The grey wedding

TW: BDSM (bondage, domination, sadism, masochism), power imbalance, mind control, loss of virginity

Warning thrummed in Aura’s gut as she awoke.


The sky beyond her window was streaked with the glowing peach of twilight. Bruise-dark clouds scudded through the tremendous vault, their shadowy doubles reflected in the navy sea beyond the island. The path of flat stones that led up to the huddle of huts was a blinding golden ribbon — and Aura squinted sleepily at the dark shape that shimmered at its far end, close to the brineswept place where land met sea.


Though she hadn’t seen him in person since that night on a frozen moon a hundred quadrants away, she recognized the man’s bearing immediately. 


Kyroth Dune, the former light warrior whose corruption to the Order of Shadows had plunged the galaxy into chaos. Kyroth Dune, the most powerful arcane apprentice in a thousand generations. Kyroth Dune, whose mind had been bound to her own since their final battle, coaxing her ever closer to betraying the Warriors of Light.


He’s here.


Aura scrambled to her feet, kryostatic pistol already in her hand as she flung the door wide and stumbled into the brisk predawn. Her trembling knees nearly gave out, but she didn’t back down as the dark man approached. 


The visions of him had been inescapable, but they’d shown him justly; he loomed over her, slim and angular in his black military uniform and cloak. His face was perpetually sallow, his lips crookedly handsome beneath obsidian eyes that raged at her in silence.


His cowl hung loose about his shoulders as he stared down at Aura, but the hem of the dark fabric snapped against her bare calves, rebuking her as she blocked the high ground.


Kyroth nodded to the pistol clutched in her trembling fingers, its barrel nudging her thigh. “Planning on shooting me with my own gun?”


Aura wordlessly raised the pistol, pointing it at his chest. She’d taken the weapon from him during their last exchange, and since then that piece of him had traveled with her. That, and the shard of his mind that had become entwined with hers.


You won’t hurt me.” The words were laced with power — not enough to force her finger from the trigger, but her arm swayed aside of its own accord, pointing the gun harmlessly toward the ocean.


“Play whatever mind games you like, I won’t let you kill him,” Aura rasped as Kyroth took another lazy step forward, as though trying to intimidate her into standing aside. 


They both knew who slept in the hut that stood highest on the hill. Though the old light master had offered her little but scorn since she made planetfall here, she wouldn’t simply stand aside and let Senzai Harkeep die by the hand of his fallen grandson.


The corner of Kyroth’s crooked mouth quirked in amusement. “What makes you think I’m here for him?”


Aura frowned in confusion. Apart from the old master and herself, the island was otherwise uninhabited, boasting only ancient ruins of the once-proud Warriors of Light. The scattered remains of their fleet now huddled far across the galaxy, reduced to an armada that called itself the Insurrection.


Day by day they weakened, on the verge of being overwhelmed by the dread Riv Talaros and his acolyte Kyroth Dune, twin spearheads of the Imperium.


In another age Senzai Harkeep would have been their staunchest enemy, but the loss of his battle companion and bride Antha Freeborn had cut Harkeep to his core. It had only been Aura’s luck in following a series of timeworn clues that she’d found the old man here in a battle of Insurrection versus Imperium, light powers racing dark to either defend or slay Harkeep — or so she had thought. 


In all their visions of each other over these last months Aura had never seen even a hint of where Kyroth had been hiding. She certainly hadn’t expected him to come for Harkeep now, just as she herself had discovered the old man in his self-imposed exile.


If he’s not here on Cetaiia Three for his grandfather, what does he want?


As though in answer to her unvoiced question, Kyroth slowly reached behind his back, and Aura heard a metallic click as he unhooked something from his belt. The cuffs glinted in the harsh sunrise as he drew them forth, and the breath slipped from her lungs as she stared down at them.


Her dark-eyed nemesis merely waited, his expression unreadable.


“You want me to make myself your prisoner?” Aura demanded when she could speak again.


A tendril of dark hair fell across Kyroth Dune’s forehead as he nodded. “Surrender to me and we’ll resolve this another way. We’re the two most powerful arcane acolytes in the galaxy. We can decide the future of the Balance between ourselves.”


Resolve this…


Aura couldn’t understand what he meant, but the shard of his mind embedded within hers throbbed with wanting. It wasn’t the first time she’d sensed this longing from Kyroth as he gazed at her, his hunger flickering through her mind like the shadows of flames. But that had only been when she’d seen illusions of him, never once like this, as their bodies were mere inches apart.


“Auriel Starbranch.” It was torture to hear his low voice speak her name. Perhaps it was only another ruse, but she thought she could feel the warmth radiating from his body as his broad shoulders shielded her from the onshore wind. “I came here for you, and you alone. Surrender to me.”


