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Merrie’s back and stomach ached as she watched the reapers talking among themselves. It had been an hour since she started feeding power to the Lord of Shadows and not a single one, not even Autiur, had spoken to her. She thought there was something between them but as time stretched, she was both thankful and saddened that he ignored her to speak with his peers.

Her tail snapped back and forth, the movements transmitting to her buttocks as she flexed one leg and then the other. She felt like she was on the edge of a knife as she watched silently, her mind straining to keep energy flowing steadily into the Lord of Shadows and a shade to obscure her efforts.

Merrie was surprised that the spell actually worked. She would have thought it would be nearly impossible to cheat a god or death but it appeared to be working. She gulped and ducked her head.

Her thoughts drifted to the possible punishments if they did catch her. As the gods of death spoke about suicide, torture, and agony, she couldn’t help but imagine herself in the various positions. The horrifically detailed descriptions flashed through her mind, each one more alluring than the other.

She wanted to accept them, to feel a knife against her throat or to have her limbs torn apart. As much as the reapers spoke with casual brutality, more than a few of them found pleasure in the countless deaths they witnessed. She panted softly as the desire grew inside her, fueled by images of how the very gods would torture her for their own fantasies.

Pressing her thighs together, she ground her soaked clitoris between her legs and rocked back and forth. Her movements were quick and subtle as she tried not to draw attention to herself. She wanted to stroke herself, to get fucked by the clear images welling up in her head. Death of Internal Bleeding was talking about a man being impaled on a spit; Merrie could almost feel the hard metal pressing against her ass.

A soft whine escaped her lips.

Sweating, she twisted and struggled to concentrate on her spells. The energy flowed steadily to the Lord of Shadows. Its shadows boiled underneath the shade spell. The alien creature gnawed at the edges of reality, crumbling the stone and corroding everything around it, but the spread of darkness and the Lord’s motions were both arrested by the reapers’ presence; moving even a millimeter took an agonizing long time.

Merrie still wasn’t sure what she was going to do. There was no enemy, no threat. She needed a target to fight if she was going to use the Lord of Shadows. She only had fear to guide her as she strained to grant the Lord as much power as possible in the possibility that she would need to summon it into her fragment.

She didn’t know if the Lord could kill death, one or many of them. She suspected, it could, which is why she continued to feed it power despite the alien thoughts that were creeping through the connection between them. The longer she remained connected to the Lord of Shadows, the more the alien thoughts intruded her own consciousness. She could feel the edges of her thoughts fraying at the edges, the world shifting constantly around her. Every object and wall around her felt fragile, rippling with the delicate barrier of Shadows.

The insanity of darkness was also infuriating. She could almost feel how the Lord would be able to help her, but the thoughts would slip away. Her thoughts would fragment and it took her a moment to solidify them back into her own identity before she could try again. She wondered if the otherworldly creature was trying to help her, in its overwhelming way, or if she was just fooling herself by thinking she had a chance.

Doubt darkened her thoughts. Her ears and tail drooped as she considered accepting one of the many endings that deaths fantasized about. There was one talking about ripping out the organs. She moaned as she imagined herself on a table as someone rammed his fist into her guts and yanked out long strands of her intestines. She shuddered with desire and bit her lip to avoid crying out.

A sudden surge of energy crawled along her skin. She jerked at the sensation of it scratching against her body, like a bare flame pressed against her back. It was too chaotic to be psychic and too bright to be shadows. Instead, it felt like fire and light and raw emotions at the same time.

It was divine power.

A god was coming.

The power burned both her skin and her thoughts. The world grew more hazy and delicate. The barrier between worlds grew thinner until it felt like only a soap bubble remained between reality and Shadows.

Around her, reapers stopped talking and made dismissing sound.

“Our glorious ‘betters’ have decided to grace us with their presence,” muttered Death of Abandoned Dreams.

“Damn the gods,” muttered another one.

Merrie whimpered quietly. Her body and spirit remembered the casual brutality that Lemetri had inflicted on her. Even a simple strike, a slap actually, had shattered bone without messing a single strand of the goddess’ hair. The idea that she would be before a god scared her, more than she could imagine.

“The light is going to kill Merrie,” said Autiur.

“Is Death of Burning Light here?”

There was an uncomfortable pause.

Merrie whimpered and curled up on her self, shoving her body tight against the legs of the nearest reaper.

“I’m here,” came a hoarse whisper. “Who’s dying?”

“Are you collecting her?”

