The Princess and Bombaata rode through the gates of Arymlap; as they made their way through the town, people turned out to line the streets and cheer their return.
“When we get to the palace,” Bombaata leant over to whisper in Jehnna’s ear, “we find the queen and kill her!”
“Of course,” agreed Jehnna reluctantly, “if there’s no other way.”
Jehnna returned the look of surprise that Bombaata gave her.
“We agreed!” he cried.
“Yes I know,” Jehnna nodded her head, “but, she is my aunt, she brought me up from when I was little. Apart from wanting to sacrifice me to this god, she’s always been very good to me…I mean she bought me all those ponies when I was younger.”
“Of course,” agreed Bombaata , “if I can, I’ll spare her life.”
He had absolutely no intention of sparing Queen Taramis’ life, he was going to kill her the first opportunity he had.
“What about the guards?” Jehnna waved to some children in the crowd, always good for public relations; she wanted to be known as the ‘Caring Queen’. “Surely they’ll notice when we arrest the Queen.”
“Don’t worry,” Bombaata smiled, they were nearly at the palace gate now, “some are loyal to you, the others I have bribed.”
Riding into the main court yard, Jehnna looked around to see nothing out of place. Her aunt obviously expected nothing; only the usual number of guards were visible. The priests stood huddled around their stone tablets and the peacocks still strutted around getting in everyone’s way. When she was Queen the peacocks were 'outta here'; they made a terrible noise and crapped everywhere. She was going to do something about the priests too; give them new robes in nice pastel colours for a start.
Coming to a halt at the bottom of the main stairway Jehnna looked up to see her aunt standing at the top of the stairs. Jehnna sighed; she’d loved her aunt but despaired at her fashion sense, she insisted on wearing things that were a little ‘young’ for her. Jehnna suspected that her aunt was one of those women who would never grow old gracefully. In a way it was probably just as well she was, likely as not, going to die!
“Have you got the treasure?” Queen Taramis called as she started down the stairs.
“Yes!” cried Jehnna, she held up the horn; or the be-jewelled dildo as Dawn insisted on calling it…Jehnna thought she really should find out what these ‘dildo’ things were.
“Good,” smiled the Queen as she stopped a few yards away from her niece, “GUARDS!”
At the Queen's cry guards appeared from out of every nook and cranny, Jehnna and Bombaata soon found themselves surrounded, resistance would have been futile.
“HA!” laughed the queen, “Did you really think your little plan would work?”
“But the guards!?” Jehnna looked from her aunt to Bombaata.
“Easily bribed back to their true allegiance,” sneered the queen, “and those who could not be bought found themselves guarding the northern borders!”
“DAMN YOU TARAMIS!” for a moment it looked like Bombaata would try and kill the queen there and then, but rank after rank of spear points dissuaded him.
“Take that one to the dungeons,” the queen pointed to Bombaata.
Guards rushed forward and dragged the big man from his horse; quickly they disarmed him and dragged him towards the palace dungeons.
“Take her and prepare her for the ceremony,” the queen waved forward a gang of burly looking maids who pulled Jehnna from her horse.
“BOMBAATA!” cried Jehnna as the maids dragged her up the stairs towards her apartments.0=0=0=0
Our heroes arrived outside Arymlap just as the sun was setting and the gates were being closed.
“Odd isn’t it,” observed Dawn, “than it always seems to take less time to get back from somewhere than to get there in the first place.”
“One thing's for sure,” Faith tried to ease her sore inner thighs for a moment; she didn’t care what anybody said about traditional clothes, she was going to buy a pair of trousers first chance she got. “We’re not gonna get in there tonight.”
“Oh come on!” laughed Conan looking around at his comrades, “Places like these always have der secret entrance.”
Everyone looked at him blankly.
“Vot? Are you telling me that no one here has been held in der dungeons and found a secret way out?” he asked incredulously.
“No,” Akiro shook his head.
“Not me,” Dawn studied her nails and decided they needed a lot of work done on them before she went back to dancing.
“Take more than this dead and alive hole to hold me,” laughed Faith.
“Fuck,” sighed Conan, “Oh vell, it can’t be helped,” he looked at his friends and smiled, “beer anyone?”
