An Elf's End

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1 - The Dark Council

    The dark council had been established by an ancient coalition of high-elves as the last line of defense against whatever evils might threaten elf kind. The council chamber had been built inside the largest amethyst crystal ever recovered from the cavernous dwarven mines. It took the bloodlines of all six of the elven noble houses to open the sacred portal and once inside none could leave without a unanimous decision being reached. The dark council had convened so infrequently that no living elf had yet been born when last the crystal had been opened, and elves are notoriously long lived. So it was with great reluctance that High Lord Eldar, high king of the elves, called a meeting of the dark council and it was only after months of prodding that all necessary parties agreed.

 

    The six of them stood within the semi translucent walls of the crystal. The interior was cast in a deep reddish purple as light filtered in from the outside. In the center of the room stood a brazier where an aquamarine flame burned with a cool blue light. None of the elves had kindled the flame. It had already been burning when they arrived. They sat in a hexagon around the flame. None of them spoke. They knew the gravity of what they were doing. 

 

    “Lord Eldar,” spoke lord Mynar, patriarch of the Cedar Line and keeper of the great library. He was among the oldest of the elves present and his grandfather had been on the Dark Council when last it was convened nearly six thousand years ago in the battle against the Lich King Stugath. “Can we justify the use of this magic to posterity? How can we be sure that our grandchildren will look kindly on our meeting here today?”

 

    High Lord Eldar’s somber eyes peered at him from beneath a weary brow, but when he spoke his voice was full of power and confidence. “We cannot,” H=he said flatly and his voice reverberated throughout the interior of their amethyst prison. “But if we do not act we can rest assured that we will have no posterity. The line of the elves will end.” He bowed his head and the room was filled with murmurs of agreement.

 

    “That may well be,” spoke another elf, this one was called Raz of the Elm Folk. “But there are many, even today, who view your concerns as unwarranted. They call them ‘the fears of an older generation’ and some propose the calling of a new High Lord.”

 

    “Watch your tongue!” Barked Eldar, the force of his outburst disrupting the flames and causing the younger elf to cower. “Do not forget that it is my daughter, Keara who has brought us to this sorry state. If there were any other way forward know that I would have found it.” He relaxed and the flames settled to a cool blue flicker. “But,” he continued. “If we are so concerned with the vote of the youth we could always turn our attention to Keara’s own betrothed.” He looked up at Than of the Sycamore tribe, who sat across from him. 

Than sat cross-legged, thoughtful with a hand on his chin. His golden hair fell around his shoulders and his opulent robes exhibited the vast wealth of his house. Had Keara’s betrayal not ended their engagement the uniting of the Sycamore and Willow tribes would have ushered in a bright future for the Elven-folk. Now that future was frightfully cloudy. After tense seconds Than looked up at King Eldar and nodded. He removed from his cloak a handful of sycamore leaves and held them over the fire. 

 

     “Then it is decided.” Eldar stated flatly. With a trembling hand he withdrew from his pouch a clipping from the great willow that his family had cultivated for untold generations. He held it above the flames and looked around the circle at the other elders. Slowly, one by one, each of them retrieved a clipping from their own tree and held it out above the flames. Then, all together, they dropped their collection of leaves and branches into the fire. 

   

The flames leapt up, turning a dark crimson and many of the elves drew back, but not Eldar. He sat stoic, eyes closed and let the heat from the flames lick at his face. If he was to do this then he would not cower away from his actions. He would take responsibility. The flames died leaving only a pile of fine, blue ash in the brazier. He withdrew a fine paper envelope and carefully poured the ashes inside before sealing the envelope with wax.

 

    “I will see that these ashes are delivered to my daughter.” He said. “The line of elves must be preserved.”

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2 - Keara and Riggs

    Keara lay prone, her slim, athletic, body pressed against a boulder on a cliff overlooking a valley. She leaned forward, squinting at the raiding camp of rock-maws below. 

 

    “What do you see?” Riggs asked and she shushed him and waved him back. “Oh come on, they can’t possibly hear us up here,” he chided.

 

    “True,” she admitted. “But I can’t hear them either if you talk right next to my ear like that.” 

 

    “Wait,” he asked, confused. “From all the way up here?” She smiled and pointed at one of her long pointed ears. 

 

    “They’re not just for show, you know.” She winked and turned back to her quarry of rock-maws below. Distantly related to dwarves, rock-maws were not actually made of rock, though you’d be forgiven for assuming so if you ever had the displeasure of meeting one. Their skin varied from sandy brown to granite grey and was rougher than the hide of any reptile. Their teeth grew like long translucent crystals and had to be ground down on rocks if they got too long. Unlike the dwarves who were content with mining and building incredible underground palaces, Rock-Maws were more interested in stealing and used their tiny reserves of earth magic to accomplish that task.

 

    If an army of rock-maws were to attack a city, once it had been sacked, they could band together and use their magics to submerge it under the ground. This rarely happened as rock-maws weren’t enormously bright and could generally be kept at bay, however there had been a few exceptions in which cities of incredible architecture and wealth had been lost underground forever.

 

    “It’s a scouting party for sure,” she said to Riggs. “Their language is hard to make out. It’s not at all like dwarvish, but I can understand enough to tell that they’re interested in the village to the south.”

 

    “The one with the brewery?” Riggs asked moving up beside her. 

 

    “The same.” She confirmed. “And the waitress whose breasts you wouldn’t stop staring at.” She shot him an accusing look.

 

    “You’re still mad about that?” He asked, smiling but not meeting her gaze. She continued to stare him down until he finally looked over grinning. “Fine, I apologize, but she can’t eavesdrop on a bunch of rock-maws from half a mile away.”

 

    “And don’t you forget it.” She said, stabbing a finger in his chest and returning his grin. “We’ll warn the village about them after we’ve stolen their cypher.” She said, climbing up from the boulder and retrieving her pack. 

 

    “Yeah, you think they have one?” Riggs asked, jogging to keep up with Keara’s long strides. 

 

    “I’ll bet you dinner on it.” She replied as she secured a rope to the edge of the cliff and tossed the free end over the side. “None of them look like they’re the reading types, which means they’re gonna need a cypher if they want to find their way back home. Here.” She tossed

him her bow. “You cover me while I go down and steal it.” He caught the bow and immediately tossed it back to her.

 

    “More like you cover me while I steal the cypher. I’m the ‘dirty-thief’ remember? Or is that not what you called me when we first met.” 

 

    “You’re bringing that up again? Need I remind you that you’re the one that called me ‘Your Highness’ for over a year and a half.” She tossed the bow back to him.

 

    “That’s different. You are a princess. I’m not a thief, I’m a treasure hunter.” He held the bow out to her. “I’d be no use to you up here with this thing. You’re the only one who can make that shot if things go south.” She clicked her tongue disapprovingly but begrudgingly accepted the bow. 

 

    “Don’t get eaten by one of those things.” He saluted, blew her a kiss and grabbed the rope as he dove off the side of the cliff. She had to remember that humans weren’t such fragile things. In her home forests elves lived for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years. Humans got a handful of decades and then they were gone. Still, she’d been surprised to find that many among them accomplished more in their limited years then elves achieved in their eons. Not all of them. Some humans were just as stuck up and boring as her father and Than, but ones like Riggs were special. They had ambition and courage beyond anything she’d seen back home. It excited her, even if it also made her nervous.

 

    She strung her bow and readied an arrow, watching as Riggs made his way toward the Rock-maw camp. There were plenty of boulders on the valley floor, so Keara wasn’t enormously concerned that he’d be seen yet, still she kept an eye on the camp ahead, just be be sure Riggs wasn’t seen by any of the scouts. Only the caravan leader got his own tent. Most rock-maws were content to sleep outside. If there was a cypher in the camp it would be there, probably in some sort of strongbox. Admittedly, Riggs was better with a lock-pick.

 

    Riggs made his way into the camp, sliding past rock-maws and behind boulders as carefully as even the most graceful elf. There was a guard posted directly outside the door of the tent but he was easily distracted when Riggs reached into his pack and tossed a piece of quartz. The rock-maw responded to the noise and as he trudged off to investigate, Riggs slipped inside. Keara kept her bow trained on the guard who had found the lump of quarts and was now gnawing on it with his amber colored teeth. With any luck Riggs would be long gone by the time the guard finished his snack.

 

    Suddenly there was a commotion from inside the tent and Keara swung her bow up in time to see Riggs burst from the entrance in a mad sprint. A moment later a hulking, pale beast burst out after him. The craggler bounded after Riggs, running on its forelegs while its hind legs grabbed at him from beneath it’s pale, muscular body. It bellowed and the bone plates that served as the creatures teeth created sparks as they slid past each other. Keara let three arrows fly and each lodged in the beast’s neck, but the craggler didn’t even seem to notice.

 

    Riggs ran at full speed, taking no care to avoid detection by the rock-maws which were lazily turning toward the sounds of the chase. They we’re slow, but it wouldn’t take long for them to realize that something was amiss. Keara cursed and leaped from the cliff, not bothering with the rope, launching arrows as she dropped and felling three rock-maws with keenly placed shots. She hit the ground in a roll and ran toward Riggs, drawing the long knife from the sheath at her lower-back and slinging the still strung bow over her shoulder.

