, and in that time regenerated the mana of everyone in range. Of note, it regenerated slightly more mana than it cost, making it a net gain even for the caster.

“Rock Armor. Arcane Shield. Frost Weapons. Combat Magic. Shimmering Shield.”

The Arcane Warrior cast a series of buff spells on himself in order. He was covered in armor made of rock, a magical barrier, his sword was coated in ice, his combat skills increased, and he gained a resistance to all elements, physical damage, as well as to being knocked around. Of course, this seriously ate into his mana levels, and the last spell especially rapidly consumed his mana.

“Rejuvenation”

Which was where another Abomination came in, casting another spell on the Arcane Warrior that would increase how fast he regained his mana. This combination would allow him to serve as our tank.

The Arcane Warrior ran out into the open, blowing on a horne we had looted from a cultist that told the High Dragon that it was feeding time. She responded immediately, letting out a loud bellow, even as she circled around twice in the air before coming crashing down into the ground with such force that the ground itself shook.

“Heroic Defense.” / “Heroic Offense.”

That did not affect me and Lucy as we were floating in the air, allowing us to toss down one buff each on the Arcane Warrior, improving his aim and further boosting his resistances.

The Arcane Warrior did not stumble, his footing too stable as he stepped in close and stabbed the High Dragon on the nose as she was screaming in his face.

The High Dragon pulled back in surprise, letting out a bellow of rage that turned into pain as she was hit with a trio of Winter’s Grasps, suddenly freezing her body. The Pride Demon that stayed behind took the opportunity presented here to rush in and jump onto the dragon, its mighty, three meters tall body of pure demonic might, denser than any muscle, slamming into its neck at the speed of a galloping horse.

The Dragon, too shocked to respond, toppled over from the impact, slamming into the ground. The rest of the demons rushed in to keep it pinned, while the spirits rose into the air to toss shock waves at it to help the process.

“Misdirection Hex.” / “Petrification.” / “Paralyze.” / “Disorient.” / “Horror.” / “Weakness.”

The three Abominations not getting getting up close and personal with a giant, fire breathing beast started throwing down a series of debuffs to rob it of the ability to fight back. The Pride Demon climbs atop the High Dragon’s head, and wrapped its body around the creature’s mouth, stopping it from opening it and breathing fire. I stood dramatically in place, making wood and vines grow out of the ground to wrap around its limbs, to trap it in place.

Of course, High Dragons aren’t feared creatures of great might because a quick blitz of bodies is all that is needed to take them down.

As the shock at the sudden attack wore off the beast shook itself, rolling from side to side, and while the collection of debuffs stopped it from actually harming any of the demons it was fighting, it was sufficient to knock most of them off of itself as it clambered to its feet.

The Pride Demon managed to stay on without much trouble - it was a hulking brute that was still considered the most powerful class of Demons after all - while the Arcane Warrior barely noticed the force applied to it, heroically jumping into the air to land on the High Dragon’s back, impaling its sword into one of the creature’s wings, and cutting through it.

I winced as I noticed the damage. While ridding the High Dragon of the ability of flight was good, I was the one who was going to have to fix that afterwards. That wasn’t the kind of damage that was healable by anyone that wasn’t a Spirit Healer.

“Keep it pinned down.” I ordered them, before stepping away from the battlefield.

While I had crafted an object capable of taming a High Dragon, it was rather large. As a consequence, I hadn’t been carrying it around with me, but had kept it in my bedroom back in Denerim. Normally this would be a bit of a problem, but with the Seven League Boots, it only took a handful of steps to cross all of Ferelden. One moment I had just floated down so my feet touched the soil of the mountain, and a few seconds and half a dozen steps later I was floating - invisible - before the window to my room in Denerim.

A quick flick activated the magical lock on the window, opening it as I quickly flew in.

It didn’t take long to find the object in question. Not only did it light up as magical thanks to my contact lenses, it was also a saddle and bride that took up as much space as my bed. I was honestly thankful for my brother’s reputation that when I said I was buying up all of that leather for my leather themed fetishes the household staff believed me, and took my statement that they could join in on the fun if they wished as an invitation to not enter my room. It helped avoiding explaining awkward questions like why I was handcrafting a saddle sized for a High Dragon.

I quickly grabbed the two items, once more thanking my past self for giving me Comic Book “peak human” strength. Without that, this would have taken a bit more maneuvering. Still I had that, so it only took a couple of seconds to toss the two items over my shoulder, and walk back to the fight.

Over the dozen or so seconds that I had been gone, not much progress had been made. The High Dragon was sporting a series of extra cuts and bruises, but it was still standing tall and proud, shaking its head to try and loosen the Pride Demon. It could not escape, but it was still a juggernaut that refused to be just knocked out unconscious.

“Stop attacking it!”

I ordered with a shout, before stepping onto the Dragon’s back. I tossed off the Arcane Warrior with a kick to the ribs, before throwing down the saddle. It was a beautiful piece of work, the leader decorated in Lyrium blue and golden streaks as magic was inscribed into it. I did not need to tighten the saddle, the Marid trapped in it automatically wrapping it around the beast and adjusting the straps, holding itself in place.

The High Dragon stopped moving, standing in place as the powerful enchantments assaulted the creature’s mind.

“Let of of it! Jump off!”

I ordered the Pride Demon, waiting for only long enough for it to follow the order before tossing the bridle over the High Dragon’s head. The Marid in this equipment also automatically controlled the piece, the straps wrapping around the creature’s mouth as if it was the most natural thing. Another pair of straps shot out from both the saddle and bridle, connecting the two objects, and making them one, singular equipment, used to bind the beast to my will. When I pulled on the handles of the saddle the dragon reared back and then calmed down, lying down on the ground peacefully as I willed it to.

I waited for a few more seconds, making sure that the High Dragon was holding still, before grabbing some of its blood from the injured wing next to me and cutting my own wrist to add my own blood to it. I then wiped the mixed blood on the saddle, activating the blood magics built into the saddle, binding the creature’s will to my own. After all, I didn’t saddle a High Dragon so that some random idiot could jump on and steal my ride.

“Well, that takes care of that.”

I floated off of the High Dragon, and looked over the gathered group of Demons and Spirits. After a few seconds of consideration, I started to pass out order.

“You lot.” I pointed at all of the spirits except the one Afrit with us and the two Djinn carrying the Drake scales. “You may return.” The spirits took no more than a moment to obey, eager to return to their own worlds. “All Demons except for the two Desire Demons, go into the temple and complete the instructions I gave the previous group. Remove all obstacles to the Ashes without harming or despoiling the Ashes in anyway.”

Was it considered sexist that I refused to send a pair of demons to their death simply because they looked like naked, and very fuckable women who regularly expressed how they were down to fuck? Did I particularly care that I was sexist? These were questions I would leave to sages much wiser than myself.

Instead, I turned to look over the High Dragon. One eye had been torn out. Its nose was in ruins. Both wings had been completely wrecked, and one was only barely hanging on. Three legs were heavily maimed, and the last had many of its scales stripped off. Its body was covered in cuts, bruises and frozen and shattered scales. Many of the injuries, on their own would be exhausting and time consuming to heal.

“When in doubt, cheat.”

I said as I pulled out one of the five pinches of Andraste’s Ashes that I got from the jump document, and tossed it on the High Dragon. I watched as with a glorious flash of light, all of its injuries healed as if time was simply put on reverse. The wing that was hanging on by only a shred jumped off of the ground and fused itself back into place. Pieces of scaled flew off of the ground back into position on the Dragon, merging together to rebuild its body. It grew a brand new eye, and its nose fixed itself in moment. In about three seconds the High Dragon went from maimed and bleeding to death to at full and perfect health.

I looked from the transformation down to my cut wrist, and sprinkled another pinch of the Ashes on it, fixing the injury. I got five pinches a month. I could afford to be a bit wasteful with them.

I turned away from the Dragon to look from Lucy to the two very naked Desire Demons. I found myself having to repeat “don’t stick it in a Demon” in my head as I looked over their naked and very wet and eager bodies. Bodies that my lenses told me were not illusions, but their actual forms at this time. The fact that there were four male Abominations - two of them healing the Arcane Warrior of his injuries - standing nearby helped with me with that perfectly logical decision.

“So, does anyone have any suggestions on what we can do while our mini-army clears out the rest of the temple?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We ended up just sitting around, waiting for my minions to clear the place. Well, the Demonesses, Alistair and the Abominations sat around. Lucy and I were cuddling in my High Dragon’s saddle, making out while I fingered her. After all, I had never had sex on top of a Dragon, and it was important to experience new things to keep life interesting. Especially since the current state with the High Dragon was going to be very temporary.

The four Abominations were politely looking away from the action, while the Desire Demons were doing no such thing. Lucy appeared to appreciate the attention based on the fact that she came thrice from just minore ministrations in the half an hour it took for my opinions to open the back door to the Ashes. And then blow the door off of its hinges to that it didn’t accidentally close.

“Good job.” I told them, holding Lucy in a bridal carry, one hand groping her breast and another continuing to finder her, as I floated off of my Dragon. “You are all dismissed.” With that one command, all of the spirits and demons that had braved the temple were forcefully - or not so forcefully in some cases - sent back to their homes.

“Abominations, stand guard outside. Desire Demons, Alistair, come inside with me.”

They obeyed me without hesitation, the three requested following me inside to the room.

The room itself wasn’t all that special. Sure it was decorated nicely, but it did not scream “Here lies Andraste, bride of a God and the woman who is worshipped on an entire continent”. It wasn’t nearly opulent enough for that.

Well, at least it didn’t if you couldn’t sense magic. Like, at all. The room was chock full of magic. It was just a small circular room with a flight of stairs leading up to a raised dais upon which stood a statue of a woman with a palm raised. Atop the palm danced a fire. A fire that was burning nothing but air, and had presumably been burning since the statue was created over 900 years ago, since no humans had entered here since then. There were glittering blue lights in the air, the mana so dense that some of it was condensing to form small dust particles before returning back into the air, making the entire place glitter.

Really, you didn’t need to be a mage to sense the magic here. Any human or elf that entered the place could sense it. The awe and might that the place radiated. Those that had never touched magic though? I wouldn’t be surprised if they thought they were feeling the touch of the Maker or having a religious experience. Even for a mage, while they might be familiar with the feeling of magic, the sheer might of it would be something far beyond the experience of any who had never physically been in the Fade.

And at the focal point of the room, at the feet of the statue, stood an urn. It was an urn decorated in pure gold, the material probably worth a fortune if you just melted it down. If you weren’t such an idiot and sold it as the historical artifact that it was, you could probably sell it for enough money that a commoner could buy nobility and an Arling with it. And yet the urn was not worth nearly as much as the Ashes within. The Ashes of Andraste, Ashes of which just one pinch could bring you from the very brink of death, to perfect health. That same pinch could cure you of any diseases or curses at the same time.

How powerful would Andraste have been in real life that her Ashes are this powerful after her death? Or are they collecting the power of belief somehow?

This mountain contained an enormous amount of Lyrium. We were standing upon the focal point of all of that Lyrium. Considering how beliefs could birth Spirits and Demons here, belief certainly had power. It was possible that the Lyrium was channeling the belief in Andraste and gathering that power into her Ashes.

Not that it changed what I was about to do.

“Are you ready?” I asked Lucy as I sat her down, pulling my fingers out of her.

“Of course.” She agreed, not minding as her pants fell down, exposing her naked legs. Instead, she took my hand that was covered in her fluids and put it in her mouth, and started to lick it clean. “This was what we were here for, wasn’t it?”

“True.” I admitted, watching her twirl her tongue along my fingers while giving a sensual moan. “However, once we do this, there is no going back. Whatever we decide to do here, there will be no undoing it. We will have to live with the effects.”

“It isn’t like you to get cold feet.” She rebutted, letting go of my now clean hand. “Don’t you usually just rush in to do whatever you want?”

“It isn’t like me to take actions I can’t run away from.” I responded, drawing out my self stabbing knife, and walking up to the Urn. With my other hand I opened the top of it, looking into the Ashes within. “Well, let’s do this then.”

I put out my empty palm and she took it, the two of us holding hands above the Urn. I then put my knife between our hands and with a quick pull cut both of our palms. We bled together, our blood intermingling and falling together in amongst the Ashes.

This was an idea I had had years before I had started my Jumpchain trip. See, in the game you are presented with two options when encountering the Ashes. You can either take a pinch of them and be respectful to them, or you can take up the suggestion of a cultist named Kolgrim.

As I had mentioned before, the cultists believed that the High Dragon was Andraste reborn. That was complete and total fucking nonsense, but they were religious fanatics. Of course, like most Dragon cultists they became obsessed with blood and Blood Magic. This led them to finding a Blood Magic solution to a simple problem.

See, Dragdraste wasn’t going out into the world burninating heretics and showing her majesty to the faithful. She also wasn’t demonstrating a particularly impressive level of intelligence as far as these things go, on account of being a Dragon. While her body appeared impressive, there were no miracles going on around her. Basically, her entire demeanor screamed “fucking Dragon” instead of “prophet” or “wife of a God”.

Their solution was simple. The Ashes still had power, so they would take the power of the Ashes and give it to the Dragon. This would complete Andraste’s rebirth, and amazing divine miracles would happen. Or something. The point was that they could not get past the temple’s guardian, so they ended up entrusting the player character with their sacrilege. Namely, the player was to take some of the High Dragon’s blood and pour it into the Ashes. This would make the Ashes lose their power, and the High Dragon to gain that power. In exchange, the player would be taught how to become a Reaper.

Now, when I saw this in the game, my thinking was “yeah, that is nice. So why can’t I just use my blood to gain all that Divine mojo?” The answer was probably either game balance, or the developers did not think about that option. Well, now I was no longer limited to operating on the railroad tracks set by the developers. So, when appearing before the Ashes, I decided to defile them with my blood, and gain their powers. Lucy got to join in because when your girlfriend was letting you fuck other chicks, it was just polite to share your godly powers with her.