They turned towards a tavern situated just outside the city, it catered to parties who’d arrived after the city gates had closed.
“What about the princess?” Akiro demanded.
“Oh, she’ll wait,” Dawn pointed out.
“Not like she’s going anywhere,” shrugged Faith.0=0=0=0The Next Morning
“So, it’s the old ‘washer woman’ disguise is it?” Dawn picked at the old, damp dress she wore with ill concealed disgust, “You really think this’ll work?”
Everyone turned to look at Conan; he had to be the biggest most muscular looking washer woman ever.
“Yeah, well, maybe the guards won’t look too closely,” Faith shrugged her shoulders before picking up her laundry basket, “come on, let’s go.”
They had woken just before dawn and had stood for a while wondering how they would get into the city. Just at that moment the gods seemed to smile on them. Half a dozen washer women started to make their way from the nearby river towards the city gate. There was a quick discussion, a plan was formed and soon there was six naked and unconscious washer women lying on the stony ground.
As our heroes approached the gate they pushed Dawn to the front of the group, she would talk the guards into letting them in. After all she was the one that looked least like a small oriental wizard, a large heavily muscled warrior or a beautiful but lethal female killer. Dawn knocked on the door.
“Hi!” she smiled brightly at the pair of suspicious eyes that appeared from behind a small hatch in the gate.
“Who goes there?” demanded the eyes.
“Um,” Dawn looked around at her friends seeking inspiration, realising she was on her own she went for the obvious, “Um, the, like, washer women?”
“Who’s washer women?” the eyes narrowed as they studied her.
“Oh, er, like, Q-Queen Taramis’ washer women?” Oh god this was going to turn to crap any minute, thought Dawn, they’d all die and…
“Pass, Queen Taramis’ washer women!” the eyes disappeared, the hatch was shut; there was the sound of locks being unlocked and bolts being drawn.
A small door in the gate was opened and they were ushered into the city.0=0=0=0
At that very moment the thing furthest from Queen Taramis’ mind was the fate of her laundry. She stood on the marble steps in front of her throne mixing a potion into a large glass of wine. Looking up at the sound of the great doors to the throne room being opened, she saw Princess Jehnna standing surrounded by the Queen’s toughest maids. They bundled the girl forward and stood her before the queen.
Looking down at the girl, Taramis wondered who had chosen the princess’ outfit. The dress was very revealing and made the girl’s boobs look bigger than they were. If it wasn’t for the fact that Jehnna would be a lifeless corpse by the end of the day the queen would have some hard questions for the head maid.
“Here,” the queen handed Jehnna the goblet of drugged wine, she smiled insincerely, “it’s your sixteen birthday, all Arymlap is celebrating, drink.”
Hesitantly Jehnna sipped at the wine.
“All of it,” the queen’s voice was full of warning.
After draining the glass Jehnna swayed a little and giggled, she wasn’t used to strong drink.
“Take her!” ordered the Queen.
The muscular maids rushed forward and grabbed hold of the princess’ arms.
“Take her to the court yard,” ordered the queen, “the ceremony is about to begin.”0=0=0=0
Entering the palace by the door to the kitchen, our heroes discarded their disguises and drew their weapons. Unfortunately the kitchen staff noticed that the four washer women had turned into four mismatched assassins, being loyal servants of the queen they tried to raise the alarm.
After a short, bloody and most of all one-sided struggle; the party moved on; dinner would be late today. They moved through the lower corridors of the palace complex pausing only to slit the throats of unsuspecting guards who weren’t expecting to be attacked in their own quarters.
“By the gods!”
Turning at the shout they saw Bombaata chained to the wall of the stable they were at present passing through.
“Bong-boomer!” snarled Dawn pulling her knife and advancing on the helpless man, “You, like, left us to die in that crypt place! Why shouldn’t I just like, cut your throat much?”
“I had to do what was best for the princess,” pleaded the big warrior, “and you’ll never find her in time to stop the ceremony without me.”
“Sounds reasonable to me,” said Conan.
“He’s probably not wrong,” agreed the wizard, “this place is like a maze.”
“Hey!” Faith stepped up behind Dawn and took hold of her knife hand, “it’s my job to cut throats…you do the sexy dancing stuff, remember?”