 

    Craggelrs spent most of their life in the depths of fissures and had notoriously poor vision. It would be tracking Riggs by smell and focused on him specifically. If she was lucky it would ignore her completely while she went for it’s vulnerable, but well protected belly. She sprinted past Riggs, briefly making eye contact before sliding underneath the monster and raising her long knife. Clawed hind limbs passed inches overhead. Had the creature been aware of her it would have sliced her to ribbons. She shoved the knife into the creatures sternum and let the beast’s own momentum split it down to the groin as it lumbered over her. By the time the beast realized what had happened it was already dead and it collapsed to the ground in a gorry, steaming heap. 

Riggs came to a stop and turned to look at Keara as she wiped the creature’s thick yellow blood from her face. 

 

     “Keep running!” She yelled, pointing toward the cliff with her knife and he complied just as a half dozen Rock-maws appeared over the ridge behind them. She ran, quickly catching up with him as they reached the cliff. Riggs grabbed for the rope, but a throwing axe cleaved into the rock with uncanny precision leaving what was left of the rope dangling several meters overhead. They both turned to face the creatures pursuing them and Riggs drew his sword.

 

     “Cover your eyes.” Keara instructed as she ripped an amethyst pendant from her neck and held it above her head. Riggs compiled as Keara shouted something that no human mouth could pronounce and there was a flash of violet light. When Riggs opened his eyes the rock-maws surrounding them stood frozen and soot-grey. All at once they crumbled to ash and blew away in the brisk mountain breeze. 

 

    “It’s unfair that you can do that.” He said, relief evident in his voice.

 

    “Well, it pays to be the daughter of a high elf.” She said, wiping her knife off on her pants before sheathing it and refastening her necklace. “It does mean he’ll know where we are now though.”

 

    “Can we expect another letter then?” Riggs asked, sheathing his own sword. 

    “Let’s hope that’s all he sends.” She grumbled. Riggs looked at her, concerned. “Don’t worry about it. I can handle my father. I don’t suppose you had time to grab the cypher?” She asked. He reached into a pouch on his hip and retrieved a round stone disk inlaid with turquoise runes and gold script.

 

    “I guess they decided they didn’t need to lock it up with a craggler guarding it.” He said with a sheepish smile. 

 

    “It wouldn't have been a problem if you’d let me do the sneaking.” She said with a wink as she turned to begin the long climb up the cliff face.

 

    “Oh come on!” He said, exasperated. “Even you don’t have a trick to get past a craggler.” He paused for a moment as he grabbed onto the rock. “Do you?”

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3 - Fortune and Glory

    Back at the village the two adventurers sat at one of the round tables of the local pub. Riggs had secured them a room and he returned to the table with a silly self-satisfied smirk. She suspected he wouldn’t have had nearly as much success renting a room on such short notice if he wasn’t traveling with an elf, but she had no reason to spoil his fun. The waitress came to take their order and Keara noticed with some satisfaction that Riggs managed to maintain perfect eye contact with the woman, not glancing down at her substantial bust even once. That was another area in which humans seemed to have a leg up on elves. They both gave their orders and the woman left. Riggs eyed her from across the table. 

 

    “What?” She asked.

 

    “You ordered a mead. You never order mead.”

 

    “I like mead.” She protested, but he continued eyeing her. “There’s a brewery in town. It’s good mead!”

 

    “Not very princessly of you.” He chided. She glared and made an obscene gesture at him. He laughed and nearly fell backward out of his chair. 

 

    “Were you able to translate anything on the map?” She asked, exasperated, snapping him out of his laughing fit. 

 

    “Actually yes.” he said, pulling a large piece of parchment from his pouch. “You’re going to like this.” He spread it out on the table and point out a set of runes. “Now this part has baffled treasure hunters for years. The line can be translated it just doesn’t make any sense, but…” He punctuated by stabbing his finger at the page. “Most people are working off of a reproduction, but this is the original and this smudge entirely changes the meaning of this word.”

 

    “And the word is?” She asked.

 

    He smiled deviously before whispering “Delmor” 

 

    She slammed both hands on the table “As in the lost city?” She demanded. “But I thought the rock-maws captured it hundreds of years ago.” 

 

    “Thousands!” He corrected, grinning wider and wider by the second. “With all the riches of a hundred empires swallowed beneath the rock.”

 

    “Riggs!” She nearly shouted. “This could be it. Forget new equipment we could  live like royalty!” 

Riggs cocked his head. “You already are royalty.” 

She rolled her eyes and grabbed his arm. “Live like royalty together.” She corrected. “There’s no life for me back home. I’m not going anywhere without you.” He smiled at her and looked like he was about to say something more when the waitress returned with their mead. Riggs quickly folded the map, lest it become covered in mug rings and thanked the woman offering her a coin.

 

     “One last thing, m’lady.” Said the waitress in her thick country accent. Keara looked up, surprised. Most humans were too afraid to talk to her. It wasn’t often that someone else made the first move to speak with her directly.

 

     “Yes?” she asked as the woman withdrew a fine paper envelope from her apron.

“This letter arrived for you this afternoon.” She handed it to Keara tentatively. “We don’t often receive letters from high elves. I do hope it’s alright me giving it to you like this.”

 

    Keara nodded. “Of course” she said, reaching for a coin, but the waitress scuttled away before Keara could give her the tip. She frowned, ears drooping as she watched the waitress busy herself with other tables.

 

    “She didn’t mean anything by it.” Riggs said, quietly. “She’s just trying to be respectful.” 

 

    “I know.” Keara sighed and held up the letter. She didn’t even have to look at the seal to know it was from her father.

 

    “You can throw it away.” Riggs said. She looked up at him frown deepening. She thought about saying something, but then thought better of it and instead popped open the letter. Immediately she was hit in the face with a cloud of blue dust and she coughed, waving a

hand to push it away. 

 

    Riggs sneered. “Is that your dad’s idea of a joke?” He asked. She shrugged as she wiped blue smudges off of her face.

 

    “Maybe he’s given up on me coming back and has resorted to petty meanness.” She pushed the empty envelope aside and took a drink of her mead. It was good mead. 

 

    “Anyway,” Riggs continued. “The way I see it we can make it to where Delmor is buried by Wednesday if we leave tomorrow morning and ride through the night.”

 

    “Ride?” Keara asked.

 

    “It’s either that or spend over a week on foot.”

 

    “How wonderful.” She said flatly, and downed the rest of her mead in a single gulp.

4 - Onward to Delmor

 

    The stereotype that elves shared some kind of special bond with nature was mostly misplaced. Trees and plants held significance in their culture, but the use of magic made domestic animals mostly unnecessary. Keara had a specific aversion to horses. She could ride them, and appreciated their importance in human society, but she just couldn’t get over the idea of sitting on such a large powerful animal. The beast could easily buck her off and trample her underhoof. Putting that kind of trust in a creature with the mental capacity of a toddler was… unsettling. Still, This kind of riding was easy enough. The woodland path was well marked and  the horses that they’d purchased seemed well enough behaved.

 

    Keara had selected an older, cream-colored  mare with kind eyes and an even temperament. She’d had to argue with the inn-keep who insisted that his prized stallion was more appropriate for a woman of her stature. The brutish beast had bucked and reared, even as the man lead it by the reigns.  Keara shuddered at the thought giving her own horse an appreciative pat. The old mare sneezed in response and Keara yelped, nearly falling backwards off of the animal. Riggs trotted up next to her laughing. He rode a younger, black horse speckled with white and better suited to his more adventurous style of riding. 

 

    “You do know that the point of the horses is to arrive faster.” He pointed out, slowing his own horse to match pace with her. 

 

    “Butterscotch and I are still getting to know each other.” She said, turning her nose up at him and urging the horse slightly faster to overtake him. He kept up easily, quickly pulling up alongside her again.

 

    “Butterscotch?” He asked.

 

    “It’s a kind of candy.” She said, still refusing to make eye contact. “Back home we used to make it from molasses and sugar-cane.”

 

    “I know what it is.” Riggs continued. “You gave the horse a name. I thought you hated horses.”

 

    “Well I can’t just call her ‘horse.’” She said, testily. 

 

    “Oh sure.” Riggs nodded. “Well, me and Archibald will be up ahead. Try not to fall too far behind.” 

 

    “You’re riding a mare too.” She pointed out. “Archibald is a girl.”

 

    “That’s very closed minded of you.” he said, tutting at her as he snapped the reigns and sent Archibald galloping around a bend. Keara huffed but spurred Butterscotch on and the horse seemed eager to speed up. Maybe she had been going a bit slow. She rounded the corner and nearly plowed into where Riggs had stopped directly in the middle of the path. Butterscotch halted, hooves sliding on the dirt path. Keara was about to demand an explanation when she stopped, noticing what Riggs was staring at on the path ahead.

 

    Hanging from one of the tree branches was a man-sized, wriggling burlap sack, and standing below it were a group of three goblins, one of whom was holding a long wooden club. Occasionally, the sack would begin thrashing violently and the goblin would respond to this by delivering a hard wack with the club until whatever was inside calmed down. The goblins hadn’t appeared to have noticed them yet, so busy were they with whomever it was they had captured. 

 

    Keara retrieved her bow, stringing it in one familiar motion and nodding toward Riggs. Riggs nodded back, drawing his sword. He flicked the reigns with his free hand and the horse whinnied and reared up on its hind legs finally getting the goblins attention. They spun to face the new threat and after only the briefest hesitation bared their long needle teeth and ran directly toward the two adventurers. Keara dispatched two of them as they ran, scoring one in the throat and the other in the chest. The third leaped toward Riggs who turned his horse sideways and battered it out of the air with his heavy blade. It hit a tree and a well placed arrow nailed the goblin through the chest and left it hanging several feet off the ground.

