Freshly Driven

Freshly Driven
By Paul Calhoun

Dear reader: This was a request by a semi-friend of mine that I think went rather well. Upshot: A wandering mercenary/knight takes a job to slay a dragon who has been eating the local maidens. The problem is that the dragon refuses to fight honorably and will not appear unless the maiden is completely alone.

Althalos the Brown was a relatively well-known figure back then, and his figure only became better known after what was later called the Battle of Maiden’s Point. To say that he was a mercenary would be too hard on the nomadic member of the Clan Culpeo Zorro, but to call him a knight would insult many a fine and upstanding gentleman of chivalry. He took money, but only to do things that the better-off knights would do for free. He was lucky to have found such a surprisingly wealthy kingdom in these out of the way parts. None of the true knights would ever come out this far, and so Althalos was free to practice his profession without interference from poverty or hard-nosed nobles. In a word, he’d outfoxed them.

This is all by way of explaining how the Lord William had come to request aid. Fifty gold pieces a day plus expenses and a thousand-gold bonus on completion. Lord William was becoming desperate, and Althalos could understand why. A Draconis Nobelius eating all the most eligible females and crisping every guard, warrior and bereaved loved one that came within sight of its cavernous lair. That was big news anywhere, and would certainly put the kingdom and its savior on the map, assuming either was left when the dragon was finally gotten rid of. The fact that it would only actually eat the maidens was a bit of a problem, since they were the only ones who ever got close enough to the dragon to do much about it. Of course, there was only one solution.

That is how Althalos found himself in the tender if giggly care of the princess, her maids of honor and the wizard. There was always a wizard, even if he seemed more of an alchemist than a mage. Once he’d explained his plan, the maids seemed eager to help. Althalos decided that he’d opt to believe this was out of self-preservation rather than amusement at the Zorro knight. While the wizard prepared some brews that Althalos didn’t bother to ask about, the maids - mostly of a fox clan like himself, though there was also plenty of wolves in the area - removed his clothes and started working a white powder all over his body. He assumed it was meant to brighten up the pale parts of their body, and was the handiest thing they had to change the color of his fur.

In short order, he was white from muzzle to heel and the maids were adding highlights - a creamy tailtip with black details, black marks on his muzzle, those sorts of things. The wizard worked some kind of stretchy undergarment between his legs, and as he looked down, it seemed as if he had the loins of one of the maids. Perhaps this might work. The wizard pressed a pair of white breasts onto his chest which matched the white fur the maids had given him and placed a golden blonde wig on his head, which adhered like the breasts did. According to the mage, everything could be removed by firm, gentle pull and could be replaced as easily. All this had happened so quickly that Althalos was in a daze and simply complied with every order the maids and wizard gave him. He was quickly attired as one of the noble women of the house in the best fitting underwear they could find and a pink gown which barely passed his knees. He didn’t care, but the maids made it clear that they’d had to make do with what they could find, since he was of medium height for a man and they had no tall women in their care. Just as he felt like he’d collapse dizziness at the bustle around him, the maids all stepped back and one pulled a full length mirror in front of him.

He fell back as he saw what the mirror had to show him. At first he thought it had to be sorcery from the mage, but no, that was him looking out from the glass. At first, all he could do was stare at the surprised looking vixen staring back at him with an expression that made him want to rush over and help the damsel. When he recovered his wits, he stood up straight and ran a paw through his hair. Whatever the powder was stayed on his hand, and when the Arctic Clan vixen returned her paw to her side, her back-length tresses were unmarred. At that, Altholos became more adventurous and began to pose for the mirror, earning giggles from the maids just out of sight. With a flick of her new tail, Alianor turned and left the room, making sure that Altholos’ swords, bow and quiver were safely stowed in the hidden pockets sewn into her new skirt.