“No, you are not to collect her soul,” came a booming, powerful voice. It beat against the walls and crushed Merrie against the ground. The overwhelming Presence brought an intense surge of pleasure as it forced her head down and her eyes averted. It was a command and she couldn’t help but orgasm with the intensity of the unspoken power.

Ectascy burned along her senses. She tried to channel it into the collar but the artifact had been unresponsive ever since the reapers had approached. She couldn’t channel it into the Lord, now in the raw pleasurable form. Panting, she concentrated on holding it inside her shaking body as she transformed it into darkness to feed the Lord. Her hips rose and fell, smacking her body against the puddle of juices that had gathered under her cunt.

“Tone it down!” snapped a couple of the reapers. Two of them stood in front of Merrie, not that it did anything to the intense light that burned her skin.

There was a thud that shook the ground. A burst of energy followed, rattling Merrie’s shade and almost disrupting the connection between between her and the Lord of Shadows. The brilliance faded quickly. “You forget your place, reapers,” said the much quieter voice. It was masculine, smooth, and rumbling.

It reminded Merrie of Bass but it was like comparing a rock to the majesty of a mountain. She wanted to hear it again, to feel it rumble against her body. Her pussy grew wet at the sound of the god’s voice. She pressed her thighs together and her pussy squelched with her unexpected excitement.

“No, we didn’t forget, Supreme God of Magic,” said Autiur with just a hint of sarcasm. “There is just a mortal present and none of us are here to collect her soul.”

“You don’t need to tell me. I can smell the stench of mortal foolishness hanging around her. I weep for the meager shred of my power that has been disgustingly bound into the artifact around her neck and more so for the sheer gall she demonstrated by corrupting that magic with darkness and submission.” The god’s voice dripped with hatred. There was no question that the he would have no hesitation to destroy her.

Despite the fear that clutched her heart, the God’s voice drew her desire. The deep rumbling had a Presence more intense than anything she had felt before. It made her want to snap the collar from her neck and pray for the ability to bond once again. She knew there would be no limit to his power and she would be practically a goddess magnifying his power.

She squirmed, the juices dribbling from her pussy and soaking the ground. Hunger for raw power called to her, a desperate longing calling to her heart. She ground her thighs together, her excitement coating her thighs with her desire.

“I’d rather you didn’t, Misyr,” said a cheerful-sounding man. He stepped into Merrie’s vision, a middle-aged man with a full head of hair and brilliant smile. His eyes were gold—no white, no pupils, just the purest yellow gold.

“Madock the Gold,” Misyr said with a voice reserved for shit on the bottom of a shoe. “What do you think you’re doing here?”

“Isn’t it obvious? It was my favors that summoned the reapers here.”

A ripple of whispers among the gathered gods of death. They looked at each other with guilty looks for a moment. A few coughs filled the room.

“To slow down time? That seems rather excessive for you trying to pull a fast one on me. Why do you demand my presence?”

“Oh, many reasons.” Madock waved his hand and smiled. He sat down in a golden chair that wasn’t there a moment earlier. Crossing one leg over the other, his black suit sparkled with delicate golden pinstripes.

“I will destroy you, merchant. My attention is precious and you can’t afford even five seconds.”

Madock looked up at the god of magic, the most powerful being that Merrie had ever heard about, and smiled broadly. He was a minor merchant god. His name sounded familiar though, something that plucked on her memories but it was before her binding with her first master, Kine. The binding process had erased many of her memories.

Misyr sighed. “Make your offer so I can reject it. Then I will destroy that woman and her collar.”

Merrie let out a soft cry and flinched.

One of the reapers stepped closer to her. Their foot was dangerously close to the corroded stone from the Lord of Shadow’s portal.

“Patience, oh mighty and powerful god of magic. There are a few other negotiators that must to the table for this deal.”

Misyr’s eyes narrowed. He glanced at Merrie who struggled with wanting to pull back in terror and crawl forward in desire. The disgust was palatable in the room. Slowly, his gaze returned to Madock.

Madock seemed unperturbed by the threat by the divine being. “Patience, Misyr.”

“You have no right to talk me like that. I will destroy—”

Madock held up his hand. “Hold on, Galladin is here.”

Any desire wracking Merrie crumbled instantly. She knew Galladin’s name, just as she remembered Jace, his champion.

Shaking her head, she swayed. Ribs ground against each other and she tasted blood in the back of her throat. She couldn’t take on two battles. With a sigh and a sick feeling twisting her stomach, she projected a pulse of agreement.

