Conan and the Blade of Costa Part 2

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Synopsis:

A youthful Conan, having just won his freedom from his eastern masters, has traveled to the wild coast port city of Costa. Conan has settled into Costa and is using his skill as a thief and a warrior to survive. The sorcerer/merchant Captain Zula commissioned Conan the thief, to retrieve a pair of spell books from his mother’s (the infamous Sea Witch) island. During the raid Conan and Infidia the ‘Blade of Costa’ fall victim to the Sea Witch’s magic. Now they must use wits and blade if they are to survive and return to Costa!

Author note: This story was inspired by Bill Hart’s great cover on TG caps at the below address:

Author note 2: I didn’t create the character Conan and do not I plan to make any money from the use of the character in this story. This was written for public consumption and enjoyment.


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Part 2
Conan and the Blade of Costa

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“Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars — Nemedia, Ophir, Brythunia, Hyperborea, Zamora with its dark-haired woman and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Zingara with its chivalry, Koth that bordered on the pastoral lands of Shem, Stygia with its shadow-guarded tombs, Hyrkania whose riders wore steel and silk and gold. But the proudest kingdom of the world was Aquilonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west. Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet.”

- The Nemedian Chronicles
The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian (Conan the Barbarian), by Robert E. Howard, Ballantine Books, New York, 2003


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CHAPTER 4


When I was no-longer a man, my fate I did curse
In the darkest night to Crom, with prayer to converse
New passions torment, my humiliation unspoken
Pleasure and weakness unendurable, spirit unbroken

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Conan looked around the semi-dark of the cabin feeling bewildered and angry. She had managed to escape the stares and laughter of the crew but had screwed up by going to her old cabin, Conan’s cabin. Although, Infidia had been spending so much time in Conan’s cabin that it wouldn’t have been that big of a surprise, to the crew, if she’d stayed there. Conan spotted a sea trunk at the foot of the bunk where Infidia had slept when she hadn’t been sleeping with him. Figuring that it would have a change of clothes and wanting to get out of the wet leathers Conan went to the trunk. It was locked but after digging through Infidia’s belt pouch Conan found the key and soon had the trunk open.

There were more clothes in the trunk than Conan would have thought possible. Another set of fighting leathers as well as the cotton and wool garments Conan had seen Infidia wearing, at times, during the voyage. There were also several sets of female small clothes, a couple of towels, soaps, and other feminine items Conan didn’t recognize.

Conan peeled off the leather outer corset with some difficulty due to the small tight knots. In a moment of frustration Conan considered using one of the many knives she’d found stashed around Infidia’s body on the strings but then thought better of it. Ruining clothes in a fit of pique would be foolish. Conan had many flaws but she was a survivor and had learned to adapt to any situation and to win out. This one was stranger than any trial Conan had yet faced, but she was determined to survive and to get the sorcerer Zula to change them back.

Cotton tunic and leather pants joined the black leather corset and under garments in a pile. At this point Conan froze. The unfamiliar movement of breasts now free from the constricting corset drew his attention. They were glorious mounds of flesh that Conan had enjoyed on the trip to the island from the perspective of Infidia’s the lover. Now suddenly curious Conan reached up and gently pinched a great pink nipple rolling the sensitive flesh between her fingers. She inhaled sharply at the sensation they were far more sensitive than Conan had expected. Conan bent forward and pulled an under-tunic from the neatly folded stack of clothing in the trunk and noticed how her breasts swung out to hang like a pair of utters and then as she straightened up how her breasts fell back naturally against her chest. Conan also noticed that when she’d bent over she’d instinctively put her knees together without any discomfort. Now Conan looked down between her breasts and saw the neatly trimmed triangle of red hair hiding Infidia’s vagina from Conan’s view.

Just then the door to the cabin burst open with Infidia striding in, “Infidia, are you doing alright? Do you need any help finding, …” Infidia said his comment trailing off as he looked down at the tip of the rapier a naked Conan held firmly at his throat.

“Come into my cabin again unannounced and you’ll spend the rest of the voyage recovering from wounds!”

Infidia wanted to laugh but the serious look on her former face told Infidia that it would be unwise.

“I wanted to make sure you could find your clothes and the key to the chest. I see you’ve figured it all out. So I’ll leave you, my lady.” Infidia said as earnestly as he could backing away. Then seeing that Conan was merely watching Infidia stepped back out the hatch and closed the door. Then shouting through the door Infidia said, “If you wish to assure your privacy my lady there is a latch on the door you can use to secure it.”

At the sound of the bolt sliding home Infidia chuckled and turning away grinned at the memory of Conan’s breasts swinging freely as she’d spun around drawing the sword. Conan’s lunge had been perfect and her extension excellent. Infidia had known that she had a fantastic body, but now she was able to appreciate it from a whole new point of view and found that it was very pleasing indeed. Whistling brightly Infidia headed up to the deck to watch as the sailors of the Ocean’s Bounty pulled anchor and got the ship underway.

By the time the island was little more than a speck on the horizon Infidia was standing at the stern watching the helmsman navigate the ship. Conan climbed the ladder from the lower mid-deck to the upper aft-deck moving only slightly awkwardly. Infidia saw that Conan had re-braided her hair and that she’d found the dark green tunic that hung down just past Conan’s knee with a slit up one side for quick movements. The bodice had been laced a touch more tightly than Infidia preferred and Conan wore Infidia’s weapons belt, cinched tightly around her narrow waist, with a rapier on one hip and a long curved fighting knife on the other. Infidia grinned thinking that both of these were signs that Conan felt insecure. As well she should, now that Conan wore Infidia’s luscious body, she was the only female aboard the ship.

Infidia had changed opting for a tunic and sandals, but only had a small eating knife on his belt. Conan came to a stop next to Infidia and stared out at the sea silent for a couple of minutes. Judging that the helmsman was far enough away so that they could talk without being overheard Conan finally spoke.

“Tell me again why I shouldn’t put a knife into you?”

“Because you’d remain a woman for the rest of your life,” Infidia replied.

“You’re sure Zula can undue this curse?”

“As sure as I can be about anything related to magic.”

Conan turned and much to her distaste had to crane her neck to look up at Infidia. “What do you mean, as sure as you can be?”

“There are no absolutes in magic Infidia,” Infidia said emphasizing the name. “I think the chances are very good he can undo this. It was the spell he gave me that allowed it to happen in the first place. If he gives me another crystal with the same spell I think I can fix this myself.”

After a few minutes of silence Infidia spoke up. “You might want to relax, your posture is very tense and your standing sort of unnaturally with your feet too far apart and your shoulders hunched forward. If you straighten your posture and put your feet together you’ll be more comfortable and look more natural.”

“That’s how a woman would stand.” Conan said sounding annoyed.

“Yes, because you’re a woman. I know you know this because I saw you looking your body over when you changed clothes.” Infidia said trying to get Conan to react to his teasing.

Conan remained silent for a moment so Infidia continued changing from a light playful tone to a more serious one. “If you want to prevent the sailors from becoming suspicious you need to act more naturally. If you allow yourself to relax it will help. Your body knows how it wants to move you just have to let it.”

“You’re a fine one to talk.” Conan said, “when you were talking to the Captain you were using words I’d never use and I don’t think I’ve ever put my hand behind my hip like that.”

Infidia looked down and then moved his hand away, “point taken. We both need practice getting used to our new bodies. You should spend some time today practicing with my weapons. I know you’re a warrior, but my weapons and fighting techniques are different from yours. My fighting style focused on speed, skill, and range weapons.”

At this Conan nodded. “I will, but for now I’m off to find something to eat and then I’ll be getting some sleep. Where are the books and the treasure chest?”

“Locked safely in my cabin,” Infidia said.

At that Conan, grunted in a very unfeminine way, turned, and stomped off headed for the galley.

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The storm came up that night with little warning. Conan’s first clue was the feeling of rolling out of her bunk to land on the hard boards of the deck. Growling Conan came to her feet with the dagger she’d been sleeping with in her hand as she searched the cabin for an opponent. About the time she realized she was alone in the darkness, the ship rolled again under another tremendous wave and Conan lurched barely catching her balance.

She’d taken Infidia’s advice earlier that day and spent nearly two hours with her weapons practicing familiar movements in her unfamiliar body. Even though these weren’t the weapons Conan preferred she was determined to master them. When Conan had been a fighting slave, she’d learned to use many types of weapons and how to use her hands and feet in battle. Now as Conan practiced she adopted her movements to what her new body did well and to the weapons Infidia had used. Many of the movements were the same as those Conan had seen Infidia practicing, but there were different moves as well. When Conan finished she noticed that she’d gained an audience just as Infidia always had when she’d practiced. As Conan started toward her cabin she noticed Infidia in the midst of the sailors who were pretending to dice. Infidia met Conan’s gaze without the slightest shred of embarrassment at being caught staring. Infidia winked at Conan and then lifted a wineskin and squirted a thick stream of dark red wine into his mouth before passing it onto the sailor next to him.

“Excellent show lass, now if you’d consent to do it without any clothes the lads and I’d happily give you a silver each.” Infidia had shouted with a masculine bellow.

Conan had felt her checks flush with embarrassment and hurried down toward her cabin. Infidia meet her halfway down the main deck with the sailors he’d been dicing cheering him on.

“Now come on lass, the whole crew knows we’re lovers, give your man a kiss.” Infidia said softly stepping close and putting his huge callused hands on Conan’s shoulders.

Conan did her best to smile and tilted her head back. Infidia with a grin lowered his mouth toward hers and Conan brought her knee up firmly into Infidia’s groin. With a woof of exhaling air Infidia doubled over and the watching sailors burst into a round of raucous laughter as Infidia learned what every young boy learns about the sensitivity of a the male organ.
Conan had danced back as Infidia doubled over, with Infidia’s light agility, and then moved around Infidia before he could recover. Conan had stopped by the galley where she picked up biscuits, dried meat, and an apple for dinner and then escaped to her cabin locking the door. Infidia had come by later that night wanting to talk and to apologize but Conan refused to answer letting silence speak for her.

One of the skills that Conan had learned in the east had been the art of reading. She’d spotted a book in the trunk in Infidia’s room and opened it discovering that it was a book on alchemy and poison. It explained the process that created the flash-bangs Infidia used as well as the use of poison. With nothing else to do Conan sat down with the book and was amazed at some of the secrets it revealed. Poison, potion, alchemy, and explosive powders were woman’s weapons, but since Conan was trapped in a woman’s body perhaps it would be worth her time to learn some of these secrets. Conan read until she was tired enough to sleep and then put out the oil lamp and climbed into bed.

Now with the ship rocking violently Conan knew that she’d never be able to sleep so she left her cabin and made her way to the hatch leading to the main deck. The wind was so fierce that it took all of Conan’s strength to open the hatch and when she did a blast of wind and water nearly dragged her from her feet. Drenched and cold Conan made her way out onto the mid-deck and looked up at the raised aft-deck where the helmsman stood. The sails had all been secured and the oars pulled in with all of the portals locked shut and the rowing benches covered. The helmsman stood behind the massive ships wheel lashed to the railing for safety. Beside him stood Infidia also lashed to the ship helping to hold the wheel firmly in place. During a flash of lightning Conan saw the churning of the wild sea just as a wave washed up onto the mid-deck taking Conan several feet toward the side before she was able to catch herself. For nearly a minute Conan battled wind and wave gaining a new appreciation for how easily Infidia’s one hundred pounds could be tossed around by the elements. At last she made her way to the hatch that led back below deck and to the forward cabins. Pulling herself into the hatch Conan looked back and saw Infidia lift a fist to the sky challenging the Gods his hair and eyes were wild with excitement in the storm. He looked like a young God challenging his elders by his defiance. Conan slammed the hatch closed behind her cutting off the howl of the elements. With the ship pitching wildly about Conan made her way carefully back to her cabin.

The storm continued for two days before it finally blew itself out. For most of that time Conan stayed below deck. She helped the cook who could only serve cold food because a fire was too dangerous in the storm. Conan wished that she had the strength to take a turn above deck at the helm or at any other task but the memory of nearly being swept overboard by the wind and sea made Conan realize that in this body there were things she simply couldn’t do. She settled for bringing water and dried meat to the sailors as they came off their turn at watch. They were too exhausted to go to the galley and normally just collapsed as soon as they were out of the elements.

Now the ship rocked in the slight swells of a nearly calm ocean and most of the sailors rested in an exhausted sleep after the two day ordeal. Conan climbed topside and looked out at the damage. At some point during the storm the main mast had been ripped away leaving wreckage behind. Conan wasn’t sure how badly the ship had been damaged but she knew that it needed repairs before they returned to Costa.

Conan spotted Infidia and Captain Sarl standing by the great wheel. The Captain had a long tube with a piece of glass on either end up to his eye and he was scanning the horizon with it. After a minute he passed it to Infidia who did the same thing. Conan picked her way carefully through the wreckage and climbed to the aft-deck.

“Captain how badly damaged has the storm left us?” Conan asked.

Captain Sarl looked at Conan for a second and then over at the wreckage on the main deck. He let out a long sigh and turned back to Conan.

“As I’ve explained to Conan, it will take us about a day to clear the deck. We’ve got a smaller spare mast below that we can bring up and use to get back to Costa, but we’ll need to find a port in order to make the repairs. It’s too dangerous to do on the open sea. We are also taking on water below deck, nothing too bad, we’ll patch it as best we can, but some time pier-side will allow us to make sure of the patch.”

Before Conan could ask the next question an exhausted Infidia spoke up. “Sarl told me that even though we can’t be sure where the storm blew us we do know that there is land to the north so we’re sailing north. Once we find land we’ll look for a feature that the Captain or the ships Navigator can use to fix our position. After we know where we are the Captain will know where to go for a safe harbor.”

Conan nodded wanting to reach out and snatch the device from Infidia and scan for land but knew it make her would look like a spoiled woman. Before she could ask for the glass Captain Sarl spoke up.

“Conan, thank you for your help during the storm without your strong back at the wheel during the worst of it we would’ve foundered. If you hadn’t kept us pointed into the wind the ship would have rolled abeam the waves and they would’ve pounded us to kindling. We all owe you our lives. If there is anything you need the men of the Ocean’s Bounty are at your call!”
With that Captain Sarl reached out and gripped Infidia’s forearm. Infidia copied the gesture gripping Captain Sarl’s arm in the masculine gesture of respect.