 

    “That was dramatic.” Keara commented as Riggs jumped off his horse and jogged over to the sack. “Who do you think they caught?”

 

    “Whoever it is…” Riggs said, straining to swing his sword high enough to reach the rope without injuring whoever was inside. “He must be important.” He jumped and swung, coming within inches of the rope, but ultimately missing. “A group of goblins that small is usually more inclined to run than to pick a fight.” Keara shot another arrow and it sliced through the rope causing the sack to tumble to the ground. Riggs shot her a glance and she shrugged innocently.

    The bag was wriggling again, apparently jogged to its senses by the impact of the fall. Riggs quickly drew his knife and cut the knot holding it closed, spilling the hapless captive on the ground. 

    “Unhand me! Unhand me!” The man shouted as he struggled to his feet. Riggs obliged backing away. The captive man wore fine robes and had straight dark hair that fell around his ears. His pointed ears.

    “Don’t touch me you brute!” the elf yelled again. He was battered and had a small cut on his hairline which bled into one of his eyebrows accenting the lines of his forehead and making his sharp features even more severe. He glanced from Riggs to Keara and his ears perked up as he saw her. 

    “Lady Keara,” he said, dropping to one knee. “I thank you for a most timely rescue.” She looked over at Riggs who simply shrugged in response. 

    “Ummm…” She started. “You’re most welcome… from both of us.” 

    “Yes…” The elf said, glancing sideways to shoot Riggs an evil look before rising to his feet. “Lady Keara, I was sent here with an urgent warning. Should you receive a letter with your father’s seal I implore you not to open it.” Keara and Riggs shared a concerned glance. “Oh dear,” said the high elf. “I’m too late, aren't I.” He looked around at the dead goblins strewn about the path. “My lady, if it’s not too bold, how many of those did you dispatch personally?” 

    “All three.” She responded with a shrug. Riggs cleared his throat and nodded toward the dead goblin pinned to the tree. She rolled her eyes. “two and one assist.”

    The high elf frowned. “Oh dear.” He said softly. Keara was about to demand an explanation when she was distracted by a strange creaking sound. She looked down to find the leather belt around her waist straining against her abdomen and her shorts clinging tightly to bloated thighs. She was suddenly confronted with an enormous sense of pressure as the belt began to dig into her belly. She grabbed for the buckle and frantically tried to unfasten it, but the belt was simply too tight. Butterscotch shifted under her changing weight, and she finally reached for her knife and cut her belt away in one smooth motion just as her expanding rear began to burst through the seams of her shorts. Her belly rolled into her lap, soft and pale; rising and falling with each labored breath. She leaned back on her inflated butt feeling the weighty cheeks shift to accommodate her. She looked up from her body at the two men on the trail. Riggs looked shocked. The elf looked guilty.

“Perhaps an explanation is in order.” He offered.

5 - Keara’s Curse

     It took hours for the elf to be satisfied that their campsite was secure. He insisted on creating a “circle of protection”, sprinkling salt in concentric rings around their fire. Riggs set up their tent giving Keara a place to change into something better suited to her expanded figure. She kept the shorts she’d been wearing, not wanting to damage another pair by pulling them up her thickened thighs and her new, ample behind, but she did grab a larger tunic to better cover her stomach. The pot-belly she sported stuck out nearly as far  as her modest breasts. Formerly slight, her hips now rivaled the width of her shoulders and came with a butt that stuck out several inches behind her. Her once slender thighs had also increased substantially. She’d teased Riggs before about his preference for curvy women, but she had no intention of staying this way.

 

      Satisfied that she was suitably covered, she exited the tent to find Riggs and the elf sitting by the fire. The elf eyed Riggs suspiciously, especially after Keara sat down next to him. She stared at the elf man, daring him to say something.

     “My name…” He began, sighing, “Is Raz. Lord of the Elm tribe. I set out from my home a week ago in hopes of reaching you before that letter did.” Keara frowned. It was likely that Raz would have arrived first if her magic hadn’t given them away. She cursed herself silently, but there was nothing to be done about that now. “The King, High Lord Eldar, your father, has been most vexed by your rebellious nature and sought a way to compel you to come home.”

     “So he put a curse on me?” Keara raised an eyebrow. “His own daughter?”

 

     Raz’s lips pursed. “At first he merely sought to distance himself from you, but when he learned that you were having…” He glanced at Riggs. “...relations with lesser creatures...” He let the sentence hang in the air. Riggs’s eyebrows raised and he glanced over at Keara. A deep blush had spread all the way to the tips of her ears, but her eyebrows were knitted together in a look of absolute fury.
 

   “T-that’s-” She stammered. “That’s not any of his business.” 

Raz nodded patiently as if speaking to a child. “While your previous neglect of duty was something he could ignore, the news of your infidelity was considered an insult to the Sycamore Tribe.”

 

    “Infidelity?” Riggs demanded. Raz looked over at him with the kind of disinterested annoyance someone might pay a disobedient animal.

 

    “Lady Keara was engaged to be married to Lord Than. The union of the Sycamore and Willow tribes would be advantageous for both. Keara’s philandering up until now could be forgiven, but if she were to produce a mongrel heir it could void the alliance entirely.” Riggs’s nose scrunched up at the use of the word “Mongrel” but he held his tongue.

 

    “I’m not going back home.” Keara said through gritted teeth. “We’ll find some other way to break the curse. I want nothing from my father and I will never marry Than.”

 

     Raz shifted uncomfortably. “Your highness. I wish it was that simple. The curse was cast by a the dark council.” That meant nothing to Riggs, but in a flash Keara was on her feet and holding a knife to Raz’s throat, moving at incredible speed despite her fatter form.

     “Keara!” Raz shouted in alarm, but Keara ignored him. Her eyes burned as red as her blade as both reflected the fire in the darkness. 

 

     “The dark council requires a unanimous vote to cast any spells.” She stated pressing the blade closer to Raz’s throat. “You’re the lord of the Elm Tribe. You could have stopped this. Give me one reason I shouldn't bleed you out right here.”

 

     “I’d stay my blade if I were you.” Raz said with uncharacteristic calmness. “If for no other reason than the sake of your waistline.” Keara’s frown deepened but she didn’t lower her weapon. Raz sighed and closed his eyes reciting. “‘For every foe you fell in kind, will soon end up on your behind.’” He opened his eyes to look at her. “It’s quite irreversible I’m afraid, but princesses rarely have need of violence. Come back home with me and I can promise that you’ll at least retain your ability to walk.”

     Keara grimaced, but finally lowered her knife. “Get out.” She said coldly. “And tell my father that his daughter is never coming back.” Raz stood, bowed and then turned disappearing into the darkness of the forest. Keara and Riggs stared after him for some time before

 

     Keara suddenly let out an anguished cry and threw her knife with all of her might, imbedding it into a nearby tree.

 

     “Keara!” Riggs said, getting to his feet and reaching out to comfort her.

 

     “Don’t touch me.” She yelled, sobbing, and she pushed him away before running for the tent and closing the flap behind her. Riggs slept on the ground outside as Keara sobbed herself to sleep.

6 - Of Mead and Monsters

    Riggs awoke the next morning to the sounds of Keara loading up the horses.

 

    “Good morning,” she grunted as she hefted Riggs’s pack onto Archibald. “I made breakfast.” She said, indicating a skillet of eggs sitting on a stump. Riggs rubbed at his bleary eyes until he could focus on Keara. Did she look bigger than she had the night before? She seemed to sense his eyes on her, and she sighed looking at the ground. 

 

    “Apparently taking the eggs from that bird’s nest counts as ‘felling a foe’” she said turning to face him. She hadn’t grown nearly as much as she had the day before, likely because the eggs were so much smaller than the goblins had been, but she was definitely a little plumper around the edges. Her hips dominated her figure with her belly gaining a fair amount of weight and almost none of it showing on her chest or arms. She dropped her arms to her sides in exasperation and the impact of her wrists against her flanks sent the new flesh jiggling.

 

    “Come on.” She said. “The sooner we leave the sooner we’ll get to Delmor.”

 

    “Well wait, maybe we should think this over.” Riggs said as Keara crossed over to her horse and put one foot in the stirrup.

 

    “Thought about it.” She said. “The way I see it we have two options.” She jumped to get her other leg over the horse but came up short and fell back to the ground. “I go back home to my father, never see you again and spend the rest of my life as a miserable fatass.” She jumped again, this time she was closer but her thighs proved thicker than she’d expected and she again dropped back to the ground. “Or, we go on this adventure, find Delmor and we make enough money that we don’t have too adventure ever again.” She jumped again, but was still unable to get her leg over the saddle. “I spend the rest of my life with you as a happy fatass.” 

 

    “Here, let me help.” Riggs offered. 

 

    “I can do it!” She barked and with a final heave, lifted herself onto the horse and landed with a heavy plop. Butterscotch made a bray of disapproval at the added weight though she hadn't weighed much to begin with and couldn't have gained more than thirty pounds.

 

     “See?” She asked, red-faced. Riggs stood, exasperated and obviously unsure what to say. Keara sighed. “I can’t keep adventuring if I'm too fat to pull my own weight, Riggs and the longer this goes on the fatter my ass is going to get. This is my only option.” Riggs kicked at some of the salt circle Raz had left the night before. He nodded and made his way over to Archibald and jumped onto the horse’s back.

