The dusk-lit forest seemed to be filled with some kind of muted vibrancy. As if it were holding something back--each tree appeared to know a secret that the Jaegers didn't. Even among the more disciplined members of the party, it proved difficult to not be at least somewhat unsettled, especially considering the intimidating mission briefing they had been given.
"What you will face today is a dangerous group of foes," their Huntmaster had proclaimed. "Cultists of Anskutt--the animalistic elder goddess of fate and fury--have been sighted in the Anroa Forest stealing supplies from nearby villages. You must put an end to it immediately."
At least, that was probably what he had said. Nobody ever really listened to that old fart anymore; leave that job to the knee-trembling rookies, they figured. Of course, each Jaeger knew and understood why the role of Huntmaster bore such prestige, but it was good fun to satirize every so often.
Still, the Jaegers did not take this mission lightly. If the cultists were growing bolder, then that meant they had a reason to do so. This could just be a diversion, or a trap leading to some greater danger. Each hunter was on full guard, the four chosen elites darting their eyes about cautiously for unfriendly lurkers in the trees. Well, three chosen elites; Zarya kept her gaze fixed forward with an eerie understanding that, if something went wrong, she could force her way out of it. She never really was much of a talker, though she had a heart of gold (or a mind of brick. High-stakes wagers were frequently placed on both) buried beneath that stone-faced exterior. With a firm, stocky build and no small amount of scars stretched tight over her powerful muscles, Zarya was excellent enforcement.
Heading the cautious march was the cunning Maxwell, unofficial leader of their hunting party and son of the Huntmaster, the latter of which had quickly grown to be a source of endless teasing. His eyes were narrowed with a predator's intuition as he led his group through the darkening wood, each step being placed with no small amount of care. Growing up in a somewhat privileged position, Maxwell had always been ever-eager to prove himself at any available opportunity.
"Wait," piped up a mousy voice from the back of the marching order. "I think we're close. My beepie's goin' off."
Maxwell chortled. "How miraculous--you actually made something that's not explosive."
"Oh, this thing explodes," giggled Ali in response. As the technician of the group, she found herself responsible for the little bits and bobs that provided utility via combining magical effects with... well, whatever she could find from the wreckage of her latest project.
"Um... shouldn't we be getting back? I-It's getting pretty late, and it's not safe to hunt after dark," quailed Anton, notable bookworm and son of a nobody farmer from the West. In all honesty, he had little notion as to why he was out here. It was really his vast amounts of learned knowledge that drove him to the status of 'elite,' despite his lack of physical prowess.
"Yes, but you heard Ali. Her, uh..."
"'Beepie' is going off. We can't stop now--we're so close."
Anton shook his head softly to the tune of an exasperated sigh. Of course, a hunting party consisting of a brute, an ambitious prodigy and an explosive madwoman wouldn't be very eager to give up seemingly easy prey. He should have seen it coming.
What the poor man didn't see coming, however, was the immediate darkness of vision that followed a loud thunk against the back of his skull. He was dimly aware of his body collapsing as consciousness suddenly became a very fickle beast. Sounds of combat started to murmur into his senses, though he struggled to maintain or register any input beyond the stars dancing before his eyes.
He was fairly certain that he was now prone, just barely managing to keep his arms below him and his head aloft. A ringing was starting to set in his ears... and waves of shuddering pain were becoming ever-apparent with each passing second. However, it was a sudden burst of adrenaline that motivated him to force his comprehension back into the world.
We were ambushed, he dreamily thought with panic forming a frigid fist in his chest.
Beyond the rift of half-consciousness, Zarya was using a small hammer to effortlessly fend off a half-clothed man wielding a gnarled spear. He looked... savage. As if the man had decided to give in to some ancient, animalistic nature. Definitely Anskutt's influence, if she knew anything about the old gods.
"Filthy creature!" roared Maxwell before he brought his rapier down on a cultist's shoulder, resulting in a strangled yelp of pain. He followed it up with a stunning strike to the nose using the butt of his sword, only adding insult to injury via a firm kick to the shin. The cultist was brought down, blood panickedly leaking down their arm.
