Acclimating

By Dream Big 
17 parts
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• Latest update: 8 August. Next update: 22 August. (Submissions welcome.)

• Latest from BRK: “The Arsenal of Secrets”, Parts 1‑10.

Part 1

You can get used to anything, really.

I’d spent thirty years of my life getting used to who I was: painfully average, modestly competent, and socially awkward. A paper pusher, a bit of a homebody. Not super close to family, not too many friends. Acquaintances, mostly—work friends, primarily, and a few exes. Still in the closet.

That part came gradually. There had been a moment in college when I’d almost come out, but then Karl and I had broken up. Therapists had told me I’d become too complacent, echoing Karl’s complaint. So what if I’d rather stay at home and cuddle? No reason to go out. No ambition, but I was willing to work, so I did well enough at the office. Reliable and competent. But never exciting, never a go getter. Had I ever really tried hard? Didn’t see the point, I got along well enough as I was.

So yeah, it kind of stuck. So did the routine of work, after college, and before long I was wearing out the couch, and slowly buying bigger pants. I was just kind of used to it.


Out of boredom, I’d joined an online game, and found myself looking forward to the quests, the lore, the leveling up. My willingness to grind away was uniquely suited to that style of gameplay where slow and steady really did win the race, and where a bit of cleverness went a long way. Months went by and I spent ever more time there, finding satisfaction in the routine.

Turns out you can get used to winning, too. And I had. I was good enough to solo play though group quests, which suited me just fine. It was mindless fun, it passed the time, and my hours passed.

So, there I was contentedly meandering through what passed for a life.

…And then suddenly I wasn’t. I was blinking in the sun, laying on what felt like stone and grass. It smelled of turned earth, fresh grass, leather, some kind of metal….

“Awaken, and heed my summons!” Wait, what?

“I bind you, demon, bind you to my service!”

I felt weird, tingly, and not quite myself, my head was pounding. I sat up. Felt like threads snapped around my chest as I did so, but I paid it no mind.

“Who are you binding?”

“Dear gods, he shook off the restraints like they were nothing!”

“Brace yourselves, lads! He can’t get all of us!”

My vision finally cleared, and I found myself sitting in some sort of circle, surrounded by small, aggressive men. A thin, nerdy looking guy pointed a crystal topped rod at me, nervously chanting under his breath.

What the hell?

Part 2

There were five of them in front of me. Thin, almost androgynous of build, looking much like the elfin inhabitants of the online game world’s Lianamar district. Lean, but muscled nicely, somewhere between twink and twunk. They were dressed in clothing that looked like a cross between the renaissance festival and Hot Topic’s discount rack. They had fear in their eyes and their body language, though also a bit of courage. Disturbingly well armed, some with swords and daggers, one with a nasty-looking bow, and of course the cutest of the lot with crystal-topped rod, the glow fading from the gem.

At their wide-eyed gaze, I turned to look behind me, but saw nothing—just a few more of these skinny guys, weapons held in protective stances. Then I realized.

They seemed afraid of me.

I mean, why? I was a dumpy middle-aged—-

Ever look at yourself, and your body image simply doesn’t quite line up? Yeah, it was like that, only in a big way.

Gone was my pale and flabby midsection; in its place, a thick and solid abdomen and deep adonis belt was inscribed on paper-thin, ruddy flesh. Above it, muscular pecs and pert nipples. I stared in wonder at my arm, itself a beefy work of art, with long, bulky-lean muscles and easily roused veins. I could almost feel the strength there, right down to my thick fingers. Hairless, but in the flickering light I spied some ink.

Below, it looked like the stout legs I’d imagined lumberjacks might have: thick, sturdy, carved hams stretched before me, with larger-than-expected feet at the ends. And between them, stirring like a dog whose master just called him, lay a rapidly expanding bulge.

“See! Its face reddens!”

Duh, I was embarrassed—I didn’t want to pop wood here while I was surrounded by fantasy twinks!

“Hold, demon! You are bound! You should be—”

“Whoa, whoa—I’m not a demon,” I said, but found myself shocked by the rumbling voice that I apparently now sported.

“He is within the circle of truth, Meider,” the one with the shaggy brown hair and the shiny medallion said. “Even if the binding failed, the truth circle should be in effect.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about. Truth circle? Where the hell are we? Who are you? How did I get here?” I asked.

“You are bound! By Hakar’s circle, if nothing else! It’s a foolproof means of binding any evil creature!”

“Ah, there’s your problem,” I said. “I’m not evil.”

They all stepped back warily when I said that, but nothing fancy happened.

“What happens if I tell a lie?” I asked.

“The circle will react and you will feel pain should you attempt it,” the one with the crystal rod said, in awe.

“Meider, was it?” I said. “I’m really confused now, I have no idea why I’m here, but I mean you no harm.”

His eyes grew wide. “Say a falsehood,” he implored.

“Um….I’m Gojira, king of the monster—aaaa!”

Yikes, that stung. Sure enough, a shimmering field. of reddish static flickered around me, and it felt like I’d stuck a finger in a light socket. Only, you know, my whole body at once.

“How can this be, Kendris!” Meider asked his friend. Kendris, the shaggy-haired one, gestured to his comrades to lower their arms but be wary. Then he approached.

“We slew the demon summoner mid-spell. Perhaps this is the result? Perhaps it brought something else, something unintended, to our world.”

“Demon summoner?” Oh, no.

“Yes, a fiend worshipper, who was intent on bringing his vicious master into our world to do harm. We stopped him,” he gestured at the slumped, bleeding robed form I’d somehow missed seeing. “Before he finished his master spell. Perhaps he misspoke when I slit his throat.”

“Yikes,” I said.

“What plane do you call home, stranger?” Meider asked as Kendris stalked around me, examining the symbols carved into the ground.

“Earth? I’m just an ordinary human.”

The field shuddered briefly and I felt a tingle. WTF?

“And this form, do you normally possess a form this….powerful?”

I looked down and nearly answered before remembering the liar’s penalty. “Not usually, no.”

“Then I ask your forgiveness, but please swear to us that you mean us no harm, and we will do the same.”

“I mean you no harm.” But I will reserve the right to defend myself, I thought.

Meider placed his hand inside the circle and looked me straight in the eyes. “So long as you mean us no harm, and pose no threat to our community, I mean you no harm.” He held my gaze, and nodded. “Your word is binding. What is your name?”

“Is it safe to give you that?” I remembered a few stories in which it really wasn’t wise to give your true name away.

“Ah, I apologize for any misunderstanding. What do you prefer to be called?”

“Eric,” I replied.

“Then, Eric, I am Meider and this is Kendris, and my brother and I will attempt to sort out what happened to you. If we can make it right, we will. Men, I think we are fine here, so you may continue with the clean-up work.”

Kendris, the burlier of the two, stretched out a hand in greeting, and offered to help me up. I accepted. And instantly I realized how different things really were, because my hand was nearly twice the size of his.

Standing up was a very different experience, suddenly.

As I got to my feel and caught my balance (abetted by Kendris’s surprisingly strong hand), I realized I stood a full head and a half taller than him, and that caught us both by surprise, though possibly me more than him.

I felt something brush my leg, and an odd sensation at the base of my spine. As I swung round to look, a serpent seemed to shoot through the air and hid behind me. And then I realized it was no serpent. I had a tail—long as a leg, and with a spaded tip. Much the same color as my own ruddy skin.

“Sorry, that’s… uh… new.”

“If you are normally a human, I would expect nothing less than surprise. You wear a form that… well, it is certainly not quite human.”

“You have no idea. At home, I’m very ordinary,” I said, reaching up to run my hands through my hair.

“Ahh!” I chirped, startled to find bone where I expected hair.

“No horns back home, I take it,” Kendris replied with a chuckle.

“Shit. I have got to be dreaming.”

“I am very much afraid not,” Meider said. “But come, let us play host and perhaps we can all find our footing.”

I glumly followed him, with Kendris trailing behind (watching me, no doubt, I could nearly taste his suspicion despite the apparently magical vow), and breathed deeply. This was unpolluted air, and apparently this form was allergy-free. Every scent seemed distinct and fresh, and unsullied somehow.

We walked through a line of guards, dressed in similar livery—I noticed coloration and wrist bands on the men that were echoed in the brothers’ garb—and through a camp that seemed all too familiar, especially once I spied a banner.

“The Jagged Crusade?”

“I thought you knew nothing of our world,” Meider said, a delicate eyebrow arched in suspicion. He ushered us into a lavish tent.

“I thought so too. But if this is the Jagged Crusade, you’re fighting the Hordes of Night, right? Near Bonifer Mountain?”

“You seem to know much.”

“Meider, on my world, there is a… a game we play, a sort of magical story simulation. I got really good at it. Good enough to be a ranked player. It can’t be a coincidence that I’m here.”

“I wonder. The summoner was rushing to complete his spell, attempting to bind a great demon lord to turn the tide of battle. Our team was dispatched to stop him, and we barely managed to do so—in fact, he seemed to complete the ritual just as he fell to the final arrows.”

Kendris leaned in. “As I said earlier, brother, perhaps he mispronounced something in his haste, or due to blood loss.”

“Possible. There are two parts needed—one is the summoning spell itself, but the other creates a form for the spirit to inhabit. It should take the form of whatever demon you intend to summon, so that the spirit and body align properly and ground the outsider to this realm.”

Meider pulled forth a massive tome and began leafing through it. “If we can find the form you match, that may be a clue.”

Kendris peered over his brother’s shoulder disapprovingly. “I thought you’d destroyed this book.”

“Of course not. It’s too useful. A unique source of knowledge of our foes. Ah! Here we are, does that look about right to you, Kendris?”

“Vanquillon? Yes, it looks like a perfect match.”

A sinking feeling spread down my spine. “Did you say Vanquillon?”

“Yes.”

“Fuck. There was… there was a hidden quest, I’d just completed it. Clear out a pocket dimension of demons, and return with the Demon’s Sword. Thing is, if you acquire the sword, demons don’t attack you, they obey your commands. I just equipped it last night. So technically, at least on my home server, I am the lord of Vanquillon, holder of the Demon’s Sword.”

“I’ll give you two guesses,” Meider said, “as to which titles that fool probably used in the summoning spell.”

“Show me the picture, please. You haven’t got a mirror around.”

Yup, there it was, the demon I’d slain the other night. I remembered thinking, at the time, that some repressed queer artist had had particular fun designing this bit of muscle eye candy. In fact, the forums had a field day with him once the secret quest started to show up. Vanqueer-on, Lord of Sexy, was what he’d been dubbed in one chat room. Nearly seven feet tall, gorgeous, with a tail but no wings and sleek ram’s horns shooting elegantly back through his silky long hair. Hunky body that looked like someone added 50 pounds of muscle to a Hemsworth/Thor base and died it a ruddy shade.

