Chapter 1: The Negotiation

9138

Terminal Spheres, the far edge of known Space

Illium, newly terraformed Sylvan-licensed planet

I watched the bombardment commence, knowing it was futile. An Orc bombardier dropped a payload from orbit, a small tungsten rod, and it streaked across the sky like a comet, before impacting against the shield wall.

The kinetic shield lit up like a strobe light basking the entire night valley in a blinding flash. For a second, I could see the walled city of Illium. My sharpened eyes even saw the tiny Elvguard on the palisades manning the ion cannons, and surrounding this immense glowing fortune teller's orb of a base was Chief Aganon's Monstrum armada.

Cloeia, my slave, opened her mouth in wonderment, as I pondered the irony of Chief Aganon's desperation leading to a result no greater than entertaining an innocent slave girl.

I held her against me under the skin blanket, enjoying her warmth.

"If you really want to see some fireworks, Chief Aganon plans to bang on their walls all night. He doesn't wish his Elvn host to sleep."

"Master, I thought Elvs don't sleep."

I laughed. "Don't tell Aganon that. He'll take your skin for his trophy wall."

She squeaked. The slave was warm underneath my blanket and her naked wiggling was distracting. For a few minutes, we watched the light show, my hands slowly exploring her body. My thumbs brushed the nipples on her slim breasts, enjoying the feeling of the nubs growing in size. She pressed her buttocks harder against me. Her mouse-like tail, adorned with decorative rings, gripped my leg. Her bangled ears brushed against my sternum. She cooed.

I wondered if Elvs feared us underneath their dome. Meditate all they liked, but they must know the outcome once the shield falls. All of Elvdom would fall, reaped by the Orc chieftain's bloodthirsty battalions. Their old and weak would be butchered. Their wives and daughters would be taken into slavery and held in Monstrum slave pens until sold, the same pens I once knew so well.

Fuck em, I thought. Let the Immortia sort it out. The Stellar Elvs were supposed to uphold the laws in the inner spheres, but they took their coin and looked the other way as the Infernali houses annexed my system and put fetters on the people of Earth.

They had robbed us of our system's resources and turned the twenty-first-century human race into chattel. Earth, our once-neglected mother, was now a sulphuric hell of human breeding pits, while human slaves died by the millions in mining operations; Mercury slagged for ship construction, Jupiter and Saturn sucked dry by orbital refineries.

Any empathy I had now was a vestigial organ of a previous age. My captor, a Collegiate of the Grey Wizards, had destroyed my human body in his experiments, human genetic code having pre-contact purities the Ascendant races no longer could boast.

We were torn apart cell by cell and spliced together with kodanthropic genetic contraband. The Malgene potions he used to change us if the Stellar Elvs ever knew of it, would compel them to glass entire planets.

He had turned me and my fellow human captives into abominations, to be sold on the black market as killers and assassins. Any humanity left after that was burned out of me by the tortures I endured, surviving the fighting pits, and the territorial wars I was made to fight for minor warlords on the planet Styx in the Terminal Spheres.

"Coffee," I growled at Cloeia, with what I intended to be a little bit of edge.

Well, there were some comforts I wasn't giving up. I lifted her off of me as if lifting a kitten out of my lap, and dropped her on the packed earth.

Cloeia squeaked. It was cold outside of the blanket, and her naked body shivered.

"Yes, master."

She left the warmth of the blanket to run naked and shivering to the campfire. I watched her buttocks jiggle as she ran. Her body was small and lithe, even smaller when compared to my hulking eight-foot frame. She was a mouseling, a slave race like humans, but her race had been so for far longer. Largely human looking except for her round ears that came out from her pixie bob haircut, and a long pink oh-so-sensitive tail. I had won her in a raid along with some bars of tripodium that were now stored in my ship.

She was sweet and obedient and likely happy in her lot. I came from a culture that in its time considered slave-holding barbaric, and best done out of sight of first-world sensibilities. I still resisted the idea of owning her like property, but giving her up was sort of like dropping your puppy in shark-infested waters and telling her to 'be free'.

The slave pens were a hard life, and so was being the property of an Orc raider. There were no other options. I had won a sort of freedom by tooth and fang, but Cloeia was bred soft to warm beds.