“Yeah, sorry,” chastened Dawn put away her knife.0=0=0=0
Up in the main court yard Princess Jehnna swayed gently between two tough looking maids and giggled, she tried to slap the High Priest on the shoulder but the maids grabbed her before she could make contact.
“Y-you’re m-my best friend!” Jehnna giggled drunkenly at the priest, “Y’know that?”
Queen Taramis eyed her niece and wondered if she’d overdone it with the potion or the wine. The High Priest walked over to the Queen and leant towards her so he could talk privately with her.
“All is ready, your majesty,” he gestured to the statue of Dagoth, the Dreaming God that lay before them.
“Don’t forget,” whispered the queen, “as soon as the god shows the first sign of life, kill the girl.”
“NO!” Hic-cupped Jehnna, “No, no, no,” she shook her head and wagged her finger as she frowned drunkenly up at her aunt, “you don’t want to stab little ol' Jehnna…do you? Hmm? Anyway,” Jehnna rested her head on the shoulder of one of her guards and yawned, “It-it’d be sooo baaaaad!”
She turned to glare at the statue of Dagoth.
“Naughty god!” she snapped before squirming a little and turning to one of her keepers, “I really need to pee, y’know?”
“Enough!” cried the queen, “Let the ceremony begin!”
At a signal from the High Priest an orchestra started to play a pretty but repetitive tune and he began to chant.
“Oh Dagoth!” he raised his arms to the sky, “God of gods!”0=0=0=0
“Good,” Faith looked through the curtain that covered the balcony above the main courtyard, “they’ve only just started by the looks of things.”
“We must rescue the princess,” Bombaata fingered the hilt of the long sword that he’d taken from the body of a slaughtered guard.
Akiro stepped forward and peeped through the crack in the curtain.
“They will come to the part where the princess must die very soon,” he said knowingly, “we must move quickly!”
“Oh nien!” Conan said slowly, his eye to a small tear in the curtain, “This looks bad!”
Everybody turned to look down into the courtyard.0=0=0=0
Smiling Queen Taramis congratulated herself on how well everything was going…the music was a bit naff but otherwise everything was going as planned. The High Priest had remembered all his lines, her niece swayed drunkenly as the maids pushed her forward and then down on her knees before the statue of the god.
With a feeling of growing anticipation the queen turned and took the horn (for a moment she looked at it closely; yes, she smiled, it did look a little like a dildo) from the cushion held by an attendant. Reverently she carried it towards the god and placed it in the socket in the god’s forehead. As she stood back she clapped her hands in joy, soon everything she’d ever wanted would be hers!
Standing over the girl the High Priest took the sacrificial knife from one of his acolytes and raised it ready to strike. He watched the god waiting for the first sign of life that would signal his awakening. The music droned on as the chanting got louder, any moment now…
There was a crash of thunder from a clear blue sky; the High Priest checked his grip on the knife. He was just about to bring it slashing down on the girl’s throat when he noticed the spear sticking out of his chest for the first, and sadly, last time. His eyes rolled up into his head as he dropped the knife and sank to his knees.
“Oh!” he croaked as he toppled over to fall lifelessly at the queen’s feet.
“FUCK!” swore the queen.
Looking up from where the priest lay she saw the forever cursed barbarians climb down from the balcony where they’d been hidden.
“KILL THEM!” she screeched at her guards.
After a few seconds confusion the guards moved to surround the invaders. Meanwhile the queen stooped to pick up the sacrificial knife. Pulling her niece’s head back to expose her throat the queen froze as Jehnna laughed in her face.
“W-won’t do you any good aunty,” she smiled drunkenly, “Sooooo not a virgin!”
“WHAT!?” the queen stood knife held high ready to strike, “But-but how? I-I kept all men away from you except…”
“Ooooh!” giggled Jehnna looking like a very naughty girl, “Oh Bombaata, you’re soooooo big!”
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” screamed the queen.
“Aunty needs a virgin! Auntie needs a virgin!” chanted Jehnna before collapsing onto the floor.
“SLUT!” snarled Queen Taramis.
