Sylphen Flight
Chapter 1

Caution: This Fantasy Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Fa/Fa, Magic, DomSub,

Desc: Fantasy Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A Pathfinder lost in the choking depths of the Darklands seeks the light and finds an unexpected treasure.

Even with a wayfinder in hand, extensive knowledge of the Darklands, and some experience in the depths, I finally had to admit to myself that I had picked the wrong tunnel and lost my way, with no realistic chance of back-tracing my path through the confusing maze of twisting caverns. Unlike the realms of light, in the Darklands navigation was three dimensional, and even a wayfinder and extensive experience in overland travel were of strictly limited use. The stars felt a thousand miles away, the constricting darkness almost a physical weight, the choking stone all around an elemental and implacable foe. My one attempt to teleport home had almost killed me, and I had no prepared planar foci that would allow me to escape that way. The spell for shadow walking was not contained within the pages of my spell book.

There was just one minor consolation - I would not perish of hunger or thirst. The ioun stone gracing my wayfinder granted sustenance, which was a pale comfort against the challenge of finding my way back home. I wanted to curse the Grand Lodge and the Decemvirate, but could not honestly do so. It was my own carelessness that had sent me down a slick shaft, falling helplessly inside an envelop of anti-magic that led deep down below - at least the trap had failed in the end, the spell-choking magic decaying enough to allow me to float down the last few hundred yards, feather light. Alas, it blocked magical flight back, and all I could do was walk - or fly - away, seeking an egress back to the fields of Molthune.

The militaristic regime of that country, broken off Imperial Cheliax following its long civil war and descent to diabolism, was no friend to the Pathfinders, so when the discovery of directions to a lost Kellid temple from the Age of Darkness in a tome retrieved from an expedition to Nirmathas pointed to Molthune, discretion was called for. While discretion was hardly my middle name, few folk notice a sylph who does not wish to be seen, and I'd worked for the Pathfinders almost exclusively since an expedition had rescued me from a stasis trap beneath the Osiriani desert. Part of the curse had eaten away at my memories, so with no idea of the time that had passed or connections to any person, clan or country, I'd adopted the Society as a family of sorts. That they showered me with magic, gold and genuine admiration admittedly had a lot to do with it. Tomb robbing casualties were minimized in any expedition I was involved with, and my distinct lack of desire for fame-seeking made me many friends amidst the Chronicle-hungry would-be heroes, many of whom were more than happy to appropriate my stories for their own, in a transaction that left all parties very satisfied indeed.

Fame was the last thing I wanted - while my memories began a mere score years ago, I'd retained significant skills at magic and the discreet arts, equipment magical and otherwise, and a terrible foreboding that something dire sought me for evil purposes. A day never passed when I did not cast a spell of nondetection, and I would be very pleased once I could fathom the mysteries of blanking my mind against all divinations - a spell inscribed within my books, but as of yet beyond my powers. I'd heard of greater magics yet, that put you beyond the sight of all but divine beings, but had not found more than a whispered rumor of such. Lost Azlant held such secrets, no doubt, and perhaps the same was true of the great mages Nex and Geb, who'd transcended mortality long ago. The great elven mages too, most likely, in Mordant Spire or illusion shrouded-Iadara, Kyonin's one great city. For all my acquisitive ways, I was not yet brave or desperate enough to seek libraries which lay beyond such dangers and wards.

The Darklands are a desolate, dangerous realm. Already I'd faced a number of deadly hazards, from poisonous fungi to heat-eating mold, a covetous Xorn, a strange earthborn creature with an insatiable appetite for gems and metal, and some unquiet spirits, a swarm of undead specters who hated all living things. The fungi had fallen to lightning, the mold to ice. The elemental creature I'd been forced to face in battle, and the undead had been drawn to the sounds of lightning and adamant blade clashing against stone-hard carapace. The eight foot tall, three-limbed squat beast had not been willing to bargain, coin and gems for a fast lift to the surface, so the stupid thing had died, leaving me richer with a fine handful of diamonds. I'd ignored my wounds, and unleashed every bit of power I had at the undead who'd soon closed with me, trusting my enchanted ring to heal me fully - if slowly.

It was partly luck, partly skill and experience that allowed me to locate the dark spirits' lair and gather yet more lost treasure. While you could not physically track ghosts and other being who were incorporeal, the prolonged presence of life-draining undead imparts a miasma of lifelessness to a region, a cold and empty feeling left behind by their unnatural aura. I'd slept very restlessly in the dismal, concealed hole, but trusted that nothing would disturb me in such a forlorn corner. Awake, I'd listlessly prepared my spells for the day, choosing them with an eye to the dangers that dwelt below - or at least, those I was cognizant of.