Jace continued walking backward away from her and the kin. “We will fight again, girl. Galladin is patient and the light never fades.”

He backed away for a hundred meters before he disappeared into the glare of the bonfire that centered where the bell used to be. Through the shadow kin’s eyes, she saw hints of the bodies that were scattered from the center of the explosion. Their twisted bodies and gaping wounds would have scared her one day, now they were just victims of the senseless battle from the forces of Lemetri.

Galladin was a huge man almost three meters tall with square shoulders almost equally across. He wore heavy armor emblazoned with his symbol, a glorious white fist. Brilliant light speared out in all directions, piercing the darkness and splashing against her skin. The pale flesh blackened instantly, peeling away like burning paper.

Then stopped.

A wave of energy ran over her, stopping the pain with the sharp taste of arcane magic.

Misyr lowered his staff. “Not now, Galladin.”

Galladin looked across the two gods and directly at Merrie. “What is the foul beast doing here?”

“Slowing down time,” Madock said and gestured to the twenty or so reapers in the room. “I needed a moment of stillness as we discuss her fate and the fate of the city around her.”

Misyr said, “You could pick any mortal for that.”

“Why would I care what is happening?” Galladin said, he had his arms tucked behind his tunic.

“Millions are about to die,” Madock said.

Misyr shrugged.

“Serves them right for allowing her putrescence within city limits,” boomed Galladin. He tucked his hands inside his tunic and squared his shoulders. Energy rolled along his skin, flashing along the links of his chair armor and sinking into the stone beneath his feet.

Frustration and the smallest measure of anger rose up inside Merrie. Did the gods not care that the city was about to be destroyed?

A slender, naked woman stepped out from behind Galladin. She smiled and leaned into him, her blonde hair turning red. “I don’t know about that, honey, there are many things in this city I’m quite fond of.”

Galladin snarled and stepped away as if she was made of fire. “Talus, what is the goddess of whores doing here?”

Talus shrugged, her breasts and hips swelling until she was a curvy woman. It was a slow yet sudden, one moment she was a thin woman, the next she was curvy with a hanging belly and large breasts. “It sounded like a party happening in this mortal’s mind. You know I can’t resist a party.” She giggled and looked at Merrie. After a moment, she blew a kiss.

It caressed Merrie’s cheek, sending an intense bolt of pleasure ripping through her senses. Merrie gasped and leaned forward, her body shaking as the pleasure grew into an intense wave of ecstasy and then crested into an orgasm.

Both Misyr and Galladin shook their head.

“I don’t have time for whores, give me the beast so I can destroy it.”

“Not after I destroy that collar, paladin.”

Madock held up his hand. “One more negotiator and then we’ll be ready.”

“I will make no deals with you, merchant,” warned Misyr.

“You know what I want, let me destroy the foulness that stains this world. I’ll owe you a favor for that boon. It would be worth it.”

Madock looked at Talus, as if waiting. She stretched, her body growing thicker and harder. The breasts flattened into muscular pectorals along with the hips. A bulge swelled out and then unfurled into a long, half-hard cock.

Merrie’s pussy clenched with desire.

Talus groaned and shrugged. “I’ll wait.”

Seconds passed uncomfortably. The reapers were no longer talking but watching with various expressions of fear, distrust, and anger on their faces. They seemed upset at the presence of the gods despite being ones themselves

The three gods, on the other hand, seemed to ignore them as easily as the reapers ignored Merrie. There was a sense of parallel between them.

A gentle hand pressed against Merrie’s back. It was soft and cool.

She jumped and looked up to see an older woman kneeling next to her. The newcomer looked to be in her sixties, with long white hair tied into three braids. Her eyes were cloudy, not white but the shifting movements of a summer storm. Sparks of lightening raced along the edges of her supernatural eyes. Her white dress shifted constantly, wavering without a wind or movement.

There was a quiet presence around the new goddess. No words were said but a single look from her shifting eyes demanded that Merrie remained silent. There was no question she would obey, she couldn’t imagine anything other than remaining lying on the ground as the three other gods talked.

Madock looked around, his eyes sliding over Merrie and the goddess, and then shook his head. “Looks like someone is going to be late. Why don’t we start without her?”

“Yes, get this farce over with so I can start slaughtering your worshipers,” grumbled Misyr. “Do you really want to find how many you’ll have left when I’m done?”

With an easy smile, Madock shrugged. “That wouldn’t be profitable for either of us, would it?”