 

    “The city is going to be crawling with Rock-maws.” He pointed out. 

 

    She nodded. “We’ll go in stealthily.”

 

    “Right.” He replied snapping his reigns and bringing his horse to a trot. “Because that always works out so well.”

 

    “That’s why I’ll doing the sneaking.” She shot him a cheeky grin and snapped her own reigns, sending Butterscotch running down the woodland path.

 

    They rode hard out of the woods and stopped for only as long as the horses required. Keara had expected the bouncing in her behind and belly, but was unnerved by the way each gallup sent tremors through her chest and back. She was softer all over. She’d have to be careful not to get any bigger. An unexpected upshot of her growth was she was that able to ride much more comfortably. Previously her tailbone would have ached after such a long ride, but now she was so naturally cushioned on the saddle as for it not to be an issue.

 

    Riggs spent most of the trip behind her, though he was by far the more confident rider and at first she took offense, assuming he was trying to keep an eye on her. A few glances over her shoulder made it clear where his eyes were actually being kept. Apparently she was not the only one noticing the new jiggling in her ass and thighs. Part of her was horrified by the attention, but she did find herself deliberately swaying in her saddle giving him quite the show of her bouncing. 

By dusk they’d made it to the coast and by the time they made it into a village it was nightfall. 

 

    “What do you think?” Riggs asked, reigning in Archibald and turning to Keara. “We can rent a room here, or ride a few more miles and make camp.” Keara sniffed stretching and rolling her tired shoulders.

 

    “Let’s get a room.” She said. “I’d hate to see what would happen to my body if we were ambushed.” 

    Riggs smiled. “So sure you could handle our attackers?” He asked pointedly.

 

    “Of course.” She scoffed. “But for your sake we’ll rent a room.”

+++

    The pub in this village was a bit more quiet than the one they’d visited previously. This far up the coast the men were large and the nights were wild. Keara was regarded with much of the same wonder they’d encountered at the last village, but not enough to dampen the party. Keara sat at one of the tables, more of an overturned barrel, while Riggs saw to securing them a room for the night. A few tables away a group of particularly rowdy patrons took notice of her.

 

    “Oi! Elf!” One of the most inebriated of the bunch yelled to her. She turned to look as several of his friends tried to drag the large bearded man back, but even among the locals he was quite the specimen of size and he merely shrugged them off. “I’ve never seen an elf what looked like you before.” he slurred, pointing at her with his mug. She turned away from the man placing a hand against the side of her face trying to hide her blush and hoping the man would get the hint.

 

    “Come on, love.” He yelled. “Let’s have a grab.” This was too much for the man's companions and four of them worked to restrain him and drag him back to the rest of the group. Keara shook her head, laughing half out of amusement half out of disgust when Riggs returned a moment later. 

 

    “No rooms.” He said, dejectedly. “though there is stable space for Archibald and Butterscotch.” Evidently Riggs had missed the display the drunk had made and Keara was thankful for that. 

 

    “We can make camp.” She shrugged. “I still want to get a drink.” 

 

    “The mead’s growing on you?” Riggs asked. Keara blushed again, this time so deeply her ears burned. “Oh!” Riggs exclaimed. “I didn’t mean-- That was a double-- I misspoke.” He finally said wilting in his stool.

 

    “It’s fine.” She said, doing her best to shrug it off.

 

    “Oi! Elf.” The drunk was up again at the other table. This time Riggs was the one to turn. Keara deliberately avoided eye contact. 

 

    “Who’s this guy?” Riggs asked, instinctively puffing out his chest. 

 

    “Please ignore him.” Keara grumbled.

 

    “You two need a room?” The drunk asked. Keara turned to see the burly man standing holding out a large metal key, hanging from a scrap of leather. “I’ll drink you for it?” He slurred, grinning wildly. “What do you say? You outdrink me and it’s yours for the night.”

 

    “Maybe I should take care of him.” Riggs said. “I’d hate for you to hit him too hard and have him end up on your ass.” He stood, but Keara placed a hand on his arm and smiled at him. “You’re not going to--”

 

    “Yeah, I’ll drink you for it!” Keara announced, bursting up from the table and advancing on the drunk. She did her best not to let the jiggling of her ass take the power out of her purposeful strides. 

 

    “Keara, what are you doing?” Riggs whispered as he followed behind her.

 

    “Relax, he’s already wasted. How much mead can he drink?” 

 

    “Barkeep.” The drunk said, laughing and slapping the table. “Two more flagons.”

 

    “What’s a ‘flagon’” Keara asked as the bartender dropped two enormous mugs down on the table. Thick yellow liquid sloshed over the side of the mugs and seeped into the wood of the barrel table as the mead came to rest. The large man grabbed his mug, threw his head back and downed the entire thing in three enormous gulps. He slammed the empty mug on the table and let out a tremendous open mouthed belch. He was drunk, but his eyes were wild and alert.

 

     “Your turn, little elf.” He said, with another grin. She took her own mug in both hands. It was heavy and the drink splashed over the side running down the wooden mug and wetting her fingers in the process. It was only about twice as much as she usually drank, and she’d never allowed herself to get truly drunk. This was more than she was used to, but certainly not more than she could handle. Carefully she tipped the mug toward her lips and began to gulp down the thick amber liquid. 

     It was cool and refreshing, but it didn’t take long for her thirst to be quenched and for her to begin to feel the soft buzz of inebriation. She tilted her head back farther and people watching began to rhythmically pound on the tables. Her gulps echoed inside the flagon and mingled with the rhythm. She could feel the attention on her. The attention on her body. She slammed the empty mug on the table and for a moment the pub was brought to silence before she Belched loudly enough to counter her opponent. The pub erupted with cheers.

 

     The Drunk laughed heartily and ordered two more drinks. By now the entire establishment was paying attention. Games of darts and idle conversation were abandoned in favor of the spectacle Keara was putting on. If her father could see her now it would only bolster his prejudice. She felt shame wash over her then, both for what she was doing and what was happening to her body. She felt the weight of her indignity crashing over her like a wave. It was precisely because she was an elf that these men reveled in seeing her like this. They took a perverse delight in what was happening to her.

 

     Her ears burned as she flushed, looking around the room at the leering cheering men, until her eyes fell on one man. Riggs sat at the other end of the room,  staring wide eyed at her. He met her blush with one of his own and forced himself to smile and give her a sharp nod of encouragement. He’d done his best to hide his feelings but she’d been with him long enough to read his face. He wanted her right now more than he ever had before. Well in that case Keara intended to give him a show. 

Two more mugs were placed on the table and the drunk took his first. He held it above his head, and poured it;s contents into his mouth. Thick, sticky drink ran down his chin and over his beard and he slammed down the mug so hard that Keara feared he might break the table. He panted, smiling at her, daring her to match him. 

 

     She obliged, placing a hand on on flaring hip, and knocking the mug back in four heavy gulps. She set the cup down, and hip checked the table her opponent was leaning on, knocking him down in the process. The soft layer of fat on her stomach had been pulled tight by her mead filled belly and it sloshed when she’d bumped the table eliciting another smaller burp which was met with much approval from the crowd. The drunk clawed his way back up and stood across from her, glaring, but swaying from side to side.

“Do you have my key?” She asked holding out a hand. He reached into a pouch on his belt and held the key out to her, but snatched it away when she tried to take it. 

 

     “Not yet.” he half slurred, half growled. “Bartender!” he barked. “ Two more!” Now Keara was getting worried. He was drunker than she was, but he was also larger. She wasn’t sure how much more mead she could actually hold. The mugs were brought out and the drunk steadied himself on an elbow as he took the last mug and raised it to his lips. His weary, hooded eyes kept contact with her as slowly he drained the whole thing down and set the empty flagon on the table.

 

     “Your turn.” he said quietly, his voice nearly drowned out by the rhythm of the crowd. She took the mug in both hands, and wobbled on her feet as she lifted it, feeling her belly slosh again. Just how drunk was she? She raised the flagon to her lips. tipped it back and drank. mead filled her, distending her belly further and tugging her tunic free of her belt. Gulp after gulp she drank, eyes closed, head back and belly aching to the point of bursting. Just when she thought she wouldn’t be able to hold any more the last of the sweet liquid poured down her throat. She gasped slamming the mug on the table and looking up at her opponent.

 

     “My key?” She asked again between labored breaths. agonizingly slowly he reached into his pouch and held it out to her again, using his elbow too help balance on the table. She grabbed it before he could pull it away and held fast as he tugged on its leather strap. He frowned and tugged again weakly. She simply smiled, placed two fingers on his forehead and gently pushed him over. He toppled to the ground in heap. and the pub exploded with applause. 

7 - Drunken Debauchery 

    Keara staggered down the hall toward their room, Riggs following close behind and doing his best to keep her from bumping into walls. She’d had several more drinks after the contest and she was still quietly singing a drinking song she didn’t seem to know the words to.

 

    “You are so drunk.” Riggs said, smiling despite himself.

 

    “I’m not that drunk.” She insisted, wobbling to the side and brushing against one wall. Her belly sloshed and she burped again softly. “I’m just not used to these hips yet.” She slapped her flank and looked over her shoulder, hoping to catch Riggs staring. He frowned.

 

    “I was hoping you’d have forgotten about that for a bit.” They reached the door of their room and Keara withdrew the key from her pouch.