A resounding boom stunned each member of the battlefield. Out of the corner of his eye, Maxwell saw the limp forms of three cultists being flung across the forest floor, evidently by some sort of explosive armament. A triumphant cry of "Told you!" could be barely heard beyond the din of his recovering eardrums. He proudly grinned, before moving to the next target. Though he wasn't aiming to attack fatally, no gentleness was reserved for these beasts.
Once Zarya had finished tossing a thoroughly bruised cultist into the dense undergrowth, she grumbled, "Something is not right. Are these what people were worried about?" It simply didn't add up. Sure, their hunting party was made up of elites, but still... elite Jaegers shouldn't even be called in for such... well, non-relevant matters. However, she ultimately elected not to worry about it.
Though... she couldn't exactly understand why she didn't worry about it. Another cultist came charging at her, and she swatted them away with hardly a second thought. There was a feeling of satisfaction at vanquising such a weak foe, a little tingle of enjoyment that set off the reward centers in her brain. Simply proof of her strength, she supposed. Had the flowers in this forest always smelled so nice?
Maxwell pacified a cultist with a nasty gash across the thigh, causing them to retreat in apparent agony. That was peculiar; typically, those who became too engrossed in the teachings of Anskutt lost most of their self-preservation and became mere beasts. Why would they be running off after getting injured? In a moment of calm within the battle's fire, he spotted a glint out of the corner of his vision. Sidling over to a patchier section of the shrubbery, he used the tip of his rapier to investigate--and found a broken bottle, leaking with some kind of pinkish fluid. He gasped, a sharp intake of breath that he just now realized was subtly laced with a sweet aroma. That was bad. Very bad.
So why was he taking another breath? Maxwell blinked slowly, softly, as a flowery aroma whisked away his dangers and brought him to a place of peace. He could feel his body loosening, as all worries seemed to acknowledge and pause in respect of this odd fragrance. There weren't cultists attacking him anymore, so why would he have any motivation to hold his breath? Oh, of course, it was very bad that this bottle was here... for some reason.
Ali poked at the arm of a half-conscious cultist. She poked again. Poke. Poke-poke-poke. A resounding giggle danced through the air; there was something hilarious about this, though she couldn't discern what, exactly. Just that it was soo funny. She was sent tumbling backward, coltish legs kicking up in the air as another fit of giggles overtook her. So happy. So funny. There was a very nice scent upon the air. Though, because of her head rapidly filling with bubbly delight, she couldn't find herself able to care much about it.
From the forest floor, Anton was being swiftly lulled back into sleep. His final shreds of vision managed to catch Ali, Maxwell and Zarya with mixed expressions of worry and deep relaxation as they quickly followed.
When Ali next awoke, the first thing she saw was dim candlelight. All around her, messily-crafted sticks of lavender wax were each burning by a primitive wick. "Wh... wha...?" she dazily murmured, moving to bring her hands to her head but finding them firmly bound behind her.
Though it took a moment, she was able to recover her vision. She had been comfortably leaned against the wall of a prison cell, crude iron bars separating her from a small room beyond that contained naught but a shelf and two fabric curtains leading into, presumably, other rooms. On the shelf rested several small glass bottles, filled with a pinkish fluid. The cell itself was sparsely furnished; it only bore a cot, on which rested Anton. Maxwell had been unceremoniously shuffled beneath the cot, while Zarya lay cheek-to-floor with her legs splayed out. Similarly to Ali's own predicament, they had all been tied up at the wrists and stripped of their equipment, save for basic clothing.
Her heart was struck with sudden panic. The last thing she remembered was poking an unconscious cultist, before her memory started to get a little... fuzzy. She wasn't exactly in pain, just somewhat tired and extremely anxious about what these animals planned to do with them. There were few usable supplies in this room--no way she was making some sort of bomb here.
However, Ali's anxious buzzing of thought was swiftly banished by the shiffing of a fabric curtain to her left, outside of the cell. A man had stepped through, with a lanky form and chestnut skin. What was most curious was the fact that he wore the leather scraps of an Anskutt cultist--yet, he walked with a certain poise that indicated civilization in him. Calmly, as if four dangerous, high-priority prisoners weren't sitting just to his right, he parted the curtains on the other side of the room and cleared his throat. "Ready?"