“And let you take me to your master?” she answered quietly. “Never!”


His eyes didn’t leave hers as he shook his head. “Just you. Just me.”


Kyroth readjusted his grip on the wristbinders, pressing a button to snap them open, and she shifted, subtly clenching her knees together in defiance of the throbbing at the apex of her thighs. To her surprise, the metal cuffs had been lined with a cream satin material, lending them a strange delicacy as they stood ready to embrace her.


“One way or another, you’re leaving here with me, Aura. Choose your next moves wisely.”


A warm salt breeze nudged against Aura’s bare shoulders as she weighed her options. She could try to outshoot the dark man with the kryostatic pistol, but his arcane spellwork was the pride of the Imperium. Harkeep was as good as dead if she fell here, vainly trying to defend him.


If she went with Kyroth, at least the Insurrection’s last hope would sleep on, untroubled, in his island hut high up the hill. She could try to escape his shadowed grandson in the meantime, or else outwit whatever he had planned for her.


She raised her chin defiantly. “I’m not leaving Cetaiia Three.”


“That’s fine. Anything else?”


Kyroth’s ink-dark eyes flared in pleasure as Aura reluctantly holstered the kryostatic pistol at her hip and offered up her wrists to the silk-lined binders. She cast a last glance up at Harkeep’s hut as the cuffs snapped shut, but even as she did she knew it was fruitless. 


The last and most powerful warrior the light could’ve claimed had long since renounced his monkish duties — and with them, his connection to the Balance itself. He could no more hear her mental cry of warning than if she’d tried to shout to him over the waves’ thunder.


A sharp tug on the wristbinders made Aura stumble into motion down the steep, grassy grade. Kyroth Dune’s generous mouth twisted in another odd smile as she hurried to keep pace with him, following the flagstone path back down toward the ocean.


Yet he led her not toward his waiting ship, a delicate thing of metal and metaplastics that rested silently in the stone depression at the base of the cliff, but a spot directly beside it. The shirring stone here had been overtaken by rogue blades of grass, but the intricate, whorled outlines of the aged rock disc were clear despite years of neglect.


Kyroth turned on his heel, drawing Aura close against his chest as he stopped on the circular sunstone marker. The fabric of his black cowl was soft against her bound hands, and she shuddered as his gloved forefingers brushed hers. Was that a mistaken touch or a caress?


A sizzling rose to tickle her ears, and Aura squinted against the sudden onslaught of azure light that knifed upward as the shirring stone woke in answer to her dark captor’s unvoiced will. 


This asymmetrical splinter of land, almost too humble to be called an island, was one of thousands pockmarking the face of this oceanic world; all were linked by an age-old network of these markers built by some long-forgotten race. Aura had only squinted at the few nearest such islets since arriving five days ago, but she hadn’t even entertained the notion of traveling elsewhere on Cetaiia Three until this very moment.


For an eternal instant darkness was all she knew, and a horrifying absence pressed in on her — absence of life, of matter, of even her own body. Then the physical world slammed back, sending Aura into a fit of coughing, and Kyroth slipped an arm about her waist to steady her.


The aroma of the tempestuous sea had been replaced with the rich green velvet of a timeless forest. Kyroth had brought them somewhere inland; the air here was still and a touch humid, like a sigh that had been held since time immemorial. Yet they were well and truly alone now. 


Aura stretched out with her feelings, but the only flickers of life were animals flitting through the wood, instinctively avoiding the strange place where the two humans had found themselves.


She looked wildly about the glade, heart hammering against her ribs as she searched for the twisted, inhuman form of Riv Talaros amid the nearest trees. The trunks were gnarled, primeval things that looked like they’d been born of nightmares. “You can let your master know that he doesn’t need to hide himself. I don’t fear him any more than I fear you.”


“I told you the truth. We’re alone here,” Kyroth muttered, tugging his cloak open and letting it fall aside. Aura felt another surge of desire emanate from him as he ducked his head, nimbly settling her bound wrists behind his neck and forcing her to embrace him.


Her pulse sang in her ears as she gazed up at Kyroth. His body was warm against hers, like living marble, and their twinned heartbeats made both of their bodies tremble.


“Tell me you hate me and I’ll leave Cetaiia Three forever,” the dark spellcaster told her quietly. “I’ll never trouble you again. I’ll even let my bastard grandfather live.”


The Warriors of Light had been so close to offering her a place in their ranks; all she’d needed do was bring Senzai Harkeep back to them, and it would’ve been assured. Instead she now found herself tempted by the darkness, by Kyroth Dune and whatever he was trying to offer. 


His black gaze called to her, urging her down a path she hadn’t dreamed possible. A path where celibacy was not demanded of its adherents.