Alianor was unused to such maidly garments and tripped several times as she ascended the mountain on which the dragon slept. Lord William had provided a carriage to take her as far as the base, but the driver would go no further, and sped off once the disguised knight was safely on his way. Though all within the castle knew of Alianor’s true identity, it did not stop the driver from staring with naked lust at her womanly virtues. In fact, Alianor felt as if he was ignoring the maids to stare only at her. Althalos wasn’t sure whether it was a good sign of how convincing a maiden he made or an omen of fey madness that he felt self-conscious under the scrutiny of the horse knave, and averted his long-lashed eyes whenever he noticed the fox - so like himself - staring at him. Now that she was on her own, Alianor thought about the horseman, wishing he were by her side as she went to face the most dangerous foe she’d ever fought.

The cave was empty. This was obvious by the lack of smoke. Dragons can’t help but give off a haze of steam and four vapors; it is their nature. Alianor stood for a moment, wondering what to do next before sitting on a nearby rock to think. She only absently noted that she’d instinctively smoothed her skirt under her as she sat, and didn’t bother to ponder the implications. She put her muzzle in her hands and considered; if she left now she’d have to walk all the way back and probably be accosted by highwaymen mistaking her for a true maid. If she stayed, she could go hungry and freeze. It wasn’t a very warm area, and despite her current appearances, she was not suited to long stretches of cold. She was about to rise when she heard a sound on the road down to the base of the mountain, a scratching like feet on the trail. Her reflexes slid her off the rock to hide behind it, and so she saw the newcomer without being seen.

It was the dragon! Or so Alianor assumed. After all, how many dragons can live on one mountain? This was no Draconis Nobelius that the Zorro Knight Althalos had ever heard of, though. This one was comely and fair to look upon indeed! No taller than she, and fit to fill Alianor’s gown to bursting and more within the parts which Althalos lacked, and yet slim and svelte in all the places Althalos was. She needed no corset to keep a womanly figure, nor the arts of a wizard to fill a gown. Yet she wore neither, her blue scales shimmering on her back and the pink of her underscales tracing the shape of her womanhood. Alianor could feel the lust of Althalos for this fine beauty, and rose with alacrity to greet the newcomer. “Hail,” she said, the first words spoken since the wizard had given her a potion of feminine tongue. She found the soprano tone of her own voice as worthy of excitement as her reflection had been earlier that day. “Well met, lady.”

The dragon’s head snapped to the side to look at the vixen who had just been hidden out of sight. Her purple, heavy-lidded eyes narrowed, then relaxed into an expression of relaxed sensuality. “Why hello,” she said, her alto complementing Alianor’s soprano. “What a pretty thing we have here. The people of this valley never cease to amaze with the delicate comeliness of their wenches.”

Alianor curtsied, which seemed the right thing to do and also appeared to please the dragoness, who relaxed further at the gesture. “I had heard of the majesty of the Nobelius males, but not of the raw beauty of its females. Surely you are a paragon of air and fire.”

The dragoness approached closer until her jaw was almost touching Alianor’s muzzle. Alianor looked into the dragoness’ eyes and sighed softly. The dragoness leaned over the vixen and said, “But let us dispense with these pleasantries. I see that you desire me as I desire thee. For now, let us forget ourselves and know only pleasure.”
Alianor wasn’t sure she could have replied even if she wanted to, and returned the serpentine kiss with one of hot mammalian passion. She and the dragoness lay in each others arms, twined for many minutes before the dragoness gently pulled Alianor’s skirt up. “Let me show you what the tongue of a dragon may promise, as thee shall give me learning of what your warm-blooded kin can accomplish.” From then on, Alianor was intent on only two things, and neither of them were the growing scent of burning that snapped her out of herself as dread overshadowed ecstasy and the colossal black beast of legend settled on the mountain peak with a rush of wind that blew her hair into her face and made her forget for a moment the comely serpent upon her breast.

The Draconis Nobelius Vitriolus’ laugh rumbled above them and shook pebbles out of the mountain’s side. “What have we today? A pair of suicidal lasses who grew weary of waiting for death and decided to sample the delights of the flesh once more? A pity I must now devour thine flesh, for thou hast both given me great sport to watch as I journeyed hither.”