“You are a small god, Madock. Nothing more than a dim light in the sky. Why do you think you have any say in this conversation?”

The reapers rustled at the phrase. None of them were smiling.

Madock chuckled. “Do you really believe that?”

Misyr narrowed his eyes.

“You know my portfolio, god of magic. I gain power when you benefit from my deals. Now, do you really think I would be here if I didn’t have something that you want?”

There was a brief, tense silence.

“What do you think I want, god of deals?”

Madock cocked his head before he turned to Galladin. “What do you desire the most?”

Galladin gestured at Merrie, his face twisted in a scowl. “I want that foul creature destroyed.”

Merrie cringed. She started to pull back but the overwhelming came from the goddess holding her down stopped her. Galladin didn’t seem to notice the goddess with his attention focused directly on Merrie.

“I don’t think so.”

Galladin started and then glared at Madock. “What do you know!?”

“Why do you want her destroyed? It’s more than she’s a beacon of submission and sexuality, isn’t it? It’s more than her sizable measure of power.” Madock sounded confident.

Galladin glared at him. He tugged on his tunic, bunching up the metal links in his broad hands. A few of the metal rings snapped under the pressure. A flickering light rose up behind the chain, spearing out and highlighting the symbol on his chest.

Madock held up his hand. “It isn’t about Merrie, is it? It was Lemetri—”

“Don’t you dare say her name.”

“Why not, the goddess is dead.”

More metal bent under Galladin’s grip. He took a deep breath and let it out.

“Merrie summoned the Lord of Shadows, didn’t she? The creatures feeding on Lemetri’s corpse in the Shadows? Her bright body being ripped to shreds by those mindless—”

Galladin’s face twisted in a scowl. “I will rip out your throat if you keep talking about her.”

“No, you won’t. You know that I’m leading to something, a deal. You get what you truly want, I get something in return. I am a lawful creature, a simple one, you could say. You also know what I’m offering.”

“You can bring Lemetri back?” The god of light stepped forward. “She isn’t dead?”

“No, she’s dead.”

“Then there is nothing—”

“I can get her body back.”

Galladin froze in mid-word.

Madock smiled and said, “More importantly, I think we are on track for negotiation for her divine spark.”

Both Misyr and Galladin tensed as did the rest of the room. Merrie could feel a pressure grinding down on her, crushing her against the floor as the two gods stared down a third. Even the reapers were still.

“It would be a fitting consolation prize, the core of her energy and command of her portfolio. Along with it comes her dedicated paladins, priests of light, and a healthy church that has survived a year without guidance.”

“How?” asked Misyr, appearing interested for the first time. “Are you planning in invading the Shadows? There’s a nest of creatures that have been feeding on Lemetri’s divine light for over a year. None of our followers have powers in that realm, how do you propose to get her corpse?”

Madock held up a finger and turned toward Merrie. “I was thinking about asking the Lord of Shadows directly.”

Merrie inhaled sharply. Her ears flattened against her head and her tail shivered. It took her only a moment to realize that the goddess had released her to move again, but then she was at the center of attention as gods—reaper and greater alike—stared at her.

“Merrie?” asked Madock. “Pull.”

The goddess resting her hand on Merrie’s back leaned forward. Her lips brushed against Merrie’s triangular one, the touch was electric and burning. “Bring the Lord of Shadows here,” she whispered.

The goddess’ breath was hot and sparkling against her senses. The quiet, unassuming words echoed powerfully inside Merrie’s head, pounding against her consciousness as they commanded her to obey.

Merrie’s heart quickened rapidly as pleasure beat against her senses. She squirmed for a moment, pressing her slick thighs together as she felt her pussy drool with the lust for obeying a command.

She reached out for the Lord of Shadows, dissolving the shade around the rip in reality.

The nearest reapers gasped and stepped back as the ripe in reality widened rapidly. Black claws, too many to count, clamped on the edges of the rip as the boiling, sentient darkness poured out into the room. Tentacles burst out, grabbing onto the crumbling remains of walls. They bulged as they pulled, drawing the mass of the Lord of Shadows directly into the room.

As the Lord stepped on the ground, claws that stretched and shifted as Merrie watched, the stone beneath began to crumble and corrode. It would age a thousand years in a second, but the stone was still in the thrall of the reaper’s moment of time even though the Lord of Shadows was free.

(Shadow Maker harm.)