“I’m proud to have been able to stand with you in the storm Captain!” Infidia exclaimed in Conan’s powerful tones, a new masculine pride, quiet yet commanding, filling his voice.

Conan wanted to scream that it wasn’t Conan who’d saved them and at the same time for one of the few times in her life Conan felt guilty. Guilty, because Conan felt like she should have been the one at the helm saving the ship and then guilty all over again at being jealous that Infidia had been the one to save their lives. Conan turned away and started looking for things she could do to help the ship and its crew as they recovered from the storm.

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It had taken nearly a day for the crew to make what repairs they could and at dawn of the second day after the storm the lookout had cried, “land-ho!”

Captain Sarl had turned the ship west and after several hours sailing parallel to the cost, heading toward Costa, Captain Sarl found a land mark that matched one from his chart and allowed him to take a fix. After consulting his charts and logs and the ship’s navigator Captain Sarl had informed Infidia and Conan that the closest port was Scompiglio the same port they’d used to resupply the ship on the way to the Sea Witch’s Island. After Captain Sarl left Conan turned to Infidia with a scowl.

“This could be a problem. I gave Captain Burgun’s men a thumping they won’t have forgotten.”

Infidia’s barbarian constitution had caused him to fully recover from the ordeal and now he looked down at Conan like a caged tiger waiting for the next challenge. Conan also knew that Infidia was a little frustrated with her since Conan had rebuffed Infidia’s subtle and not so subtle hints that they resume the nocturnal entertainment they’d enjoyed on the voyage out to the Sea Witch’s island. Conan was repulsed at the notion of allowing her former body to push his giant cock into her. In fact Conan was still overly self-conscious of her new feminine parts every time she had to go to the head and hang them out, exposed, over the ocean to relieve herself. There was no way anyone was going to use Conan’s body for pleasure! The sooner they reached the sorcerer Zula the sooner this problem would be fixed. Infidia interrupted Conan’s thoughts sounding confident.

“Don’t worry your pretty little head lass. If the pirates try to hurt you I’ll thump them and send them packing just like last time!”

Conan flushed and after a quick glance to make sure no one could hear. “What do you mean like last time? Last time it was me that did the thumping and it was me that sent them packing!” Conan hissed.

Infidia raised an eyebrow, a gesture completely foreign to Conan, and said. “Conan sent them packing.”

Infidia held up his right arm flexing his bicep, “is this not Conan’s arm?” Then Infidia slapped his thighs “are these not Conan’s legs?” He then thumped his muscular chest “does Conan’s heart not beat within my chest?” Infidia stepped in close to Conan. “Is this not Conan’s cock that hangs between my legs and longs to find Infidia’s pussy?”

Conan felt her face flush and started to step back but Infidia grabbed Conan’s shoulders and started down into her eyes.
“Accept it! You have Infidia’s breasts, her arms, legs, and pussy! You are Infidia! Just as I am Conan, thinking any differently will get us both in trouble. Infidia is a woman who lives life on her own terms! She is skilled with both blade and spell! She has won renown in Costa and defeated Costa’s finest swordsmen earning the title, as the ‘Blade of Costa!’ What most don’t know is that she is also skilled at the arts of love if you’ll allow me into your cabin I’ll show you things you’ve never imagined.”

For a moment Conan was lost in those deep passionate blue Cimmerian eyes but then her will, that same iron will that had faced slavery, and been forged by the fighting pits of the east, asserted itself from the depths of its soft feminine prison. Conan pushed Infidia's hands away and stepped back. Infidia let go giving Conan the space she desired something in Conan’s posture told Infidia that he’d pushed her as far as he could and that if he continued to push Conan would lash out.

“I understand very well I’m in a woman’s body. That doesn’t change the argument. The deeds for which Conan is now famous are deeds accomplished by me. Don’t be fooled into believing everything you hear about me! Or into thinking that you are invincible now that you wear my skin! If you do then your arrogance will get us both killed!” Conan said with Infidia’s impassioned voice.

With that Conan spun around her loose hair whipping about in a red curtain. Conan stalked away hips rolling smoothly with the movement of the ship and the tight fitting fighting leathers left none of Conan’s well-formed back side to Infidia’s imagination. The rapidly rising bulge within Infidia’s codpiece was a testimony to how captivating the mysteries of Conan’s new female form had become to Infidia.

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The port of Scompiglio really stinks Infidia thought as he stood at the railing watching as the Ocean’s Bounty slide into port with the sun a mere finger’s width above the horizon. I wonder why I didn’t notice the first time we were through here, Infidia thought to himself.

They dropped anchor in the harbor but Captain Sarl had told both Conan and Infidia they’d need to pay the port authority (such as it was) a fee to come pier side to make the required repairs. The Captain thought it would take about two days. This meant that Infidia and Conan could hide below decks for two days or they could move about unafraid of some pirate scum who might hold a grudge.

Infidia smiled at the memory of the argument that he’d had with Conan, … er Infidia the new Conan corrected himself. Infidia had explained that, “as a man and a warrior strength was what counted and there was no man who could match Conan’s might. Why should he hide below deck like a coward?”

Conan had responded that, “no matter how strong the lion if there are enough jackals the lion can be pulled down.”
“I am a man,” Infidia had responded, “would you have me be something other than what I am?” Not waiting for a reply he continued; “If you would have me stay below deck are you offering me something to keep me occupied?”

Infidia watched Conan in response to the comment blush attractively and then stomp away. Now Infidia used her keen Cimmerian eyes to observe a longboat as it made its way to where the Ocean’s Bounty had dropped anchor. In minutes it had come alongside and a fat old pirate who’d obviously retired from buccaneering, and now made a living working for the Pirate Captains who ran the town as its harbor master, laboriously climbed aboard.

Captain Sarl met the harbor master as soon as he made it to the quarterdeck and after a few minutes of discussion Infidia saw coins exchange hands. Then the fat former pirate turned to go as he did his eyes swept over the deck and locked onto Infidia for a second. The pirate hesitated and then with surprising agility swarmed over the side and descended to his longboat. Captain Sarl shouted orders for the crew to man the sweeps and the ship started moving toward its assigned birth. Infidia went below deck looking for his former body. He had a bad feeling about the harbor master and figured that the best way to keep the Bounty out of trouble would be to get off her quickly as possible.

Infidia pounded on Conan’s door and, after a few minutes it opened, before Conan could ask what he wanted Infidia pushed into the cabin.

“We have to talk.” He said. Looking curious Conan folded her arms beneath her breasts and looked at him silently.
“The harbor master just gave permission for the Captain to bring the Bounty to a birth at a pier for repairs. I’m sure that when he saw me he recognized me.” Infidia said.

“Crom!” Conan swore.

“Pack some of your things, as soon as the ship docks we need to be away. I’ll talk to Captain Sarl and let him know we’ll spend the next two days ashore. That way if the pirates come looking they can safely search the ship and find us gone. The crew can say we left and the pirates will search the town for us and leave them alone. We’ll lay-low for two days and then return just before Sarl puts out to sea.”

“Do you know how many problems there are with your plan? Starting with neither of us knows this town or has any friends here.” Conan said her voice a soft angry hiss.

“It’s the best plan I could come up with on short notice unless you have something better!” Infidia said.

Conan looked angry but at last she nodded in agreement. “Fine, but we should be off before the Bounty touches the pier. For all we know the harbor master is setting a trap for us right now.”

“I agree, I’ll talk to Sarl and see if he’ll delay getting the ship to the pier and put a longboat over the side. We can have a couple of the crew put us ashore well away from where the Bounty will tie up.”

“Agreed, I’ll be ready in ten minutes!” Conan said turning and pulling a pack from the side of the cabin. She hurriedly began stuffing it with spare clothes, weapons, and gold.

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Conan and Infidia came ashore just after the sun had set and moved quickly up and away from the waterfront. The alley where they’d stopped the rape during their last visit, and the tavern where they’d brawled with Burgun’s men, was on the southeast side of town so they moved away from the waterfront and headed to the northwest looking for a place to spend the night. The town was much as Conan remembered if slightly less smelly. The mud squished between her boots and the open lustful stares of the sailors and pirates moving, mostly drunkenly, around the harbor suddenly made Conan very conscious of how much smaller she now was. As they got further away from the harbor the streets got narrower and less muddy. It took some time to reach the western edge of town and when they did Conan realized that it bordered on a swamp.

Still the buildings were in a little better condition with fewer bars and more shops and homes. As they worked around to the north side of town Infidia with his keen eyes and greater height spotted a bridge that apparently led to an elevated road. The road moved out into the darkness of the swamp that surrounded the town. Not far from the bridge was a building that Infidia suggested was an inn. The inside of the building impressed Conan right away with an actual wooden floor and lamps that filled the great room with enough light to make her blink.

“How can the ‘Traveler’s Haven’ assist you,” a jolly sounding male voice asked?

Conan looked over to see a large bald man almost as tall as Infidia in Conan’s body, with a belly twice as large, ruddy red cheeks, and a gap toothed smile, extending his hand to shake Infidia’s.

“I’m Conan and this is my woman Infidia,” Infidia said gesturing toward Conan. “We have just arrived in Scompiglio and need lodging for the next three nights.”

“In that case you’ve found the right place. I offer the best prices and the only clean beds with a guarantee of no bed bugs!” The inn keeper laughed. “My name is Ham, I never knew my mother and my father said he named me after his favorite food.” Ham paused for a second and when neither Conan nor Infidia laughed he continued, “it’s a pair of silver crowns a night and you get dinner and a mug a piece of my own brown ale.”

“Done,” said Infidia dropping a single gold coin into the fat man’s hands. Ham grinned and lifted the coin to his mouth and bit into it. With a nod and a grunt he made it disappear under the apron he wore over his slightly greasy tunic. He then turned looking around the tap room which was only about a third full at this early hour and spotted a young woman with dark hair.

“Rose! I need ya over here lass!” Ham bellowed with a much louder voice than Conan would’ve credited to him.

Rose glanced up her gaze swept over Conan pausing to evaluate him and then a smile slowly blossomed on her face. Rose’s posture changed, her back straightened showing off her breasts within the loosely tied tunic. She walked, taking advantage of each step to show the charms her body offered, over to Ham. As Rose got closer Conan spotted the same gap between her front two teeth that Ham had and guessed that they were father and daughter.

“Yes, Pa? What are ya need'en?” Rose said with the accent most of the locals used. Rose had barely taken her eyes off Infidia the whole time, Conan noticed, but instead of being amused she was irritated.

“This is Conan and his mate Infidia take them up to room number four and make sure they have whatever they might need for the night.” Ham said. He then turned to Infidia with a sharp look. “I run a respectable business and I expect my guests to keep that in mind. If you need baths I’ve got a lad who will bring a tub to your room. Also Rose is a keen shopper and if there is something you need from the market within the hour she can fetch it for you.”

Before Infidia could say anything Conan reached out to take Rose’s arm and drop a brass bit into her hand.

“Please fetch some fresh soap from the market something that smells like pine and will get the grim off of a barbarian’s hide.”

At this Rose clutched the coin and then looked at Conan for the first time her eyes evaluating. Conan could almost see the wheels turning in the little brunette’s head. Finally she must have decided something because she ducked her chin, “yes mistress.”

The room Rose led them too was on the second floor of the inn. It wasn’t overly large but was larger than the cabin’s they’d had on the Ocean’s Bounty. The room had a window with actual glass and a large bed, a chamber pot in the corner, a small table with a pitcher of water, and a bowl for washing. In front of the table was a small stool and above the table a mirror. Along one wall was a cabinet where Conan and Infidia could stow their packs and it had a lock with the key sticking out. There was also plenty of open space between the bed and the door for a tub.

After Rose left Infidia turned to Conan, “what was all that about? Soap and a bath, I didn’t think barbarian’s washed.”
“Don’t be stupid of course we bathe, just not as often as you southerners feel is necessary. It’s been several weeks since either of us had a bath and we stink. It would have seemed strange if YOUR WOMAN didn’t ask for a bath.” Conan couldn’t help the annoyance that slipped out at that last statement.

Before Infidia could respond there was a knock at the door. When Infidia opened it a couple of young men with a striking resemblance to the Inn keeper moved into the room carrying a large bathtub. They were soon followed by a string of serving women carrying steaming buckets. It took several trips to fill the bathtub and by this time Rose had returned with a cake of soap that did, in fact, smell like pine.

Once the members of the inn’s staff had cleared out Infidia sat down on the bed and started to work his boots off.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Conan asked icily.

“Taking off my clothes so we can have a bath.”

“You can have a bath once I’m done. Go down to the tap room and have a beer.” Conan said feeling her face flush.

With a laugh Infidia got off the bed and headed for the door. As he turned the handle Conan stopped him.

“Why did you pay for three nights,” she asked?

Infidia looked back over his shoulder at the gorgeous red head who’d already flung her cloak over the bed and was now unbuckling her boots.

“We just made port tonight. The lads won’t get anything done. They’ve been more than two months at sea and survived the Sea Witch’s island and the fury of the Gods of the Sea. Tonight they’ll be getting drunk. Tomorrow they’ll start work. Captain Sarl said two full days so by dawn three nights from now we will put this place behind us.” With that Infidia closed the door.

After taking off her boots Conan walked to the door and shoved the bolt home locking it. Then slowly and carefully she removed her clothes. Even though Conan had been in this body for several days the feeling of her heavy breasts swinging free was still as strange as was the absence of her penis. Once free of her clothes Conan unbound her hair running her fingers through the long red tresses. The sensation felt better than Conan had expected. It was a motion she’d seen women do and had never really understood since she’d kept her hair closely cropped. Next Conan stepped in front of the mirror and looked at her reflection. The image of feminine perfection made Conan catch her breath. Crom! I’m beautiful! For several long moments Conan feasted her eyes on Infidia’s naked perfection and then she moved to the tub slowly lowering herself into it one inch at a time.

The water was scalding hot and, for once, Conan didn’t miss her manhood as she lowered her smooth bottom into the hot water. For several minutes she sat back closing her eyes and relaxing into the tub. For Conan a bath had always been a necessary chore. Being clean prevented disease and made a man more attractive to a woman so it was necessary. Now however as she began to massage the scented soap into her soft skin Conan discovered that a bath was also a luxury.