It was this thought in particular that Kyroth was dwelling on as his arms tightened about her body. Aura could sense his imaginings as clearly as though she was scrying them: her mouth against his, drinking him in as he held her close, their lips searing each other like a hundred thousand fire crystals. His arms tightening about her until he thought her fragile body might break, and hers about him, threatening the same. Her naked skin against his, smooth and scorching and welcoming, until he could no longer hold himself back from desecrating her — and her own cry of longing as he drove into her, uniting their bodies in the way they’d both craved since their eyes first locked… 


That’s what you want?” she gasped, nearly overcome with the force of his desire.


“There’s ancient power here — awaken it with me,” Kyroth invited her softly.


This was no command; Aura’s bound wrists tugged ineffectually at Kyroth’s neck as she tried to draw back. The pulsing deep in her belly had become incessant, craving something she didn’t dare name lest the very word tempt her to darkness, too. “Never!”


“It isn’t shadow … but it isn’t light, either,” the dark man admitted. His gaze seared into her, probing her mind. “It’s an even older force. You’ve felt it calling, haven’t you?”


How could he know that? There was no point in denying it; even as she thought the question, he knew.

“I’ve seen your dreams,” he murmured. He raised a black-gloved hand to her cheek, caressing the sensitive curve with the tips of his fingers until Aura shivered. “Auriel … we both know what you want from me.”


She shook again, but not with revulsion — and Kyroth’s gaze dropped lower, forsaking her eyes for her lips. He took a step forward, forcing Aura back against a graven pillar that lurked behind her shoulder. The breath slid from her lungs as the mossy stone met her spine, but she could only stare up at him as he leaned closer.


“Your light master won’t think to look for us here.” Kyroth’s eyes were like twin pools of starless space, and Aura’s lips burned self-consciously as he stared down at them. Would he kiss her, even if she continued to protest? Her fingertips brushed against his silken hair, dark as ravens’ wings, and he stiffened with rapture at her inquisitive touch. “No one will disturb us.”


“Why should you care about that?” Aura demanded quietly, still imprisoned by his gaze.


“I can’t awaken the power that lies dormant here on my own. I need someone who’s as powerful as I am. Someone I care about deeply — just as they care for me.”


After being haunted by visions of him for so long, his physical presence was overpowering. A soft moan escaped Aura as Kyroth bent closer, and his hips pressed into the softness of her belly as she shrank back against the pillar. “That’s why you crossed the galaxy to find me here?” She laughed at the unthinkable madness of it. “To fuck me?”


“I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” Kyroth growled, his words caressing Aura’s skin like a promise.


He’d haunted her just as she’d haunted him, chasing each other across solar systems since that fateful battle that had somehow bound their minds. Throughout the cat-and-mouse hunt that followed, never once had she dared think that Dune returned her strange, complex fascination with him.


She inhaled sharply, ready to tell him he was insane, that she wouldn’t believe this game, whatever it was — but then his lips were drinking in her own, his crooked mouth claiming hers in a fierce kiss.


It was an abomination for a warrior of light, even a mere potential like Aura, to feel this sort of carnal wanting. To crave her mortal enemy was abjectly more shameful still, and she writhed in Kyroth’s arms, groaning into his mouth with wordless desire as she felt his length stiffening against her.


His self-consciousness flooded her mind, bringing with it a strange relief. He’s never been with someone this way, either. It had been years since Kyroth fell from light to shadow, but never had he looked at a living being with wanting. Not until her.


“I want to be with you, Aura — properly. Not just in our dreams.” His voice rasped with emotion as he broke away from her and pulled back, printing a chaste kiss on her cheek as her lips throbbed with the loss of him. Yet his arms tightened about her body like an unyielding cage. “You tried to hide what you felt from me at first, but you couldn’t keep me out forever.”


Aura’s cheeks scorched as she saw the memory — him watching her from afar as she verged on sleep, knowing full well that as she whimpered, tossing and turning, she was caressing herself to the memory of his face.


He knew she wanted him.


“I never imagined I could feel this way, not for anyone. And now that I’ve found you…” She could feel the primal lust surging to overtake Kyroth again as he turned aside to kiss the inside of her right wrist, and his teeth grazed her skin. “I can’t give you up. Not when I know you want me, too.”


Another image filled Aura’s mind: Kyroth lying in his sparse bunk aboard the Nemesis Fire, slowly running his fingers along a telltale thickness in the front of his trousers — the same one she could feel against her now. His tortured features contorted with ecstasy as he thought of her and gripped harder, stroking himself to the edge and spilling hotly onto his own hand at the fantasy of taking her maidenhead.


