Rainfall -4- Rise

Synopsis: With the fate of Allaron in the balance, Ghanton is beset upon by the forces of the newly empowered Rainfall Cult even as an enemy within the town’s walls is unleashed by Rainfall’s new leader. (Part 4)

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Author’s Note: I highly recommend that you read the rest of the Rainfall Saga before reading this story. They are named “Rainfall: Arrival,” “Rainfall: Assault” and “Rainfall: Resurrection.”
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I awoke with the dawn. I glanced through the skylight above me and found myself disappointed that the storm had passed. Instead of dark clouds, there was only the sun shining through the glass.

I had always preferred the rain. Not many knew it, but when it rained, it helped to replenish the magical energy of the earth. Most acts of renewal did. And the thought of the acts of renewal I performed last night made my body tingle.

I glanced over to my sleeping lover, Xhaiden, and smiled. I had expected my first sex after five thousand years of imprisonment to be good, but Xhaiden had simply took my breath away. I stretched luxuriously, careful not to wake him even as I took stock of the room.

Sometime during our second run on the altar that had once held the man Therobelin, I had decided that the stone slab was a little too rough on my delicate female skin. So I had conjured up a very large bed on the other side of the chamber for the rest of the night’s activities.

I suspected that I would have to reconjure the bed if Xhaiden and I decided to use it again for any more sexual marathons. While I’m sure it could stand one or two more bouts of lovemaking, it was only tempting fate to go further than that. In my position, one never tempted fate.

I rose out of bed and conjured up a warm robe and a pair of slippers, so I wouldn’t cut my feet on the red crystal that still littered the floor. A moment later, I decided that I would rather just clean the shards up, so I simply waved my hand and in a few seconds, every single shard had been collected into a box on the altar. I nodded in satisfaction and hopped to my feet.

I decided to let Xhaiden rest for a bit. Last night’s activities had been quite strenuous and the events of today were likely to be even harder on us.

After all, one didn’t build an empire by simply sitting still.

I wandered the room for a short while and studied it. For so many years, I had resided in the crystal that had been the centerpiece of the room a short time ago. Though Ballan had found me, I didn’t even have that limited view upon the world. Before Ballan had found me, I had been buried deep within the Midnight Mountains, only able to magically spy on the lives of a small town called Clive about ten miles away.

It was in that town where I had found Ballan. At first, I could only speak to him in his dreams, where I appeared to him as a woman of light. I fueled his desires and ambitions over the years, giving him dreams of unparalleled power. Finally, I gave of some of my magical energy so that he might help me to rise from the ashes of my past. After enslaving most of his own townsfolk, he did. For the first time in a little under five thousand years, I could see more than a few walls of rock and earth.

Though I was still encased in the crystal, I was at least able to communicate directly with Ballan and those who followed him. For some time, we remained in the town of Clive, until we heard rumors of a cult of humans near the town of Ghanton who were plaguing people with bizarre mind-altering spells. It was a long trip from Clive to Ghanton, but when we discovered who the so-called cult really was, we knew the trip had been worth the while.

I smiled as I remembered the jubilation of the Rainfall Sect when we had entered the Talon Forest. These people were all that remained of the great empire that I had once ruled millennia ago. They now lived in tents among the crumbling ruins that had once been an outpost in the great war that had resulted in my imprisonment. They had been trying to recapture the power of transformation and mind control for centuries now and had done so in varying degrees of success.

That had been one hundred years ago. In response to the service that the Rainfall Sect had given me, I had given Ballan and his followers youth and power beyond their wildest dreams. Many had come to join us willingly and many had tried to remove us from this place.

But we were still here and our numbers had grown, either through willing volunteers or through a little mind-altering magic.

I sat on the altar for a few moments and considered the long path that now laid behind me and the much shorter path that lay ahead. With the discovery of Therobelin and our merger, the plans that had waited for five thousand years could finally be put into motion. However, I knew that it would be a struggle. Xhaiden had been right last night. There was bound to be resistance. Even with our forces here at the fortress and the warriors sleeping inside Ghanton, it would be a long road.

This time, however, the King did not have the services of the Sunrise Clan, the only other keepers of transformational magic since the ancient times. And without that power, there was little that they could do to stop us.

A soft knock on the door interrupted my thoughts. I glanced over at Xhaiden’s handsome form. He turned over in the bed and snorted softly, much to my amusement, but remained asleep.

I stepped over to the door and opened it quietly. Ballan was standing on the other side with a rather silly grin plastered on his face.

“Oh Mistress,” he gushed. “She is everything I could have hoped for!”

I smiled and stepped out of the room into the drafty hall, not wanting our conversation to wake Xhaiden.

“So you approve of her?” I asked warmly. He had been such a good servant for so many years, even if he was remarkably thickheaded at times.

“Oh yes, Mistress!” Ballan exclaimed. “Most of the people we transformed ended up being an entertaining diversion between the sheets, but there was nothing behind the eyes. I know the reason why we did that to them, but it just got old after a while.”

“And with Myhala?”