 

    “I’ve sorta been reveling in it, actually.” She said as she did her best to unlock the door. She seemed to be having some trouble finding the key-hole. Riggs took her hand and guided it to the lock opening the door. The room was big, furnished in wood and had a large window against the far wall facing the dark ocean. 

 

    “It doesn't bother you anymore then?” Riggs asked, locking the door behind him and dropping their packs against the wall. Keara collapsed onto the bed, sinking into the many furs that served as blankets. 

 

    “It probably will more in the morning.” She admitted. “For now I’m just enjoying the attention. From you especially.” He froze, before turning to look at her. “Oh come on,” She said. “Do you think I didn’t notice? Are you enjoying me extra-large?” She wiggled making her hips jiggle and her belly slosh. She stopped before it could make her burp again. She was trying to be sexy, damn it. She didn’t need to screw that up now. Riggs blushed more deeply and walked over.

 

    “Keara,” He started. “I am so attracted to you, but this doesn’t change how I feel about you. I loved you before and I’ll love you no matter how big you get, and I don’t want you to think that--” She stood up, any trace of her clumsy drunkenness temporarily gone, grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him in for a kiss. Her round taut belly pressed against his smooth one and the nipples of her petite breasts grazed against his shirt. 

 

    She broke the kiss and looked him in the eye. “Shut-up and fuck me.” She said, before pulling him onto the bed. He landed between her legs and she pulled up her shirt to reveal her small breasts, offset by the large round belly below them. The skin around her navel was flushed due to the mead and her hips pooched over her belt. He pounced upon her breasts unintentionally pressing against her over-full stomach and she moaned in both pleasure and discomfort as he sucked her on nipple. She lifted his shoulder with one hand, relieving some of the pressure while her other hand set to work undoing her belt. The belt came free fairly easily, but try as she might she couldn’t remove her shorts. She huffed as the pleasure built and her needs became more frantic. 

 

    Fuck it. She thought, before grabbing her knife out from under her and cutting the shorts off with one fluid motion. For the first time since her initial growth her butt was fully unconstrained and, free of the restrictive garment it billowed out to its full size. She shifted and writhed under Riggs as he played with her. Her ass acted as a cushion, letting her bounce and wiggle under her lover as her belly pressed into his side. His hand moved over her stomach and tugged gently on the blonde fuzz just below it before gently parting her thighs and teasing the lips of her vulva.

 

    She cooed, as she traced her finger up his back and hen buried her hand in his shaggy brown hair, pulling him close despite the discomfort in her belly. He teased out her clit, initially shy and hooded it thrummed and pulsed with her heartbeat as his fingers toyed with her. They worked gently, careful not to hurt her as her own anticipation made her more slick. Each touch slightly more daring than the last. He moved his attention away from her breasts and kissed down the dome of her belly. and she moaned as even the gentle pecks against her drum-tight skin sent tremors of pressure through her overly sensitive body.

 

    “Gently.” She whispered and his fingers slowed, his kisses moved off of her belly and slid to the side across her waist. His free hand traced the curves of her form. Suddenly he grabbed at her ass and she yelped in both surprise and arousal. It wasn’t that it was more sensitive than it had been before, but that sensitivity now covered a much larger area of her body and produced a pleasure that was entirely foreign to her. She wanted more.

 

    She grabbed him by the collar, and yanked his face towards her. “Get those clothes off.” she ordered, letting him go. He obliged, frantically pulling off his shirt and pants as she rolled over and presented herself to him to be filled. He obliged, taking her around the waist and sliding into her. She stifled a whimper and grabbed at the furs beneath her as the pressure of him filling her came upon her all at once. She kept her back arched as he thrust into her and her heavy belly, full of mead hung toward the bed. Her ass slapped against his stomach and she gyrated against him, biting her lip as she fully immersed herself in the pleasure this lewd body had to offer.

 

    He’d bedded her before, but she had never felt so purpose-built for the task. Her hips, her ass, even her belly were all for pleasure, both his and hers. She was made for this. His hands moved from her waist to her ass and he pressed upward against her cheeks allowing him to thrust deeper into her. She cried out, burying her face in the furs as the pressure built within her. She felt herself squeeze around him and their heartbeats mingled as both of them neared climax. She pressed her hips back against his body and let go, allowing the pleasure to wash over her. She cried out, dropping the furs and as her fingers  and toes splayed outward. She fought to keep her back arched, pressing her fattenned ass against Riggs, wanting him as deep inside of her as possible through the moment of climax. Finally the crashing wave rolled back and she dropped her head onto the blankets and felt his hot cum run out of her.

 

    She felt him grab her around her soft middle and she flexed one final time as he pulled out of her, making him tug himself free. He dropped onto the bed next to her, looking both satisfied and exhausted. She rolled onto her side to look at him, smiling and letting her belly rest against the soft furs.

 

    “You’re so beautiful,” she cooed as she touched his face.

 

    “I could say the same about you.” He replied, eyelids half closed, fading fast.

 

    “Even with all this?” She asked, running a hand down her side, letting it ride along the slopes of her new curves.

 

    “Especially.” He yawned. She looked over at him somewhat taken aback by the statement, but it was too late. He was asleep. She scooted closer, placing her head on his chest, her belly pressed against his side and fell asleep.

8 - The Butt of the Joke

    “This has to be some kind of joke!” Keara yelled waking Riggs from his stupor and sending him scrambling for his sword.

 

    “What? What is it?” He demanded as he tumbled out of the bed. Keara stood, naked in front of a vanity mirror holding her belly and looking horrified. What had been a fairly significant potbelly, the day before had developed into a full-blown mead-gut overnight. Her ass still dominated her figure, and Riggs had a good view of it with her turned away from him. Her hips now easily surpassed the width of her shoulders and her butt stood out at least a hand-span behind her. She turned to look at him and he noticed that even her chest had filled out. The small mounds on her chest budding into moderate breasts large enough to hang. She stood open-mouthed and she dropped her gut letting it slap against her thighs, and fattened pubic mound. 

 

    “But I didn’t kill anything.” She insisted. Riggs sat on the bed, hand on his chin eyebrows knitted together. 

 

    “I don’t think you got that drunk sloshed enough to kill him.” He pointed out. “But you did technically ‘fell’ him in the drinking contest. Also, some of that’s probably the mead” She let out an exasperated cry and stomped over to her pack, which she began to dig through. “What are you doing?” Riggs asked.

 

    She pulled out a pair of shorts, and pulled them up, getting them past her calves but not being able to force them up her thighs. She hopped over to the bed and dropped onto her wider butt, holding her legs straight out and tugging with all of her might. Surprisingly she was able to force them up her thighs, but when they reached her ass it became obvious that it was a lost cause. She gave three more mighty tugs and only succeeded in ripping the shorts apart. She screamed in frustration and tossed them to the other end of the room.

 

    “How long until we get to Delmor?” She asked, crossing her arms, face and ears turning red. 

 

    Riggs crossed his arms over his chest and smirked at her. “Still dead set on the treasure?” He asked. “It’s a few hours up the coast. We should be able to make it by nightfall if we leave now.” Keara got up and marched back over to Riggs's pack pulling out one of his long tunics and tugging it over her head before retrieving her belt and cinching it around her waist. The result was a kind of short dress. She was technically bottomless beneath it, but it did keep her covered.

 

    “Alright.” She said. “Get dressed. Let’s go.” Her stomach growled loud enough to be heard across the room. Her blush deepened.

 

    “Do you want to get breakfast first?” Riggs asked.

 

+++

    An hour later, the two of them were riding up the coast. Despite her friskiness the night before Keara was in a sour mood and she sat, hunched over and brooding as they trotted along the sandy shore.

 

    “You wanna talk about it?” Riggs asked, riding up beside her.

 

    “Nope.” She said flatly.

 

    “Okay,” He continued. “Then do you want to discuss our plan?” 

 

    She sighed and closed her eyes. “Sure.” She finally said. “That’s smart. What’s our plan?”

 

     “Well,” He started, a look of giddy excitement crossing his face as he unfurled the map against the back of Archibald’s neck. “The treasure is kept in the palace keep, It’s way more than we could carry in a single trip, and it’s going to be hard enough to sneak past all the rock-maws even once.” Keara nodded along, unintentionally investing herself in what he was saying despite her attempted angst.

 

      “But,” Riggs continued, holding up a finger. “The city was moved underground using rock magic, and that takes a seal on each of the major structures to keep it there.” he pointed to a diagram of a stone obelisk painted onto the map. “We destroy the seal on the palace and the entire building should rise to the surface.”

 

     “And you don’t think the rock-maw’s will notice that?” She asked, shooting Riggs a skeptical look. 

 

     “They’ll be otherwise occupied while we make our escape.” He grinned back at her like an idiot. “They moved the city on the coast.” He explained. “There’s a wall of granite here keeping the ocean at bay, but one well-placed explosive and we can drown the lot of them.” She whistled, looking a the map of the cavern and imaging the whole thing filling with water.

 

     “That might count as felling an awful lot of enemies.” She pointed out.

 

     “Well, obviously I’d set the charges.” He said, folding up the map and shoving it back in his pack. “The trick would be getting to the surface early enough to avoid drowning ourselves, but not so early as to give away our plan.” Keara whistled a long low note.

 

      “I won’t be able to help much if something goes wrong.” She pointed out. 

Riggs shook his head. “We’ll just have to make sure everything goes according to plan.” 