Madock, Galladin, and the reapers all flinched at the powerful mental blast that came from the shadow power. Merrie shivered under the alien thoughts, drawn into the insanity as much as she felt comfort that the Lord was next to her.

(Light Snuffer.)

Galladin stepped forward, pulling his hand away from his tunic to hold it in front of him. Light speared out from the gaps between his fingers as he balled it into a fist. “I’ll see you destroy—”

The goddess next to Merrie whispered, “You will stop.”

The light disappeared immediately.

Misyr looked confused for a moment and then did a double take. “Parn?”

The older woman stood up and nodded her head.

“What is the Goddess of Oaths doing here?” He glanced at Madock. “Just tell him to let me destroy that collar. Better yet, speak it out of existence. Speak the truth and let it be done.”

Merrie looked up at the goddess in confusion. She had never heard of Parn before.

“Parn is here at my request,” said Madock.

Misyr’s grip on his staff tightened. He scraped it along the ground and sparks of arcane energy rose up from the contact. “You play with forces beyond your skill, foolish god. The Goddess of Oaths is not one to be toyed with easily.”

Madock shrugged and winked at Merrie.

Merrie pulled back, her ears perking up.

“I think Parn can speak for herself, don’t you think?”

Misyr shook his head. “Every word she says is truth. You don’t want her to speak without consideration.”

“I’d rather treat her as a living being and a goddess in her own right instead of speaking for her as if she was a child.”

Misyr grew a meter in height as his face turned read. “You will not—”

Parn interrupted with her quiet, commanding whisper, “Calm down, Misyr, and listen more.”

Instantly, the greater god of magic shrank to normal size and closed his mouth. He stared at Parn with a mixture of surprise and anger in his face.

Madock smirked.

Galladin cleared his throat. “I’m uncomfortable with this creature here.”

“Merrie or the Lord of Shadows?” asked Madock.

Galladin tightened his jaw. “Both.”

“Well, if you want Lemetri’s spark without losing most of your men, you’ll need to negotiate.”

The Lord of Shadows grew in size, its shifting form twisting endless between claws and tentacles as it spread to fill almost a quarter of the room. (Cannot lose the light. Will not!)

The lesser gods all flinched at the mental thoughts that boomed across the room.

Galladin’s teeth ground together as he glared at the creature of darkness. He shook his head. “I will not have that foul thing in my mind.”

Talus’ voice rose up from where she sat on Autiur’s lap. “Use the submissive.”

Galladin jumped and looked at her, as if he had forgotten she was there.

Madock grinned. “Good idea. Merrie, would you translate for the Lord?”

It was Merrie’s turn to be surprised. She was one of the few beings unaffected by the Lord’s alien thoughts but she couldn’t speak for it. It was too powerful, too much. She reached through the connection she had, sinking into the alien mind and let it wash over her. She understood its needs more than others.

The Lord focused a dozen shifting eyes on her. (I speak, you speak. You change words.)

(I don’t know if I can, I don’t always understand you.)

(Shadow Maker. Deal.)

To her surprise, the Lord of Shadows sent a pulse of strange emotions toward her. They were foreign and shifting but they also felt like trust.

Merrie bowed her head. (I will deal for you.)

(Us. Mother. Father. Softness. Darkness. Children.)

Parn patted Merrie’s head, her soft hands caressing at the sensitive ear. When Merrie looked up, the old woman smiled. “You can do it.”

Merrie’s mind twisted, cracking and reforming in a single moment. The alien thoughts humming through her head suddenly became clearer. It wasn’t words but memories and gut feelings. She gasped as she sank deeper into the mind of the Lord of Shadows, feeling the gnawing hunger and constant desire to survive raging inside its head. Half-formed emotions and fragments of coherent thoughts grew inside her.

Her body vibrated as she felt the connection tightening, pulling them closer than almost anything else before. In the corner of her eye, she saw a black strand rising out of her chest and reach out for the Lord. She could feel the connection to her very soul being laid bare as she opened herself up.

Merrie looked down at it, tears in her eyes. She was binding again. She didn’t think it was possible, but she could feel her very being reaching out for the Lord, swirling down the mental connection before it plunged into the shifting darkness…

She shuddered as the Lord’s life slammed into her, shaping her mind and body as his thoughts began to overwhelm her own. She experienced centuries of having her body pulled apart and shoved together again, gathered fragments of light around torches and candles. Her world became nothing more than agony and ceaseless rage.