We both watched as our blood hit the Ashes. Immediately a brilliant flash of bright white blinding light went up. Or it should have been blinding, and yet we were able to see perfectly clearly. The Ashes and blood swirled in a vortex the seemed to suck us it and throw us out at the same time.

Our hands left disconnected as we both stumbled back, falling to the ground in dizziness. I looked up at Lucy and realized that it hadn’t been the Ashes that were glowing. It was our eyes and mouth. They were letting out a glow of light, and coloring everything with light. Light that slowly dimmed, but not the power that came with it.

Once the dizziness went away, I stood up, noting the lack of blood on the floor where I had put my bloody palm. Looking at my palm, I noticed that it was unmarred. Clean. So was my whole body. Whatever infusion of power I had received didn’t just heal me physically. It seemed to restore me to what I considered a healthy state, which appeared to include not being covered in blood.

“Did it work?” Lucy asked. “I can feel power in me, but can you?”

“I can.” I admitted. “I’m not sure exactly what all this power lets us do, but we have gained some power.”

“Good.” Lucy grinned. “So, I was wondering. The last temple we passed through. It might have been a holy site, but it probably didn’t go ten years before having someone go through and break in every room.”

“Less than a year.” One of the Desire Demons said.

“I would be surprised if they didn’t have at least one orgy every year in there.” The other followed.

“Probably called it a fertility ritual in the name of the Maker.” The first agreed.

“Or a mass prayer.” The second continued. “Given how much humans like to scream the Maker and Andraste’s name while mating, it would certainly sound like a mass prayer session.”

“Right.” Lucy agreed. “Point is, the main temple has probably had every inch of it defiled to hell and back. However, you said this temple had a guardian keeping things clean until you had him murdered right?”

“So, you want to be the first before to get fucked in Andraste’s resting place?”

Lucy nodded. “Yup. The Demons can join in too. They are hot.”

In place of a verbal response, I quickly started stripping, while the two Desire Demons rushed up to us, eager to participating in some carnal defiling.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Ah, you are back.” Brother Genitivi greeted us politely as we reached the entrance of the temple. “And I see you have made more friends.” The venom in that last word on the other hand was not particularly polite.

“Yes, two Desire Demons and three new Abominations I have bound to my will.” I admitted, before introducing them by name in order. Really, it was only polite. The High Dragon I had left behind for now while I dealt with Genitivi. “I have to admit, it was a rather enlightening experience. While the true temple wasn’t as grand as this one, as a mage I found it much more impressive. And finding the Ashes was a rather religious experience.”

“So you found them then?” Genitivi asked, doing his best to ignore the introduction of Demons and Abominations. “The Ashes of Andraste are truly here?”

“Were.” I corrected. “One of the cultists asked me that I drop the blood of the High Dragon that they worship into the Ashes. Apparently it was supposed to return her full power to her and make her be reborn completely or something. Reading between the lines of nonsense, I figured that if a Dragon could gain the power of the Ashes I could do the same, so Lucy and I cut our hands and dropped our blood into the Ashes, gaining their powers. Then we realized that no one had had sex in the temple in the over nine centuries it had been around, so we and the two Desire Demons had a sexothon next to the Urn. I have to admit, it feels nice to be the first group to break in a centuries old temple.”

Brother Genitivi stared at me in horror. “What have you done?”

“Used Blood Magic to steal the power of Andraste’s Ashes. Have sex with a mage and two Demonesses in her most holy temple. I just went over this. Oh, and I had a dozen demons murder the ghost of one of her companions from when she was alive.”

“Why?” Genitivi got out after half a minute of silence. “Why?”

“Would you have preferred that I lie?” I asked him. “That I spun some grand tale about how the Ashes were still there and left you to explore them?”

“Why would you defile them!” He yelled at me. “I knew you were evil. You are a Blood Mage. However, I thought you at least had some decency. Not that you would do this!”

I shrugged, ignoring the giggling of the two Desire Demons behind me. “Eh, it was a nice power up.”

“You... You…”

Genitivi ground out before trying to punch me in the face. The laughing of the Desire Demons got much louder when his fist met my defensive shields, repelling his punch and knocking him back hard enough that he landed on his butt.

“Please.” I said, raising my hands in a placating manner. “There is no need for senseless violence. It was just the Ashes of a dead woman.”

“Just ashes!” Genitivi screamed as he pushed himself to his feet. “You are a monster! The Chantry will hear of this.” He then turned around and ran out of the temple.

“Don’t.” I ordered the two Demonesses, the four Abominations and Alistair as they moved to lunge after him. “Let him go.”

“Are you sure?” Lucy asked from besides me. “Wouldn’t it causes problems if the Chantry heard about this?”

“Much of the village of the cannibalistic religious fanatics is still alive. And very upset. Genitivi is rushing directly into the middle of their village. It will be a minor miracle for him to go to the road leading out of Haven. At that point, he will be an out of shape old man that has been malnourished for weeks, without any supplies, traversing down a snow covered mountain across poorly maintained barely roads. If he manages that, he still needs to make the weeks long trip back to Denerim while foraging for food and avoiding hostile wildlife and bandits. If he succeeds there, he then needs to convince the Chantry that they should take him seriously. They never took his research seriously before. So long as we are back in Denerim tomorrow, well who is going to believe him that I made the weeks long trip here, defiled the Ashes and made the weeks long trip back to Denerim when I have never been gone from the city for more than a day or two? Not when Genetivi being crazy or unable to accept that his research was wrong is more likely?”

“And if they believe him?” One of the Desire Demons asked. “What then?”

“Are you that upset at the possibility that a lot of the Chantry’s people who die?”

“No.” The Demoness shook her head. “I have no problems with their deaths. Though if they do attack us, can I have one of their bodies?”

I cocked my head in surprise. “I thought you would want a mage body. Demons seem to obsess over possessing mages.”

“Mages are easier to possess and make stronger hosts.” The Demoness said. “However, a non-magical host is preferable to no host.”

“Well, you are in luck. There is an entire village of potential hosts to pick from just a short walk from here.” Really, if you wanted acceptable targets, cannibal Dragon cultists were basically designed to be those.

“Can I pick one as well?” The other Demoness spoke up.

“Of course.” I agreed. “Just make sure to select someone female and pretty.”






As it turned out, sealing the two desire demons into a pair of muggles paid off. Or perhaps me not being an idiot and taking a step back to start from the basics did.

Spirit summoning - or demon summoning for that matter - worked by drawing a summoning circle on the ground around the target you were trying to summon a spirit or demon into - especially when the target was a location in space - instead of directly on the target itself. Recalling this made the whole painless abomination creation process much simpler.

I ended up drawing a summoning circle out of a mix of Lyrium dust and the target’s blood - a small amount of blood - on the ground. They were placed inside of the summoning circle, tied up, and a second, much smaller circle was drawn on their forehead. The circle on their forehead was only their blood, creating a sympathetic link both to themselves, and to the blood in the circle around them. The result allowed me to painlessly summon and bind the demons into them, as well as bind them to my will; I could decide whether the demon was permitted to take over, or was forced to submit to the will of the host.

Naturally, I chose to let the demons take control of the resulting fusion of two bodies. I did not need two super powered psychopaths who were my enemies. I would chose the two super powered psychopaths who were bound to obey my commands instead. I mean, sure, they were probably plotting my downfall already, but they were demons of lust. Their ability to scheme took a sharp downturn whenever they hadn’t gotten well and properly fucked for a while. Or while they were getting fucked, or enjoying the afterglow for that matter. Basically, Desire Demons focused on lust weren’t the best of plotters unless that plot revolved around getting into someone’s pants. So long as I didn’t encounter any heroes or villains with bigger and better dicks than mine, I didn’t need to worry on that front.

After the Abomination creation, I blew on the horn, calling over my possessed Dragon. We all got on, and flew off into the air, leaving Haven behind us.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Brecilian Forest was a forest on the Western edge of Ferelden, occupying near a full quarter of its territory. It was a forest heavily steeped in magic, weakening the boundaries to the Fade. What that meant in less fancy speak was that spirits had a tendency to occasionally cross over. This resulted in the existence of things like giant trees possessed by spirits - basically think Treants from the Lord of the Rings if those things went immediately from sleeping to whole sale slaughter if a human came by - various tiers of undead lying in ambush as corpses, werewolves - although that was more the doing of a single elf - and other such annoyances.

Basically it was a lot of very fertile land that had gone unfarmed for over a millenia just from what I knew of history. Not even when the Orlesians - with the blessing of the Chantry - invaded and occupied Ferelden to turn it into their bread basket did the forest get cut down to make more farmland.

The main reason for all of this, was the elven ruins in there. Back before the Fade had been created and elves were more Tolkien style immortal super wizards, just evil, than the modern day pointy eared humans that they were reduced to, they had created great buildings there and worked the kinds of magic that would give me pause.

Nowadays, clans of Dalish elves - elves that wandered around like nomads instead of living in human settlements - tended to stay for short times in the forest. It was supposed to be some grand effort on their part of both maintain their culture and try to regain the glories that they had. Which made it really fucking hilarious as far as I was concerned that in all of these centuries of visiting the forest, the very magics of their ancestors whose culture they were trying to rediscover stopped them from finding those ruins. Not that I imagined they would be too happy to learn what their ancestors had actually been like.

Frankly, riding the Dragon to the Brecilian Forest was much more time consuming than taking a ride in a Santa’s Sleigh might have been. On the other hand, it was a fucking Dragon. Sacrifices had to be made for the sheer awesome factor.

Still, it took us hours to get from Haven to the point where we were flying over the forest. Another hour to find the ruins we were looking for. As it turned out, using magical wardings to stop people from finding a location didn’t work all that well when they had contact lenses that let them see magic, and were flying a couple thousand feet above the maximum height those spells were designed to cover. Really, the only reason it took this long to find the place was because of how slowly the Dragon flew.

Of course, while I was busy guiding our ride and trying to find the ruins of interest, Lucy was busy establishing the position of the two Desire Abominations in our hierarchy. Namely, beneath her in a very literal sense. I would have normally called having sex on top of a flying Dragon foolish, but as Lucy demonstrated when she fell off the first time, the ability to fly took the danger out of the whole thing.

“We are here.”

I told them as we descended to the ground, landing with the heavy thud. The mage Abominations descended without a word, jumping off and landing with ease as they took positions around the High Dragon. Lucy and the two Desire Demons took a bit longer, Lucy having to lift herself off of one demoness’s face and pull out the wooden dildo she had been ass fucking the other demoness with before they could all start putting on their pants. I ignored them, and grabbing Alistair in my arms, flew off the Dragon to float dramatically in the air, staring down at our welcome party.

“Hello. I am the Mage Merlin. I wish to treat with the Lady of the Forest.”

The welcome party in question happened to be a dozen werewolves. They lived in the ruin before us - a halfway collapsing building overgrown with weeds and even having a few trees growing out of - and had gotten the spirits of the forest to hide them from those traveling through the forest. I was quite possibly their first unwelcome guest in decades. Well, maybe. There was a crazy wizard living as a hermit in the forest who knew how to bypass these defenses after all.

“Invaders!”

A werewolf growled at us. The werewolves in question, looked like your classic half-human, half-wolf hybrids. They had a humanoid shape and stood on two legs, but were all six feet tall even when hunched over, and were ripped as fuck. They were also naked, but a thick layer of fur coated their bodies, which probably made it more socially acceptable? It did make identifying their genders rather easy though. Those with a bitch breaker swinging between their legs were male, the others were female.

Really, God? I contemplate about how I am safe with the Desire Demons so long as they don’t encounter better dicks than mine, and not six hours later you drop eight werewolves in my lap, each of them better hung when flaccid then I am when fully erect?

Completing the whole get up were sharp claws and the head of a wolf where a human’s would be. They all were also growling and drooling, barely keeping themselves from rushing at us.

“Peace, friend.” I replied in a monotone, and completely unmotivated tone. Suddenly I could feel my desire to solve things diplomatically taking a nosedive. “I am here to help. I wish to break Zathrian’s curse.”

More growling followed.

“You lie!” The lead werewolf screamed. “He works with the elves! Get them!”

Howls answered his call as a dozen werewolves rushed at a party compose of four mage turned Abominations, two mages that were flying in the air - you know, somewhere that a dozen werewolves armed with only fangs and claws could not reach - a fucking High Dragon, and some other miscellaneous minions. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that these creatures were cursed with Rage to be this violent. Even the local nobility weren’t this stupid.

Luckily, I had already planned for this blatantly obvious possibility. The Abominations down below tossed out a series of stunning, paralyzing and knock down spells. Lucy and I threw a few magical seeds packed with the power of Spring down at their feet, causing the grass at their feet to shoot up and grow into long and powerful vines that bound them.

“Well, that accomplished a grand total of nothing.”

I told them as I floated down to the ground. I ignored their pointless struggles - the vines binding them too powerful to be overpowered so easily - and bent over to let Alistair go. The adorable little Mabari gave me a woof of happiness before going over to one of the werebitches, raising his leg, and pissing on her.

“Good boy.”

I told Alistair, before getting back to enacting my idea of diplomacy. Casually dusting off my clothes I strolled up to the lead werewolf, ignoring the silent squeeks it was forcing out even as a vine wrapped around and constricted his throat.

“You know, this would be a lot easier if you didn’t fight me the entire way.”

Ignoring the noises he made, I took out a pinch of Andraste’s Ashes and tossed them in his mouth. A powerful curse, centuries old, met a pinch of Ashes fiat backed to heal anything short of death. The curse, naturally, lost.

The werewolves all went silent as their leader’s body shrunk and straightened, his hair fell off, and his head collapsed on itself. The entire transformation took only seconds, at the end of which there stood a young man, where a werewolf used to be. He was still a full six feet tall, and fit as all hell, but he was at least human. Also, his package had gone from being big enough to make porn stars feel inadequate to merely being large. Suddenly I was much more eager to enact this “cure lycanthrope” side quest in my plan.