“She’s eager to please, but she has her own needs in bed as well,” Ballan said. “It’s so refreshing to have a real woman in my bed instead of some mindless harlot.”

I giggled softly. I found it amusing Myhala had been just as transformed as every other woman Ballan had slept with. The only difference this time was that I had taken his desires straight out of his head. Myhala was the embodiment of everything Ballan had ever wanted in a woman, even if she used to be my old friend, Meghalen. I suspected that Myhala was happier with Ballan than Meghalen had ever been in his entire life.

Granted, it may be a programmed happiness, but I didn’t think that simple detail mattered in the end. Either way, it was irrelevant. Myhala would never again be Meghalen. She would serve Ballan and the Rainfall Sect for many years. During her transformation, I had given her the same youthful regeneration treatment I had given all of the Rainfall Sect’s members.

“I am pleased that you are happy, Ballan,” I said sincerely. “Now, in about an hour, I would like to roust the troops. Today is going to be a very important day.”

“Today, Mistress?” Ballan asked me. “Are you sure you don’t want more time to prepare?”

“No,” I said. “Crystalia has been waiting for this moment for eons and Therobelin is eager to test his newfound power. In two hours, I want the entire fortress ready to move out.”

“As you command, Mistress,” Ballan said with a bow. “You did say in about an hour, right?” he asked with a sly grin.

I smiled. “You may feel free to enjoy the company of Myhala for that time.”

“You are ever gracious, Mistress,” he said, returning the smile.

“Oh, I know,” I said as he walked off, with a bounce in his step that I had never seen before.

The smile was still on my face when I reentered my chamber. Xhaiden was now sitting up in bed, his soft blond hair shining in the sunlight. Even though I appreciated rain more than sun, I had to admit the effect was quite handsome.

“Do your plans go well?” Xhaiden asked.

“They do,” I said as I approached him. “And those plans include you, my dear.”

“I serve when it is needed,” Xhaiden said.

“I know,” I responded. “And you served quite well last night.”

Xhaiden blushed. I giggled softly as the Therobelin part of me remembered well how easily Xhaiden could be embarrassed. I was glad that I didn’t have to rewrite his mind completely because I would have dearly missed one of my closest friends. Now, all he remembered was that he had accompanied Therobelin in coming to join the Rainfall Sect, instead of destroying it.

“So what are we to do today?” Xhaiden asked as his eyes wandered over my body. I felt my nipples harden with the lustful gaze he was giving me.

“We have about an hour until Ballan awakens our forces for our march on Ghanton.”

“And what are we to do until then?” Xhaiden asked with a smile.

“I had a few ideas,” I said slyly. “But it will require your hair to be a little longer.”

“What are you talking about?” Xhaiden asked.

I waved my hand at him and cast a quick transformation spell. This one was not nearly as extensive as Meghalen’s had been yesterday, so it didn’t require nearly as much power and didn’t take as long.

Within sixty seconds, instead of the handsome Elvin male in my bed, there was now an extremely cute pixie-like Elvin woman.

“What did you do to me?” Xhaiden asked in wonder as she gazed at her new form, her voice now high and breathy.

“I thought I would show you how a woman experiences pleasure,” I said with a smile.

Her eyes shot up to me. “You want to experience me as a woman?”

“Don’t worry, lover,” I said warmly. “There’s no way that you’re going to be staying in this adorable form for very long. I just want to play around.”

Xhaiden looked down for a little bit at her smallish breasts that were now hanging out, her nipples hardening in the cool air.

“Who am I to refuse the future Empress of the land?” Xhaiden said with a smile.

“Who indeed?” I said as I jumped into the bed.

A little under an hour later, I had transformed Xhaiden back into a man after a very satisfying bout of womanly lovemaking. It had taken the man a little while to catch on, but Xhaiden was a quick learner. I actually regretted turning him back into a man, but a proper Empress needed a proper consort. It would be no trouble at all to change Xhaiden back into his feminine form after we had done what was required.

I was not very eager to get out of bed after I had transformed him back. The part of me that was Therobelin was still basking in the wonders of female sexuality and was eager to explore it further. Meanwhile, Crystalia had not had physical sex in over five thousand years and was obviously eager for as much action as possible. However, I knew that with my freedom from the crystal as Crystalia and the fact that I had departed Ghanton recently as Therobelin, I would have to move quickly. Ghanton would not be expecting an assault so soon after my departure from their gates.

As I smiled at Xhaiden warmly, I wondered at the person I had become. Twelve hours ago, I had been the Battlemage Therobelin, eager to seek one last great battle by destroying the Rainfall Cult where so many had failed. Even as powerful as I was, I had limited myself in the past by setting boundaries of what I could and could not do. I had put myself under such constraints that I hadn’t been able to do what was necessary to right the wrongs that had happened before my very eyes.

Now I was the warrior goddess Crystalia, reborn into a form that could walk again on the face of a world that had almost forgotten her. I had taken those boundaries and limits and thrown them away, embracing the enormous potential that had always been waiting for me. I had simply lacked the strength of will to grasp my destiny. That was no longer an issue.