I was slowly learning the new rules of existence in the Terminal Spheres. Somewhere, back on Earth, I had a wife, but she would have to wait.

She reached the fire where some Gobs poked at her thighs with sticks. She danced around them to the percolator and poured whatever boiled brew that was this world's equivalent of coffee. She brought it back, steaming in a small thermos, and handed it to me.

I opened the hide to let her in and she smiled and climbed up on my thighs. She lay with her back to my chest and her legs straddling my thighs. I closed the hide like a curtain around her so only her head peeked out from it. My cock rose to nestle against her labia and she adjusted herself until she sat on it and it pressed against her wet sex.

My hands must have had some effect on her. I ignored her and sipped my coffee. She wiggled her hips slowly sinking herself lower on my cock.

She moaned as I plunged halfway into her, then lifted her legs to rest her feet on my things. My cock, an engorged pileum, split her apart. The changes that the Grey Wizards made to me also applied to my now monstrous appendage.

She started to get excited. Her body began to rise and fall faster, squatting with her tiny feet on my thighs. Under the blanket, she began to rise slowly sliding up my chest and then dropping with a whimper.

She had her hands behind her braced against my chest. My other hand rested on her quivering stomach under the blanket.

"Slow. I want to watch this."

She blew a strand of hair away from her face and looked up at me. "That's easy for you to say, Boss."

I growled. My habits had slackened my discipline of her, and she had gained some impertinence, now freed from Orc masters.

I pulled her down until I was embedded inside of her to the root and then held her by her hips so she was locked against me with no room to wiggle. She tried squirming, but my arms were like iron bars to her. Soon she started to whimper in frustration at not being able to fuck me.

"Slowly, I said, "Let me enjoy my coffee."

"Fine, Master."

She started to ride me in the way of all slaves, for the pleasure of their owners. She rolled her hips languidly on top of me. Her slow movements were unable to hide her growing excitement, and soon her rolling hips were accompanied by a bird song of light squeaks. Her hands grasped me, holding on tightly.

I finished my coffee and bared my fangs at her ears. A few more flashes in the sky as another bombardier streaked across the heavens.

"Do you want me to fuck you, silly little slave," I growled.

"Please, Boss," She moaned. "I need it. Make me see those fireworks."

Both of my hands were now lifting her up and down, ignoring her own movements. I used her body and she rocked about like a paper ship in the storm. My hips thrust and her head rolled about. Her attempts to hold the blankets closed proved futile, and soon the Gobs were enjoying the sight of shiny flesh bouncing in the firelight.

I rose, holding her perpendicular to me, and continued thrusting. My fellow soldiers bivouacked in their own camps heard Cloeia's cries and cheered. Soon other cries echoed across my war camp as soldiers joined in with their own slaves, creating a chorus of screams and moans.

She was suspended in the air, held up by my arms as I fucked her tiny spinner body. Her tails lifted and wrapped around my neck. She reached behind her to grab her ankles. Her head bounced from my thrusts.

As the rods smashed against the forefield once again, she cried out in pleasure, and I came inside her. She was fixed, but someday I would change that.

I dropped her to the ground.

"Clean me," I said.

She quickly rose between my legs with her mouth open and worshipful. Her tongue lapped at my cock from the base of my balls to the massive tip. She looked up at me worshipfully as she wrapped her lips around my mushroom head and slurped.

"You are a good slave." I moaned. I was generous after cumming. "One day when this war is over, you will be the first to be bred."

She moaned at this. It was an honor for a slave to bear children. I'd work it out with the wife somehow if I ever got back home.

Her mouth was on my balls as Sarpion the Basilikon came to see me.

I pushed her away. "Find your nest and sleep. Do not let me find you awake."

Sarpion waited for her to leave. He was the closest thing I had to a friend, but he trusted no one, not even a slave.

"Chief Aganon wants a meeting. He's growing impatient."

I shrugged.

"And I think he is tired of paying mercenaries that he cannot use."

I shrugged. "I have my own ship. I can leave whenever he wishes."

The Basilikan smiled. He didn't have lips so it mainly looked like he was going to bite my face off. "You go, I go. Wherever you are, coins can be made."

***

I landed my ship in the communal site, Cloeia snoring in a bed of furs at my feet. From my armory, I strapped on a burst gun, and my glaive, and then I stepped off the vessel. A large fire pit in the center of the ring illuminated the spaceships like hulking giants.