He suddenly bent, and the velvet-quiet forest shifted as he caught her behind her knees and the small of her back, sweeping her up into his arms like a bridegroom before striding deeper into the labyrinthine ruins.


Something deep in Aura’s belly clenched as Kyroth cradled her against his chest, his thumb caressing the curve of her thigh in a way that made her slicken. A complex series of hand-sigils could’ve freed her from his grip, but escape was the furthest thing from her mind. “Where are you taking me?”

His gaze flitted away from the mossy stone path before them, and he slowed, hitching her up closer against him as his eyes found hers. “To the place we’ve both dreamt of.”


“You saw it, too?” Aura demanded breathlessly as Kyroth resumed walking. Her cheeks and neck scorched at the memory of her dreams, night after night of him taking her in a hundred different ways. 


Always, always he defiled her in the same place: a stone altar set in the trunk of a hollow tree. She’d never imagined such a place truly existed — but now that she thought about it, the carved lines of the shirring stone bore a curious resemblance to her remembrance of the ancient, bark-enclosed pedestal. 


In that moment she realized it had been no dream, but a promise of things to come.


Kyroth’s black eyes fixed on hers, seething with a force she didn’t dare name. “I can’t think of anything else but being here with you,” he murmured. “Damn the light and damn the shadows, I just want you, Aura.”


He stopped as they crossed the threshold into the trunk of a massive, hollow tree, and Aura knew what she would find even before she turned her head. The pedestal was hip-height and rectangular, its carven grey surface unblemished even after so many years. Two inset lengths of pale golden metal ran over the face of the rectangular altar from front to back, each set with a wrist cuff that was free to slide along its length.


Kyroth gently set Aura down, letting her body slip along every inch of his until her feet met the ground. He laid one gloved hand against her temple, and ruby energy poured forth, altering molecules in a shifting torrent. 


Within moments, her body was scrubbed clean of its layers of sea spray and grime, and her humble linen garb had been replaced by something far finer. An overdress of heavy silver chains that were studded with diamonds and pearls bound her curvaceous frame, set off by the structured cream silk gown that clung to her beneath it.


The ruby glow spread to Kyroth’s body, and then his aspect changed, too, his military uniform suddenly crisp, the fabric scoured free of dirt and sweat. His wide leather belt and dark boots gleamed in the dull green light of the dawning forest.


Still, he blushed as Aura gaped up at him, gesturing to the gown. “What in the nameless hells is this?”


“You deserve circumstances equal to your beauty,” he offered gruffly.


She twitched her head in disbelief, and when she spoke again her voice was flat with confusion: “You’re treating me like I’m your bride.”


His gaze seared her in silence, admitting truths he wouldn’t let pass his lips.


“N-No…” she stammered.


“I’m not alone in feeling this.” He backed her against the low pillar, pinning her against it with his hips. “Your own thoughts have betrayed you, Aura. Your longing for me, it’s…” He broke off for a moment to find the right word, and for a moment she thought he was about to kiss her again. “…intoxicating.” 


“I want you to come back to the light,” she admitted, his fervor coaxing a fraction of the truth from her lips. “It’s not too late for you, Kyroth.”


“Light is corrupt, and dark would curse us for being together,” the dark-eyed man growled. “Only this power — whatever it is — is about truly being free … free to follow our innermost longings.”


“Even into temptation?” Aura breathed as one of his hands crept against her thigh, slowly gathering the fabric until she felt the cool leather of his glove against her bare skin.


“Temptation. Compulsion. Rapture.” He nudged her toward a taller engraved pillar that lurked in the shadows, lifting her cuffed wrists to loop them over a protruding hook. His aquiline nose lent his expression a noble aspect as he stared down at her, utterly captivated. “Can’t you sense it?”


Even before the question left his full lips she knew she did — that she’d been feeling what he spoke of since the moment they’d found themselves in this strange forest. The Balance flowed differently here, as languid and welcoming as a warm pool, inviting her to strip away the years of self-denial and embrace what she truly desired.




“We’re meant to be,” he murmured, his lips a mere fingersbreadth from her neck.


Aura swayed forward against Kyroth, and he grunted, his erection throbbing insistently against her belly as she teased him. She knew the theory of how men worked, of course, but she’d never seen or felt their bodily changes firsthand.


A surge of pure joy rose within her to see the dark man’s expression of mindless bliss; in defiance of the light’s asceticism and everything that stood between them, it pleased Aura to see how much he wanted her.

“This is what you want, Kyroth?” she whispered, her voice tight as he stared down at her wonderingly. “For me to offer myself up to you so you can break me open like a bitch for breeding?”


“I want to take you willingly.” His fingers slid down her arm, pausing just beside the high swell of her breast. The gauzy fabric was deceptively thin here, and Aura murmured in embarrassment as Kyroth squeezed gently, finding her nipple and rolling it between his fingertips until it hardened.