The feeling of the soft soap as Conan lathered her breasts made her squirm with a strange empty achy feeling between her legs. Conan tried clutching her knees together and rolling her hips to the left and then the right but the ach only got worse. Her breasts felt so good Conan reached down to the thatch of red hair between her legs and slowly started rubbing. The smooth folds of skin responded to her gentle stroking filling with blood and opening up to receive the penetration she unknowingly craved. Moving her fingers up and down in long stroking motions Conan stimulated her clitoris feeling little shocks of pleasure jolt through her system as she continued to stroke her large pink nipples with her other hand.

The feelings continued to build until Conan unable to resist her body’s longing and pushed first one finger and then another into the warm folds of her vagina. This quickly ratcheted up the sensations and Conan arched her back and bent her knees throwing her head back eyes wild as soft moans escaped her lips. When her first female orgasm hit Conan could hardly breathe the sensations were so intense.

“Crom, what have I done?” Conan whispered feeling both thrilled and troubled at her discovery. Was it possible to become so comfortable in this new body that she wouldn’t want to return to her old form? What if this body changed her so much that she couldn’t go back? Conan wondered. Even though the water was still warm Conan left the tub dried off and climbed into her second set of leathers. It took Conan several minutes to get dressed and tying the corset was still a challenge. She decided to leave it a little loose, feeling over heated and not wanting the normal constricting feeling on her chest. After a moment Conan on a whim chose not to braid her hair and pulled out an ivory comb she’d found among Infidia’s belongings and combed her hair out letting it hang loose to dry in waves. Feeling dry and clean Conan was at last ready to face the tap room and eat. She paused for a moment to buckle on her weapons belt, the habits of a life time still with her.

Infidia had been having the time of his life. As a woman Infidia had often been the center of attention due to her beauty. But he hadn’t been respected at least not the way the men around him did now. Even after Infidia had built her reputation as a skilled blade and a capable agent, she’d been continuously tested and pushed by the men around her. They never believed that she could have earned her reputation on her own or thought it must have been overblown. After all there was no way a woman could take a really warrior in battle! The men in the tap room took one look at Infidia, no strike that, CONAN and gave him the room and the respect he deserved. It filled a place inside Infidia that he hadn’t known had been empty until now. Then there were the wenches! Conan had been playing hard to get while they were at sea, but here there were several woman who looked at Infidia with hungry eyes.

Perhaps a second room would be worth the silver, Infidia thought catching Rose’s eye. She wasn’t as beautiful as the new Conan but she had plenty of curves and unless Infidia was mistaken she was more than willing. Just then there was a change in the buzz of the conversation. Infidia looked for the source of the disturbance and spotted her former body. He could only stare!

Conan had finished her bath and her recently sun darkened cheeks were still flushed from the heat adding color to her normally pale skin. Her red hair had been combed and left to hang loose softening her face and making her look far more feminine than Infidia had ever dared in public. The dark leather corset and leather trousers showed her full bosom, narrow waist, and long legs to their fullest leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that she was by far the most attractive female in the bar.

Conan walked with the natural feline grace, produced by her many hours of martial arts training, to where Infidia stood drinking. Infidia’d been staring at her with his mouth open in stunned surprise while she sauntered over to him. Conan smoothly snatched Infidia’s mug from his hand and downed the ale in one long drink.

“Thanks, Conan bathing is thirsty work. Have you eaten?”

Infidia shook his head no and then opened his mouth to speak but Conan wouldn’t let him.

“Why don’t you go up and wash off the salt and then come back down? I’ll wait for you if you’re not too long.” She said.
With a sigh Infidia moved to the stairs muttering under his breath. “Women, well, what can you expect?”

******************************************************************************

Infidia woke with his head throbbing and looked up at the light streaming in through the iron bars far above him. “Argh” he moaned and rolled over. His head pounded to the beat of his heart as it pushed blood through his veins. How could he have been so stupid? Last night had been extremely frustrating, he’d raced up to the room he shared with Conan and quickly jumped in and out of the lukewarm bath water. Barely taking the time to use the soap to scrap the mud, salt, and sweat from his hide before jumping out. For a moment he’d considered putting the same clothes back on, but then realized it would be a mistake. He’d spent the rest of the night trying to seduce Conan by challenging her to a drinking contest. Infidia knew that she could only drink small amounts of beer before she became drunk while Conan had a reputation in Costa for impressive feats with both the mug and the sword.

As the night wore on Infidia got drunker and drunker while Conan seemed to be unaffected. After staggering back from his fifth trip to the latrine Infidia had suddenly become suspicious and had drunkenly snatched Conan’s mug from her, a quick drink was all Infidia needed to tell that it was mostly water with just a hint of beer and some foam. Conan must have talked to the serving wenches and together they’d tricked him! He accused her of cheating and the woman had only laughed at him. He’d been so drunk by this time that Conan had to help him up to the room they shared where he’d promptly collapsed onto the bed and passed out with his clothes on.

The next day Infidia had been hung-over and still angry with Conan for tricking him. After a breakfast of oats, cheese, and bread Infidia had suggested they go to the market. Conan had argued against the idea saying that it was stupid to risk wandering around openly in such a small town. There was almost no chance they wouldn’t be spotted. Infidia had insisted saying that if they stayed away from the waterfront they’d be fine. Besides he was Conan, the strongest warrior on the wild coast! After telling Conan that he was going with or without her Conan had reluctantly agreed.

The market was larger than Infidia had thought it would be with several street vendors selling everything from clothes to jewelry and food. Infidia had tried to get Conan into the shopping mood by buying her a necklace of beads and shells but Conan hadn’t been impressed. By mid-afternoon they’d spotted a young boy who appeared to be following them. Moving quickly down an alley in an attempt to lose the boy they’d disappeared into the shadows. The alley opened to a mostly empty square and that’s where they’d been ambushed. More than twenty pirates pledge to Captain Burgun carrying clubs and quarter staffs had rushed them.

Infidia remembered fighting for all he was worth roaring with berserker fury his fists smashing down pirates. In seconds Infidia had ripped a club from a hapless pirate and used it along with his fist to swat down pirate after pirate. Conan had pulled her rapier and a long curved fighting knife as soon as she’d spotted the ambush and kept the sailors at bay by driving the blade of her rapier into the thigh of one pirate and slashing the next across the arm with her dagger. For several minutes, impossibly, the fight was evenly matched.

Then more pirates poured in and it became a blur. Infidia remembered seeing Conan go down under several bodies. The pirates had solved their dilemma of dealing with her blades without hurting her by the expediency of tackling her and then piling on. Infidia roared with anger and pushed through the press of bodies trying to reach Conan’s side when a blow had landed against the back of his head. Stunned he turned to face his attacker and saw that it was none other than Imbalayo, the pirate he’d downed during their last visit, wielding a large club. Infidia tried to turn and grab him but his feet were like rubber and then Imbalayo brought his club down again and darkness closed in.

Infidia threw up his stomach heaving for several seconds before he was able to gain control of himself.

A gruff voice said, “took a whack on the head did ya now?”

Infidia looked over and saw that two other men had been chained by iron collars to the wall of the cell. He reached up and found that he too had been collared and chained to the wall of the pit.

“Where are we?”

With a bark of laughter the man who’d spoke earlier answered. “Yer in da fighting pits of Scompiglio, lad. Sometimes after a really good thump to the head yer guts get all loose, it’ll pass.”

Infidia nodded and looked more closely at the speaker. He was a man with his hair shaved closely to his skull. If he was standing Infidia guessed he’d be several inches shorter than Infidia in his new body. Although his shoulders were just as wide and his arms were as thick as tree trunks.

“I’m, In, . ....Conan of Cimmeria, who are you?”

“Don’t have much use fer names in the pit, I was once called Devon and our silent friend there was known as Jarl.”

Infidia nodded and moved back to the wall putting his back to it and sinking into a cross legged position. As he did he noticed that a chain that connected the iron collar around his throat to a bracket high up on the wall was too short for him to be able to reach the other prisoners. The cell was perfectly round with stone walls and an iron grate in the center of the ceiling and a dim light provided some illumination. Infidia guessed that this was the only way in and out of the pit.
Infidia leaned back against the cool stones and noticed that each of his cell mates were clad like him in an iron collar and a loin cloth and nothing else. This allowed him to see that they were both lean with plenty of muscle and scars from other fights. Infidia closed his eyes and rested his head back against the cool stone wall.

How could I have been so stupid,” he thought to himself. Thinking through the events of the last few days he realized that he’d been guilty of falling into the trap Conan had warned him of. The feeling of raw physical power he’d gloried in during the storm had gone to his head. He’d never been so strong and had thought that this would make him invincible. He should have listened to Conan and kept a low profile until it was time to return to the ship. But even during the fight he’d still not taken the situation seriously enough. Infidia cursed himself doubly as a fool. He’d had his broad sword on his hip and, instead of drawing it, had chosen to meet his opponents on equal terms. With his fists and a stolen club this was something he’d never have done before the swap.

Infidia in his normal body would never have allowed herself to get into that situation, and would have used every trick and every skill to escape. One of the first rules he’d learned was that there was no such thing as a fair fight winners always look for an advantage. Now because of his stupidity and arrogance he was in a slave and the Gods only knew where Conan was.

Infidia had no idea how long he was in the pit when without warning the iron grate was pulled up with a heavy scraping sound and a ladder was lowered into the pit. Next three pirates with naked cutlasses descended into the pit. Infidia watched as they made the fighting slave who’d identified himself as Devon stand. One pirate held a cutlass to his throat while the next moved behind Devon and using a metal rod with a hook on one end he reached up to the bracket high up on the wall where Devon’s chain was secured and unhooked it from the wall. In seconds Devon was led by his chain up out of the pit. The process was repeated with Jarl and then at last Infidia. As the pirate approached Infidia he snarled.

“Don’t be give’n me no trouble laddie or I’ll be putting this pig sticker in ya!”

For a second Infidia had thought about trying to escape but he had no idea where he was or how many guards were above the pit or which way to go to get to the harbor. No it would be better to be patient and figure out a plan and then act.
Infidia was led up into a large room with nine or ten grates in the floor just like the one he’d climbed out of. Infidia could see the other to fighting slaves had been cuffed and shackled and were standing in a line. There were about a dozen fighters in the line and before he knew it Infidia had also been secured and added to the line with a chain running through his collar connecting him to the others. They were marched out of the prison and into the torch lit night. The air was cool with a breeze coming off the sea and Infidia could see a wooden palisade ahead. Once in the palisade they were chained by their collars to the southern wall. From where they’d been chained the slaves could see into a large fighting arena in the center of the palisade. Around the pit bleachers had been built into the east and west and directly across from where Infidia and the fighting slaves had been chained the pirate captains had built a set of raised viewing boxes. The bleachers were about two thirds full with pirates, whores, and other spectators mingling and drinking. Venders walked around selling beer and food as the pirates shouted for the fights to begin.

Two slaves were selected from the line and pushed into the pit. After a moment they were tossed a pair of spears. The crowd roared as the two fighters dove for their weapons. The smaller of the two was faster and had his spear up and was attacking before the larger slower slave was ready. His aim, however, was poor and instead of delivering a killing stroke he only wounded the larger man on the arm. As they circled each other Infidia realized that neither of them had any training and were fighting with very little skill. After several minutes the larger man using his greater reach had managed to wound the smaller man in several locations causing him to stumble from blood loss. The larger man took advantage of the moment to drive his spear into the smaller slave’s throat ending the fight in a fountain of blood.

The winner was pulled from the pit and given a mug of ale and put into a cage on the fare said of the pit that Infidia only now noticed. Then two more slaves were pulled from the line and they were tossed a pair of long hooked knives. After a few seconds this fight ended. The victor was obviously a crowd favorite and had had plenty of skill while his opponent who’d looked bigger and more fearsome was clearly untrained.

Abruptly Infidia was pulled from the line and shoved into the pit along with three other fighters. The pirate who’d been providing weapons tossed an iron gauntlet at Infidia’s feet. The gauntlet was heavy with iron bands, but more impressive were the three one inch iron spikes that sprouted from the weapon. Infidia quickly put it on his right hand while watching the other fighters. One of the slaves was given a six inch knife, the next a club, and the last a whip with bits of iron and steel worked into the leather. Then the pirate running the fighting left and the crowd started yelling.

Infidia turned to the fighter closest to him who also happened to have the club and before he could say anything the slave attacked. He swung the club with two hands like a farmer with an ax. Infidia stepped back just far enough so that the wildly swung club passed in front of him. Infidia then moved in close before the slave could recover and brought the heavy gauntlet down on the smaller man’s forehead feeling a satisfying crunch. As the slave fell Infidia ripped the club from his now lifeless fingers and turned to face the two remaining slaves.

While he’d been fighting the slave with the club the other two fighters had gone at it. The slave with the whip had snapped it across the fighter with the knife’s eyes as a distraction. The knife fighter had ducked back and the slave with the whip spun it around with an amazing degree of skill and snapped it out wrapping it around the ankle of his opponent. Then with a smooth movement he pulled the foot out from under the knife fighter. The knife man hit the ground hard and the slave with the whip dove on him smashing the handle of the whip down on his face. The whip handle had a two inch iron spike which sank into the eye of the knife fighter killing him. By the time the man with the whip stood up Infidia was stalking forward.
Infidia had seen the last part of the fight and knew about the spike and saw that the other slave now held the knife in addition to the whip. They circled each other warily both conscious of the fact that he was facing a trained fighter. Infidia noticed that the slave with the whip and knife was a few inches shorter and at least fifty pounds lighter but he knew better than to think this guaranteed him a win. He’d learned his lesson about over confidence once and didn’t plan to repeat it.

Abruptly the man with the whip stepped forward slashing it down in an attempt to entangle Infidia’s left arm, the arm holding the club. Instead of moving back Infidia jumped forward and twisted so that his gauntlet covered right hand caught the whip. Before his opponent could react, Infidia pulled hard on the whip jerking the other slave forward and off balance. Infidia brought his left hand up and then down planning to end the fight with a single blow from the club. At the last minute the whip fighter twisted and took the blow on his shoulder instead of his head. Infidia heard the sound of bones crunching and the fighting slave’s arm drop uselessly to his side. He tried to twist away dropping the whip but Infidia closed the distance and grabbed the slave’s knife hand just above the wrist with his gauntlet covered hand and squeezed. The slave threw his head back and screamed as the bones in wrist were crushed. Then in a swift violent movement Infidia brought the club down with finality on the slave’s head.