And then, she met herself. Solidified darkness, a rock in an ocean in shifting worlds. Even as her most fragile, she was more solid than anything else the Lord of Shadows had experienced. The powers she gained from Kine had given her Presence in the Shadows, a gravity that pulled the Lord of Shadows in like a month to the flame.

With a soft sigh, she understood.

Crying, she looked up at Parn. She was bonding again, the third time in her life. Alphas were only supposed to bind once, not thrice. It was glorious and terrifying and beautiful all the same time.

“This is why I touched you so many years ago,” whispered the goddess.

Merrie felt gutted. Parn had made her? She was a True Submissive because of the Goddess of Oaths? All the horror and despair was to bind to the Lord of Shadows?

Parn shook her head. “You are here because the world needs you. In this case, you are right where you need to be to end the violence between light and shadows. Embrace it.”

(Y-Yes,) Merrie was surprised she could keep her own thoughts sane while projecting, (Mother.)

Parn smiled and patted her head. “You are a good girl.”

The trigger phrase slammed into Merrie with the force of ten thousand fireballs. Orgasms exploded along her senses as reality was enforced by the goddess’ words. She was a good girl, she was exactly what she needed to be. Her eyes rolled back into her head as the pleasure grew hotter and brighter, white motes of searing ecstasy rippling along her senses.

Her pleasure exploded from her mind, rippling away. Around her, the gods and goddesses began to moan. Some dropped to their knees, pawing at their crotches. Galladin was among them, his guttural grunts filling the air as he clutched his groin with both hands.

Misyr remained standing but she could see his knuckles turn white from the effort to maintain some decorum. His face was tense but there was no question that Merrie had just caused a greater god to orgasm.

The god of deals only sat back in his chair and closed his eyes. “Oh, that feels good,” he said into the moan-filled room.

Only Parn seemed unaffected. She smirked and pulled her hand away.

It took a minute for the gods and Merrie to recover from her orgasm.

“What was that?” grumbled Misyr.

“That, my dear god of magic,” Talus said with flushed cheeks, “was one of the most beautiful orgasms I had ever felt in my life. After this, I might need to steal her for myself.”

Merrie blushed hotly.

Talus smiled at her and then pulled her dripping fingers from her pussy. She looked at Autiur, who she was still sitting on, but then gestured to Merrie. “Come here, bitch.”

Whimpering with need, Merrie crawled over. She felt the heat and desire rolling off the goddess of whores. Reflexively, she pulled herself into a sitting position and brought the severed ends of her wrists up to her neck. The heavy collar clinked against them.

Talus’ eyes were pools of the deepest crimson as she pressed her wet fingers to Merrie’s mouth. The smell was indescribable, ambrosia from the goddess’ own pussy.

Hungrily, Merrie opened her mouth and sucked on the offered digits. She could taste brightness in her mouth as she swirled her tongue around.

“Are we going to watch some mortal get off or negotiate?” snapped Galladin as he staggered to his feet.

Madock chuckled. “I suspect she can do both.”

Merrie could feel the Lord of Shadows’ desire in the back of her head. As she stared into the liquid depths of Talus’ eyes, she projected, (We will not give up the light.) She could feel her thoughts blending with the Lord of Shadows, a mixture of shifting darkness and her own sweetness entering the minds of the surrounding gods. It was like when Dixie or Sable melded with their masters, their mental voices sounds like two voices overlaid on each other.

She moaned and lapped harder, sucking the sweet divinity off Talus’ fingers. Her body felt hot and excited, her nipples hard to aching desire.

Galladin turned around, his back to Merrie and Talus. “Then we cannot deal.”

“Oh, Galladin, that is just an opening position,” said Madock. He turned to the Lord, ignoring Merrie which brought a thrill to her senses. “Lord of Shadows, do you need Lemetri or would any light do?”

Merrie’s connection softened and smoothed over the Lord’s overwhelming thoughts. (We crave the divine light. It is pure, clean, and bright.)

“See, we just have to offer a replacement for Lemetri’s spark.”

Misyr tensed and stepped back.

Galladin snorted. “I’m sure we happen to have a goddess of light just hanging around who wants a bunch of shadows gnawing on her body until the end of time. I saw we send an army and destroy—”

“Don’t we?” interpreted Madock.

Merrie didn’t look away from Talus. The goddess of whores was a young child now, right on the cusp of the age of Consent. Her slender body was beautiful but her eyes were as ancient as the goddess herself. Merrie moaned and shifted closer, moving her knees until they were brushed up against the slender toes of the goddess and her breasts were lifted up in supplication.