Clearly the response from within was nonverbal, as the man was already stepping aside for another figure to come forth. Ali's eyes darted around in panic, motivating her to squirm over to the prone form of Zarya. "Hey. Hey! Get up, come on!" she hissed.
A sudden interruption came in the form of a loud, almost chastizing "Shh!" from the man. Though Ali was merely stunned and had full intent to continue her efforts, her heart quailed when the curtains started to shift. Not good. Not good not good not good. Her neuroses were scrambling to make sense of who could be behind that curtain, and there was one conclusion available: not good.
The once-boisterous technician was suddenly frozen at the sight of the emerging figure. It was female, fully nude to show off her impressive physique. She was muscular, but not in the way that Zarya was (for Zarya relied mostly on her mass and little on agility).
Rather, this new woman was like a panther; the perfect blend of muscular and lithe. For Ali, it was intimidating to watch each muscle coil and flex beneath her scarred, tanned skin, to simply sit in awe at this... this apex predator. Torturously slow, as if rearing to pounce, the woman stalked over to the edge of the cell. As she grew ever-closer, Ali instinctively backed away.
There was a moment of uneasy stillness. Silence and tension built in tandem and threatened to suffocate Ali as she was rendered paralyzed beneath the predator's gaze. Her heart was strangled and wrung dry of its courage by the cold fingers of suspense, which corrupted her brain and brought on the decision: fight or flight?
It seemed that she had decided upon a third option--freeze--as the mysterious woman finally spoke. "That one will go first," she roughly growled. Only when the woman spoke did Ali realize she had been holding her breath, and she gasped at the sight of the predator grabbing two bars in her firm, calloused hands.
A horrible wrenching sound struck Ali's ears; the woman had begun to bend the iron bars of the cell. Ali's eyes widened with fear, and her back pressed up against a cool stone wall. Within seconds, the woman had stepped through the cell and yanked Ali by her wrist, which was itself torpefied by fright.
Before she could even register what was happening, Ali had been tossed into the outside room and shoved towards the fabric curtain from which the nude woman had initially emerged; it seemed that the male cultist was far stronger than he looked, though Ali had little to offer in the way of physical power.
This had to be some kind of supernatural ability, she was sure of it--especially as the woman had easily bent the bars back into their original, crooked place. Something was powering these cultists, fueling them, giving them unholy might. But what? What power could have such an immense influence to make these mere cultists able to bring down four elite Jaegers?
Her thought process was interrupted by finally being pushed past the fabric curtain and into the room beyond. With horror, her gaze frantically darted about to find... not what she had been expecting.
The room bore a certain warm glow, lit up by what had to be hundreds of flickering candles spread about disorganizedly. They clustered in the room's corners, suffused tables with melted wax, and even dripped down the walls from sconces. In the center of the room lay a large bed, covered by red velvet sheets and adorned with pine-green pillows at its head. For a long moment, Ali was filled only with abject confusion. "What the fuck...?" she murmured, before her bewilderment was interrupted by a gentle hand on her shoulder. She jumped in shock, turning her head to see the mysterious woman with a knowing smirk on her face.
Now that she was in close quarters and in a room with a more secluded tone, Ali could take in the woman's features (even as she nervously backed away). This woman was tall, easily standing at Zarya's height of roughly six feet and ten inches. Moreover, her skin--stretched taut over writhing thew--was speckled in scars, and bore a deeply warm olive color. Her face had an aura of rugged beauty, with a strong jawline only complemented by slightly-angled cheekbones and icy-blue eyes. Despite the glint of intelligence in her gaze, her body certainly looked wild and unkempt; a thick bush of curly hair sat upon her pubis, while more spotty blackness was scattered across her underarms and legs (the same sable color as the messy, roughly-trimmed hair on her head). She was the picture of a master huntress, in short.