Shaking off the malaise brought about by the touch of such dark powers with an effort, I strode determinedly off into the darkness, blessing my ancestry for granting me the power to see in the lightless realm, gray-shaded darkvision, idly musing about what that distant progenitor from the realm of Air might have been - or still was. Elemental creatures died, but never from age.

Time was difficult to measure under such weighty silence, for I took care to move stealthily, well understanding that hunters would be attracted to any display, and that any sound was liable to reach very far indeed - and almost certainly, reach unfriendly ears. The unremitting hostility of the realm below was well - if sparsely - documented. Few expeditions to the Darklands returned, and most sane folk sealed any unearthed entrance as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Step after step, keeping ever alert, for you never knew just what awaited your next step. Hours of it, trying to gauge if the slope was changing, stopping periodically to listen and sniff the stale air for the scent of anything foreign, anything threatening, approaching every crack in the wall with trepidation and extreme caution, which only increased once the twisting narrow tunnel I followed inclined sharply down, joining what looked to be a major thoroughfare, a wide and impressively uniform cavern that seemed to stretch endlessly in either direction and felt achingly ancient. It paid off - precautions eventually do.

It moved. To a casual viewer, it would be a blob of darkness. To the knowledgeable observer, it was a deadly predator, a mindless hunger of acidic consumption, an intimidatingly large black pudding. It crawled out of a small tunnel, possibly its lair, though I was not sure if such things had true notion of such. Favorite ambush spot, perhaps. It was not fast, but I knew that its pseudopods had dismayingly long reach, and rose into the air beyond what I believed the full extent of it, my enchanted boots sprouting wings that drew me aloft. The tunnel was tall and wide, presumably a remnant left by the mysterious Vault Keepers - who, deeper yet, in the dark land known as Orv, had carved whole realms, gigantic caverns inhabited by some of the most deadly beings known - and probably, unknown - prior to their disappearance.

Dealing with it was a simple matter - such creatures are almost immune to blades, simply splitting into more of themselves, but they had no special resistance to magic or elemental power. In rapid succession, I tossed rays of flame, a spreading blast of frozen cold and bolts of force at it, choosing spells that would not explode violently and sound off my location to all and sundry. Lightning bolts and fiery explosions I'd save for desperate times, especially since I had grown fatigued. Having lost track of time as well as space, I felt completely adrift, cursing softly before floating down to investigate the crevice from which the ooze had emerged. As I'd hoped, I found some valuables there, items that could withstand an acid bath, that it could not digest and perforce dislodged from its glutinous mass, including some useful magic I quickly identified.

Judging the cranny at least somewhat safe, I cast a spell, creating a small accessible dimensional chamber above. It was bare and gray-walled, but the air inside it was a pleasure, an invigorating waterless bath, so fresh by comparison to that of the endless stone tunnels. Taking care to withdraw the thread that would allow easy invasion of my temporary home, I took out my well-used and long-since broken-in bedroll and drifted off to slumber, considerably more relaxed.

I woke up feeling a bit more rested, and quickly drew out my spellbook, preparing spells in place of those I'd spent. I'd spoken with other wizards, and to each it felt different, a mental image that seemed almost unique. For me, it was the endless sky, and in it white and silver clouds blazed bright in the shape of runes that I inscribed with a stylus of sharpened will. With each spell unleashed, runes unravelled.

For all the comfort offered by the extradimensional hidey-hole, I'd not unpacked, so was ready to move on after I shook the last remnant of sleep from weary eyes.

The wide promenade-like tunnel made me nervous, for it looked like a major thoroughfare, sure to draw travelers, traders and those who preyed upon them. Admittedly, of the three choices, I feared predators the least - it was the directed malice of intelligence that I worried about, for anything that actively travelled the dark ways below was sure to be either skilled or powerful - or worse yet, both - and most likely hostile, especially to a lone and vulnerable looking lost waif. For all my skill, power and experience, I'm not much more physically impressive than a typical genasi of my kind - wispy thin and deceptively delicate seeming, looking likely to be blown away like fog borne by an errant breeze. It was a trial, for while I usually preferred to be underestimated, getting someone to take me seriously all too frequently required extreme measures.