 

     They were off to a bad start. The sandy ground and Keara’s increased weight slowed the horses down considerably. By the time they reached the peninsula where Delmor was said to be buried the sun had already long set. The night was quiet save for the sea breeze and the splash of waves upon the sand. On the beach stood a lone granite obelisk, almost completely black, backlit by the full moon. 

They tied the horses to some nearby trees with large fronds and fibrous bark and Keara rubbed the bridge of Butterscotch's nose,

 

    assuring her she’d be back. They approached the obelisk cautiously and as they got closer Keara could make out a round indentation in the stone. Riggs pulled the cypher from his pack.

     “Are you ready?” He asked somberly.

 

    “I’m not sure.” She admitted. “How many times am I going to have to save your ass?” she asked pointedly raising an eyebrow.

   

     He laughed. “And I thought the point of this was saving yours.” He pointed out and received a punch to the shoulder for the remark. Riggs placed the cypher into the obelisk and immediately the stone pillar began to rotate with a low rumble. The ground shook and Keara felt the vibrations travel up through her legs sending her ass into a cacophony of jiggles. She slapped her hands against it before Riggs could turn and see it bouncing, but when he looked over at her he blushed anyway. She looked down to see her new breasts and belly jiggling and wobbling excitedly. 

 

    The sand fell away around them revealing that they were actually standing on a granite platform. It began to descend slowly until they were completely below the water line. For a moment they were suspended in darkness, faintly illuminated by a pillar of moonlight, but as they descended deeper Keara could make out buildings and streets illuminated by green crystals perched in windows and the corners of buildings. Her eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness and she could make out the intricate marble stonework and tall slender structures that the city had been fabled to be  known for. The entire city was built in concentric rings, and in the center stood the palace: a massive domed structure surrounded by spires. The palace of Delmor was said to contain the riches of a hundred kingdoms. And below the majestic city were the rock-maws

 

     They moved through the streets and cragglers pulled carts of freshly mined quartz, but none looked up. They each busied themselves with their task at hand like worker-bees, unflappable; undistracted. There were less of them than Keara might have expected for a city of this size. She estimated their numbers to be in the dozens rather than the hundreds, but they stalked through the city all the same and the cavern was alive with the chattering of their crystalline teeth. 

 

    The platform finally reached the ground just outside the city gates and came to a booming halt. The gates were unguarded. Why would they have to be? The men who had built them were long dead and the creatures that lived inside now had no expectation that anyone would ever find them. Rather than entering the city Riggs turned away from the gates and made his way into the deeper darkness behind them. Keara followed, her eyes adjusting to the darkness faster than his own. When he reached a wall he kneeled down and reached into his pack to withdraw a metal sphere, inlaid in gold and covered in intricate carvings.

 

    “What is that?” Keara whispered. He smiled as he took the sphere in both hands and twisted, opening up six large holes in the sphere and revealing a burning blue light on the inside. 

 

    “This,” he whispered holding it up for her to see. “Is a dwarven mining bomb. I won it bout a year ago in a game of dice.” He set it down gently next to the wall. “In exactly one hour we either have to be back on the surface or we drown along with everyone else down here.” Keara looked distrustfully at the glowing orb. Dwarf magic was inherently volatile. 

 

    “How stable is that thing?” She asked, not wanting to take her eyes off it lest it notice her complacency and explode. 

 

    Riggs shrugged. “Stable enough. Just don’t kick it or anything.” He got up from his crouch and waved for her to follow him to the gates. The streets were mostly empty and the ring like pattern of the city gave them a straight shot toward the palace, but in order to get there they would have to cross dozens of curving pathways in which a rock-maw might be just out of sight. Riggs stared down the street with his jaw set and his eyebrows knitted together. It wasn’t the way he normally looked on missions.

     Under different circumstances he may have risked being caught and simply worried about trouble as it came. He was being more cautious now, but the clock was ticking and one way or another they had to make it to the palace within the hour. She was about to say something to him when the silence was broken by the sound of heavy cart wheels and chattering teeth. They ducked away as an iron cart, laden with quartz rolled past. It was pulled by a craggler, the knuckles of its forelimbs bloody from walking on the hard stone and a rock-maw sat behind it, chattering and whipping at the creature. The cart passed in front of them and turned toward the palace.

 

     “Now.” Riggs whispered and he ran for the cart Keara following close behind. He dove into the back and ducked down behind a large block of quartz. Keara tried to do the same, but couldn’t quite manage to leap over the jump and ended up being dragged behind the cart instead. Rig’s grabbed her by the arm and pulled her in, lurching the cart fairly significantly in the process but getting her behind one of the blocks just as the rock-maw up front turned around to investigate.

He scanned the cart with his tiny crystalline eyes. He looked like he might even climb back into the cart with them, but before he could, the craggler took this breach in its masters attention as an opportunity to rest, coming to a complete stop in the middle of the road. The rock-maw spun, cursing in his native tongue and wiping the creature viciously until it let out a low bellow and began moving again. 

 

      “That was too close.” Keara whispered.

 

      “Sorry.” Riggs said. “I’m not usually the agile one.”

 

       Keara huffed. “Well if we make it out of here you’ll have plenty of time to get used to it.”

       The cart rolled all the way to the city center bringing them within a few hundred yards of the palace and Riggs jumped out of the cart, Keara following behind slightly less gracefully. The movements themselves weren't any more difficult, it was the way her body responded to motion. If she could avoid getting any bigger she could likely regain a measure of her former dexterity. She climbed to her feet and darted behind a pillar with Riggs before the guards by the palace entrance could notice them

 

     “What now?” She asked, dusting off her knees and trying to ignore the way her belly bunched up when she bent over 

     “Now…” He started, turning to her. She was pressed up against the stone, but she’d misjudged her width and most of her ass was still fully exposed. he grabbed her by the shoulder pulling her more fully into concealment. “Now we find a way past them.” He said, pointing toward the two spear-wielding guards who stood dumbly by the palace entrance. Keara, withdrew her bow.

 

      “What are you doing?” Riggs hissed, grabbing her wrist as she tried to string the weapon. Keara rolled her eyes and shrugged him off and fired an arrow at one of the glowing, green crystals in the distance. It created a spectacular light show as it shattered and the pieces of it noisily clattered to the street below. Despite the commotion, for a moment it looked like the rock-maw guards wouldn’t respond. Finally the taller of the two hit his comrade with the butt of his spear. Reluctantly the smaller guard lumbered away to investigate.

 

    “There.” Keara said. “Now there’s only one to deal with.” She notched another arrow. “Just in case.” She insisted. Riggs put a hand on her arm again, this time less urgently.

 

      “Please.” He scoffed. “If I can’t handle one rock-maw, just let him kill me.” He crawled around the edge of the pillar, careful not to make a sound. Rock-maws weren’t known for being observant, but the last thing they needed was an alarm being raised. He reached the edge of the building and slowly slid along the wall toward the brute. He was large by Rock-maw standards. He was nearly as tall as Riggs and twice as wide with all the brute strength of a dwarf and a skull as thick as a lump of granite. Riggs slid closer and closer until her was directly behind the beast, drew his knife and reached forward to slit the creature’s throat. He was surprised when the monster turned suddenly and bit his knife between emerald-green teeth.

 

     Riggs had time to look at the knife and observe that the metal had been cleanly sheared down to the hilt before the monster spun and kicked him over with one stocky leg and dove upon him. It had apparently either forgotten about it’s spear, or prefered eating its foes alive as it leaned forward, mouth open, translucent teeth sparkling in the low-light. Riggs grabbed the rock-maw’s craggy shoulders as the creature’s jaws snapped and cracked above him. If he could reach his sword he’d have a fighting chance, but it was taking all of his strength to avoid decapitation. Slowly the monster’s crystal jaws inched closer and closer when out a the darkness and arrow soared across the promenade and impacted against the creature’s face. It flinched as the wooden shaft clattered to the ground and Riggs turned to see Keara breaking the heads off of another pair of arrows and letting them fly, both hit the guard with enough force to hurt, but no point with which to break the creature’s tough skin. Riggs seized his opportunity. 

 

    Kicking the creature in the chest, he reached for his blade and in a single swing separated the monsters head from his shoulders. He turned to Keara.

 

     “Still your kill.” She said with a shrug. He was about to reply when he noticed the smaller guard staring open mouthed from several yards away. He raised his sword and the creature turned to run. Keara shot him through the neck with one Expertly placed arrow and the rock-maw fell dead into the street. Riggs looked at her shocked. 

 

     “Just help me move the body.” She grumbled. They dropped the two dead guards into a trough near the edge of the palace which Keara assumed had once been a flower-bed, before forcing open the enormous wooden double-doors and heading inside.  The palace was vast. Despite being among the tallest buildings that Keara had ever seen the central corridor was all a single story with vaulted ceilings and massive stained glass windows that would have looked magnificent in the sunlight. As it stood, the enormous room was cast in a sort of ethereal half light as the green glow of the ceiling filtered in through the colored glass.

 

      Keara’s behind had expanded significantly since the altercation outside and the cheeks of her butt now hung out from the bottom of her tunic. she waddled a few steps down the hallway before stopping and letting out an exasperated sigh, undoing the belt and letting the underside of her belly to join her asscheeks in the open air. Riggs nearly said something but was silenced with a withering glance.

“Do you have any idea where the treasure room is?” She asked, tossing the belt aside and thanking any gods that might exist for the low -light to hide her blush. 