Breathing hard Infidia looked around and saw that the pirates were on their feet screaming and clapping. They obviously approved of how the fight went. The pirates who ran the fighting pits entered now with spears and bows. Infidia was ordered to drop his weapons. For a second he looked around and thought about trying his luck, but after a moment he realized there was no chance of escaping right now. Infidia threw his weapons to the sand and stalked back straight to the cages were the winners were held.

When Infidia entered the cage the other fighters gave him looks of respect and fear. As gratifying as it was on one level to receive those looks, (something she’d never been given in her female body) Infidia was more interested in figuring out a way to escape. The night wore on as slave after slave fought. Much later Infidia was returned to his cell-pit and after looking around realized that only one of his two cell mates had survived the night.

Once they were secured in their cells Infidia realized that someone had put a bag and a water skin under his bracket. In the bag was bread, cheese, and dried meat. Until now Infidia hadn’t realized how hungry he’d become. After he’d eaten Infidia notice that there was also a pot within reach obviously intend for him to use to relieve himself.

Infidia looked over at Devon and saw that he was eating more slowly watching Infidia. Infidia noticed that he was bleeding from the arm and that one eye had swollen closed. Obviously the other slave had had a harder time of things in the pit that night.

“I saw you fight, Conan. Yer probably the best fighter Captain Burgun has. I pity ya.” Devon said. Confused by this strange comment Infidia settled into a comfortable position.

“Why do you pity me Devon?”

“Because Captain Njal has a Stygian warrior with giant-blood in his veins, he has never lost, and is only pitted against the best fighters from the other Captains. Captain Burgun has sent several of his best fighters against the giant and they’ve all died. I was sentenced to the pit to fight twenty five times; if I survive I’ll be freed. You lad, well, you won’t survive another night.” Devon almost sounded regretful at this pronouncement.

After this Infidia sat back and silently cursed his own foolishness again. He should have known better, the goal was to survive not put on a spectacle and standout. By fighting smart and using all of his training along with his new bodies physical power Infidia had easily won his fight and probably signed his death warrant.

After a couple of hours the jailers returned to collect the pots used for dinner and surprisingly to offer a luxury. “You both fought well today.” The pirate said and then he handed each of them a blanket. A day ago this wouldn’t have seemed like a luxury but tonight, in the damp chill of the pit, it was enough.

The next day they were taken from the pit and moved to a yard were other fighting slaves were standing around. Before long two younger male slaves brought out a large pot filled with hot porridge. Then they started scooping up bowels for each of the fighters. After this a large scared man appeared, by the number of scars and the way he carried himself it was obvious to Infidia that he had been a pit fighter and had survived many battles. He identified himself as Brakus and had the slaves organized into groups for weapons practice in short order. Soon the clack of practice weapons could be heard around the yard as men squared off against each other.

At first Infidia tried to play down his skill and fighting power, but he was quickly matched with skilled opponents who pushed him relentlessly while Brakus walked around. Brakus watched all of the fighters, but Infidia could tell that he was really assessing Infidia more than any other fighter. They stopped by mid-day and took another meal this time a stew with some type of mystery meat. After eating they were each given a bucket of water and a rag and ordered to clean themselves and then Infidia and Devon were returned to their pit.

Dusk had just started to fall when they came for Devon and Infidia. By the time they got to the stockade torches had been lit and the stands were already full. The fighters were once again chained to the south wall with a view of the fighting arena and then the fights began. Infidia watched with interest as Devon was matched against a man slightly smaller but much more heavily muscled. They were each given a pair of axes and Devon used his greater reached and speed to good advantage until he stumbled. His opponent brought his ax down on Devon’s left wrist cutting all the way through. Devon screamed and stumbled away. The other fighter lifted his ax to the sky and screamed in triumph, turning around to face the crowd, knowing the fight was over. Devon saw his chance and using all the strength in his right arm threw his ax. Luck was with Devon as the ax hit the other fighter sinking into his back driving him to the sand. Devon jumped forward picking up his opponents fallen ax and as the man started to move Devon brought it down on the back of his head ending the fight. Devon then collapsed next to him from blood loss.

Infidia wondered if he should pity Devon for the loss of his hand or be happy for him; because even if Devon survived the injury his days as a pit fighter were over. The night seemed to drag on then at last Infidia was pulled from the wall and pushed into the pit. Brakus was there and he threw a pair of long swords at Infidia’s feet, Infidia wasted no time picking up the weapons. Then Infidia’s opponent entered the pit. The warrior had the dark skin of a Stygian and stood almost eight feet tall. He already carried a pair of axes which looked small in his hands. There was no time wasted on drama or announcements the Stygian fighter simply charged Infidia.

The first several seconds of the fight were a blur as Infidia fought mostly a defensive battle trying to stay out of ranged and deflect the fighting slave’s blows. Every time Infidia deflected a strike from one of the Stygian’s axes a shiver from the impact ran up his arm. Then the Stygian broke through Infidia’s defense and left a line of blood on Infidia’s left bicep. Knowing that he couldn’t remain on the defensive Infidia launched a series of thrusts and sweeping cuts that pushed the Stygian back on his heels for a moment. Infidia moved quickly to press his advantage. Infidia used his left blade to block an ax strike and while the weapons were engaged brought his right sword down hard on the wooden ax-handle cutting half way through it. Unfortunately Infidia’s blade was stuck in the handle of the ax. With a grunt the giant tossed both the ruined ax and Infidia’s blade to the side so that the now faced each other each with a single weapon.

The Stygian jumped forward and brought his blade down in a sweeping diagonal cut forcing Infidia back. Before the giant could recover Infidia lunged forward and using a back-swing from his left hand sword to cut through the Achilles-tendon at the back of one of the Stygian’s legs. Infidia leapt away barely avoiding the return stroke from the giant. Again they circled each other and only now, Infidia noticed, the Stygian was having trouble move properly on his wounded leg. Infidia fainted low and to the giant’s good side then switched his sword from his left to his right hand in a smooth movement. The Stygian was slow to re-act and for the first time showing fatigue. Infidia figured this was because he was probably used to finishing off his opponents very quickly. Infidia had already pushed him further than he’d been pushed before. Deciding it was time to take a risk Infidia again fainted low, but this time followed it up by unexpectedly jumping high and to the right, driving a thrust down into the Stygian’s shoulder. Infidia didn’t try to keep a grip on the blade as it penetrated deeply and lodged itself into the meat and bone of the Stygian’s shoulder. Instead Infidia allowed his momentum to take him away from the fighter finishing the move in a diving roll that took him over to where the ruined ax and his other sword lay. Infidia placed a foot on the ax handle and wrenched his sword free and spun around to look for the Stygian.

The Giant had turned and took a step toward Infidia with hilt of Infidia’s sword standing upright sticking out of his shoulder while the tip was buried deeply within his torso. The Stygian’s arm hung uselessly at his side and he swayed unsteadily for a second. He then took a shuffling step toward Infidia, then a second, and then slowly sank to his knees his eyes still locked on Infidia’s. Without waiting for another chance Infidia charged across the sand his blade flashing from right to left as he raced past the Stygian in a fountain of blood. When Infidia wheeled back to survey his handiwork he watched the Stygian’s head tumble from his shoulders onto the sand. The crowd roared its approval and Infidia lifted his blade to the sky and screamed his victory to the Gods in a masculine below that echoed around the pit.

Coming down onto the sand Brakus and an older man, who’d obviously been a great fighter in his day but who’d allowed himself to get fat, greeted Infidia.

“Conan, I’m Captain Burgun you fought well today and brought honor to all who fight beneath my sails! Brakus see to it that he is rewarded!”

With that the Captain walked away moving up into the stands and among a crowed of his men who were all cheering at the defeat of Captain Njal’s fighter. Instead of being returned to the chain and lead away with the other slaves Infidia was shackled and taken to a nicer compound with buildings made of wood. He was moved into a cell with a bunk built into one wall and a stool. Infidia was handed a water bucket and rag and left to clean up. By the time he’d finished washing the door opened again and a surprisingly pretty wench entered carrying a tray. The door was closed behind the wench and Infidia heard a key turn in the lock. He now looked more closely at the wench and saw that she also wore a slave collar. Her hair was midnight black and she had all the curves a man could wish for in a woman. She knelt next to Infidia and placed the tray on the floor. When she uncovered it Infidia’s mouth started to water. The tray held a roast bird, bread, roasted potatos, and some apple slices Infidia also noticed that the girl had brought in a wineskin and a pair of cups.

“Conan, my name is Arlinna, I’m yours for the night,” she said looking up at him.

Infidia felt a stirring in his loins at this pronouncement, it was a stirring that had once been strange but had become more and more familiar.

“Don’t fear me girl. I promise I won’t hurt you.”

Infidia reached down to pull off a leg from the bird but Arlinna put a small hand on his stopping him. “Let me.”

Arlinna took Infidia by the hand and coaxed him into sitting on the bed. She then moved to kneel at Infidia’s feet and positioned the tray on the stool so that she could easily reach it. Arlinna then proceeded to feed Infidia. For Infidia this was a strangely erotic experience, having this young beautiful girl kneeling next to him feeding him. As the meal progressed Arlinna grew more confident urged on by Infidia’s failure to take advantage of her. As Arlinna served Infidia her hands would from time to time gently caress Infidia’s powerful bicep or brush against his manly chest. She picked up one of the apple slices and placed it between her white teeth and then brought it to Infidia. As Infidia took the apple from Arlinna she brought their lips together in a tantalizing kiss. This was more than Infidia could stand and he crushed Arlinna’s lips to his in an impassioned kiss.

Arlinna pushed Infidia backward so that he was lying on his back and then straddled Infidia pulling her tunic up and Infidia saw that she wore nothing under it. Then with one small hand Arlinna reached into Infidia’s loin-clothe and pulled his rapidly growing cock out. Infidia gasped at the sensation and couldn’t help but notice how small Arlinna’s hand seemed as she gripped his member. Arlinna then positioned her pussy directly above Infidia’s cock and with one smooth motion impaled herself on it.

Infidia gasped at the warm sensation enfolding his penis. It was like nothing he’d ever imagined and then Arlinna started to expertly rock up and down squeezing his shaft with her inner muscles sending jolts of pleasure into Infidia. It took every bit of Infidia’s concentration not to cum. The moment seemed to go on and on in an agonizing dance with Infidia balanced on the edge between control and release.

Then Arlinna’s inner muscles spasmed and she let out several soft moans of pleasure. Now Infidia rolled Arlinna over and for the first time took charge. Using the strength of his male body Infidia began driving his rock hard cock into Arlinna. The pleasure grew and Arlinna reached behind her own knees to pull them up and apart causing the muscles in her vagina to stretch and tighten even as the new Conan pumped in and out of her. With each thrust Infidia pulled almost all the way out leaving only the tip of his penis inside Arlinna’s pussy and then he plunged his full eight inches back into Arlinna until Arlinna’s clitoris was pressed up against the bottom of his shaft.

Faster and faster Infidia drove into Arlinna the feeling of power and virility along with the sensation of possessing Arlinna grew. It was as though her whole body were merely an extension of his own like they were now one single person. Abruptly Infidia felt himself explode the most amazing orgasm of his life nearly overwhelming his senses.
For a few seconds neither of them could move at last Arlinna looked up at Infidia.

“Conan, you could do that to me all night and I’d not complain.” Arlinna said in a husky voice.

Infidia slowly pulled out of Arlinna and looked down at his semi-ridged cock in amazement. He’d spent many nights under Conan and the Cimmerian had been an insatiable lover. So Infidia wasn’t surprised to see that with a little attention his tool was ready to go again.

Sometime later Infidia lay on his back with Arlinna curled up on her side, sound asleep, her naked breasts pushed up against Infidia her head resting on his shoulder. It was now only an hour or two until dawn and even though Infidia was tired both physically and mentally he couldn’t sleep. His mind whirled as he tried to come to grips with everything that had happened to him. The exhilaration he’d felt when he’d slain the Stygian giant had been something he’d never felt nor understood in his years as a woman, even when he’d defeated bigger stronger male opponents. Now laying here in the afterglow of the best sex of his life Infidia was having trouble remembering what he’d liked about being a woman. The male feeling of power, the urge to dominate, on both the field of battle and in the bed were new and intoxicating. The thought of sex caused his organ to twitch as he remembered thrusting his rod into Arlinna’s ready pussy. And then intense explosion of a man’s orgasm it was an experience that Infidia decided he’d never become tired of feeling.

Suddenly there was a soft rattle at the door and it opened a crack. A woman’s voice hissed, “Infidia are you in here?”

Infidia gently pushed away from Arlinna trying not to wake her.

“No, I’m Conan, who are you?”

The door opened and Infidia could see a figure in a cloak and hood. The figure threw back the hood and in the dim light from the hall Infidia saw his former face. Feeling slightly embarrassed and then angry at being embarrassed Infidia stood up completely naked, his flaccid cock still a specimen as it hung pointing loosely at the ground.

“We’ve no time for games. The guards will change at dawn and they’ll find that the one guarding the door is dead.” Conan hissed.

Infidia reached down and picked up his loin-clothe and stepped into it when he heard a hiss.

“I see you’ve been enjoying yourself.”

Infidia looked at Conan and then over to where Conan was staring at Arlinna’s naked form. He shrugged, “she was a gift for my success in the fighting pit.”

“We’ve got to go.” Conan said turning away and moving into the hallway. Infidia followed and watched as Conan closed and locked the door.

“You might need this,” Conan said handing Infidia the broad sword he’d been carrying when they’d been captured. The sword was in its scabbard with a leather belt wrapped around it.

“How did you get this?” Infidia asked. As he did he buckled the sword around his hips a bit awkwardly since all he was wearing was a loin cloth.

“I’ll explain later, when there’s time.”

Conan was carrying a small oil lamp and she moved forward smoothly passing cells to either side until they came to the body of a guard by the door. He was laying on his back a dagger sticking out of his eye. Conan reached down and pulled it out wiping it clean on the guard’s clothes and then putting it into a hidden sheath. After a moment’s consideration Conan pulled the cloak from the guard’s dead body and handed it to Infidia.

“This should help if someone spots us.”

The night was quiet and the light provided by the moon was enough so that Conan put out the lamp. They both moved stealthily from building to building until they were well away from the group of buildings owned by Captain Burgun.
For a moment they rested in the shadows of a rundown building looking for any sign of alarm or pursuit. The night remained quiet. Finally Infidia couldn’t stand it.

“What happened to you after we were captured? How’d you get the key to my cell?”