 His hand at her thigh moved, too, slipping between her legs as he nudged her open, finding her damp folds before she could even shriek. He had her twice pinned, and though she could’ve lifted her bound wrists free of the hook she submitted to his rough caresses, whimpering with desire as he stroked sparks to life in her secret depths.


“Aren’t you tired of fighting? Of running?” Kyroth’s voice was hoarse, and a tendon jumped beside his jaw as he probed deeper inside her. 


He tugged sharply at the soft silk of her gown with his free hand, and Aura gasped as the fabric tore, baring her breasts through the heavy silver links of her overdress. He ducked his head, tendrils of his hair tickling her skin as he brought his lips to first one roseate nipple and then the other, sucking and nipping her sensitive skin until she squeaked in protest.


Aura struggled to ignore Kyroth’s hand at her sex, but he manipulated her skillfully, his thumb circling her clit as his fingers surged deeper inside her. His aroma was overwhelming, like desert spices and lightning and ozone, his body so close to hers that she could feel his every intention for her. He means to make me cum.


“Belong to me.” His hand was unrelenting, his expression one of haughty pride as she whimpered and vainly tried to twist away. “Surrender to me, Aura. Not to light masters who don’t give a fuck about you. Not to Riv Talaros, or even the Order of Shadows. Just me.”


You should surrender to me,” Aura managed through clenched teeth. Giving in to what he was trying to do to her would be a whole new humiliation, her body betraying her for a slut as she let her mortal enemy trespass within her.


“I will, in time,” Kyroth murmured. Her neck prickled pleasantly as he nuzzled her, his lips finding the side of her neck as his fingers drove her closer to the brink. He clutched her breast tighter, and his breaths became harsh against her skin, his need for her more insistent. She could almost imagine his probing fingers were his cock, that he was ravaging her instead of taunting her. “Darkness and light can’t exist without each other. Just like I can’t exist without you.”


His mouth met hers again, more demanding now, and Aura sank into his hungry kiss, opening herself to his advances. Her fingers clutched spasmodically over her head as the brink rose within her, and her back arched as she spilled over, the ecstatic orgasm drawn from her as though by spellwork.


Kyroth’s fingers slowed, and he surged within her gently now, cautious as she seized in the last throes of the cum. 


Aura’s voice broke as she returned to herself: “Thoughts of you consume me. They have since the first time we faced each other.” She broke off, her eyes flooding with rebellious tears that made the hollow tree with its pillars and altar sway before her. “I-I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I must be cursed.”


Nothing is wrong with you, Aura.” Kyroth’s hand at her thighs retreated, leaving her aching and still somehow unfulfilled, and slipped around to gently squeeze her ass as he drew her to him. He kissed her with unexpected tenderness, and when he broke away there was a vulnerability in his sunless eyes that made her shiver. “You’re perfect.”


Aura narrowed her eyes with warning as a strange silver light seemed to emanate from his pale face — but Kyroth only smiled, his crooked lips curving handsomely as he nodded to something just beside her. 


She gasped and bucked toward him, shying away from the pillar at her back and the sterling designs that glowed to life in the face of the timeless stone like jellyfish. “What is that?”


“This place.” He looked around, something akin to joy on his pale face — and Aura followed his gaze, gasping a little as the ripples of power spread outward, revealing intricate designs on the weathered bark. “It’s awakening. It feels us.”


Aura rolled her hips forward again, testing. Kyroth’s sigh of pleasure as she ground against his rock-hard length sent more silver light skittering throughout the chamber. He’s telling the truth.


He pressed his forehead against hers, hearing the words as though she’d spoken them. “I’ll never lie to you. I never have.”


“I know,” she whispered, more shaken by his honesty than anything that had happened since she awoke.


 He wasn’t just physically consumed by his desire for Aura; his very thoughts were tattooed with concern for her, adoration for her skill and self-sufficiency, anguish at the idea that she might think him a liar like the rest of his blood family. If he hated anything it was the way the frightened old men of the Insurrection had twisted her into a weapon, using her to fend off the Imperium’s might. 


He loved her so much, he was the only one who could properly protect her—


“You love me?” Aura demanded, the word hitting her chest like a war hammer.


Kyroth snapped the binders open, catching her newly-liberated wrists in one hand. He lifted the other to his lips and held the black glove with his teeth, pulling it off and turning his head to cast it aside. 


His elegant fingers were trembling, but his touch ignited her skin like fireworks as he caressed her jaw. Feeling how he’d wanted her physically was agony enough, but the love that burned in him, too, was like a black star that was ever alight. 