 

    “No idea.” Riggs admitted “Though I figure that that’s a good place to start.” At the end of the hall stood an enormous metal door. There was maybe a few meters of clearance from the walls and ceiling on any side and was inlaid with golden accents in intricate designs. The door itself was a treasure. Keara could only imagine what might lay behind it.

     They approached cautiously, each of them covered one side of the hallway as they passed door after door, staircase after staircase. When they had first seen the massive doorway Keara hadn't been sure they’d be able to open it, but as they got closer she could make out a pair of tiny golden handles inlaid into the intricate metal-work. Riggs took the handles, which were only small in comparison to the massive structure that they were attached to and pushed. 

 

9 - The Treasure of a Hundred Kingdoms

 

     The door split down the middle revealing itself to actually be two doors so perfectly cast as to be completely flush with each other. They moved slowly, but easily on their incredible hinges until with a resounding boom they stood completely open. It was obvious now why the doors had been so large. Inside was the treasure of a hundred kingdoms. Mountains of gold and silver lined the walls of the vast chamber and buried within them were beautifully carved ships and statues. There were jewels and gems, artwork and pottery. The value of the history contained within these walls was almost as great as the monetary value of it’s gold.

     The riches within this chamber were more than enough to ensure that her and Riggs could live in luxury for even an elf’s lifespan. These were treasures to rival the entire kingdom of the elves. With this her father would pose no threat to her and she could live whatever kind of life she wanted as long as she accepted being fatter than she’d like, and the only thing that stood in her way sat several meters in front of her, set aside from the rest of the treasure.

     “Is that the seal.” Keara asked, ignoring the gold for the time being and approaching the small stone pillar. It contrasted the room’s beauty with the obvious lack of care that had gone into its creation, and it had been clumsily plastered to the ground and was roughly hewn from sandstone as opposed the rest of the marble and granite they’d seen thus far. It was covered with sharp rock-maw runes which glowed with the same greenish light as the crystals that lit the room.

 

      “That’s it.” He said flatly. Keara reached for a ceremonial scepter which had been half-buried in a pile of emeralds and made as if to smash the pillar. “Hold it!” Riggs yelled. Keara stopped mid swing. “We can't break it until the charges go off.” She dropped the scepter, annoyed and leaned against the pillar. At first it held her weight, but the brittle sandstone had been mined by the rock-maws for convenience rather than strength and there was a sharp crack, followed by the entire pillar toppling over and being crushed under Keara’s prodigious behind.

 

     She stood quickly as if maybe it was something she could fix, but all that was left of the pillar was a pile of sand with the rough shape of Keara’s butt pressed into it. She looked up at Riggs whose eyes were wide with both surprise and fear as the ground began to shake and the crystals that lit the room changed from a eerie green to a deep red.

 

     “Come on!” He yelled as he turned and ran from the chamber, Keara close behind. They reached the entrance of the palace and Riggs held out an arm to prevent Keara from toppling over the cliff which now encircled the building.  The palace had risen on a plateau of granite which even now was climbing higher into the air. All of the crystals outside now glowed the same deep red and every rock-maw in the city now turned toward them. Some of them climbed onto cragglers and began scaling the cliff face toward them. Other's grabbed the very rock itself and began chanting, trying to use the small amount of earth magic they had to prevent Riggs and Keara’s escape. 

 

      “We have to drown them.” Riggs yelled over the rumbling of the earth. He pointed out away from the palace, across the starscape of red lights toward a single blue flicker in the distance. It was the dwarf-charge. Keara unslung her bow and notched an arrow. “Are you crazy?” Riggs yelled, grabbing the bow from her. “Do you know how many of them there are down there?”

 

     “Riggs I knocked over the pillar. Let me get us out of this.” She pleaded but he ignored her drawing the bow back himself. “Riggs! You and I both know you can’t make that shot.”

 

     “I’ve fired a bow as often as you have.” He said, a smile on his face despite looking down nervously at the cragglers fast approaching below them. 

     “It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve fired if you can’t hit anything.” She grabbed for the bow again, but he pulled away from her, and looked her in the eye. He looked terrified. At first she thought he would hand her the bow, but instead he set his jaw, turned away, took aim, and without breathing let go of the arrow.

     It wasn’t a perfect shot. His fingers lingered on the shaft of the arrow longer than they’d needed and if Keara had been the one to aim she’d have angled the shot lower, but given more power to the pull. Nevertheless, the single bolt arked into the darkness and

 

     disappeared from their sight. A moment later the blue light in the distance winked out and a moment after that there was an earth-shattering explosion which temporality lit the entire chamber in blue light. The shockwave a full second later knocked both of them off their feet and the rumbling of the rising earth was briefly drowned out by the shrieking of the rock-maws below and the roar of water.

The cavern was dark and for a moment Riggs and Keara lay there listening as the sounds of struggle faded, and they were left with only the rumbling of the earth and the fury of the ocean as it rushed in to reclaim this place. Suddenly there was a ray of bright light above them and the ceiling opened up to shine light upon the sunken city. Riggs stood, helping Keara to her feet and they both looked over the edge, but the city was gone and all they could see was the dark raging water slowly rising with them. Cascading waterfalls flowed over the edges of the opening in the roof and filled the cavern faster as The palace finally reached the surface and came to a halt several meters above sea-level. The ocean calmed and they found themselves standing in front of the palace just off the coast of the beach where they’d left their horses. 

     “We did it.” Keara said, half-surprised half relieved. She looked at Riggs, ears perking up and a smile starting to spread across her face. 

     He grinned back at her. “I told you I could make that shot.” He said. She punched him, then hugged him not caring about the way her soft body squished against his firm one. She was about to ask how they were planning to transport all of the treasure when the sea began churning again

     “What now,” She groaned, letting go of Riggs just in time to see a half dozen sinkholes open up in the water and several of Delmor’s buildings rise from the depths. They were covered in Rock-maws.

 

Epilogue

    The question of how to transport the treasure out of the palace ended up being a non issue. A group of fishermen off the coast noticed the new, ancient city which had apparently sprung up overnight. Riggs was happy to pay them handsomely for food and supplies if the sailors would agree to carry a message for him.

 

    Days later a group of craftsmen arrived at the new archipelago, skeptical, but curious about the claims that they’d heard. Much to their surprise and delight they found that Riggs was able to pay them everything he'd promised and more in return for a port being built and a bridge connecting the palace to the shore. It was to be a significant undertaking and could take months to complete. Riggs was unconcerned and offered to let the craftsmen stay in some of the other buildings that had risen to the surface.

 

    With the craftsmen came their families and soon the fishermen who had stopped to investigate before, found it convenient to visit Delmor frequently to trade and sell their fish to the families who now lived there. In fact, it became so profitable that many of the fisherman decided to move to Delmor themselves and set up a permanent fishing operation out of the new port that was being built.

 

    The city continued to grow and after the port was completed the craftsment found that there was still a demand for bridges to be built connecting the islands to each other and to the shore. With the city now more accessible than ever came more residents and more trade. The demand to live in the city began to exceed the available space and houses were built on the beach.

 

    Riggs sent out another message, though this one didn’t receive as immediate a response as the letter sent to the craftsmen. Weeks after the message had been sent a group of dwarves arrived at the palace, a rare sight so far from the mountains. Riggs explained to them about the rock-maws and the portions of the city still submerged beneath the ocean and after much discussion and negotiation it was agreed that the dwarves would begin excavating the rest of the city in exchange for being allowed ownership of whatever buildings they were able to bring back to the surface.

 

    Two years and three months after the palace was initially raised, the dwarves managed to break the seal binding three of the other underground structures and the city began to grow. The dwarves’ primary concern was the value of these buildings which could be sold for a high price to those living on the coast, but some of them did decide to remain in the city permanently taking up residence in some of the excavated buildings and turning the burgeoning city into one of the few human settlements with access to dwarf craftsmanship. 

 

    More buildings rose from the depths and the already prosperous city flourished with trade, culture and wealth. It was becoming more and more difficult to ignore Delmor, and to that end the elves decided to send a delegation.

 

    The elven ambassador arrived with his entourage by sea only three years after the palace had initially been brought back to the surface. At that time it had been an archipelago, but now it was a sprawling metropolis of granite and marble off the coast. Only the outermost buildings still needed wooden bridges and more and more of them were brought up from the earth each passing day. 

Delmor's port was one of the largest in the world and no stranger to exotic ships, but the elves’ enormous, white catamaran was still a sight to behold. It was twice and a half as long as the other ships in port and each hull sat low in the water taking up as much width as any other ship. It had sails but seemed to travel heedless of the wind as it glided into port and came to a stop. Despite the ship’s great size it had only three passengers, all three of whom disembarked immediately as the ship gracefully halted next to the dock. 

They moved with a grace tempered by obvious discomfort. Elves did not often travel and when they did they were usually greeted with greater deference. Though the men in the port did seem to view them as a novelty, none of them moved to attend to their needs. The elf in the lead, a tall man of exceptional elven beauty sniffed and his ears twitched in irritation. They should have come sooner. The people of this city needed to learn how to treat their betters.

      After what felt like an eternity of waiting he was finally approached by a tall human, nearly his equal in height with sly features and fine clothing.

     “Esteemed ambasador,” The human started, arms held wide in a welcoming gesture. “It’s an honor to welcome you to our city.” He held out a hand to the Elf. The hand went ignored.