“Now, are you lot going to keep fighting me, or can I meet the Lady of the Forest and fix your furry problem?”

As I spoke, the vines holding them down withered and fell off. None of them continued the attack though. The man in front of me was staring at his limbs in wonder, while the werewolves around us were staring at him as if they were looking at a miracle.

“How?” The man asked after a frustratingly long amount of silence. “I am healed! That shouldn’t be possible.”

“Magic. Duh.” I told him diplomatically. Well, diplomatically for me. “Now, I only have a limited amount of ashes, so I would appreciate it if I could meet the Lady of the Forest so I could fix the problem at the root.”

That caused his eyes to snap away from his hands and he gave me what he probably considered a hard look. “I won’t let you hurt-”

“I am here.”

A lovely voice interrupted whatever threat he was trying to make. Glancing at the entrance to the ruins, I found a woman whose beauty outstripped what was promised by her voice come strolling out.

The Lady of the Forest reminded me of someone cosplaying at being a dryad. She had green skin, and a curvaceous and well developed body. Her hair was long, black and smooth, coming down her front to cover her breasts, the only compromise she made towards modesty on her upper body. Her lower body and her arms beyond the elbow were wrapped in vines of wood as if it had grown around her, that looked hard and strong but bend and moved with her as she sauntered out of the ruins. Behind her followed a small army of werewolves, that had the two Desire Demons eyeing me in obvious contemplation of trying to figure out how to get around their bindings and kill me before I “healed” them all.

Those were just minor notes though. The most noticeable thing about her was her power. There was a probably a limit on her ability to tap into it fully, but if given enough time to fully tap into it, or powering a mage who knew what they were doing? Well, she possessed as much power as some Greater Spirits.

It was not too surprising. “Lady of the Forest” was an inaccurate title after all. While she was a spirit, she wasn’t from beyond the Fade. She was from the material world. Namely, she was the spirit of the entire Brecilian Forest. In other words, she was the Genius Loci of a magic land spanning a quarter of a country that was bound and forced into a material form. She was essentially a lower ‘g’ god, although heavily shackled and limited in what she could tap into.

“Witherfang, The Lady of the Forest. It is a pleasure to meet you.” I told her, giving her a courtly bow that went lower and more honesty than anything I ever gave Anora.

“Master Merlin.” She replied, bending her legs and bowing her head in the closest approximation a naked wood person could make to a courtesy. “I understand you are here to cure Zathrian’s curse. May I ask what you wish to gain from this?”

“My Lady, you can not trust him!” The human protested. “He might be here to harm you.”

“Hush, Swiftrunner. Calm yourself” The spirit spoke in a cool and calming voice. And I meant that literally. It was a more subtle magic than ice and fireballs, but it was magic nonetheless, her voice carrying the magic to bind and calm those around her. I wasn’t even sure if she was doing this consciously, or if her mere existence was enough to cause this effect. “You know how long we have struggled to cure this curse, even attempting to entreat with Zathrian for decades on end. Now that someone willing to cure it is here, we must show patience and listen. Although Mage, I must again. What do you wish to gain from this?”

“A perfectly reasonable question.” I told her, casually leaning against my staff. “Though before that, I would like you to answer some of my questions. My plan to heal you is based on my understanding of how the curse came about, so I would wish confirm the main points before making a fool of myself.”

“Understandable.” The spirit spoke, seemingly unsurprised at my admission that yes, I was trying to profit from solving the generations long suffering of innocents. “What is it that you wish to know?”

“You are the spirit of this forest, summoned and bound to a wolf and cursed with rage by Zathrian. You assaulted a tribe of humans, cursing them with lycanthrope - werewolfism - and they have been spreading it by bite and reproduction ever since. At the same time, you are bound to Zathrian, the magic connecting the two of you keeping him young and alive.” I summarized the key points. “Is all of this accurate?”

Of course, there was more to the story than that.

Zathrian was the Keeper - mage and keeper of ancient lore - to a clan of Dalish elves. Centuries ago, his clan clashed with humans over land. The humans kidnapped his children, killing his son and turning his daughter into the tribe bicycle before tossing out her thoroughly brutalized and pregnant body. She committed suicide, Zathrian became mad, and did the above mentioned ritual. The entire human tribe was either killed or turned into werewolves, and for centuries since, their descendents - and any human or elf unlucky enough to stumble upon the werewolves - were turned into werewolves, with it only being recently that they had started to be able to control the rage.

Basically Zathrian was as familiar with completely disproportionate response as I was.

“Yes, those are the main points of what happened.” The Spirit agreed. “I do not blame Zathrian for his rage and actions at that time, but those who have suffered in the intervening centuries are innocents who should not have been harmed.”

“In that case my cure and my cost are one and the same.” I told her. “I wish to bind you to a High Dragon” I said, pointing at the Dragon behind me.

You know, just in case anyone managed to miss the fifty feet of flying, fire breathing murder lizard standing behind me that we had flown in on. Hey, you never knew. Once my entire DnD party managed to miss a giant Dragon in the middle of a camp we spent hours scoping out, though mostly that was the DM forgetting to mention said minor detail.

“The process would break your binding to the wolf whose body you inhabit. Since that is the keystone to the spell, it would end the curse. Afterwards I wish for you to join my retinue.”

Or to summarize, I was trying to get a Dragon girl slash goddess added to my party. Mostly by turning a werewolf spirit into one. Because that sounded perfectly reasonable to me.

“Is that possible?” The Lady asked me in surprise. “I would assume you would need to break the spell first before trying to lay a new binding upon my person.”

“Not quite.” I corrected her, excitement creeping into my voice at the prospect of discussing magical laws. “When trying to bind an already bound spirit, you essentially enter into a contest of power with both the spirit and the already existing binding, at a disadvantage. Which is why it is rarely even attempted, but if there is a sufficiently overwhelming difference in power, it is possible to pull it off. Though that being said, I’m not certain if I could manage if you fought the spell.”

“And you believe you can overwhelm Zathrian’s spell?” She asked. “Do you truly believe yourself so much more powerful than him?”

I shrugged. “Personal power doesn’t matter. When performing ritual magic, it is possible to tap into sources other than yourself for an extra boost in power. For example, I have a High Dragon, and a pinch of dust that would let me heal it after exsanguinating half of its blood. Unless Zathrian was using some reagents in the same ballpark of half the blood of a High Dragon, his personal power with magic won’t be an issue. So, I suppose the question is, did he kill an entire tribe of humans in a blood sacrifice to cast his spell?”

The Lady blinked, and looked from me to the Dragon. “No, no he did not.” She said at last. “Most mages aren’t crazy enough to even consider using an entire Dragon as a blood sacrifice, let alone possess the capability to pull it off, even if fortunate enough to encounter such a creature.”

I snorted. “I wasn’t fortunate in encountering the Dragon. I had to track down its location, and capture it in its lair. It was purely a matter of preparation.”

Granted, a process that was helped by Out of Context knowledge and powers, but still. It was purely a matter of preparation. The same way I was solving and benefiting from this problem by using my knowledge of what they wanted and needed to come in with a plan fully formed.

“I see.” She said, giving me an inscrutable look, as if evaluating me. “And my companions? What is to happen to them?”

I took a moment to turn my head, looking over the werewolves and single human that were surrounding us and listening the conversation. “That is entirely their choice. There are a few things I wish to pick up in the ruins here, but so long as they don’t bar me I do not mind if they chose to stay here. If they instead wish to leave and go their own ways, that is also their choice. I am the Earl of Denerim, the nation’s capital, so if they wish to work in my household, I can get them jobs there. I have no intention of forcing anyone. After all, it is you that I am here for.”

I paused for a moment, making a very poor act of as if I had just thought of something.

“That said, if any of them like being a living muscle of murder and carnage, while they will no longer be werewolves, you will be able to turn them into weredragons or werewyverns. I can honestly think of worse fates than the ability to turn into a human-Dragon hybrid at will, but I won’t make you inflict such a power on anyone against their will.”

The Lady closed her eyes in quiet contemplation. I just stood there, not rushing her. I already knew how she was going to decide, so long as I appeared reasonable. There was no reason not to risk her good will just to save a few minutes.

“Very well.” She said at last, opening her eyes. “I agree to your trade.”

I smiled, and the werewolves howled in agreement. Some of them had family they could return to after this. Some, had clans or friends they could return to. Others just wanted their free will. Either way, they would finally be free of a centuries old curse.

“If you would just come over here-”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Overall, the ritual to undo a centuries curses ended up being rather underwhelming from a dramatic stand point. I wouldn’t say it was tame exactly - I drew and vaporized enough blood to fill a swimming pool after all - but there were no flashing lights, dramatic music, thunderous clouds, or any other way the heavens showed they were paying attention to such a grand under taking.

Not that I minded the lack of dramatics really. I was here to acquire myself some sweet draconic booty. I got myself some sweet draconic booty. It was a very successful use of half a day.

“I thank you for curing the curse my lord.”

The Dragon of the Forest said when it had finished, a happy smile on her face. In the original games, she had heavily pushed for and fought for a ritual that involved her own death to break the curse. Having it end not only with her staying alive, but as a legitimate contender for joining the ranks of the Elvish or Tevinter pantheon - if needing a few centuries for her material body to grow into the necessary power - probably felt like an unexpectedly good deal.

“There is no need to thank me, my lady.” I told her with a smile of my own. “It was a more than fair deal.”

I wasn’t shy about ogling her naked body. The changes to her weren’t all that drastic. Her hair had turned red, wavy and more lustrous. Her breasts gained a cup size - yes, I was aware that Dragons, as reptiles didn’t have breasts. I was a dimension hopping magician who had just created and bound a budding goddess to myself. Did I sound like someone who let something as trivial as common sense or reality get between him and a goal? - while her skin color had turned from green to a light pink. Finally, the wood growing around her body had fallen away, leaving behind unmarred skin. Unmarred skin as hard as a Dragon’s scales, but still.

“May I ask what your next goal is my lord?”

I snorted at her question. “First, please drop the my lord. You can just call me Merlin. I’m not certain what name you wish to be called by though. Second, yes you can ask me questions. You do not need to ask my permission to ask questions. Third, I’m going to bind the Dragon in the ruins to my will and free a spirit trapped in there.”

There were also Revenants trapped in there that one could fight for moderately useful pieces of equipment, but frankly the effort wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t like I was going to bother hunting down the rest of the pieces of the sets, and even if I did, I could probably create better equipment with less effort. Really, I was only binding the Dragon because it was a Dragon. Even if it was merely a Dragon and not a High Dragon, ten to fifteen feet of murder lizard still made a pretty awesome pet to keep back home in Denerim.

“Witherfang.” She said in response. “It was my name before, and it still works now. Please call me Witherfang. Merlin.”

I would probably have to play up the ‘Chasind cocksleeve’ angle back in Denerim with that name, but it would work. Besides, she was half Dragon, half Genius Loci. She wasn’t human, and human names weren’t appropriate for her.

“Witherfang.” I repeated the name, committing it to memory. “So, do you know what your friends have decided to do with their lives.”

She gave a sad smile at that. “I am afraid many never learned how to live on their own. While those who were bitten recently have mostly decided to return to their friends and families, those who were born to cursed parents have all decided to continue following me and join your household. Some of them have already taken up the ability to become weredragons or werewyverns.”

Well, having a few dozen extra soldiers in extremely good shape who could turn into giant fire breathing lizards would help with my mansion’s security. I almost could not wait for Howe to attack my mansion just to see his reaction.

On the other hand, I’m rapidly moving towards the point where hiding my magical nature from the Chantry is hilariously impossible. At this rate, by the time Genitivi shows up to claim that I’m a blood mage, the response will be ‘no duh’. Which, in hindsight, makes burning my library a complete and total waste.

“How are they taking to the transformation?”

“The women are all happy to learn that they can control the transformation and don’t have unspeakable rage coursing through them.” Yeah, there was a minor amount of boosted lust there, but not that much. Guess they had yet to pick up on that. “They are also appreciative of the boost in feminine features. As are the men around them. The men are upset at becoming werewyverns making their dicks smaller though.”

I cocked my head to the side in confusion. “Didn’t they know that lizards have small dicks?”

Yes, that was obvious the reason for this “tragedy” and not me being a petty di… jerk. Petty jerk.

“I am certain the idea never occurred to them.” She spoke in a dry tone.

“Oh, well, their loss.” I wasn’t sure why they were complaining. It wasn’t like they had become below average by human standards. Just, now they did not have a grossly unfair advantage over other men. “So, Witherfang. Care to join me on a stroll through these ancient ruins?”

“Very well.” The spirit nodded, taking my held out hand in hers.

The Mage Abominations, Alistair and Lucy joined us on the trip into the ruins. The two Desire Demons possessing muggles stayed outside to ‘entertain’ the former werewolves. After giving it some thought, I decided to just cut my losses there. I could find better bed warmers, and Desire Demons of their caliber possessing muggles weren’t all that valuable anyways. Using them as a way to keep my minions happy was probably the best use for them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Our tour through the ruins were barely worth a mansion. The place was normally safe enough for a pack of werewolves to set up a lair in there. Literally, the only dangerous thing in there that wasn’t sealed up was a Dragon. The werewolves got by by avoiding its lair. In our case? We just threw magic at the fifteen feet of fire breathing lizard to paralyze it, and knocked it out. A quick summoning later, and I had a Dragon Abomination. One that Witherfang ended up adopting as her slash our daughter.

Yes, it had taken me less than an hour to going from binding Witherfang to my will to her pestering me into adopting a Pride Demon slash Dragon Abomination loli daughter. Named Sárkány. My life was officially weird.