“I’ll explain everything once we’re back aboard the Ocean’s Bounty. For now just shut up and follow me.” Conan replied angrily moving away.

They traveled in a zig-zag pattern working their way away from the pirate compound of Captain Burgun toward the harbor. Abruptly Conan froze and then moved with a purpose across the street. She stopped in front of a better maintained building than most of the others in this neighborhood. Without comment Conan went to work on the lock on the door using a set of thief’s tools that Infidia hadn’t known that Conan knew how to use. In a few seconds the door was open and the two slipped inside. Conan now pulled out a ring with several keys on it and tried each on the lock on Infidia’s collar without success. At last in frustration Conan looked around the room. It was obvious to Infidia that they were in a blacksmith’s workshop and in no time Conan found a pair of metal cutters and returned to Infidia’s side.

“We need to get that collar off you before we return to the ship.”

She lifted the tool to the collar and squeezed the handles with all of her strength. Infidia could tell that the cutters were biting into the iron collar but that Conan wasn’t able to cut all the way through.

“Let me,” Infidia said putting his hands on the handles next to Conan’s small female hands and with a surge of strength cut through the collar with a snap.

Infidia reached up and pulled the collar off bending it open in the process. He tossed it to one side and then glanced back at Conan taking more time to look her over. She was wearing her fighting leathers and had thrown a cloak over them covering up her weapons belt where her rapier and fighting daggers hung. On her back was the pack she’d carried from the ship into the town.

“If you’re done staring, I’d suggest we return to the ship.”

“Lead on,” Infidia replied with a grin.

The trip down to the Bounty was uneventful in the early morning hours. They paused in the shadows of a building overlooking the pier where the Ocean’s Bounty was moored. Infidia could see that the ship was in a flurry of activity as it made ready to sail on the morning tide. With their goal in sight Conan and Infidia rushed toward the ship. After they’d gone no more than a dozen steps there was a shout to one side and a pair of rough looking pirates charged out of the shadows. They’d obviously been dispatched to watch the Bounty until she sailed.

With a roar Infidia turned to meet the pirates. As he rushed forward one of the pirates jerked to the side a knife appearing, as if by magic, in his leg. The lead pirate swung a cutlass at Infidia who ducked it and grabbed the sailor’s sword arm at the wrist before he could take another swing. With his free hand Infidia hit the pirate’s elbow shattering it. He then stepped in close and grabbed either side of the pirates head and twisted sharply. The resounding crack told Infidia that he’d broken his opponent’s neck so he dropped the now lifeless body and turned to face the remaining pirate. As he did he saw Conan dance back from a wild swing of the man’s cutlass and then lunge in, with full extension, driving her rapier through the pirate’s chest.

Conan bent over to draw her throwing knife from the man’s thigh and then look over at Infidia with a feral grin. Infidia returned it feeling more alive and comfortable in his body than ever before. Without saying a word the two raced toward the Ocean’s Bounty where Captain Sarl waited impatiently for them.

“Cutting it rather fine aren’t we?” Captain Sarl asked.

“You’ve no idea,” Conan replied climbing aboard. “You’d best get the ship underway as quickly as possible, there are some pirates who’ll be annoyed with us once they find Captain Brugun’s body.”

Sarl looked between the two of them for a moment and then swearing under his breath moved away shouting rapid-fire orders. Infidia climbed to the aft main deck and Conan followed watching the pier for any further sign of pursuit. It wasn’t until they slipped out of the harbor and into the Azure Sea that Conan allowed herself to relax.

“So are you going to tell me how you came to have the key to my cell? Or how it is that Captain Brugun is dead?” Infidia asked.

Conan looked over at him for a minute and then said, “no.”

She turned and headed forward descending to the main deck and then headed forward to her cabin the memories of the last two days still fresh in her mind. Conan shut and latched the door to her cabin with a sigh. Infidia’s question still resounded in Conan’s mind; if she hadn’t caught Infidia in a post coital snuggle with a pleasure slave Conan might have been willing to talk about it. But at the moment Conan wasn’t sure how much of Infidia remained and how much the barbarian had taken control of the new man.

She stared off into space thinking about the fight in the square and then the events that followed. She’d been captured because she’d been stupid! She’d thought that between her skill and Infidia’s brute strength they’d win. She’d fallen into the same trap as Infidia, she’d done what she expected a woman to do, depend on her man to keep her safe. Conan swore that for as long as she was a woman she’d never trust another man to protect her. She’d protect herself! Conan thought back remembering waking up naked chained to a wall waiting for her master and shuddered.

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Conan’s head hurt, it reminded her of how she’d felt after a hard night of drinking yet Conan knew that this wasn’t the case. Something was wrong slowly her sleep muddled mind began to function. She opened her eyes, blearily, and saw morning sunlight streaming into the room from a high barred window to the left. She pushed herself up from the straw pallet where she lay trying to look around and make sense of her surroundings. She felt the, still uncomfortable, shifting of her breasts as she moved and realized that she was naked. Conan saw that she was in an iron cage too small for her to stand and barely long enough for her to lie down inside. As she looked around Conan saw that the room had about a dozen similar cages with six along each wall and a walkway down the center. At one end of the room was a wooden door with a small window filled with bars. At the other end of the room was a window high up on the wall, well beyond Conan’s current reach, also filled with bars. It was from this window that Conan could see sunlight streaming into the room.

As Conan looked around the room she counted nine other woman locked into similar cages. They were all naked although none of them had as many bruises as Conan. Conan discovered that she could sit up on the mat without her head touching the top of the cage but that was about as comfortable as she could get. Time dragged by and Conan wondered what had happened to Infidia. She cursed her own stupidity for allowing Infidia to act like a dumb barbarian instead of the cunning fighter she knew Infidia to be. Conan also cursed her own foolishness for not running as soon as the ambush occurred. If she’d gotten away she might have been able to do something to rescue Infidia. Now they were both captured.

After a while some of the other woman began to stir. There were a few moans and here and there a woman sat up and looked around. They looked like they’d been drugged and were trying to shake off the effects. Suddenly the door clanged open and in walked four tall warriors with hard eyes and a pair of women. The women all wore the collars of pleasure slaves but they were older and had that tough cynical quality that only occurs after dozens of years of living hard. Several of the girls squirmed around trying to cover up their nakedness as best they could. Conan resisted the urge realizing that there really wasn’t any point and instead focused on her captors looking for a chance to escape.

“Most of these are headed to the slave auction.” Announced a tall warrior Conan recognized as Imbalayo. “Except for her and her,” Imbalayo said pointing to a raven haired woman and Conan. “These we’ll keep for our own use,” he said with an evil leer.

Conan stayed where she was at the moment there wasn’t anything she could do. Very quickly the eight girls identified for the slave market were pulled out of their cages and chained together via their collars and marched off. Imbalayo stepped up to Conan’s cage with one of the hard-bitten women at his side.

“I’ll enjoy breaking you. Captain Burgun wants you for tonight but he tires of his playthings quickly. Once he’s done I’ll claim you and by the time I’m done no one else will want you.” He gloated.

Conan fought the urge but couldn’t resist and finally asked; “What of Conan? Did your men kill him in the square?”
Imbalayo looked down at her and laughed. “Oh no, your man is quite the fighter. In fact last night, while you slept, he got his first taste of the fighting pits. He did so well that tonight he’ll face Jaggta the Giant. Jaggta has won more than a hundred fights, Conan will die on Jaggta’s ax tonight and while his blood is still hot on the sand Captain Burgun will take you.”

At the look of shock on Conan’s face Imbalayo started to laugh. He then turned to the woman next to him. “Take her up to the main hall. Have her bathed, perfumed, and dressed for tonight. Oh, and she knows something of combat so take no chances.”

“What about the other one,” asked the woman?

“Have her cleaned as well but deliver her to my chamber. I’ll use her before the fighting in the pits and, if she pleases me, again after.”

“As my lord commands!”

Conan got ready to spring forward as soon as the cell door opened thinking only about selling her life as dearly as possible, but her jailors must have been able to guess what she was thinking by the look on her face. Two large warriors settled to either side of the door to her cage, one with a set of shackle and the other with a long choke pole.

“Well lass this can go easy or it can go hard, it’s up to you,” said one of the guards, as he opened the door to her small cell.

For a moment Conan considered attacking, and the odds be damned! But then she resigned herself to biding her time, there would be a chance later, and when it came she would be ready. Conan crawled out of the cell and held her hands out. Conan was quickly shackled and dragged along behind the guards and the mistress of pleasure slaves. They climbed a set of stairs and entered a different part of the building. This area had several windows and looked like a harem out of the exotic east. It had silk curtains hanging from the walls and plenty of couches, pillows, and cushions for the woman belonging to Captain Burgun to use. Conan had never been in such a place, but she’d heard about them during her time as a slave in the east.

Conan was bathed by a pair of the slave girls, which normally would have been an exciting erotic experience for Conan, but now just annoyed her. They chattered to her in an almost non-stop stream of inane commentary as far as Conan was concerned, they talked about how beautiful she was and how exotic her red hair made her and how pale and clear her skin was and how much they wished they had similar traits. Then they brought in a silk dress and helped Conan into it. Next they brought out a cup of warmed wine, to help her relax, and directed her to drink it. At the first sip Conan knew that the wine had been drugged and under the watchful eye of the mistress there was no way she could avoid drinking it. Once she was done the mistress left her alone with one of the other slave girls.

Conan said she needed to relieve herself and the girl showed her where they kept the chamber pot in an alcove to one side of the room. Conan pulled down a privacy curtain and then pushed a finger down her own throat, after the fashion of decadent Nemedia, and caused her body’s gag reflex to bring up most of what had been in her stomach. As soon as she was done throwing up Conan turned around and squatted over the pot using once unfamiliar muscles to empty her bladder covering the sour smell of the drugged wine.

Even having done this time seemed to distort and stretch for Conan she was sure that the drug was affecting her as she lay on a cushioned couch and waited. The room was spinning pleasantly when the door opened and the mistress of pleasure slaves followed by Imbalayo entered.

“She’s drugged?” Imbalayo asked.

“I thought it best after what I’d been told of her capture.”

Imbalayo grunted and strode over to the couch where he grabbed Conan by the arm and hauled her to her feet.

“Come with me lass Captain Burgun wants you to be there when your man falls.”

Conan was dragged into the night and the cool crisp air helped to clear her head while causing her nipples to harden in reaction. As she followed along Conan realized that they were in a compound, of sorts, with several buildings clustered together all belonging to Captain Burgun. Soon they left these buildings behind and headed toward a wooden walled arena, a sight very similar to the fighting pits Conan had fought in as a youth, sending a shiver of memory down her spine. They entered through a little used side entrance and were soon above most of the crowd in a box set aside for Captain Burgun’s use. As Conan looked around she could see that there were eight other such boxes.

Conan was pushed forward and forced to kneel to the side of Captain Burgun’s chair, a chain was run through her collar and then locked to the arm of the wooden chair. Captain Burgun reached out absently with one hand to stroke Conan’s red hair. For a wild second Conan fantasized about reaching up and braking Burgun’s wrist.

“This should be a very good fight. Conan is a fighter and if the Gods favor us he’ll win tonight!” Captain Burgun said leaning forward to watch the spectacle below. Imbalayo grunted in response clearly disagreeing with his leader.

Conan’s breath caught and she sat up straighter when she saw Infidia. Infidia was only wearing a loin cloth and carried a sword in each hand his muscles were standing out in a visual testimony of masculine power. Then Conan hissed out a breath when she caught sight of Infidia’s opponent. Conan’s former body was large and powerful, but the Stygian Infidia faced stood a full head and shoulders taller even if he was less heavily muscled.

The fight started when the Stygian giant charged straight at Infidia. They exchanged a flurry of strikes almost too fast for the eye to follow. Conan found herself leaning forward, one hand moving unconsciously to her mouth in a feminine gesture, as she was swept up in the excitement of the fight. She was immediately impressed with how well Infidia was moving, it was as though he’d been born to wear the body of a mighty barbarian. Then Conan saw the giant draw first blood. She’d missed the blow that had cut Infidia’s bicep, but spotted the cut as it bleed freely. Abruptly Infidia took to the offensive striking and spinning bringing a flurry of steel at the Stygian from different angles and levels. Again Conan was impressed by the skill and strength of both fighters.

Then Infidia made a mistake and his sword became lodged in one of Jaggta’s ax handles. Jaggta tossed both weapons to one side and slashed viciously at Infidia barely missing. Conan's breath caught in her throat, her breast quivering as she leaned forward, "Crom, no" she hissed softly. As the fight resumed Conan could see that the Stygian was becoming fatigued then Infidia got through his defense and bloodied Jaggta’s lower leg. The Stygian giant immediately started favoring the leg as the fight resumed. Once again Infidia took the initiative he fainted to one side and then jumping high so that he could thrust down burying his blade in Jaggta’s shoulder point first. As soon as Conan saw the strike she shouted knowing the battle was over. It took a moment for Jaggta to fall to his knees, but Infidia wasn’t done and after reclaiming his second sword he removed Jaggta’s head with a mighty swing. The crowd of pirates and citizens of Scompiglio were on their feet shouting and cheering Infidia’s amazing display of skill and power.

“Take her to my chamber,” Captain Burgun said to one of the guards standing by the entrance to the box, dismissing Conan without a thought. He then stood up and turned to Imbalayo, “I think it’s time I meet my new champion!”

After Imbalayo and Burgun left Conan was unchained from the Captain’s chair and led back the way she’d come. The cheering of the crowd faded behind them as they returned to Burgun’s compound. This time Conan was led to a new building one that had three floors. The first was obviously a great hall where the pirates ate most of their meals then the next floor consisted of rooms for Burgun’s most loyal men. Most of the top floor was a single open space claimed by the pirate lord with a pair of rooms at the far end, one of which was obviously Burgun's bed chamber. The mistress of pleasure slaves met Conan and the guard at the door to Captain Burgun’s bed chamber along with two other slaves. Conan was forced to stand still as she was once again stripped and draped in a new silk gown. The mistress left the dress that Conan had worn earlier folded neatly to one side. Something for Conan to wear in the morning she said before leaving Conan alone in the bed chamber.

Conan heard the door lock and looked around the room. The two lamps provided enough light for Conan to see that the room had a large round bed with blankets, cushions, and pillows. There was no other furniture in the room although to one side a large silver metal disk riveted to the wall and polish to a high shine. In its reflection Conan saw the beautiful red-headed image of Infidia staring back. She slowly reached up and touched her face still amazed when the reflected woman copied the motion exactly.