And now, I was stuck in his body.

Part 3

“I take it by your expression that you know of this name?”

“I do. I defeated that creature a few nights ago in my game. It was a beta test.”

Meider frowned. “This says that Vanquillon is a title given to whoever defeats the title holder.”

“Shit.”

Kendris looked at me quizzically. “I assure you that is what this says.”

“No, I mean, shit, I defeated him, and so I hold the title.”

“You mean… human you defeated this demon? You claimed to be ordinary…”

“I am. It’s a game. I didn’t really fight him, I pretended to… it’s hard to explain. You have chess, right? It’s like that… sort of.”

“I think I follow. Your… avatar in the game defeated Vanquillon’s, in the game.”

“Right.”

“Hmm. Sympathetic magic. Symbols hold great power, and representations of things in ritual can tie to the thing referenced.”

Kendris mused aloud, “I wonder if he used a ritual to defeat him?”

“Yeah, I did, it was the Ritual of Asscrack, or something like that.”

I thought back—it was like an old school boss fight where you had to fend off the big guy while activating these ritual posts around a circle. You closed the circle and then cast the spell, before the candles burnt out. A lot of it was timing and avoiding his attacks while you worked. It was a tough fight.

Meider ran for another tome, flipping rapidly through the pages until he found a diagram.

“Does this symbol look familiar?” I squinted at the page Meider showed; the text seemed almost fluid but the diagrams were clear enough.

“…Yeah, it does. There were these five candles around the circle and I had to light them in sequence, activate a spell, and keep him busy in the center of the circle while dodging his attacks.”

“The ritual of Hazak. Also known as the Usurper’s Rite. It is designed for cases of possession, to evict some entity who has taken over a person.”

“But it was the banishment spell the game sent me after. I, well, my avatar, spent all day hunting for the ingredients.”

“Then you used the spell against someone in their own form? I’m sorry, but I fear that the Usurper’s Rite was never intended for such a purpose.”

“But it’s not… I mean, why would it work? I wasn’t really there!”

“Neither was the demon, and once you’re both at the same level of representational abstraction….”

Meider fixed me with an intelligent, piercing gaze.

“I am satisfied you mean us no harm. And that you are here quite by accident. I would like to help you, but I will need time to research this. It is fascinating.”

“So you think you can put me back?”

“If I can do so, I will. But I cannot promise that it is within my power.”

I must have slumped, but then I felt a warm hand on mine. It was Kendris.

“If my brother sets his mind to it, you have the best possible chance. But in the meanwhile, we must figure out what to do with you. You’re not exactly inconspicuous.”

I felt my emotions beginning to catch up to my predicament, and a tear began to well up in my eye. “I’m a monster. I’m a freak and stuck in another world.”

“Hey,” Kendris said. “Look at me. Really look at me.”

I did so. He was handsome; his shaggy brown hair reminded me of a carefree surfer’s.

“Good. Now. First things first. You should have the power to disguise yourself, your form, if you possess Vanquillon’s power. You need to focus on accessing that power, and altering your shape.”

“Are you sure about this, Kendris?” Meider asked.

“If he’s got Vanquillon’s form, we’d waste our time trying for force him into another shape. You know how shapeshifting works.”

“True. Any transmutation spell I placed would fight with his innate shifting ability, and that’s on top of his innate general resistance. I might manage a simple illusion but it wouldn’t hold for long.”

“Now listen, Eric. I’m going to ask you to concentrate on yourself. Touch your body with your fingers. Feel its edges. Close your eyes….and breathe deeply.”

I tried to comply. It wasn’t easy; there was a lot of me now, and it was unfamiliar. Hard muscle, broad flesh, silky skin that felt charged with sensuality. I felt my dick stir and immediately shut down any thought of that area; I had enough going on.

“Now, imagine the tingling you felt with your fingertips, but stop touching your body—just put your fingertips together and feel that sensation flowing to the tips.”

It was working…or I had a good imagination.

“You have power within you—- call upon it, feel it flow to your fingertips, just as the sensation of touching your body did.”

So far so good.

“Oh my,” Meider said, “Your little apprentice centering ritual seems to be working.”

“It’s how I learned,” Kendris answered. “Now Eric, feel that power in your fingertips. Hold it there. And now, imagine a human form, and keep that image in your mind.”

“Yeah, I have an image.”

“Excellent. Now, imagine the power flowing back through your fingers, up your hands, through your body—all the while replacing your form with the form you imagine.”

I could feel it! Fingers felt a slow buzz, and then a buzzing electrical sensation traveled throughout my body (including the tail!) and ended at my feet and the tips of my horns.

“Excellent work!”

“Really?”

“Oh yes. Now imagine that you can hold that form for an hour,” he said. “That’s a start.”

“One hour… I can do this for one hour.”

“Ken, he might be a novice, but his natural energy is pretty strong.”

“Yes brother, this is about starting with the assumption of control. Eric hasn’t done this before, but Vanquillon has.”

“It feels done now, should I open my eyes?”

“Please.”

Success! I laughed aloud, delighted. Strong but sinewy arms stretched out before me, lightly tanned. Below, a trim physique and a narrow waist.

“How do I look?”

“It is a beautiful form,” Meider nodded. “Is this normally how you look?”

“My real body isn’t so…nice. I figured if I’m going to fake it, I might as well use a nice body.”

“So it seems,” Kendris said, marveling. “Amazing—both human and elven at once. Most attractive, though not all are so open-minded as we are,” he said, somewhat ashamed. “Such creatures are rare enough, but you could pass for either with little effort. Yes, that will do.”

“You’re too pretty to escape notice,” Meider said. “But garbed as you are, you may be mistaken for a camp-follower.”

“He’s about my size, I’ll lend him something,” Kendris said.

They didn’t know I was imagining Zac Efron and Orlando Bloom. Well, Legolas. I guess I wanted to fit in.

Part 4

Kendris was gone for a few minutes, so I spent it annoying Meider. I felt surprisingly bold, and attractive.

“So, Meider. Apparently you’re a wizard or something. And apparently I can do magic?”

“Sorcery, in your case, most likely,” he said. “But similarly arcane in source. At least for this sort of thing. May I?”

I nodded and he reached out, touching me in sadly safe places, as if testing the spell’s success. Then he mumbled and passed a few fingers over me.

“I can’t even tell now. It’s as complete as I could have managed, given time and preparation. It’s a fundamental shape shift. Until you will otherwise or it wears off, you are this creature, physically. I find myself torn between wanting to explore this power and wanting to send you home.”

“We can do both.”

“We will have to. I am a master of the arts, but this is beyond my skill and knowledge. For now, I will need to work with you to test your limits—and then I may need to borrow your power to send you back.”

“Will that work?”

“I don’t know.”

“What if you defeat me and claim the title?”

“The thought had crossed my mind, but I have no wish to become a demon. And if I repeat the Usurper’s Rite where would your soul go? Clearly your consciousness is here in this realm; how would it find its way back to your body, back in your world?”

“I’m glad you’re smart, Meider. I hadn’t thought of that. It’s a very attractive quality.”

Wait, what the hell? Was I hitting on him?

“Um…thank you.”

“Did I hear correctly that Kendris is your brother? You seem so different.”

Yeah, you’re a cute twink bookworm, and he’s a hunky surfer bro. Both kinda hot.

“He is, but by another father. I am the elder of us. And Kendris is a moon-worshipper whereas I chose a less spiritual path. I put my faith in books and knowledge.”

“But you both seem in good shape,” I said. Teasing. Most unlike me.

He fidgeted a little in his seat. “Well, to some extent. He’s always been the more physical of us, but I have found that I enjoy running and swimming. And it has probably saved my life.”

The thought of him swimming came strongly to mind.

“Do your people swim in the nude?”

“What?” He was surprised by the question. Hell, so was I. A bit forward for me.

“Nude. Naked Swimming.”

“Oh, yes, in private. Do your people bathe in your garb?”

“We have special suits to hide our private parts from view.”

“Oh, yes, that seems wise.”

He was nervously refusing to meet my eyes.

Push more, he’s into it.

“I’ve never really done the nude swimming thing, or even a speedo or thong. Never had the body for it.”

“Undergarments, I take it?”

“Yes, sexy undergarments,” I answered ,before I could stop myself. “They reduce drag and show off your pleasing form.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

“Ahem.” Kendris cleared his throat. “Was I interrupting something?”

“What? Oh, no, Eric was just explaining some of his home’s customs to me.”

“You seem to really enjoy talking about it,” Kendris said, nodding bemusedly at both of us.

I looked down, and my minimal loincloth was strained to the point of no return. How embarrassing!

“My apologies,” Meider said, scooting away. He wasn’t successful in hiding the tent in his trousers, though.

“Not the first time your wand has had a mind of its own, Mei,” Kendris chuckled. “Here, Eric. Hopefully they will suit you.”

I quickly pulled on the trousers—a little tight in the bum, but then I was built a bit differently than Kendris—and was momentarily confused by the shirt. It wrapped and tied a little oddly, but he stepped over to help. It was a little tight but the effect was nice.

“You look quite presentable,” he said, with an odd look in his eye. “Now, be careful—I want you to think about the form you wear now, and see if you can hold the shape until nightfall. That’s about four hours away. But as for the other problem, you might want to avoid waving that around, if you can. You’ll frighten people.”

Blushing, I adjusted myself. I admit to guessing about the size, but hell, if you’re going to pick one, might as well go big or go home? So I was probably dealing with about 9 inches of cock, and it was evident.

“Sorry,” I said.

“Don’t be. At least it’s smaller than you were before,” he grinned. “We are spared the terrors of the demon cock.”

I chuckled at that. Thank god he had a sense of humor.

“I don’t believe you, Ken.” Meider shook his head. “Mind in the gutter as usual. Perhaps you can feed our guest while I continue my research. You can bring me back a pie and a pint.”

Kendris nodded flippantly and took my hand. “Come, Eric, and we’ll feed you, before anything escapes and devours us.”

Part 5

I’ve already told you that I—- well, real-world, Earth-me—was, in a word, a schlub. Pushing 250 pounds at 5’8. I lumbered around rather than walking. I lounged. I worked, of course, but that epic fight last week had been a nearly 20 hour day—10 hours of real work and 10 more in that in-game quest. Lumbering and resting, and wheezing a little, had been an expectation so ingrained I barely thought about it.

But now…here, I moved with power and purpose. Lithe, in this form. Sexy. Strong, agile, hot.