The second stop was to collect a phylactery. There were a couple of shambling corpses in the area. I was hesitant to use the words “guarding it”, because that would imply said corpses possessing the level of combat power to qualify as guards. They were barely worth noticing.

“Why are you so interested in this phylactery?”

I turned to look at Witherfang, Sárkány and Lucy, and realized that I hadn’t explained to any of them why I was doing this.

“Trapped in here is the spirit of an ancient elf. Like, before the fall of their empire levels of ancient. It has pretty much been driven insane by the passage of time, but I still figure it deserves being freed.”

“How do you know this?” Sárkány asked in confusion. “From what everyone says, this is your first time in this forest. How did you learn what you were supposed to do?”

“From a game I played 3 reincarnations ago.” I told her honestly. “If you decide to follow me ten years from now, when I move on to worlds outside of Thedas you will learn what I mean.”

Witherfang and Sárkány just looked at me like I was crazy. Lucy was nodding in understanding though.

“So, Witherfang, Sárkány, this spirit can teach you the ways of the Arcane Warrior. Considering I already possess the skill I could teach you, but I think learning it from the spirit might be faster. Would you like to try?”

The mother daughter duo looked at one another before Sárkány walked up to me, and picked up the phylactery. And then… nothing happened. I got treated to the view of a red haired, pink skinned little girl in a goth loli outfit that was colored red and reflect light in patterns resembling that of flames - and no, don’t ask me where she got the outfit. When she turned from a Dragon into a loli she was wearing it - holding a magical glass bottle for five minutes.

Eventually she nodded in understanding, and moved to put it down before turning to look at me. She instead went over to a nearby altar, put the bottle down, and clapped her hands in prayer. The spell on the bottle dissipated and the spirit was finally free to leave for the after life.

“Well, that is that.” Sárkány remarked. “So what do you have planned next, Father?”

Lucy giggled and moved to guide Sárkány away as I let go of Witherfang’s hand to wrap a hand around her waist. Sárkány clapped her hands in understanding and put on a perfectly innocent little girl smile.

“You are going to fuck mother’s brains out until she is reduced to a drooling cocksleeve.” She summarized in a tone that a preteen girl might use to inform you that she is going to play tag. We all blinked and looked at her. “What?” She asked. “I might look like this but I’m a three hundred years old Demon. Now come on Lucy, daddy is going to play with his newest fuck toy.” She then grabbed Lucy’s arms and started dragging her out, shooing out Alistair and all of the other Abominations while she was at it.

“Well, that was surprising.” I commented, looking over the room. There wasn’t much. The stone altar where the spirit was released, a pair of bookcases with no books on them, and cold and wet stone floors. “I wasn’t expecting her personality to be like that.”

“I notice that your surprise didn’t stop your hand from sliding down to my ass.” Witherfang remarked, not at all seeming to mind the act as her own hand slid into my trousers to fish out my dick. “Is this the level of romantic courting I can expect in the future.”

I grinned, sliding my hand even lower until it went between her legs. She was already dripping in anticipation, my middle finger easily sliding inside of her, while I used my other hand to turn her head closer to me and kissed her. She started to slowly jerk me off, moaning into the kiss as I played with both her pussy and her breasts. When I broke the kiss, our saliva remained connected, forming a small bridge between our lips.

“I hunted down, captured and tamed a High Dragon.” I told her. “I performed magic on a scale unseen anywhere in Thedas for centuries, maybe since Andraste overthrew the Tevinter Imperium to break an unbreakable curse on your people. I used the Ashes of Andraste, the most holy artifact of the Chantry that most believe to be a mere legend to grant you a new, more powerful body. These are my courting gifts to claim you as mine.”

“Well, when you put it like that.” She purred, leaning into me to kiss me, her full mounds pressing against my chest. “I suppose you do understand romance.” She nibbled a bit on my next before falling to my knees and wordlessly taking my dick in her mouth.

I spent a few seconds enjoying the view and feel of her moaning around me dick as she fingered herself before roughly pulling her up, and then bending her over the altar.

“While I enjoy a good defiling of holy places of worship as much as the next girl,” she said, invitingly shaking her plump ass, “you realize you we won’t be the first couple doing this right?”

I snorted, giving the ass a slap and grope. By her moans, Witherfang was enjoying the treatment.

“Is there anyone in the temple that your werewolves haven’t defiled.”

“They were werewolves.” She said as if that were explanation. “They cut down on fucking in the Dragon’s lair once the Dragon settled in there. That was as close to a no fuck zone as they had.”

Damn horny mutts. Didn’t they know it was in bad taste to sleep around so much unless you were a powerful wizard? Still, she raised a valid point. I was about to fuck a potential goddess for the first time. I should make this a unique experience, not trod over well traveled grounds.

I tapped in my magic, making the weeds sprouting out of the stone around us grow, slowly turning into flowers, vines, and then trees. Because magic did not care about the fact that that wasn’t how trees grew.

“What?”

Witherfang asked in surprise as the vines wrapped around her as they grew, restraining her and lifting her off of the ground. When they finished growing she was hanging in the air, hands tied behind her back, back arched, legs spread open in invitation, and her pussy floating at dick height.

“Did they also defile the place like this?”

I groped her ass with both hands, thumbs sliding down to spread open her pussy lips while I lined up my dick at her entrance.

“The elves probably did. They were always abo-ah!”

Whatever she was going to say got cut off as I hilted inside of her in one smooth motion. “Actually I don’t care about the others.” I told her, reaching forward with one hand to grope her breast as I started thrusting in and out of her, my motion causing her to swing back and forth in rhythm with my thrusts. “All I want you to think about is my dick.”

“Mmmmh.” She hummed in agreement. “It is a great dick.”

Before she could make more witty comments, with a free hand I reached up to grab one of the vines, its end smoothing, thickening and hardening even as it secreted a thick, viscous fluid, and brought it down to her asshole.

“Wait, that is-Oh, Merlin, yes!”

Nine inches of all natural, lubricated wooden dildo smoothly slid into her ass, plugging up the hole. Her cunt tightened and clamped down on my dick, trying to push it out with the sudden increase in pressure. When I rammed it back in, the vine dildo was pushed out instead, so I rammed that back in.

I fucked her like that, viciously pounding both holes at the same time while Witherfang was reduced to a moaning and groaning wreck. I didn’t slow down when I neared my climax, keeping up the pace until I blew my load in her hole.

She made a great view when I pulled out, legs spread as she hung in the air, a wooden vine rammed up her ass and my seed slowly dripping out of her and sliding down her legs. I regretted living in a world where I could not take a picture of this scene.

“So, was this romantic enough for you?”

“I don’t think you quite understand how romance works. And that is coming from a Dragon Demon hybrid!” Witherfang protested. “Still, this was fun. We should do it again.”

I hmmm’d in agreement, smacking her ass hard enough on the side that she started spinning. “We aren’t done yet.” I told her once she was facing me, grabbing her by the back of the head to lower her face until her lips were kissing my dick. Her ass was hanging in the air by this point but she didn’t seem to care as she started to kick and lick my shaft.

I gave her a half a minute to enjoy herself before thrusting my hip forward, slamming myself down her throat. She moaned and hummed in response, vibrating her throat around my cock. I showed her my appreciation by pulling out and thrusting back in, and started to roughly face fuck her.

She didn’t give any indication of protest at the treatment, instead moving her tongue to lick my dick as it moved in and out of her mouth and continued humming. Eventually the simulation got too much, and I blew my second load inside of her. When I pulled out, she opened her mouth to show that it was empty, having swallowed the entire load.

“Do you treat all of your girls this roughly?”

“With humans I have to worry about accidentally hurting or suffocating them.” I told her. “I would rather not accidentally kill someone via blowjob.”

“Well, you don’t have to worry about that with me. I can take rough handling.” She paused for a moment. “So are we going to continue, or is my ass going to have to do without your seed?”

AN:
I don’t exactly have much of an image collection. Not sure if anyone would have an appropriate picture for Witherfang (aside from the wolf / wood girl images from the first game) or Sárkány

For the name, Sárkány, it means Dragon in Hungarian. Hungarian is my first language (though not most fluent), so this is pretty much Merlin giving the bare minimum effort in naming her.






Politics. The one downside to the gratuitous privileges of the nobility.

It wasn’t even the “fun” kind of politics. The full suspense and intrigue as you maneuvered spies and assassins around one another while mixing in some witty verbal sparring. That would have been tolerable. Mainly because when you are the only one with shape changing, amoral, invisible, magical assassins and you have hundreds of those, you end up having a hilariously unfair advantage at the whole thing so it doesn’t require too much effort to win.

No, I had to deal with the boring, mundane kind of politics. Paper work. Running a city. Bringing crime down and employment up. Getting enough equipment and living spaces for my new army of totally not were-dragons. Getting all of the orphans off of the streets and studying to become productive members of society.

Important things. The kinds of things that actually brought about permanent, lasting improvement. And also boring as fuck and exhausting. No wonder the other nobles didn’t bother with this crap.

The one good thing was that no one took issue with me taking breaks from the whole thing. Anora was busy angling herself to get most of the credit for the improvement in conditions, so the more time she was there without my presence, the better for her. Too bad I didn’t trust her to be competent, or I could have avoided the whole thing entirely. Others didn’t really have the authority to question my decisions. Like why I was “bankrupting” my family by buying up foreign ships.

That was actually another interesting tangent to being a noble. People saw how much gold I was throwing around, how much I was presumed to be collecting in taxes and trade, and assumed I was stealing the money somehow. That said, without direct evidence Anora could not move against me. Not that she would find any evidence considering I was getting the coins from a magical bag of infinite coin. Something neither she nor the Orlesian spies thought to look for. It was hilarious how extensively they looked into anyone I came in contact with to try and figure out where I was getting all of the gold from.

“My lord, you called for me?”

I stopped my evil internal monologue to turn and look at the two elves approaching me. If I did say so myself, I struck a suitably dramatic figure, cloak all billowing as I turned from the majestic boat I had recently bought, and glanced upon my audience.

One was Bianca in a custom fitted leather outfit I had finally completed for her. It hugged every inch of her figure, making her into a highly visible eye candy when she wished to be. When she didn’t? Well, the thing was a set of four pieces, each piece both enchanted with Lyrium as well as having a Marid sealed into it. Not only did it provide protection on par with Dragon bone armor, it allowed her to blend into her surroundings, moving silent and near invisible. My own personal assassin when she needed to be, and too obvious to sneak through a crowd of blind men otherwise.

The other was the local elder of the elves, still the unimpressive old man in cheap clothing that I had met last time. Not that being impressive was his job. His job was to keep the peace and traditions of the Alienage, largely by being respected and approachable. When dealing with the incredibly poor, living richly tended to make those difficult.

“Valendrian, thank you for coming so quickly.” I smiled at my pawn in my newest get rich quickly through glorious magical bullshit scheme. “Bianca, thank you for bringing him along. If you two could follow me, I have something I would like to show you, and an offer I would like to make.”

“I serve at your pleasure my lord.”

Since Bianca wasn’t currently kneeling between my legs, that was a blatant lie, but I was a generous master so I overlooked it. Instead I nodded, turned and started strolling up the bridge to my newest ship, the two elves falling in line behind me. No one else followed us, ensuring that we could talk in peace and quiet. Not that there weren’t spies observing us from a distance - though two would meet with “accidents” so it would look like I was trying to keep this quiet and hidden - but they wouldn’t be able to tell what happened aboard the ship.

The ship itself was a merchant vessel, having arrived in Ferelden to buy grain. A prospect that had become far less profitable than before now that we were at war and had a rapidly diminishing surplus of food. Still, while its owner had made a poor business decision, the vessel itself was of fine make. Or had been, once upon a time. It had been in poor condition when I had bought it, with parts broken or rusted. It was mostly why the merchant was likely willing to sell it to me. That was fine, I already had my spirit slaves going through and repairing it as needed.

I led the two elves directly to the cargo hold of the ship, where bags of grain were stored. The entire cargo hold was filled to the brim with bags of grain. Notably, it had been empty when I had bought the ship.

“With the war against the Bight picking up its pace, Ferelden is soon going to have less and less farmers producing food. This is liable to cause food shortages in Denerim. This is a problem in that I’m the Arl of Denerim and people under my protections starving is, like, really bad. It is an opportunity, in that we can use this to decrease the enmity people have towards elves. Namely, I would like to hire the elven Alienage to sell grain at a heavily discounted price.”

The two elves gave me a strange look. That wasn’t too surprising. If I already had all of this grain, there was no need to make the elves sell it for me. That, and-

“My lord, I do not mean to question you.” Valendrian slowly in a slow, careful tone. “However, if there is to be a grain shortage, where are you getting this grain?”

Yes, that. It wasn’t like a noble could just magic up a food surplus when the entire country was starving. Well, it wasn’t like other nobles could do that.

“Do you see that cup there?” I asked, pointing at a silver chalice decorated with some gems and lyrium lines, sitting atop a desk. It was filled to be brim with grain, and was big enough to fill maybe a bowl with the grain. “Please use it to fill some of the empty bags until you run out of bags, grain, or the point is made. Don’t worry, you will get the point after the first bag or two I think.”

The two elves gave me a skeptical look. The bags I was referring to were big enough to need eight of those chalices to fill. Not having one chalice fill multiple. However, an elf did not disobey orders from a crazy noble. At least not when obeying did not lead to elves being harmed. So Valendrian wen to pick up some sacks, while Bianca lifted the chalice.

The skepticism turned to surprise when the grain kept coming out, instead of immediately running out. Soon the first bag was spilled, the excess grain falling out onto the floor before Bianca set the chalice upright.

“A chalice of infinite grain?”

She asked with a tone of awe. Sure it was magic, but it was magic that could end starvation. People who grew up in the modern world, or even nobility of this world, did not understand quite how big a thing that was in this age. When three tasteless meals a day would be considered a luxury for most families, and starvation and famine just a natural part of the cycle of life, an item like this might well be more wondrous than the Ashes of Andraste.