It was strange to now have the memories of two lifetimes within my head, yet only one voice. As time went by, I could feel myself becoming more and more complete as a person, the personalities commingling even further. I wasn’t exactly sure what would happen when that was complete, but I was eager to find out.

First, I had to make sure that my base of power was secure.

I jumped out of bed and started to don my red glass armor. When Xhaiden began to put on his armor, I told him to stop.

“Why?” Xhaiden asked. “I can’t exactly help you if I’m naked. At least, not with your plans for Ghanton,” he added with a smile.

“Because that leather armor of yours was of the person you were before we came to this place,” I said as I adjusted my chest piece. “The soldiers in my army wear a different crest.”

Xhaiden glanced around the room. “I don’t see anything,” he said.

“Patience,” I commented as I seated my helmet on my head. I conjured up a mirror quickly to check my outfit. The soft red glow of the armor reminded me of the captain of the Rainfall guard, a woman who had been among the first to join Ballan in his quest to recover me. I was disappointed that she would be unable to fight alongside us, but it would take months of magical therapy for her to be able to even wield a sword again. She was lucky that Crystalia knew a little more about magical restoration than Therobelin did, or else she would remain as she was now, unable to lift a dagger or cast even the smallest of sparks.

Finally satisfied that my armor and weaponry were secure, I turned my attention to the nude Elf. I smiled as I gazed below his waist and spied the thing that had kept me company last night. I then shook my head and focused on the man as a whole.

I spoke a few brief words before waving my hand in his direction. Immediately, black glass armor shimmered into existence around his body. It was almost identical to my own, save the color and a tabard on the chest piece, showing three raindrops.

He glanced down at the armor set and nodded his approval. He tried a few quick movements to test its flexibility and was apparently satisfied with the results.

“It’s beautiful,” he commented as he gazed at the armor’s black sheen.

“Why thank you,” I said with a grin. “There’s only one thing missing.”

“What’s that?”

I tossed him something, which he caught effortlessly in midair. When he opened his fist, there was a small red shard on a silver chain. It was a piece of the crystal that had imprisoned me.

He glanced up at me. “Are you sure?”

I nodded. “I made this especially for you. It will allow you to wield transformational magic. It won’t be to the same degree as me, but you’ll be able to use it in battle. I hope to take Ghanton without any bloodshed.”

“Will it allow me to alter people’s minds?” Xhaiden asked as he peered at the shiny shard.

“To a very small degree,” I responded. “You’ll be able to confuse them and to maybe render them unconscious. You won’t be able to entirely rewrite their mental history as I can.”

“Why give me this?”

“Because my most trusted companions must be able to use the magic that I use. The more you use this transformational magic, the better you will become at wielding it.”

“Hopefully you’ll be able to give me a few lessons down the road.” Xhaiden commented.

“You’ll receive a great deal of training in the days and weeks to come,” I said confidently. “I predict that you will become as adapt as I am with the power of transformation.”

“I am honored,” Xhaiden said with a bow.

There was a knock at the door.

“Come in,” I called.

Ballan and Myhala walked into the door, both of them already in their black armor. They were obviously holding hands right until they actually passed through the threshold to my chamber. I smiled warmly and hoped only the best for the two new lovers. I could tell that the magic I had used on Myhala had worked well, as it appeared that Ballan had totally forgotten about the man she had used to be.

“The troops are prepared for your address in the main hall, Mistress,” Ballan said with a bow that was mirrored quickly by Myhala.

“Excellent,” I said. “Before we depart, however, I have two gifts for the two of you.” I tossed them each crystals of their own and quickly explained their purpose. Ballan already had some skill in transformational magic, but the crystal would focus his power greatly. Both thanked me profusely and I nodded in acknowledgement.

“Let us not keep our followers waiting,” I said.

The four of us marched out of the chamber and down several hallways until we reached the main hall. It had originally been used as a barracks for the legion of soldiers that had been stationed here millennia ago. There was a large stage at the forward section of it, where Ballan had placed a podium for me to speak from.

I gazed out over the assembled throng and smiled. Over two hundred and fifty strong, their black armors shone darkly in the torchlight. When I had cast the spell for Xhaiden, I had cast it for the rest of my followers.

I thought over the statement in my head again as I took my place on the stage. I realized that the part of me that was Therobelin very much liked having followers. As Therobelin, I had always been a lone wolf, rarely calling in support unless it was absolutely needed. Though I had always done my part for the guilds of Allaron, I had never made it a point to play the political game so that I might rise to leadership. Now, I was not only a leader of an army, but I was goddess reborn. It was a powerful sensation.

I took a deep breath and glanced around me. Xhaiden was to my right, while Ballan and Myhala were directly to my left. The tiny shards around their necks glowed brightly in the dimly lit room. It was time.

“My friends,” I said warmly. “We have waited for this day for millennia. Through the efforts of Master Ballan, we have finally found someone worthy for your goddess to merge with and become manifest on this earth once more. I stand before you as a fusion of the Battlemage Therobelin and the warrior goddess Crystalia.”