 

     “Is it an honor indeed?” The elf asked, raising his voice so that all present would know to pay attention. “This is hardly a the greeting I would expect an elven ambassador to receive, Much less one of my station,” he felt a cruel smile touch his lips despite himself. “You will address me as Lord Than of the Sycamore Tribe and chosen heir of Lord Eldar hilsef. Report to your master that I’ve come to parley with him in person.” Than smirked. That should get his attention. In delicate political matters such as this, it was important that the tone be set early. To further emphasize his disgust he turned away from the man who had been sent to greet them and awaited his apology. It never came.

 

    He grew tired of waiting and turned back to the man, but instead of contrition the man was glaring at him with a look of unveiled contempt. It quickly changed to an affable smile once their eyes met, but it was clearly meant to be seen.

 

     “Governor Riggs, at your service.” The man said, smile widening as he extended his hand again. “I trust you’ve heard of me as well, Lord Than.” Now it was Than’s turn to be surprised. He took the offered hand daintily and graced Riggs with a nod. “Begging your pardon that our welcome isn’t up to your expectations, sir.” Riggs continued, his sarcasm barely masked. The High Elf flinched at being called “Sir” rather than “Lord”, but held his tongue.

“Had I known that you’d be coming in person,” Riggs continued,  “I’d have arranged for someone else to have met you here.” One of the elves behind Than cocked his head at this but the man himself did not appear to have noticed the slight. Riggs motioned for them to follow. 

 

     He marched them down the cobbled streets toward the palace, while the elves did their best to distance themselves from the bustling crowds. This was easier said than done as a fair portion of the population took up a great deal of space.

“Are all the women here so…” Than looked for the correct word. “Zaftig?” He finally said, directing the question at Riggs.

 

    “Hmmm?” Riggs replied. “Oh, not all of them, but you know how it can be in cities. The citizens tend to emulate the royalty in their fashion”

 

“But… I thought you were the governor.” Than stated, confused.

     “Exactly.” Riggs said. “I’m not the royalty.” He grinned over his shoulder and Than continued to look upon the women that they passed with veiled disgust. Not one among them had the spritelike build of elf women and the majority were substantially larger than most human women he’d seen before. They were surrounded on all sides by bountiful bellies and heaving breasts, but the majority of them wore clothing to accentuate their incredible hips. Skirts were split expertly to expose thick heavy thighs and show off every curve of the substantial assets the Delmorian women carried behind them. They swayed and sashayed down the streets and more than once Than and his cohorts had to dodge to avoid being knocked aside by a careless sway of a woman’s waist

 

     “Must we walk all the way?” Than asked, trying to keep the distress out of his voice as a particularly large human woman nearly backed herself into them while leaning over to examine some jewelry in a nearby stall.

 

     “But this is the best way to see the city.” Riggs insisted. “I’m expecting to have representatives from the elves living here on a permanent basis. Surely you should be able to tell them what to expect?”

 

    “We can discuss plans for a consulate later.” Than Continued. “I hardly think--”

     “Not a consulate.” Riggs cut him off. “But, perhaps you’re right. That’s a matter to discuss more officially.”

      They reached the palace and a pair of guards, one human, one dwarven pulled the massive doors open and allowed the men inside. The elves audibly gasped. The Elven Kingdom was magnificent, but even they had never seen a building such as this. The tropical sun shone brilliantly through the massive stained glass windows and the ceiling stretched higher than any of the great elven halls. Riggs led them down the massive corridore to a table and sat down, himself on one side, the elves on the other. He clasped his hands and looked over at Than expectantly.

      “Yes, well…” Than started. “It seems the city of Delmor has amassed quite a reputation. We of the elves feel that trade would be mutually beneficial for both our kingdoms.” His voice echoed slightly off the marble walls and the sound of it somehow made Governor Riggs’s own silence feel even more uncomfortable. He continued. “We would be willing to set up a consulate in city, presuming facilities be provided and an official status--”

      “No.” Said Riggs, cutting him off again. Than raised his eyebrows alarmed. “You’ll have no special status in the walls of Delmor. Men are men here. There will be no distinctions made between humans, elves or dwarfs.” He crossed his arms and continued. “As for the consulate, you may have one if you wish, but we also expect that you allow your citizens free travel between your forests and the city of Delmore. We find that our relations with other kingdoms improve when their citizens are allowed to live within our borders.”
 

   Than stared, open-mouthed. “I hardly think any elf would want to live in a place like this.” He said, stifling a laugh. 

 

    “I have it on good authority that they do.” Said a voice from behind them. Than spun to see a woman of incredible girth standing behind him. Despite evidence to the contrary she was incredibly light on her feet as she’d approached him near silently. “Hello, Than.” She said with a predatory grin. “It’s been a while.” 

     When Than had last seen Keara she had been small, even by elf standards and had possessed the sort of waifish beauty common to their folk. The woman who stood before him now had that same inherent beauty, but exemplified in a body which implied opulence rather than proprietary. She was adorned in fine silks of scarlet and magenta and which hung sheer against her flesh, accented by gems and golden jewelry. While her face and arms did seem fuller than Than had remembered, she had remained mostly unchanged from the shoulders up, however one need only look down to see the significance of her transformation.

 

      Keara had completely overcome her people’s tendency toward flat chests and two round fattened breasts strained the confines of her red silken top. Ample cleavage exposed a canyon of flesh and what was covered by the sheer fabric was hardly concealed. They hung heavy and swayed with each movement, evidently unsupported except by the belly that sat beneath them.

 

     Than had seen many a large belly on his way in, uncovered and exposed to the tropical sun and Keara’s was no exception. Hers however was larger than any he’d seen on the human or dwarf women and it stood out from her, perfect elven skin a soft pink and unblemished. Her navel was deep and likely beyond her reach, but didn’t crease under its own weight. It did bounce and jiggle with each of Keara’s graceful steps, sagging slightly in front of her crotch and bouncing back up to impart the motion to her unrestrained breasts. 

Her ass was the real prize though and Than was granted a full view of it as she rounded the table. It was covered mostly by a red silken skirt and a sash of golden coins, joined together like mail. The skirt however, was entirely too short to cover her behind and the bottom of her ass-cheeks were left exposed as well as one entire hip due to a slit up the side. It bounced incredibly with each improbable step and each cheek was so large and wobbled so much that it risked touching the ground. Nevertheless, Keara effortlessly made her way around the table and leaned over to drape her arms around Riggs’s shoulders. He smiled, not taking his eyes off of Than as he and his entourage sat staring at the gargantuan elf before them.

      “Lord Than,” He started. “If I may introduce you to my Wife, Lady Keara. But you may call her, ‘Her Majesty, Lady Keara, Queen of Delmore and High Princess of the Elves.’” 

    Than’s look of shock was replaced by one of rage. “Princess?” He demanded “She gave up any right to that title when she left the forest and began cavorting with humans”

 

    “Just one human.” Keara corrected, ruffling Riggs’s hair. “And if that’s the official stance of the elves then I would understand completely why you might refuse to do business with us.” Than, for his part, did stand as if to leave. “But…” Keara continued “As far as the people of Delmor know my current figure is a direct result of the cities wealth and an extravagant lifestyle.” She said, lightly slapping her flank and sending her entire ass into motion. “They’d be devastated to find out the real cause of my sudden expansion.”

 

    “Are…” Than began. “You can’t honestly be threatening the Elven Kingdom.”

 

    “With a trade embargo.” Keara said shrugging. “But, if the elves could be persuaded to forget the part they played in making me the fatty I am today then It might be in their best interests to have a daughter of the High Lord on the throne of one of the wealthiest kingdoms in the the world.” She smiled. “Daddy did always want me to marry into wealth.” She said kissing Riggs on the cheek. Than bristled, ears turning bright red as his lips puckered into a look of disgust.

 

    “We will…” He began. “...Present your offer to your father, but do not expect a warm reply.” He began marching toward the exit, the other elves following. “The elves will not be bullied by a thug above his station and an overstuffed marshmallow!” He burst through the doors and ran out into the street back toward the pier. The last thing Keara and Riggs saw was him and his men disappearing into a throng of billowing behinds and bountiful bellies before the doors slammed shut. 

 

    Keara collapsed backwards into a fit of giggles, landing on her incredibly padded ass, her belly and breasts jiggling excitedly as she laughed.

 

    “Do you think that went well then?” Riggs asked leaning over onto Keara’s belly and helping to keep her hefty beasts out of her face.

 

    She shrugged. “I probably could have been nicer.” She admitted. “But it was worth it to see the look on his face. Father can’t turn down trade with us without seriously hurting his own people and if he does the council will just elect a different High Lord.”

 

    “And you’re fine with other elves in the city?” Riggs asked pointedly.

 

    Keara scoffed. “I don’t dislike elves. It’d be nice to see some of my own people again.”

 

    “So you won’t mind being around a bunch of skinny elf girls then?” He asked, letting go of her breasts and wrapping his arms around her fat belly for emphasis. Keara was forced to grab her own tits to avoid being slapped in the face and pushed them off to the side.

 

    “I’m more concerned about you, you do have a history with ‘skinny elf girls’” She chided playfully.

 

    “Eh.” Riggs shrugged. “knowing this city they won’t stay that way for long.” Keara slapped at him playfully and he hopped back to his feet. “Need me to help you up?”

 

    “Actually.” She said thoughtfully. “I wouldn’t mind staying down her for a bit.” She grabbed at her belly and parted her thighs giving Riggs a perfect view up the short skirt. “Care to join me?”

keara - full grown.png

-The End-