“Yes. A chalice that will never run out of grain.” I agreed. “I do not need to buy or acquire grain. Just tip that chalice over, and it was come pouring out. I just need some elves to sail off over the horizon in a ship, sail back and then make a show of transferring a bunch of grain to the Alienage before it can be sold.”

Of course, questions would be raised as to where they were sailing. That was fine. That just meant I could make up some random nonsense and spread that as rumors. Hmmm, I wonder if I could just raise an island in the middle of the sea and trap magical mist around it. Claim that it was the lost island of Avalon, the last bastion of the Ancient Elvish Empire where elves thousands of years old practiced terribly and ancient magics. Who knows, if I played this right, I could get an Exalted March declared on a non-existent nation. That would be hilarious.

“Where did you find such a thing my lord?”

“I didn’t find it.” I answered Valendrian. “I made it. And three other copies of it. Just in case one of them gets destroyed.”

I slowly leaned back against one of the rickety walls of the ship and grinned in an innocent tone, as if I hadn’t just revealed myself to secretly being a mage. A rather serious crime around these parts.

“So, what do you say? Are you in, or out?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Loghain was feeling frustrated. Or perhaps enraged might be a better word.

He had just returned to Denerim after abandoning his son in law and half the country’s military to the Darkspawn. Thousands had been lost along with Ostagar, even as the Orlesians amassed at the borders. And yet, he had had no choice but to cut his losses.

The signal for the attack had come too late. Had he attacked at that time, there would have been no anvil to his hammer. The Darkspawn would have been pushed through Cailan’s lines, the entire strategy failing, and forcing them to fight in the open, out of formation, instead of defending a bottle neck.

Even had the signal come on time the strategy would have failed. The information provided by the Grey Wardens - an order dedicated to fighting and studying this one specific foe for all nine hundred odd years of their existence - had been horribly wrong. The Darkspawn did not come as a single, large wave that would be flanked and hit from two sides. They came marching in a line that stretched for miles on end.

Could he have hit such a line?

Obviously. His men would have scythed through the Darkspawn without losing speed. The problem would have been what came after. Darkspawn did not have a concept of morale. They did not turn tail and run away because you killed a few hundred. They did not turn tail and run away because you killed nine out of every ten of them. Quite bluntly, after cutting through the Darkspawn line, Loghain’s army would have been the one ending up flanked, surrounded on both sides with more enemy reinforcements constantly arriving. There would have been no winning that.

It simply wasn’t a matter of timing or skill. Had everyone of them perfectly implemented their own parts of the plan, they would have still lost and been wiped out. Because the Grey Wardens gave wrong information. Not only did they give wrong information about how many Darkspawn there were, apparently in the course of fighting them for nine hundred years, it never occurred to them to learn the formations that Darkspawn marched in.

That, or it was Grey Warden treachery. Truthfully, Loghain was more inclined towards treachery. Grey Wardens were lauded across Thedas as great and mighty warrior and brilliant tacticians and strategies. A bumble like this would require not only the entire Ferelden order to be composed of incompetents, but would have required the entire order in its total history to be run by buffoons. No, that was too hard to believe. While being forced to interact with nobles had taught him to not assume ill intent where stupidity would suffice - though frequently it was a mix of both with nobility - he was still more inclined to assume ill intent than that the other was a drooling moron lacking any higher brain functions.

But did the nobility see any of that?

Of course not! Bann Teagan had called his retreat “most fortuitous”, not just to his face, but in front of the entire bannorn. Fortuitous! The death of his son in law, and thousands of brave, loyal Ferelden citizens, all laid at his feet with that one word! Loghain almost regretted having Eamon poisoned instead of Teagan. Almost. For all his sharp tongue, at least the man had the decency not to stick his dick in an Orlesian cunt, let alone marry one.

And all that took him here, to Denerim’s port. Not in his office, going over maps and reading reports. Not with his generals, discussing supplies and logistics, or discussing where to hold the Darkspawn next. Not meeting with the bannorn to learn who could raise as many soldiers, or discussing plans for evacuating citizens from the march of the Darkspawn. Not planning ways to stop the Orlesians or their Grey Warden puppets from exploiting Ferelden’s moment of vulnerability. No, he was here at Denerim’s port, observing a naval ship that was rather unimpressive.

The ship before him was big, sure, but it wasn’t the biggest even in just the port here. Nor was it a military vessel. It had been a merchant ship before Merlin, the Arl of Denerim repurposed it at his “Chuuni Class Warship”. Loghain wasn’t even certain what that meant. He was a soldier and general, not an admiral. Not that it even mattered. They had a land border with Orleis. The Darkspawn also had a distinct lack of a navy, being a purely ground force. Warships - even proper warships - were of no use against an enemy that fought entirely on solid ground.

And yet Loghain was here. Because the Arl of Denerim had thrown around his considerable political weight to defend Loghain’s actions. It hadn’t been a full Landsmeet - they hadn’t had time to gather the full Bannorn - but that had merely meant that only those from around Denerim had attended. When Merlin had stood to defend him, most of his detractors had fallen away. Few who were there could afford the loss of trade if they clashed with him, and so they had given him the benefit of the doubt. Well, most did. The likes of Teagan hadn’t, but he had also decisively lacked support in his rabble mongering.

It had also firmly entrenched the Arl of Denerim as one of the key pillars of Loghain’s power structure. The parasitic moron had, with a single five minute speech, attached himself to Loghain so that he could grow fat on Loghain’s power. And yet Loghain could not throw him aside. Not the least because his only other ally was Arl Rendon Howe, the man who had massacred the Couslands, and was of a rather poor reputation. With allies like these, Loghain could not help but wonder if perhaps he would be more effective without any allies at all. Yet Anora, sweet, brilliant child that she was, assured him that they needed the political support and clout that these two brought.

And so, here Loghain was, wasting his time on the docks. Because a lazy, spoiled child had spent a fortune on a useless toy and wished to show it off.

“Yes, a most interesting ship, this Chunni class.”

Howe spoke, contempt practically dripping from his voice. Because of course, Loghain couldn’t be stuck with two spoiled, backstabbing, scum as his allies. Said ‘allies’ also had to be at each other’s throats. Or, well, one of them was at the throat of the other. Merlin seemed to barely acknowledge the presence of Howe, much like a noble would barely be aware of the existence of servants at a court function.

The older man did not take the disrespect well. His face - already long and sour - grew cloudy whenever one of his barbs was completely ignored, the boy treating him more as an amusement or passing curiosity than a person. Frankly, Loghain was certain that Howe would have lashed out by now, if it wasn’t for his mysterious fear of the little girl hanging around Merlin.

Sárkány was a curious child. She looked like a regular ten year old, dressed in the clothes of a noble child, and happily clinging to the man that alternated between “father” and “big brother” every sentence. She also clutched a toy that looked like cloth sewn into the shape of a humanoid bear and stuffed with some soft material. Loghain would have dismissed her, if not for the fact that Howe was consciously putting Loghain between himself and the child, and shivered whenever the girl grinned at him. Howe was a man that had fought the Orlesians in the rebellion - not well, but at least he had fought - and had overseen the massacre of the entire Cousland family. He did not flinch easily, and yet this one small child had him publicly acting scared. What had happened?

“Yes, I will admit it looks like just a regular ship from outside, however come aboard and I will show you the wonders of the new Chuuni Class that will take Thedas by storm.”

Loghain rolled his eyes at the idiot’s presumptive tone, but followed him on board. There weren’t many of them. Him, Anora, and Sir Cautherin - a girl he had raised and trained personally - were representing ‘his’ party, along with a dozen guards. Howe had brought along a pair of mages and half a dozen guards. Merlin, womanizing idiot that he was, had brought along the ten year old girl Sárkány, some Chasind Wilder, an elven wench in leather armor that served more as fetish gear than protection, and some ‘Lady’ called Witherfang who wore a dress of flowers. Truly, the man made other nobles look useful.

Still, they all followed him on board, noting that the ship looked the same as any other ship. Sure it was steadier than other ships - he could barely feel it rocking with the wave - but aside from a set of metal tubes pointing away towards the sea, it was a purely merchant vessel.

“Yes, a truly marvelous ship. I can just feel the wonder wafting off of it.”

Howe had truly given up on the act of subtlety at this point. Not that the man had ever been subtle in his entire life. Laying insult at the feet of anyone was his entire way of life.

Before others could respond, Sárkány sprinted with surprising speed to the helm of the ship, and drawing a sword from… somewhere… pointed it ahead.

“Onwards! To adventure!”

She screamed in delight. With her yell, the ship came to life. And for once in Loghain’s life, when encountering that phrase, it wasn’t a metaphor. The sails unfurled and tied themselves. Ropes flew everywhere tying themselves, enough that Loghain was certain some served only decorative purposes, and to make the whole “ship coming alive” sequence more impressive than it already was. Within seconds the ship started to moving forward, sailing ahead with unnatural smoothness. It also turned more sharply than Loghain would have believed it possible. As he looked to the sides, he noticed that the four other Chuuni Class ships in port were following their actions.

“I think we are all familiar with the Qunari to the North. But tell me, how much do you know about their dark powder?”

Loghain turned to glare at the boy. No, at the Apostate. Or was he just hiring Apostates to kidnap both Regent and Queen of Ferelden? An Orlesian agent, snaking in as his ally only to kidnap him and destabilize the nation?

“Return us to port.”

His men recognized the tone of his voice. They were all great men, excellent soldiers, and bared their blades without hesitation. Merlin just tilted his head as if in confusion as to what swords were. His women at least seemed to react to the danger, but were rather dismissive of it, taking a step back as if one might from an angry kitten.

“Er, are you sure?” By the Maker, even his tone was confused. “While I don’t mind demonstrating the effects of the dark powder back at the port, it has a tendency to cause excessive levels of collateral damage. I was hoping to showcase its power somewhere where I could limit the destruction to valid targets.”

Loghain felt his fists clenching at the threat. Was the boy serious? Had he truly obtained the dark powder of the Qunari? Not much was known of the weapon. Merely that it was a highly explosive powder that allowed the Qunari to shoot large metal spheres far, and with great destructive power. It was a weapon that allowed them to fight even against the mages of the Tevinter Imperium. Suddenly, the pointless tubes seemed a lot less pointless.

“You would threaten-”

“I don’t threaten.” Merlin interrupted Howe’s angry retort. “I inform people of facts, and let them decide their course of action based on them. In this case, I have a dozen canons per ship that use black powder to shoot grape shots that I will be demonstrating in about ten minutes. Now, we can either continue the trip as planned, and I can demonstrate these weapons on the Darkspawn horde that is about to attack Lothering, or I can return back to Denerim as requested and demonstrate it there. Or, I suppose I could just demonstrate them here, out on the empty sea. I confess, that sounds like a complete waste of a perfectly good opportunity for mass slaughtering one’s enemies, but hey, I’m not the genius tactician here.”

“Lothering is to the East. We are traveling West.” Loghain decided to back track and point out the obvious flaws in this gross insanity, before talks of treason started flying around. As he did, he looked around, and noticed that they had completely left the port behind. That shouldn’t have happened. Ships did not travel this fast. Also, moving ships weren’t this steady. More sorcery? “Also, Lothering is on land. There are no major bodies of water nearby.”

The boy just gave an amused grin. “That won’t be an issue. I’m just getting far from the port so no one will be around to see that these ships aren’t restricted to sailing on land.”

“What are you-” The ship under them shook, interrupting Anora just as she had started to speak up. She ended up holding on to the side of the ship and when she stood up, her face was pale. “Impossible. Ships don’t fly.”

“Corrections. The half assed, smacked together pieces of wood that most of Thedas generously call ships do not fly. My Chuuni Class Warships most certainly do fly. Don’t worry. Like any other flying ship, these also have an invisibility function.”

Loghain wanted to protest and defend Thedas’s traditional non-flying ships. However, since his best friend, good King Maric had died on a sunk ship, he had no love for the traditional kinds of ships. Besides, there was a more important point there to comment on.

“Other flying ships? They have invisibility as a standard feature?” Anora asked what he was about to.

“Of course.” It was Merlin’s Chasind lover that replied “Why did you think you never saw a flying ship before.”

Loghain had believed, like more reasonable people, that it was because flying ships did not exist. Of course, he was now coming to have to reevaluate his prior opinions. Of course, that raised the question of just what the Arl of Denerim was doing creating invisible, flying ships with weapons powered by Qunari dark powder.

“Right, so now that that is out of the way, could we get back to my planned monologue as I extol on the brilliance of my invention?”

If the man wasn’t in command of a - small for now - fleet of flying ships, Loghain would have punched him. As things stood, the use of these ships in war necessitated a certain level of diplomatic conduct.

“Right, so producing the Qunari dark powder is not too difficult. The materials are a bit of a pain to acquire, but not too expensive, and if you know the right ratio to mix them in, producing the powder isn’t too difficult. The problem is one more of logistics. If you are going to make a flying ship into a weapon of war, you want it to have a degree of self sufficiency. You can’t have it being capable of firing for five minutes before having to turn around and return to a city to reload supplies. It needs to be able to take care of its supply problems while in a war zone.”

Loghain wanted to nod along. It made sense to a degree. It was just that the context was rather ridiculous. Also, the mage wasn’t providing any details. What were the materials and processes to make dark-

“Here are the notes on how to make the dark powder.” Merlin said, handing a sheet of parchment to Anora, and another to him. “I would say it out loud, but frankly, I don’t trust Howe with this knowledge. I figure you two would ensure this doesn’t get into Orlesian hands.”

Well, that was perfectly reasonable.

“How dare-”

Howe’s red faced rage was cut off by a little girl pulling on the hem of his shirt. “Nee, nee. Are you being mean to nii-sama?”