The entire group of people cheered loudly and I basked in their adoration.

“For too long, the fools in the Imperial City and the Provincial Courts have lorded over the people in the Kingdom of Allaron, ignoring the plight of their people as they are beset by bandits and monsters,” I stated. “We intend to change that fact!”

“Today, we will march upon the town of Ghanton, whose inhabitants were vital in my defeat over five thousand years ago. It is ironic that we should build our forces back in one of the great forts built to destroy me and everything I stood for. But now we will show them the error of their ways!”

The crowd cheered once more. I could feel the energy pouring off them. It was an amazing sensation. One the Therobelin side of me definitely could get used to, just as Crystalia had loved it so many years ago.

“But we do not seek to destroy these people. Their minds and bodies will be used to help fuel our campaign! Every man, woman and child will be transformed into one of the finest armies this world has ever known! So when we fight our way into Ghanton today, do not kill anyone. I have granted each of you the magical abilities and weaponry to stun your foes so that we might utilize them in our long march to the Imperial City.”

“Today, my friends, Ghanton will fall to the New Rainfall Empire!”

My followers went wild, cheering and hooting. I grinned as I stepped back from the podium and allowed Ballan to take the stage. As he gave the two hundred and fifty their orders, I knew nothing that could stop us.

Especially once I activated our hidden weapon.

I considered our tactics for a brief moment as Ballan gave his directions to our forces. The primary bulk of our forces would march with me directly to the town gate, while a smaller force of three dozen would secure the rear gate. Meanwhile, several groups of three would patrol around the town walls, to be sure that no one escaped through the various different passageways outside the town. When I had transformed various people from the town, I had gathered a great deal of information on the town’s defenses and exit routes. With the entire town in an uproar from our planned diversion, there was little chance of an effective armed resistance. And with the sentries in the surrounding terrain, I was confident that we would be able to acquire every soul in Ghanton.

The briefing took only ten minutes. Ballan made sure to emphasize again that non-lethal force was to be used at all times. I was sure that the town itself would pose little difficulty.

I was a little concerned about securing the Great Hall of Ghanton, however. One of the reasons I had decided that Ghanton was to be our first target, other than it’s proximity to the fortress, was that the Tapar family were the direct descendants of those who helped defeat me in the great war so long ago. I had managed to transform several Royal Guards that had been stationed within the Hall, but I was still uncertain if we would be able to cover all the escape routes from the Hall. I had most of the primary escape routes covered by teams of twelve, however, it was possible that there were a few routes that I was unaware of.

I shook my head to clear my thoughts. I would simply have to be confident in my forces’ ability to secure the hall and the escape routes. Nothing was going to stop me from getting my hands on Lord and Lady Tapar, as well as their only son, Count Redwick. It was as simple as that.

When Ballan had finished, he began to give the order to move out, but I stopped him.

“There is one final thing,” I said to the crowd. “In the Three Goblets Inn, there is a woman named Talissa. She is to be brought to me unharmed and conscious.”

My followers nodded their assent.

“Then let us march,” I said.

A short time later, I was at the head of our forces leaving the Rainfall Fortress. I paused for a moment and glanced back at the fortress that had been Crystalia’s home for so very long. Even the Therobelin part of me was disappointed to leave as well, for it was where he had become the person he had always meant to be. In some small way, I was sad to leave it. Perhaps after I secured the Imperial City, I would return and have my followers erect a shrine here, in honor of where Therobelin and Crystalia had become one. After several more moments, I turned my eyes away and looked forward, resolute on my new path that could only lead to victory.

When we were fifteen minutes out from the fortress, I motioned for the scout and sentry groups and the rear gate force to spread out through the forest. Their dark armor blended well in the shaded forest and it wasn’t long before all of them were out of sight. As we passed a tight grove of trees, I looked into the forest and dispelled the illusion that had forced Therobelin, Xhaiden and Meghalen to come to the fortress.

Crystalia had created a magical dragon that would appear to anyone who entered the Talon Forest when the person considered leaving. It primarily was designed to force people into range of the fortress so my people could capture and transform them. I had fortified it especially for Therobelin and I had watched from within the crystal as his mind had probed the creature, nervous that he would penetrate my deception. I had been lucky that Therobelin hadn’t inspected my magical dragon closer or else I might still be locked in that infernal crystalline cage.

Once I dispelled the dragon, I motioned for my troops to continue now that the way was clear.

An hour or so later, I stopped the group several hundred feet from the tree line.

Xhaiden, Ballan and Myhala approached me.

“Are you prepared?” I asked them.

“We are, Mistress,” Ballan said confidently.

“Good,” I said. “Because once I activate them, there will be no turning back.”

I glanced at the faces of my troops. I could no longer remember who of them had come to me willingly and who had been transformed into a follower. But it didn’t really matter anymore. Now, there was only one unified force under a single banner.

My banner.