“No, we don’t!”

There was a brief silence. “Misyr?” asked Madock with a grin.

Galladin spun around, a look of confusion on his face. It took Merrie a moment to realize that she was seeing the world through the Lord of Shadows eyes, her own consciousness labeling what it saw. Her presence was giving the dark beast concepts it could never figure out on its own.

Misyr took a deep breath. “What do you get out of this?”

“Supreme God of Magic,” Galladin said in a deferential tone, “do we have something to trade?” He looked at Madock. “Anything? Explain.”

Madock gestured to Misyr.

The god of magic turned to look at the Lord of Shadows. “There is a divine spark of light, a traitor to the gods of this world. I will consider a trade but I must exact have something in return.”

The Lord of Shadows hungered for the light. (What is needed?)

“Even though Olume is nothing but a spark now, the guards of Dolagan have fought for centuries to prevent him from recovering. The light is too bright and can never be allowed to gather. To have him, you must promise to never let him manifest again.”

The intense desire rose inside the Lord. (A light that will never go out.)

“Never. Olume is the first of the gods of light. A small fragment of his power was granted to Lemetri when she took on the portfolio of grace and beauty.”

“I have never heard of Olume,” Galladin said.

Parn whispered, “You will not talk of him after this meeting.”

Reality shifted with the goddess’ words.

Galladin nodded. Not that he had a choice.

“Neither will Talus or Madock or the gods of death,” said the goddess of oaths.

The others cringed but made agreeing noises or gestures.

Merrie wondered why she wasn’t included.

Misyr tightened his grip on the staff. “Then I will hand over Olume in exchange from an oath witnessed by Parn that the Shadows will prevent him from rising again.”

For any other being, it would have been a moment to consider. Bound forever was the promise of an Alpha, not a powerful creature. Immediately, the Lord of Shadows reached out with one shifting claw and scraped the ground. (We will trade and we will promise,) she translated. (Until the end of time, my children shall feast on the spark.)

The world around Madock grew hazy as energy poured into him. He let out a long sigh, not unlike the one he made with Merrie’s orgasm. With a smile, he leaned into his golden chair for a long moment. Slowly, he sat back up. “Sorry, that was intense.”

“Be happy you made a deal between three gods, Madock. Now leave.”

Madock’s eyes sparkled and he grinned. “You owe me a boon, Misyr.”

“Use it for something important, you will not get another.”

Madock slowly turned to the Lord. “Lord of Shadows, what happens if Merrie dies?”

Merrie froze, her lips sucking on the base of Talus’ thumb like it was a cock. The goddess of whores was a heavyset man with a thick hair covering his body. His cock, short and fat, dripped with his excitement.

The thoughts were overwhelming but Merrie understood them. (The promise made to… Shadow Maker would be broken. The barriers of my lands will no longer be honored and the shadows will be free to spread out.)

One of Misyr’s knuckles cracked. Merrie glanced up to see him glaring at Madock.

“So, Merrie’s life is the only thing holding back the shadows from invading?”

(Yes.)

Madock’s smile grew wider and the energy rolled around him. “How long will this promise last?”

(Until she truly dies.) Merrie’s thoughts darkened at the thought. She was surrounded by reapers waiting to take her soul.

“Well, good thing she has a collar that grants her immortality as long as her mistress lives, isn’t it?” Madock’s head swung over to look at the seething god of magic. “Misyr? That means we should look into her mistress, right?”

Merrie wondered if the collar was still her mistress or if her binding with the Lord of Shadows had taken over.

“She bonded with the Lord though,” Madock said as if reading her thoughts. “Parn, who is Merrie’s master?”

Misyr started forward. “Don’t let—!”

“Zillia.” There was nothing else from the old goddess.

Silence.

“Who?” asked Galladin and Madock. Madock looked shocked and startled; Merrie realized it was the first thing that he hadn’t planned for.

Merrie couldn’t understand the answer. Who was Zillia?

One of the reapers coughed.

Madock recovered first. “Well, until we figure out who this Zillia is, we probably should keep the artifact wrapped around Merrie’s neck. It would be a shame to have all of your pet country destroyed in shadows if she died prematurely.” His swagger came back. “Your choice, Misyr. You are the only being in this room capable of destroying it.”

Misyr grunted and wrapped his staff on the ground. “You have a deal.”

Madock moaned as energy rippled around him. The power of the divine deal caused his bones to glow for a moment.