"So glad we were able to find some alone time," she finally spoke, her voice completely opposite of the savage growl from before. It was smooth, low, mature--almost comforting. "I have to keep a good image out there. Not all of the cultists are fully-turned, so they like a more... ah, savage leader. Name's Ivara, by the way."
Ali shook her head incredulously, still backing away until she felt her thighs brushing up against the shockingly-ornate bed. "Turned?"
Ivara simply chuckled and took a steady, deliberate step forward. "Hm. I wonder if I should explain it to you... or simply show you."
The technician's face lit up with defiance as she stole around the bed to be on the opposite side. "You can explain it," she barked. Something about this woman drawing near triggered a primal response within Ali, telling her that she was stalked prey. And she was beginning to notice a peculiar scent on the air, though it wasn't flowery and sweet like when they had first fought the cultists. This time, it was a dark and commanding aroma, slightly pungent yet... intriguing.
"Very well," sighed Ivara, though her face still bore a confident leer. "These... cultists worship Anskutt, one of the eight elder gods and mistress of fate, blood and savagery. In the earliest days, she was the one responsible for giving life to all things, for they first existed as mere statues created by another of the elder gods.
"I, too, was one of these cultists... until I stumbled upon a shred of ancient lore whilst ransacking a traveler's belongings. I learned... oh, so many new things. Particularly, I familiarized myself with a new elder god: Ytunn. Goddess of scent. From there, it was a simple matter of accepting her blessing and imparting it onto my underlings."
Ali simply stared at Ivara, making her best attempts to avoid dropping her gaze down to the zealot's ample chest. Once the story was finished, she took yet another step back. Something told her that it would be rather unwise to make any close contact, particularly as the scent was slowly growing thicker on the air. Ali silenced the part of her mind that wasn't bothered by it.
"Why are you telling me this?" she murmured, both curiosity and spite mixed in to her voice.
Ivara chortled lightly. "Because you've got a wonderful little mind, I can tell. When you finally see the light of your new goddess, you deserve to know why. I gift that to you. You're welcome." She didn't make any haste to speak, going through her sentences deliberately as if to show the bravado with which she preached.
"I'd rather you torture me," sneered Ali.
"That can be arranged," purred Ivara in a tone that was far too sensual for the technician's liking. She set another foot away, unwittingly planting her heel upon a burning candle. Like a scared beast she recoiled, stumbling forward with a yelp cut short by her clumsily crashing into the bed. Flailing, Ali found herself wrapped up in an inescapable velvet hell.
From her place buried within the fine sheets, she heard a hearty laugh from above. Once she finally managed to uncover herself, Ivara had taken a comfortable sitting position upon the edge of the bed, with Ali's face dangerously close to her seated rear.
And she really, *really* shouldn't have gasped.
In her lungs flowed an overpoweringly curious odor. It was filled with this primal energy that sent a jolt into Ali's system, yet also made her rather... heady. Her perception seemed to thicken slightly, the dark aroma still fresh in her nostrils even as she clambered away to a standing position, tossing the sheets back on the bed in a messy clump.
"I can see you enjoy my musk," taunted Ivara with an ever-lightening tone of voice. "Though, I do bathe," she reassured. "Simply a blessing of Ytunn. One of many." A playful growl entered her throat.
"It's... it's..." Ali stammered, words catching just as she was about to speak them. Gods, it was such a carnal scent. Certainly a stench, but one that set a fire to her belly and danced about her senses. Almost addictive.
She shook her head, defying Ivara's teasing, "It's filthy!" Ali felt that if she said it loudly, it would be true. And, if that were the case... she would need to be a thousand times louder to overshadow the throbbing of her quickening heart.
Ivara adjusted her position on the bed, after setting the sheets (roughly) to their original place. "The pheromones certainly aren't," she sang. Clearly, she had reached a certain lax point in her demeanor.
Ali's chest dropped into her stomach to form a bitter pit of dread. Pheromones. Oh, gods, now it really made sense--that was why Ivara's odor made her feel so... so lively. And it brought a burning passion to her loins that made her want to lean in for another breath of that hot, incomparable fragrance.