Loghain had no idea what ‘nii-sama’ meant, but either way, Howe’s face went pale and he immediately entered into a spluttering of denial. The entire interaction left confusion on Merlin’s face as well, so the man apparently also did not know about what was going on there.

“Now, setting up a proper logistical chain to gather all of the necessary supplies on a campaign would be hard work.” Merlin continued, apparently ignoring the little girl bullying an Arl of Ferelden. “Which is where these Bags of Black Powder come in.” Merlin spoke, lifting up a small pouch from his robe. “Each of these is spelled to always contain a set amount of the dark powder. So if you take some out or pour some out, more will appear inside. Just tip it over, and you can have an unlimited amount of dark powder. It is the same enchantment I use to produce the grain that the elves have started distributing, or to just make gold out of nothing. So Anora, you can stop wasting your spies on trying to find where I’m embezzling the gold from. Because I’m not. I’m just willing it into existence like a proper wizard.”

Loghain was a general. He had fought a civil war against a superior force, and won it. In the process, he had learned an important thing. People talked about the great battles that he had fought and lead, but it wasn’t those that had kept him up at night. It had been keeping his men fed. About keeping them fed after the war was over and the Orlesians won.

A magical bag producing endless grain? A mage who could make more that wasn’t under the control of a Circle? The Chantry would never accept that. Which meant that they would have to be broken. It would not be too hard. They had Templars, but not many in Ferelden. He was already formulating plans of attacking on how to kill off all of those. If he broke the military arm of the Chantry they would look aside and let this be. They had actively supported worse from the Orlesians.

“So the rumors about the hidden, magical island of Avalon are just that?” Anora asked. “I thought they were ridiculous, but frankly after flying invisible ships, I am not so sure.”

“Oh, no. I just made that stuff up because it amused me. A hidden enclave of elves still wielding powers from the height of their empire being in hiding? Please. The Tevinter gods are the elven gods, just sealed behind the Fade. The elven empire did the same blood magics that the pre-Andraste Tevinter Imperium did, they were just much, much better at it. If an island of such elves existed, they would have conquered a quarter of Thedas in a couple of months at some point because someone wanted to perform some grand ritual that needed a few hundred thousand blood sacrifices or something. No, the elven imperium of the past is well and dead, and good fucking riddance to that stuff.”

That, was not what Loghain knew of things. Granted, he did not know much about the Dalish, but he knew that they frowned upon Blood Magic. On the other hand, Merlin had already demonstrated that he had a much deeper understanding of magic than the Dalish - or the Circle - did. Perhaps it might be best not to dismiss his statement out of hand?

“Anyways, that still left me with the logistical issue of getting the projectiles to fire from my cannons. Initially I was going to go with traditional cannon balls, but I couldn’t exactly up and enchant a bag to create a foot wide metal sphere. That is a bit beyond me at the moment, and such quantities of iron are expensive to buy. So instead I enchanted a bag that creates small, marble sized balls of iron that I can use for grapeshot.”

Loghain wasn’t sure what a grapeshot was supposed to be. However, he had a reputation to maintain here, and couldn’t be the one asking about that. Damn cursed politics. War was so much simpler when he could be honest about his lack of knowledge.

“Lord Merlin, what is a grapeshot?” Ah, Sir Cautherin, such a loyal and straight forward lieutenant. “Some of our education did not cover Qunari siege weapons.”

“A most excellent question.” The man said with manic cheer. He then clapped his hands and giggled in a darkly disturbing manner. “Excellent. It seems we are finally at Lothering. I shall be able to give you a proper demonstration as I explain the grapeshot.”

Loghain looked out to the side and noticed that yes, they were at Lothering.

Lothering was a small village, one that had originally been no more than a simple trading outpost. Even as far as a month back, it had barely outgrown that, nothing more than a village of a few hundred. Now though, there were thousands of refugees from the Darkspawn who had run and stopped there. They were starting to pick up their goods to move again, but it was too late. The Darkspawn were already in sight. The roads were too packed for quick travel, and carts could not travel the rough ground. Those who ran now would likely just tire themselves before being picked off by the Darkspawn.

The Darkspawn column was a thick and winding thing, marching in poor order. A few were running ahead of the pack. Scouts was what he would call them in a normal army, but here they might just be eager to start the killing. What few Templars the local Chantry had were making a defensive line, but they would not be enough. Not even to stop the scouts.

“Generally, the easiest way to fire a cannon, is to load the dark powder into it, toss in a large metal ball, and then light the powder.” Merlin spoke in a slow, lecturing tone. As he did, the ships moved, turned and descended, presenting the side with the canons towards the Darkspawn. “This is a good approach if you want to take down a castle wall or other hard defenses, but it is completely excessive if you are going against softer targets like levies, mercenaries, Darkspawn or Orlesian Chevaliers. Then, you instead want a great many weaker shots covering a larger area. Hence the grapeshot.”

Two dozen demons, looking like men with goat legs and horns came out from below deck and moved over to the canons. Two worked each canon, tipping them back, and started loading them with powder and small metal spheres that appeared to be packed together. Loghain signalled for his men to stand down and not attack. Howe failed to do the same, but his men were too panicked to be thinking of attacking.

“Instead of a single, large ball, you load the canon with many smaller metal balls.” He paused, waiting for the demons to finish loading the canons, and stepped away from the front. “Then, you fire.”

A series of twelve roaring sounds resounded across the ship. Smoke rose from the tip of the canons, and when it cleared, Loghain saw that the front few rows of the Darkspawn army had been cleared away.

“Each metal sphere travels at a notable fraction of the speed of sound. This allows them to punch through heavy armor from even further away than a crossbow can hurt an unarmored foe. They also spread out, which makes for rather poor aim, but they make up for it in numbers, making them great for murdering a large swath of enemies.

Even as he spoke, the demons methodically set about reloading the cannons, even as more came from below deck, carrying more munitions. The other four ships also started firing at the same time, and more Darkspawn started dying.

“Now, in a proper battle I would expect the loading and firing to be handled by soldiers, but I was lacking any trained in the proper use of cannon warfare, so I had to make do with spirits for now. I’m hoping we can fix that minor issue soon.”

Loghain was barely listening. The words were interesting, and important. However, they might as well have been meaningless droning at the moment. Even as he tried to listen, his attention was taken by how just five of these ships shredded the Darkspawn army that he and Cailan had failed against.

If only he had had these at Ostagar, there would have been no need to leave Cailan behind. Cailan wouldn’t have gone traipsing through the frontlines, because there would have been no frontlines for him to fight on. Hell, he did not even need the flying ships! Just the cannons alone, if enough of them were to cover Ostagar’s walls could have broken any number of Darkspawn attacks without a single casualty!

Or even better. What will the Orlesians think when we meet their invasion not with a wall of spears that they can try to charge through, but by killing them from the air, outside of their range.

Yes, he had to get access to these ships and weapons for Ferelden. No matter what. They would completely change the face of warfare. Whomever held them would become the new dominant force in Ferelden.

“Of course, it does have limitations.” Merlin admitted. “Due to the spread and rate of fire, it makes it very inefficient at picking up singular targets, or protecting allies already engaged in a fight. For that, you need more traditional forces.”

At that, Sárkány and Witherfang jumped off the ship, turning into a Dragon and a High Dragon in mid-air, before swooping off to set the Darkspawn scouts on fire. Neither deigned to get close and engage the Darkspawn in a proper fight, apparently aware of the dangers of Darkspawn infection. Not that it mattered. Dragon fire was far beyond the ability of Darkspawn to survive, and most of their spells and arrows missed the powerful creatures. Those that came did hit seemed to do barely anything at all, the mighty beasts simply shrugging them off.

The little girl’s toy animal also fell through the air, seeming to be set on fire, before the fire expanded, as if in an explosion. When it was gone, there stood a fifteen foot tall version of the toy, one knee and hand on the ground, and a small crater where it had landed. It rose with a slow, majestic motion, its body radiating fire as it strolled forward with graceful steps.

Its motion appeared slow, and yet it covered ground at a rapid pace with its mighty stride, easily interposing itself between the refugees and the Darkspawn scouts. Those that came close were set on fire, burning to death before they could harm the creature. Those that tried to go around it were instead run down by the mighty weapon, swatted and kicked aside with contemptuous ease.

A darkspawn mage attempted to strike down what was clearly a spirit possessed toy, weaving together a mighty spell to call down a blizzard on it. Yet, the toy merely roared, the fire around it thickening and strengthening before it tossed a massive ball of fire at the Darkspawn, and then slowly strolled out of the blizzard, unharmed. The same could not be said for the Darkspawn mage, the creature naught but a corpse.

“The other is that it would probably be of limited use against the Archdemon. While I’m fairly certain that the grapeshots would completely tear apart the creature’s wings, I’m not sure how much damage they could do to such a mighty beast’s body.” Merlin continued, apparently feeling that a magic Dragon - or, well, extra magical - and High Dragon, along with a demonically possessed toy constituted ‘traditional forces’. Although he supposed that compared to invisible, flying ships loaded with Qunari siege weapons, they were traditional as far as most of Thedas was concerned. “A proper cannonball would likely be rather more effective - if you can hit with it - but all you could do is destroy the beast’s body. The Archdemon would eventually resurrect, but it would give us time until we could raise our own Suicide Wardens.”

Wait. What was that about an Archdemon resurrecting? Loghain was fairly certain he had never heard about that before. He was fairly certain that was the kind of thing he would have remembered, on account of it being important when dealing with the Darkspawn, even if he did not believe this to be a Blight.

“Resurrecting? What do you mean my lord?”

Anora asked with a smile and a delicate tone the question that was on the tip of his tongue. It was good to see she was able to hide the hostility she had expressed about Merlin before this meeting.

“A Grey Warden secret that they try to only pass on to the heads of countries and those who need to know. Or those who get their hands on their private records. Since it is the entire reason for the existence of their order, they apparently feel the need to have it recorded for future generations, just in case the worst happens.”

Merlin’s words made his frown deepen. He was fairly certain that as general of the army fighting the supposed Blight, he would quality for any such need to know requirements. Well, unless this hadn’t been a Blight. Or the Grey Wardens did not see Ferelden as its own country, but a rebellious Orlesian province.

“It is basically why every single Divine has approved the existence of the Grey Wardens, despite Blood Magic being involved in induction into the order.”

Merlin continued, speaking rather nonchalantly about one of the greatest heresies on Thedas.

“In short, when an Archdemon dies, its soul passes on into the body of the nearest Darkspawn. Since they are basically soulless, it takes over, and over time turns back into a High Dragon, essentially resurrecting. The Tevinter Imperium killed Dumat over a dozen times before eventually deciding that ‘murder it harder’ wasn’t a viable plan. That is where the Grey Wardens come in. Using Blood Magic, and an alchemical potion containing Darkspawn blood and a drop of Archdemon blood, they infect themselves with the taint while gaining control of it. Sort of. It is a rather rough process, so anywhere between a third to half the candidates die during the ritual. Also, after about two decades the taint drives them crazy, so at that point they usually go down into the Deep Roads to die fighting Darkspawn to their last breath.”

Well, that explained why the joining ritual was kept a secret. It also meant that it was even more imperative than before that no one important to Ferelden take part in the ritual.

“The main gain though, is that when an Archdemon dies, it can’t tell the difference between a Grey Warden and a Darkspawn. So if the Grey Warden is the closest to it - say by being the one to strike the killing blow - the Archdemon will attempt to possess the Grey Warden. The two souls fighting over one body will expel and destroy both, killing both Suicide Warden and Archdemon.”

Loghain could feel a headache coming on. So Grey Wardens didn’t exist to fight Darkspawn. A task they were rather bad at, if one looked at how, even with the backup of an army, they got wiped out by an army of Darkspawn that did not even have Archdemon support, without even destroying said army. No, if this was the case, they should have been kept on the sides to mass attack the Archdemon when needed, while the actual battle was handled by the army. But of course, he could not make such decisions if he didn’t have the requisite knowledge!

“So, now that this Darkspawn attack is more or less taken care of,”

Merlin cheerfully changed the topic. Looking over the battlefield, Loghain could tell that he was correct. While there was still a Darkspawn army coming along, it was dying faster than it could arrive. If the ships truly had infinite ammunition as he claimed, it was only a matter of time until the army was either shredded, or dispersed. Except Darkspawn armies did not break and run. Even when they got slaughtered by invisible, flying foes too far away for them to hit. They would keep coming and dying until their army was wiped out to the last.

“There are a sibling pair of mages living here in Lothering. I’m going to try and recruit them. Afterwards, I can either take you back to Denerim, or you can get on your Queenliness and Regentiness and coordinate these refugees. Have them disperse or travel somewhere safer in a more orderly manner. After all of that, we should haggle. Ferelden’s military fleet is woefully lacking in aerial capabilities, and we should fix that. I also have some projects I would be interested in doing that I think I might need permission for. Like founding a Circle of Magi under the direct command of the crown of Ferelden instead of the Chantry.”

AN:
For what I can tell, Loghain is a somewhat contentious character in the fandom. There isn’t any hard evidence either way as to whether he directly killed Cailan or not. I tried to toe the line on only having him comment on things for which we have some evidence from the games, even if they are in the form of cut scenes.

As for the dark powder, it is basically just black powder. Probably. Merlin didn't actually steal the Qunari formula / ingredients. He knows how to make gun powder / cannons from his time as Minister in Bartimaeus sequence. That world had muskets and cannons, and perfect memory means if he looked over the designs even once, he would have full knowledge of them.





I watched as Sir Cautherin pushed the templar forward while pulling her massive sword out of his back, a part of me wishing that the phrase had been an euphemism. The other part of me just stood back and watched a Templar be brutally murdered for the crime of trying to inform the Chantry that a group of mages had turned to blood magic and started mass summoning demons. Because killing off all the mages just because a significant portion of them went crazy slash demon possessed was bad. Or something.