And just below, that electric undercurrent that was apparently this form’s magical energy. If I willed it, I could alter that energy, and return to the other form. Vanquillon, a literal demon lord. Raw, chaotic sexual appeal and physical power, plus supernatural and magical power. I was still learning how it worked, but it was a lot more fun looking like a Legolas-meets-Zac-Efron morph. It was so easy to move, and apparently gracefulness was part of the package. and….I was hungry.

And Kendris had a very, very shapely butt. He walked ahead of me, wary-eyed as he measured the reaction of his fellows to the new arrival. If anyone noticed anything amiss, I couldn’t tell. Eventually we reached the mess tent.

If you thought fantasy elves were like Berkeley hippies, you’d be mostly wrong. At least not this crew. This was more like a health-conscious military hall. Greens and lean meats, and heaps of balanced carbs. Most of the stuff I recognized, but a few unusual shaped vegetables and some utterly unidentifiable cuts of meat gave away the alien nature of the feast. Good-natured bro types and naturally wiry, lithe, muscle abounded. The form-fitting but comfortable default garb, frequent presence of enticingly tight leather, and smiling earnest faces gave the place the relaxed feel of a college dining hall. But there was also an undercurrent of tension; these were warriors relaxing after a tough battle, not just bros chillaxing over food and drink.

“Eat, Eric. You must be famished.”

I realized I was. That energy I was burning to stay in this form had to come from somewhere, and I think some lingering sense of it being dinnertime back home was bugging me.

“Here, try the barley stew; if you like cooked grains. It’s particularly good. I’d avoid that cheese with the yellow rind unless you really like sour flavors. And if you like tart fruits, that dragon-egg fruit is quite good, despite the smell. Do you eat flesh?”

“What?”

“Meat. I eat fish, but we’re far from the ocean here. But I understand the venison is good as well.”

“Ah, yes. I’ll eat anything.”

Turned out I really was hungry, and as I tucked in, Kendris sat across from me digging into his. He shredded some herbs over the barley stew and I copied him; the flavor wasn’t too far from thyme, but unique, and he was right about the stew. And the venison, and the mound of steamed greens. Delicious.

I was still eating enthusiastically ten minutes later when he was finished. He smiled and asked if I wanted more cider. I nodded, mouth full, and he walked over to grab a hunk of bread and a pitcher. I was afforded the pleasure of watching him go—and man, those tight leather trousers showed off an awesome butt.

“It’s a great view, isn’t it?” This from the auburn-haired elf at the table behind me. He looked a bit older than Kendris or Meider, but I had no clue how elves aged. Still, his eyes suggested experience and it was clear he noticed me staring.

“Uhh…”

“Apologies, stranger, if I offended. I’m Greth.” He opened his hand in a particular way that I assumed must be a greeting, and I mimicked it a little awkwardly. He seemed satisfied.

“Eric,” I replied. “Was I that obvious?”

“To me, yes. Many of us have been waylaid by the charms of that posterior, but sadly, I fear it’s a lost cause. For all that Kendris has the eyes of an eagle when on the battlefield, he is, if I’m honest, utterly clueless about the effect he has on others.”

“I’ve met more guys like that than I care to think about. But then, there weren’t many guys who looked like that who were interested in me.” I’d said it before I even realized, I knew nothing of their customs beyond half-remembered game lore and fan theory. I hoped I didn’t stick my foot in my mouth.

“It’s the only failing he has as commander, in my opinion,” Greth said. “He fights like a devil, he heeds wisdom offered, and he uses his head. And the men here would follow their young commander to their death. But that is in part because most of them want to share a bed with him, and he remains unaware. I,” he said, taking a strong gulp of what I guessed was a sort of beer, “have been more direct, but he politely declined. Shame. A few of the lads remain a little heartbroken, but I’ve made it my business to smooth things over for them. Good for morale!”

This was not an earth-normal conversation. But as I looked around, the casual intimacy, the physicality of how men and women interacted here, was a lot more than at home. I’d missed the innocent hand-holding, shoulder stroking, and sheer proximity and openness of everyone in the room. Hands on thighs, and a lot more physical contact than I was used to.

“Where are you from, Eric?”

“A very long way away.”

“Apologies if I seem forward, but I know not all the tribes share our customs. Have I offended?”

“No, but I was a little surprised.”

“Oh, are you from one of the tribes where sex is taboo?”

“No, but it’s a lot less open than yours seems to be,” answered, as truthfully as I could.

“We are a dying people, and worse, we are at war,” he sad, a little sadly. “As such, pretense serves little purpose. We must take our pleasure where we can, and we share in our fate and leave good memories for the survivors.”

Whoa, that was a little maudlin.

“But you are young,” he said. “And such talk is best suited to the old.”

He didn’t look old to me. “And you’re an old man?”

“Hardly! But six score summers on, I’m not a young one!” He smiled, and I found myself charmed. He was easy to like. “How old are you?”

“How old do you think I am?”

“Well, if you are as I think, my guess may be far off. You don’t look more than 25 summers, but that may be lucky parentage.”

“I’m 36,” I said.

“Oh, well, that’s basically the same. Wait another 30 years and see how you feel!”

By then Kendris was returning with a pitcher. “Cider, Geth?”

“Pass—I’ve got a nice beer I’m working through, and I don’t like to mix.”

“Your loss,” he laughed, and then refilled my mug and his. “It’s here if you change your mind. Meanwhile, you should stop flirting with my guest.”

“Fine, keep him all to yourself. I’ll just have to settle for my usual bedmates,” Geth laughed, standing up. . He clapped me on the back. “Good luck, Eric. May fortune smile on your pathfinding efforts.”

“Uh….thanks?”

“Kendris,” he said, with what had to be a salute, “I’ll take my leave now. Pleasure to meet you.” And then he left us alone.

“Honestly,” Kendris said. “So many of the old guard are incorrigible. I mean no judgement by it, but …. well, it may not be safe to fraternize. Not until you’ve got better control over your form.”

“Is there something wrong with it?”

Fuck, he actually blushed!

“Oh! No, not at all, it’s very nice,” he stammered.

“Should I try to improve it or change it?” I asked. Damn, it was like I couldn’t stop myself from asking suggestive or leading questions.

“I am no judge, but it depends on whether you seek beauty or power. As you are now, you exude beauty; as were earlier today, you cast a wide net of brawn and power.”

“So, I am sexy either way, apparently. Any preferences?”

“Sexy?”

Really. Of all the TV-tropes bullshit, the “your earth language is so confusing” nonsense was a particular annoyance of mine.

“As in, sexually appealing?”

“Oh, most certainly you are that,” Kendris smiled.

“Greth seemed to think you weren’t interested in that stuff,” I offered cautiously.

“Greth is a dear friend who loves to tease. What did he tell you?”

“Well, first he caught me staring at someone’s butt, and then he said you were clueless.”

“Probably told you half the company wants to share my bed,” he said. “But there’s only so much time, and I’m a busy man.”

I nearly sprayed the cider I’d just gulped.

Part 6

His laugh was delightful, even if it was at my expense.. I found myself laughing ruefully along with him.

“Ah! Your expression!”

“Was this a set-up?”

“Ha ha! No, I just saw an opportunity. I am glad to make you laugh.” His expression changed. “And, I confess, it was a bit of a final test. True demons are not known for possessing an actual sense of humor. They laugh at pain and suffering, or enjoying reveling in power.”

“Glad I passed.”

“You did, and I got the unexpected pleasure of watching you.” He drank from his cider. “May I ask, how close is this to your native form?”

“Not very. I was thinking of two famous young performers I find attractive.”

“You have very good taste.”

Shit, he was flirting with me?

I’ve described Kendris, but I didn’t do him justice. As noted, he had a perfect ass, compact but strong-looking, supple and rounded but probably tight as a drum. He was probably 5’9 or 5’10, and built like a surfer—but a surfer who loved to do push-ups. His shoulders were broad and his arms were thick, but not body-builder thick. Wide shoulders and muscular arms, the sort you’d get if you spent most of your days swinging a sword or firing a bow. Like most of his people, his form began with lean muscle and narrow waist, and I guessed his added bulk was hard-won. He stood out among a tent-full of warriors. And that was with his clothes on. With his face, though, he’d be a star on a superhero show. Piercing blue eyes with a twinkle; artfully messy brown hair. It wasn’t as long as his brother’s, but the shaggy length worked for him. Cheekbones, of course, because, well, elf. And the ears were, if I’m honest, adorable. And somehow, a dimple, which I hadn’t noticed until just now when he grinned.

He lounged attractively as he nibbled at a hunk of bread, finding a reason to look away. I don’t think these folks had to worry about carbs.

I realized I’d probably chosen this form, borrowed from two attractive movie stars, just to try to fit in amongst the hotties.

Anyway, we were having a moment, apparently. And suddenly, I realized that I knew that he was interested.

Let me explain.

Back home, I was notoriously bad at picking up on signals. Oblivious, clueless, whatever—it was like any interest on my part rendered me unable to read the person I was interested in.

But here? I could tell, somehow. No, I take that back. I could tell that he was thinking about me and that he was curious. And almost separately, I could sense something else: sexual interest.

This was new. I scanned the room, testing whether it was just Kendris, but sure enough, I could, with a little effort, read the surface emotions of most everyone in the room. And yeah, I could also sense a bit of arousal, even when it wasn’t aimed at me.

“Eric, did I offend?”

“What? No!”

“I had hoped I held your attention.”

“It’s not that—- it’s that…well, apparently I am becoming attuned to other abilities. It’s a little distracting.”

He arched a delicately angled eyebrow. “What is it? Please tell me you won’t suddenly set the tent aflame.”

I beckoned him closer and whispered. “I seem to have developed a sort of empathic ability.”

He made a face. A flush of embarrassment that didn’t require any sort of supernatural ability to read. “Oh…”

“Yeah. It was a surprise to me too.” I smiled a little naughtily. “Wish I’d had this ability at home.”

“We, uh, should probably get back to my brother. Meider will want to know about this.”

Man, he was adorable when flustered.

…cent;… …… …… cent;… …… …… cent;

As we walked back to Meider’s tent, my senses continued to expand. The tall female in the corner thinking about sex. The lean twins with a secret lust for each other. Half a dozen generic soldier-type bromancing in the corner, two of them afraid to admit mutual attraction.

Ever change a channel and suddenly the volume is way up for a commercial? And you dropped the remote and can’t change the volume? Yeah, like that.

“Ahh!” I said. A stray beacon of lust to the left lit up my senses like a flare. I saw a shy elf lass with an awkward demeanor, staring at another fine specimen.

Kendris grabbed me protectively and hurried me along. “I think haste is needed, friend,” he said, as we bounded the corner and entered Meider’s tent.