With a start, she realized that she had been subtly arching closer, even to the point where her foot had been placed forward without her noticing. As she drew her upper body back to stand tall in proud defiance, Ivara laughed. That damned woman was clearly toying with her prey, in a way that was equal parts humiliating and exciting for Ali.
She needed to take her mind off the scent. "W-what are you going to do to my comrades?"
"Same thing I'm about to do to you." Ivara's smirk was as smug as ever; she was enjoying this very much.
The technician gritted her teeth in frustration. How could she have been so careless around the cultists? How could she have allowed she and her party to become captured so easily? An intense remorse filled her stomach, which helped to soothe the desire growing within her chest and between her legs. Her hands shot up to her face to hide a deep-cherry blush that was rapidly forming on her freckled cheeks. "Let me go, you... you animal!" she let out a muffled groan.
"Hm? Oh, you want to leave?" Her voice picked up some concern. "Well, you really ought to have said so. The exit's right over there, you can feel free to let yourself go if you'd like."
Ali ripped her hands away from her face, anger painted messily on her expression. "What."
"If you don't want this, you can just go. I'll even let you take your friends with you, if that'd make you feel better." Her face seemed... oddly reasonable. There was a new hint of truth dancing across her strong countenance.
Ali's gaze shifted to the fabric curtain, shutting she and Ivara off from the rest of the world. "You surely lie," she accused, reverting her eyes to shoot Ivara a nasty glare.
"Why would I? Do you think I don't care about you at all? I wouldn't want to force you to do anything. Actually," she stood from her lounge on the bed, "I'm going to stand in the corner, and you can just touch my shoulder here if you want to stay." Ivara grinned, before sidling over to the far corner of the room and promptly standing before it, facing away from the rest of the area.
There was a pause. Followed by uneasy silence, which paired well with the soft murmuring of candles waxing all around Ali. This was it--she could escape, right now. Leave this dreaded place and continue her successful career as a technician for the Jaegers. Her heart was thrumming in her chest with the force of a hurricane, bringing an intense heat to her skin.
There was the slightest sound: a light pap of a bare foot hitting wooden floor. Then another. Slow. Deliberate. Pained, yet somehow so excited.
Ali was standing behind Ivara, with a full view of the woman's muscular back. Gods, her frame alone was mesmerizing. She didn't even need the thick, heavy musk to cloud her head.
What was she doing? Ali could escape; she had been handed the opportunity on a silver platter. Why was her body moving against higher thought, which was slowly being drowned out by a riptide of primal sensations that caused her breath to speed up and her cunt to drip, and... oh, that scent. She really shouldn't, but it just... it couldn't hurt to get one more tiny sniff, right? Just a little one.
And then one more to tide her over so she could leave. But, why would she want to leave without taking one more tiny whiff? Just a little one. The scent was commanding, surrounding Ivara like an aura that only drew her closer. Just one more little inhalation.
Okay, after the next three, she was leaving. Certainly wouldn't hurt to take deeper breaths, would it? Of course, she could stop smelling Ivara's delicious aroma any time she wanted. But... she didn't want to. Was that a bad thing?
Her hand shook, while the other one simply hovered over her needy clit.
Ivara didn't seem to be surprised in the slightest. Slowly, her neck turned, following the rest of her body with a slight delay as if to present how utterly expected this was. She seemed wholly nonplussed, save for that stupid, beautiful smile that made Ali's knees bend and quiver with prurient admiration.
And then, Ivara granted the most generous, wicked kindness that Ali could imagine.
She strode over to the bed. Her musculature was outlined, framed by the enchanting candlelight and ever-meticulous in each movement of sinew and flesh. Ivara was art. Dangerous art, that Ali was fully within the thrall of. It was peculiar; she felt as though she were conscious and aware of everything she was doing, but... her priorities had been all messed up, and her brain found itself unable to worry about it. Plus, why would she ever try to fight against something that made her feel so good? Something that smelled so... carnal. She wanted it. Oh, gods, she wanted it so bad.
So, of course she nearly went mad when Ivara lay down on the bed, spread her arms upward invitingly like the wings of a great bird, and murmured, "C'mere. You've earned it."
