By Melissa Quenya

The path that led toward the rocks passed through verdant greenery, as if to lull a hardened warrior into believing that there was nothing to fear. But Sir Manderley de Haute Devoir knew the truth. He brushed aside the dainty flower with a steel-gloved fist sending a butterfly aloft, and cruelly hacked at a colorful shrub that was barely in his way, sending birds up into the trees. He was on a mission. He had no time for scenery.

But the warm green of life suddenly disappeared as the wall of stone stood only a few feet away from his coned visor. The stone was grey and black as the surcoat of death might be. The rocks were cleaved by a narrow passage. Beside it, on a stone shelf sat a skull. He could see that it was the skull of a young man – younger than him, still fresh enough to be yellow rather than bleached by the sun. The top of the skull was like the passage through the rock, cleaved open by an axe or a broadsword.

Enter and die. The message was clear.

Sir Manderley knew that to turn was to doubt. His quest lay ahead. He may never see green again. Black and grey and perhaps red – the blood of the evil mage, Putinak – God willing.

Not that Sir Manderley had much faith in God, despite the many oaths he had sworn. He had seen too many of the good and faithful die. He put his faith in his sword and his armor, and in daily practice. He spat on the ground. And in his courage, or whatever it was that made him never think about death when it was all about him.

It seems that there was a low mist about his feet as he walked on, like smoke but without that smell. It seemed to carry the odor of rotting flesh. He raised his visor to better see his footing. He had not come this far to fall down a hole.

The cavern that came into view was like the jaws of a savage beast, with stalactites hanging down like a dozen deadly incisors. He saw human bones cast about. This was the lair he had been told about. He was near. Death was near.

Where light could penetrate there was moss on the walls, damp and dark, and giving way to slime, before dry rock was all that he could see, and the passage ahead was illuminated by a strange blue light – clearly the stuff of evil magic.

The passage opened out into a cavern, and dropped down to a stone circle, flat with packed sand. He could see what it was. A killing ground. A place where he might be challenged. There were passages in all directions, and a dozen vantage points where a crossbow bolt might pierce his mail and plate. He could feel eyes upon him. He had no target. He was the target. He enemy would need to come forth.

So, he took off his helm and pulled back his mail hood. It was an invitation. He did not need to shout out – “Show yourself, Wizard!”. Instead, he let the silence speak.

“Name yourself, brave knight!” The voice echoed in the grotto.

Sir Manderley looked for the origin of the voice, and saw the mage standing on a ledge above him. Jagged rocks lay between them, so there was no chance to get close enough to the villain to strike him, had that been the warrior’s intention.

“I am Sir Manderley de Haute Devoir, a knight of the Order of Saint Elmo,” he said, thrusting his chin forward in brave defiance.

“And you have come here to slay me, Sir Manderley?” The face of the mage was twisted in a malevolent smile. It was neither an old nor a young face, with thick angled brows below dark hair flecked with grey, and a forked beard both black and white. The knight could assess his size and the strength of his arm, but he knew that a fight with this creature would not be physical.

As he did not reply, the mage spoke again – “Do you know the fate of intruders to my cavern? You can choose your fate. Death or womanhood. Plenty have chosen the latter.”

“I am aware of your power, Sir, and that it stems from a need to injure the innocent and protect your own life, so I should tell you that I am not here to slay you, but to seek out one of my order who came to this place.”

“Give me the name of this lost knight,” said the mage, if only to humor the man before him.

“Sir Crispin Mountable, a young and impetuous knight of my order, who came here on some heroic quest, as young knights must, I suppose.”

“Ahh, Pinny. She is now my prettiest girl,” said the evil one. “It would amuse me to let you see her know – a youthful combatant now a weak and compliant maid. Let me light the way.”

With a wave of the hand those magic blue lights showed a smooth but winding path through the rocks. Sir Manderley picked up his helmet and ventured forward.