“In that, beast, thou ist mistaken!” The dragoness pronounced in a deep, gravelly bass totally unlike the seductive alto she’d used previously. She pressed a claw into the bottom of her jaw and lo, a black scarred wolf head now crowned the glorious body of the dragoness. A red light burned in his eyes as the wolf stripped himself of his womanly garb and drew a blade and a shield from the discarded carcass he had recently inhabited. “Thou lookst upon the last brother of a house thou destroyed in thine lust for pure flesh. Now feel the bite of the sword of desperation!”

“Aye,” Althalos added as he removed the gown and accoutrements of the wizard from his body, stooping to retrieve his swords and strap on his bow. “And the sting of the hopes of the kingdom.” The whiteness of his fur couldn’t be helped, but otherwise he hoped he looked somewhat more imposing than before.

The wolf didn’t take his eye from the dragon. “Thou ist more than thine appears.”

“Indeed,” Althalos replied, “as art thou. And when this fray be finished, there shalt be a reckoning.”

“Verily,” the wolf replied at the same time as the dragon, who stooped on them from the mountain top and pinned them to the ground. The wolf looked over at Althalos, “And I had hoped this battle would at least fare longer and see the dragon wounded if not slain. We have failed.”

“Thou hast,” the dragon said. He leaned down and put his face right in front of them. “Dost thou know how many knaves have tried this same attempt? Verily, I have never seen a single female on this peak, and precious few males before I reveal myself. This is the home of my reputation and not the repose of my body.” His rumbling laugh hammered them into the ground. “It is also the stage of my fantasies. Know that many have come upon this peak in false semblance, and many have waited a moon or more before some comely lass - another warrior in similar habit - arrives to make their vigil more pleasant. They cavort and twine with one another until I am satisfied that one or both are worth my time. If neither of thee had been salubrious and worth relish, I would have flamed thee as the imposters I knew thou were. Instead, I find myself well pleased with the pair and give both a choice. Thou may die here in this desolation or thou may take thine apparel to garb yourselves once more and live in bliss forever with the others I have collected over the years. Thine sisters are hearty men at heart, but all look the part of a lass fair to look upon, and fain to couple with one another at their pleasure and mine own. Thou will be provided for in clothing and provision for life, as thine beauty will not fade nor, I reckon, thine willingness to tup. So I say again, cast off thine arms and rejoice for thou shalt enter heaven on Earth if thou will, or heaven above if thou choose to reject my offer.”

The wolf ‘s paw relaxed, as did the sturdy grip of Althalos. “Thine words are fair, lord dragon, and I shall take this offer.” The wolf said. Althalos added, “And for myself.” They were allowed to return to their discarded disguises, and once they were dressed to the dragon’s satisfaction, they were picked up and flown over miles of countryside to a distant cavern where they met adventurers who had previously attempted to slay the dragon. All were attired as the most desirable examples of female flesh in a variety of forms furred, scales and feathered. All were welcoming and both Alianor and the dragoness Lythara found themselves happy members of a sisterhood bound by skill in arms, cunning and the contractually obligated lust that few of their membership begrudged the watching dragon. After all, his taste was superb and none of the ladies of the black scale were novices in such womanly arts after a week of captivity.

In time the dragon was slain by a passing Valkyrie who was mistaken for a local girl and the enchantment that kept the sisterhood of the scale imprisoned faded away. The sisters went their separate ways, some staying with their favorite companions and others striking out alone to seek their fortune as warriors again or to find their family. Some were happier staying sisters while others shed their outer forms with delight. As for Althalos, his legend continued, as was born the legend of the lady Alianor, a traveling Valkyrie well known for her cunning traps and her refusal to bed any man. The world was wide, and the fact that neither were ever seen at the same time was not marked and neither were their apparent similarities. Althalos became a legend not only for his marshal skill, but also for his skill in the bedchambers and Alianor for both her strength in arms and her compassion for women taken captive. Her first known heroism, in fact, was the slaying of the evil wizard who had been providing a Black Dragon with a steady stream of female sacrifices. How she knew about this was never revealed, and it was ever said that if a man boasted to other men of his dominion over women, he always looked over his shoulder if she was about in the land, for she had an uncanny ability to know of such things even when only other men had been told.

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