“Well, this is off to a lovely start.” Cautherin commented as she looked down at the Templar’s corpse. “We have yet to step into the Tower, and we already had to kill two Templars.”

“At least we caught them at the entrance.” Elizabeth Hawke, elder sister of the mage Bethany Hawke - and their sword wielding minion Carver Hawke - pointed out. “Imagine the pain if we had to track them down because we arrived half an hour later.”

Cautherin glared at the mage but let that go. She was a professional soldier, and did not seem to appreciate Elizabeth’s careless attitude. Or maybe she just took issue with Elizabeth being an Abomination, though admittedly one where the mage was in control. The girl had been surprisingly eager for obtaining a power boost and immunity to possession by demons. She had fitted quite well with the Desire Demon personifying desire for magical power - and yes, finding one fitting the bill while not near a Circle tower or in Tevinter was as much of a pain as it sounded like - whose power and knowledge she was now pulling on.

“Yes.” Cautherin admitted. “You would have had to run. That would have been most unfortunate.”

I snorted. “Pfft. Running. Who even does that?”

A group of eyes turned to glare at the arrogant noble asshole who was floating a foot off the air, because he refused to walk like those inferior peasants. Along with his personal entourage of Abominations who had also been given robes that allowed them to float, just so they could look badass together.

“If they are sending for the Right of Annulment, it is probably an emergency.” Bethany spoke, moving between us. “We should hurry.”

The woman was… comely I figured would be the polite term here. She grew us in a farming village, learning to be a farmer. She was still young and had a youthful look, but had rough, calloused hands, muscled developed from hard labor, ill kept hair, and skin dark from exposure to the sound. Her hair naturally fell into simple, dark curls, framing a plain and simple face untouched by makeup, but not blessed with any good looks either. Over all, she had a simple farm girl look, and did not command attention with her presence. However, she was also a diplomat, at least by the standards of the local company. Meaning that she was kind, and her first resort wasn’t either violence or trading barbs.

She had worn simple farmer clothes when I had first encountered her. Cheap, worn, torn and mended in places. Only enough to keep her warm because it was summer. She and her family had been preparing to run for their lives from Lothering, when the army of Darkspawn marching on Lothering suddenly came down with a highly terminal case of death. Now, she wore expensive and well down robes, enchantments woven into them with Lyrium. Robes that both provided protection and allowed her to fly. A secondary feature she did not partake in to help better connect to the soldiers under Cautherin’s command.

“I suppose she is right.” I agreed. “Loghain would be disappointed if we failed his orders because we stood outside bickering while his mages died.”

Cauthering flinched at that. At the implication that we might fail her lord.

Circle of Magi, were the fucked up system the Chantry had running. Once in her life Andraste offered the words ‘magic exists to serve man, never to rule over him’, meaning that Blood Magic was bad and we shouldn’t do it. The Chantry treated this as some holy insight by Andraste and took it to mean that no mage should ever exist who is not in the service of the Chantry. And so the Circle of Magi were born. Mages, when found, were brought to these towers to spend the rest of their lives there, growing up, learning, passing trials, and being tracked with Blood Magic if they escaped.

Normally, Circle of Magi were guarded by Templars. Their job was to put down any mages who dipped into forbidden arts, such as Blood Magic, Demon summoning, and protesting being raped. However, sometimes some sort of disaster stuck that could not be kept under wraps by the local Templars. The Circle rebelled. Over a dozen Blood Mages popped up and summoned a small army of minions. The Knight Commander needed to excuse one of his Templars who had gone crazy and murdered half the tower. That was when the Right of Annulment was sent for. It asked for a combination of both permission to, and reinforcements for the total and complete culling of the entire Circle. Every single mage, irrespective of age, talent, gender, disposition or innocence would be murdered to the last.

That was what the Templar messenger had been requesting before we murdered him. To kill every mage, including all of the children ripped from their families and kept here against their will. And the fake that the Right of Annulment was called meant some bad shit was going on in the tower. Notably, Loghain’s supporters, under his orders, had started a coup that led to Blood Magic, demon summoning, possessions, and other nasty stuff, but no one else knew that.

“Very well.” Cautherin agreed, sheathing her sword that she had been cleaning while we talked. “Let us go.”

Then she turned around and marched onto my flying ship as if she owned the thing. Which she didn’t. So while she and her soldiers - plus Calver - took the ship across the lake to the tower standing in the center of it - it was much harder for mages to escape from the tower if it was in the middle of a lake and they were never taught to swim - while the Abominations and I simply flew across the lake.

The tower was tall and thin, surrounded by water on all sides. There was a small platform a meter or two above the water, where there was the single door leading in and out of the tower. Any mage who wanted to escape either had to go through here - and the Templars guarding it - or jump out of a window, hope they survived the multi-story fall, and then learn to swim before they drowned.

Naturally we did not enter through the door.

The idea of barricading the doors had been floated, but honestly, there was a grand total of a single boat around here that could be used to travel to and from the tower. And it was in pieces back on the other shore. A barricade would have been a waste of time. So instead, we simply went up, flying up until we reached the top of the tower.

“What is the plan?”

Cautherin cut straight to the point as soon as I landed on the ship. Alistair also ran up to me, happily wagging his tail while I scratched him behind the ears.

“We blow up the roof, and go in like conquering heroes. Help and try to recruit the innocent. Those who attack us, we smackdown and try to recruit. If that fails, we kill them.”

She growled. “That isn’t a plan at all. It is suicide!”

Poor girl. She had the most combat leadership experience out of all of us here. By skill or experience, she should have been leading this expedition. However, she was just a farm girl, while I was, well, me. Had Loghain been part of the attack, he could have taken command. However the man was hesitant to try putting anyone else in command over me. Which resulted in Cautherin being sidelined into going along with my plans because politics.

“It is not suicide.” Lucy disagreed, easily lounging in the air. “Sure the plan is stupid, but we are powerful enough to make it work.”

“Besides, I don’t think any of us except Bethany are diplomatic here.” Elizabeth Hawke cut in in the conversation. “And I’m not having my little sister negotiate with Abominations.”

Unlike the younger sister, Elizabeth struck a striking figure. She had short dark hair and a hard face, moving with a casual grace of someone confident in their own abilities. She wore a dark set of leather armor, less fetish gear than what Bianca had, but still displaying her modest curves. She also had a pair of knives at her side, apparently knowledgeable on how to get into a scrap even without her magic.

“You guys worry too much.” I told them, raising my staff - the Rod of God - into the sky. As we spoke, the weather had been clear and sunny. Now, things changed. With unnatural swiftness a storm gathered, clouds forming out of nowhere, thunder rumbling in the air. “All we need to do is use overwhelming munchkinry to destroy all opposition.” I brought down my staff, pointing at the tower. With a loud bellow lightning rained down, smashing into the top of the tower and blowing it clean off.

“Now, onwards minions! Into the breaches!”

And with that charming battle cry I jumped down into the cloud of dust that had become the top of the tower.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Irving wasn’t sure when things had gone wrong. Things had been going so well too.

Yes, the occasionally Blood Mage popped up in the tower, but when didn’t they? Senior Enchanter Uldred had shown a great talent in finding apprentices trying to study Blood Magic and rooting out the practice with minimal losses to the tower.

Yes, a Blight had come, but the tower was insulated from the rest of the world. They did send some mages to fight at Ostagar, but even after the battle all of them returned unharmed. Irving figured they would just wait things out until a new king of crowned, and then return to casting grand spells at the Darkspawn from behind the Ferelden army. It would have been a nice, relaxing opportunity to explore the countryside.

And then Uldred had called a meeting of the Senior Enchanters where he preached rebellion. Claimed that Teyrn Loghain - soon to be Regent Loghain - would support them if they overthrew the Templars and joined Ferelden’s services. Irving wanted to claim that was when things had started to go wrong but honestly? Given how much support Uldred had at the meeting, how many mages threw their support behind him and pulled out Blood Magic when things went wrong, that would be wrong. The meeting was when problems were brought to the surface, but they must have been building up to this for months or years.

A rebellion supported by Loghain? Don’t be ridiculous Uldred. You have been building up to this far before the Blight. Before Loghain would have ever had opportunity to approach you.

No, Loghain wasn’t the mastermind here. He was just the mindless puppet giving Uldred that final push he needed to enact his insanity.

And now the tower was overrun by Abominations and Blood Mages. Not that Irving was able to do anything about that. He had been caught - along with most of the loyal Senior Enchanters - during Uldred’s surprise ambush attack. Now they were here as prisoners at the top of the tower while the mad demon - an Abomination of Pride now, through and through - stormed back and forth and ranted and raved about how he would convert all of them.

Irving wanted to fight, to rage but he couldn’t. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t access his magic. Worse, the Templars below wouldn’t be able to fight this. Not the forces Uldred had assembled. And that left only one answer.

The Right of Annulment. Uldred, you have doomed us all to death.

Either Abominations and Blood Mages conquered the Tower and broke out soon, leaving no living innocent behind, or an army of Templars descended on the Tower and left none behind.

“-it is this gift that I offer you!”

The Abomination finally ended it ranting about how having your being consumed by a demon so that it could puppet around your body was a gift. Now Senior Enchanter was being dragged forward, to become the first of them converted against their will.

“~Where have all the good mages gone, and where are all the gods~”

A woman’s singing voice resounded across the ritual room that they were in. It was the highest room in the tower, and a thoroughly empty space. Aside from Uldred and his six minions and the dozen plus prisoners, there wasn’t just no one there. There was nothing there.

“~Where is the book wise Solomon to fight the rising odds~”

And yet the song was undeniable being song from within the room. Irving could not spot where it was coming from, but even the Abominations seemed to be surprised at least, having paused in their actions to look around.

“~Isn’t there a cute mage upon a fiery steed~”

No, it wasn’t that there was nothing there. There were a pigeon leading a row of rats in a chorus at the edge of the room. Uldred noticed them at the same time and stepped past his chosen captive, raising his arm as arcane might gathered in it, rather to smash apart this petty nonsense.

“~Late at night I toss and turn and dream of what I need~”

The heavens stuck before Uldred could, thunder roaring as the roof and walls were blowing away, blasted out and above to leave behind naught but dust and empty clear skies. Irving only did not fall to his knees because he was already on them. However the Abominations did and even Uldred stumbled, losing his spell in the process. Irving did not hesitate. Seeing his chance, he pushed the Abomination that was his captor aside and rushed forward, grabbing his staff. He knew not what providence the Maker had sent him, but he would at least die on his feet defending the children of the Tower.

“IT IS ALRIGHT NOW!”

A voice boomed through the air, a gust of wind picking up at the same time to sweep away the dust that hung in the air. There where the voice had come from, stood a mage that Irving did not recognize. He had casually messy white hair, and wearing a white robe decorated with blue string and blue and pink flowers. In his hand he had a curved wooden staff that crackled with electricity. The man himself stood, “dramatically” striking a pose, legs apart and arm raised, staff pointed at the sky and free hand spread at the side doing absolutely nothing of value.

“WHY? BECAUSE I AM HERE!”

Despite the urgency of the situation, Irving paused to stare at the sheer idiocy of what this man screamed. Seriously, what kind of a moron gave up the element of surprise to yell such a pointless phrase.

Apparently Uldred agreed, but had enough of a mind to not be struck in awe by the sheer stupid. A bolt of lightning flew from the Abomination’s hands, only to harmlessly splatter out of existence inches from the man’s face without him doing anything.

“~I need a wizard!~”

The rats sang and the wizard in white moved. A flick of the hand had two Abominations ripped off of their feet and tossed into the sky to go flying off of the tower and into the lake below. At the same time he spun around, doing a flip and twirl in the air that ended with his staff pointed at Uldred. The Abomination had plenty of time to raise a Spell Shield. Not that it helped. The blast of lightning that came out broke the spell with ease, ramming into Uldred and tossing him into the air.

Uldred landed a couple of meters back, sliding along the ground for a short distance before coming to a stop, clothing charred and smoking.

“~I’m holding out for a wizard ‘till the end of the night~”

Uldred stood up, his body glowing as he discarded his mortal shell. The remaining four Abominations recovered at the same time, moving to assist their master. Irving did not let them, a Force Cage trapping one as he immediately moved to enter a spell duel with another.

“~He’s gotta be smart~”

Uldred’s metamorphosis finished, body taking on a demonic formed that looked unnatural. It was tall as an Ogre and far more powerful, possessing hard curves and edges that were not limited by the rules of this world. It availed him naught as a sphere of gravity appeared above him, smashing him into the ground where he was forced to kneel.

“~He’s gotta be powerful~”

Still, it was one wizard against three Abominations, and even as the wizard kept Uldred trapped and Irving exchanged spells with another, that left two who had taken on unnatural forms of their own and rushed the wizard. Irving was a powerful mage - the best in the circle - but it still took him a few seconds to deal with an Abomination. Too long to stop those two as they closed, fists powerful enough to shatter stone coming down on the wizard from behind.

The wizard ignored them, his cloak billowing and coming alive of its own accord to wrap around the limbs of the two creatures. Their attacks missed as they were pulled aside and then tossed away, landing a short distance back.

“~And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight~”

They recovered their footing quickly, pushing themselves up off the ground even as the robe flew off of its master, floating in the air behind the wizard, prepared to fight two Abominations on its own. Not that it would have to. Irving’s superior repertoir and power and finally finished overwhelming his foe, turning it into a stain in reality. A quick flick and the Abomination still trapped in the Force Cage was set aflame to burn to death, allowing the First Enchanter of the circle to step forward and reinforce the brave cloak against these horrors.

“~I need a wizard~”

An explosion had Irving glancing back to see Uldred was missing the upper half of his body. There was now a hole over a meter wide in the floor below where said upper body had been. That was, Irving’s extensive knowledge in demonology informed me, a very deadly wound.