“I must not be dis—-” Meider spun round, testily, before he realized it was us. “Oh, what’s wrong?”

“I can sense too much,” I said, looking at him.

That…that was a mistake.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this.

Smart, skinny Meider was consumed with lust. Lust aimed in my direction.

“Meider, he has become empathic, and it’s overwhelming him.”

“Oh. Fuck,” Meider said. “well, first of all I apologize. Your form is very pleasing. And it is likely that your, well, Vanquillon’s natural form, has some supernatural attractiveness at play as well. All the better to enthrall souls, no?”

“How can I make it stop? It’s blinding. Deafening. But not…” I could barely think.

“We could try a binding circle,” he said. “It should keep your powers in check, but it will likely be uncomfortable.”

“Do it!”

It took five excruciating minutes for the brothers to mark out a chalk circle with runes and symbols all around it, while I sat on a chair in the center.

“Are you ready?”

Yes.

Meider hummed something I couldn’t quite grasp, and then suddenly I felt the tingling wash over me, forcing me from the Efron-Bloom shape I’d taken earlier, back to that of the hunky demon Vanquillon. Then the circle lit up, and it was like a gauzy blanket fell over me. Sight and sound and smell were dimmed noticably, but the empathic reading lagged a bit—and notably, Meider’s lust hadn’t dimmed when I shifted form. Then, the pain subsided as the veil settled. Everything was less intense.

“Is that better?” the thin elf’s voice, muffled, inquired.

“Yes,” I said, “But I can’t see or hear very well.”

“It’s a nondetection shroud, focused inward within a magical circle of binding. Normally, such a spell would prevent someone from being scryed—but in this case, I’ve bent that energy into the weaving of the protective circle.”

“It won’t last long,” Kendris said, “But it should give you a moment to breathe and regain control.”

An hour later, and Kendris’s patient coaching had helped me get a handle on my newfound ability. I could, with a little effort, keep it suppressed (I visualized a mute button), but it wasn’t too hard to turn back on. Adjusting the volume, so to speak, would take practice.

“Truly, your powers are growing,” Meider said, worried. “And that means you are reaching a state of compatibility with your form.”

“But that’s good, right?”

“I can’t be certain. If I read the weave correctly, your soul and this body are becoming accustomed to one another, which is helpful to some extent—because Vanquillon’s powers, uncontrolled, pose a real threat. But the other side of the leaf tells me that the more proficient you become with these powers, the more entangled your soul becomes. If unchecked, you may not be able to extract your soul safely to return you to your home.”

I looked down at my default demon-shape. It was undeniably powerful and sexy, but also inhuman. Did I dare to get too comfortable in it?

“I see by your expression you understand. Be wary of that power, Eric.”

“I will.”

Part 7

Ever watch the old Get Smart show? Or the movie? There’s a thing called the Cone of Silence. The gag was that it was supposed to keep secret conversations from being overheard by nefarious foreign spies.

Problem was, anyone inside it had to shout to be heard by anyone outside of it, and it was essentially worse than useless.

Being in this magical circle felt like that. Kendris and Meider had encouraged me to meditate, drawing on our previous attempts to put me in touch with my newfound power, but to avoid actually using them, for fear of what we’d come to refer to as “entanglements”—the merging of my soul into the demon body I was stuck in. Too much, and I’d be stuck here. Too little and I’d lack the power to help free myself.

It was a hell of a situation.

Luckily for me, once I got the empathic vibe thing under control, it seemed safe to take down the circle and verify that my new senses didn’t overwhelm. Meider, possibly hoping for a little break from my relentless questions (I quietly ignored the fact I’d sensed his raw lust for me and knew I’d be a distraction), had asked Kendris to find me a bunk, and I shifted to Legolas/Efron form again. It only took a moment, and very little effort. I could tell that maintaining it would be simple. It was certainly less impressive and scary than the demon prince’s muscles and raw power look, but it carried its own risks—without the fear of Vanquillon’s obvious power, everyone’s libido was free to make itself known. Even with the low-level filter I’d mentally erected, I could sense spikes of lust here and there. My current form was good looking enough to rouse interest. And it seemed like a fair amount of jealousy, as I was following the hunky Kendris around like a lost puppy.

It seemed that the brothers were well known, and respected, in the camp, and assumed an air of easy authority wherever they went. Currently, we were headed to the quartermaster, but I’d picked up a little of it in the mess hall, and as we passed others.

“So is this an army thing, or a militia, or what?” I asked. “I’m curious about ranks and everything.”

“As I understand human custom, a militia seems about right. Similar, at least. Our forces are mostly independent, but united in purpose.”

“Who’s in charge, then?”

“Depends on the decision to be made. Some things require consensus, others do not. Sometimes it’s dated tribal custom from the old days, sometimes we vote, sometimes we simply follow the strongest leader.”

“Politics?”

“As I understand the term, yes, of course. Being strong-willed and powerful leaders of smaller forces, by whatever custom, means that all the leaders jockey for position and influence. Fortunately, I am given fairly free rein because I have won many battles. And my brother’s requests are typically heeded because they need his power. He’s quite a strong mage,” he said, with a little pride, and perhaps a hint of jealousy. “Whenever we have been outnumbered, it has been Meider’s spells and tactics that have made for our victories.”

“I can believe it, on both counts.”

“In truth,” he said, in a lower tone that neared a whisper, “I believe there are many here who are at least my equal in battle, and whose skills exceed my own. But for whatever reason, I find eyes drawn to me when I speak, and other men and women listen and heed me.”

Probably because you’re just about the hottest man in this camp, and you’re genuinely decent, I thought.

“Being attractive probably helps,” I said, tentatively.

“I suppose it must,” he nodded, as if being complimented like that was the most ordinary thing. “But it is nothing I have earned by skill or effort. It seems unfair.”

“Do not tell me your muscles just happened.”

“Why not? Yours did, if I understand you correctly,” he grinned back. “No, those I have earned—I dislike being weak, and it was obvious from a young age that I didn’t possess the same aptitude as Meider does for the arcane. I focused on my body for several years, before the campaign.”

“Makes sense. But you seem smart, and you clearly picked up on a lot of what he said. Most of it went over my head.”

“In truth, I know the basics, but I understand much more than I can actually do, when it comes to magic. Theory is fine. But I lack the raw mystic energy to be the wizard he is. So he bounces ideas off me, and I flatter myself that I sometimes have ideas of my own.”

“Whereas I am apparently stuck with power I shouldn’t really have and don’t know how to use, but I have this amazing teacher who is good at coaching me in how to use it.”

Yeah, that got a hint of a blushing smile. Unfortunately, we’d reached the quartermasters’s lair, so I had to relent a bit.

Part 8

I suppose it’s the nature of the beast that people who are in charge of supplies are either gruff-but-competent, or sly-and-weaselly. Those personalities seem most compatible with that particular combination of access and power. With this guy, it was the former.

Atypically for his people, he was stocky, almost pudgy, and thus stood out. But he was also the least attractive elf I’d seen all day—by which I mean he didn’t look like a CW actor or model. Aside from a little slant to the eyes and the overlarge pointed ears, he barely looked like an elf; more like an innkeeper. But he also looked like the sort of guy you’d have a beer with, wind up fighting over something stupid, and then stay friends with for years.

Gentis was his name, and his entire life’s purpose seemed to be to prevent supplies being issued unnecessarily. He grumpily received Kendris request, then groused as he sized me up with a length of ribbon. Our cover story was that I was an intelligence operative, working for an ally who wished to remain anonymous.

“I don’t know your proper rank at home,” Gentis said, “But I think it best to give you clothing as befits a noble or officer, based on what Kendris says.”

“Thanks,” I said. “What does that entail?”

“Pretty much this,” Kendris gestured down. “Well, under the actual armor. For that, I think a basic leather breastplate will be suitable.”

“Can we skip the actual armor? I’d feel stupid, and I don’t have any intention of fighting.”

“Sure if you want to ruin the look.” Gentis almost looked wounded. “What are your clan colors?”

“Uhhh…”

“Put him in the sea-green and dark blue.”

He returned a moment or two later with a handful of tops and bottoms to try on, and I realized I’d wound up on a shopping trip. Oh well, might as well go with the flow.

Half an hour later, we exited. I wasn’t sure about the black leather pants, but Kendris assured me they fit perfectly and would become more comfortable as I wore them. They seemed tight. But the top was pure comfort, slightly form-fitting but with an agreeable give to the weave, and it moved like silk.

“It suits you very well. Though in truth, I believe your form would look very nice in nearly any scrap of fabric we found.”

He wasn’t wrong. I was objectively quite hot, in this body I’d landed in. Well, shifted to, I suppose. I’d have to be careful if I needed to be the demon lord again; I didn’t want to damage this outfit. Once I got over feeling like a barbie-doll fashion victim, it was probably the most comfortable thing I’d ever worn. And the underwear was also silk, and adequate to the job of holding my bait and tackle. Apparently I’d let my imagination run a little wild there—or the real models were quite gifted—and the result was a hefty pair of balls and a penis that was 7 inches soft. Gentis had rolled his eyes and grumbled as he produced some undergarments.

Unfortnately, while the clothing was fairly easy to obtain (along with a bag of grooming and hygiene items), Gentis was less certain about crash space, and would need time to see if he could free up a tent.

As he said that, I detected a spike in Kendris’ interest level, and sure enough, he began to very visibly ponder whether to make the offer I knew he would make before he did.

“No need,” Kendris said. “He is a guest; I can share my bunk space.” Gentis raised an eyebrow but then quickly shrugged.

“Thank you,” I said, as we left the quartermaster.

“As an officer, I have a tent to myself,” Kendris shrugged.

We wound back through the camp, until we finally reached his tent. He opened it and gestured for me to enter.

“Kendris,” I said, filling my voice with a seductive tone, “There appears to be only one bed.”

Part 9

I was still unclear on … well, just about everything. Kendris had some sort of rank, either by blood or by accomplishment (and aside from his brother’s quarters, I had little to compare it to), that entitled him to a pretty swanky tent. Or maybe the default was a nice tent, I don’t know. It was maybe 10 foot square, with a sort of entry area as well. In Meider’s tent, there was a larger, sturdier space which I guessed was possibly a repurposed mess tent, but hey, what did I know?

Why was I worried about that when I should have been paying attention to the incredibly sexy man in front of me?

“Yes,” Kendris said, a little huskily. “I have not found need for more than one bed, and as you see, there is little room for much else.”