“Then prepare yourselves, my friends,” I said as I began to gather the magical energy of the forest and the recent rain to me. My three companions backed away as my body began to glow. I stared at the great wall surrounding the town of Ghanton and as my eyes began to glow with my body, I could see past the town’s fortifications.

In my mind’s eye, I flew through the streets, ignoring the people going about their normal business until I reached what most simply called ‘the end of the road.’

The Ghanton Brothel.

It was upon that building which I focused all of my energies, even as I felt the raw sexual power emanating from the building. I fed upon that energy and felt my perceptions deepen.

I was aware of the clouds that had suddenly sprang into existence above our heads, but I paid it no mind. I could feel the wind blowing through the trees and smell the coming rain. It smelled of victory.

And finally, there was enough. I delved into the minds of the whores in the brothel and searched deeply for the hidden triggers I had placed in each of them. With a simple word into their minds, I activated the first trigger. As one, the entire compliment of whores stopped their lovemaking and stood, much to the consternation of their clients.

I sent the second word.

Immediately, black glass armor shimmered into existence around their naked forms even as their magical abilities and fighting skills returned. Where before they had simply been an army of women desperate for a man’s touch, now there were over seventy woman dressed in full battle armor with a singular mission.

They struck without hesitation, firing incapacitation spells at the men they had been having sex with only moments before. In an instant, every man in the building collapsed into unconsciousness.

The group marched out of the brothel and attacked every soul in sight. The guards went mad as they recognized their lover’s faces attacking the townspeople. They were completely at a loss of what to do as men, women and children were falling to the ground around them. Finally, the captain of the town guard rallied his troops for a counterattack.

I knew it was time for the second phase.

“Go!” I shouted to my entire assembly as the rain began to pour down around us. With a mighty roar, we launched ourselves towards the gates of Ghanton.

The gatekeeper that I had spoke to when I had arrived looked in horror at the massive force coming out of the trees for several seconds. I could hear the crackle of energy as my forces prepared their Staffs of Paralysis and Arrows of Incapacitation. For a brief moment, I thought of the irony of the moment. One of the first to fall would be the man who had warned me away from Ghanton, one who would have denied me my destiny.

I had to give the gatekeeper credit. He managed to recover his wits in time to shout a warning to the guards on the other side of the gate. I could sense them preparing to secure the gate from the other side, even as they were attacked from within.

That was definitely not acceptable.

An arrow shot by me and impaled the man directly in the center of his chest. He stiffened and fell over backwards. I nodded my approval to Xhaiden and prepared a spell. Within seconds, a massive concussion spell was blasting towards the great gate of Ghanton.

The impact was deafening as the doors blew open. The men who had desperately been trying to bar the gate were thrown backwards almost fifty yards. The doors rang loudly as they slammed up against the buildings on either side. With no opposition at the front door, my army poured into the town of two thousand people.

With their primary guard force distracted by the transformed whores, there was almost no resistance. A staff, an arrow or a spell immediately struck down every single person who looked even tempted to put up a fight. Within two minutes, we had the entire town’s complement of guards surrounded. The guard captain, a big burly man who looked like he had been in far too many barfights, growled at me in fury.

“Surrender,” I commanded as I laid my hand on the hilt of my sword. In the entire two minutes of battle, I never had the need to draw it.

“Burn in hell, bitch,” the guard shot back as lifted his sword high in the air and rushed at me.

Before he could take his third step, I had lifted him into the air with a telekinesis spell. He dropped his sword in shock as he looked at my smiling visage.

“I think you could use a change in attitude,” I said conversationally. “And a change in attire.”

The red crystal around my neck glowed as I cast a quick spell upon him. Within seconds, his armor dropped to the ground as it was replaced by a rather naughty-looking negligee. The image of the man in a negligee was rather disturbing, so I made another quick change. Within thirty seconds, where there once was a burly man, there was now a busty petite brunette.

I heard our captives gasp in horror at the transformation that had occurred right before their eyes. Everyone in Ghanton had known in theory about the power of the Rainfall Sect because of those who had come to the Brothel, but none had ever seen a transformation occur right in front of them.

I dropped the transformed man to the ground and she looked up, very confused. I had placed the basic whore mentality that I had used in the past. I thought about doing a little more mental work and transforming her into a proper solider, but I had more pressing matters to attend to. So I simply watched as she stood up and walked towards the brothel as if drawn there.

My forces laughed at her behavior and I joined in for a few moments.

“Let’s move,” I said as we marched towards the Great Hall, leaving behind a contingent of warriors to keep the prisoners in line.

Ghanton actually had two forces of soldiers within its walls. The first was the normal town guard, which was primarily made up of volunteers from the townspeople. The other group was the Royal Guard, assigned by the Imperial City to protect the Provincial Court. I was impressed with the Royal Guards’ coordination. Their captain had apparently seen through the attack by the women from the brothel and had organized a force blockading the entrance to the hall. My forces had the entire place surrounded in a great black circle of glistening armor. When my group of four approached, they parted to allow us access.