Over an inch of lamp oil had burned down before Conan heard a key turn in the lock. She felt her heart start to race when the door opened and Captain Burgun stumbled, obviously drunk, into the room. He made an attempt to lock the door behind him and when he couldn’t get the key back into the keyhole he gave up and tossed the key aside.

“I’m told your name is Infidia, well that’s the name of a free woman, I’m going to call you kitten.”

He waited as though anticipating a response, when Conan remained silent he continued, “Kitten, did you enjoy watching Conan defeat Jaggta?”

Conan felt a flash of rage at the continued use of her name when referring to Infidia, but she squashed the feeling.

“It was an amazing fight! Now, my champion is master of the fighting pit! As a reward your man is in the slave dormitory next to us enjoying the flesh of one of my slave girls just as I’m about to enjoy the flesh of his woman.” Burgun said with a laugh and dropped his belt to the ground. Soon the rest of his clothes joined the belt with the exception of a heavy gold chain around his neck. Conan noticed that the chain had a large gold medallion hanging from it.

“Take off your clothes and lay down!”

Sensing an opportunity Conan complied. However, when she lay down on her back she couldn’t force herself to spread her legs instead she pressed her knees tightly together. Burgun made a low appreciative noise and moved to stand over her. He leaned forward fumbling for her knees in an attempt to spread her legs apart.

Conan moved.

She kicked up the heel of her right foot connecting solidly with Burgun’s chin. The force of the kick caused Burgun to stand up and stumble backward. Conan leapt from the bed moving forward with a spinning step that allowed her to lash out with a powerful back-fist; using legs, hips, and back to add power to the centrifugal force generated from the spin Conan’s fist landed solidly against the side of Burgun’s jaw, as he struggled to recover from the surprise kick. Burgun spun to the ground from the force of the blow and barely caught himself on his hands shaking his head dazed. Conan jumped onto his back wrapping her legs around Burgun’s waist weaving her feet between Captain Burgun’s thighs. Conan grabbed the chain around Burgun’s neck and pulled it as tight as she could and then started twisting the chain, around and around, so that the torque from the twisting motion added pressure to the choke. Conan could tell that the medallion was cutting into the soft skin of Burgun’s neck as she continued to twist it as viciously as she could.

Burgun tried to reach up and pull one of Conan’s arms free, but the angle didn’t allow him to get any force behind the move. The effect of his drinking and the two blows to the head had left Burgun dizzy and he lost his balance collapsing onto his belly unable to hold himself up with one hand. Because of the pressure the only sounds Burgun could make were grunts as he tried to roll over, but because Conan had locked her legs around his waist and used the leverage to push his legs apart, he was unable to do this either.

For nearly ten seconds Burgun struggled until at last he went still. Conan remained where she was and if anything twisted harder on the chain. In the warm yellow light of the lamps Conan could see the chain cutting through a layer of Burgun’s skin and fat and only when Conan smelled the stench of Burgun’s involuntary defecation in death did she release her grip.
Conan’s heart was racing, her skin was flushed, and her nipples were like two tiny erections as a fierce grin spread across Conan's face.

She wanted to shout to Crom in triumph but knew that for now stealth was her best ally. Conan went to one of the windows and looked out into the yard below, there were still pirates out front drinking from wineskins and singing sea shanties. She turned around and examined the room taking in Burgun’s dead body without the slightest bit of remorse. Conan walked over to where the slave mistress had left a dress for her to use in the morning and put it on grateful for the heavier fabric. Conan then went through Burgun’s clothes and found a set of keys, some coins, and a belt knife. Conan picked up the belt and tied it around her slim waist. When there wasn’t a hole far enough up on belt to keep it tight Conan pulled out the belt knife and made a hole of her own. Conan walked over to the silver disk and started trying keys from the key ring on the locked collar around her throat. On her third try the key fit and with a click and the collar opened.

The door was unlocked and Conan slipped out of the room taking a lamp with her. Most of the top floor was open with a fire pit in the center and places to eat and lounge around the sides. At the far end of the room there was a desk with a book shelf to one side. There were only two rooms walled off from the rest of the floor; the room where Captain Burgun slept and a room directly across from the sleeping room. Conan tried one key after another until she found the key to this room and taking a lamp with her she went in. This was obviously Captain Burgun’s treasure room. Conan found her and Infidia’s packs along with their weapons. After thinking for a minute Conan changed into her fighting leathers and buckled her own familiar sword belt around her waist. She then strapped Conan’s broad sword to her pack and dropped Burgun’s gold chain into the pack along with the keys. Captain Burgun must have known where they were staying, Conan thought, which meant that they were going to be ambushed sooner or later even if they hadn’t gone to the market. With a shake of her head Conan dismissed this idea for now. It was time to rescue Infidia!

After making sure there were no threats on this floor Conan settled in to wait. Time seemed to creep by until Conan felt like it must be about than two hours until dawn and went to one of the windows. All was silent now the celebration was over and most of Burgun’s pirates had passed out due to too much wine. Conan glided down the stairs careful to stay in the shadows. Spotting the dormitory referred to by Captain Brugun was easy enough it was the only building with a guard.
It took several minutes for Conan to stalk the guard as he walked his post and ghosting up behind him she reached up and around, in a smooth practiced move, and drove a dagger up to its hilt in his eye. The man let out a startled grunt and his muscles seized up then he collapsed. Conan had waited until the guard was close to the entrance to the dormitory and only had to drag the pirate a few feet to get him inside and out of casual sight.

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Conan shook himself chasing away the memories and with a glance around the cabin went over to where a bucket of clean water waited. Removing her leathers she dipped a rag in the water and cleaned herself before putting on a fresh tunic and climbing into her bunk. For several seconds Conan didn’t think she’d be able to sleep, but the rocking of the ship and the exhaustion of the last few days caught up with her and she dropped into her first dreamless sleep since becoming Infidia.

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CHAPTER 5


When I was victorious, by Crom, to Costa I did sail
My body the prize, from Zula, I did hail
Faithless and fickle, traits both snakes and sorcerers share
My only hope the forces of magic I dare

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The change, in the ships gentle rolling motion caused by the break water at the head of the channel leading into the port of Costa, brought Conan out of her reverie. It had been a monotonous couple of weeks, as they sailed from the pirate port of Scompiglio, which had been just fine with Conan. She’d needed time to think about what had happened and the more she considered the events, of her time in Scompiglio, the more sure she became convinced that she needed to get out of Infidia’s body as soon as possible. She’d been reacting at first in the way that Conan the Barbarian thought a woman should act. Conan had unconsciously trusted in Infidia’s strength as the male to keep her safe. It was only after Conan had been captured that she’d realized that she had to rely on herself instead of a man. Conan knew that Infidia’s most dangerous weapon was her cunning and if Conan wished to survive she need to use her wits to the fullest. It seemed to Conan this was a lesson that Infidia had known for years and that she’d forgotten when she became a man.

Then about a week out of Scompiglio Conan had awoken to a damp feeling between her thighs. When she looked down she’d discovered a problem that every adult woman had to learn to deal with. Conan to her horror was having her moon-blood. After searching through the pack that Infidia had brought with her Conan found some tightly wrapped rags that, based on the design and cut, were for use during this time of the month. Conan had felt ill with hot and cold flashes and cramps and had refused to leave her cabin. By evening Infidia had come to check on her and after a few minutes understood what was going on. Rather than grin or find amusement in Conan’s discomfort Infidia had offered some advice on how to handle the situation. By the third day her flow had decreased to the point where Conan felt comfortable, if self-conscious, moving around the ship. As embarrassing as her moon-blood had been Conan knew that every woman, of childbearing age, had to deal with it and if they could then Conan was determined that she could handle it as well. But by Crom she intended to only have to handle it once!

However, this wasn’t the reason that Conan needed to return to her natural form as soon as possible. No, the problem was that the longer Conan spent in Infidia’s body the more comfortable she became. Now after three weeks at sea Infidia’s body felt normal, the movement of her breasts as she practiced with her weapons each morning felt natural. The smooth flow of air between her legs in her tight leather pants, pants that hugged her front as tightly as they did her backside, now felt normal. Conan had even started to appreciate the looks of interest from the sailors and most disconcerting of all she found herself watching Infidia as he practiced with his sword. The movement of Infidia’s massive shoulders and his tight firm butt as he jumped and lunged toward imaginary opponents, and the way his massive organ filled the front of his loin cloth, made Conan’s nipples harden and caused a strange moist ach in her loins. At night, lately, Conan had imagined grabbing each of those tight butt cheeks and then wrapping her legs around Infidia’s slim waist as his organ penetrated and filled, ….. Even now Conan had to shake her head to dispel these troubling thoughts.

As Conan stood at the ships rail and considered the return trip she remembered how pensive Infidia had been those first few days out of Scompiglio. They’d both learned a lot, about their bodies and about what made them who they really were. As the days passed Infidia had returned, to some extent, to the routine that Conan had established on the journey out. He’d worked beside and diced with the sailors, but now he also spent more time practicing with his weapons. They’d both taken most of their dinners with Captain Sarl learning of the places he’d sailed and the adventures he’d shared with his crew. When Infidia asked him one night how it was he came to work for Zula he’d responded that he and the crew had had a string of bad luck and had needed a loan to repair the ship. Zula gave him the loan and ever since the crew of the Ocean’s Bounty hadn’t been able to get out from under their debt to Zula. When Conan remarked that with the crew’s share of the treasure taken from the Sea Witches Island they should be able to pay off their debt. Captain Sarl had simply grinned. Then last night, the night before they’d returned to Costa Captain Sarl had told them that once he paid off Zula he planned to resupply the ship and leave. They would be in port for about a week. If Conan and Infidia wanted to sail with Captain Sarl on the Ocean’s Bounty they just needed to show up and he’d take them on.

Now watching the ship maneuver toward its birth at Zula’s pier Conan considered Sarl’s offer. The idea of sailing the Azure Sea had an appeal that she couldn’t shake. Cimmeria is a land locked country and the ocean held a fascination for Conan, but even more after she’d swapped back into her normal body Conan had no intention of staying in Costa. Her introspection was interrupted by the arrival of Infidia.

“We’re almost there,” Infidia said unnecessarily. Conan just grunted in reply.

“I think we need to be cautious in what we tell Zula.” Infidia said placing a hand on Conan’s shoulder.

For a second Conan thought about trapping the hand with one of her own and then striking the elbow to break Infidia’s arm, as a lesson about uninvited touching, but then realized she would be the one living through the recovery. Instead Conan shrugged Infidia’s hand away and turned to look up at him.

“Why should we hide our situation from him?”

“First; because nothing has changed, there are still enemies who’d like nothing better than to take advantage of our condition to attack us. Next; because I don’t fully trust Zula, he might think this is funny, in some perverse way, and refuse to help us. The spell he gave me is one I can’t cast on my own. I need you to claim another crystal as your reward for helping retrieve the grimoires. Once you have a crystal with the astral-projection spell, I’m sure I can return us to our normal bodies and no one will ever know about this.”

Conan looked up at him for several seconds and considered. The plan sounded good but it had risk as well. For one it would mean they’d have to pretend to be each other around people who knew them. That would be much harder than pretending to be each other with people they’d both met at the same time. When Conan voiced her concern Infidia waived it away.

“Zula will want to throw us a feast and he’ll insist we stay as his guests tonight. During the feast he’ll give us our payment in front of his men to show that he honors his word. After the feast we’ll go back to my room and I’ll switch us back. Surely you can last that long as a woman.”

Conan wanted to grind her teeth, it wasn’t that she couldn’t last another day it was just the opposite. Being Infidia had become too comfortable and as the journey back to Costa progressed Conan had started to enjoy the way the sailors treated her with respect and desire instead of fear.

“I’m sure I can survive another day.”

The Ocean’s Bounty tied up to Zula’s pier and in a few minutes a gangplank had been run over the side. By this time Conan and Infidia were waiting each carrying a pack with Infidia carrying the treasure chest wrapped in sail cloth over one shoulder and the grimoires stowed in the pack on his back. They descended to the pier without incident and with a wave to Captain Sarl headed up the cobble stone street toward Captain Drako Zula’s hall. It was early afternoon and there wasn’t much traffic on the street as they walked up hill. Conan had an uneasy feeling, but she couldn’t say exactly what was causing it.

When Conan and Infidia arrived at Zula’s compound Infidia walked up to the pair of guards at the walled gate to the complex confidently.

“Dev, Tal, please let Captain Zula know that Conan and Infidia have returned.” Infidia said. The guards exchanged confused glances and then after looking at Infidia the taller guard saluted.

“Infidia, it’s good to have the Blade of Costa back. Zula is not here but your quarters are untouched.”

Conan suddenly realized that they were confused because Infidia in his body had taken the lead. Conan stepped forward, “it’s good to be back. Please do as CONAN requested and let the sorcerer know we have returned.”

“Yes ma’am, I’ll send a runner to let Captain Zula know.” The guard replied.

“Good, I’ll take Conan and find Brad, I’m sure Zula will want him to stay tonight as a guest so we might as well arrange a suite for him.” Conan said in Infidia’s most authoritative tone.

At that the guard waved them into the compound. As Conan walked into the courtyard she had a flash back to her first visit here. Infidia nodded to a door in the side of a building off to her left and Conan headed over toward it. In a low voice Infidia said, “good job back there, Brad’s office is on the second floor of that building.”

The cool shade was a welcome comfort from the heat of the afternoon sun as Conan and Infidia moved into the building. The buildings in Costa had been designed with thick stone walls, and high ceilings to allow the heat to move up away from the floor, and wide windows offering to catch the cooler breeze from the sea. They found Brad in his office working on a large ledger. Brad was a small bald man in the later years of life and according to Infidia he had been with Zula for nearly a decade.

Brad had stood up when they entered and welcomed Conan warmly back to the hall. He then pulled on a rope not far from his desk, once Conan had explained why they were there, and a servant girl had shown up. Brad ordered her to take Infidia to a guest room on the second floor of the great hall.

Before long Conan found herself in a suite of rooms that had belonged to Infidia before they’d left for the Sea Witch’s Island. There was a room she obviously used to study and practice magic and alchemy, one for sleeping, and another for sitting and meeting with guests. Shortly after Conan had finished inspecting the suite there was a knock at the door. Conan went to it and found Infidia there.

“I thought we should talk before Zula returns.” Infidia said.