There really wasn’t, and the bed, if I’m honest, wasn’t all that big—just what seemed to be a simple wooden frame with some sort of stuffed mattress on it, and very basic sheets. A small desk, chair, and a large standing chest were basically the only other things in the tent besides the bed and a crate or two. A low bench, presumably for taking off muddy garments, was in the small entryway. But the bed was big enough for two, if you were willing to get creative. The tent was fairly warm, warmer than the outside was at any rate—though I noticed it without really feeling affected by it.

I smiled awkwardly at the hunky elf. “Good thing I can shift forms, though. I don’t think my other shape would even fit on the bed.”

“No indeed,” he replied, gesturing at the crates. “Set your bag there. You should have a standard issue night shirt there, but I never wear them. But you should get out of that uniform, for now. We have the night to ourselves and you might as well be comfortable.”

I raised an eyebrow, as he turned away and quickly shed his lightweight armor and uniform. I don’t think he was consciously putting on a show, but his body was a work of art, and merely moving it naturally would have been seductive under any circumstance. He was quickly in little more than his underclothes—like mine, a sort of simple brief that did little to hide his magnificent butt. Sadly, he hadn’t turned around yet.

I shrugged and shucked my uniform as well, though the fittings gave me a bit of a fluster. My form was still that of a hunky morph of Zac Efron and Legolas, but I’d retained some of the definition and raw power of my demon-form. Vanquillon was never fully gone, I guess.

At least I wasn’t hard, yet, but the slowly inflating chubby I had going was pretty impressive, as well as embarrassing. What if my shameless flirting was misdirected? I didn’t really understand the customs here, and….

No. Wait. I could tell. Vanquillon could tell, and thus I could. Even though Kendris faced away from me, as I sat awkwardly on the bed’s edge, my other senses tasted his arousal. Not quite a scent—though there was that pleasantly masculine, clean, honest scent already about him—but more a taste, one that didn’t have a flavor I had words for. Not quite emotion, but simply interest, arousal, lust, emanating from him. Curiosity. Nervousness. Hmm. the more I focused, the more I could make out the emotional content of whatever it was I was picking up on. He was, in a word, into it. Whatever it was, whatever I was or appeared to be. He liked it and wanted more.

I could sense him attempt to control himself, and the vibe I was picking up on diminished a bit—but not enough. Still, best to accept his attempt to control his feelings and interest, and try to be professional and courteous about it. Right?

“When you say we have the night to ourselves,” I led, leaving a pregnant pause at the end.

He turned around, and I confess to being a bit disappointed by his lack of a straining erection. Just a normal—albeit nicely sized—bulge in his pouch.

“I mean we have the night to get to know each other. You are from another world, and you overthrew a demon lord! I would learn from you what I can. But I also confess, you are unlike anyone I’ve met, and I find you intriguing.”

Wow, he was good at masking.

“Ah, I wasn’t really sure how to interpret…”

“You thought I wished to bed you?”

“Maybe? I don’t really know. This is all so new to me.”

“But I do wish you bed you. You are beautiful and interesting and I find you attractive. In either form, if I’m honest.”

I swallowed, harder than I meant to.

“I mean….”

He smiled. “I can already guess. It is not considered seemly or proper to be so… forthright with one’s interest in physical matters where you are from?”

“Is it that obvious? I mean, no, my culture has all sorts of hang-ups.”

“Humans seem to be quite varied in our world; some are deeply religious or have other philosophical beliefs that get in the way of plain speaking. Elves, too, though I think our taboos are fewer. Possibly because we don’t breed true so often, and possibly because we live longer than you. Possibly because my own people have been fighting this war, in some form or other, for the lifespan of a normal human. But even among my own people I have a reputation for being rather blunt.”

I glanced down at his pouch as he sat opposite me.

“I have been a warrior for five decades, Eric. Lest you forget, my people don’t show our years as yours do. I’m nearly 80 years old and still considered young by my culture’s standards. I’ve had my share of lovers, I’ve missed some and lost some and found some again. I’ve always enjoyed variety; I’ve played with partners of all sorts, all genders and creeds. Mostly my own kind, and mostly males, but. not exclusively. But I’ve also learned that the older I get, the less often I get the opportunity to try new things.”

He placed a warm, calloused hand on my shoulder and looked me straight in the eyes-—his own, fierce and piercing like those of a hawk. “But there is time for that to happen naturally, if you are interested.”

I dared not look down; I knew my own barometer of interest was already starting to indicate what I really thought.

“For now, though, we have a quiet and intimate moment to talk honestly. The tent is shielded from casual eavesdropping, and it is warm, and I have a pleasant drink to share, if you wish.”

He placed his hand on my shoulder, and …well, I kind of broke down.

It was such a kind gesture, really. And all at once, the reality of my situation really came crashing down on me. Stranded here, no certain way back, only the vaguest plan forward. My body wasn’t even my own, and no matter the perks, that does something to you. If I got too comfortable, I risked my soul; if I didn’t make some progress, I’d be a powerless nobody unable to find my way. I was in real danger of losing my….myself.

I only realized I was sobbing when Kendris pulled me close and hugged me.


We stayed like that for what seemed like a long time, enjoying the warmth and simple comfort of human contact….well, as close as made no difference. So what if neither of us were technically human?

Finally, I released Kendris, and he me, and we sat looking at each other.

“Thanks. I guess I needed that.”

“If you hadn’t, I would really have been worried. If my brother sought further proof of your story, I will tell him that you are definitely not a demon. A true demon would not have had felt the world crash down on him as you did.”

“Wait, you can read emotions?”

“What? Oh, no. Not like your ability, at any rate. No magic. But I pay attention, and I know the signs. And,” he said, gently, “I have a little personal experience in that regard.”

He stood and poured each of us a tankard of some strong and pleasant wine, and we both drank deeply.

“You see, my brother and I were also ripped from our homes, orphaned by this endless campaign. Multiple times, actually,” he said, and his …lets call it emotional vibe? shifted to what I saw as sadness. “Our city fell, and our parents with it. My brothers and I fled with an uncle, who raised us for a time, until the demons took him from us as well. And last year, our brother Hallver fell to the Burning Hosts. I know well the taste of loss and of missing a home you may never see again.”

“It really just hit me,” I said, by way of apology. “I’m sorry for losing it here.”

“That is why I brought you here. I would be pleased to play, if you wish, and I know that it can one feel grounded and alive. But so too can a kind glass between strangers who share a loss.”

“I’ll drink to that,” I said, hoisting my cup. “To finding comfort unexpectedly.”

He looked at me quizzically.

“What, you don’t toast or raise glasses here?”

He held the expression for a moment, looking for all the world like I’d committed some perplexing faux-pas, before finally breaking into a smile and chuckling.

“You son of a….”

He laughed, and swigged the rest of his tankard.

“I like you, Eric. I like your humor, your sadness, and the body you wear is certainly to my tastes—though the ears are more human than I typically prefer. I never really thought about it, because I don’t spend much time around them, but I prefer the larger ears. No wonder humans have such dull senses.”

“I think I might be able to fix that,” I said. He wants anime-style, big ol’ ears? Throw in a dash of the boy from Zelda….

“Oh!” He said surprised, nearly spilling his drink.

“What, did I mess it up?”

“No…no you did not,” he said, appreciatively. “They suit you.”

He reached up to touch them, and that’s when I realized that while a human might enjoy the odd earlobe-nibble or caress, for an elf? Ears were basically an erogenous zone, or at least they could be. There was so much surface area, so many nerve endings….

I moaned a little before I could stop myself.

“Sorry—- you um… I…”

“I didn’t realize,” I said.

“Nor did I,” he said. The silence and tension hung for a moment or three, as I realized touching another elf’s ears in such a sensual manner might be pretty transgressive. For a brief moment I was reminded of the Ferengi, Star Trek aliens who had sensitive ears, but luckily, the goblin-like aliens shared little else with these beautiful elves.

“So tell me of your life, at home,” he said, refilling our glasses and lounging beautifully across the bed. God, he was beautiful. I felt my arousal kick in, now that the trauma had abated to make room for it.

“Not much to tell,” I said, honestly. “Most of it wouldn’t make sense here. Though I suppose you have bureaucrats everywhere, even here.”

“Truly, an army runs on its supply chains. They always demand a trail of paper and parchment to prove need.”

“Well, I do something similar for large merchants. I guess I build elaborate filing systems and processes to control those things.” It was as near a description for my job as I could.

“Meider would enjoy that, I suspect. He loves paper and books, and systems of thought.”

“Well, I was pretty good at it, and had a comfortable life. But honestly, it was empty, and I had no real challenges or ambition. That’s why I played the game.”

“This is a magical simulation of our world, you say?”

“I’m not really sure, but it sure seems similar to yours. There are many such games, and I’d play when I got home.”

“Any lovers?”

“Not for a long time,” I said. “Too long. It was a sad ending.” It had been 10 years since I’d dated anyone. I hadn’t really talked about it. Maybe the wine had loosened my inhibitions.

“Friends? Family?”

“A few, but my closest friends just had a child and that left little time for our usual fun. My family and I aren’t really close. Mostly I just worked, then came home and played games.”

He nodded. “The healers say that it is unhealthy to spend too much time alone. If the need weren’t so dire, I fear my brother would never leave his tent. But he at least takes regular exercise.”

“I was a fat slob. Well maybe not that bad, but just….settled. Flabby, pudgy, spoiled, and weak. More lonely than I realized, I think.”

He nodded.

“But here, I’m …I’m not. I’m not that person here, or at least I don’t need to be. Here, I can be powerful and interesting and sexy.”

“You are indeed,” Kendris said.

“But it will all end, sooner or later. Probably just when I get used to it.”

“You would rather stay?”

“…I don’t really know, Kendris. I don’t have anything desperately calling me back home. In the day I’ve been here, I’ve probably done more living than in weeks of my own world.”


We talked for a good hour after that, letting the wine drive the conversation, and gradually becoming more open and intimate. It felt like a really, really good date, something I hadn’t really felt in nearly 15 years. Kendris was charming, worldly, earnest, open, blunt, funny, and hot as fuck. He was clearly into me but did not want to rush things.

I’d veered between being exceptionally horny and super honest for the last hour, and hoped the blanket hid my ferocious boner. Yet, it was a profound and deep “getting to know you” chat.

He told me more, but parts of him remained a mystery. I knew, intellectually, that he was at least partly trying to suss me out and see if I was a threat. But I also knew that he was smart and intuitive, and he quickly accepted me for who I was. And eventually, he interrupted our small talk with a blunt question.

“Eric, you find my form as pleasing as I find yours, yes?”

I blushed. “Yes, of course I do.”

“I don’t have to be a demon lord to sense your interest in me. Sexually, I mean. Am I misreading this?”

He leaned in, full of warm sweet wine-scented breath and smelling of earthy, living, masculine flesh.

“No,” I answered, before I could second-guess myself.