One of the sergeants spoke. “They have the doors barred from the other side, Mistress. I also believe that the court wizard is assisting with the defense, as our concussion spells will not work on the doors.”

“Don’t worry, solider,” I said. “We’ll handle this.”

The four of us approached the door and I nodded to my companions. Ballan and Myhala were still wielding their Staffs of Paralysis and Xhaiden had a full quiver of Arrows. I suspected for this battle that I would need my own sword so I finally took it from its sheath. I smiled at the glow of the mithril blade, now a bright crimson as opposed to the blue hue it had been earlier.

I probed their defenses with my mind and detected at least two dozen guards located directly inside, in addition to the court wizard. Surprisingly, I recognized the man as a retiree from the Mage’s Council from the Imperial City named Harok. I was a little annoyed with this development, as I had not known of his presence in the city. Harok may have been retired, but there had been few people in Allaron who were more skilled in destructive magic.

“Everyone stay back until we clear the way,” I said to the group surrounding the Hall. “I don’t want someone to get hit by friendly fire.” There was also the fact that the earlier fight had only wetted my appetite for battle. I was eager to have a real test of my skills and I believed that four against two dozen soldiers and a powerful destruction wizard would pose a suitable challenge.

I took a deep breath and prepared my first spell. But right before I released it, I decided to give them a chance.

“Surrender!” I called through the door. I knew that they could hear me. “You cannot stand against us!”

“Never!” an old man’s voice called. “I know what you are! And I know precisely what you will do to us!”

“Harok,” I responded. “You cannot win. Yield and I may show mercy.”

“Your kind of mercy is not one I will experience willingly,” Harok shot back with venom in his voice. “You shall not take this hall!” I could sense the defenses of the Hall strengthen and I decided that I had waited long enough.

A great green comet shot from my rapidly moving hands directly at the door. The impact was similar to the one that had occurred when I had launched my attack on the Rainfall tower. There was a bright flash as the magical barrier was dispelled. I could feel the rising panic of the guards inside. Yet, I sensed that they held their position. They were an admirably trained group of soldiers. They would do well wearing the Rainfall crest.

Before Harok could reconjure the defensive shield, I let loose a massive concussion spell in time with Ballan. The double doors actually exploded into a billion splinters when the spells struck home. The four of us shielded ourselves as best we could as the shards of wood blasted us. Those inside were lucky that the force of the spell had caused most of the splinters to be shot outward instead of inward, because if the direction had been reversed, there would be some very grave injuries on the part of our foes.

“Charge!” I commanded as the dust cleared and I glimpsed into the eyes of the terrified guardsmen. A slew of arrows were immediately in the air as Xhaiden sought to quickly incapacitate the guards. Myhala and Ballan ran forward with a roar and immediately engaged their forward forces while others fell from Xhaiden’s arrows.

I looked to the rear of the guards and my eyes met Harok’s. There was no doubt in my mind that he had spoken the truth earlier. He did know who I was short time ago. And I sensed he knew what I had become as well.

That explained the unbridled fury in his eyes as he launched his first fireball directly at me. I was impressed as it shot upwards over the guards and then adjusted course directly at me. Still, it wasn’t something I was overly concerned with. I cast a quick dispel at the fireball and it blew apart into a shower of tiny harmless sparks.

I once more gazed into my foe’s eyes and smiled cruelly as I felt the battlelust fill me. In that second, I could feel all of my ambition and power that I had previously held back building quickly. With a wave of my hand, I teleported myself only a few feet away from the man. When I struck, I didn’t hold back.

I cast a spell over my blade to incapacitate instead of wound and I came down upon him like a cobra. Despite the fact that he was an old man, he was still very skilled in the fighting arts. Before my eyes, he conjured an ancient wizard’s staff and blocked my blow.

The sounds of battle behind me quickly became unimportant as Harok and I laid into each other. I knew that my people could handle the others. I also knew that if I didn’t personally handle Harok, he would probably obliterate my forces.

Our movements were a blur. One moment, we were striking at each other with our weapons, the next we were firing spells back and forth. In the madness of battle, I could not keep track of the spells and movements that I naturally cast and countercast. The surges of energy between us were immense and I could feel the building shaking with the sheer power of our encounter.

Firebolts and frostbolts were deflected into the walls, scorching or freezing them instantly. Incapacitation and shielding spells bounced off the ceiling and into the fray behind us, stunning several of the guards desperately trying to prevent the others from entering the Great Hall.

What Harok didn’t know was the full scope of power at my command. There was the fusion of what had been Crystalia and Therobelin, but there was also the power I had absorbed during the rainstorm last night and the power I had absorbed from the women in the brothel. Against such raw and unfettered power, even the great Harok had no hope.

I think that he knew that his chances were nonexistent. He fought on anyway and he was to be commended for that.

However, there would be no mercy for the man once I beat him down.

Finally, I managed to strike his left arm with my blade. The stunning spell shot up his arm with a deep red glow and he cried out from the pain. He managed to keep his hands on his staff, but I knew at that moment that he was mine.