He was aware that the wizard was now behind him, but perhaps by some distance. The illuminated path led through stone portals and open doors and into a large chamber lit with natural light from a wide crack above him, with blue sky visible. There were seven young women there, some sewing and others attending to their beauty or the beauty of another.

They turned to stare at the knight.

“My harem, as the Saracens might say,” said the Mage. “Come forward, pretty Pinny”.

Her long blond hair was being combed by another, and it shone in the light. She was wearing a garment that seemed to be made of cloth from Gaza, so light a weave that her body was visible through it, even though the hem of her dress reached the tiled floor. Sir Manderley could see her full, pert breasts, and even make out a tuft of slightly darker hair above her quinny.

The strange thing was that Sir Manderley could recognize her face. It was the face of Crispin’s sister, had he one. She was startlingly beautiful. There was a stirring in his codpiece.

“Brother knight,” she said. “You should leave this place, or suffer death, or our fate.”

With her dainty hand she indicated the six other maidens about her, all almost as pretty as she was, dressed as she was, shaped as she was. It seemed hard to imagine that all of these women had once been men. Somehow the thought that they once had been seemed to make his member swell even more.

“So, what will it be, Knight,” said the mage. “Death, or shall you join this happy sisterhood? I give you the option.”

“Your powers are great, Wizard, so I did not come unprepared,” said Sir Manderley. He turned to address his enemy who had now walked into his view and towards the women.

“Draw your sword if you must,” said the mage, with a wicked sneer.

“In truth I came here not to kill you but to rescue a maiden, but now I find that I have eight to rescue,” said Sir Manderley, now fingering a charm that hung around his neck.

“Eight? Are you including yourself?”

“I am no maid and never will be, Sir,” said Sir Manderley. “And I am no innocent either. The truth is that I may well be as bad as you. The intentions that motivate my rescue are not honorable. They are driven by the flesh.”

“If you think that my powers cannot work on a sinner, then you are mistaken,” said the mage, for the first time seeming to have become frustrated and impatient. “Let me show you. Be ready to join your sisters and to open your legs a feel and man inside your cunt.”

The mage took a deep breath, drawing in not only air but the blue light that appeared from the air around him. He seemed to grow a little in size, and to acquire a bluish tinge. His power could be felt by all present, and the stream of energy that left his fingers and struck the chest of Sir Manderley was visible to everybody.

But that stream struck the charm lying against the breastplate, causing it to rattle and jump. The stream seemed to jump back, as if reflected as light in a mirror. The mage fell to his knees.

“What magic is this?” squeaked the mage, his voice already change.

“Witchcraft,” said Sir Manderley casually. “I have no powers like you, but as I said I came prepared. It is a reflecting charm. It is put right back upon you, My Lady!”

They all watched as the dark robes around the body of the mage turned to dust, and as the body of this creature contorted while a new shape emerged. His beard disappeared. His hair grew out, thick and dark, breasts started to swell and the prick and sack in his groin disappeared as if pulled back into his body - high inside as her womb formed within.

“We are saved!” said one of the women. “He has no power as a woman. We are saved!”

“Not quite,” said Sir Manderley. “Some might say that the only good in me is honesty, and I spoke the truth to this villain. I said that my intentions were not honorable. I am a person driven by carnal desires, and I have to say that the thought of your Sir Crispin in female form has kept me awake many nights. You are everything I dreamed that you would be.”

He stepped up to Pinny and took off his gauntlet to hold her smooth chin between his strong fingers, and examine her as he might a fresh steed.

“What will become of us,” another woman said.

“Don’t worry. You will all get your turn,” said Sir Manderley. “But for now the fresh one over here with the dark hair deserves my attention … every inch of it.”

The one who had once been a mage cowered before the knight as he revealed his fleshy sword, as long as a dagger, and as wide as a battle-axe handle.

“Be gentle, Sir,” she pleaded.

The End

© Melissa Quenya 2022

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