“Then let me tell you that I desire you. You are handsome of feature, and I like you. Would you let me pleasure you?”

Part 10

Well, how could anyone refuse that?

I mean, if a hunky elf with surfer hair wants to pleasure you, you go with it, right?

Well, unless you’re an idiot.

Have I really described the wonder that was Kendris? No?

Take a basic surfer. Keep the sun-kissed long shaggy brown hair and lean muscle as a baseline. That easy stance that conveys both power and utter chillness. Then add killer cheekbones and eyes and ears like something out of Legend of Zelda. Those eyes were fierce and hawklike, deep brown but flecked with gold. Made sense, I guess, since elves had amazing night vision; they had a bit of that reflective eye thing going on from certain angles. Imagine pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth, maybe. Not quite that bulky, but carved out of smooth perfect flesh. And he smelled amazing, like some sort of fresh herbs, a little spice, a bit of leather and boyish musk…

And this work of art was kissing me, tentatively at first, but then with real joy as our tongues explored each other’s mouths. His strong hands caressed me arms and shoulders as our passion rose. And I nearly blew it then, because it had been so da,mined long since I had made out with anyone, I got distracted and lost the rhythm. He leaned back and smiled.

“If I had not believed you before, Eric, I do now. Your nervousness is rather charming, and not something I believe a demon lord could fake. Nor, I feel, could any human who looks like you do now so accurately play the part of someone out of his depth.

“I haven’t been with anyone in a long time,” I said, sheepishly.

“Nor have I,” he said softly. “But I dare say we shall enjoy remembering the dance and finding our footing.”

With that he shrugged out of his undergarments and revealed himself fully.

Freed of the cloth, his cock jutted out like a divining rod, average and a little on the thick side, but beautifully shaped. Inwardly, I chuckled, because god only knew what I expected. It was just a normal, uncut cock, and the dusting of silky strands that surrounded it were immaculately groomed. It suited him, a little thicker than you might expect, but nicely made.

It occurred to me in that moment that I had no clue what my own dick looked like right now, because I didn’t really know what Zac Enron or Orlando Bloom had under their jeans. For that matter, I might have subconsciously reproduced my own bait and tackle. (I’ll spare you my sad tale of a low-side-of-average joystick. Old me had never been terribly impressive, but also never really disappointed.)

I could feel my penis throbbing it’s way to erection, and moved my hands down instinctively.

“Don’t cover yourself, Eric, please. Here, let me….”

he gently moved my hands away one by one, and then with a practiced deftness, undid the fattening on my undergarments, and my rod sprang free.

Oh. Wow. Apparently either ihad a very good imagination, or one or both of models was very lucky indeed.

Nine graceful inches of cock pushed rudely up and out, with some reasonably impressive balls below. Uncut—and that seemed more surprising than the size and shape of it. So shocked was I, that my eyes darted up in fear, only to spy delight in Kendris’s eyes. I barely registered that before my demon senses blasted me with my lover’s arousal. I could feel his hunger for me, maybe even before he felt it himself, and then he dove forward and engulfed me with his wide mouth and began giving me one hell of a blowjob.

his expertise was astounding; he played me like a flute, teasing and coaxing me to the edge, only to gently apply the brakes. Kendrick literally had me writhing, helpless in my own arousal, for a good ten minutes before i blew my first load. He drank deeply of me, and wasted nothing.

“Delightful….”

Remarkably, I felt reinvigorated by an act that, back home, often signaled the end of the night, and heralded sleep.

“Thank you,” I said. “That was amazing…”

“I seem barely to have taken the edge off your lust,” he said, smiling.

“No,” I said. An odd feeling of dominance found its way into my voice, not that I noticed it just then. “No. My turn.”

I pushed him gently back on the bed—honestly it wasn’t a particular comfortable bed by my usual spoiled standard, but it was better than the army cots he had expected—and spread his muscular arms wide. I felt a confidence I’d rarely known. He was mine and I would have him now.

Part 11

In my own world, I’d been a pretty average guy in the bedroom. On those rare occasions when I had a partner, I was not usually the instigator. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the sex, because I did, but I suspected I wasn’t great at it. Not that I’d had complaints, but the most someone had ever said about it was “that was fun”. I wasn’t inventive or imaginative that I could recall, but I was at least the sort of person who tried to pay attention to the little noises, and responses, and breathing changes of his partner. So at worst, I was competent enough—but at best, I was “fun”. Occasionally I’d get a little flirty but I just wasn’t the “first move” type of guy I dreamed of being. Never had the looks or confidence or charm for it.

Here, however, I was in a lithe, attractive form, and that form was really the body of a demon lord, one attuned to lust in particular. And all my own instincts and sensations, which had been around a 4 or 5, were amped up to 9 or 10. Those little urges, those ideas, I’d had—stuff like “I bet his dick would quiver if I licked just there” or “that nipple needs to be brushed with the tip of my finger”—were way more accurate. And my body was way better at the sensing and responding, too. It was like I’d gone from a guy who could play a few chords on a guitar to Eddie Van Halen overnight.

I felt surprisingly dominant—like this hunky elven lordling, this powerful leader of his militia, was a challenge to conquer. But it felt right to play that role, and to use what I had to ensnare him. Seduce him. He seemed responsive to it.

“I’m going to taste you now,” I ordered him, as I slithered down to inhale his shaft. It was almost surprisingly easy.

I wanted to please him as he’d pleased me—and as I set about the task of blowing him, I realized that I could recall every move he’d made when sucking my cock. And I knew—knew—I could use those techniques like I was born for nothing else.

At first, I simply repeated his efforts, but as I continued I allowed inspiration to guide me—first remixing his techniques, and then using my enhanced awareness of his arousal and nearness to leave him squirming, moaning, and taking deep shuddering breaths as I thoroughly lit up his pleasure centers. He had a particularly fine set of nipples and they appeared hardwired to his cock, so anytime i wanted to rev his engine, I’d give a tweak or nibble and his dick would leap back to fullness. But if I sensed his nearness, I’d find another trigger to let him gasp for air as his urgency diminished. Basically, I teased him and edged him with foreplay for what seemed hours, edging him until it was purest torture to keep it going.

And then suddenly, I felt something else. A sudden, wordless need to actually torture him. To break him. To leave him in want and need and never to provide relief. It was a harsh, fierce urge, and it surprised me enough that I lost the rhythm and control I’d built up, and he suddenly reached out with his hands and gripped my Link-from-Zelda ears, and then shot spectacularly.

His back arched and every hard-won muscle and naturally lean frame competed to show off his perfect body to me, as he thrust his crotch skyward and tensed his perfect ass. Twelve hearty shots I won from him, five going right into my open mouth, two into his, and the rest all over the room. And as he released his overwhelming arousal washed over me with the psychic equivalent of his spectacular orgasm, and I too released again. Boy did I.

I hadn’t even noticed I was hard until a split second before my own girthy tool erupted again. Every bit the equal of his massive blast of cum, it doused us both.

And then I had the oddest sensation of fullness, of sated appetite, of perfect contentment. And like most men from time immemorial, I passed out.

And ten minutes later, I awoke, and we did it again…and it was even better.


I had, if I’m honest, never had a lover as objectively gorgeous as Kendris. He was a gentle work of art, an honest and talented lover, a skilled warrior whose body was sculpted to perfection.

But there was something else going on, and once I woke in the morning, and extracted myself from the sticky wet mess of our sheets, I realized that something was related to Vanquillon. Certainly the attunement to Kendris’s every movement was somewhat related to my ability to sense lust.

I mean Vanquillon’s ability. I was just borrowing it, along with the shape I wore and the tirelessly virile body I’d appeared in.

But it was just crazy how powerful and perfect that sex was—and I knew with a supernatural certainty that Kendris had felt the same. Again, probably because Vanquillon’s power worked that way.

Kendris himself was already up, and as I wiped the worse of the sticky mess off myself, he re-entered the tent clean and mostly groomed, but shirtless and with a large bucket of soapy water, the steam rising from it.

“I bring you a gift,” Kendris said, smiling, and full of energy. He set the bucket down and leaned over to kiss me. “Well, an offering, at least. I fear we made a bit of a mess, and I suspect you don’t want to go looking for the bath house in your current state.”

“Good morning to you, too,” I said wryly. “Sorry about the mess.”

“I’ll have to speak to the quartermaster about getting some spare sheets.” He had a smile that would win awards, and he was bursting with happy contentment, and a little arousal.

“You may need to burn these,” I chuckled.

“Eric,” he replied, “Last night was possibly the best sex I have ever had, the most enjoyable coupling with another that I can recall. And then the next time was even better. I would face the sour looks of a dozen quartermasters for such an evening.”

“Awww, thanks,” I said. I stood—no need for modesty—and began to scrub up while Kendris watched.

Inwardly I blushed—I wasn’t used to making people this happy, nor being the object of lust, but… I could definitely get used to it.

Part 12

For a moment, everything was great.

I was grinning stupidly as I washed up, until I became aware of an undercurrent in my thoughts.

I should fuck him again, plant my seed in him, that way he is marked as mine. He will know only the taste of my essence and no other….

What the hell?

Even now, I can smell his arousal. He desires me above all others. He wants my flesh within him, and he wants his flesh within me. Take him now!

I must have stoppped scrubbing and Kendris’ keen senses picked up on it.

“Are you well, Eric? Does something trouble you?”

“Fuck,” I whispered. “Fuck.” My penis began to fill with hot blood, boiling to take him. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t—

“Eric!”

Names do not matter! What matters is here, now, this carnality, this lusty moment.

“Kendris, help me,” I squeaked.

“What must I do?” he asked.

“I don’t know. I keep having intrusive thoughts….”

“What kind of thoughts?”

I gripped his arm with strength I’m pretty sure was well beyond that of misters Efron and Bloom, and the heat in my groin was intense.

“I need to fuck you. I need…”

“Is it the demon within you?”

I couldn’t speak now, my erection was taking all my focus, and all my will was barely keeping myself from pouncing on my new lover.

He looked down at the growing and elongating bulge at my crotch, at the obscenely large bait and tackle there—notably larger by a good third than last night—and nodded, concerned.

“I’ll get Meider,” he said, prying my fingers from his forearm.

“Hurry, can’t fight it long.”

He nodded, then grabbed an amulet. It glowed at his touch and a whispered word, and then suddenly Meider’s face appeared, half translucent, a few feet away.

“What is it?”

“Mei, it’s Eric. The demon—”

“Say no more, I am prepared. Keep him there!”


Four words. And I didn’t even hear them.

As Kendris warily maneuvered his way clockwise around the cramped space, I stalked about the tent like a predator. And then the bookworm came in and said four words.