Being with her now was the first relief he’d had in months from the torture of his self-imposed solitude — and Aura was startled to feel that selfsame relaxation overtaking her own body to be so close to him.


“I need you completely, Aura,” he growled. He drew her wrists against his chest, and she could feel the violent pounding of his heart as he pulled off his other glove. “Everything I am is you. You’re my destiny, I’ve seen it.”


Even as Kyroth demanded her submission he surrendered to her, giving up his will to be ruled by hers. 


Aura froze him in place for a moment, testing, but she released him in the next instant. Controlling the body of another was one of the light’s greatest taboos, yet she could feel how much Kyroth craved her mental touch. He belongs to me. And I belong to him.


He stood her against the altar again, his feet nudging hers backward one at a time until the edge of the chill stone dug into the swell of her ass. The torn silk afforded her skin little protection, but she hardly noticed, utterly bewitched by Kyroth as he unfastened his dark layers of tunics and let them fall to the mossy earth. 


His bare torso was lean and muscular like a true warrior, but his hesitation was like a tang of iron as he fought to keep himself from ravishing her.


Awkwardly, she reached down and tugged the ragged fabric about her to the ground, leaving her in the chained overdress. Only generosity itself could call the thing a garment, for it concealed nothing of her naked body. The dark man stared at her hungrily, his gaze taking in everything as she straightened.


There had been a flicker of something from him as she bent down — and as his fingers tightened on her hips she slipped away, properly sinking down before him this time. 


The packed dirt dug into her knees as her fingers fumbled with the catch of his trousers; she could feel his jet eyes blazing down at her as she negotiated them open and his cock sprang free. He was larger than she’d been envisioning, and thicker, somehow more naked than she was for the vulgarity of seeing him fully erect.


Seeing the dark spellcaster like this was unthinkable, but even more unthinkable was the way Aura found herself catching his scorching shaft in her fingers and kissing the tip, just once. His skin was fiery, yielding only a little against the warmth of her own lips. Kyroth’s fingers tightened on the golden metal bars transecting the altar’s face, and he groaned wordlessly.

Such ecstasy. She kissed him again, savoring the tartness as her lips came away wet with some clear liquid that oozed from his head. He’d fantasized about this happening so often that she could see exactly what he wanted, and moved her hand to gently cradle his balls. 


He stiffened in her mouth, and she heard his jaw creak as he clenched his teeth. “Fuck, Aura…”


He moved to draw her to her feet again but she stopped him, imprisoning him within her will as she parted her lips and took him in her mouth, her fingers making up for what of his length she couldn’t take. She worked at him, her tongue exploring his every ridge and curve as he cursed aloud from the overwhelming sensations, tightening until she thought he’d spill — but his own tempered will held him back, resisting the edge of what she offered.


“The only place I’m cumming is in your tight pussy,” the dark wizard rasped, tested to his utmost to keep from surrendering his load to Aura’s mouth.


Yet in the depths of his mind, she knew she could wear him down; he would be unable to hold back forever. It was a perverse tease to release him, letting his own will regain control over his body as he dragged her up from her knees, binding her wrists in these new, golden restraints as her fingers found the curves of the bars.


Abruptly Aura was cast out of her own mind, her eyes blind to the alcove and the altar as she saw back through millennia to when this refuge had first been made.

Her masters had taught her that dark and light were eternal, but these visions shattered those age-old lies. This power was older, rooted in a time before the division of dark and light, when priests and priestesses of the grey had offered up their bodies in ceremonial alcoves such as this one. The ancestors of the two arcane powers had given of themselves to the Balance in mindless union, their bodies and breaths intertwining as they honored humanity’s most ancient rite.


“Fuck me — here, now,” Kyroth breathed before his mouth devoured Aura’s again, and they returned to themselves. “Forsake both light and dark. This place offers us another path.”


He was relentless, all the wilder now for having been brought so close to the brink only to be left wanting. His slickened cock dug into her softness, but only for a moment before he grabbed the metal chains of her overdress, wrenching them up past her hips as he sank to his knees before her.


“No,” Aura gasped as Kyroth’s ragged breaths warmed the apex of her thighs. She struggled against the cuffs, but the metal links and bars that bound her to the stone seemed to resist her, holding her to her feet as he nuzzled facefirst into her hollow. 


His tongue lapped at her, slowly exploring her folds and sinking into her wet channel, and her mound vibrated as he laughed softly into her.


She twisted away from him, blinded by the ecstatic lightning that his touch sparked within her, but Kyroth was faster, forcing her back onto the altar and flipping her knees up over his shoulders before she could escape. His fingers tightened on the outside of her thighs as he pinned her against the stone, her very crux taken prisoner by him.