“~I’m holding out for a wizard ‘till the morning light~”

Along with the last line of the song, a High Dragon of all ridiculous things landed atop one of the Abominations. A flaming bear-man thing made of wool that was taller than Uldred had been landed atop the other crushing and burning it to death. Irving honestly wasn’t certain whether that meant that the fight was over, or if he had gone from the frying pan into the Dragon fire.

“Hello, I’m Ser Cautherin, knight of Ferelden and I’m here by order of Lord Regend, Teyrn Loghain, to recruit you into the University of Ferelden.”

Oh great, more Loghain patsies. Looked like it was the Dragon fire after all.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Really, the Tower’s leadership appeared to be composed of either idiots that went and got themselves possessed by demons before figuring out how to suppress the demons - bad form that - or ungrateful jack asses. Seriously, I saved their hides from death by demon and did they thank me? No, of course not!

Then they broke into a rant about my evil and wicked ways, the dastardliness of Loghain, and at that point I just smiled politely while Cautherin’s men walked up behind them and knocked them unconscious. We left them behind to tied up the wizards while traveling down the tower.

The place was a bit of a mess. Okay, a pretty big mess. We had gotten here just as the demons broke out so there were still mages fighting the demons that had started to pop out uncontrollably, but they weren’t winning. And when we helped them, few trusted us enough to join us. Most of our recruits ended up coming from the Blood Mages. Those who didn’t actually want to become demon summoning abominations, or even fight wars. Just those who wanted to live in peace and be treated like people, and were so desperate that they were willing to make bargains with the forces of Hell to obtain that. And no, I wasn’t sure whether the forces of Hell in that metaphor were the demons, or us.

That was fine. They weren’t my main targets of recruitment after all. Especially with the Right of Annulment not actually getting sent out, once this situation was dealt with, their lives would return to normal. And while life in the Tower sucked, as far as Circle of Magi went it was one of the best. It was at that level where you could get used to it and accept it. Unlike other parts of Thedas. Or the former mages that resided in these halls.

“This is disgusting.”

Elizabeth summarized while comforting her sister as we looked upon the Tranquil. Lucy was also kneeling and being comforted by Alistair as she did her best not to throw up. Cautherin was just standing to the side, presumably having encountered the walking horror show in question before.

The Tranquil were essentially mages who were judged unfit for use of magic and had it stripped from them. Granted, the decision was entirely handled by the Templars with no appeal process, so I wasn’t betting on most of the Tranquil having actually been guilty before they were robbed of magic. Still, had it only been that, we would have been able to tolerate it. The issue was more what become Tranquil did to a person.

They didn’t look different. Aside from a simple Lyrium brand on their forehead, they looked and moved like a normal person. No, the distinction came in when they acted. Namely that they didn’t, not willingly. All drive was robbed of Tranquil. If not given orders, they simply could not act. It wasn’t that they didn’t feel. The Tranquil here realized that being murdered by rampaging demons would be bad and they could lower their chances of death by moving away. However, they were simply unable to act on that knowledge, and would stand around until given an order or killed.

As a side note, until you were a Jumper with fiat cheats, handling Lyrium was fucking dangerous. The only ones who could handle it was dwarves whose entire race was innately incapable of magic and had magic resistance or Tranquil. Even those two groups had to be careful, but they were, simply put, able to create enchanted items where no one else could. Which meant, that the Chantry needed a certain amount of Tranquil to make them money. When a Church has deep, financial motive to mostly dislodge someone’s soul so that they became a mindless slave, the system was really fucked up.

“It is.” I agreed. “Let’s fix it.”

I was not treading any new grounds here. Well, I was, but only because the people who gave me this idea wouldn’t take the actions for a year or two still. Really, the idea I had came from the Dragon Age 2, when you take a companion wizard with you to meet his friend. Who had secretly been made Tranquil so the Templars could set up an ambush. He ends up releasing the Spirit inside of him, temporarily returning the Tranquil back into a regular person. That told me that what I needed to do was possible. The rest was just figuring out how to have a demon possess someone without the demon remaining in control.

Of course, just randomly shoving demons into people without their consent would be rude. So instead, I pulled out a small metallic sphere from my pocket. It was a magic item that didn’t actually do anything. It just had a bunch of the local demons trapped in it, essentially bringing a portion of the Fade into the world.

As soon as I pulled out the sphere, it was clear that it was a success. We had near three dozen Tranquil standing emotionlessly before us. As I pulled out the sphere, all of that changed. Some of them started laughing in joy. Others broke down crying. A few of them hugged each others. Few managed to remain standing as they were forcefully pulled out of a living nightmare.

“Hello.” I spoke up eventually, after giving them a few minutes to collect themselves. “My name is Merlin and I’m going to be starting a new Mage organization outside of the Chantry’s purview here in Ferelden, and I’m recruiting. At the same time, I can make your return to sanity permanent if you wish. The two offers aren’t related though. You can choose to join my organization while staying a Tranquil, or stay here but become a person again if that is your choice. I would prefer you join my organization and be a person again, but I won’t force you.”

That was one point Cautherin had disagreed with me on. Quietly, and very briefly once she realized that every word she uttered had the mages in my group contemplating how to get away with murdering her. The girl had a point. The entire reason for this excursion was to recruit mages. Freely handing out what we could bribe them with was bad politics.

That said, while I was willing to do some questionable stuff, leaving the Tranquil as Tranquil was beyond how far I was willing to go. Not without a very good reason at least.

I barely finished speaking before half the Tranquil asked for the de-Tranquilification. Practically throwing themselves at me and begging me to be granted their freedom.

“What is the cost?” One of them had the sense to ask. “What would this involve?”

“Just some Lyrium and blood. I’m footing the Lyrium, but I will need some of your blood.” I replied to him. “As for the process, I will summon a demon into you, but bind it so that you remain in control. You will become an Abomination where the mage, not the spirit is dominant.”

Some protested at that. Surprisingly few though. As it turned out, at one point desperation went so far that even ‘possession by demon’ looked like an upgrade. Which, really said all that needed to be said about the horrors of the Chantry.

In the end that was how the Grey Wardens found me. In the middle of a circle of Lyrium and blood, binding a demon into a fifteen year old girl as men and women stood in line for their turn at the process. It probably did not strike a very heroic image.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Grey Warden party consist of an elf in Dalish - that is light and all natural - armor with a bow on her back, a young black haired made in a sexualized ‘wild barbarian’ themed outfit, a red headed Chantry lay sister also holding a large bow, a Qunari whose giant two handed sword was clearly compensating for a tiny dick, a mage of grandmotherly age, a Mabari hound, and an idiot with a sword and shield with heavy armor.

“Well, this is awkward.” I noted at the young girl in front of me stopped glowing. She grinned, ignoring her audience and hugged me before kissing me. “I swear, this is not what it looks like.” I told the band of murderhobos, operating under the hilariously misguided theory that diplomacy worked on PCs.

“It looks like you are summoning demons into these people.” The Dalish elf noted, nocking an arrow on her bow, but not drawing it back yet.

“Okay, so it is exactly what it looks like.” I admitted. “Though in my defense, there aren’t exactly all that many methods to heal Tranquility.”

I paused as I turned the last two words I had spoken over in my head. I took a moment to reconsider the assets I had at hand, and which of those would allow me to heal the unhealable. After a couple of seconds I arrived at the conclusion that I had been going about this the wrong way.

Oops?

“It is true!” The Tranquil who was next in line agreed. “The Templars burned out my magic and made me a Tranquil because my studies weren’t going well! Merlin is healing us, making it so that we can be humans again!”

“Jonathan,” the old mage spoke up in a pained tone. “I know you did not want to be Tranquil, but you never seemed unhappy-”

“Because I wasn’t in control!” The Tranquil screamed back at Wynn, rage in his eyes. “You think Tranquility wasn’t bad? That we didn’t suffer because we never complained? That is because we weren’t in control of our own bodies! We didn’t lose our drives, our desires! We still wanted to act, tried to act! But we couldn’t, because our bodies didn’t respond. We couldn’t speak the words, or even take a single step. I know how you always ranted about being possessed gives a demon control of your body, but Tranquility isn’t any different. I lived the past five years of my life with my body controlled by something other. Something without desires. I don’t know, maybe Merlin is going to betray me and leave the demon he binds in control. At least the demon will have desires. It will act, and I will be able to feel again! Being possessed by a demon isn’t as horrible as being Tranquil!”

“I say let them go through with this.” Wildling Stripper Mage spoke up, casually leaning against her staff as she observed the proceedings with boredom. “If they wish to be leashed like cattle, let them. Tis no skin off our noses.”

“No!” The idiot in heavy armor yelled, dramatically stepping forward. “This is demon summoning, and that is wrong! We are Grey Wardens! Our job is to stop things like this!”

Alistair jumped forward, barking at the man making a hostile movement towards his master.

“Alistair, down!” The elf and I yelled in response at the same time.

Alistair, being the good and smart boy that he was, immediately stopped his barking, and came back to me, sitting down by my side, tail wagging. I gave him a scratch on the ears as he panted.

The idiot in the armor in turn pointed his sword at me. “I don’t take orders from you.”

“I think the dog’s name is Alistair.” The lay sister calmly pointed out. “He is such a cute doggy. Not as cute as you though, Barkspawn. Aren’t you just the cutest.”

Their Mabari dog barked in approval at the comment, giving the lay sister’s hand a lick.

“Makes one wonder.” The wilding mage spoke up again. “There are two Alistairs in this room, and the dog is the smarter one.”

“To be fair Morrigan,” the elf picked up right away, “it is a Mabari hound. They are very smart dogs.”

“Now now, Morrigan, Robber, it isn’t nice to pick on Alistair like that.” The lay sister spoke up in the name-thief’s defense. “Alistair has plenty of good traits of his own.”

“Leliana is right.” The mage, Wynn agreed. “Alistair is a fully trained Templar. It takes both intelligence and discipline to manage that.”

“Actually,” I interrupted, “our Alistair is also a Templar.”

Alistair barked in approval, before unleashing a Smite into the air below us to show that yes, it was a fully trained Templar as well.

“Bu- bu- that-” Human Alistair - Halistair? - mumbled in protest. “That shouldn’t be possible.”

“Apparently, tis quite possible.” Morrigan countered. “You should not deny the truth just because it is inconvenient.”

“This is nice and all,” Jonathan interrupted the calm banter, “but could we get back to the ritual? I would like some guarantee that I will be able to retain my mind once I get away from Merlin’s magical balls.”

“The man is right.” Cautherin agreed, drawing her sword and taking a step forward. “The Grey Wardens have been declared enemies of Ferelden by Lord Loghain. It is time to put them out of their misery.”

“Have fun with that.” Lucy spoke up from the corner of the room where she was playing a card game with the recently Abominafied ex-Tranquil. Apparently a minor thing like a party of Adventurers breaking in on our Demon Possession Ritual wouldn’t get her to stop her children’s card game.

“To take on such an experienced and well armed party by yourself. Truly you are most brave Ser Cautherin. This will be a feat worthy of a hero, if you succeed.” Witherfang agreed, lounging against a wall without making the slightest effort to get up.

“Go Cautherin, you can do it, you’re our woman!” Sárkány yelled, jumping around and weaving around pompons that she had gotten from heaven knew where. “If you can’t do it, no one can!”

Cautherin stopped in her march to turn and stare back at us. “They are criminals against Ferelden!” She protested. “Enemies of the state!”

“That is nice dear.” I told her in a calming manner, pulling out my ink brush to start setting up the necessary preparations for the next iteration of the ritual. “Honestly though, I really don’t care whether or not they were part of a conspiracy so long as it doesn’t affect my work. So tell me Wardens, are you going to stop me from helping the Tranquil or setting up Mage settlements across Ferelden?”

“Abominations must be killed.”

The Qunari spoke simply. It did not draw its sword, for it had always held its weapon in its hand. Instead it stepped forward, long steps covering the ground at a rapid pace as it closed the distance, weapon raised and pulled back for a swing to cut through me.

All of it was just so slow.

A careless flick of the wrist and a vortex bomb flew out, slamming into him. The miniature black hole sucked in the Qunari and the ground around him, crushing flesh, steel and stone without the slightest problem as it continued to travel. It went by the Warden’s party and through the wall, leaving a two meters wide hole where it had passed through, before eventually dissipating in the air.

Robber and Morrigan glanced from me to the hole in the wall to back at me and spoke at once. “We have no objections to your work.”

Halistair and Leliana looked like they wanted to protest, but after a half a minute of hesitation backed down. Wynn followed their lead, mumbling something that I ignored as I triple checked my preparations.

“Excellent. Now, I am going to assume you already cleaned out all problems downstairs?” The Warden party nodded in assent. “We already cleared out the top floors. In that case we are no longer in a time rush to save lives. So why don’t you let me finish this ritual, and then we can have a nice, civilized discussion over what everyone wants and how we can all help each other and Ferelden. After that, Irving and the other Senior Enchanters are tied up at the top. They tried to stop us for some reason. Anyways, we will leave through our flying ship there, so you can untie them, and we can all go our separate ways.”

“Sounds good to me.” Robber agreed.

“Are you sure about this?” Halistair protested. “They are working with Loghain. That makes them Evil.”

“Yes, because the Blood Magic and Demon summoning would have made me a walking bastion of pure good otherwise.” I rolled my eyes. “Seriously though, only Cautherin here is in the man’s employ. Well, that and her guards, but they are guarding the ship and mages upstairs.”

“We are not joining up with them Alistair. We are just talking.” Robber pointed out. “If things don’t work out, we can fight then. However, this is a Blight. We all need to work together here if possible.”

“I won’t work with Loghain.” Halistair protested.

“An eminently sensible position, given the man wants to murder you for existing.” I agreed. “That doesn’t mean we can’t establish a mutually beneficial relationship though. Now, since I’m about to start summoning a demon, I would appreciate if everyone could be quiet and not interrupt me. This is the sort of thing that deserves a man’s full focus, even when he doesn’t need it.”



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