Damn it all; Taramis thought quickly, where was she going to find a virgin at this time of day and in the next five minutes. She glanced at the god, he was starting to look around and take an interest. If he wasn’t bound soon the shit would really hit the punka; there never seemed to be a virgin around when you wanted one.
“I don’t suppose you know of any virgins?” the queen asked her niece.
“As it happens,” Jehnna hic-cupped and started to look a little ill, “I do…aunty I don’t feel well,” she moaned clutching her tummy.
“WHO?” demanded the queen.
“Dawn…” moaned Jehnna, curling into a ball she stuck her thumb in her mouth and fell asleep, drink and drugs just don’t mix.
Looking up the queen stared disbelievingly at the dancer as she and her friends cut their way towards her. The slut was still a virgin? What was the world coming to when a seventeen year old exotic dancer was still a virgin? Must be a religious thing; whatever, the queen pointed at Dawn and drew in a deep breath.
“A THOUSAND GOLD CROWNS TO THE MAN THAT BRINGS ME THAT VIRGIN!” she yelled.
For a moment the sounds of battle faded to nothing as everyone took on board what the queen had just said. Then there was a great roar as the guards surged forward to gain their prize.0=0=0=0
“Fuck!” cursed Faith as she hacked down yet another opponent.
The guards were slowly forcing them back, if she didn’t think of something soon they’d all end up dead and Dawn would be sacrificed and Buffy would never forgive her.
Absently she disembowelled a couple of guards who had got too close to Dawn. Having made a small space for herself she looked around for somewhere they could make a stand.
“THERE!” she called to her friends; she pointed to what looked like a corridor, “Down there! They’ll only be able to attack us a few at a time.”
Forming a triangle around Dawn; Faith, Conan and Bombaata shepherded the only virgin in the room towards what they hoped was safety. Fresh waves of guards broke against there blades as they stumbled into the corridor.
“Gods damn-it!” snarled Faith as she quickly looked around.
What she’d thought was a corridor leading to safety was in fact some sort of alcove with a statue at the far end. Turning back to face their attackers she helped send another dozen or so of the queen’s finest to hell. The guards backed off to get themselves organised for their next attack.
“Ve gotta get out of here!” called Conan stating the obvious, “Ve’re trapped!”
“Shut up!” Faith turned on the big barbarian, “I’m trying to think.”
“W-what are we going to do, Faith?” Dawn looked scared she didn’t want to be sacrificed; been there done that, she hadn’t enjoyed it the first time ‘round. It was starting to look like a pattern was forming in her life; everyone wanted to sacrifice poor little Dawnie.
Looking into Dawn’s tear filled eyes a plan slowly formed in Faith’s mind…what if there wasn’t a virgin any more? It would at least get the guards off their backs. But who…
“Conan!” Faith had made her decision, “Take Dawn down to the end of the corridor and screw her!”
“WHAT!” screamed Dawn.
“VOT!” screamed Conan followed a moment later by a shrug and, “Yeah, okay.”
“Look, Dawn,” Faith half turned to look at Dawn, “if you’ve not a virgin the guards’ll have no reason to attack so bad. When they see the monster they’ll probably run away and we can do our thing.”
“But, couldn’t I,” asked Dawn desperately, “just, like, stick something in and…”
“No,” rumbled Bombaata, “Jehnna and I thought of that,” he pointed out, “it has to be the real deal!”
“Come on,” Conan took Dawn by the wrist and pulled her down towards the far end of the corridor.
“FAAAAITH!” squeaked Dawn.
“Hey,” Faith shrugged remembering her own first time, “it’s not that bad,” she glanced at Conan and smiled, “don’t worry you’ll just feel a little prick and it’ll all be over!”
Turning back to watch the guards, Faith heard the sound of a pair of chain-mail panties hitting the marble floor followed by a squeak from Dawn and a minute later Conan tapped her on the shoulder.
“Finished!” he announced proudly.
“That was quick!” Faith frowned at the big barbarian, “You sure you did it properly?”
For a moment she considered sending him back to make sure he’d done the job properly.
“Of course,” the barbarian looked slightly hurt, “unt that vas der personal best time as vell!”