I parted my way through a ring of muttering Orcs. I was at least half a meter taller than their already impressive average height of two meters. A few sized me up, but nobody drew. My brothers and I had developed a reputation already.

The Killer was arguing with Chief Aganon in the center of the ring. Instinctively, my hand reached for the burst guns.

The Killer was once human like me, netted by the Grey Wizards in the time before the Infernali came. They had been illegally abducting humans for centuries, without the central council's approval. We were the perfect guinea pigs for their experiments, a primitive race without interstellar travel and no ability to complain, our DNA without impurities.

When the Infernali arrived, having paid coins to the proper channels, the Grey Wizards fled. The Killer and I were the last survivors of those experiments. He had never told his story where he came from, and after the mutations, it was impossible to tell his ethnicity or what he looked like.

Now his hackles were raised, his eyes bloodshot, his teeth bared. His sinew and muscle tightened like steel cables. He was an alpha predator, a monster, a feral ursine-like beast. He towered over Chief Aganon, who himself was two and a half meters tall. He was the greatest warrior, a walking hurricane of destruction, and the other Orcs edged back.

Chief Aganon to his credit did not.

"Only fair, Killer, only fair. When I sundered the walls of the bunkered Dwarven Lord, I had the mewling lord bent over suing for peace. Of his hoard, I took everything as my right as Chief. I took his comely daughter as one of my wives and I took the brightest treasures of his vault. His forges now sell their wares exclusively to Monstrum, providing profits to us all. Of those treasures, I passed out gifts of armor and weapons, armor and weapons that you now wear Killer, and to you, I gave most, including the Dwarven Lord's favorite concubine, that human girl, the one you call Emma.

A green finger pointed beyond Killer to a pale woman. She was an earthling, quite beautiful, frail and aristocratic features, eyes that glowed with intelligence and breeding, once a famous actress on Earth and now a slave. She had graced the beds of powerful rulers, and now she sat hobbled at the feet of her conqueror. She looked on. I knew Killer had never implanted her with translators. She was reading enough through body language. There was a worried look on her face as she sensed that her fate was in balance.

"I gave her to you in honor of what you did when you broke through the Dwarven Lord's shield wall. But what a Chief gives, he can take back by right."

"Your translator must be broken," Killer growled, "I don't fucking share."

My enhanced eyesight could track the micromovements that prophesied regicide. Killer was close to unleashing fury, and this whole army of Orcs was going to be unable to stop him before the Immortia finally decided how this would end.

And you didn't have to be a prophet to know that it was going to end with a pile of dead bodies either way.

I walked past them up to the fire where an ostrich-sized avian creature was roasting on a spit. I tore off a leg and grabbed a mug of grog from an Orc's hand. He stepped up, fists raised, and I brained him with my bird leg. He dropped like a bag of potatoes. Other Orcs were shouting in outrage or laughing. I leaned back and drained the grog, then threw the mug into the fire. Basically, I was performing theatre.

When I knew I had everyone's attention I turned towards the center.

"Killer, go ahead and leave."

They turned towards me. Whatever alien analog of crickets chirped.

"What?" Killer growled.

"Go. We don't want you. We don't need you. I wish you well in your future endeavors now take your Griffindor bitch and go."

Now the whole set of eyes were upon me and I felt like I was a 150-kilogram gorilla dancing on a tightrope. Then again, this was how they underestimated you. I was smaller than Killer, yet no more ursine and bestial. Orcs forgot I knew a little rhetoric.

"We appreciate what you have done for Aganon's tribe. You have won us great honor and glory." A few Orcs dumb enough to not realize their lives were on the line, cheered.

They were thinking that Killer had won us the battle of the vault. They knew without him the Dwarven shield wall would have never fallen. Orcs were superstitious before a battle and their best killer leaving made their bestial thoughts turn to flight.

"Some help," he growled.

"Some help. But Chief Aganon and the Red Hand tribe don't need you. The Grim Mercenaries don't need you. Once we take down the walls, the elvking will weep for our mercy. Elvs will lose their bladders when our ships descend upon them like space sharks, and we tear their wealth and beauty from their homes. I'm certain Chief Aganon will let you leave with services rendered."