Aura’s body shook in abject mortification, her waves of rapture splaying through the ancient chamber in bolts of that silver energy. Somewhere below her suspended ass he was throbbing, his rock-rigid sex neglected as he punished her in kind, reminding her of every teasing suck as she’d taunted him before.


He slid both thumbs into her soaking cleft, sinking deep into her as he projected more of his fantasies into her mind, showing her how he would take her.


Then, in a cruel mockery of how she’d broken away from him, Kyroth drew back, leaving Aura wanting and drawing a shuddering cry from her lips. He drew one arm before his face, looming over her and smiling as he stood. “Don’t whine, I’m not done with you yet.”


In another ripple of blinding ruby energy the metal overdress cracked and ran from her body like mercury, leaving her utterly naked. The dark man stared at her ravenously as she panted openmouthed, chained to the stone altar like some barbarian princess.

I need to feel him … I don’t know how, I just do. Kyroth’s soaked phallus was naked against her, so hot it threatened to burn her body, and she moaned in pleasure as he splayed her thighs with his knees, his head negotiating its way to the drenched edge of her pussy unassisted.


“Marry me, Auriel,” he growled softly. “Be my first and my last. Now and forever, belong to me.”


He wrapped his arm about her waist, pulling her body flush with his as his sex found hers. The violent tattoo of his heartbeat shook both their bodies, and Aura felt hers slamming in desperate response as he gazed down at her, drinking her in. His lips demanded hers, coaxing her into submission as his erect prick nudged against her virgin slit.


She writhed in his arms, but he was merciless, only taunting her instead of defiling her, retreating from her when she would have him transfix her.


The fingers of his free hand closed on her jaw, forcing her to look up at him. It was excruciating to meet his feverish gaze, but his will and his body both refused to release her. “Tell me you’re mine and I’ll end your suffering.”


“You mean you’ll fuck me,” Aura hissed through her gritted jaw.


Kyroth’s lips quirked in a twisted grin. “Yes.”


She lunged, trying to kiss him — as though to remind him how he belonged to her, too — but he wound his fingers into the hair at the nape of her neck, holding her still.


“Say it.” The hard, wet trunk of his phallus strove between her thighs again, nearly finding her quim and then leaving her wanting. The broken moan that crested her lips was like an animal begging to be put out of its misery. “Admit it, Aura, or I’ll do this forever. I’ll make you cum a thousand ways but I won’t take your virginity — not until you beg.”


The idea of him taunting her like this for an eternity was too excruciating to bear, and the words flooded from some dark place within her, rasping and desperate: “Fuck me, Kyroth. Please fuck me, I need you so much… I need your cock, I just…” 


Words failed her, and she whimpered, naked and hungry against his body.


“Yes,” he sighed, and that was enough.

Aura cried out with ecstasy as Kyroth flexed his hips and buried himself in her, his cock driving into her slickened core as though their bodies had been wrought for each other. He burned within her like a struck anvil, his intrusion overwhelming her bodily even as she welcomed him. 


Unable to touch him, she clutched at the metal bars that held her wrists at her hips, nuzzling into his neck as he cradled her. His lips left a trail of soft kisses over her cheekbone, her neck, her shoulder, and he strove against his own impulses to keep from spilling in her too soon.


“Take me,” she begged him, and they cried out together as he withdrew only to plunge deeper into her, surging like the tide.


Aura could feel more than see the silver energy that poured from their bodies as Kyroth began to fuck her properly, his shuddering incursions making them both tremble and ache. Her pores were made of starlight as Kyroth’s girth filled her to her utmost, rendering her nearly senseless.


It hurt, but beautifully; her dark lover grunted a little with each thrust, rending her body open with his own.


Dark and light intertwined. This is the true nature of the Balance; all else is illusion. Aura clenched tighter, wrapped one leg about Kyroth’s as his sex ground within her like flint. He caught her knee, bending it up around his waist as he wrenched deeper into her, his mouth reclaiming hers. His tongue stroked Aura’s, seducing her even as he was pumping inside her, pressing her ever onward.


It was glorious perversion — the two most powerful young spellcasters in the galaxy, naked and rutting together in this hallowed ground. Aura felt liberated amid her restraints, as though he was holding Kyroth close even as he held her.


“This… you…” the dark man gasped into her mouth, overcome. His dark hair clung to his forehead, and his eyes were livid with lust as he defiled her. “You’re all I need to be happy, Aura. You’re worth giving up the arcane itself.”


His fingers tightened on her body. She could feel his every ridge grinding against her cervix, and as she probed his mind she felt how close Kyroth was now, ready to cum inside her at the slightest provocation.