Eager to move away from so much open space, feeling knives at my back, I investigated each and every egress. The first six proved to be disappointments, either leading down or narrowing too far for even my slenderness to cope with, or leading to a dead end. Of course, most had inhabitants, unpleasant ones. A hive of acid spitting stonebore ants, a sleeping dark naga whose throat I quietly slit, and an ancient skeletal champion guarding a hidden altar in a cavern whose green-glowing rock made me ill - I fled from that last, posthaste.

With all too many spells spent and exhausted again, I made my way into the seventh tunnel, respectably wide, and found a quiet, shadowy little cranny to anchor my sleeping place from. I was so exhausted, I fell almost immediately into a dreamless sleep that seemed to last no longer than an eyeblink.

I woke up and yawned, frowning when I could not recall with absolute certainty just how many nights I had spent below. Shrugging it off, I finished the morning routine and climbed down, having seen nothing lurking below in ambush. Traveling onwards, I couldn't help but smile when I realized this tunnel was sloping upwards. A few hours later I reached something of a haven, an expansive cavern with a series of ponds and much growth of fungi and alien mosses, some phosphorescent, a welcome sight indeed, for the world had been without color for what seemed like eternity. Naturally, it was occupied - a small tribe of driders, black elven spider-centaurs - who were in the midst of rousing battle against half a dozen yrthaks, leathery winged, blunt-snouted eyeless reptiles, sonic lances of pure destruction raining down and meeting arrows and lightning bolts on their way up. The driders were soon defeated, perhaps three wounded survivors scattering, pursued by hooting hunters. Hurrying down before the monsters returned to feed, I looted the corpses with practical dispatch, and scurried off to search the cavern for a shaft leading up, or at the very least, the ugly spider-things' valuables. The magic they had unleashed lighted a fire of greed inside me, for there was little more valuable to a wizard than a spellbook full of unknown magic and lore. The three bone scroll cases I'd taken from shattered corpses, stuffed full of spell scrolls, made me hopeful. Once I learned to identify the tracks left by the spider legs, locating their former lair was a simple matter. Avoiding or disarming a number of crude traps was even simpler, and their attempts to sculpt hidden alcoves were amateurish, at best. Not stopping to examine the loot or even open the three books I'd recovered, I hurried off, looking to leave the place before the yrthaks returned. I was careless - it was clear that they'd spotted me, catching me in the open, with the cover of immense mushroom stalks and stalagmites too far to risk a sprint. Five of them, wounded or not, could leave me a cloud of bloodmist with coordinate sonic blasts, much like they'd treated the driders. Tense, I prepared to unleash a powerful blast and dodge, when they simply skirted away, flying back towards the corpses I'd left behind. Knees trembling with relief, I breathed a silent prayer of thanks to Desnae, lady fortune, and did not tarry any further.

When a mass of tendrils reached for me from a cluster of undulating dark plant matter, I reacted with a blast of life-quenching icy cold, struggling against the strength draining tentacles, botching a spell as I came all too close to the frighteningly large maw of a roper, insane eyes covetously open. Panting in fright, I dimension hopped up with a whispered incantation just in time, my winged boots keeping me aloft as I hammered the cursed abomination with magical fire in a fury of fear. It fled, and I followed, casting spell after spell in reckless anger, a full third of them sputtering out - the Rough Beast's damnable spawn was highly resistant to magic.

It fell finally, and I sobbed, hurriedly drawing out my sword with trembling weak hands, slicing and sawing into its gizzard, where the books I recalled instructed its treasure was to be found, a lovely handful of cold sparkling crystalline gemstones, two of them enchanted - one, in fact, an ioun stone. Hardly worth one's life, I thought bitterly to myself.

I had not the strength to walk well, flying a short distance away and anchoring my resting place behind a rise of rock. I needed time to regain my strength and composure, and I took it, stripping and cleaning my gear, identifying the magic I'd acquired and deciding how to use it and when, reading by spell light, relaxing and healing through six full castings and recastings of the spell, perhaps five full days as measured by the sun. It was in a much improved mood and health and with a steely determination that I returned to the world below, quickly and stealthily making my way out of the cavern, avoiding an encounter with a pair of frightfully huge centipedes, large enough to swallow a horse with one bite. Ignoring the water route out, which I suspected led below rather than the way I desired to go, I flew up to a ledge that gradually widened into a path.

An uneventful if tense day later, I learned the true meaning of fear.

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Story tagged with:
Fa/Fa / Magic / DomSub /