Conan stepped aside to allow Infidia into the room.

“Dinner is normally an hour after sunset in the great hall. We should go down together and present the grimoires to Zula tonight in front of his men.”

“Why would we give the sorcerer the books before we receive our reward?”

“He will expect it, besides if Zula wanted to harm us he’s had plenty of opportunity. I’ve seen how he works and he can be treacherous, but he’s never betrayed my trust.”

Conan grunted and turned to look out a window with a great view of the city and the port. She felt rather than heard Infidia move to stand behind her. Infidia was close enough so that Conan could feel the heat from his body.

“Why are you so uneasy? We’ve got the books, defeated every challenge, and now only have to wait to claim our reward.”

Conan couldn’t resist leaning back into Infidia’s strong firm body taking a deep breath full of his masculine scent. Conan felt her face flush and heart speed up, “I don’t know but something about Zula makes me uneasy. My father warned me about magic and those who practice it. I’ve run into their ilk in the east and they are fickle and not to be trusted.”

Infidia placed his hands on Conan’s shoulders and gently turned her around and instead of feeling offended at his touch Conan opened her mouth slightly and looked up to meet Infidia’s eyes. For a moment time seemed to pause, then Infidia lowered his lips to gently brush Conan’s. The soft touch of Infidia’s lips against hers sent a thrill of illicit pleasure coursing through Conan’s feminine form. She wanted to push away, but her body refused to respond, instead she clutched Infidia close running a hand over his hard firm backside while the other hand tangled itself in the hair behind Infidia’s head. The kiss turned more passionate and Conan felt her nipples become as hard as diamonds and an empty ach between her legs made her want to press her knees together and squirm.

Suddenly Infidia swept Conan up in her thick bronze arms and without pausing carried her to the sleeping chamber. Conan wanted to say no, but once again her body betrayed her and instead of talking she twined her arms around Infidia’s neck pulling his lips down to her own. Before Conan knew what was happening she found herself stretched out on her bed with Infidia lying next to her one hand slipping beneath her leather pants to stroke her moist clitoris. Infidia knew exactly what to do to send bolts of pleasure arcing through Conan’s body and instead of protesting Conan arched her back and gripped the covers of the bed with both hands as Infidia slipped a finger insider her.

Her pleasure mounted until it broke in an orgasm that left Conan feeling weak yet needing more. Conan at last gave in fully to the urges of her body and pulled Infidia’s breeches down revealing his engorged organ. For a moment the reality of the situation caused Conan to hesitate. She was a man, yet she wanted more than anything else to take that huge tool and slide it into her aching pussy. Infidia sensing her hesitation pushed Conan down onto her back and with a smooth practiced motion pulled off Conan’s pants. The cold air hitting Conan’s delicate neither region made her gasp and then Infidia was placing the tip of his cock against the lips of Conan’s vagina.

For a second they looked into each other’s eyes, blue locked onto green, and then before Conan could speak Infidia slid his tool deeply into Conan. The sensation of being stretched and filled was a little uncomfortable but as Infidia pulled back the bundle of nerves inside Conan’s vagina was stimulated in a way she’d never dreamed possible. Then Infidia was pushing in again and now the discomfort was replaced with waves of sensation and pleasure. As the rhythm of Infidia’s thrusting built it sent ripple after ripple of pleasure through Conan’s body. Without conscious thought Conan wrapped her legs around her lover so that her clitoris met Infidia's pelvic bone in time with each virile thrust.

As Infidia pounded into Conan her world seemed to shatter then she felt her second and far more powerful orgasm. This only seemed to push Infidia to greater efforts of stamina as he rolled Conan onto all fours and mounted her from behind. Infidia slowly and then with greater and greater speed thrust his engorged cock into Conan's pussy while playing with her clitoris with one hand and massaging her breasts with the other. Again Conan’s pleasure grew, even more quickly this time, and the orgasm that followed made her want to collapse in a loose puddle of quivering flesh.

However, Infidia wasn’t satisfied.

Still impaled on Infidia’s monstrous cock, Conan was once more rolled onto her back and she reflexively spread her legs as far as she could. Now Infida grabbed each legs and pushed them up and apart, so that Conan was doing the splits, her pussy stretched impossibly taunt. Again Infidia went to work slowing the rhythm down using long thrusts so that the base of his cock once again ground into Conan’s clitoris at the end of each thrust and then pulling out so that only the head of his cock remained inside Conan’s pussy. Gradually, Infidia picked up the pace and as the rhythm built Conan felt every nerve that she didn’t know she had become stimulated until her moans of pleasure turned to screams. Infidia suddenly spasm filling Conan’s womb with his hot cum and pushing Conan over the edge, into a world shattering fourth orgasm. Conan nearly passed out from the sensations assaulting her former male mind, he’d never dreamed that a woman’s pleasure could feel so good.

They lay there, bodies and limbs entwined, for several minutes Infidia’s flaccid cock still buried inside of Conan’s pussy. A light sheen of sweet drenched both of them and the smell of their recent activities filled the room.

“I had no idea,” Conan whispered.

Infidia rolled onto one elbow and looked down into Conan’s eyes. “I could do that to you forever my lady and never grow tired of it.”

For the first time instead of feeling angry at being addressed as a female Conan felt something melt inside and she rolled toward Infidia trying to make sure that his cock didn’t slip out as she kissed him. Infidia lifted her head and glanced toward the window as late afternoon light streamed into the room.

“I should leave. We will be summoned by Zula in a few of hours and we both need to clean up first. I’ll think about what you said, it also might be best if it wasn’t common knowledge that we are warming each other’s bed.”

Infidia pushed away from Conan’s embrace and Conan was treated to a new sliding popping sensation as Infidia’s cock slide out of her vagina. Infidia towered over Conan looking down at her naked prostrate body and felt more dominate and alive than he’d ever felt before. Infidia spotted the corner where Conan had thrown his clothes during their passion and walked over to the pile quickly getting dressed. Conan rolled onto her side to watch and felt, for the first time in her life, the slow leak of cum as it oozed out of her pussy. Once Infidia was dressed he turned to Conan.

“There are baths for women on the first floor. You’ve got enough time to get cleaned up and then back up here. There are a couple of dresses in the closet that would be perfect for tonight’s dinner. I like the blue one.”

With that Infidia headed out of the suite in the natural viral stride of a man who’d just gotten laid. Conan had no trouble finding the baths and was glad to see that she had them to herself. After so much time washing had become a normal activity. It felt good to remove the filth from her travels, and the residue of her love making, from her body. Now that the passion had abated Conan was angry with herself she should have never given in to her bodies desires. Conan was also frightened because as she thought about what she’d just done with Infidia she realized that she was day dreaming about a repeat session after tonight’s dinner. More than anything this newly awakened desire scared Conan.

Conan returned to her chamber and deliberately picked out fighting leathers instead of the dress that Infidia had suggested. There was a part of her that wanted to dress in a way that made Infidia happy, but that part was pushed down by the part of Conan that was fiercely independent. Male or female she was still the master or mistress of herself, Conan would decide what she’d wear and what she’d do and to hell with anyone who tried to command her! The knock on her door came earlier than Conan had expected and she opened it to find Brad standing there looking nervous.

“Infidia, Zula is back, he’s in his study, and he would like you to meet him now before dinner.” Brad said.

Conan had no idea where the study was so when she stepped into the hallway she said to Brad. “Please walk with me. I’d like to know what’s been going on in my absence.” Conan tried to present a confident and natural Infidia.

Reluctantly Brad turned and headed off at a quick pace toward Zula’s study. “Things haven’t been so well. First there was a successful attack on Zula’s treasure room and warehouse by powerful unknown forces that turned out to be the servants of a rival magician from Stygia’s dark capital, Thoth Amon. Zulo lost many of his most powerful magical items and a squad of our best men was killed including Marcus our Master-at-Arms. Zula’s prestige and power suffered a deadly blow and the other captains have been like vultures circling for the kill. Your absence also hurt, as your reputation as the Blade of Costa and Zula’s best agent had kept some of the criminal’s within the city away from Zula’s interests. Things crumbled even more and with your absence we’ve suffered two more robberies and our main waterfront warehouse was burned down a week ago. There are rumors that Captain Derek was behind it. Your return is well timed, with the treasure you brought Zula should be able to pay off his creditors and rebuild the warehouse. And with the books you retrieved, containing some of his mother’s most potent spells, Zula should be able to cow the other enemies.”

Conan suddenly felt uneasy their task had been to retrieve the spell books. Any treasure found in the tower had been theirs to plunder by the agreement. “What do you think Zula wishes to discuss with me?”

“I think he’ll want to explain what has happened while you were away and start making plans to punish his enemies.” Brad said with a fierce grin.

They arrived at a heavy black oak door bound with iron and Brad bowed to Conan. “I must continue on, there are many things to attend to this night.”

With that Brad bowed and hurried away not noticing Conan’s puzzled expression. Conan drew one of her daggers and pounded three times on the door with the hilt before sheathing it. The door swung open and Conan saw Zula standing there in a tiger skin tunic, the traditional attire of his Stygian tribe. His dark skin gleamed and his grin was wide as he looked down on Conan.

“Infidia, the Blade of Costa, welcome back! Come in and tell me about your trip.”

Conan stepped uncertainly into Zula’s sanctum looking around the dark room. It was filled with tables and benches containing strange items of glass, wood, and metal that the barbarian Conan couldn’t identify. At the far end of the room a pair of couches faced each other and a set of oil lamps provided a golden illumination, as they hung suspended from the ceiling, near the couches. Zula led the way across the room and draped his large body over one couch lying on his side. Conan unsure of the protocol or how the real Infidia would handle this situation so she sat at one end of the other couch back straight and crossed her legs bringing one of the daggers in the top of her boots close to her hand.

“I see that your voyage hasn’t mellowed you any. Same old Infidia!” Zula laughed. “Come tell your master of your adventures. I assume you were successful.”

“Yes, Conan has the books in his room and will present them to you tonight at dinner.”

At this Zula looked relieved but motioned for her to continue. With a minimum amount of words Conan launched into the story. Leaving out the part where she and Infidia had swapped bodies. At the end of the story Zula clapped his hands in enthusiasm.

“Well done my Blade, well done indeed. Wine? I know you love this vintage.” He asked standing up and walking to a cupboard to one side and pulled out a bottle and a pair of cups. Conan stood and accepted a cup from Zula.

“To success! May all of our endeavors be victorious!” Zula said and drank deeply from his own cup. Conan took a sip enjoying the dry flavor of the wine and the sharp spike of alcohol, nuances of flavor she’d never noticed before the swap.
“Superb!” She said.

Zula looked down at Conan for a minute his grin turning into a more serious look.

“I’m sure by now you’ve talked to Brad and know that my situation here in Costa has become perilous. Your return along with Conan, my mother’s treasure, and spell books will go a long way toward reversing my fortunes. Curse to the pits of hell that treacherous Dog Thoth Amon! He pretended to be my ally and then struck me a cruel blow.”

Conan turned away and feeling a little light headed not from the alcohol, but from the obvious sign of betrayal. When she looked back Zula had also returned to his couch and was watching Conan closely.

“It’s my understanding that Conan was told he could keep any treasure he found in the tower along with ten thousand gold crowns as a reward.” Conan said carefully in a neutral tone.

“Worry not about my deal with Conan, Infidia. I am surprised you expected me to keep it. What do I care for my word to a crude barbarian? No, I will accept my grimoires from him tonight and then before the night is out Conan’s life’s blood will fall.” He said finishing his wine. “My concern is more about you. You spoke fondly of Conan during your tale, have you feelings for this barbarian or can you do what is necessary?”

Conan met Zula’s eyes when she spoke, “I’m always able to do what’s necessary. But we haven’t spoken of my reward.”

“No we haven’t, so what would you have of me?”

“The magic crystal I used to spy out your mothers tower, I’d have another. The ability to project my spirit invisible to all is very useful.”

“Ah, I can certainly create another, but I’ve got a better gift,” Zula said standing up and walking over to a bookshelf. “Here my apprentice, this is a book on the art of astral projection. I will teach you how to caste these spells and how to create your own crystal if you wish. From the moment you walked into my sanctum I could tell that something was different about you! You’re stronger, both in spirit and in magical power, than you were before the journey. I’m confident you’re strong enough to master these spells and having an apprentice who can use astral travel will be very valuable to me. I approve of your modesty and self-effacing choice.”

Conan accepted the book feeling horribly frustrated, she didn’t want to study a damn book or learn from Zula how to do this magic; she just wanted another crystal! In a last attempt Conan spoke up with honey in his voice, “this is more reward than I’d hoped for wouldn’t it be simpler to just gift me with an enchanted crystal?”

“Simpler yes, but as I said the more skilled you become the more valuable you are to me. Do not forget; all that you are, all that you have, and all that you might yet become is by my favor. Without me you would only be a woman, skilled with a blade, but still only a woman. Now let’s go down to dinner.”

Conan followed discreetly behind and to the left of Zula, and for a second had to fight the urge to put a knife in his back, as they walked to the great hall. As they got closer Conan could see the light and hear the sounds of the men gathered there. The huge room was brilliantly lit with torches in scones high up on the walls. A long table dominated the center of the room running the length of the hall; Captain Zula’s men had taken their places on both sides of this table. On a low dais another smaller table had been set perpendicular to the great table with two empty seats. As Zula entered the sound of conversation ceased and the noise of chairs and benches being pushed back filled the air as Zula’s men stood up.

“All hail, Captain Zula!” they shouted, some more enthusiastically than others.

Conan followed Zula to the head table where she saw that places had been set for her, ‘Conan’, Brad, and two of Zula’s lieutenants who she didn’t know. Zula went to his place and lifted his cup high. Each of the men followed his example and Conan slid into her place, to the left of and next to Zula, and lifting her cup as well.

“To my guest of honno, Conan a warrior from Cimmerian, may your fame and glory continue to rise!” Zula shouted drinking from his cup.

The men in the hall followed Zula’s example and drank deep.

"To Infidia, The Blade of Costa, and your success!" Zula shouted once again drinking deeply from his cup.

After the toast Infidia reached down and lifted a large bag made of sailcloth and deposited it ceremoniously in front of Zula.

“You sent us to retrieve your inheritance. Here are the books you desired.” Infidia said with Conan’s powerful tones. Zula clapped Infidia on the shoulder in a friendly fashion and opened the bag pulling out the pair of spell books. Zula’s lustful grin was wide and bright in his dark face.