“I am done being turned into the fool,” Misyr announced. He disappeared.

Grinning broadly, Madock sat up. “Oh, this has been a glorious day.”

“I shall take my leave,” Galladin said.

Madock held up his hand. "Stay.

“I will not,” proclaimed the god but he remained.

“Thank you, I request one more deal.”

“Haven’t you had enough?”

“I want peace.”

“There will be peace,” Galladin said as he stood up straighter, “I will bring it to the world if it wants it or not.”

“You are about to take on the portfolio of Lemetri. I have one condition for that exchange, the favor you owe me for a deal that benefited you.”

Galladin’s eyes narrowed. “What is it?”

Talus pulled her hand from Merrie’s mouth. “Bassimar is mine.”

“What!? Never! He is—!”

Madock held up his hand.

Galladin batted it away. “He is the stain on Lemetri’s name. I will destroy him the second I gain control. He will—”

Madock’s body grew more solid as he stood up. The force of his Presence beat down on Merrie, pushing her to the ground again. “You will give Bassimar to Talus.”

“He attacked her!”

“No, she attacked him. We all know that he was willing to keep his head down and keep praying but she, at your insistence, decided to destroy him.”

“He was a stain—”

“She abandoned him when she gave up that part of her power. He is the last of her old portfolio, one that Talus and others have absorbed. You only want him to erase the memory of a different time. Talus will treasure him. She deserves him as a champion.”

Galladin’s jaw clamped shut.

“Galladin,” Madock said as the air crackled around him, “I invoke the favors you owe me for favorable deals. You have gained benefit and now you shall pay. I demand three things: Bassimar shall be granted to Talus; you will cease all present and future attempts to attack, kill, or otherwise harm Bassimar and his associates; you will cease all hostilities toward Merrie, the Lord of Shadows, and the shadow lands controlled by their union.”

The paladin god, soon to be a god of light, glared at Madock. He balled his hands into fists, squeezing down until his knuckles cracked.

“Do you agree before Parn?”

Galladin’s glare shifted from Talus and then to Merrie. Then he looked pointedly away. “To get Lemetri’s spark back, I agree.”

Before anyone could say anything, he disappeared.

Merrie looked at the three remaining gods.

Talus, now a fat blonde with small breasts and wide hips, stood up. She knelt down and caught Merrie’s head.

Merrie’s tail snapped back and forth as Merrie stared into the shifting eyes.

“I know True Submissives are incapable of dedicating themselves to a god, but you are always welcomed into my house, Bitch of the Whores. No matter what reason, no matter how long it takes, you will always have shelter, protection, and love within my walls.” The goddess pulled Merrie into a deep kiss, her lips bright against Merrie’s spirit. It filled Merrie with joy and love.

Then the goddess of whores was gone.

“Thank you, Merrie.”

Merrie turned to Madock. She felt no desire to please him, he was already brimming with energy from his own deals. (Why did you do this?)

He walked over to her. He started to speak but then lowered himself, crouching down with one knee on each side of her head. “A long time ago, you helped someone dear to me. I will never forget.”

Madock touched his finger to Merrie’s forehead.

(It hurts! Please, Merrie, can she hear me? Please, don’t let me… I can’t breathe!)

At the first memory of Sama, Merrie burst into tears. It was her friend and lover back when she first came to the Puppy Mill. Many years later, her death still haunted Merrie.

Concern pushed Merrie and she lashed out, catching Sama’s mind. As she connected, the bitch’s mental voice came with a rush of sensations.

Grange had Sama bent backwards over the stool, her arms tied between the legs. Sparks of pain radiating along Sama’s shoulder blades and her buttocks from the painful position. There was fear that she couldn’t move, but her terror came from the cock buried deep in her throat. He was fucking her with short strokes, pounding her face but never letting the cock escape from the pressure of the rope around her neck.

Merrie let out a shuddering breath as she remembered herself in the same position.

(This was the same, right? Merrie, can you hear me?)

(Sama?)

(Oh, thank Madock,) it was the name of a merchant god, (Please be here. I can’t breathe! It hurts. Please?)

Terror resonated along their mental connection. Merrie felt her breath catching in her throat. She reached out and projected comfort, trying to ease the growing agony and fear. (He will stop soon. Just hold on. Please?)

(I-I can’t,) the choking sensation blasted through her telepathy and Merrie felt it around her own throat. Merrie shuddered at the sensation, forcing her mind to send back love and compassion.