“Yeah, I can believe that,” Faith turned to look at the guards, “HEY GUYS!” she yelled, “No virgins in here!”0=0=0=0
“What’s going on?” demanded Queen Taramis.
She was starting to get worried, the sky had filled with ominous black clouds and thunder boomed almost continuously. The god was moving about quite freely now any moment now he’d break free of the plinth on which he lay and it would be too late to control him even if she sacrificed twenty virgins.
“My Queen!” a sergeant ran up to her, “They’ve fucked the virgin and we’re screwed! I’m outta here!”
He ran off leaving the queen to face the god by herself.
“Damn-it, damn-it, damn-it!” cursed the queen as the god climbed down from his plinth, “Just one little oversight and everything’s buggered to hell and back.”
The god towered over the queen, instead of the beautiful young man with the horn in his forehead as depicted in the statue. There now stood a hideous green monster with great clawed hands and webbed feet. Its skin dripped green slime as it raised its great, heavily muscled arms to the sky and roared its joy at being free once more.
“And you can just shut up!” the queen turned to look at the monster as it loomed over her. “For want of a virgin the kingdom was lost,” muttered the queen, “maybe I should make a law…”
Queen Taramis gasped in surprise and pain as the god thrust his horn into her chest; her last thought was that she wished she’d worn clean underwear today.0=0=0=0
“Okay,” Faith looked up at the monster, “how do we kill it?”
“I’m sooo telling Buffy about this when we get home,” Dawn glared angrily at Faith, “that was like, totally no fun!”
“Yeah, right,” Faith made calming motions at Dawn, “Someone tell me how to kill that fucker!”
“The horn,” Akiro appeared next to Faith.
“Vere haf you been?” demanded Conan.
“There were some handmaidens that needed rescuing,” replied the little wizard defensively.
“Yeah, okay, later right?” Faith was slowly losing her temper, “What about the horn?”
“Its life is in its horn,” explained the wizard, “pull it out and it’ll die.”
“Okay,” Faith gripped her sword more firmly, “I’m going in, watch my back!”0=0=0=0
Dodging through the crowds of fleeing guards and handmaidens, Faith made her way over to where the god-monster stood and roared. Just going up to the beast and yanking out its horn wasn’t an option. The thing must have been twelve feet tall; Faith decided she needed to cut it down to size.
Rolling under the clumsy swipe of a claw tipped arm, Faith bounced back to her feet and hacked at the tendons behind the creature’s knee. It roared in pain as its leg gave way and it fell onto its knees. Faith danced out of the way of the monster's ungainly attempts at trying to hit her. She caught the creature across the wrist as it swiped at her head. Black blood squirted everywhere and Faith slipped, momentarily losing her balance.
Seeing an opening the god grabbed at the annoying human that danced around him, his clawed hand smashed the marble flagstones to splitters as he missed once more. Scrambling back to her feet, Faith attacked again and again, wearing the god down until she was within reach of the monsters horn.
Casting her sword aside she leapt at the god, grabbing its horn in both hands she twisted it back and forth. The god screamed in pain as it wrapped its great arms around her body and tried to crush the life out of her. Feeling her ribs bend and strain against the power of the god, Faith pulled and twisted at the horn. Eventually as her world started to turn black around the edges, Faith heard a tearing sound as the horn started to come loose in her hand.
The god screamed in pain and clutched at its head in agony. Taking in great lungfuls of air, Faith felt renewed strength race through her body as the oxygen got to her tired muscles. The horn came away in her hands as the god's black blood fountained up to splatter on the ground and all over her body. It writhed on the floor as its life slowly ebbed away and Faith stumbled away from the dying thing its horn still clutched in her hand.
Through blood and sweat blurred eyes Faith caught sight of Dawn running up behind the dying god, sword in hand. She thrust her blade into the base of the god’s skull where it joined the neck. Dagoth gave one last convulsive breath before lying still and silent.
“I’m still telling,” sulked Dawn as she wiped her sword free of blood.0=0=0=0EPILOGUE.Two Weeks Later.
The palace had been cleaned up and the body of the god Dagoth burnt. The body of Queen Taramis had been buried in a ceremony befitting a queen. As Queen Jehnna had said, apart from the whole sacrifice thing, Taramis had cared for her from when she was a child so it was only right and proper that she be buried with honour.