“Ah Conan, I see that your skills were not exaggerated! When you return to your room you’ll find a chest with the ten thousand gold coins you were promised!” At this Zula’s men pounded the table in enthusiasm.

Zula looked around and then cried in a loud voice, “let the banquet begin.”

At that servants seemed to almost magically appear bringing covered trays into the room to serve the men. As the food was set before Conan she burned to warn Infidia that this was all just a trap but there wasn’t an opportunity. Zula immediately engaged Infidia in an animated conversation about their adventure and the fight on the Sea Witch’s Island. Infidia smoothly answered all of his questions appearing relaxed and masculine, in fact if Conan hadn’t known better she would have sworn that Infidia had always been a strong male warrior. There were a couple of times during the conversation where Conan could tell Zula was testing Infida checking his story. He did not trip up. Conan and Infidia had had plenty of time to rehearse. As the dinner progressed Conan got more frustrated by her inability to talk to Infidia and with the quantity of ale Infidia was consuming. The night wore on and the ale and wine flowed so that Zula’s men were showing the effects. At last the meal was over, but now it was time for entertainment! A troubadour stepped forward and started to sing, Conan had had enough and slipped quietly and unnoticed from the room.

Conan knew that Zula and Infidia would be in the great room for a while drinking, singing, and being entertained. She hurried to her room and opened the spell book on astral projection. Conan knew nothing of magic, but she did know how to read and she skimmed through the book quickly looking for a description of the crystal Zula had given Infidia for the trip to the island. After nearly thirty minutes Conan found what she was looking for. She made sure to read the description twice and then closed the book and headed as stealthily as possible to Zula’s sanctum.

There weren’t many servants our guards about, probably because of heavy losses Zula had recently suffered, so getting to the sanctum unobserved proved easier than Conan had thought. The door was locked but Conan felt sure that it wouldn’t pose an obstacle instead she scanned the area around the door looking for the telltale markings of a ward. Conan almost missed it, but there at the top of the arch she spotted a series of geometric lines cut into the stone and felt the tingle of magical power when she put her hand close. Conan dug into her belt pouch and pulled out some candle wax and with quick efficiency filled in several of the lines marring the rune. Then with a deep breath trusting that the lessons she’d gotten from Infidia would hold true, went to work picking the lock. In a few moments Conan was inside the sanctum. It was as black as the abyss so Conan paused to pull out a candle stub and using her dagger and flint struck it to light. By the dim light of the candle Conan quickly took an inventory of the room. As soon as she spotted the crystals she felt her heart race.

Conan extended her hand trying to feel for any magical emanations. To her disappointment she realized that they were all probably un-enchanted. Still these stones were prepared to receive spells or at least Conan thought so based on what she’d seen in in the spell book. Perhaps Infidia could use the book and the crystals to replicate the magic that had trapped them in each other’s bodies. Conan scooped up the half dozen crystals and dropped them into her belt pouch and then exited the chamber making sure to lock the door and remove the wax from the glyph.

Once back in her rooms Conan quickly packed everything she’d need and headed out to wait for Infidia in his assigned quarters. Conan was extra cautions now since the hall had grown quiet most of Zula’s men must have either passed out or returned to their lodgings.

Conan descended a spiral staircase that would take her to the floor where Infidia’s room was and paused when she heard a scuffle at the bottom of the stairs. Moving slowly and silently to the bottom Conan peeked around the corner in time to see two of Zula’s guards half carrying, half dragging, a nearly unconscious Infidia out of his room. Conan didn’t know where they were taking Infidia, but remembering Zula’s comments she knew that she was his only chance. Conan followed as quietly as possible.

The guards took the semi-conscious Infidia down another set of stairs passing the ground floor and descending into the basement. Conan was aware of the fact that she didn’t know this building well and had no idea where they were taking Infidia, but if Infidia was going to survive the night she knew she needed to keep up. Once they got to the basement Conan had to hang back not wanting to be spotted. The guards took Infidia down a long hallway past several rooms that might have been used for either storage or cells as far as Conan could tell. Then they stopped before a blank section of wall. Conan had to duck back to avoid being spotted. When she peered back around the corner Conan saw that the wall had opened into the doorway of a hidden tunnel and the two guards were dragging Infidia within.

Conan moved forward silently and swiftly getting to the door before it fully closed and she slipped inside. The passage was rough-hewn from living rock and angled down slightly. Every fifty feet along the passage was a glass globe in a scone that glowed with a soft red light casting an eerie sort of illumination on the tunnel floor. Unfortunately for the guards they spotted Conan the second she entered the tunnel.

“Infidia, what are you doing here?” The first guard asked letting go of Infidia’s arm to straighten up.

Conan didn’t waste any time answering; she reached into one of the specially designed pockets in her belt and pulled out one of the pellets Infidia had developed. With a flick of her hand Conan sent the pellet into the guard’s chest closing her eyes. The flash was so bright that Conan could see the light even through her closed eyes and the crack of the device exploding was compounded within the confines of the tunnel making Conan’s ears ring. Still she’d been prepared for this and when she opened her eyes she was already moving forward. While the two guards where momentarily stunned Conan drew her rapier and lunged forward driving the point of her blade into the throat of the larger of the two guards. With a nasty twist of her wrist she returned to the guard position, ripping the man’s throat open, the wound immediately started to rhythmically spurt blood.

The second guard dropped Infidia’s arm and grabbed a two headed ax from his back and stumbled forward clearly still not seeing well. Conan knew that in the confined space of the tunnel the guard wouldn’t be able to swing his weapon properly and lunged forward fainting high. The guard reacted by bringing his ax up to block and Infidia directed her lighter swifter weapon into a low line driving its point into the guard’s thigh. With a cry the guard tried to bring his ax down on Conan’s wrist, but she was already dancing back out of range. Then Conan flicked her left hand forward sending a throwing knife toward the guards face. This time he was able to get his ax up to block and Conan blurred forward driving her rapier through the guards heart before he could bring his weapon down to defend.

Conan stepped back and watched the guard as it took nearly a second for him to realize he was already dead and then pitched forward. Now Conan moved past the guards to a dazed Infidia and roused him with a ringing slap.

“What, what’s going on? Conan?” Infidia tried to sit up looking around blearily.

“You were drugged at the dinner you fool. I’ve been trying to tell you all night. Zula has no intention of fulfilling his bargain. He plans to kill you and take the treasure we brought back from the Sea Witch’s Island for himself.”

Infidia rolled over and emptied his stomach onto the stone floor. After a minute he pushed himself to his feet when he noticed that his hands were bound with thick ropes. Infidia silently held up his bound hands and Conan stepped in drawing Infidia’s sharp curved fighting dagger. The blade made short work of the ropes and once free Infidia struggled to his feet extending one hand to the wall for balance.

“Are you telling me that Zula just tried to kill me?” Infidia asked shakily.

Frustrated with Infidia’s drug addled wits Conan blurted out, “yes, you fool, and what are we going to do about it? Do we run or fight? If we run I’m sure Captain Sarl will take us on.”

Infidia nodded already starting to look better; he reached down and picked up the double headed war ax from where the guard dropped it.

“What about the treasure chest? Zula wins if we abandon it.” He said. “Are you so gutless now that you’re a woman that you are giving up what we won with our blood and the death of those sailors?”

Conan paused for a minute unable to speak, over her indignation, at the accusation of cowardice. “We can always steal or earn more money, however it galls me to let Zula win and be cheated. By Crom if you think we have a chance then I’m in!” Conan said.

Infidia's feral grin was his answer. “Look you, most of Zula’s men are dead drunk and he thinks he’s disposed of me. We have the element of surprise and he won’t dream that ‘Infidia’ will betray him.”

As they headed back through the dungeons Infidia explained his plan. For the first time Conan detected the sound of real anger in Infidia’s voice. Conan took this as a good sign since it meant that the drug must be mostly out of Infidia’s system and he was starting to think clearly again. Soon with chains that were not fastened, but only wrapped about his wrists Infidia, Conan, and three guards loyal to Infidia’s gold headed towards Zula’s quarters. Where two of Zula’s dark skinned warriors stood guard.

Conan called in a loud voice, “I’ve caught Conan, he almost escaped.”

When Zula came out to see what was going on he cursed long and fluently. “Do I have to do everything myself?” He snarled.

Then before they could react their allies cut down the guards and Infidia threw the fake bounds off and whirled an ax at Zula’s head. Zula made a magic gesture and not only did the ax stop, but the mighty frame worn by Infadia was suddenly paralyzed. As planned, Conan hurled a knife with deadly accuracy at Zula who was barely able to deflect; even with his powers he still received a nasty gash on his check.

“Treachery!” he screamed. “You, too Infidia! First Thoth Amom and now you. Is there no honesty in the world?”

“You're one to talk,” said Conan looking for an opening. “Come on boys we can take him together!”

But when she looked the three guards Infidia had bribed were backing away from the enraged Zula fear evident on their faces. Most of Zula’s men had never seen his magical power and now faced with Zula’s sorcery they obviously wanted to flee. Zula focused his rage on Conan.

“I nurtured a viper in my bosom. Conan I will kill quickly, but you will die a thousand deaths.” Zula said looking both angry and confused.

“You would choose this crude smelly Barbarian from the north over me? I’m the one who trained you and made you my agent! You are now one of the most feared swords in Costa. I’ve taught you magic and alchemy and you would spurn my gifts?” Zula shouted his volume increasing with his rage, his attention now solely focused on Conan. Conan noticed that Infidia had closed his eyes and that he was chanting softly under his breath. Feeling a surge of hope Conan looked back to Zula who’d just finished his rant and now stood between Conan and Infidia.

“You are a treasonous poisonous dog, Zula! You had a bargain with Conan and instead of honoring it you planned to murder him and steal the treasure he brought back. I’d gladly stand beside someone I can trust over a snake like you!” Conan accused.

“I will have your tortured remains mummified as an example of what happens to those who cross Drako Zula!” Zula shouted.

In his fury Zula ignored ‘Conan’ whom he thought magically bound. A huge shadow fell across Zula. The sorcerer turned his head to look behind him, but only had the time to start to form a shout. Like an ancient avenging god of the frozen north Infidia brought her ax around in a sweeping arc striking Zula’s head from his shoulders with one mighty blow. For a second Zula’s body remained upright and then it crumpled to the ground. A stunned silence filled the wide hallway. Then Infidia jumped forward and grabbed Zula’s head by its strip of hair and using the head beat the gong next to Zula’s door.

“Hand me the crystals,” he said to a relieved, but puzzled Conan who complied hopeful that soon she’d be back in her own mighty frame and the nightmare prison of soft flesh a fading dream. The hallway had begun to fill with sleepy hung over men who were looking around for some kind of threat.

To the crowd of men Conan proclaimed, “Zula that treacherous sorcerer is dead! I’ve made a deal with Captain Derek so we will have peace between us. I am now the Captain here. Do any gainsay me?” None did!

“Now we have a great warrior running things instead of sneaky sorcerer. Long live Captain Conan, the mighty warrior!” Shouted Brad!

“CAPTAIN CONAN! CAPTAIN CONAN! CAPTAIN CONAN!”

The lovely mouth Conan was using dropped open stunned by this announcement. Things were spinning out her control. Infidia smiled a grim smile at her and rolled Zula’s head across the floor toward his once loyal men who laughed and kicked it around. Infadia then dumped crystals, Conan had given him, onto the floor. With a powerful stomp Infidia crushed them under his mighty foot.

“I CONAN, now claim the wench, INFADIA, as MINE!”

The crowd laughed and cheered as ‘Conan’ wrapped an arm around the lovely red headed woman.

Suddenly everything clicked into place for Conan. Infidia had known these men for years, he knew how to manipulate them and who to bribe. Treachery was the life’s blood of sorcerer; Infidia must have used the time before the feast to bribe a few of the guards to switch sides if the opportunity presented itself. He’d probably used some of the treasure from the Sea Witch’s Island and then had pretended to be overcome by the drug in his ale. Once Zula thought he held the barbarian in bonds of magic he’d turned his back on Infidia to deal with Conan who he thought was his rebellious apprentice. That gave Infidia the chance to chant the counter spell and once free take Zula’s head.

Conan saw it all in a moment of clarity. This gave Infidia the two things he desired. First access to all of Zula’s magical knowledge and power as a Captain of Costa and second the body of a powerful male warrior! Without Conan’s body Infadia would never have been able to gain and keep the loyalty of the men, no matter how much gold was offered. It also meant that Conan was trapped in Infidia’s body! To her horror she realized that she was, in this moment of betrayal, aroused! If Infidia were to pick her up and take her right now in front of all of his men, she’d squirm eagerly into his embrace. Conan knew that she could no longer deny the desires of her body. Staring down at the dead sorcerer, the full implications of the trap were revealed to Conan and the only thing Conan could say was:

“CROM!!”

Infidia laughed and kissed Conan hard!

“Crom is a hard, cold god, and does not often answer, little one,” he said.


THE END?

Note: This was a fun story to write. Is there any interest in seeing what happens to Conan after Infidia’s trap has been sprung? - Zapper

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Comments

I Loved it

And I would love even more more tales of the Blade and the Barbarian.

Joani

Depends

The nice twist would be if Conan learned sorcery and how to retake his body. Then he could either take the body back or the two of them might start to share both bodies, which would be interesting but difficult to write.

If your "Conan" context is only the California "Governator..."

Puddintane's picture

...and one (or more) terrible films, You might like to visit Gutenberg Australia, which has a large selection of the original Robert E. Howard Conan stories available, and a Red Sonya story (The Shadow of the Vulture, one of his very few "Historical" stories) to boot. Red Sonya was one of his better female characters. They changed her name to Sonja for the Marvel comic and the film, as well as ripping her out of her original context, the Sultanate of Suleiman the Magnificent.

http://gutenberg.net.au/plusfifty-a-m.html#letterH

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Cheers,

Puddin'

A tender heart is an asset to an editor: it helps us be ruthless in a tactful way.
--- The Chicago Manual of Style

Yes, I'd love to see more.

I note the comment "You’re stronger, both in spirit and in magical power, than you were before the journey." It's possible Conan-that-was will recognise that as her way out - she is more powerful at magic than Infadia-that-was. Study hard, as the new Conan cements his reputation as a non-magic using captain, and she may be able to trick him. That, and I've always had a soft spot for magic-wielding thief-type heroines.