“_____ _____ ___ ______!” Meider intoned them quickly and distinctly, but I could not even comprehend them. It felt like when someone hits that specific tone in bass that makes your bones rattle. My head vibrated right up the base of my spine, and then nothing. I found myself flat on my back.

And then, the intrusive thoughts began to subside… but my enormous erection did not.

The brothers exchanged worried glances, and then the mage pulled forth a phial, and proceeded to shake its contents onto me. It stung a little, but like peroxide does; no pain, and an odd sense of being cleaner.

“That was a bit harsh. If your magic hadn’t worked, that would have really injured him,” Kendris said, crossly.

“If it hadn’t worked, us injuring him would be a lesser worry. But look! The bottled angel tears seem to have helped him shake off the attack.”

“What happened?” I asked.

Sitting up was an unexpected challenge, because my dick was in the way.

It had been nine, or a little more, but now it was scaled up to a good fourteen or so inches and nestled between my pecs.


Less than 36 hours ago, I had been an exceedingly ordinary man. Ordinary job, ordinary life.

Now I was a soul trapped in the body of a demon lord in a fantasy world, currently assuming the form of a really hot (and now big dicked), empathic mashup of Legolas and Zac Efron, with a bit of Link from Legend of Zelda thrown in around the ears. I was torn between wallowing in dissociative terror and reveling in the power and raw sexuality of my current form, and fighting for control of the demon whose body I was currently stuck in.

Oh, and I’d just nearly lost it, and somehow grown my dick from a girth nine inches to a monstrous 14 or so.

“Fuuuuuck,” I said, helpfully.

“Eric?”

“Yeah I’m me,” I said. “That fizzy stuff was angel tears?”

Meider nodded. “Yes, and were you truly the beast, you’d have been in terrible pain. Angel tears are like holy water direct from the divine tap. Distilled divine compassion. Pretty toxic to a demonic soul.”

“Told you,” Kendris said.

“Indeed you did. I should have trusted your judgement. But then, I see Eric is struggling for balance in his current state.”

“The angel tears shocked him back to himself, I suppose?” Kendris asked.

“I think so. I think they at least shocked the demonic body’s attempt to corrupt him.”

“Ahem.” I said. “He is here and sentient and would like to participate in this discussion,” I said, testily.

“Of course. You are the primary affected party ,after all. But unless you’ve put in years studying theory, and spent the last decade in a crash course in applied demonology, I’m not sure you’re going to have much to contribute.”

“Meider! A bit harsh, don’t you think?”

The bookish brother put his hands to his head and sighed.

“Sorry,” he said. “Eric, my apologies. I know this situation is not of your making. But you are a thundercloud on the horizon, and I fear you may burst if we do not take precautions and seek to understand what you have become.”

We talked a bit more—mostly me describing what the episode had felt like for me, with a bit of jargon exchanged between the brothers thrown in for good measure. Surprising all of us, I picked up the sense of things quickly, magically speaking.

But as we talked, two things distracted me.

First, my spidey-sense ramped up with new insights regarding both Meider’s fear and curiosity, and Kendris’s compassion and interests. And both brothers were attracted to me sexually.

And second, I remained erect, almost painfully so, as my libido expanded to fill every gap in my thoughts. It was tough enough to keep my hands away from it, but when it occurred to me I might be able to suck myself, it became a real struggle to avoid trying just that.

Part 13

“Do you sense anything else?”

It was probably the thirtieth time Meider had asked, and I was reaching the end of my patience with it. But then again, I was preoccupied.

“Are you asking whether I can feel the tingle of magic in my veins? Hear the blood pound in this ridiculous dick? Taste the fizzing drops of angel tears in my mouth half an hour later? Feel the power this body? Smell the arousal pouring off both you and your brother even now?”

The bookish elf cast his eyes awkwardly away.

“Or do you mean, can I feel the mana in the air, or the ley lines by this tent, or the flow of energy in the spell you’re casting?”

I stared daggers at his wriggling fingers.

“Because yeah, I can, apparently. But mostly what I sense is my own desire, my libido, and I think I’m going to go crazy if I don’t do something about it.”

“Eric—” Kendris began, but I cut him off.

“That’s the thing. What I am sensing now is not Eric. It’s what I’m stuck with, this body, this power. I know I shouldn’t give it everything it wants. But if—”

“If you deny it completely,” Meider said, understanding at last, “then you might lose control, just as sure as if you gave in completely.”

“Exactly!” I was on the verge of panic. I’d supped just enough at the table of power to like the flavor, and I feared what that might mean. But if couldn’t starve myself either.

And my newfound need was a wave, crashing on my shore and eroding the sea wall.

“Then I think you will need to deal with your immediate need, so that you are more yourself, and my brother and I will need to try to help you find balance,” Meider said calmly. He nodded, and Kendris nodded at me, with a strange look in his eye, before following his brother out.

Fuck, I thought. My libido was out of control already, or very near to it. Only one thing to do.

Sure enough, the massive head of my massive dong fit perfectly in my own mouth—though it’s probably more that my mouth adapted to my need.

Yes! It is our perfect form, our desire made flesh. It is whatever form we need to express our lust.

“Get out of my head!” I said, though the words were slurred by a mouth full of cock flesh and a tongue otherwise occupied.

I cannot, the voice replied. We are entwined, mortal. My essence fills you now, as your soul fills my form. You know this. The elf mage told you, but you knew already.

“Vanquillon!”

Who else? Now if you want any relief, and peace, you must …blow your load? Yes, that is the term in your mind. Release your life essence through the mighty wand you’ve crafted, and consume it.

Damn it! My tongue had a mind of its own, and was doing unspeakably delicious things to my dick. I tried to resist, but I couldn’t—it felt soooo goooood…. Both my hands found my pole, and as I stroked it, the pungent scent of my precum filled my nostrils. My glans slid further down my eager throat, held there by a tongue that meant business.

And when you have sated your body’s needs, we shall talk….

Part 14

For probably ten minutes, I deep throated my own cock, using my enhanced demonic abilities to tease and torture myself to the very brink…..and then finally allowed myself the release I so desperately needed.

At that exact moment, I felt a wave of magical energy—as I said, apparently I could now sense that shit—pulse out from me and ripple outwards. And then, of course, I passed out.


Hello?

The grey swirling void surrounded me, but I sensed I wasn’t alone.

You are not….

Vanquillon, I said, Show yourself.

I am here. Will this suffice?

Just then, the void shimmered and coalesced into the familiar form I’d defeated in a video game days ago. Though…

Why can I see pixilation?

This is the form you first saw.

Makes sense. We are talking in our minds?

“I can vocalize as you do, if you wish,” he said.

Unmistakably he, of course. The demon’s form was built to entice anyone interested in sex, and it was a demonic take on a very conventionally attractive male. Pity that I was limited to the graphics of my game, which hadn’t scaled up as well as—

“Easily fixed,” he said, and suddenly he was real.

“…uh, okay, cool trick,” I said. Only then did I look down at my own (human) body; shamefully doughy and distressingly familiar.

“We are in our mind. We see, or show, what we wish, if we but choose. But your mortal mind cannot grasp what I truly look like, nor can you hide your own true appearance from me.”

Made sense. I fixed my mind on my college days and suddenly that’s how I appeared. Normal sized dong and all. Well, maybe a little bigger.

“You learn quickly, Mortal.”

“I try. Now what?”

“I believe the term is exposition,” he said, squatting to sit cross legged opposite me, casually draping his huge barbed penis over his muscular thigh.

“Okay then,” I said, copying his pose. “Spill.”


As the elf explained, your home is a different reality. So is mine. Both of us were drawn here, to this world, this reality, as part of some power play, and here we are bound.

In my world, form is an expression of will and desire, and my people are—to borrow your terms—demons. Our natural state is unrestrained id and manifest desire. We feed on each other’s emotions, and in return we are sustained by theirs. Our ecosystem is self-contained.

A few of my kind have explored other realms, however, and in doing so became addicted to the unique nectars mortals produce. Our affinity for mastering energy flows permitted us to almost effortlessly use what you call magic, and some found this power too enticing to leave behind. Soon they drew others to feed, and they did not comprehend, or did not care, about the damage they did.

Thus did we earn the ire of mortals, who found our power useful, just as we found their essence adddicting. Over time, some of us found preferred flavors, scents, forms, and other mortal trappings. For me, it was always the fresh essence of life, which can be expressed as Sex fluids. But the form doesn’t matter; it’s always the content, the emotion and sensation at the time of arousal and release, that feeds me. You call it lust.

For others, it may be other flavors. Fear. Envy. Gluttony. Wrath. Pride. Avarice. But also, mercy. Compassion. Hope.

“I get it,” I said.

Of course you do. Though we generally harvested these essences in secret, eventually we were discovered by mortals, and thus found ourselves reflected in your popular culture, mythology, and of late, games. Some of us found it amusing to see ourselves through your eyes.

But some had supped deeply and feared discovery, while others craved the thrill of it.

We underestimated the mortals on some planes, and were ensnared. For tempers to succumb to temptation is delicious irony, but there we are.

Two things occurred recently. First, a sensitive human on your world allowed me to enjoy him in his dreams, and enough memory remained to inspire his art. Eventually, your game needed a last-minute event encounter, and the artist provided his memory of me, even a bit of the rituals he’d seen when our minds mingled. Were your world more inclined to magic, as you call it, then your vgame might well have invited a feeding frenzy of my kind. But the details were close enough to resonate on the psychic plane.

And second, on the elves’ world, a human learned how to compel and bind us.

The rest, as you say, is timing and luck.

“Yeah, that fits. But how did it conflate us?”

The body was woven here; without it we are insubstantial. But the spells to pull me in also caught you. But where your kind default to a body, my kind do not. Still, the wizard wove well, and this form is my current preferred default. It would be mine alone, but for your presence here.

But last week, when your game went online, a bit of my essence was drawn to your world. A digital form suited me. But that first launch day instance, when you defeated my digital avatar, a bit of my true name was Wrenched from me, and applied to you.

In my weakened state, I lacked the power to draw on the essence of others of my own kind—only the abundant energy your kind produces could restore me.


Well, it was quite a tale, but it made a certain amount of sense. At least based on the rudimentary understanding I had of how magic worked, gleaned from fantasy novels and game mechanics and hours with the elf wizard. But it was more than that.

Yes, you sense it too. This shard of me that lives within you? That echo of my true self? It is already becoming part of you. You’ve begun to absorb my skills and my aptitude for sensing and manipulating energy. I don’t even know if it is possible for me to deceive you.

But know that it is not a … one way street? This bit of myself entwined with you also has access to some of your skills and abilities, your knowledge.