There had been a coronation, where Princess Jehnna had become Queen Jehnna and Bombaata had become her Prince Regent, in Arymlap the power was held in the queen’s hands. Dawn had started to talk to Faith again and everything began to go back to normal. Conan spent most of his time in the wine cellar and Akiro spent his days chasing the Queen’s handmaiden’s when he wasn’t teaching her philosophy.
After two weeks both Faith and Dawn had grown restless and bored; as Dawn said there were only so many pairs of new shoes in the kingdom and she’d tried most of them on. So one morning they went to see the queen to tell her they were leaving.0=0=0=0
“Oh, hello you two,” Queen Jehnna looked up from a parchment strewn desk, her fingers were stained with ink, “sorry I’ve not been a very good host I’ve been so busy…you wouldn’t believe what a mess my Aunt left the kingdom in…”
Faith and Dawn shared a look and shrugged.
“…you wouldn’t believe it!” repeated the queen, “You know we haven’t even got an army!? How am I supposed to make Arymlap the pre-eminent trading city in the east if I can’t guarantee the safety of traders crossing the Kingdom? Then there’s the tariffs and taxes and a hundred things that I’m sure you don’t want to hear about.” The queen smiled at the two barbarians, “I expect you want to leave…go your own way?”
“Um, yes please your queeniness,” Dawn did a little curtsy and frowned at Faith when she didn’t follow suit, “if we could just have the stuff back we arrived with?”
“Ah,” the queen frowned, “sorry I can’t allow that…”
“WHAT!?” Faith and Dawn cried together.
“…you see,” continued the queen hardly missing a beat, “I believe those goods were the proceeds of an illegal act and as such should be returned to the rightful owner or the Queen’s exchequer…that’s me!”
“But…” protested Dawn.
“Bitch!” Faith started to draw her sword.
She stopped when the hidden archers stepped from behind pillars and curtains; arrows already notched on their strings.
“However,” continued the queen as if nothing had happened, “it can’t be said that I’m ungrateful. There will be fresh horses in the courtyard along with packhorses, supplies and a small consideration for your trouble.”
“But…” Dawn tried again but was silenced by a look from the queen and the sound of the archer’s strings straining against their bows.
“You do realise that I can throw you both in jail, don’t you?” The queen had lost her smile now, this was a new sterner Jehnna, “You’re thieves and worse, but I’ve decided to overlook that…for now.”
The silence stretched for a moment or two.
“If there’s nothing else?” Queen Jehnna bent back to her work, “I want to finish this by the time Bombaata gets home, one of the more pleasant things about being queen, you know? So if we’re finished…”
The queen paused, when no one said anything she continued.
“It just leaves me to say thank-you and hopefully, goodbye forever,” the queen’s quill scratched away at a document, “Don’t let me keep you, one of my chamberlains will show you out.”0=0=0=0The road west out of Arymlap
“Bitch!” snarled Faith, she sighed and turned in her saddle to look at Dawn, “Well, what have we got?”
“Food, some good clothes, couple of good swords, the horses and tack of course,” Dawn ticked off the items on her fingers, “and a couple of purses of gold.”
“How much?” at least Faith had got a pair of trousers now, no more saddle sores for her.
“Nowhere near as much as those jewels of ours were worth, but…” Dawn grinned at her friend.
“But what?” Faith asked sensing that Dawn was about to pull a rabbit from her hat.
“I’ve still got the Heart thing,” she held up the huge diamond and didn’t explode, “worth a fortune.”
“You think it’s safe?” Faith eyed the stone warily.
“Well, if it isn’t,” Dawn tucked the diamond back into a safe place, “we just make sure we get the money first…with luck we can sell it over and over again!”
The two young women laughed as they rode away into the future leaving Arymlap, Queen Jehnna and the dreaming god far behind them.0=0=0=0And so it was that Faith realised she would never see a Big Mac and Chocolate shake again. At length she sort adventure in distant lands and trod the jewelled thrones of the earth beneath her sandaled feet. Until, at last, she found her own kingdom and wore her crown upon a troubled brow…
…but that, as they say, is another story!