Chief Aganon was silent. The long-winded speech had left him time to consider how close to death he had gotten.

I stepped in and clapped Killer on the back. "Come, a farewell drink."

I looked him in the eye, wondering if I would have time to go for my dirk before he gutted me. I knew that however good I was, Killer was better. We were the closest thing to family we both had left, but whatever the Grey Wizards had done to him, had made him a fury in every atom of his being.

He pushed my paw off of him.

"We leave!" He growled.

He pulled the young human girl behind him on a leash as he and his men boarded their ships. She looked back forlornly, probably wondering in what way her future had been decided for her.

I waited until he was gone before turning to Chief Aganon.

"What the hell is going on? I leave our tactical meeting to go back to my ship, and everything goes to shit."

"Dwarven Lord Xerxes lied to me! I ought to have hung him by his beard."

"Perhaps we should discuss this in your tent, my Chief." Sarpedon proferred. He knew this was best spoken beyond the prying ears of the Orc horde.

The chief's tent was opulent with decorative rugs and pillows. A tactical projector stood in the center surrounded by many of the treasures of Vaultus. Naked slave girls quickly disrobed the Orc Lords vestments and filled our double handled cups with wine from the Chief's Amphoras.

I could see the dwarven princess in the corner, our new and most significant prize. She had been restrained, bent over in a spreader. I admired her Rubenesque ass glowing with relatively recent canings.

He had gagged her and drool dripped from her bottom lip. Her long braid was held up and hung from the ceiling. She looked up at me angrily, yet curious.

"She has not submitted yet?" I asked the king.

The chief looked at the girl and grunted. "She is spirited as the daughter of a Dwarven Lord should be. I was going to enjoy taking my time breaking her, but I cannot."

"What the hell are you talking about? We had him giving away the store when we left."

Sarpedon jumped in. "The Dwarven Lord has a siege engine hidden away underneath Vaultus. Apparently, his pleas were merely a ruse. The dwarven technicians had built it to break through that Elv wall. An intriguing question as to why? But more importantly, now he has something we desperately need, and he has made sure that our whole host knows it. He's asked for the return of his daughter."

I looked around. King Aganon's Orc host was spreading out to their tents. We had been sieging Ilium for months on end and everyone was tired. If they knew the key to victory was in our grasp, but we refused to grasp it because of a slave girl, well, Orcs mutinied for less than that.

I pointed at the forcefield that surrounded Illium in the distance.

"We've been waiting here for this long and the instrument of our salvation is beneath the fortification we just razed to the ground?"

Sarpedon nodded. Moving closer so that we could whisper to each other.

"He's revealed it to us. He says that he will trade it for his daughter's freedom. The Chief is angry that he has to give up the girl. He hoped to keep her as a wife to hold her over the Dwarven Lorde and secure the trade alliance, but that's now no longer within reach."

I looked at the Chief. He had lost himself in his wrath and wanted recompense and tried to take Killer's slave girl. With that, he had almost lost everything. I sighed. Tightrope. Don't beat the chief to death with your chicken bone.

"Great Chief, may I ask that I take your slave and bring her back to her father's home to negotiate with the Dwarven Lorde for the Siege Engine? It will wise to make sure that our trading partner is secure before we go challenging the entire Elvhost."

Chief Aganon looked around. He was practically smoking with rage, but he knew that his rule was on the line as well. The orcs were watching to see if he would sacrifice victory for a mere slave girl.

"And Chief, you're going to need to cool down and make a speech. Then men need to see you in command."

He swigged his wine and eyed the Princess's twitching ass. "Wait outside my tent, tell my men I will be out in moments."

Sarpedon and I waited outside. From the tent, we could hear the swish of a switch and muffled screams.

"I do not like this," muttered Sarpedon, "The Immortia have surely turned against us. This marks doom."

I rolled my eyes, even though I knew that Sarpedon could hardly decipher the facial expression. "I've yet to see any sign of these Immortia. They sound a lot like the Gods of my own planet. They do as much good for anyone as my people's gods did for us."

"The Immortia see all things behind their veil of stars."

"Jesus, we fly around in spaceships and still worry about this nonsense. There is no Immortia. Just those with power, and those without. I'm never going to be the one without again."

"If I only had your faith, my friend," Sarpedon sighed melancholic.

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