With a great stroke, I tore the staff from his hands. It flew end over end before landing near the doorway. I looked into my enemy’s eyes and smiled as my veins coursed with battlelust.

“Just get it over with,” the old man spat

“If you insist,” I sneered.

And I slammed my hand into his chest and started to rip his power directly from his soul. As Therobelin, I almost never used this ability. In fact, the two people I had used it on during the assault on the fortress had been the first in three years.

As Therobelin, I had always found the use of such dark magic to tear the very essence from a person’s body to be abhorrent. I would only use that ability in the direst of situations, such as what had occurred within the fortress with the captain and the guard.

As the reborn warrior goddess Crystalia, I didn’t have any such reservations.

I watched in pleasure as the man before me writhed and moaned as I stripped him of his magic. New spells and abilities flooded my mind as I took his memories and his knowledge. I could feel the power surging through me and I actually felt an orgasm rush through me from the sheer pleasure of the moment.

Before long, the man’s shape altered as I began to take his masculinity. With the rate I was feeding off him, it wasn’t long before there was a buxom young wench barely over nineteen years old at my feet.

With a cry of victory, I ripped my hand free of the new woman’s heaving chest. I looked down and grinned as my armor glowed with unearthly power. As I turned my gaze to my followers who had just struck down the last guards, I could sense their awe.

“Let us end this,” I said in a voice that thundered through the hall. It was the voice of a goddess.

We marched inside the Great Hall, my three companions to my back and the rest of my black-clad soldiers behind them. I smiled when I saw Lord and Lady Tapar sitting on their thrones. They looked at peace, but I could tell in their eyes that they were terrified.

Their son, Count Redwick, was not nearly as composed. He was staring daggers at me even as his eyes shot over my curves. His anger was so palpable that he looked as if he would start to foam at the mouth. I smiled at him serenely, confident in my plans. He actually rather handsome, even in his anger, and might make a good consort when Xhaiden wasn’t available. It was something to consider later.

“I’m a little surprised that you’re sitting right here,” I commented to the Lord and Lady. “I was expecting to have to ferret you out of some hole.”

“My guards informed me that all of our escape routes had been cut off by black suited warriors,” The Lord said angrily. “When Harok told me of the power he sensed from the leader of this invasion, I knew we could not hide. We are not cowards. So why have you done this, woman?”

“Because once upon a time, your blood attacked me and my kind,” I said. “It has taken quite a while–over five thousand years–but vengeance has finally come down upon you.”

“Five thousand years?” the Lady asked, her eye wide with shock and fear. “You cannot be Erya.”

“I do not go by that name anymore,” I said. “But I was once called that.”

“You were destroyed in the great war by Allaron and the Sunrise Clan!” she responded.

“I was only imprisoned,” I spat. “Entombed by the fools who would deny themselves power because they are stupid and afraid.”

“Enough of the past,” the Lord said. “What do you intend to do to us?”

“The same I will do to all of your citizens,” I responded with a wicked grin. “You will serve me as part of my army.”

“We would die first,” Redwick said furiously.

“I do not give that option,” I said as I turned my eyes to him. “Death is a waste of material. With a few spells, you will think that I have liberated you from the tyranny of the King and you will fight for me. It’s not far from the truth. You just don’t know it.”

I was suddenly distracted by incoherent shouts behind me. I turned and laughed. Two of my guards had Talissa between them. She was struggling mightily, but there wasn’t much she could do.

“Release me, you bitches!” she cried to the two women in black.

“And miss our little reunion?” I said with a smirk as I approached her. As soon as her eyes turned to me, she stiffened in pure horror.

“You…” she whispered. “What is going on here?”

“I am taking back what should have been mine so long ago,” I said firmly. “I decided that I won’t be joining you in that precious inn of yours after all. I found something better.”

“Therobelin?” she said in a hushed tone. “It cannot be!”

“Oh it is,” I said as I appraised her body. She would make an excellent concubine. “Crystalia showed me what I could become with the proper motivation.”

Her eyes slid over to Xhaiden at my side, watching the exchange. Her look of terror deepened as she glanced over at the redheaded Myhala. “What have you done?”

“Crystalia showed me that this world needs a stronger hand to protect the people. So I joined with her. As you were given the option to,” I spat.

“What?” she asked. “I don’t remember that!”

I touched her forehead and whispered a few soft words and then realization came flooding into her eyes. “You wanted to join with me as Talis!” she cried. “But I fought you, I resisted. In the end, you realized that you couldn’t turn me to your whims. I was too strong.”

“And more fool you,” I spat. “You could have become a goddess. Instead, you are now a simple innkeeper, devoid of power and skill. Useless in every sense of the word.”

I glared at the simple-minded fool before me.

“And now witness the power that you denied yourself.”

I spun and struck Lord Tapar with a transformation spell. The Lady screamed in fear as my guards held her fast to her chair while he was changing. The two guards on either side of Redwick also held him as he cried out his father’s name.