Not yet. She couldn’t have fallen and found this glorious torment only for it to be over so soon — and Aura twisted her hips, slipping free of the dark man as he shouted in thwarted longing. She slipped under one arm as she turned, crossing her wrists as she lay over the altar, offering herself to him as she’d seen done by others numberless eons ago.


Fuck,” Kyroth hissed from beyond her shoulders.


His thighs warmed the curve of her ass as he stood behind her, and then his thick head was aligned with her cunt again, sinking deep beyond her folds to her soaked hollow, possessing her body with his own. 


The stone altar was cold against her breasts and belly, hardening her nipples to points as she lay across it — but the dark man bent forward, lifting Aura far enough to slide his right arm down past her belly, his fingertips finding her clit as his breath warmed her spine. She was pinned against him as he thrust into her over and over, impaled on his meaty shaft even as his hand coaxed her closer to oblivion.


The living tree seethed around them like a moonlit tempest, and Aura felt Kyroth’s length throbbing inside her, violating her utterly as he plunged deep. His free hand found her breasts, clutching at her and shielding her from the frigid stone with his warmth as he neared.


“I love you, Kyroth,” Aura groaned as he pressed her to the brink. “Oh fuck, I love you so much…”


The dark man was already shuddering deep in her belly, but at the sound of her voice Aura felt him lose himself, given over to the sterling light as his essence spurted into her. The sudden rush of heat in her channel made Aura’s knees give out, but Kyroth held her still. He pinned her to the altar, grinding into her until she foundered in the brilliance, too, this second cum draining her of everything.


“Aura,” Kyroth groaned again.


The dark man cradled her, still emptying his seed into Aura as she spasmed around him. She twisted away, yelping as he withdrew his hand from her pussy and released the catches on her wristbinders. 


He spun her about and kissed her again, his lips all the more ravenous now that they’d obliterated each other’s virginity.


“Look,” he murmured, his sallow face bathed in silver light as he gazed upward and pulled her close to his chest. “We did this.”


The inside of the hollow tree had seemed so dull and dirt-streaked when first Aura saw it, but the wood now blazed with silver fire as thousands of intricate lights sparkled through its surface. The Balance was stronger here than Aura had ever felt in her life, and it pushed at her bare skin, warming her gratefully as it reawoke.


“We did this,” Aura echoed, awestruck. Whatever bound our minds … that was the thing that led us here. The greylight, waiting to be remembered.


Kyroth’s seed-slicked member nudged at the apex of her thighs, demanding her as he embraced her again. His lips teased hers, seducing her anew. How can he still be hard? 


Aura was too overcome to question it for more than a moment; in the next heartbeat he was lifting her up onto the carven stone altar and filling her with his entirety as they cried out from the delicious ache of rediscovering each other. Their commingled essences dripped from the curve of her ass as she lay back beneath him, and once again he began to move within her.


“This is the old marriage, isn’t it?” Aura murmured into Kyroth’s skin as she trembled with the fullness of him. She laughed breathlessly, grazing her teeth against his stubbled jaw as he nudged deeper, splitting her as she’d never thought possible. Her clit was already sore, but she savored the glorious agony each time Kyroth’s cock strove against her. “Fucking instead of killing each other.”


“Yes.” His voice was a slow, satisfied sigh of agreement as he quickened, his hips wetly slapping the curve of her ass.


She sucked on his lower lip, nipping him until he groaned with wanting and punished her harder for that insult. She couldn’t defend the masters of light anymore, not after knowing how they had used her to protect themselves against him … but she could accept Kyroth’s offer, stay here, find their own way together.


If Senzai Harkeep had hidden himself away, abandoning the cosmic war, they could surely do the same.


“Run away with me.” Kyroth pinned Aura to the altar with his full weight, and she wrapped her legs about his waist. The carved stone was warm now, welcoming them as he fucked her the way she craved, his unyielding member trespassing within her with the authority of a true bridegroom. The adoration that radiated from him as he gazed down at her defied everything she’d been taught — and she flung her arms around his neck, offering herself up willingly.


Insurrection, Imperium — they’re all the same. They just want to use us as their weapons … but we can obliterate ourselves another way.


“Yes,” she murmured. “Take me, keep me … let’s never go back to that lie of a world…”


“Auriel,” Kyroth murmured, sealing the accord between light and dark as he drove deep within her, and she cried out. Together their minds shattered along with their bodies, sending them spiraling into a cataract of sterling oblivion as the ancient tree about them blazed with power.


* * *


Far across the ocean, an old man stirred and came awake in his cliffside hut.


It had been years since Senzai Harkeep touched the Balance, but he could feel it thrumming now like a plucked harp. 


Something that was neither light nor dark was stirring … and as a hungry wind lashed the needle of land, the forsworn light master shivered in fear of what had been born that morning beneath the cold, silver light of this forbidden world.