“So what does that mean?”

I cannot say. I don’t know what that will mean for either of us, or for the larger part of myself that remains home. Usually my kind are passengers with limited communication. Or at their worst, they are able to overwhelm and possess your kind.

“Wait, does that mean that my soul is still at home? Am I just an echo of Eric?” I wasn’t enjoying these thoughts, but hey, this was more interesting than the existential crises we covered in lit class years ago.

As far as I know, it isn’t really possible to do that with mortal souls. Not without destroying them, at least.

“So now what?”

Now, we must learn to work together, or we must fight to survive.

Part 15

The swirling mists in my mind faded, and I returned to the real world, or what passed for it these days.

I opened my eyes and saw the concerned faces of the two elven brothers above me. I managed a weak smile.

“I confess, I’m torn between envy and pity,” Kendris said. “That looked painful.”

Meider wrinkled his nose. “It was certainly….exhaustive. Do you feel more yourself?”

For a split second, I feared my mouth was still full, but it wasn’t, so I answered.

“I do feel more myself. But,” I said, sitting up, “I also feel different.”

“How so?”

“Well… for one thing, the demon’s still in here…”

As I explained the highlights of the strange conversation I’d had, Meider scribbled away in his notebook, while Kendris seemed more focused on me. My new empathic sense told me both of them were more curious and concerned than aroused, which was a relief, honestly. For the first time in a while, I wasn’t overwhelmed by libido—mine or others’—and I felt like I could think clearly.

Meider leaned back and traced a sigil in the air, the blue lines fading quickly, and nodded, satisfied.

“That explains much. Though it also asks many new questions. But I am ahead of myself; how are you, Eric?”

“Honestly? I feel pretty good. Mentally, emotionally. My head’s clear. I can read both of you pretty well with my empathic sense, but I am not slammed with everyone’s. The noise is manageable now.”

“Good to know,” Kendris said. “Because one thing we figured out after you were… suitably distracted… is that your libido is somehow contagious. And thus, we were able to focus better, as well.”

“How long was I out, I wonder?”

“About twenty minutes, but as you say, the ‘noise’ dropped considerably while you were out.”

“That’s not all that changed, though,” Meider said. “You may want to look down.”

For a moment I worried, but my body was back to “normal”. No megalithic cock to manage, just the one I’d settled on unconsciously when I crafted the body I wore. Still hunky Legolas/Efron with a bit of Link thrown in around the ears.

“I suppose I got a bit carried away before.”

“Certainly an imaginative use of shapeshifting,” Kendris smiled. “I am glad you didn’t try that last night.”

I blushed. Meider rolled his eyes.

“At any rate…I’ve just checked your aura and it feel much more balanced. But it also seems more difficult to sense the presence within you.”

“I know we can’t take him at face value, and I can’t explain, but it felt true to me. It’s not all of him—it’s just a bit, and I think with a few precautions we can figure this out.”

I could see the suspicion, particularly in Meider’s eyes whereas Kendris I read as more wary and cautious. But it was enough.

“Trust, but verify,” Kendris said. “Even with our longtime allies, we take steps to secure our agreements.”

I thought back to recent events.

“Maybe the angel tears? They seemed to help.”

“Good idea. I’ll craft something for you. Angel tears are not exactly easy to come by, but I may be able to stretch what I have.”


We breakfasted together, Kendris and I, while Meider took his in his quarters. I couldn’t really tell whether it was because he was eager to get back to his books and potions, or because he was giving Kendris and I space.

“I must say, Eric, this has been the most unusual two days of my life,” Kendris said.

“Sorry,” I said.

“Do not be. Whatever the source of your abilities, they certainly made for creative and fulfilling pillow time. And beyond that, I find you interesting, and I like you.”

“Thanks.”

“But I must also tell you this. I’ve spent my entire adult life fighting the demonic forces of our enemies in the campaign. If there is any change in your detente with Vanquillon, or if you feel yourself slipping in control, then you must let us know. If you do not do so, or if something changes where we cannot trust you, make no mistake. I will kill you myself. I cannot allow someone I care about to fall to evil.”

I nodded somberly. “I understand.”

“Good,” he said. “Now, we have a moment, and I am meant to watch you until Meider finishes his tinkering. I feel you could be best restrained here, in my arms.”

Part 16

But just as I got settled, we were interrupted.

“Kendris, my apologies for disturbing you, but you are urgently needed,” came a voice from the anteroom. A moment later, a sharply dressed soldier stepped in and handed a missive to Kendris, who read it with a frown.

He sighed briefly and gently disengaged with me.

“I must go. Alone, I’m afraid.”

“Understood. I’ll find your brother in a bit.”


It probably says something about Kendris—clearly a military leader of no small rank—that he just left me in his chamber, unguarded. As I’d learn, he always trusted his gut—but he also always had a backup plan, just in case. Still, it struck me as odd that he was okay with it.

Or maybe I was just second-guessing myself. He probably had wards of some kind in place; he’d spoken of the tent being shielded from casual eavesdropping.

Looking around, there seemed few personal items other than what he carried with him. I thought back to what the older elf had said in the mess tent, and what Kendris had told me of his background. Seemed likely my new lover was a bit lonely despite his obvious appeal. Maybe I was safe because I wasn’t a local, wasn’t one of his people… and wasn’t likely to stay long enough to get too attached.

For the moment, the stack of papers on the field desk held little interest to me. No, it was probably better to go pester the bookish brother.

He too has his charms, my inner voice mused.

No, it wasn’t my inner voice, it was the demon.

Yes, and still your inner voice nonetheless, if you wish to be precise.

“Not now,” I said “I can’t complicate things and I need to keep my head clear.”

But you’ve sampled the… the jock? Surely you wish to taste the scholar?

Fuck, I really did. And I knew Meider felt the same.

No. No, I needed his expertise more than a distracting fuck, and I had Kendris to play with. Why risk that by sleeping with his brother?

I nearly missed the assumption that I could easily bed the mage. Caught it just in time.

“Dammit, Vanquillon,” I said. “I don’t need any pushes from you.”

Come now, Eric. You and I know that we both want the mage. And if we consciously choose to pursue him together, it can be a test of how we reach that common ground we talked about…

Part 17

A fit young-looking guard was stationed outside the tent. He regarded me with wary, intense eyes.

“Sir? Where do you wish to go?”

Or we could bed this one.

“Hush,” I said inwardly.

“Sir?”

“What’s your name, soldier?”

“Deniven, sir. I’m told to stay with you.”

“Will you take me anywhere I wish?”

“Within reason, sir.”

He takes orders so well. Look at his broad shoulders and narrow waist, how the material of his top clings to him….

“Can we stop at the mess tent, and then take something to Meider? It must be close to lunchtime now.”


As we walked, I noticed that Deniven kept me just within his peripheral vision, often beside me but occasionally choosing to have me proceed him. But as I attempted to read him with my empathic sense, I got very little. Almost nothing, in fact, which I found intriguing.

“Deniven, may I ask something personal?”

“I will answer as I feel appropriate, sir.”

“Do you find me attractive?”

“Sir?”

“I know you heard the question.”

“I did sir. I just wasn’t sure how to answer,” he said. “You are handsome and somewhat exotic looking. Many in the camp have spoken of your presence and, if I may say, they are jealous you seem to have captured the attentions of Kendris. Many would share a bed with either of you.”

“…But?”

“I have little interest in such things. It’s nothing personal, of course. I respect Kendris, but when I have felt sexual attraction, it’s typically been with women.”

“Ah,” I said. So there were some limits to this body’s powers. I concentrated a little further, and found something, a thread to tug at.

“Older looking women, in particular?”

He blushed. “I’d prefer not to discuss my personal affairs sir.”

I resisted the urge to tease and nodded a quick apology.

“No harm, sir.”

No, not at all. I had learned something after all. Kendrick had found a nearly asexual soldier, with a particularly narrow interest, to guard me. Another test, and probably a wise precaution.

We could easily take that form, you know. The poor lad is unlikely to see much action here with that fetish.

I ignored Vanquillon’s echo, and his numerous other suggestions, as best I could as we filled up a small platter. Instead, I practiced tuning out the other noises and scents. Much easier now.

You’re welcome. You’re adjusting well.

But I remained curious, and began to feel around with my new senses, metaphorically sniffing around the young guard. He seemed completely at ease in my presence, yet his eyes rarely left me, and I had no doubt he’d be hard to shake if I wanted to try.

“So, Deniven, Kendris has been a little vague about your chain of command here.”

“Sir?”

“I know you’re a militia of sorts. Who’s in charge? Do you have officers and regular military structures?”

“In the Campaign? Not as I think you mean, sir, though I did serve in a more disciplined unit, back in Elfhome. We were fighting humans and the commander trained us in their military traditions. I find the structure comfortable. Here, however, decisions seem more communal, but less clear. If Kendris or one of the other lords needs a strike force, he recruits them either directly or through his own retainers.”

“Is that how he found you?”

“Ah. Sir, he found me after liberating several of us from a human camp after a border clash. I vowed to follow him as thanks. Now the same humans who captured me are our allies,” he said thoughtfully. “I fought beside my captor last week, and he took a wound for me. The world is confusing.”

“So it is.” Poor guy had no clue how confusing it really was for me, but at least I wasn’t alone in struggling here. I could read this part of him, with effort—he was honest and uncomplicated as they come.

“May I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“I do not wish to offend, but your bearing and your obvious rank seem at odds. Is it true you are a spy from one of the other camps?”

“Let’s say I’m from quite a long way away, and find myself unexpectedly involved in your struggle.”

“I took you for some sort of logistics expert,” he said. “You seem to watch the most mundane operations carefully.”

“Trying to learn what I can. I can’t say much more, but you’re close to the mark.”

That seemed to satisfy him as we bundled up a box of refreshments for Meider. But I noticed a few sharp eyes, and felt some curious intents as we left. I could sense the lust rising within me as well.

That desire is always, always going to be present, Eric. It’s part of us, part of me at a fundamental level. You can feed this body anything you like but unless you feed on lust, you’ll starve. You have to embrace that at some point.

I knew he was right. And in a pinch, apparently, I could be self-sufficient on that front.

Not indefinitely. I’ve never tested the limits, but probably once every 17 cycles is the bare minimum. In your terms, every 6 hours or so, you’ll need to at be satisfied, and I wouldn’t go more than one full day without external satisfaction, or you may become unstable. But it would be healthier to partake in such actions 5-10 times each day, if not more often, and maybe half of them need to involve others. Or you might reserve a partners essence and consume it later. Mortal essence is potent for our kind—good that a teaspoon full can satisfy, as they dont produce much else.

“Sir? The mage’s tent.”


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