I watched with glee as the years disappeared from his body and he lost all of his rugged masculinity that must have turned many heads in his younger days. His body softened and soon two large breasts appeared on his chest as blond hair sprouted from his scalp.

The transforming man glared up at me.

“This isn’t…over…” he said as his voice changed octaves. His hips widened considerably in the time it took him to say those three words.

“It is for you,” I sneered.

And with that, his eyes glazed over and changed color from their steel gray to a soft blue. A few seconds later, there was only a beautiful blond with massive breasts sitting on the throne. She looked around, obliviously confused until I added the final touch.

She stood and immediately, the black glass and Rainfall crest appeared on her curvaceous form. She approached me and knelt.

“Mistress,” she said in a high soprano voice. “I am prepared to serve.”

I laughed at the look in the Court’s faces and then glanced downward.

“Rise, Elisa and joined your brethren,” I said warmly. She rose and smiled at me, then went back to join the others.

“You’re a monster,” Talissa said behind me. I spun back to face her.

“Perhaps,” I said. “But you will still serve.”

“Never,” Talissa shot back. Suddenly, the woman somehow slipped out of the grasp of my guards and launched herself at me. I was completely unprepared for her attack as she clawed at my face and neck, obviously trying to throttle me. It only took a few seconds for my people to haul her off me.

I looked up at her and growled. “You’ll pay for that, you little tramp.”

But strangely, she wasn’t even looking at me. She was looking at her hand. I glanced at it as well and gasped at the small red glimmer.

She had my pendant.

With no warning at all, every single person in the room save for Redwick and the Lady was suddenly blasted backwards. When I scrambled back up to my feet, I was shocked to see Talissa’s form glowing. I sensed a huge rush of power pouring into her. She was regaining the power she had as Talis. Somehow, that tiny shard of crystal was giving it all back to her.

“Impossible!” I screamed as I started to charge her. Before I could take two steps, I was on my rear again with Talissa glaring at me furiously as energy crackled from her hands.

“Get out of here!” the Lady screamed at Talissa. “Get help!”

My attention was distracted by the Lady’s cry and in that brief moment, Talissa threw herself at Redwick. She clutched the prince tightly and there was a bright flash. I cursed loudly in several ancient tongues as they had teleported away.

I roared in fury at this debacle.

“Find them!” I shouted at my guards. They scampered away to search the forest. The two of them couldn’t have gotten far.

Then I turned my attention to the Lady.

“They will stop you,” she said as I approached her. “They will find a way to kill the monster that you have become, Therobelin.”

“Nothing can kill a goddess,” I told her as I probed her mind violently. I wanted a weakness. She had distracted me from my goal and she would be punished. In a few moments, I found what I needed.

“I know you, Lady Tapar,” I said evilly. “You have always found the need for a brothel here despicable. The idea of constant sex is abhorrent to you as well as the thought of what those women did with each other while there were no men.”

Her eyes widened.

“I was kind to your husband,” I said. “He no longer remembers the man he was, just like I did for most. But for your crimes against me, I shall lock you away in a whore’s body and you will sit and watch as you commit every carnal sin there is.”

I struck out my hand and it slammed into her chest with a bright flash of energy.

Within seconds, Lady Tapar was no more. There was only the newest addition to my growing circle of consorts, Larka. However, I would be kind to the men–and women–under my command and I would share this one with whoever desired her.

After giving Larka to several of my soldiers and telling them to have their way with her, I strode out of the building.

Ballan approached me, looking nervous.

“Have you found them?” I asked.

He shook his head. “They seem to have vanished entirely, Mistress. I’ve expanded the search radius to include the Talon Forest.”

I considered him for a moment, but quieted my temper. It had been my own foolish overconfidence that had allowed Talissa and Redwick to escape.

In any event, I suspected that it wouldn’t be long before I saw Talissa again.

There was much to do before then. I told Ballan to begin the conversion of the townspeople. Soon the entire populous, save for who had been the guard captain, Harok and Lady Tapar, would wear the black glass armor of the Rainfall Army. Then we would march for the Imperial City, transforming all those who dared to stand in our way.

In two weeks, the rain would come for the King of Allaron.

And I would have my vengeance upon the world.

* * *

While the Rainfall saga has now ended, the story is far from finished. After I complete my latest project for TGStories.com and attempt to write an entry in BigCloset’s holiday contest, I will return to this universe and tell you folks what happened next in my next series for Fictionmania, Sunrise.

I hope that everybody has enjoyed their time in the Kingdom of Allaron and I ask that you take a few minutes to write a quick review of “Rise” and the other stories in the Rainfall Universe so I can know what you think. If that’s not the thing for you, you are welcome to send me an email with your thoughts at [email protected]. Thanks again to everybody who was kind enough to write a review of my previous works.

Once again, fell free to check out my stories on TGStories.com and I hope to see you all again soon in Sunrise.

Copyright 2006, Tom J. Hyde

Permission is granted to post “Rainfall: Rise” or any other Rainfall story on any free archival site, provided that the entire story is posted in it’s original state, including this message and that the poster send me an email notifying me at [email protected].

* * *

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