Before Ali could even register what was happening, she was nestled comfortably in the woman's arms, nose buried deep within the confines of her upper ribs. The index and middle fingers of her right hand were frantically pumping into her cunt while she whimpered softly, as if overwhelmed by the sudden release of pressure.
Everything was hot. That was all she could think about. Ali's nose twitched with each deep pull of this sweaty, drug-laced heaven. Like drinking deep of a strong ale, it bore a certain sharpness that quickly transitioned into musky, addictive warmth in her head. Filling up her skull, drenching her face in her new lover's steel-hard body--which itself was a rock that Ali clung fast to, rooting her in the riptide of incomparable scent.
"Shh, shh," cooed Ivara from above. "Savor it. Slow, deep breaths. There we go." All the while, her hand had reached around to rub a teasing thumb along the rim of Ali's other, winking hole.
The former technician was greedily filling her lungs with divine ambrosia, slowly allowing herself to become thoroughly marked. The thick, venereal scent completely invaded her senses, violating her in a way that felt so good to simply give in to. She mentally chided herself for ever going against this blessing from the wilds.
"Well, aren't we suddenly stupid?" Ivara's dominant tone rung out like a harpy's call, alluring and unmistakably erotic.
How could Ali possibly respond? It simply wasn't fair. Her mind was far too clouded with salacious bliss to think of a single word beyond "Fuck." So she said "Fuck," a simple display of all her fleshly desires, neatly communicated by a single word. Almost poetic in its simplicity, although admittedly licentious.
"Hmm? Is that what you want?"
"M-mm-hm." Yes. Yes, please, please, yes.
"So you want it really bad?"
"Y... mmhm." Gods, stop fucking teasing.
"You animal," hissed Ivara (in a tone that sounded almost complimentary), before promptly flipping Ali over so her spine lay flat on the bed. Like a wild and savage creature, Ivara clambered over to a position in which Ali's face was eclipsed by the shapely, toned ass of her new mistress. And, she lowered herself down to bring a set of plush, skilled lips to the teased woman's clit.
From there, whiteness. All of Ali's world was engulfed in carnal flame, as Ivara treated her an animal of lust. She could feel her brain dribbling from her cunt in droves with each climax, while her own drool soaked the bed in a darkened pool by her cheek. Her world became the lecherous stench of Ivara's ass, as she licked and smelled and drowned in it.
Ivara's tongue was an unrelenting animal, leaving Ali no respite until she had been wrenched into an orgasm. And another. And another--it was never very difficult, with the pheromones misting over Ali's thoughts and replacing them with sustained visions of primal adoration. Infatuation.
She bore a strange kind of fervent technique that imbued both passion and wit into simple movements; mixing up her motions between gently sucking, swirling lazy circles with the tip of her tongue, and even pushing her tongue deep into the folds of Ali's womanhood.
It reached a point, with Ali's brain short-circuiting due to the effects of Ivara's aroma, where the slightest brush of breath against her throbbing muff was enough to set her off. She moaned into the cloistered refuge of the ass that she worshipped with tongue and hand, allowing herself to finally be set free. Free of complexity, free of society. Happily shackled to Ivara's musk.
One by one, Anton had watched with helplessness as each member of his hunting party was taken to the back room, emerging with wild eyes. They would cast glances about like animals, only to progress beyond the cell room and into whatever lay outside.
When he had finally woken up, Ali was missing. Then, Maxwell had been taken away, and shoved past the fabric curtains into the back room. Anton recognized the faint sigils on the curtain: a ward of silence, effectively soundproofing it. What went on during Maxwell's--what Anton assumed to be--torture, neither he nor Zarya could discern. But something, something in that chamber had given him that animalistic leer.
Anton's fear and despair grew when he saw the same process happen to Zarya, though she bore new bruises across her body.
His abject terror had compounded to a grim apex, as he was now left alone. He knew not what was to happen to him, but it didn't seem to bode well. Yet, there was a peculiar scent in the air that was brushing against his senses, and oddly soothing his worries.